Monday Market Update: Selling during the holidays

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By Jennifer Jones

We have been busy little elves over here @RainResidential!

Maybe they have long Christmas lists to fill, but our clients are listing their houses right now and they are all asking if we think it is a bad time to sell.  While they always say that Spring is king when it comes to real estate, selling during the winter months can have its advantages.

According to Donna Fuscaldo with Investopedia, putting your house up for sale around the holidays has its benefits, granted you position your home right. Sure you may not get into a bidding war, but you are going to deal with serious buyers who are ready to pull the trigger.

There’s Less Inventory

Conventional wisdom says people should wait until the spring to get the most from a home sale. But studies have shown that homes listed around the holidays cannot only command more money but can also sell quicker than ones listed in the spring. One of the reasons is there is less competition during the holidays. For a multitude of reasons people won’t put their houses up for sale when the holidays are coming up, and so the ones shopping aren’t going to have dozens of houses to choose from. In the spring, inventory usually picks up, and price wars break out in coveted neighborhoods. But during the holidays, there will be limited choices which means a homeowner can have a higher asking price.

Buyers Are More Serious

Anyone who is shopping for a new home around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s is undoubtedly going to be a serious buyer. While hitting open houses is a favorite pastime for many Americans, they aren’t going to spend their precious time around the holidays seeing how the other half lives. In the spring, when open houses are a regular occurrence, people may check out homes without a clear plan to buy. If your house is up for sale in the winter and someone is looking at it, chances are that person is serious and is ready to pull the trigger. That can often result in a quicker sales process.

If you are interested in selling your home, then call us!  Also, check out these tips on getting your house ready to sell during the holiday season:

Monday Market Update - What to Do With All That Stuff

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With Christmas here before we know it, our homes will be filled with lots of stuff!  If you are considering putting your home on the market, you'll need to get organized.  It may seem overwhelming, but we have found some fantastic tips to get you on the right decluttering track.  And, as always, give us a call, we are happy to stop by and offer pointers, remember we work with buyers and sellers every day, so we know a lot about what's important in getting your home ready to be sold.

What to Do With All That Stuff

Decluttering makes staging, selling, and moving easier—and less costly. As selling and spring cleaning seasons kick into high gear, create a toolbox of local solutions to help clients shed their unnecessary stuff.

April 2, 2018

by Barbara Ballinger

It seems everywhere you turn, there’s a new message on the many benefits of decluttering. One of the trend’s best-known spokespersons is Marie Kondo, whose first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, extolls the virtues of having fewer belongings and more space to showcase the things that spark joy.

A more sobering aspect of this movement has been revealed more recently in the form of “Swedish Death Cleaning,” which involves getting rid of anything you don’t need any more so as to relieve others of the task of discarding it after you’ve passed on. Margareta Magnusson, author of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved Ones’ Lives More Pleasant, says the practice offers a soft underlying message of care for one’s heirs.

Truly effective—and lasting—decluttering is a multistep process. The elements will vary depending on each client’s situation, but here are tips on how you as a real estate pro can help them reduce the stress of the task. You may even find them helpful for your own space.

1. Consider the downsizers. Whether you’re helping them buy or sell, clients who are hoping to reduce the amount of living space they require may look to you as a cheerleader and adviser. They may find it tempting to put off those difficult decisions about what to keep and what to ditch until after the move, but if you can help them focus on what realistically can fit in their new home, that could save them significant money in moving costs, according to Barry Izsak, an organizer and moving expert based in Austin, Texas. This is an especially important factor for those moving long distances. Such clients may also need to be reminded to think about the climate they’re relocating to. Snowbirds are not likely to need an extensive winter wardrobe and should retain only a few items for visits back North or travel to cold-weather locations.

2. Know when to suggest professional help. Homeowners who can’t handle the task on their own should consider bringing on a certified member of the National Association of Professional Organizers or someone with many years of experience, says Izsak. As the former president of NAPO, he says the national hourly rate typically charged by members hovers between $50 and $100. Rhea Becker—who, as the Clutter Queen, offers organizing services for homes and offices in Boston—says many of her clients appreciate how professionals speed up the process by keeping them focused on maximizing profits and avoiding digressions over each object’s history. “With a professional, you have the best chance to cut the time and get some money on the table since they know what will sell,” she says.

3. Assemble a toolbox of local resources to share. Whether or not your clients decide to bring in a professional, it helps to categorize each item in a given area into one of five groupings: keep, store, sell, donate, or toss. Izsak says the litmus test he uses and shares with clients is to save an object only if it fits one of these three criteria: It’s useful, beautiful, or loved. Becker suggests homeowners snap photos of favorite items that are difficult to part with to give them a visual memory they can retain rather than keeping the item itself. Here’s specific help you can offer them for each pile:

  • Sell. Midcentury modern furniture and contemporary art both appeal widely to buyers of all ages, especially if they’re good quality and in decent condition. Create a list of estate sales specialists and consignment shops in your area that are known for fair dealing. However, be aware that many services that do the work of selling take a big cut, often half the sales price. If your clients are inclined to try to sell items themselves, suggest they try eBay for the best prices. However, if they’re not willing to go through the trouble of shipping sold items, encourage them to post goods on hyperlocal online sites, such as neighborhood Facebook groups or Craigslist.

  • Donate. Remember the adage, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” Suggest to older clients that they first ask their children to claim beloved items from their childhood. Becker says it’s important to set a time limit for those who are interested to pick up what they want. Donations is another area where you can be a hero by compiling a list of trustworthy sources in your neighborhood for your clients. Take note of what charities will accept and when, and even which ones will pick up donations, saving your clients time and hassle. Some charities have gotten choosier about what they accept. For instance, many won’t take mattresses, box springs, pillow cases, or sheets. Real estate salesperson Christopher Flores with Keller Williams Larchmont in Los Angeles suggests a local halfway house that helps troubled young adults stabilize their lives as a great destination for used goods. “That way they provide furniture and clothing they don’t need to those who may have nothing,” he says. Remind sellers that they may be able to secure a tax donation from the IRS if they contribute to a qualified tax-exempt organization. Because of recent changes in the tax code, it’s best for clients to keep detailed notes of what they donate and to consult their tax adviser for the exact percentages they will be able to write off.

  • Toss. While clients may be able to deposit a fair amount of stuff in their garbage cans for pick-up or take unwanted items directly to their local dump, they may save themselves some work by calling a local trash-hauling company or 1-800-GOT-JUNK, which operates nationwide. You can be a resource for clients by noting how much junk haulers charge and if there’s any products they won’t take. Homeowners can also consult HomeAdvisor’s list of trash-hauling service providers by ZIP code. Also, it’s important to be aware of laws governing trash. Some municipalities also allow homeowners to leave stuff by the curb with a sign “please take me,” while others levy fines for such activity. A more organized version of this idea comes in the form of local Freecycle chapters, part of a grassroots nonprofit where local people post stuff for free pickup in their own towns to help keep usable goods out of landfills.

  • Store off-site. It may be tempting to store certain household items off-site. Because the self-storage industry is growing, most neighborhoods or towns offer multiple choices. In fact, 84 percent of all U.S. counties have at least one self-storage facility, according to the Self-Storage Association. Suggest clients pick one that offers locked, insured, climate-controlled cubicles, which they can access whenever they want. Prices can vary widely. A storage facility in Staatsburg, N.Y. offers a 5-foot-square cubicle for $45 with a discount for college students. Michael McAlhany’s Units Moving and Portable Storage, headquartered in Charleston, S.C., charges an average of $140 a month for an 8-foot-by-16-foot unit in 14 states across the country. His company will bring a portable storage unit to a home or apartment, so owners can pack there rather than transport everything to the facility. However, remind clients that this isn’t a great long-term solution, as months can easily extend into years and even decades. “Often storage is a matter of postponing the inevitable. It’s better to get rid of whatever you don’t need,” Izsak says.

Monday Market Update - Can you believe this development!


This is coming very close to us here in Ocean Springs and will benefit everyone.

Margaritaville will bring an amusement and water park, new details show


Plans have grown to $200 million for an expansion of Margaritaville Resort Biloxi.

The project by Biloxi Lodging LLC will bring more hotel rooms, restaurants and meeting space to East Biloxi along with what South Mississippi residents have clamored for since Hurricane Katrina destroyed so many family attractions — an amusement park with a giant Ferris wheel, plus a water park.

development agreement will go to the Biloxi Council on Tuesday. The project includes:

▪ A hotel tower on the south side of U.S. 90 with about 360 hotel rooms, 60,000 square feet of convention space, restaurants and food venues

▪ A hotel tower on the north side with 160 rooms plus restaurants

▪ An amusement park with multiple rides and amenities next to the current Margaritaville Resort Biloxi with a parking deck underneath.

▪ A water park on the north side of the highway.

The memorandum of understanding the Biloxi Council will consider on Tuesday includes establishing a tax increment financing (TIF) district to help pay for infrastructure once the project is built and a Sales Tax Tourism Rebate through Mississippi Development Authority. Work is expected to begin next year.

A TIF district in that area of Point Cadet could provide for improvements beyond Margaritaville, and include improvements to the marina, public boardwalks, shuttle boats to Deer Island and a parking deck financed by the developer, the city or both.

The hotel and amusement park project at Margaritaville was held up for about two years until the developers and Secretary of State came to an agreement on Tidelands property that will be used for the development to the west of the current Margaritaville.

The developer previously estimated the new amusement park and hotels will bring more than 1 million new visitors a year to Biloxi and create about 700 new jobs.

Monday Market Update: Biloxi development

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Residents, business operators applaud potential development of East Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Tuesday, the Biloxi City Council could make the first step toward making East Biloxi a major tourism destination. And, so far, at least, residents and businesses are loving the idea.

For club manager Julie Dubaz, this new development idea won’t just help keep her stock filled, it could bring the Point Cadet area back to the way it should be.

“This is where everybody started with the shrimp factories, it’s where the casinos started,” she said. “My family had a factory before Camille. So, they really do need to bring some stuff down here to bring some more people and bring this back to life.”

Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich wants to give the Point an economic shove with a $150 million convention center complex aimed at creating new jobs and revenue. One of the potential sites is the Tullis Toledano Manor location.

Dubaz is not only the manager for Club Veaux on Oak Street, she’s also a life-long resident of the area.

“I’m Yugoslavian and Italian, so, this is pretty much where they call came over and started from,” she said. “This is where our heritage is. So, it’s better to bring it back.”

This week, the city council will consider a resolution that would launch a feasibility study with a development group called BBR Biloxi.

Tyron Adams said bring it on.

“I’m 100 percent for it,” he said. “I saw them talking about it last night, and I’m ready for them to go forward. The sooner, the better. ... My family has been around here for 100 years and everything’s getting better after Katrina and I’m glad to see things come back.”

John King has lived at the Point his whole life and wants to see the best for his community.

“Well, down on this end now, which there’s nothing left after Katrina, anything would be best,” he said. “The Point is very important. It’s the east end of Biloxi and we need to bring it back.”

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Market Update

For today's Market update we take a look at New Construction in the Ocean Springs area.  New construction continues to boom in the area, and watching the market shows us that it doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon.  

Over the last 90 days, 49 of the 235 closings that have occurred were New Construction homes That's 21% of recent sales.  A year ago over that same time frame there were also 235 total closings, of which 46 were classified as New Construction, so right at 20%.  The market is staying strong and continues to absorb all the new construction showing no signs of slowing down. Per MLS, their are an additional 39 pending residential home sales in Ocean Springs that are "New" or "Under Construction."  That's roughly 10% of the 376 active or pending homes currently on the market!   This continuing state of the market can provide opportunities for both Buyers and Sellers.  Buyers are given the opportunity to weigh the differences of buying new construction vs. existing.  There are benefits and drawbacks to both, but its always good to have options.   For Sellers, the amount of new construction pushes a steady increase that drives list and sales prices upward, but you must be ready to compete with what New Construction offers Buyers.  Whether you are buying or selling, talk to an agent that knows how to take advantage of the market!

Courtesy of Allen Stanfield 228-383-5661

Monday Market Update

Mississippi and Marijuana

Recently Mayor Dobson hosted a signature gathering event for Medical Marijuana Campaign 2020.  So, what’s this all about, and what could it mean for our area?  

If approved by Mississippi voters, it would allow physicians to certify the use of medical marijuana for patients who have debilitating medical conditions and then allow their patients to obtain medical marijuana in a legal and safe manner from licensed treatment centers that are regulated by the Mississippi Department of Health.  In order for this initiative to appear on the November 2020 ballot, 86,000 registered voters in Mississippi must sign the petition in favor of the initiative.  For info and how to sign a petition, go to:

In my research, I discovered an interesting article on by Art Carden, Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama about home values and retail marijuana sales.  In it, he wrote about how home values have increased 6%, or an average of $15,000, in Denver, CO since recreational marijuana sales became legalized.  Could that ever happen in Ocean Springs?  Tell us what you think.

To read the article, click on:

30 states and the District of Colombia have legalized marijuana in some form. For a list of states, and details, go to:

Did you hear? New Grocery store in Ocean Springs

Did you hear the news? A new grocery store is coming to Ocean Springs. This will be good for competition, variety and jobs. I went to an Aldi in Ireland. I loved it. Had good prices….if they could just bring Ireland’s chocolate with them!

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi -- Ocean Springs residents will soon have another option when doing their grocery shopping, as national grocery chain ALDI has announced its intention to build a store in the city -- the second in Mississippi.

"I am very excited about it," said Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson in confirming ALDI's pending arrival. "I've known about them coming  for a couple of months, but have been keeping quiet about it."

The new store will be constructed on currently vacant property east of Grace Baptist Church and across U.S. 90 from the Ocean Springs Civic Center. Although no set date has been announced, it is scheduled to open sometime next year, alderman Rob Blackman said Friday night.

"This is a product of our new retail coach," Dobson said. "They did some legwork, recruited (ALDI) and we're thankful they're choosing to locate in Ocean Springs. We're also thankful for our retail coach bringing them to the table."

Founded in 1961 in Germany, ALDI US is headquartered in Batavia, Ill., and has more than 1,600 stores in 35 states, employing over 25,000 people. The first U.S. store opened in Iowa in 1976.

Internationally, ALDI has stores in 18 other countries.

According to the ALDI website, the company intends to have nearly 2,000 locations opened by the end of 2018. Tupelo was the first Mississippi city to have an ALDI's open.

ALDI says it focuses on the most commonly-purchased grocery items, and by purchasing those items in bulk it allows for sizeable discounts passed on to customers. More than 90 percent of goods found in ALDI stores are the company's exclusive brand products.

Monday Market Update


Happy Monday - hope you all enjoyed @Crusinthecoast as much as we did, but today the cool cars have all gone and it is back to houses!!!

When to buy, when to sell??  People always ask us when the best time to buy and sell is, so we have the answer.  We looked at the last year's numbers in Ocean Springs.  

With the highest average sale price at $217k, 275 Active Listings, 96 homes Sold, and an average consecutive days on market of 79 days it appears that JULY is the winner when it comes to when to SELLING your home.

The slowest month for sales was January with an average sale price at $178k, 294 Active Listings, and only 44 homes Sold.  That said, the average days on market for January was actually the lowest at only 54, so things are still moving!

Noteworthy, the month with the lowest sale prices are February when the average sale price was only $175k!.

This proves to us that Spring is king when it comes to home sales, but the coast is growing and moving!!!! 

Courtesy of

Jennifer Jones


Monday Market Update

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For this weeks Monday Market update we reflect on the last 24 months by focusing on a point in time and comparing.  Taking a look at the month of August from 2016, 2017 and 2018 we get a good idea of how things are looking!

Using this data, we see that the Ocean Springs District continues to perform well with an increase in the sales price for August of 2018 being 27.5% higher than it was just 24 months ago.  If we look just twelve months back, 2018 shows an average sales price 12% higher than that of August 17'.  That shows us that will the increase was slightly stronger from 16' to 17' the gains are nearly equivalent from 17' to 18' showing a consistent and upward trend over the last few years.

It's not just the average sales price that's risen, the total volume of sales in the district has been buoyed by the increase in prices as well.  In August of 16' there was 10 million in total volume.  That number jumped up to 13 million in 17' and was over 16 million this year.    

All of this indicates that it will remain to be a good time to sell.  That coupled with the fact that a majority of experts believe that mortgage rates will go down in the short term (Rate Trends).  This belies the fact that the market historically slows down from September-November, and gives me confidence in predicting that a similar comparison of the upcoming months with their past counterparts would show an even greater growth pattern!  

For sellers and landlords, now is a great time to talk to a Realtor and get a true value of your property!

For buyers, get pre-approved, talk to a Realtor who can help you develop a plan of action.  Develop an offer strategy, and understand what makes a Buyer more attractive to Sellers. 

Give us a call at Rain Residential and allow us to help guide you of the ins and outs of Buying and Selling in today's market! 

Article courtesy of

Allen Stanfield


Rain Residentail

With home prices in Ocean Springs on the rise, now is the time to buy!  

In August of 2017, the median sales price of a home in Ocean Springs was $168,000, and last month the median sales price was $187,000.  So what are you waiting for?

Whether you are a first time buyer, or just need a refresher on what you should be doing now to get ready, these tips will help you secure funding for that dream home you have been wishing for.

How to Prepare to Finance a Home

Develop a budget.

Instead of telling yourself what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual habits over the last several months. This approach will better factor in unexpected expenses alongside more predictable costs such as utility bills and groceries. You’ll probably spot some ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.

Reduce debt.

Lenders generally look for a debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt—car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.

Increase your income.

Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.

Save for a down payment.

Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with 5 percent down or less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.

Keep your job.

While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.

Establish a good credit history.

Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off entire balances as promptly as possible.

Start saving.

Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs, which can average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

Obtain a copy of your credit report.

Make sure it is accurate and correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

Decide what kind of mortgage you can afford.

Generally, you want to look for homes valued between two and three times your gross income, but a financing professional can help determine the size of loan for which you’ll qualify. Find out what kind of mortgage (30-year or 15-year? Fixed or adjustable rate?) is best for you. Also, gather the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, such as W-2s, pay stub copies, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements. Don’t forget property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

Seek down payment help.

Check with your state and local government to find out whether you qualify for special mortgage or down payment assistance programs. If you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

Do you need recommendations on who to call for your mortgage lending questions?  Our licensed Realtors can help!

By Kati Viola, Rain Residential Realtor

Buying or Selling? Let our team of experts assist you!  Contact Rain Residential (228)875-4499