"Unbundled" Real Estate Services Now Available!


Bottom Line: We Save You Money!
Now "YOU" the consumer only pay for the Services you want!

"Limited", "Entry Only", or "Full" Brokerage Services Are Now Available

ALTERNATIVE VALUATION SERVICES AVAILABLE in the Oklahoma City Metro Area:

PROGRAM #1: Exterior Property Condition Reports (using your form or ours) . Drive-by-Exterior only w/5 color digital photos. Fee $85

PROGRAM #2: Written BPO's(Broker Price Opinion)(using your form or ours) w/3 Active/3 Sold Comparables. Exterior Drive-by BPO plus 5 color digital photos - Fee $100.
Interior BPO w/(3 Active & 3 Sold Comparables) plus 25(+-) color digital photos - $150.

LIMITED SERVICES AVAILABLE:

PROGRAM #3: Consulting Only: Up to 2 hours for In-Home Consulting fee regarding any Real Estate matter. No Obligation. Fee: $495. This program is for anyone who needs professional help with Real Estate! This service is FREE on Full Service Agreements!

PROGRAM #4: Write Offers Only: We supply all form and required disclosures, & provide estimates for Closing Costs. (This program is usually used by Buyers and/or Sellers who only need someone to write the offer). Cost can be split between buyer and seller! Fee only $495. This service is FREE on Full Service Agreements!
Property Selling Price: Any.

PROGRAM #5: Day Realty Sign and 24 hr Marketing Rider (you can record a 24hr recorded message), Listing on (www.okcbestbuys.com) Website & Lockbox Only. This service is FREE on Full Service Agreements! Flat Fee: $495.
Property Selling Price: Any. Buyers/Buyer Brokers contact Seller directly for everything.

Program #6: Entry ONLY in the MLS: Fee $495
Broker Services only. Buyers/Buyer Brokers contact Seller directly for everything. (This program is usually used by For Sale by Owners and/or Builders who only want exposure in the MLS and the Internet, who do not want representation, who are comfortable marketing their properties. negotiating offers, and are willing to cooperate with Buyer Brokers).

Payment for above services is easy and simple. Just fill out the form below, let me know what services you would like. Once the services are performed, you will get a payment request from Paypal via email. You can even use your credit card!

PROGRAM #7: Flat Fee Programs - Services Include: Initial Consulation, input into www.okcbestbuys.com website, install sign and 24 hr Marketing Rider (you can record a 24hr recorded message) , supply all form and required disclosures, & provide estimates for Closing Costs, & lockbox ONLY. (Transactional Brokerage Only)
Property Listing Price: $50,000 or less Fee: $1000
Property Listing Price: $50,001 - $100,000 Fee: $1,500
Property Listing Price: $100,001 - $150,000 Fee: $2,000
Property Listing Price: $150,001+. Fee: $3,000

FULL SERVICE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE:

PROGRAM #8: Full Service Agreement: All Services are negotiable and at no cost to Seller until Closing. Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan. This program is how over 80% of all Real Estate is sold! Buyers and Sellers depend on the professional expertise of Realtors to guide them through the transaction, to help avoid making costly mistakes!

Program #9: Full Service Agreement w/ 120 Day Offer Guarantee. I will bring you a written offer within 120 days of listing your property with me or I will sell it for FREE! This verbiage MUST be in writing in listing agreement to be applicable!! Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan. Call Ross or one of my associates for all the details!

Program #10: "FAMILY" Discount! Full Service Agreement w/ a GUARANTEED 15% DISCOUNT FOR PAST CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS!. Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan. Call Ross or one of my associates for all the details!

Program #11: Full Service Agreement w/ a GUARANTEED 10% DISCOUNT FOR SENIOR CITIZENS. Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan. Call Ross or one of my associates for all the details!

Program #12: Full Service Agreement w/ a GUARANTEED 10% DISCOUNT FOR VETERANS!. Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan. Call Ross or one of my associates for all the details!

Program #13: Full Service Agreement w/ a GUARANTEED 20% DISCOUNT FOR Corporate/Past Clients!. This program is for corporations who list and sell and least 5 properties/year with Day Realty! Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan. Call Ross or one of my associates for all the details!

Program #14: Full Service Agreement w/ a 30% Discount if you sign a Buyers Agreement along with your Listing Agreement ! . Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan. Call Ross or one of my associates for all the details!

Program #15: NEW DUAL MARKETING SYSTEMS WITH THE POWER OF XOME! . Full Service includes everything in our 30 Day Marketing Plan PLUS INCLUSION ON THE XOME WORLWIDE ONLINE AUCTION SYSTEM. Call Ross for all the details!

** OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU IS TO HELP YOU BUY OR SELL WITH HONESTY & INTEGRITY & TO TRY SAVE YOU MONEY WHENEVER POSSIBLE**

 

GUIDELINES:

All Fees, Discounts and/or Guarantees must be in writing on the listing agreement.

Limited Service Listings (as defined in the MLS)
Listing agreements under which the listing broker will not provide one, or more, of the following services:
(a) arrange appointments for cooperating brokers to show listed property to potential purchasers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to make such appointments directly with the seller(s);
(b) accept and present to the seller(s) offers to purchase procured by cooperating brokers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to present offers to purchase directly to the seller(s);
(c) advise the seller(s) as to the merits of offers to purchase;
(d) assist the seller(s) in developing, communicating, or presenting counteroffers; or
(e) participate on the seller(s) behalf in negotiations leading to the sale of the listing property
Will be identified with an "LS" in the MLS Compilation so potential cooperating brokers will be aware of the extent of the services the listing broker will provide to the seller(s), and any potential for seller(s) asking cooperating brokers to provide some or all of these services which cooperating brokers may or may not provide under the law, prior to initiating efforts to show or sell the property.

Entry-Only Listings (as defined in MLS)
Listing agreements under which the listing broker will not provide any of the following services:
(a) arrange appointments for cooperating brokers to show listed property to potential purchasers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to make such appointments directly with the seller(s);
(b) accept and present to the seller(s) offers to purchase procured by cooperating brokers but instead gives cooperating brokers authority to present offers to purchase directly to the seller(s);
(c) advise the seller(s) as to the merits of offers to purchase;
(d) assist the seller(s) in developing, communicating, or presenting counteroffers; or
(e) participate on the seller(s) behalf in negotiations leading to the sale of the listing property
Will be identified with an "EO" in the MLS Compilation so potential cooperating brokers will be aware of the extent of the services the listing broker will provide to the seller(s), and any potential for seller(s) asking cooperating brokers to provide some or all of these services, which cooperating brokers may or may not provide under the law, prior to initiating efforts to show or sell the property.

Short sales, pre-foreclosure sales, bankruptcy sales, estate sales, and probate sales are Full Service only.
Lockbox Rental is $100(if not included in agreement).
Sign Rental is $100 (if not included in agreement).
Sellers must give Day Realty, Inc all copies of Purchase Contracts, Disclosures, Counteroffers, Inspections and Closing Papers
as per OREC Rules.
All Fees/Commissions/Programs are negotiable, & are subject to change without notice.

Call us! We are here to answer any Real Estate questions you may have. For the associate on duty call 405-912-1000 and press 0, ask for Tamara, Michele or Diana or para espanol oprima el numero uno, para Diana! or fill out the short form on the top right of your screen!

ISSUE #1213
FEATURE REPORT

Can Your Kitchen Pass the Food Safety Test?
What comes to mind when you think of a clean kitchen? Shiny waxed floors? Gleaming stainless steel sinks? Spotless counters and neatly arranged cupboards?
They can help, but a truly "clean" kitchen--that is, one that ensures safe food--relies on more than just looks. It also depends on safe food practices.
In the home, food safety concerns revolve around three main functions: food storage, food handling, and cooking.




Also This Month...
The 9 Step System To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar
Buyers are far more discriminating now than in the past, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale never sell. It's more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.



 
 

Common Mistakes Made With Money and How to Avoid Them
Everybody makes mistakes with their money. The important thing is to keep them to a minimum. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is to learn from the mistakes of others. Here is our list of the top mistakes people make with their money, and what you can do to avoid these mistakes in the first place.



Quick Links
Can Your Kitchen Pass the Food Safety Test?
The 9 Step System To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar
Common Mistakes Made With Money and How to Avoid Them
 

 

Top>>

Can Your Kitchen Pass the Food Safety Test?

What comes to mind when you think of a clean kitchen? Shiny waxed floors? Gleaming stainless steel sinks? Spotless counters and neatly arranged cupboards?

They can help, but a truly "clean" kitchen--that is, one that ensures safe food--relies on more than just looks. It also depends on safe food practices.

In the home, food safety concerns revolve around three main functions: food storage, food handling, and cooking. To see how well you're doing in each, take this quiz, and then read on to learn how you can make the meals and snacks from your kitchen the safest possible.

Quiz

Choose the answer that best describes the practice in your household, whether or not you are the primary food handler.

1. The temperature of the refrigerator in my home is:
a. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 ° C)
b. 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 ° C)
c. I don't know; I've never measured it.
 

2. The last time we had leftover cooked stew or other food with meat, chicken or fish, the food was:
a. cooled to room temperature, then put in the refrigerator
b. put in the refrigerator immediately after the food was served
c. left at room temperature overnight or longer
 

3. The last time the kitchen sink drain, disposal and connecting pipe in my home were sanitized was:
a. last night
b. several weeks ago
c. can't remember
 

4. If a cutting board is used in my home to cut raw meat, poultry or fish and it is going to be used to chop another food, the board is:
a. reused as is
b. wiped with a damp cloth
c. washed with soap and hot water
d. washed with soap and hot water and then sanitized
 

5. The last time we had hamburgers in my home, I ate mine:
a. rare
b. medium
c. well-done
 

6. The last time there was cookie dough in my home, the dough was:
a. made with raw eggs, and I sampled some of it
b. store-bought, and I sampled some of it
c. not sampled until baked
 

7. I clean my kitchen counters and other surfaces that come in contact with food with:
a. water
b. hot water and soap
c. hot water and soap, then bleach solution
d. hot water and soap, then commercial sanitizing agent
 

8. When dishes are washed in my home, they are:
a. cleaned by an automatic dishwasher and then air-dried
b. left to soak in the sink for several hours and then washed with soap in the same water
c. washed right away with hot water and soap in the sink and then air-dried
d. washed right away with hot water and soap in the sink and immediately towel-dried
 

9. The last time I handled raw meat, poultry or fish, I cleaned my hands afterwards by:
a. wiping them on a towel
b. rinsing them under hot, cold or warm tap water
c. washing with soap and warm water
 

10. Meat, poultry and fish products are defrosted in my home by:
a. setting them on the counter
b. placing them in the refrigerator
c. microwaving
 

11. When I buy fresh seafood, I:
a. buy only fish that's refrigerated or well iced
b. take it home immediately and put it in the refrigerator
c. sometimes buy it straight out of a local fisher's creel
 

12. I realize people, including myself, should be especially careful about not eating raw seafood, if they have:
a. diabetes
b. HIV infection
c. cancer
d. liver disease
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Answers

1. Refrigerators should stay at 41 ° F (5 ° C) or less, so if you chose answer B, give yourself two points. If you didn't, you're not alone. Many people overlook the importance of maintaining an appropriate refrigerator temperature.

The refrigerator temperature in many households is above 50 degrees (10 ° C). Measure the temperature with a thermometer and, if needed, adjust the refrigerator's temperature control dial. A temperature of 41 ° F (5 ° C) or less is important because it slows the growth of most bacteria. The temperature won't kill the bacteria, but it will keep them from multiplying, and the fewer there are, the less likely you are to get sick from them. Freezing at zero ° F (minus 18 ° C) or less stops bacterial growth (although it won't kill all bacteria already present).

2. Answer B is the best practice; give yourself two points if you picked it.

Hot foods should be refrigerated as soon as possible within two hours after cooking. But don't keep the food if it's been standing out for more than two hours. Don't taste test it, either. Even a small amount of contaminated food can cause illness.

Date leftovers so they can be used within a safe time. Generally, they remain safe when refrigerated for three to five days. If in doubt, throw it out.

3. If answer A best describes your household's practice, give yourself two points. Give yourself one point if you chose B.

The kitchen sink drain, disposal and connecting pipe are often overlooked, but they should be sanitized periodically by pouring down the sink a solution of 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of chlorine bleach in 1 quart (about 1 liter) of water or a solution of commercial kitchen cleaning agent made according to product directions. Food particles get trapped in the drain and disposal and, along with the moistness, create an ideal environment for bacterial growth.

4. If answer D best describes your household's practice, give yourself two points.

If you picked A, you're violating an important food safety rule: Never allow raw meat, poultry and fish to come in contact with other foods. Answer B isn't good, either. Improper washing, such as with a damp cloth, will not remove bacteria. And washing only with soap and water may not do the job, either.

5. Give yourself two points if you picked answer C.

If you don't have a meat thermometer, there are other ways to determine whether seafood is done:

  • For fish, slip the point of a sharp knife into the flesh and pull aside. The edges should be opaque and the center slightly translucent with flakes beginning to separate. Let the fish stand three to four minutes to finish cooking.
  • For shrimp, lobster and scallops, check color. Shrimp and lobster and scallops, red and the flesh becomes pearly opaque. Scallops turn milky white or opaque and firm.
  • For clams, mussels and oysters, watch for the point at which their shells open. Boil three to five minutes longer. Throw out those that stay closed.
  • When using the microwave, rotate the dish several times to ensure even cooking. Follow recommended standing times. After the standing time is completed, check the seafood in several spots with a meat thermometer to be sure the product has reached the proper temperature.

6. If you answered A, you may be putting yourself at risk for infection with Salmonella enteritidis, a bacterium that can be in shell eggs. Cooking the egg or egg-containing food product to an internal temperature of at least 145 ° F (63 ° C) kills the bacteria. So answer C--eating the baked product--will earn you two points.

You'll get two points for answer B, also. Foods containing raw eggs, such as homemade ice cream, cake batter, mayonnaise, and eggnog, carry a Salmonella risk, but their commercial counterparts don't. Commercial products are made with pasteurized eggs; that is, eggs that have been heated sufficiently to kill bacteria, and also may contain an acidifying agent that kills the bacteria. Commercial preparations of cookie dough are not a food hazard.

If you want to sample homemade dough or batter or eat other foods with raw-egg-containing products, consider substituting pasteurized eggs for raw eggs. Pasteurized eggs are usually sold in the grocer's refrigerated dairy case.

Some other tips to ensure egg safety:

  • Buy only refrigerated eggs, and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to cook and serve them.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and white are firm, not runny, and scramble until there is no visible liquid egg.
  • Cook pasta dishes and stuffings that contain eggs thoroughly.

7. Answers C or D will earn you two points each; answer B, one point. According to FDA's Guzewich, bleach and commercial kitchen cleaning agents are the best sanitizers--provided they're diluted according to product directions. They're the most effective at getting rid of bacteria. Hot water and soap does a good job, too, but may not kill all strains of bacteria. Water may get rid of visible dirt, but not bacteria.

Also, be sure to keep dishcloths and sponges clean because, when wet, these materials harbor bacteria and may promote their growth.

8. Answers A and C are worth two points each. There are potential problems with B and D. When you let dishes sit in water for a long time, it "creates a soup," FDA's Buchanan said. "The food left on the dish contributes nutrients for bacteria, so the bacteria will multiply." When washing dishes by hand, he said, it's best to wash them all within two hours. Also, it's best to air-dry them so you don't handle them while they're wet.

9. The only correct practice is answer C. Give yourself two points if you picked it.

Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, especially raw meat, poultry and fish. If you have an infection or cut on your hands, wear rubber or plastic gloves. Wash gloved hands just as often as bare hands because the gloves can pick up bacteria. (However, when washing gloved hands, you don't need to take off your gloves and wash your bare hands, too.)

10. Give yourself two points if you picked B or C. Food safety experts recommend thawing foods in the refrigerator or the microwave oven or putting the package in a water-tight plastic bag submerged in cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes. Gradual defrosting overnight is best because it helps maintain quality.

When microwaving, follow package directions. Leave about 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) between the food and the inside surface of the microwave to allow heat to circulate. Smaller items will defrost more evenly than larger pieces of food. Foods defrosted in the microwave oven should be cooked immediately after thawing.

Do not thaw meat, poultry and fish products on the counter or in the sink without cold water; bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature.

Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Discard the marinade after use because it contains raw juices, which may harbor bacteria. If you want to use the marinade as a dip or sauce, reserve a portion before adding raw food.

11. A and B are correct. Give yourself two points for either.

When buying fresh seafood, buy only from reputable dealers who keep their products refrigerated or properly iced. Be wary, for example, of vendors selling fish out of their creel (canvas bag) or out of the back of their truck.

Once you buy the seafood, immediately put it on ice, in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Some other tips for choosing safe seafood:

  • Don't buy cooked seafood, such as shrimp, crabs or smoked fish, if displayed in the same case as raw fish. Cross-contamination can occur. Or, at least, make sure the raw fish is on a level lower than the cooked fish so that the raw fish juices don't flow onto the cooked items and contaminate them.
  • Don't buy frozen seafood if the packages are open, torn or crushed on the edges. Avoid packages that are above the frost line in the store's freezer. If the package cover is transparent, look for signs of frost or ice crystals. This could mean that the fish has either been stored for a long time or thawed and refrozen.
  • Recreational fishers who plan to eat their catch should follow local government advisories about fishing areas and eating fish from certain areas.
  • As with meat and poultry, if seafood will be used within two days after purchase, store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator, usually under the freezer compartment or in a special "meat keeper." Avoid packing it in tightly with other items; allow air to circulate freely around the package. Otherwise, wrap the food tightly in moisture-proof freezer paper or foil to protect it from air leaks and store in the freezer.
  • Discard shellfish, such as lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams and mussels, if they die during storage or if their shells crack or break. Live shellfish close up whe the shell is tapped.

12. If you are under treatment for any of these diseases, as well as several others, you should avoid raw seafood. Give yourself two points for knowing one or more of the risky conditions.

People with certain diseases and conditions need to be especially careful because their diseases or the medicine they take may put them at risk for serious illness or death from contaminated seafood.

These conditions include:

  • liver disease, either from excessive alcohol use, viral hepatitis, or other causes hemochromatosis, an iron disorder
  • diabetes
  • stomach problems, including previous stomach surgery and low stomach acid (for example, from antacid use)
  • cancer
  • immune disorders, including HIV infection
  • long-term steroid use, as for asthma and arthritis
  • Older adults also may be at increased risk because they more often have these conditions.

People with these diseases or conditions should never eat raw seafood -- only seafood that has been thoroughly cooked.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rating Your Home's Food Practices

24 points: Feel confident about the safety of foods served in your home.

12 to 23 points: Reexamine food safety practices in your home. Some key rules are being violated.

11 points or below: Take steps immediately to correct food handling, storage and cooking techniques used in your home. Current practices are putting you and other members of your household in danger of food-borne illness.

 

 

Top>>

The 9 Step System To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar

The Real Estate Market Has Changed . . .


"Buyers are far more discriminating, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale don't sell the first time. It's more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money."

Remember not so long ago, when you could make your fortune in real estate. It was nothing then to buy a home, wait a short while, and then sell it at a tidy profit.

And then do it all over again.

Well, as you probably know, times have changed. As good as the market is right now, home prices are still below what they were at their peak. Buyers are far more discriminating, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale never sell. It's more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.

The 7 Deadly Mistakes Most Homesellers Make

  1. Failing to analyze why they are selling.
  2. Not preparing their home for the buyer's eye.
  3. Pricing their homes incorrectly.
  4. Selling too hard during showings.
  5. Signing a long term listing agreement without a written performance guarantee.
  6. Making it difficult for buyers to get information on their home.
  7. Failing to obtain a pre-approved mortgage for ones next home.

The 9 Step System to Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar

Selling your home is one of the most important steps in your life. This 9 step system will give you the tools you need to maximize your profits, maintain control, and reduce the stress that comes with the homeselling process:

1. Know why you're selling, and keep it to yourself.

The reasons behind your decision to sell affect everything from setting a price to deciding how much time and money to invest in getting your home ready for sale. What's more important to you: the money you walk away with, or the length of time your property is on the market? Different goals will dictate different strategies.

However, don't reveal your motivation to anyone else or they may use it against you at the negotiating table. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed.

2. Do your homework before setting a price.

Settling on an offering price shouldn't be done lightly. Once you've set your price, you've told buyers the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home, but pricing too high is as dangerous as pricing too low. Remember that the average buyer is looking at 15-20 homes at the same time they are considering yours. This means that they have a basis of comparison, and if your home doesn't compare favorably with others in the price range you've set, you won't be taken seriously by prospects or agents. As a result, your home will sit on the market for a long time and, knowing this, new buyers on the market will think there must be something wrong with your home.

3. Do your homework.

(In fact, your agent should do this for you). Find out what homes in your own and similar neighborhoods have sold for in the past 6-12 months, and research what current homes are listed for. That's certainly how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.

4. Find a good real estate agent to represent your needs.

Nearly three-quarters of homeowners claim that they wouldn't use the same realtor who sold their last home. Dissatisfaction boils down to poor communication which results in not enough feedback, lower pricing and strained relations. Another FREE report entitled 10 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Agent” gives you the straight, to-the-point questions you should be asking when you interview agents who want to list your home. You can obtain a  FREE copy of this report from my website.

5. Maximize your home's sales potential.

Each year, corporate North America spends billions on product and packaging design. Appearance is critical, and it would be foolish to ignore this when selling your home.

You may not be able to change your home's location or floor plan, but you can do a lot to improve its appearance. The look and feel of your home generates a greater emotional response than any other factor. Clean like you've never cleaned before. Pick up, straighten, unclutter, scrub, scour and dust. Fix everything, no matter how insignificant it may appear. Present your home to get a "wow" response from prospective buyers.

Allow the buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. The decision to buy a home is based on emotion, not logic. Prospective buyers want to try on your home just like they would a new suit of clothes. If you follow them around pointing out improvements or if your decor is so different that it's difficult for a buyer to strip it away in his or her mind, you make it difficult for them to feel comfortable enough to imagine themselves an owner.

6. Make it easy for prospects to get information on your home.

You may be surprised to know that some marketing tools that most agents use to sell homes (eg. traditional open houses) are actually not very effective. In fact only 1% of homes are sold at an open house.

Furthermore, the prospects calling for information on your home probably value their time as much as you do. The last thing they want to be subjected to is either a game of telephone tag with an agent, or an unwanted sales pitch. Make sure the ads your agent places for your home are attached to a 24 hour prerecorded hotline with a specific ID# for your home which gives buyers access to detailed information about your property day or night 7 days a week without having to talk to anyone. It's been proven that 3 times as many buyers call for information on your home under this system. And remember, the more buyers you have competing for your home the better, because it sets up an auction-like atmosphere that puts you in the driver's seat.

7. Know your buyer.

In the negotiation process, your objective is to control the pace and set the duration. What is your buyer's motivation? Does s/he need to move quickly? Does s/he have enough money to pay you your asking price? Knowing this information gives you the upper hand in the negotiation because you know how far you can push to get what you want.

8. Make sure the contract is complete.

For your part as a seller, make sure you disclose everything. Smart sellers proactively go above and beyond the laws to disclose all known defects to their buyers in writing. If the buyer knows about a problem, s/he can't come back with a lawsuit later on.

Make sure all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale, and resist the temptation to diverge from the contract. For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling through.

9. Don't move out before you sell.

Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you thousands. If you move, you're also telling buyers that you have a new home and are probably highly motivated to sell fast. This, of course, will give them the advantage at the negotiating table.

For more information about any of our innovative homeowners programs, give us a call.

 

 

Top>>

Common Mistakes Made With Money and How to Avoid Them

Everybody makes mistakes with their money. The important thing is to keep them to a minimum. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is to learn from the mistakes of others. Here is our list of the top mistakes people make with their money, and what you can do to avoid these mistakes in the first place.

1.  Buying items you don't need...and paying extra for them in interest. Every time you have an urge to do a little "impulse buying" and you use your credit card but you don't pay in full by the due date, you could be paying interest on that purchase for months or years to come. Spending money for something you really don't need can be a big waste of your money. But you can make the matter worse, a lot worse, by putting the purchase on a credit card and paying monthly interest charges.

Research major purchases and comparison shop before you buy. Ask yourself if you really need the item. Even better, wait a day or two, or just a few hours, to think things over rather than making a quick and costly decision you may come to regret.

There are good reasons to pay for major purchases with a credit card, such as extra protections if you have problems with the items. But if you charge a purchase with a credit card instead of paying by cash, check or debit card (which automatically deducts the money from your bank account), be smart about how you repay. For example, take advantage of offers of "zero-percent interest" on credit card purchases for a certain number of months (but understand when and how interest charges could begin).

And, pay the entire balance on your credit card or as much as you can to avoid or minimize interest charges, which can add up significantly.

If you pay only the minimum amount due on your credit card, you may end up paying more in interest charges than what the item cost you to begin with. Example: If you pay only the minimum payment due on a $1,000 computer, let's say it's about $20 a month, your total cost at an Annual Percentage Rate of more than 18 percent can be close to $3,000, and it will take you nearly 19 years to pay it off.

2.  Getting too deeply in debt. Being able to borrow allows us to buy clothes or computers, take a vacation or purchase a home or a car. But taking on too much debt can be a problem, and each year millions of adults of all ages find themselves struggling to pay their loans, credit cards and other bills.

3.  Learn to be a good money manager. Also recognize the warning signs of a serious debt problem. These may include borrowing money to make payments on loans you already have, deliberately paying bills late, and putting off doctor visits or other important activities because you think you don't have enough money.

If you believe you're experiencing debt overload, take corrective measures. For example, try to pay off your highest interest rate loans (usually your credit cards) as soon as possible, even if you have higher balances on other loans. For new purchases, instead of using your credit card, try paying with cash, a check or a debit card.

There are also reliable credit counselors you can turn to for help at little or no cost. Unfortunately, you also need to be aware that there are scams masquerading as 'credit repair clinics' and other companies, such as 'debt consolidators', that may charge big fees for unfulfilled promises or services you can perform on your own.

4.  Paying bills late or otherwise tarnishing your reputation. Companies called credit bureaus prepare credit reports for use by lenders, employers, insurance companies, landlords and others who need to know someone's financial reliability, based largely on each person's track record paying bills and debts. Credit bureaus, lenders and other companies also produce "credit scores" that attempt to summarize and evaluate a person's credit record using a point system.

While one or two late payments on your loans or other regular commitments (such as rent or phone bills) over a long period may not seriously damage your credit record, making a habit of it will count against you. Over time you could be charged a higher interest rate on your credit card or a loan that you really want and need. You could be turned down for a job or an apartment. It could cost you extra when you apply for auto insurance. Your credit record will also be damaged by a bankruptcy filing or a court order to pay money as a result of a lawsuit.

So, pay your monthly bills on time. Also, periodically review your credit reports from to make sure their information accurately reflects the accounts you have.

5.  Having too many credit cards. Two to four cards (including any from department stores, oil companies and other retailers) is the right number for most adults. Why not more cards?

The more credit cards you carry, the more inclined you may be to use them for costly impulse buying. In addition, each card you own — even the ones you don't use — represents money that you could borrow up to the card's spending limit. If you apply for new credit you will be seen as someone who, in theory, could get much deeper in debt and you may only qualify for a smaller or costlier loan.

Also be aware that card companies aggressively market their products on college campuses, at concerts, ball games or other events often attended by young adults. Their offers may seem tempting and even harmless — perhaps a free T-shirt or Frisbee, or 10 percent off your first purchase if you just fill out an application for a new card — but you've got to consider the possible consequences we've just described. Don't sign up for a credit card just to get a great-looking T-shirt. You may be better off buying that shirt at the store for $14.95 and saving yourself the potential costs and troubles from that extra card.

6.  Not watching your expenses. It's very easy to overspend in some areas and take away from other priorities, including your long-term savings. Our suggestion is to try any system — ranging from a computer-based budget program to hand-written notes — that will help you keep track of your spending each month and enable you to set and stick to limits you consider appropriate. A budget doesn't have to be complicated, intimidating or painful — just something that works for you in getting a handle on your spending.

7.  Not saving for your future. We know it can be tough to scrape together enough money to pay for a place to live, a car and other expenses each month. But experts say it's also important for young people to save money for their long-term goals, too, including perhaps buying a home, owning a business or saving for your retirement (even though it may be 40 or 50 years away).

Start by "paying yourself first". That means even before you pay your bills each month you should put money into savings for your future. Often the simplest way is to arrange with your bank or employer to automatically transfer a certain amount each month to a savings account or to purchase a Savings Bond or an investment, such as a mutual fund that buys stocks and bonds.

Even if you start with just $25 or $50 a month you'll be significantly closer to your goal. The important thing is to start saving as early as you can — even saving for your retirement when that seems light-years away — so you can benefit from the effect of compound interest. Compound interest refers to when an investment earns interest, and later that combined amount earns more interest, and on and on until a much larger sum of money is the result after many years.

Banking institutions pay interest on savings accounts that they offer. However, bank deposits aren't the only way to make your money grow. Investments, which include stocks, bonds and mutual funds, can be attractive alternatives to bank deposits because they often provide a higher rate of return over long periods, but remember that there is the potential for a temporary or permanent loss in value.

8.  Paying too much in fees. Whenever possible, use your own financial institution's automated teller machines or the ATMs owned by financial institutions that don't charge fees to non-customers. You can pay $1 to $4 in fees if you get cash from an ATM that isn't owned by your financial institution or isn't part of an ATM "network" that your bank belongs to.

Try not to "bounce" checks — that is, writing checks for more money than you have in your account, which can trigger fees from your financial institution (about $15 to $30 for each check) and from merchants. The best precaution is to keep your checkbook up to date and closely monitor your balance, which is easier to do with online and telephone banking. Remember to record your debit card transactions from ATMs and merchants so that you will be sure to have enough money in your account when those withdrawals are processed by you bank.

Financial institutions also offer "overdraft protection" services that can help you avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of having a check returned to a merchant. But be careful before signing up because these programs come with their own costs. Whenever possible, use your own financial institution's automated teller machines or the ATMs owned by institutions that don't charge fees to non-customers.

Pay off your credit card balance each month, if possible, so you can avoid or minimize interest charges. Also send in your payment on time to avoid additional fees. If you don't expect to pay your credit card bill in full most months, consider using a card with a low interest rate and a generous "grace period" (the number of days before the card company starts charging you interest on new purchases).

9.  Not taking responsibility for your finances. Do a little comparison shopping to find accounts that match your needs at the right cost. Be sure to review your bills and bank statements as soon as possible after they arrive or monitor your accounts periodically online or by telephone. You want to make sure there are no errors, unauthorized charges or indications that a thief is using your identity to commit fraud.

Keep copies of any contracts or other documents that describe your bank accounts, so you can refer to them in a dispute. Also remember that the quickest way to fix a problem usually is to work directly with your bank or other service provider.

 

 

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