For 15 plus years, Matt McGraw has built a reputation in the Oxford real estate community. The Kessinger realtor has a knowledge of the market here rivaled by few. HottyToddy.com spoke with Matt recently between his many closings.
HottyToddy.com: Matt, what year did you enter the real estate profession here in Oxford?
Matt McGraw: I started in 2003, which was my senior year at Ole Miss. So I got my license and began in the business before I graduated.
HottyToddy.com: If you had to estimate how many properties you’ve closed here, what are we talking about?
Matt McGraw: I’m really not sure. I appreciate the confidence and loyalty that so many clients have given me over the years.
HottyToddy.com: Is the Oxford market completely saturated or is there still room for growth? And if so, where is it headed?
Matt McGraw: There is definitely still room for growth and it looks to be headed in every direction. Walker & Walker contractors are about to start a new development off Highway 6 East called Old Oaks. Then you have Lifestyle Homes building Fieldstone Farms to the North of town. Construction is about to wrap up a 114-unit development on the West side of town, called West End. There are new developments going on both North and South Lamar.
HottyToddy.com: What advice would you give to an out-of-town investor who is seeking a good return over the next five to 10 years?
Matt McGraw: A lot of that depends on how much money they want to invest. If they can spend in the low $200s, then I would suggest buying something new. Students gravitate toward the new properties, and those will typically get the most rent and be the easiest to keep rented.
HottyToddy.com: Driving around Oxford recently, you have an exciting new development featuring townhomes on Ricky Britt Drive (West side of Oxford). Care to give us the particulars?
Matt McGraw: Yes, this is called West End and it has sold extremely fast. It is the only development in Oxford that has four bedrooms, each having their own bathroom for less than $200,000. With rents exceeding $1,900 month, investors have gobbled these up. Plus it makes for an affordable weekend getaway or a place for someone to buy for their student child. This product really fits all three molds. It’s conveniently located just off Highway 6 West, less than five minutes from campus. West End will have 114 total units, and we are down to our final phase of 15 units for summer of 2018. Check out the website at www.westendoxford.com.
HottyToddy.com: And then there’s Fieldstone Farms to the North and West?
Matt McGraw: This is another new development that we are extremely excited to be selling. Fieldstone is the only conservation development in Oxford, which means the developer, Brian Hill, isn’t taking down the beautiful trees. From the time you turn into the development, you will realize this subdivision has a different feel from anything else in Oxford. Fieldstone features three distinct sections: The Cottages, The Villages and The Preserve. Each section is geared toward a different buyer. The Cottages are all stand alone and come standard with unparalleled finishes. Some of the features include: cabinets to the ceiling, high-end appliance package, marble tops, wet bar with ice maker/wine cooler, exposed wood ceiling, free standing tub, frameless shower door and a huge screened porch looking into the woods. The Villages section are quad plex buildings featuring three bedrooms with three full baths and one-and-a-half bath. With a price of just $224,900, these appeal to weekenders, investors or people buying for their student child. Then we have The Preserve section, which is geared more for families, retirees and weekenders that need more space. Each Preseve home will have a two car garage and a nice size backyard. For more information on Fieldstone Farms please visit our website at www.fieldstoneoxford.com.
HottyToddy.com: The year you graduated from Ole Miss, did you ever forsee this level of growth in Lafayette County?
Matt McGraw: I graduated in 2003 and received my Real Estate sales license the semester before I graduated. I can’t say I expected Oxford to grow as fast as it has, but looking back it is easy to see why so many others love Oxford as much as I do. With everything Oxford has to offer, it really makes sense. People love it here and not just Southerners. We have people from everywhere moving to Oxford who have no previous connections to the area. We have been fortunate in that Oxford continues to get very positive reviews from the national press, and it is well deserved. It is very hard to find a resident of Oxford who doesn’t love living here.
HottyToddy.com: Do you see the growth now leveling off or “have we only just begun?”
Matt McGraw: The condo market might level off a little, but people have been predicting that for years and the development hasn’t slowed. As long as the University continues its impressive growth, the condo market will grow. Oxford itself continues to be highly rated as a top retirement community. Folks are coming here from all over the country, and they find that it is an easy place to fit into. I believe the town has its own momentum and will continue to grow at a rapid pace. Hopefully the infrastructure can stay ahead of the growth, but that is becoming a challenge.
HottyToddy.com: In years past, there appeared to be a direct correlation between the football success and the local real estate market. Is this still the case or have we gone beyond this now?
Matt McGraw: I believe football excitement affects the condo market more than the single family market, but it doesn’t affect it as much as it did during the Eli days. Our condo market boomed in 2003 when Eli was here, and it slowed dramatically when he graduated and our football team struggled. It definitely helps the condo market to have excitement around the football team, but its not as important as it was in the past. Obviously we have struggled in football for the last couple of years, but you wouldn’t know it by the amount of people buying second homes or condos for the kids – so I would say that we have gone beyond so much dependence on the success of the football team.
HottyToddy.com: Are the realtors concerned at all about the degree of infrastructure that may have its limiting restrictions on future growth?
Matt McGraw: Yes, I think everyone that keeps up with the growth sees this as a potential problem. I know the city is working very hard on this issue and has some new roads planned, so hopefully those plans will be underway very soon.
HottyToddy.com: Your success here is legendary. What do you attribute this to?
Matt McGraw: I have been very blessed in so many different ways. I’m fortunate to have two awesome parents that taught me so much about life and how people want to be treated. Selling real estate is like a lot of other jobs – you deal with people and you try to foresee problems before they happen – and that takes a lot of the potential stress out of the job. I certainly make mistakes and always try to learn from them. I love my job, and I think that plays a big part in success no matter the vocation. There are a lot of really good realtors in Oxford, which makes my job much easier – and keeps me hustling!
HottyToddy.com: How does someone with so much going on balance everything while keeping so many different buyers and sellers satisfied all at the same time?
Matt McGraw: Work gets hectic in the sales season. I enjoy being busy and feel like I’m more productive when things get crazy. Its definitely a challenge at times, but I have some really good people that work with me, and they try to keep me organized.
HottyToddy.com: What is the best advice you could provide to someone contemplating becoming a realtor here with almost 400 already in place?
Matt McGraw: Don’t expect immediate success. Real estate is a great profession, but its one built on referrals so it takes some time to get that pipe line going. Obviously you have to do a good job to get those referrals, so its important to work for a company that offers some start up training courses.
HottyToddy.com: Looking in the rear view mirror, what has now been established as being one of the best real estate investments?
Matt McGraw: I would say property around the Square. Who would have ever thought that prices would be in the $400s per square foot in Oxford?
HottyToddy.com: How has the national reputation of Ole Miss and Oxford complemented the growth in real estate?
Matt McGraw: No doubt about it. This is especially true with our of state students that might not have otherwise considered Ole Miss. We have a lot of great students from Texas and their parents play a major role in our condo market. It is said that Ole Miss sells itself, and that is really true. We get so many new people from word of mouth, and Oxford has attained a sterling reputation nationally as a great town to live in.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.
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