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Looking to buy or sell? Here are a few...

Looking to buy or sell? Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you navigate the real estate market

By: Phil Hardwick - September 15, 2023

Business columnist Phil Hardwick looks at real estate – buying, selling and more.

Thinking of buying or selling a personal or business property? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Question: What is the standard commission for real estate agents in Mississippi?

Answer: There is no standard commission. All real estate brokerage commissions are negotiable.

Q: Our small company is considering moving to a larger location in a nearby strip shopping center. The real estate agent said that we could choose a triple net lease and get a lower monthly rent. What is a triple net lease?

A: Commercial leases are often referred to as net, double net and triple net. In general, such leases are of the type where you the tenant is expected to pay part or all of the expenses.  A net lease is one in which the tenant pays a base rate, plus utilities and janitorial costs. A double net lease refers to the type of lease where the tenant pays a base rate, plus utilities, janitorial, and the tenant’s share of property insurance.  A triple net lease (also referred to as NNN) is one in which the tenant pays a base rate and ALL of the property expenses, including real estate taxes, insurance and maintenance. These terms are not necessarily uniform around the country. The lease itself must be examined to determine who pays what. The advantages of a triple net lease for the owner is that it relieves him of worrying about expenses; the advantage for the tenant is that the base rate is lower and that he can have more control over expenses.

Q: I’m thinking of selling my house myself and am interested in making sure my advertising will attract attention. I know I should place a “for sale” sign in the front yard, but any other marketing advice would be helpful.

A. Don’t sell the property – sell the benefits. A benefit is an advantage; it is something useful. One way to sell the benefits is to use wording in your advertising that encourages the buyer to visualize himself or herself already owning and occupying the property. Here’s an example of an advertisement: “For sale, 3-bedroom, 2-bath home near elementary school.” Now try this one on for size: Through the kitchen window you can see the kids walking home from school.” Also, think about your home’s greatest asset. Is it the cozy fireplace? The patio where you can smell burgers cooking on the grill? Finally, have a videographer make a professional video and put it on YouTube and the website that you provide showing the property.

Q: Which is the best month to sell a home?

A: The most recent statistics from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reveal that more existing home sales occurred in the month of July, followed by June and May. Note that these numbers represent closed transactions. That means that spring is probably the best time to list a home for sale. What was the worst month for sales? It was January. That probably has something to do with the weather, after-Christmas expenses and kids still in school.

By the way, according to NAR, in July 2023 the average sales price of existing single-family homes sold was 412,300, up 1.6% from previous year. The number of sales nationally in July was 3,650,000, down 16.3% from last year.

Q: What is the biggest mistake a home seller can make?

A: In my opinion, the biggest mistake a home seller can make is attempting to sell the property him/herself without have the knowledge and the skill to do so. Many homeowners seem to believe that all they need do is place a “for sale” sign in the yard and buy a copy of a real estate contract at the office supply store. They do not know how to research property values or how to negotiate. They do not understand liability for property condition issues, etc. They are also handicapped by lack of objectivity. It’s tough to negotiate the sale of your home when there are so many personal memories that go along with it. 

Q: What is the difference between a fixture and personal property?

A: A fixture is an item that was once personal property that has become attached to the building or land so as to become real estate. If it’s a fixture, it belongs to the buyer because the buyer bought the real estate. Personal property, on the other hand, is an item that can be moved and is not attached.  A trade fixture is a piece of equipment on or attached to the real estate which is used in a trade or business. Trade fixtures differ from other fixtures in that they may be removed from the real estate (making it personal property even if attached) at the end of the tenancy of the business, while ordinary fixtures attached to the real estate become part of the real estate.


About the Author(s)
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Phil Hardwick

Phil Hardwick is an award-winning business columnist and semi-retired economic developer. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at the Millsaps College Else School of Management for many years. He has taught over 1,000 students, written over 800 columns, written 11 books and assisted over 100 communities and organizations with strategic planning. In February 2016 he was inducted as a Lifetime Member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council.