Real Estate Information Archive


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Behind on your mortgage payments?????

by Mike Parker

This article was written in the Chigago Tribune regarding what to do if you are running behind on your mortgage payments.....

Options exist for homeowners behind on their mortgage payments—if they act quickly. Lisle attorney Steven Bashaw and Michigan real estate broker Ralph Roberts offer these:

·         A forbearance agreement may help borrowers with short-term financial problems, Roberts said. It’s a payment plan with a set pay-back period, and the bank will want proof you can live up to it. “If you owe $3,000 in back payments, for example, the bank may allow you to pay an extra $250 per month for 12 months,” he said.

·         Reinstatement entails paying all past-due payments, costs and fees to bring the account current. This may be a good short-term solution, Roberts said, but homeowners have to make hard decisions about whether they can keep paying the loan in the long haul.

·         Mortgage modification means working out a new loan, with many possible variations. The bank may agree to roll the amount owed in missed payments, penalties and interest into the total loan amount, for example, Roberts said. Or a modification might lower the interest rate or change the loan’s term.

·         Sell the house in a timely manner, pay off the loan and fees, and end the problem, Roberts and Bashaw said.

·         A short sale occurs when a lender agrees to take a loss by selling the house for less than the amount owed. “I don’t encounter those as much as you’d think,” Bashaw said. “They’re not the panacea that speculators and investors and real estate agents want you to think they are.”

·         Bankruptcy. “It can give you more time to restructure your debt,” Roberts said. “Bankruptcy takes you off the market, the collection proceedings can’t keep going. The clock just stops running.” But it’s extreme, and a lender might get court approval to proceed with the foreclosure anyway, Roberts said. Plus, it poisons your credit-worthiness.

·         Redemption. In Illinois, a foreclosed borrower has a certain amount of time after the house is sold at auction to redeem it by reimbursing the purchaser for the sale price and other costs.

·         Rescue plans can come from all manner of folks. They are too varied to describe here—except to say that homeowners must be wary of scams.

Bottom line: Don’t sign a quit-claim deed to someone who says this will “fix your problem,” Roberts says. It may be a ruse to steal the house. Check with a lawyer before you sign.

6 Things You Need to Know About Foreclosures

by Mike Parker

This was originally posted by Ralph Roberts but we thought it was such great information, we just had to share it. 

If you or someone you know is currently facing foreclosure, you have options, including:

1.    You are not alone. Foreclosure knows no geographic, racial, ethnic, or socio-economic boundaries. We have seen real estate agents, attorneys, and others face foreclosure. Michael Jackson recently filed for bankruptcy. Foreclosure is much more prevalent than you think.

2.    Most people facing foreclosure have at least a dozen options. (Many people falsely believe that they have only two options – pay up or move out.) You can reinstate the loan, refinance (consolidate debt), list the home for sale with an agent, sell to an investor (if you have insufficient time to list the property), offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure, declare bankruptcy, negotiate forbearance or a mortgage modification, to name several of the most common options.

3.    Banks and other lending institutions do not want to foreclose. They make more money if you can make your payments. When they foreclose, they not only lose your monthly payments, but they also have the expense of foreclosing, rehabbing the home, and then selling it. In today’s market, there’s a good chance they’ll have to sell the home at a loss. This is all good news for you – it means the bank is highly motivated to make a deal with you.

4.    Given the current mortgage crisis and resulting foreclosure epidemic, the federal government, your state government, and consumer protection advocacy groups have put more pressure on mortgage lenders and provided them with additional resources to help homeowners in distress. In a way, people facing foreclosure now may be in a much better position to avoid it than they would have been, say five years ago.

5.    If you own the home with your spouse or life partner, tell them immediately. Far too many people try to keep their partner in the dark. Eventually, the person will find out. It’s always better if they find out from you earlier rather than from someone else when they have little or no time to do anything about it. Couples that work as a team almost always see much better results.

6.    Call your lender – the sooner, the better. As soon as you stop making payments, the foreclosure clock starts ticking. The earlier you know your options, the more time you have to pursue those options.

Time for an Email Checkup

by Mike Parker

One of my mentors Pat Zaby wrote this article in his newsletter and I thought I'd share it. 


Email is definitely something that we can't do without and it is hard to imagine how the people who don't have it can even exist.  It has become a standard like regular mail except used much more often.

It's always good to reexamine our techniques and procedures to see if there is room for improvement.

Email Tips

  • Be polite; avoid slang and offensive language - not being able to see your face or hear your vocal intonations might lead a person to misinterpret your message.  We need to say what we mean and say it politely.
  • Spelling and grammar are important - in the US as most other countries, lack of proper spelling and grammar can indicate lower education which in business can translate to lack of professionalism.  Chances are that the program you're using has automatic checkers; you just have to verify that they are turned on and not ignore their recommendations.
  • Avoid all Caps - the message can be misinterpreted with emphasis to mean that you are shouting.  If you don’t want to give the impression that you are displeased, use upper and lower case letters.
  • Avoid unnecessary attachments - many times the attachment we send won't even be opened by the recipient.  Partly, because the recipient's email might block the attachment and sometimes, it isn't opened intentionally for fear that it might contain a virus.  If it is an important attachment, tell them you are going to send it in a following message and ask for confirmation after they have received it.
  • Avoid abbreviations & emoticons : ) - unless you are under 15 and your primary communication is texting, abbreviations may mean different things to different people which can obviously lead to poor communications.  If little symbols following a sentence are necessary to convey meaning, you may want to consider rewording the sentence.  XOXOX
  • Short sentences & paragraphs - email is supposed to be easy to read but long sentences and paragraphs make it difficult.  A simple rule is 10-15 words in a sentence and only two to three sentences to a paragraph.

Setting up Outlook

  • Multiple email addresses - if you have several different email addresses, you can direct them all to your Outlook program.  This will save time but more importantly, may save a transaction.  Most franchises and many companies will assign an email address to their agents and even if the agent has a preferred address with their own domain, they should receive email with these additional addresses in case someone should be using it.
  • Signature - (Tools, Options, Mail Format) an email signature contains the same information that your business card does like name, company, address, phone, email address, and website.  It should be attached on every email - originated, replied to, or forwarded.
  • HTML - (Tools, Options, Mail Format) email has different formats like text only, rich text, and HTML, Hypertext Markup Language.  The benefit of HTML is that website and email addresses automatically become hyperlinks which are convenient for users and they can insert pictures directly in the body of the message instead of sending it as an attachment which may never be opened.
  • Spelling - (Tools, Options, Spelling) verify that your spelling tools are turned on and they'll serve you well.  Even if you are using Word as your email editor and are used to the green squiggly lines indicating a misspelled word, the Spell checker will identify the questionable words prior to sending the message.
  • Preferences - (Tools, Options, Preferences)
    • Junk Email - the filters in Outlook 2007 are remarkably good and allow varying degrees from none to low or high. 
    • Calendar - I recommend that you remove the default reminder on all appointments; you can always add specific reminders to appointments when needed.
    • Calendar Options - you can identify your work days to show on your calendar but if you're like most agents, it will be seven days a week.  You can identify the first day of the week which might be Monday for you rather than the traditional Sunday; you can also specify the normal business hours of the day.
    • Contact options - Outlook 2007, check Contact linking on all forms to allow you to link one contact to another.  This was a standard feature in previous versions of Outlook.

Domain name

It seems like agents understand about the importance of obtaining your own domain name for a website but they don't understand that they can use it for their email too.

The overall objective is to have one email address that will never change for as long as you're in real estate.  That way, once a person has your email, they'll always have your email.

Regardless of whether the agent changes companies or Internet Service Providers, if they are using their domain name for their email, it will never change.  Promoting your name and business is hard enough without having to periodically promote your email address to make certain that potential clients can indeed get in touch with you.

Look at the example in the graphic that shows the agent's name as her website address but she isn't using it for her email.

If you are not comfortable making the changes that were discussed in this article, you need to find someone who can help you.  It might be an IT person in your office.  It might be a paid consultant.  It could even be just a young person who could figure it out for you.

You don't need to be able to set it up yourself as long as someone does it for you.  This is too important to leave undone.  Email can be your most valuable tool and can go a long way to helping you achieve customer satisfaction which can lead to referrals and a long career.

An Advertorial Presented by Frost Brown Todd LLC

Written by: Kyle R Grubbs

I'm interested in purchasing a parcel of Real Estate, but the property owner just filed for bankruptcy?  Can I still purchase the property?  Is there anything special I need to do?

Yes and Yes.  The Bankruptcy Code permits a debtor-in-possession to sell its real estate and other assets based on its reasonable business judgment.  As with other purchases of real estate, as a potential purchaser, you should conduct standard due diligence including title, survey, environmental, zoning, and building inspections prior to purchasing the property.  In fact, since there will be virtually no representations or warranties made by the seller, the purchaser's due diligence is even more important in the bankruptcy context.  In addition, because the property owner is in bankruptcy, additional precautions are warranted.

First, the sale of the real estate must be authorized by the bankruptcy court if the sale of the real estate is outside of the debtor's ordinary course of business.  In almost all cases, sales of real state will be outside of a debtor's ordinary course of business.  To ensure the debtor obtains prompt bankruptcy court approval of the sale, the purchase contract should require the debtor to immediately file a motion seeking the bankruptcy court's approval of the sale.

Second, the sale of the real estate should be free and clear of any interest or lien of the debtor's creditors.  Because the seller of the real estate is in bankruptcy, the property is likely encumbered by mortgages, mechanic's liens, judgment liens, and other encumbrances.  Unlike a typical real estate transaction, liens and other monetary encumbrances are not necessarily paid at closing.  To ensure your purchase is free from the claims of the debtor's creditors, the order authorizing the sale of real estate should provide, among other things, that the (a) sale is free and clear of all liens, claims, encumbrances, and interests and that any liens will attach to the sale proceeds only; (b) purchaser is a "good faith purchaser" under the Bankruptcy Code so that the validity of the sale is not affected by an appeal of the sale order; and (c) ten-day stay set forth in the Bankruptcy Code is waived and the sale order is effective immediately to avoid any post-closing challenges to the sale.  You should work closely with your title company to ensure that the sale order is sufficient in all respects for the title company to issue you a clean title policy at closing.

Pending Sales at All Time Low

by Mike Parker

Article Written by Ben Rooney - CNN staff writer:

NEW YORK ( -- An index of homes under contract for sale fell more than expected in February, reaching the lowest level since the index's 2001 debut, according to a report released Tuesday.

The National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index fell to 84.6 in February, down 1.9% from a revised reading of 86.2 in January and down 21.4% versus the same period last year.

Economists were expecting the index to decline to 85.2 for the month, according to a consensus estimate compiled by

"The slip in pending home sales implies we're not out of the woods yet," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a statement.

The Pending Home Sales Index is considered a more forward-looking indicator of home sales than the NAR's more closely watched existing home sales report, which tracks sales at the time of closing, typically a month or two after a sales contract is signed.

The Pending Home Sales index was launched in 2001, and a reading of 100 is equal to results that first year. Before the housing market began to deteriorate last summer, the steepest decline in the index's history came in September 2001, when the 9/11 terrorist attack sent the index down to 89.8.

The Realtors revised their forecast slightly for existing home sales, projecting first-quarter existing home sales to decline 23.1% versus the same period last year after saying in March they would decline 23.2%.

For the full year, the NAR predicted existing home sales to be 4.7% lower than in 2007, after saying in March they would be down 4.8%.

Existing home sales for March will be released April 22.

"February was another poor month for housing, with pending sales down in most of the country," said Mike Larson, a real estate analyst at Weiss Research.

Larson thinks tight lending standards and the absence of speculative buying are to blame for the weakness in the housing market.

The NAR also lowered its forecasts for first-quarter and full-year real GDP growth, the broadest measure of the nation's economic strength. It also cut its expectations for nonfarm job growth in the first-quarter and full-year periods.

Yun thinks that the economy will not grow in first half of the year, but he is optimistic about the second half.

"The combination of recent fiscal stimulus enactment and the lagged impact of monetary policy will help jump start the economy in the second half."  To top of page

Should you list with A Realtor or do FSBO?????

by Mike Parker

The folllowing article was written by a real estate agent named Doug Quance and we thought it was worth reading!!!

This following "top ten" list from a local "for sale by owner" website landed in my feed reader this morning. I would provide a link - but it’s not my intention to draw further attention to this particular site.  To each "point" that the author makes, I will provide a "counter-point" for your consideration.

1. You Can “Sell” Your Home Better Than Anyone Else: You know your home best and what is special about the area, as well as other details about the property. A well maintained, fairly priced home virtually sells itself.

You might know all the particulars about your home and area - but you may not know what NOT to say. You could be held legally liable for what you say to buyers!

While a well-maintained, fairly priced home virtually sells itself - you need to make sure your home can be found by the most buyers… and the most important place to get the widest possible audience is the Multiple Listing Service.


2. More Money in your pocket: Calculate 6% or 7% of what you think your property is worth, then ask yourself: is it worth paying this much to have someone else show my property? Chances are the answer is NO.

If Realtors did nothing but add 6-7% to the cost of selling a property while bringing no value to the transaction - there wouldn’t be very many Realtors.. and justifiably so.

In addition to the many services that Realtors bring to the table - they also deliver worldwide marketing exposure which results in the best prices for sellers.


3. You’re in control: You can advertise where and how you want to, schedule showings when it’s convenient, talk directly with prospective buyers, and even take your house off the market when you choose. Remember, listing a home usually requires a minimum of 6 months with a Realtor.

Realtors know where to advertise your property - and if you are serious about selling, you need to allow showings when it is convenient for the buyer… not you.

The reason why most competent Realtors require a six month listing has to do with the current real estate market absorption rate -  because we don’t want to give it away for free.


4. Less Hassle and Frustration: When selling by owner, you don’t have to leave the house because an agent wants to show it, or clean every morning “just in case”. You know exactly when people are coming and can prepare accordingly. When a buyer makes an offer, there is not all the frustrating back and forth phone tag between agents.

In a buyer’s market - like the one we’re in - a seller should be delighted to leave so an agent can show their home. Buyers are not easy to come by, and you only get one chance to make that first impression - so if you’re serious about selling, get that house in ship-shape and smile when an agent wants to show it.


5. Less Uncertainty:  Because you meet the prospective buyers, you have a much better idea how interested people are, what they like about the home, how serious they are about buying and what their time frame and situation is. The direct feedback is easier to live with than wondering how things are going, or worse why no one has made an offer yet.

You don’t get less uncertainty simply because you are dealing directly with the buyers! Do you think that a seasoned Realtor doesn’t know how to interpret a Buyer’s signals and ask the proper questions to determine how motivated the buyers are? Do you really believe the buyers are going to tell you why they don’t like your home - directly to your face?


6. You Can Sell Faster: If you list your home with a real estate agent, everyone knows you’ll probably inflate the asking price to cover the commission fee amount. Three to six months down the road you’ll come to the painful realization that no one is going to buy it at that price, and you will end up reducing your price ( or accepting an offer) equal to the original amount you would have asked if selling by owner. Do it right the first time, and avoid taking the loss. Pass the savings along to yourself and the buyer and sell your home quicker.

If you believe that you can inflate your asking price to cover the brokerage fee - you are mistaken. You would be equally mistaken if you believe you can inflate your asking price because you have kids in college or because you need a big down payment for your next home.

The reason why the vast majority of "for sale by owners" end up listing with a Realtor is because selling your own home is not easy… and most FSBO’s are a failure at doing it, themselves.


7. Show Only To Interested Buyers: You can be sure that buyers are truly interested in your property when they visit because they have personally made the effort to be there. They haven’t been dragged there by an agent using your property for comparison purposes only.

Spoken like someone who knows nothing about showing property. Agents will show your property in the interest of helping you sell it. But if they find that your home is overpriced, then yes - it will help sell another property. It’s called comparison shopping. Every educated consumer does it.


8. You have greater access to out–of-area buyers: Our internet site allows buyers anywhere in the world, easy access to your ad and phone number. Currently it is estimated that 1.3 Billion people have internet access.

My neighbor’s daughter has a MySpace page that anyone in the world can access… but few people can find it. If you want worldwide reach, a Realtor will have your listing on - as well as hundreds of other websites that pull their listings from the listing services.


9. It’s Easy: If you can sell your own car, you can sell your own home…it’s that simple. Once our marketing efforts locate a buyer—lenders, lawyers and title companies take over. Use our marketing resources as your best advertising resource.

Sorry - it’s not that simple. And if you believe that once a buyer is found, then the lenders; lawyers; and title companies will take over - you are sadly mistaken. Don’t get me wrong… I am not saying that you can’t sell your own home - many people do each year. If you decide to take this route, be sure you get educated in the process of selling your home. Just because someone says it’s easy - doesn’t make it so.


10. What is your alternative?  Listing with an agent? The “gravy train” days for agents asking 6% for listings should be dead. Understand that 9.5 out of every 10 listing agents don’t sell their own listings. So why would you even think about listing for a 6% commission. No Listing Commissions-EVER!

The reason why the so-called "gravy train" days of asking 6% aren’t over is because they never were "gravy train" days! Successfully listing and selling a property - especially in a buyer’s market - is not an easy affair.

And the reason why most agents don’t sell their own listings is the same reason why you should list with an agent. Agents are able to attract other agents who are assisting their buyer-clients in their quest for a new home - and this is done through the cooperation of the listing services.

Also, keep in mind that without an experienced agent to help guide you through the transaction - all sorts of bad things could happen. Sometimes, it’s just better to let the professionals handle your affairs!

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