Friday, April 24, 2015

Columbus, Mississippi Has Many Activities This Weekend

There are plenty of different activities in Columbus, Mississippi this weekend. Take a look below. See for yourself that the “quality of life” here on the weekend is as good or better than in communities of a comparable size. That’s important for newcomers. They want to fit in. Let’s briefly see what is going on this weekend.

Enjoy Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Twelfth Night” in the Mississippi University for Women’s Cromwell Communication Center on the corner of Sixth Avenue South and 10th Street South this weekend.  This play is normally associated with Christmas, but due to some productions problems, the play is this Friday and Saturday.  The performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Farmer’s Market at the Hitching Lot is open this Saturday morning on the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street North – just a few blocks west of the Lowndes County Courthouse. Anyone looking for the freshest in locally-grown farm produce needs to look no further. The words “locally grown” mean within a 50-mile radius of Columbus.  The market opens at 7:00 a.m. With Market Street Festival next weekend, the market will take the week off on May 2nd.

The Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society and the Animal Clinic of Columbus join together “4 Paws For A Cause.”  This is a one-mile walk or a 5K run. The event is at the Columbus Riverwalk on the extreme west end of Main Street in Columbus. People and dogs are eligible to compete. The 5K run begins at 9:00 a.m. and the 1-mile walk starts an hour later. Stick around afterwards for dog training demonstrations, a “barkery” sale, face painting and other fun activities. Proceeds benefit the CLHS.

More than four in ten teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug obtained it from their parents or grandparents medicine cabinet. Bring out dated prescription drugs to the Columbus Police Department headquarters just east of Main and 14th Streets on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until noon. This is a joint effort by the CPD and the Lowndes County Prevention Partnership. Keep old mediation out of the hands of teens and off the streets.

The ninth annual NAACP Community Health Fair is Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club on 14th Avenue in North Columbus. The Nurses Guild of Baptist Memorial Hospital will provide glucose, blood pressure, body-mass-index (BMI) screenings and more. Representatives from Global Pharmaceutical, Mississippi Home Care, Lions Club, Department of Human Services, Modern Woodman of America, State Farm and other vendors are also available. Obtain educational information about strokes, hospice and other health related activities. It’s even possible to earn CPR certification that afternoon.

Safe Haven is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence, especially women. It takes money to help people. This Saturday there is a giant yard-sale on the front lawn of the Salvation Army on Main and 22nd Street. Come by and support a great cause.

This is a very special Saturday. Residents from all over Columbus and Lowndes County gather for one common purpose and with one common goal. The young and the old are coming. It’s for the affluent and the underprivileged. People of every race, religion, sex and national origin are participating. Sick and healthy people join together.  What is this event?

It’s the annual celebration of life, thanksgiving, remembrance and fighting back. It’s the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life. There is a major change this year. The new location is the Soccer Complex behind the Farmer’s Market. Another change is the time. Rather than starting Friday night, this year’s event begins on Saturday afternoon and ends later that evening.

Cancer survivors have the privilege of walking the first lap at 1:00 p.m. Caregivers join the relay on the second lap. All others then join for the remainder of the relay, which extends for the rest of the afternoon. The relay symbolizes that the only way to defeat cancer is by perseverance

Since January many businesses, churches, clubs, schools and ordinary folks have raised money for the Relay. During the Relay, there are dozens of vendors on the soccer field who will donate all their event proceeds to the American Cancer Society. There are games, bands, church choirs and other wholesome activities for the young and young at heart. The fun ends about 8:00 p.m. for the Luminaria Ceremony.

The Luminaria is a solemn time. Small white bags with candles provide the only lighting. Each candle represents a specific cancer victim or cancer survivor. A team of people read each of those names on the public address system. Local pastors pray.

Stay for a very short time following the Luminaria. Participate in the victory lap.

Come join men and women, boys and girls in this event that celebrates life, remembers the fight of specific people and creates awareness of a terrible disease. That’s where I’ll be.

Does anyone have a housing need this weekend? Make a private preview appointment at least 24-hours in advance by contacting your REALTOR®.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com. He is also available for web video chat.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Evaluate Your House for a Home Office

When planning a home office remodel, consider the specific needs of your profession for space, light, storage, technology, and security.

If you’re looking for a remodeling project that will make your house more salable in the future, a home office may well be it. When the National Association of Home Builders asked builders, architects, manufacturers, and marketing experts to predict the features that will be important to buyers of upscale properties in 2015, 94% said a home office would be “critical” or “very critical.”

That said, while an office may make your home more attractive to potential buyers, it won’t add significantly to value. According to “Remodeling” magazine’s “Cost vs. Value Report,” converting a 12-foot-by-12-foot bedroom into an office costs a national average of $29,066 and recoups less than half of your investment. But if you’re among the more than 20% of Americans who do some or all of their job at home, a comfortable, functional work space is a must-have.

Where to put a home office – A spare bedroom is the most common place for an office, but it’s not the only adaptable space in the house. The formal living rooms and dining rooms in many older homes often don’t get a lot of use and make great offices, says Lisa Kanarek, founder of WorkingNaked.net, a service for people “stripped of the support” of the corporate office. “They’re spacious, have good light, and are easy to close off,” Kanarek says.

Architect Sarah Susanka, author of “Not So Big Remodeling,” converted her formal living room into an office for her therapist husband. It’s close to the front door and has easy access to the powder room, both important considerations if your business brings visitors into the home. Attics, basements, dens, sunrooms, garages, even laundry rooms are similarly convertible.

One important question is whether you’ll be taking the home office deduction on your taxes. If so, your work area can’t be used for any other purpose; the IRS bases the deduction on square footage used “exclusively and regularly” for business activities. Consult your accountant about whether the deduction makes sense for you.

What to spend on a home office – The home office conversion described in the “Cost vs. Value Report” costs $29,066, a figure that includes custom cabinetry, 20 linear feet of laminate desktop, wall-mounted storage, upgraded electrical and data wiring, and new woodwork, paint, and flooring.

Of course, you don’t have to spend that much. By using off-the-shelf products and materials and doing some of the work, such as painting, yourself, you can transform an existing room into a home office for a lot less money. At minimum, though, budget $3,000 to $5,000 for paint, flooring, lighting, office furniture, and equipment.

Consider the needs of your profession – When evaluating space, start by making a list of the needs of your profession. An architect, for example, might want natural light and ample counter space for rolling out blueprints, while a vendor needs easily accessed storage for shipping supplies. In general, every office requires a work surface, storage, place for a computer and other electronics, and adequate lighting. Consider also your needs for the following:

Power, phone, and data wiring – A bedroom may already have enough outlets and at least one phone or cable jack, but if you’re taking over a formal dining room, you’ll likely need new wiring. It’s a relatively easy job for an electrician to add outlets (typically $100 to $250 per receptacle, depending on whether you also need to run new circuits). Internet connections can often be handled wirelessly, but for maximum reliability and security, ask your phone or cable company about installing additional lines.

Privacy – Susanka says the biggest mistake her clients make is putting their office in the middle of their home’s hustle and bustle. “The environment for work needs to be off the main living area,” she says. That doesn’t mean you need to hide out in the basement, but you’re better off out of the major traffic zones, especially with children at home.

Security – If your work involves financial or other confidential records, think about how you’ll keep them secure. “I have client credit card numbers in my office,” says Paige Rien, designer for the HGTV show “Hidden Potential.” “I close the door and lock it.” (For more on keeping important documents safe, take our home office security checkup.)

When dedicated space isn’t an option – Not everyone has a spare room to devote to an office. In that case, you need to find creative ways to carve out space. Offices can often be tucked into little-used locations, such as under stairs, in dormers, and on second-floor landings. One of Kanarek’s clients set up in a walk-in closet. “She lined the walls with counters and put in mirrors to make the space feel bigger,” Kanarek says.

Closets offer a good compromise because you can close the doors on your job at the end of the day. Another option is a computer armoire; starting at around $500, you can get one with shelves for a computer and peripherals, a slide-out keyboard tray, organizers for files, even built-in cork boards. If that’s out of your budget, set off a corner of the living room or family room with a room divider, bookcases, or a folding screen.

Whatever you do, Kanarek advises, try working in the space for a few weeks before investing any money in remodeling. “I have clients who spend thousands of dollars on built-ins,” she says, “and then sit on their bed or at the kitchen table to work because they like the light there better.”
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Pat Curry wrote this article appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. Serial remodeler Pat Curry is a former senior editor at Builder, the official magazine of the National Association of Home Builders, and a frequent contributor to real estate and home-building publications.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tips About Buying A Fixer-Upper

There is a common trait for all home buyers. They want a deal. Some home buyers make a huge financial mistake because they believe they can “save” money buying a house in foreclosure or one that needs repairs. The mistake is that these very well-intentioned people fail to consider the entire scope of the remodeling project. Let’s look at wise and poor decision making.

Skill And Time – There are many people who love remodeling and repairing homes. Those that have the ability and know-how plus they own the tools have an edge over someone (like me) who can differentiate a hammer from a saw but have little practical experience on how they operate. If a person with little or no carpentry skills wants to buy a fixer-upper, it’s best to get bids from multiple reliable contactors on the cost to repair the house.

Just because a new homeowner has the skill that does not necessarily mean that same person has an equally important resource – time. Factor the time element into the equation.

Amateur Versus Professional – There are some repairs that require a licensed professional. These mainly have to do with major electrical or plumbing work.  Failing to have professional installation for major projects could result in property insurance cancellation. Check beforehand with the building permit department or an insurance agent.

Even if the repairs require no special licensing, make sure the final product has a professional appearance. It’s real easy to cut financial corners. Those decisions will haunt a homeowner years into the future when sticking a “for sale” sign in the front yard.

Scope of Work – Determine a realistic scope of work before buying a fixer-upper. The repairs may only be cosmetic. That is the best type of repair because the house itself is structurally sound. The larger the scope of work, the most cost and time involved.

Proceed with caution on houses that need more than just a minor cosmetic makeover. Updating flooring, wall covering, kitchens and bathrooms cost a lot more than just a fresh coat of paint. They also take a lot longer to complete.

Give serious consideration to any major structural changes. What is the impact of those structural changes to the floor plan and conformity in the neighborhood? Will the new floor plan have a smooth, seamless flow or will it create a choppy and unattractive floor plan? Will adding additional square footage to the house suddenly make it significantly different that neighboring houses?

Why would someone want to own (and eventually sell) a 2000 square foot home on a street with 1200-1400 square foot homes? The bigger house is out of place. Why would someone want to own a house with no garage (because that is now a bonus room) when all neighboring houses have a garage?

True Cost – Here is the main mistake buyers make when considering a fixer-upper with a low list price. Those buyers use a similar “skimp” mentality on repair costs. That’s a costly mistake. It is best to over-estimate both the scope and the cost of repairs. Let’s provide an example to illustrate the point.

Assume a fixer-upper sells for $60,000 in a neighborhood with $100,000 houses. Also assume the cost to renovate the house is $40,000. That keeps the $60,000 house plus the $40,000 renovation cost to the $100,000 neighborhood fair market range.  If the cost of the purchase price couples with the repair cost exceeds the fair market value in the neighborhood, then that is a mistake.

Repair projects have a funny way of exceeding estimates. That is mainly because when repairing one area, a hidden defects requiring repair suddenly appears. Give yourself a cushion. Here is a tip. Keep the purchase price plus the estimated repair cost to 20-25 percent below the neighborhood market value.

Funding – There is a mortgage option called a rehabilitation mortgage. This allows a home buyer to purchase a fixer-upper and then complete the renovation work. Upon completion of the work, the home owner rolls the purchase cost and repair cost into one mortgage payment.

Some mortgage lenders do not make rehabilitation mortgages. That is because they view this type of mortgage as “high risk.” Someone could buy a house and soon realize they really bought a bottomless money pit.

Other lenders see a business opportunity. Most REALTORS® know the services provided by local lenders. Even if a lender makes rehabilitation mortgages, there are still rules to follow. The rules concern credit scores, debt to income ratio, appraised value after rehab completion, work estimates or bids, the time limit to complete the work and the disbursement of funds during the rehabilitation project.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Home Ownership Limitations

Just because someone’s a house does not mean they can whatever they want inside the house or on the land.  Say what? Says who? Many homeowners forget some of the written rules that place certain limits on ownership. All the rules concern property usage. Let’s briefly discuss some of the limitations placed on owning some specific homes.

City Ordinances – Each municipality has certain ordinances that concern how a property owner may use their property. As an example, many towns place limits on the location of certain types of businesses. It is rare to find a liquor store next door to a church. Schools tend to build near residential areas rather than near retail stores. These ordinances protect the current landowner. Here is why this is important to prospective home owners.

Let’s assume someone buys a house inside the city with the intent to operate a small business. The existing neighbors have legal recourse if traffic, noise, or some other element adversely affects their property value. The city has legal recourse to deny a business license, if there is a zoning violation.

Restrictive Covenants – A restrictive covenant essentially works the same way as a city ordinance. There is one exception. The city ordinance affects all property and businesses within the city limits. The restrictive covenant affects only residential subdivisions located outside the city limits. Large subdivisions built in phases probably have a covenant for that specific subdivision phase. The intent of the covenants remains the same.  They offer current landowner’s protection from other owners.

The developer of the subdivision, in consultation with an attorney, writes the covenant. The covenant helps attract a certain type of buyer to the subdivision. As an example a subdivision may want only homes with a market value within a specific pricing range.

No restrictive covenant is identical to that of another subdivision. Many covenants place restrictions on the size and location of the house within the lot. As an example, the covenant may specify the minimum and maximum square footage. Why is that important?

Assume the covenant states a house can be between 1200-1800 square feet. The actual house size is 1500 square feet. The current owner wants to expand the existing house to add a new master suite and bonus room. The remodeled house would be 2500 square feet. That violates the covenant.

Before buying or remodeling a home, check the covenants. The best place to do that is on the original property deed. The covenant reference is always part of the original warranty deed.

Some subdivisions limit the number of cars in the driveway, signs in the yard or types of allowable fences. Many covenants restrict certain animals. Who wants to own a house in an upscale subdivision where the next door neighbor has chickens or goats roaming in the yard? They may also place reasonable limits on dogs or cats. Some covenants prohibit certain types of buildings, such as manufactured homes.

Read the covenants before buying a home or making a major improvement. Know the provisions of the covenants in the event a neighbor violates the rules, or refuses to comply with those provisions.

Mortgage Restrictions – Mortgages have restrictions. That is because the lender made the loan under the assumption that the borrower would use the property in a certain way. Sometimes life’s events cause big changes to an original plan. Let’s provide a very common example.

Assume a person buys a home for use as their primary residence. The lender suggested a residential mortgage. The borrower agreed that this particular mortgage would be best. Four or five years later the home owner moves elsewhere but wants to keep the house and rent it. Sound familiar?

Suddenly the house is no longer a primary residence. It is now a source of taxable income. In short, it’s a business. That change of usage could violate the terms of the mortgage.

Some mortgage packages permit this change. Others do not. Consult with a supervisor in the mortgage department of the lien holder. Ask for a written determination. It is better to understand and discuss mortgage limitations long before actually signing a legally binding lease agreement with a tenant.

Bottom Line – Even though a man’s home is his castle, that castle might have some strings attached. Those strings are always in black and white. It’s just that many times a property owner forgets about those strings.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and  Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Be A Real American - Own Your Home

One of the cultural differences between Americans and those living in other countries is the broad base for home ownership. Let’s discuss the importance of achieving the American Dream, because Home Ownership Does Matter.

Solitude – Most Americans live stressful lives. There is nothing wrong with that. Put a series of strings under the right amount of stress and beautiful music suddenly appears. People are no different. They need some stress in their lives. But there is a time when they need to change the nature of that stress. Owning a home offers numerous ways to change, channel and manage stress.

Some people find peace and solitude by doing yard work, working with wood or mechanical devices. There is a different type of stress in those things. Those are the things homeowners can do. Try using a skill saw or miter box in a small apartment or rental house. Why spend landscaping dollars on a yard that someone else legally owns? The homeowner has those options.

The homeowner can literally close the door to the worries of the world and spend quality time by putting himself in a totally different stressful situation. The end result is that when the homeowner reopens to door to the world, he is rested, relaxed and recharged for new challenges.

Safety – Almost every homebuyer asks the same question when previewing a house for potential purchase. Is this a safe neighborhood? There is a reason for wanting to know the answer to that question.

No one wants to open the door to their house in the morning only to find someone threw an egg on it. No one wants to their car on cinder blocks because during the night someone stole all four of the cars tires. Maybe that is a bit extreme.

Homebuyers want a place where their children can play in relative safety with the neighbor’s children. They want a home where the street traffic has plenty of time to react to an inerrant loose basketball, baseball or a child wandering on the street.  They want a yard for a pet.

There are two sure ways to determine the safety of a specific neighborhood. One is by talking to the neighbors. They live there. If there are problems, they can explain the severity. Another way is to make a visit to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction. Ask for details about any calls in the past 6 – 12 months. Find out the nature of those calls and see if there are any trends. 

Size – With one exception, most people in the market to buy a house have a common goal. They need more room. The only exception is older people who no longer have children living at home and want a smaller home to maintain. Other than that, homebuyers want and need more space to live. Why is that? Let’s look at society from yesterday to today.

Grandma and grandpa had a beautiful piece of furniture that contained a really modern invention. That piece of furniture contained a small television screen. Compare what they owned to today’s standards. Go into their kitchen. Look at the size of their stove or refrigerator, compared to popular styles today. Did you notice the growth? Walk into their bedroom. How in the world did two people sleep in that small bed? Even more important, how did grandma and grandpa, mom (or dad) and all the aunts and uncles live in that house with just one bathroom?

Is it any wonder why people need a larger house? The comforts of today’s living standard simply won’t fit into some smaller houses. It’s only natural to need a larger place to live. That is the benefit for living in America. Not only are the things that go into the house bigger but they are also more energy efficient thus reducing operating expenses.

Statement – Owning a home is one of life’s major milestones. It’s a statement to the world that the owner has a certain level of financial maturity. Homeownership is a statement of willingness to accept the risks. Homeownership is a statement of wisdom that they want to provide a home for their children to have happy memories. That’s why homeownership matters! That’s why America continues to be a great country!
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He is a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tournaments Come To Columbus, Mississippi This Weekend

Anyone wondering if Columbus, Mississippi is as dead as a door nail on the weekends is not paying attention. There are plenty of different activities on available. And there will be plenty of visitors in town.  This is another great “quality of life” weekend. Let’s briefly see what is going on this weekend.

Before we start previewing weekend events, let’s talk about a major news story that broke during the week. Policom is a Florida-based company that specializes in studying the dynamics of local economies. From its research, it determines if an area is growing or declining, what is causing this to happen, and offers ideas and solutions to communities to improve the situation. The highest ranked areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time.

Last year Policom ranked Columbus the 11th strongest micropolitian economy in the entire United States. This week, using the same basic criteria, Policom moved Columbus up to number 10 nationally. A micropolitan must have an urbanized area (city) with a population of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000. There are 536 micropolitan areas.

The cities ahead of Columbus are in North Dakota, West Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Alaska and Montana. Directly below Columbus are cities in Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Utah and the number two city in Mississippi – Oxford, which dropped three spots to 17.

The Policom report validates that outstanding job of those working at the Golden Triangle LINK, the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, the political leaders for creating a business-friendly environment, and local businesses for creating good paying jobs. Congratulations Columbus.

There are three tournaments happening this weekend, involving three different sports and at three different locations in Columbus. How many cities the size of Columbus have the hotel and restaurants to hold three events on the same weekend? How many have the caliber of facilities to host these events?

The US Tennis Association holds one of their sanctioned senior tournaments at the Magnolia Tennis Club next to Heritage Academy this weekend. At the Columbus Soccer Complex directly behind the Farmer’s Market on Second Avenue North is the Mississippi Soccer Association North District tournament. The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges hold their annual Golf championship tournament at Lions Hill Golf Course on Military Road.

The 75th Spring Pilgrimage of Historic Homes ends its 16-day run this weekend. For those that participated last weekend, they saw firsthand the huge influx of people downtown and some of the problems driving on the narrow streets in the historic district. That is a good problem to have.

The final performance of “Tales From The Crypt” is Friday. There is an extremely popular Pilgrimage event. It combines history, drama and a vivid imagination. Tales From The Crypt recreates the lives of noted people interred at Friendship Cemetery. Because these are not scary ghost stories but authentic recreations of real people taking place at their final resting place, all based on documentation, “Tales From The Crypt” won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and named a national finalist for the Save our History Classroom Award.

Students from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science began to research characters for this production at the beginning of the fall semester. They relied heavily on the research resources available in the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library

The final performance starts at 7:00 p.m. in Friendship Cemetery at the very end of 4th Street South. 


The homes on tour Friday morning include Rosedale, White Arches and the Stephen D. Lee Home and Museum. Friday afternoon get outside the historic district for the tours of Waverly Mansion and Bryn Bella. Ole Magnolia is also on this tour.

Visit Baskerville Manor, the Colonnade Garden and Snowdoun on Saturday morning. Rosewood Manor and Gardens, Whitehall and the Amzi Love House comprise the Saturday afternoon tour. The Pilgrimage ends Saturday evening with tours of Errolton, Temple Heights and Gardens plus Shadowlawn.

Many of the homes are on the National Register of Historic Places or have a Mississippi Landmark designation. Visit the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center on the corner of Main and Third Streets for tickets and more.  What more?

This year’s Spring Pilgrimage features a special book-signing event at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center on Saturday starting at 10:00 a.m. Meet local author Michael Smith, author of Rivers. Smith will conduct readings of his work. Take a few minutes to speak with him personally. Come early to enjoy some complimentary refreshments.

In the parking lot behind the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center enjoy one of two ways to see the Historic District. There are a number of horse-drawn carriages available for a memorable ride. Don’t care to listen to the hoof beats on the pavements. Take a ride on the double-decker bus. The bus goes to places that the horses don’t.

The Spring Pilgrimage is not the only show in town this weekend. A vibrant community like Columbus has multiple activities during the weekend.

The Farmer’s Market at the Hitching Lot is open every Saturday morning. It’s located on the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street North – just the blocks west of the Lowndes County Courthouse. Anyone looking for the freshest in locally-grown farm produce needs to look no further. The words “locally grown” mean within a 50-mile radius of Columbus.  The market opens at 7:00 a.m.

The Girls soccer team from Columbus Christian Academy (formerly known as Immanuel) has a 5K Ram Fun Run and fundraiser at Lake Lowndes State Park in New Hope. The race beings at 8:00 a.m. Registration starts an hour earlier. Organizers hope the proceeds from this event will pay for new uniforms and other soccer equipment.

The warmer weather surely indicates that summer is not far off. Summer means camping. This Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m. volunteers will help prepare the grounds at the YMCA’s Camp Henry Pratt on the west bank of the Tenn-Tom River, about 22 miles south of downtown Columbus.

It takes manpower to help clean and prepare the grounds at Camp Pratt for summer camps and Camp Rising Sun, a week long camp for children with cancer. Pool cleaning, clearing the grounds, debris cleanup and moving heavy equipment are on the “to-do” list! This service project will make a difference for many children this summer. Contact United Way of Lowndes County for information about the specific type of work necessary, tools and equipment to bring and directions to Camp Pratt.

Did anyone forget to return a book to the library on time? Turn those books in this weekend and forget the fine – well almost. The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library will forgive any book fine providing the borrower returns the book and brings two non-perishable food items to the Library. Those two items waive $5 in fines. There is no limit on the amount of waivers. So gather up those overdue books while helping those having a temporary food need. Also remember that library branches in Artesia, Caledonia and Crawford are participating.

Going back to New Hope, it’s the third Saturday of the month. That means there is a country-western dance jamboree at the Community Center on Stadium Road. The Echo’s begin performing at 7:00 p.m.

Does anyone have a housing need this weekend? Make a private preview appointment at least 24-hours in advance by contacting your REALTOR®.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com. He is also available for web video chat.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

7 Tips for Staging Your Home

Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.

The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.

1.  Start with a Clean Slate – Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

2.  Stow Away Your Clutter – It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of Staged Homes in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

3.  Scale Back on Your Furniture – When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

4.  Rethink Your Furniture Placement – Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

5.  Add Color to Brighten Your Rooms – Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

6.  Set the Scene – Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home — such as a chess game in progress — to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

7.  Make the Entrance Grand – Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

Related:
Spring Cleaning Guide
11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100
Fragrant Plants that Will Keep Your Home Smelling Good
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G. M. Filisko wrote this article appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. She is an attorney and award-winning writer who occasionally rearranges her furniture to find the best placement—and keep her dog on his toes. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.