Image: Margaret Devours

Image: Margaret Deavours

When Margaret Deavours was thinking of changing her geography nearly a decade ago, thoughts centered on a fixer-upper in Bay St. Louis. Instead, she opted for a house on Galloway in Fondren. That was the spring of 2005.

“And we remember what happened in the summer of that year,” she notes, pointing back to Hurricane Katrina.

The Laurel native put down roots in Jackson where she has carved out a niche as a realtor who truly caters to her clients’ needs.

Her company, Two Rivers Realty, specializes in full service, traditional real estate but offers a newer, affordable approach, too, beneficial to both Deavours and her clients. “It’s an options model,” she explains, “that allows you to pay for services as you go. To me, it’s a win-win.”

Sometimes, clients jump all over it. “It’s appealing for people to have control,” Deavours says. “If someone decides not to sell or rent – or go with another agent – I’ve at least been paid for the services I have provided. If it sells, it’s like I’m taking a discounted commission. If they move on, I’ve still been paid. It’s about the options.”

Deavours has owned Two Rivers Realty since 2011 and the company has recently moved from a home office to a former family dwelling on State Street. “I knew it was the overlay district, so it didn’t matter to me,” she says. “It’s funny, these two blocks are multi-family,” she gestures outside her window, “and back down State Street, it’s becoming commercial.”

Her office, since March at 3819North State Street, has been a welcome separation to achieve a work-life balance. “It’s different working from home and having your only workspace at home,” she says. There’s no getting out because it’s always there.” Deavours says her hours are better at the office because she locks the doors and goes home, leaving work behind.

Has having a “storefront” helped? “Just having exposure is good,” she explains, though real estate relies less on brick and mortar, ironically, she says, than it once did. “We don’t do that much face to face with our peers anymore because of technology. We’re all scanning and emailing stuff, doing our jobs more effectively.” She does still make time to meet with clients at Cups and Sneaky Beans, or wherever it’s convenient.

With the housing inventory these days at a low point (meaning fewer homes are up for sale right now), Deavours says we are shifting to a seller’s market. “Our values have remained stable,” she notes. “Our inventory is down — which means confidence is moving in the right direction.”

Having great neighbors around her home and her office, Deavours feels at home in Fondren. “If I know I’ll be here all day, I walk and ride my bike, unless it’s raining,” she says. “I walk to restaurants, the package store, and grocery. I love it here.”

Deavours was kind enough to share with us three tips for home buyers:

1. Get pre-qualified with a local lender.
“I stress local, someone you can sit down in front of makes a difference.”
2. Get an agent that can represent your interest on the front end.
“I tell people who call me off of a sign, ‘I can help you with that house or any other.’ You owe it to yourself to get someone that has your interest in mind.”
3. Be aware that what you qualify for and what you are most comfortable spending are two different things.
“Listen to more than the number. That’s not factoring in anything but your debt. Unless you want a lot more of that, be realistic about what you can afford.”

Originally published September 2014