By CALLIE DANIELS BRYANT
Mississippi realtors have a cheerleader — Karen Glass, the president of the executive committee of Mississippi Realtors.
“Realtors need cheerleaders,” Glass said. “We are often taken for granted and only thought of when someone needs to buy or sell property. I want it known that we are great community champions and many of us serve in leadership roles at the city, state and national levels. Every economic development committee or business needs a realtor to sit on their board or committee. Our jobs are demanding yet most of us work way beyond normal workday hours volunteering for community organizations or helping at our schools or churches.”
“I personally think Realtors are unsung heroes,” Glass continued before remarking that maybe she is the cheerleader for them after all.
Their hard work may be showing because Glass reports a gradual increase overall with real estate sales in Mississippi.
Although these sales vary greatly among communities, Glass points out the smaller towns in are gaining attention.
“Olive Branch is a good example of a growing small town,” Glass said. “The population has grown from 3,567 in 1990 to 37,500 today, according to a recent Time analysis. The town has proven to be very attractive to families due to the good schools and family-friendly activities. Plus the projected job growth there is 11.67 percent according to this same survey.”
Both retirees and millennials are helping small towns grow all over Mississippi.
“Many retirees prefer the more laidback lifestyle of a small town and it appears some millennials are also choosing to live a quieter life away from the big cities,” Glass said. “Housing in college towns can be in great demand, and students don’t always have the funds to afford it. Smaller locations surrounding the college town can present attractive options where you might find something that is perfect size at a much better price, making the longer commute worthwhile.”
She mentions that several beach towns in Mississippi are recognized by SmartAsset in a list of the “Most Affordable Beach Towns in America,” with Gulfport ranking first. The other towns were Biloxi (third), Bay St. Louis (fifth) and Ocean Springs (sixth). The rankings were calculated on median home values, number of rooms, property taxes and monthly housing costs.
“So, Mississippi is definitely being noticed outside of our state and region for all that we have to offer,” Glass said.
With these trends and national attention, Glass is optimistic about the future of real estate while she and her organization work to support those who buy real estate, especially first-time purchasers.
Last year, her organization supported the passage of the First Time Homeowners Savings Account Act which helps first-time homeowners start a tax-free savings account to help with closing costs and down payment.
“We are only the fourth state to succeed in getting this law passed and it provides a great incentive to homebuyers in our land. The passage of this Act shows that Mississippi believes strongly that homeowners are essential to establishing and maintain solid cities and towns,” said Glass.
She maintains that nothing is better for Mississippi’s real estate than a healthy economy and job markets, which is why their Realtors work with legislators, public officials and economic development teams in promoting the state.
“(Our) Realtors are great advocates for our state and actively promote the move of new businesses and industries to our area,” Glass said. “Mississippi cities and towns offer great commercial and industrial building spaces, as well as a full variety of residential options. Our challenge is to make sure the public knows that…”
As the new leader of the executive committee, Glass is raising the bar on Mississippi Realtors this year to “elevate their knowledge and abilities, as well as to evaluate what we can do to better assist the public in making wise choices in meeting their commercial and residential property needs.”
Glass knows that education is paramount so this year she and the committee stripped down the Mississippi Realtors Institute to rebuild with new instructors and courses.
This school offers classes from pre-licensing to post-licensing as well as continuing education covering any topics affecting real estate practitioners. The institution has over 25 instructors who are experienced practioners who can provide guidance to real estate agents and brokers across Mississippi.
Glass says she will spend her year encouraging every realtor to take advantage of this higher education.
She will also encourage Realtors to find more involvement in communities, especially to better evaluate property values.
“It has often been said that if you want to know something about a place to live and work, you should ask a realtor,” Glass said, “and that is absolutely true. We spend our days driving through neighborhoods and walking acreage to help buyers find what they need. We know about school systems and churches and governmental office locations.”
True to her cheerleading pep, Glass added that she will also spend her year working to make sure the public knows that they can turn to realtors if they need any information about their communities.
For more information, visit msrealtors.com.
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