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Refinancing Tips

by The Mike Parker Team

Mortgage interest rates are bouncing around and appear to be starting to creep up which may give homeowners one more opportunity to lock in the lowest rate.

 

Some people who refinanced their home last year are refinancing again because the rates have come down so much in the past six months. The basic decision making a criterion is whether you’ll continue to own the home long enough to recapture the cost of refinancing.

Why are you refinancing?

  • To lower your payments and save on interest
  • To shorten the term to pay the loan off sooner
  • To take additional cash out of equity to consolidate debts or provide spare cash

Things to consider:

  1. Points on a refinance are not deductible in the year paid and must be amortized. You may want to consider a loan without points or loan origination fee but a slightly higher interest rate which will be deductible. Your loan officer can price the mortgage this way.
  2. Consider a shorter term than the standard 30 year loan. The rates are usually lower and you’ll build equity faster not to mention pay off the loan sooner also. See table below.
  3. Consider a FHA loan even though you will have to pay Mortgage Insurance Premium. The loan is assumable with buyer’s qualification. Today’s lower rates may make it more valuable to a buyer in the future as an assumption.
  4. Just because a lender will loan you more than your current unpaid balance doesn’t mean the interest on the mortgage will be deductible. If you are concerned about interest deductibility, you should check with your tax advisor before you close on the refinance. You can also review IRS Publication 529 Home Mortgage Interest Deduction.

$100,000 Loan

Interest Rate

Payment (P&I)

Unpaid EOY7

30 year fixed rate

4.5%

$506.69

$87,026

15 year fixed rate

4%

$739.69

$60,684

Difference

.5%

$233.00

$26,342

Interested in knowing what you might expect to save and how long it would take to recapture the cost of refinancing, give me a call with your original mortgage amount, interest rate, term and unpaid balance. I can run a Refinancing Analysis while you’re on the phone or you can enter it directly in my Refinance Analysis app.

Free Personalized Calls From Santa

by The Mike Parker Team

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

There is nothing better for a kid than to recieve a call from Santa!!  Now, Cincinnati Bell offers a free personalized call from Santa to your child.  Click here to go directly to the link.  It's easy to do - just pick a date and time, your childs name and the message you want your child to hear and that's it!!!  Merry Christmas and thanks Cincinnati Bell!!!

 

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

by The Mike Parker Team

Today's real estate market presents many unique opportunities for first-time home buyers. From low interest rates to foreclosure properties and short sales, the current economic climate puts homeownership within reach for many who might have thought they couldn't afford it.

Many first-time home buyers may not be aware of the numerous aspects involved in the home-buying process, however. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am aware of the many pitfalls that can trip new buyers up along the way. Here are five important tips to keep in mind when embarking on homeownership.

  1. Study: Do your homework before you buy and be sure to review the closing numbers of comparable homes in the neighborhoods you are exploring. Use the Internet, including social media sites, to garner as much information as possible about homes that interest you and the communities in which they're located. Bring this information to your real estate agent who can interpret it and put it within proper context to your needs.
  2. Credit: With today's tight lending standards, it’s imperative to clean up your credit score before applying for a mortgage. A bad credit score may not just affect your rates, but may prevent you from getting a mortgage altogether.
  3. Get preapproved: Getting your mortgage preapproved gives you extra leverage with home sellers. Not only will you know what the purchase parameters are, but you may be able to negotiate a better purchase price because you can close with more certainty and more quickly. Work with your real estate agent to negotiate a mortgage contingency.
  4. Title: Make sure any new additions or construction to an existing home have been properly filed with the local municipality and have been approved.
  5. Inspection and appraisal: Getting a home inspection is imperative in order to weed out any hidden problems, such as mold or termites, before you sign the contracts. Problems found during the inspection can potentially be used as a bargaining chip with sellers. Likewise, an appraisal is a must to ensure the value of your purchase.

Working with a professional real estate agent is essential for all home buyers, but especially first-time home buyers. Make sure the agent you select is experienced, informed and a local expert on the areas you're considering. For more information, e-mail me, and please forward this to other first-time home buyers you may know.

FREE Santa Pictures

by The Mike Parker Team

Can you believe the holidays are right around the corner?  That means its time for our annual pictures with Santa.  Bring the family.  Our free pictures are November 21, 2010 from 1:00pm - 5:00pm at Boone Links Golf  Course Clubhouse in Florence, KY.  We hope to see you there!!!

 

6 Ways to Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape

by The Mike Parker Team

Understandably, the goal for any home seller is to sell their property quickly, while investing as little as possible in renovations. With a limited budget and a little effort, you can greatly increase your home's appeal by focusing on what prospective buyers can see on their first visit.

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I've learned a lot from my fellow members and have access to valuable home-selling information. Consider the following advice from staging expert Kate Hart:

Curb appeal: First impressions are everything and this has never been truer than in today's market. To leave a positive impression on buyers, take care of any exterior maintenance issues before buyers arrive, such as power washing walkways and patios, cleaning your gutters, touching up peeling paint, replacing broken light bulbs, edging and mulching beds, and adding fresh annuals. Some free things you can do include polishing your front door hardware and sweeping away pesky cobwebs.

Kitchen: Give your kitchen a mini facelift on a budget by repainting your cabinets instead of replacing them. For a more contemporary look, consider a semi-gloss espresso brown. For a more traditional look, opt for a semi-gloss creamy white. Complete the makeover by adding new hardware. Considering professional help? Ask your local painter if they can spray a lacquer finish on your cabinets. This treatment is more expensive than painting the cabinets yourself but the result looks like a factory finish.

Bathroom: Give an outdated bath a pick-me-up by replacing your existing lighting, faucets and hardware with updated styles.

Family room: Make your fireplace or great view the selling feature, not your entertainment center. Chances are, your family room is currently centered around the things you do everyday, such as watching television. Before showing, rearrange your room to showcase the architectural focal point of your family room.

Dining room: Keep the dining room decluttered and streamlined so buyers can imagine how they can enjoy this space with their families. Before showing, make sure to remove any knick-knacks and extraneous items from your china cabinet or sideboard. A rule to follow: pack up any items that are smaller than a softball, such as salt and pepper shakers, wedding cake toppers and small figurines.

Living room: Make sure you are selling your space, not your stuff. Give this space a less-cluttered look by keeping no more than three items per surface. For example, go with a piece of art and a pair of candlesticks on the mantle instead of your favorite collection.

A little bit of work and preparation can go a long way toward selling your home sooner. For more tips and advice, please feel free to e-mail me. And, if you know anyone else who could benefit from this advice, please share this with them as well.

Incredible Buy!!!

by The Mike Parker Team

You'll fall in love as soon as you see this gorgeous cape cod!!!  Take a look.  Priced to sell at $150,000, 212 S. Grand is loaded with amenities.  For your private tour of this fantastic home, contact us today.

 

How to Rent Your Vacation Property ... Fast

by The Mike Parker Team

If you have a second home or vacation property you're looking to sell, this market may prove to be exceptionally tough. That's why leasing your property, at least for now, is something you should seriously consider. With the winter months upon us, now is the perfect time to start marketing your property for the summer season.

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have access to a plethora of information related to this subject, so I am well-versed on how to help facilitate the rental of your vacation property.

These five tips, for example, are from vacation property experts HomeAway.com:

  • Study the competition. Look at listings for vacation rentals in your area to get an idea of what they offer and how much they charge.
  • Take lots of great photos of your property. Note: No people in the photos, please! Make it easy for your prospective renters to visualize themselves in the scene. And be sure to "dress the set" the way professional photographers do, with an arrangement of colorful flowers on the coffee table, or a dining table set up for a family dinner.
  • Talk to your real estate professional about listing your property on vacation rental/second home sites, and other marketing strategies that will garner the most exposure for your property.
  • Run your vacation rental like a business. Build a team of reliable cleaning and service people, collect and pay local and state sales tax, get set up to accept credit cards, maintain an online availability calendar, and always respond quickly to inquiries from prospective renters.
  • Remember: You're in the hospitality business. Think of yourself as a host and your prospective renters as guests. With this mindset, you're sure to be successful as a vacation-rental owner.

The above suggestions can help you get the jump-start you need to lease out your vacation rental and help start bringing in some additional revenue. Be sure to speak with a professional real estate agent where your vacation home is located for specific tips related to that area.

For more tips like this, please e-mail me and please feel free to forward this information to anyone you think might benefit from it.

7 Moving Mistakes that Can Cost You

by The Mike Parker Team

Keeping your household organized is a challenge in the best of circumstances, let alone when you're in the midst of dealing with the disruption of moving.

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I always take the extra steps necessary to help my clients experience a stress-free, successful move. Throughout my years in the real estate business, I've witnessed many common mistakes that people make during the course of a move.

Here are seven to avoid:

  1. Packing everything. Prior to moving, it's important to take a look around and decide what you don't want to keep. This will cut down on costs by not having to transfer unnecessary items.
  2. Sending it all to storage. Storage is usually expensive and just delays the inevitable. Eventually, what you store will need to be moved into your home, so try and bring it all the first time.
  3. Shopping on the Internet for move quotes without dealing with a live person. This is one instance where dealing with a live person is necessary. You need to be able to ask specific questions and have your estimate explained to you line by line so that you can see where costs can be cut.
  4. Not looking into what your homeowners' insurance covers. For a nominal cost, these types of insurance policies may cover your goods in transit.
  5. Not taking photographs of items before disassembling them for the move. You will be unable to process an insurance claim if you don't have proof of what the item looked like before you packed it.
  6. Overlooking the box count. If you are paying for boxes by the piece, keep track as things are being packed as each box has a different price attached to it. You don't want to end up with 300 boxes when you only needed 200. Also, if the moving company sees that you're keeping track, movers will be less inclined to hit you up for additional costs when the job is done.
  7. Forgetting to take inventory. If you don't create an inventory, there's no fool-proof way to know if you've left something behind or if it somehow got lost in transit.

Work closely with your real estate professional to help avoid these and other common pitfalls of moving. You can also e-mail me for more information. Please share these moving mistakes with friends and family, too, so that the journey to their new home is a happy one!

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

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Photo of Mike Parker - CRS Real Estate
Mike Parker - CRS
HUFF Realty
60 Cavalier Blvd.
Florence KY 41042
859-647-0700