As the new president of the 10-county Central Mississippi Realtors Association, Carol Stewart is pleased to help spread the word that the residential real estate market is looking up in Central Mississippi. Although not jumping ahead in leaps and bounds, the market is improving.
“We expect the numbers to be much better in May and the numbers are always up in the summer,” she said. “We had so many closings that they backed up even though some of that was due to re-financing. Overall, I’m optimistic.”
Stewart, who’s been a Realtor for nine years, points out that Jackson is up somewhat and the hot spots are Brandon “proper” and the reservoir area, Madison and north of Madison and Gluckstadt where she’s lived for 20 years. “If houses are pristine and ready to sell, they’re selling quickly in those areas,” she said. “We’re also seeing a great increase in new construction in those areas.”
Gluckstadt in Madison County was a rural area just a few years ago but is now one of the most rapidly growing areas in Central Mississippi. “People are asking for this school district along with Madison,” Stewart said. “I tell home buyers that it doesn’t matter if they have kids in school or not; you want to live in a good school district. The abundance of good health care is vitally important, too.”
Stewart, who is a Realtor/broker with Crye-Leike Realtors, was born and reared in Jackson. She lived in Dallas a few years where she worked for a national home builder. She also has experience working in the land and gas industry and as the manager of a law office that primarily did real estate transactions. “I think this varied background helps me in real estate,” she said, “because I’ve seen both sides of real estate closings. All of it is helping people transition into other phases of their lives.”
This experience led her into real estate sales, which she absolutely loves. Stewart felt she needed to learn the marketing piece of the industry. She took classes and continues to take continuing education and add new certifications to her resume. To date, she has six certifications.
“Education is something that’s so beneficial about being a member of the association,” she said, “and I always encourage it. The more you learn, the better you’ll be. I’ve set a goal to get a certification each year, and because of that I get so much out of the state and national associations.”
She notes that the association is a grassroots organization and is one of the largest political groups that’s active on behalf of homeowners. “Statistics show that using Realtors gets you more money and can save a lot of headaches and time,” she said.
A full-time Realtor, Stewart considers it a profession. “It’s not something I do part time because I just like to go look at pretty houses,” she said. “I’m helping people make one of the biggest investments of their lives. I like the entire process and especially the art of the negotiation. It feels good to do the job for our clients, and at the end it’s very heart warming to see them accomplish a goal.”
She feels it’s important to remain unemotional — even though she may get close to clients — and to always know the market numbers. “Numbers matter — the comps and appraisals. It doesn’t matter what you think your home is worth or what you think you should get out of it,” Stewart said. “Getting those points across to sellers is the hard part. Also, it’s hard to explain to home sellers that this is not HGTV, and they must fix up and de-clutter.”
Stewart has one son and one daughter and has one grandson who occupies a lot of her free time. She also enjoys playing tennis, reading and cooking.
She admits to a part of her personal history that people might be surprised to learn: at six years of age she won a hula hoop contest in Austin, Texas, at an event where Jim Morrison and The Doors were performing. She recalls hearing firsthand Morrison’s rendition of “Come on Baby, Light my Fire.”
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