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How to Ensure Smooth Moves

by The Mike Parker Team


If you’re one of the many who have recently taken advantage of the first-time or move-up home buyer tax credit, there’s a happy move in your future. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the stresses of moving cast a cloud over the excitement my clients feel about heading to their new home, making for a nightmarish experience instead of a momentous occasion.

Thanks to my network of leading real estate professionals, the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, and my relationships with top moving experts, I can offer several tips to make moving a more streamlined, more palatable experience:

• Put your move details in writing.
Use a large notebook or binder to centralize all the important details of your move. It should contain detailed lists, including an inventory of boxes. Supplement this with a computer printout of box contents and e-mail it to yourself and a couple of other trusted sources as a back-up.

• Order boxes and moving supplies as far in advance as possible.
It’s never too early to start packing as we all have items that are not currently in use—think winter clothes, your baseball card collection, holiday decorations. Moving companies may allow you to return unused boxes, so order more than you think you'll need, by 20%. Invest in the right tape to keep boxes securely fastened, some new Sharpie pens, and labels to color-code your move.

• Document your AV details.
Take photos and notes on how your media equipment is set up: television, sound equipment, computer equipment, etc., in order to avoid an AV nightmare in your new home. Label all remotes and wires as well.

• Plan for your pets.
Moving can be particularly stressful for animals. Consider leaving them with a friend or at a reputable pet boarding service.

• Plan for valuables and critical documents.
Most homeowners insurance will not cover property in transit, so consider insuring certain items separately. Take photos for documentation to support loss or damage claims, and carry irreplaceable and legal items, like passports and birth certificates, with you.

• Choose a reputable moving company.
Good companies that can guide you through the process will have a proven track record. Ask your friends and your real estate agent for referrals.

• Keep your moving receipts for income tax deductions.
In many cases, moving expenses are deductible from federal income taxes. If you are moving because of a change in employment, you may be able to claim this deduction even if you do not itemize.

For more information on making your move as painless as possible, please
e-mail me—and please feel free to forward these tips to any family and friends with a move in their future.

FHA Lending Changes that Could Impace Real Estate Consumers

by The Mike Parker Team


Did you know that in 2009, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured nearly 30% of the single-family mortgage market and that more than 50% of all first-time home buyers used FHA programs?

In today’s challenging credit climate, many home buyers and homeowners are turning to FHA for insurance, to purchase loans, and for refinancing options to get out of risky ARMs or subprime loans. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have access to information from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) regarding recent and upcoming changes to FHA’s single-family program that could impact the use of these important programs for consumers in the future. According to Jerome Nagy, senior regulatory policy representative at NAR, in order to replenish its dwindling reserves, FHA has implemented or proposed the following changes:

1.  Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP)
FHA has increased the upfront MIP from 1.75% to 2.25% for borrowers while it awaits legislative authority to increase the annual premium. FHA stated it will decrease the upfront premium when they can increase the annual premium.

2.  Credit Score Changes
FHA has proposed that borrowers with a credit score below 580 be required to make at least a 10% down payment. The minimum down payment will remain at 3.5% for all other borrowers.

3.  Seller Concessions
FHA intends to propose a rule to decrease allowable seller concessions from 6% to 3%. NAR plans to argue against this decrease since closing costs differ greatly among states, and with fees on services (such as appraisals) increasing, seller concessions can be a vital part of closing the transaction.

4.  FHA Loan Limits
Current FHA loan limits are as high as $729,750 in high-cost areas, and are set to expire at the end of the year and revert to lower amounts, potentially putting a damper on a housing market rebound. A decrease of current limits would adversely affect 612 counties in 40 states and the District of Columbia, reports NAR, which is urging passage of legislation to make the loan limits permanent.

5.  Condominium Rules
FHA is delaying implementation of “Mortgagee Letter 2009-19” and making temporary enhancements to the policy instead, such as eliminating the owner-occupancy requirement for FHA condo mortgages and reducing the number of units sold prior to FHA’s endorsement of a unit from 50% to 30%.

Please feel free to
e-mail me for guidance on the above FHA programs and how changes might affect your particular situation. Also, please pass this article on to anyone you know who could be impacted by changes to FHA policy.

All Real Estate Headlines Are Not Local

by The Mike Parker Team

Fact: All Real Estate Headlines Are Not Local

None of us are immune to the constant stream of negative news about the real estate market. There’s no denying the fact that the market has suffered, along with our country’s economy, over the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, this has created a serious dilemma as many consumers unwittingly base their real estate decisions on national media reports. Those of us in the industry live by the term “all real estate is local,” and as a consumer, so should you—otherwise, you run the risk of making an irreversible real estate mistake.

The truth, which you won’t find in the national media, is that real estate markets not only vary from region to region but from county to county, neighborhood to neighborhood…even street to street. I know from my national network of leading real estate professionals, The Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, that there is tremendous variation in home sales prices from locality to locality, and that buyers and sellers are often heading into—or worse, avoiding all together—a real estate investment based on misinformation from national media reporting.

Therefore, if you are thinking about buying or selling a home, it’s essential that you talk to a seasoned real estate professional in the areas you’re considering. Keep the following tips in mind when considering a real estate sale or purchase:

1.  Consult with a local real estate professional—like a Member of Top 5—for the most up-to-date information on the local market.
2.  Ask for statistical reports and trend graphs—the hard facts. Real estate professionals have access to actual data that can be broken down into extremely finite components, such as a particular street or neighborhood.
3.  Ask for comparative reports for the last 3-4 months of the current year, versus the previous year. This will reveal the latest market trend and provide you with concrete facts.
4.  Media reports can vary widely based on state, city, and neighborhood – read, listen, learn, but always revert to the facts for the specific area in which you are looking, especially if you are relocating to a different state or region.
5.  Also take seasonal considerations into account. In vacation-destination areas, the numbers will vary greatly from national and state data.

For many real estate consumers, today’s market is an unbelievable opportunity to buy or move up to a different home. Don’t let the national headlines scare you away. Consult with a local real estate professional to get only the facts that matter to your specific situation and location. Please e-mail me for more information and pass this article along to others who might benefit from the real facts.

 

The Northern Kentucky Association of REALTORS® announces participation in the Nationwide

REALTOR® Open House Weekend being held April 10-11, 2010.

 

According to the Northern Kentucky Association of REALTORS®, the purpose of the nationwide campaign is to increase consumer

awareness about the benefits of buying a home, give sellers an opportunity to increase the exposure for their home for sale and

continue to spread the word about the extended and expanded homebuyer tax credit which ends April 30,

2010.

 

 

sored by both state and local REALTOR® associations around the nation as

 

 

This is an incredible opportunity for sellers to showcase their home and potential

o

 

Interest rates are still historically low

o

 

Home prices are stabilizing

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Inventory of homes is still high in some areas

 

The extended and expanded homebuyer tax credit is still available.  A contract has to be in place by April 30, 2010.  

 

Click Here for the homes The Mike Parker Team will be holding open this weekend.

 

 

 

 

Expand Outdoors, Increase Your Home's Value

by The Mike Parker Team

Expand Outdoors, Increase Your Home's Value

With many Americans experiencing a financial pinch these days, there is a growing trend among homeowners nationwide to look to the outdoor areas of their own property for not only relaxation and entertainment value, but to also expand their living space and thereby, increase their home’s value.

Through my national network of leading real estate professionals, the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have learned that homeowners across the country are spending more time at home and showing an increased interest in outdoor living areas. By sprucing up your patios, porches and decks, you are making your home more livable now and more attractive to future buyers.

Stylish patios and outdoor rooms with comfortable furnishings and convenient cooking and eating areas provide new opportunities for recreation and relaxing family times. A recent survey by the Propane Education & Research Council, found that 35% of homeowners have a finished outdoor room and 34% say they are planning to design one in the next year or two.

Some of my clients are even foregoing expensive vacations in favor of putting in a swimming pool. The reality is, however, that you do not need to make a major investment to improve your outdoor living areas. Here are five quick additions that will make an immediate difference:

1. Outdoor lighting units
2. Gas grills with cooking and food preparation surfaces
3. Outdoor fire pits or fireplaces
4. Patio heaters
5. Mosquito/bug eliminators


In any market, financial planners all agree, real estate is the best investment one can make. Increasing the value of that investment with features that extend and enhance the family living area is always a wise decision. For more information and ideas, feel free to e-mail me…and be sure to pass this on to family and friends who are ready to explore the “great outdoors.”

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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