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The Top 5 Pitfalls of Selling Your Own Home

by The Mike Parker Team

While it is certainly understandable why some people would like to avoid paying a real estate agent’s commission—especially in today’s economy—homeowners need to be aware of the serious pitfalls that can occur before they embark on the process of selling their own home.

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have had many clients enlist my services after losing valuable time and money attempting to sell their own home. What seems like a relatively easy undertaking at first, can become a time-consuming and overwhelming process. I’d like to share with you some of the most significant snags that often occur when selling one’s own home:

1.  Ineffective marketing.
Most homeowners simply lack the resources necessary to effectively market their own home. Working with a professional real estate agent, such as a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, usually means your home will be marketed to the widest group of potential buyers possible, both through digital and print advertising, virtual tours, and online listing portals.

2.  Mispricing your home. In order to sell your home quickly for the best possible price, pricing your home correctly is critical. This very nuanced process of choosing the right listing price, however, is always best left to a real estate professional. Most who sell their own homes price too high, resulting in their home sitting on the market for an extended period of time. And, unfortunately, the longer a home remains on the market, the less desirable it becomes for buyers.

3.  Missing documentation.
These days, a real estate transaction requires more documentation than ever before. It’s virtually impossible for the average homeowner to be aware of all the forms necessary to complete a real estate deal, and missing paperwork will bring any transaction to a grinding halt.

4.  Overlooking legalities.
The risk of overlooking important legalities, such as disclosure and compliance regulations that vary from state to state, is high for most homeowners. The average person is, understandably, not well versed in the many laws that govern the sale and purchase of a property.

5.  Dealing with unqualified buyers. If you accept an offer from an unqualified buyer, you can delay the sale of your home indefinitely. A professional real estate agent will take the necessary steps to work with a lender to ensure a buyer is qualified before accepting their offer.

In most cases, owners end up exhausting more dollars than they would have paid in commission when attempting to sell their own home. If you would like more information on selling your home, please e-mail me. I also encourage you to forward this blog to anyone you know who might be considering taking on the monumental task of selling their own home.

10 Tips to Rebuilding after a Bankruptcy

by The Mike Parker Team

As a rule of thumb, bankruptcy is the least desirable option available to you when your finances have gotten out of control. However, if your financial situation has been going downhill for an extended period of time, your credit standing is probably so bad that filing for bankruptcy really won’t do much to make it worse, with one exception: A bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 10 long years. With this in mind, creditors will know that once you file bankruptcy, you cannot do so again for seven years.

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am well versed in some of the ways you—or someone you know—can start to rebuild your financial life after bankruptcy. Here are 10 tips from consumer credit experts

1. Plan your credit recovery. Take it slow and easy, do it right and don’t exceed what you can afford.

2. Learn more about how credit works through the Internet, counseling services or a service. Do it right and know what you’re doing.

3.  If your credit report contains inaccuracies about debt that was discharged through your bankruptcy, contact the creditor or the credit bureaus to request a correction.

4. If you didn’t have enough savings to survive a setback, get serious about savings for an emergency fund. In the current economy you need at least 12-16 months.

5. If your problem was overspending, create a written budget and stick to it.

6. If your problem was related to medical bills, seek out a solution for insurance.

7. To re-establish a strong credit profile, you need a good history of payments from credit cards and installment debt such as autos, student loans or a home loan.

8. The rebuilding process requires you to use credit responsibly. Use only a small portion (30% or less) of your available credit line and ensure you make a payment every month.

9.  When you start to re-establish your credit, consider a “secure” credit card. Such cards are usually backed by your savings account or money you place in escrow to cover 100% of your credit line in case you don’t pay your payment.

10.You may be able to apply for a home loan in as little as two years after the discharge of your bankruptcy, however, expect to pay higher fees and interest rates.

When you are ready to rebuild, make sure you understand credit and how to use it responsibly. Feel free to e-mail me for further information and please forward this e-mail to family and friends to keep them in the know as well.

Top 5 Remodeling Headaches to Avoid

by The Mike Parker Team

Top 5 Remodeling Headaches to Avoid

Whether you’re adding a room to accommodate an expanding family or remodeling to increase value, home renovations can be one of the best investments you make, especially in today’s economy. The key to a successful remodel, however, is knowing what mistakes to avoid.

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have advised many clients on what renovations will offer the best return on their investment and pay dividends when the time comes to sell their home.

According to a Consumer Reports poll, the most popular remodeling projects for homeowners are kitchens (19%) and bathrooms (17%). In another survey, however, Consumer Reports asked 6,000 readers to reveal what went wrong when they remodeled their kitchens and baths and how much those mistakes added to the overall cost of their projects. Here's how to avoid their mistakes and save:

1.Don't rush in. Changing plans is the most common, but costliest remodeling gaffe. Be sure to leave time for research and create a comprehensive plan, listing every product.
2.Prepare for the unexpected. There's a lot going on behind the walls. Unexpected water damage was an issue with 17% of bathroom remodels, while structural problems caused headaches for 10% of kitchen projects. A good contractor will be able to anticipate such problems, allowing the homeowner to budget accordingly.
3.Don't chase the “low ball.” Contractors are lowering their profit margins due to the tight market, but they often make up their costs in labor or other areas. Readers who went for “low-ball” pricing ended up spending a median of $1,500 extra for labor on their kitchens and $1,000 extra on their bathrooms. Don't sign a contract with a lot of open-ended amounts for products and materials—these are called "allowances," in contractor speak.
4.Get the paperwork in order. Have the contractor attach copies of his or her up-to-date license, insurance and workers' compensation policies to the written contract. He or she should also get permits and provide a lien waiver when the job is done; this will keep suppliers from contacting the homeowner for unpaid bills.
5.Focus on the boring bits. Specifying lighting and placement of trash cans are not much fun, but are critical to the process. For example, the proper exhaust fan will prevent mildew in baths and vent odors in kitchens.

Following the above advice will help ensure a successful—and profitable—remodel. For more information or for contractor referrals, please e-mail me. And please forward this email on to anyone you know in the midst of remodeling—don’t let them make these same mistakes!

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