Oct 022022
 

Can Easy To Use Software Also Be Secure
—————————-
Anyone who has been working with computers for a long time will have noticed that mainstream operating systems and applications have become easier to use over the years (supposedly). Tasks that use to be complex procedures and required experienced professional to do can now be done at the push of a button. For instance, setting up an Active Directory domain in Windows 2000 or higher can now be done by a wizard leading even the most novice technical person to believe they can “securely” setup the operating environment. This is actually quite far from the truth. Half the time this procedure fails because DNS does not configure properly or security permissions are relaxed because the end user cannot perform a specific function.

If It’s Easy To Develop, Is It Also Secure
————————————————–
One of the reasons why operating systems and applications “appear” to be easier to work with then they use to is developers have created procedures and reusable objects to take care of all the complex tasks for you. For instance, back in the old days when I started as a developer using assembly language and c/c++, I had to write pretty much all the code myself. Now everything is visually driven, with millions of lines of code already written for you. All you have to do is create the framework for your application and the development environment and compiler adds all the other complex stuff for you. Who wrote this other code? How can you be sure it is secure. Basically, you have no idea and there is no easy way to answer this question.

Secure Environments Don’t Exist Well With Complexity
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The reality is it may look easier on the surface but the complexity of the backend software can be incredible. And guess what, secure environments do not coexist well with complexity. This is one of the reasons there are so many opportunities for hackers, viruses, and malware to attack your computers. How many bugs are in the Microsoft Operating System? I can almost guarantee that no one really knows for sure, not even Microsoft developers. However, I can tell you that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of bugs, holes, and security weaknesses in mainstream systems and applications just waiting to be uncovered and maliciously exploited.

How Reliable and Secure are Complex Systems?
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Let’s draw a comparison between the world of software and security with that of the space program. Scientists at NASA have know for years that the space shuttle is one of the most complex systems in the world. With miles of wiring, incredible mechanical functions, millions of lines of operating system and application code, and failsafe systems to protect failsafe systems, and even more failsafe systems to protect other systems. Systems like the space shuttle need to perform consistently, cost effectively, and have high Mean-Time-Between-Failure(MTBF).

All in all the space shuttle has a good record. One thing it is not though is cost effective and consistent. Every time there is a launch different issues crop up that cause delays. In a few circumstances, even the most basic components of this complex system, like “O” rings, have sadly resulted in a fatal outcome. Why are things like this missed? Are they just not on the radar screen because all the other complexities of the system demand so much attention? There are million different variables I’m sure. The fact is, NASA scientists know they need to work on developing less complex systems to achieve their objectives.

This same principal of reducing complexity to increase security, performance, and decrease failures really does apply to the world of computers and networking. Ever time I here associates of mine talk about incredibly complex systems they design for clients and how hard they were to implement I cringe. How in the world are people suppose to cost effectively and reliably manage such things. In some cases it’s almost impossible. Just ask any organization how many versions or different brands of intrusion detection systems they have been through. As them how many times the have had infections by virus and malware because of poorly developed software or applications. Or, if they have ever had a breach in security because the developer of a specific system was driven by ease of use and inadvertently put in place a piece of helpful code that was also helpful to a hacker.

Can I Write A Document Without A Potential Security Problem Please
———————————————–
Just a few days ago I was thinking about something as simple as Microsoft Word. I use MS-Word all the time, every day in fact. Do you know how powerful this application really is? Microsoft Word can do all kinds of complex tasks like math, algorithms, graphing, trend analysis, crazy font and graphic effects, link to external data including databases, and execute web based functions.

Do you know what I use it for, to write documents. nothing crazy or complex, at least most of the time. Wouldn’t it be interesting that when you first installed or configured Microsoft Word, there was an option for installing only a bare bones version of the core product. I mean, really stripped down so there was not much to it. You can do this to a degree, but all the shared application components are still there. Almost every computer I have compromised during security assessments has had MS-Word installed on it. I can’t tell you how many times I have used this applications ability to do all kinds of complex tasks to compromise the system and other systems further. We’ll leave the details of this for another article though.

Conclusion
———-
Here’s the bottom line. The more complex systems get, typically in the name of ease of use for end users, the more opportunity for failure, compromise, and infection increases. There are ways of making things easy to use, perform well, and provide a wide variety of function and still decrease complexity and maintain security. It just takes a little longer to develop and more thought of security. You might think that a large part of the blame for complex insecure software should fall on the shoulders of the developers. But the reality is it is us, the end users and consumers that are partially to blame. We want software that is bigger, faster, can do just about everything, and we want it fast. We don’t have time to wait for it to be developed in a secure manner, do we?

You may reprint or publish this article free of charge as long as the bylines are included.

Original URL (The Web version of the article)
————
http://www.defendingthenet.com/NewsLetters/WhyEasyToUseSoftwareIsPuttingYouAtRisk.htm

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Oct 012022
 

“Back to the Past”

“Manuscripts don’t burn,” the ancients used to say. But one guy named Gerostratus managed to reduce the Alexandrian Library to ashes. He got his own way, but priceless manuscripts were lost.
Modern Gerostratuses, also known as hackers and noble burglars, are ready to be hide from the audience. But a marriage contract, a rental contract, and a report for your boss may all vanish from your computer into thin air in a moment – just a tiny virus is more than enough. Methods for protecting information have been discussed 1000 times, but no panacea has been found. Anyway, relief exists – you just need to look for it in another place.

“Just My Luck”

Of course you may buy some cd-rw and flash drives with up to 1 Gb volume, and every day, or, better yet, hourly, copy your data to removable drives. Spacious shelving and a friendly catalogue search engine would be great too. And the main thing – don’t forget your CD-case to grab all that stuff for work or on vacation. I know one guy who has opened two e-mail accounts and every day sends data from one to another on purpose to keep files on a mail-server. Unfortunately for him, his huge Power Point files didn’t want to attach to his messages. We could keep on torturing you, mentioning “hacker-like” nightmares, and you will keep on copying data to removable drives forever. But the new file-hosting services have changed everything.

“Forward To The Future”

Nowadays, file-hosting is one of the most reliable ways of hosting and sharing data. Super protected servers cut off all the endless attempts by hackers to penetrate the system, and keep all data primitive. As a whole the list of services at those sites are the same. Upload, Host and Share. But you will really be surprised by most of them because of the commercials and strong requirements they have in order to register. You can breathe freely just doing what you want to on friendly www.oxyshare.com. First of all, there is an Oxyshare directory, where you can share and store everything you want. You can find here Video Storage, which doesn’t let your home videos take over your hard drive, Photo Album, where you can upload and share your photos with anyone on Earth, Music Library, in which your favorite songs are always within reach, Movies Collection, and even Organizer, which gives you access to files anytime and from anywhere. In brief, OxyShare gives you 24/7 access to your data wherever you go.
And all these things can be done without any registration, and absolutely totally for free. But “for free” is not exactly the right expression. You can even earn money for your living with Oxyshare. Its Partnership Program allows you to upload interesting video (your grandma’s anniversary is not the best idea) or useful soft, and get money for every download from your link. It’s a piece of cake. But that’s not the only good thing. If your upload gets in the TOP 100, you’ll get a bonus. But we won’t tell you the amount of this bonus aloud. Otherwise… Well, you know that not only Joe Black’s visit is inevitable.

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Sep 302022
 

There are thousands of articles, books and forum posts which showed that content is king in search engine optimization (SEO). In this article, you can find some ways that can help you improve this king content for your web site.

* Content for people first, not for search engines – Some webmasters make a common mistake that they optimize everything for search engines but forget about web visitors. The goal of our website is not only to get high search rankings, but also to sell our service. So you should give your website visitors what they are really looking for. Make sure your content flows naturally and you’re not just trying to stuff more keywords in the interest of search engines. If users don’t find your content convincing they won’t buy from you.

* Studying popular search terms – High search engine ranking is meaningless if your website only ranks high on terms nobody searches for. You need to ask your colleagues, vendors, competitors, clients, … or use online tools (e.g.: wordtracker.com) to identify what keywords which potential customers would use to search your web site, then try to use them often, in titles, and throughout the body.

* Building article directory – How can you optimize the content if your web site only offers a simple service? It means there are just several pages in your whole website. So, to increase the content in quality you should write some articles, reviews which are related to your service. A site with more web pages means there are more chances of different terms that will become findable in search engines. You may consider adding free articles to your article directory. On the Internet today, one can find a lot of websites which provide articles free for republishing. Of course you must accept the policy of these web sites and authors before using these articles.

* Making a clear website organization – Build a site which is simple to navigate with a well linking structure. Every page should be accessible from at least one text link. It’s better to be sparing with image links, Flash, JavaScript drop-down menus, or other codes that are not HTML based… because the search engine crawlers cannot recognize text contained in these kinds of display. In case using them is required, then make sure a text based menu or a sitemap is also included in the Web site. Last but not least, you should use meaningful words in your URLs, use as simple a web page layout and design as possible.

In conclusion, it is undeniable that content is king in the kingdom of search engines. The quality of your content is the main factor which decides the success in Internet marketing. So improving your content is very necessary.

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Sep 292022
 

Indoors

Lighten up. Put away any dark throws, rugs etc. Use white or cream accessories wherever you can and free your rooms of as much clutter as possible. Natural or white wicker baskets can store essentials neatly.

Gather together all your floral china and indoors or out set the prettiest afternoon tea table ever. The pieces don’t have to match, it’s almost better if they don’t! Float some flower heads in a glass bowl of water or
some slices of lemon and lime and add a floating candle or two if you have them. Just add cucumber sandwiches, fruit cake and of course plenty of hot aromatic tea.

Make a cheesecake. Get wonderful recipes here
http://www.pastrywiz.com/archive/category/cheesecake.htm

White or pale cream lace looks lovely with Summer flowers. Drape cloths on indoor or outdoor tables for a touch of vintage luxury.

The most amazing table decoration for a Summer party is an ice bowl. Get instructions on how to make one at the links below.
http://www.diynet.com/diy/le_party_food_decorations/article/0,2041,DIY_14026_2277634,00.html
or http://www.recipelink.com/ch/2000/may/girlfriendsforever1.html
These always look amazing and gets lots of compliments.

Give an inexpensive bunch of flowers designer style by displaying them in a group of vases or glasses of varying heights. Experiment, you’ll love the results.

An inexpensive way to add drama to a plain wall is to stretch and staple a bold piece of fabric over a wooden frame. It’s easy to change too should you get tired of it.

Start a kitchenalia collection. Yard sales, flea markets and boot sales are good hunting grounds for retro and vintage kitchen equipment, but an often overlooked fact is that older members of your family may still have lots of this stuff tucked away in cupboards and would be glad to let you have it.

A table runner makes a pretty alternative or addition to a cloth. As this is basically a rectangle of fabric hemmed on all four sides, it is easy to make several to suit the mood you want. Runners are very economical on fabric too. Make napkins out of any leftover fabric.

Paint tired pine, garage sale or hand me down furniture white or cream to bring it bang up to date.

Makeover your linen cupboard. Line the shelves with pretty wallpaper or gift wrapping paper so that it is a pleasure to open. Tie sets of bedding together with pretty ribbons and use lavender sachets to make
everything smell wonderful and repel moths.

Your home can be whatever you want it to be. Whether your fantasy is a sophisticated urban pad, a whitewashed beach house or a country cottage – think of it as that, decorate as that – why not?

Just as you fill your home with the spicy scents of cinnammon and pine at Christmas time, bring perfumed roses, sweet peas and fragrant herbs in to your Summer home.

Make lots of ice and serve long cool drinks from a pretty jug on a hot afternoon.

Change heavy curtains for florals or sheers to instantly brighten any room. Tie them back to maximise the light coming in.

Change any dusty candle arrangements for new pastel ones. Old fashioned glass cake plates with pedestals are good bases for candles as they keep the heat off polished table tops. Wind beaded wire around the candles for added sparkle.

Make up your bed with crisp white sheets and pillowcases and place a pretty flower arrangement on your bedside table.

Cover some cardboard boxes with fabric for pretty storage for any room. Full instructions here http://www.allthatwomenwant.co.uk/coveredboxes.htm or find pretty boxes meant for gift wrapping in card and gift stores.


Outdoors

Light your garden for lazy evening gatherings. Use lanterns, flares or solar push in lights if you don’t want to run electricity. Citronella candles help keep bugs away.

Style your garden the way you would your home. Add decorative jars, stones, cones, shells, windchimes, cushions etc. to your outdoor space, however small. Even one chair and a pot of flowering plants straight from the garden store will lift your spirit when glimpsed through the window and entice you outside.

Make a still life of garden tools, flowers in a trug, straw hats, watering cans, gardening gloves and such in a boring corner of your yard or porch.

Make a pretty chair planter. This is a charming addition to a country garden. Full instructions here http://www.allthatwomenwant.com/chairplanter.htm

Seaside striped pillows or table cloths, shells, buckets and spades, a fat trashy novel and a deckchair or two equals instant seaside vibe.

If traffic or other urban noise is a problem when trying to relax outside, play some gentle music or tapes of birdsong, waves crashing on a beach or other sounds of nature.

If you have a timber garden shed consider having a major declutter, sorting out essential storage and using it as a Summer house. Pale lavender, pale blue grey or the palest pink paint would help the transformation and look wonderful. A comfy chair, a pile of books you’ve always wanted to read…………escape there whenever
you can.

Copyright 2004
Colleen Moulding

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Sep 282022
 

Ask six rune experts ‘ Where did the runes originate from ?’ and you will probably get 6 different answers. There are different versions of runes for each culture and era they seemed to come from. One person told me they came from the vikings, another said they originated from the druids, yet another said they came from aliens, each person was serious and thought they had the correct origins of the runes, how can everyone have a different answer about them ? The answer appears to be ‘ time ‘, over the years folks have made up so many tales about the runes that nobody knows the true origin of them. The very name ‘ rune ‘, is a word derived from the Gothic word ‘ runa ‘, which means “mystery.”

One of the oldest and first recorded uses of runes came from German tribes in central and Eastern Europe, these early uses of runes show that they were not even meant to be a language for everyday speech, but were used as a symbolic alphabet system. Each rune letter or shape had it’s own sound, and meaning, in fact each rune represented a deity or so called God, that gave it it’s special power. People of old believed that by carving runes into their personal property or other items, the God or deity over that rune would protect the item, they even believed that a sword could be made more powerful for use in battle by carving runes into it.

There are at least 6 different types of runes or rune alphabets that folks use or dabble with today, and each rune alphabet is supposedly the correct set to use, if you ask the person that uses them. Runes hold no more special meaning than any symbols, drawings or sigils do, unless you have a belief that they are magical and will it, they are nothing more then drawing a circle or a square and giving them special meanings. For instance if I was around hundreds of years ago, I might of looked towards the sun in the sky and then drawn or carved a circle on a stone or piece of wood, to me it meant the power of the mighty glowing circle of fire in the sky, to someone else years later that discovered my circle carved into the stone, they may think that circle represented a wheel, eye, moon, or just a plain circle. Each person uses runes for their own purposes and each person seems to give them their own meanings.

In ancient Europe a lot of adults seemed to do wood carvings, in fact it was a prized skill handed down from one family member to another. An alphabet was needed that could easily be carved or scratched into the wood used by the carvers, runes were perfect for this since they consist of mostly straight lines linked together. Most uses of runes were nothing more than markers symbolizing ones trademark, or ownership of an item. Later they were altered and more symbols were added as the earth’s population grew and it’s linguistic skills required more rune symbols and meanings.

Runes were and are written different ways by different folks, some are written left to right, others are written right to left, or up to down, this again shows you that runes hold different meanings to different people.

Now days a lot of folks think the runes were used for magic or such things as divination and fortune telling, this again depends upon the person who reads such meanings into the runes. Years back when the Christian faith was adopted by Europe, the use of the runes fell and they were replaced by the more modern Roman/Latin Alphabet, in fact one letter of the latin alphabet even contain an earlier rune symbol as part of it’s language.

Years later as Christianity spread, use of the runes dropped, Church leaders did not understand their meanings and symbols, so they considered them evil or from the devil, this thinking has lasted even to today, and it is the basis for the thinking of modern occultists, druids and new-agers that the runes are magical and can be used in ceremonies or rituals. Even Hitler in his perverted thinking, used symbols of the rune alphabets in the nazi military insignia to supposedly give his army more power, this of course proved foolish as the nazi regime was crushed by other military forces.

But still many folks like using runes today because they are an ancient item, they hold mystique and even occult powers to some folks. I say use them for fun, don’t try using them for fortune telling or spell casting, all that stuff is clearly against the true source of power, the power of God and his son Jesus Christ. In fact to show you the weakness of runes for prophecy, modern runes contain a blank rune, this blank rune symbolizes the Unknowable, wouldn’t you think that a great source of knowledge or power would know all ? Again, look to the Bible and Jesus Christ for your future, it is the only book of prophecy that has been and will continue to be, 100% accurate.

Some of the common runes used still today, are: ‘ Elder Futhark ‘,’ Younger Futhark ‘,’ Anglo-Saxon Futhorc ‘,’ Robert’s Runes ‘, the later ‘ Robert’s Runes, has become very popular, as it is the only version of the runes that includes a full english alphabetic translation, which makes writing any english text in runes possible. Robert’s Runes are also available as a ‘ True Type Font ‘ for use on any WINDOWS based computer. ‘ Robert’s Rune Fonts ‘, can be downloaded for free at this website address:

http://www.rb59.com/software/rrunesf.html

By Robert W. Benjamin

Copyright © 2006

You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.

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Sep 272022
 

Has your life become an endless string of days slogging through the same old mediocre rut that you have awakened to every morning for years and years? Can you even remember the hopes and dreams you had for yourself when you were younger? Have you noticed that the harder you work at setting goals and putting in overtime, your situation never changes?
Do you look around and see people who seem to have everything and who seem to cruise through life with little apparent stress or effort? Have you ever wondered what esoteric knowledge is tapped into, that you have no access to, by creative geniuses like Twain, Edison, Mozart and Steinmetz? Were Jesus, Gandhi, and the Buddha really made of stuff more holy than the rest of us?
The fact is that the super successful people of the modern age, the truly happy people in your neighborhood, the creative geniuses of ages past, and our holy teachers have all had one thing in common, whether they were consciously aware of it or not. That one thing is this: they tapped into the power of the universal laws of creation which we are all subject to and they aligned the creative energy that is in all things to manifest the reality of their own lives. Whether consciously or not, they lived not as if the outside world was something happening to them, but as if they were happening to the outside world. They created their own reality.
You can apply the same universal laws to your own life and create the reality you want for yourself. The fact is that you already know how to align yourself with these laws. You have simply forgotten how to do it.
This is not to say that all you have to do is wish for good luck and riches and it will come to you. As in all other things, there is no free lunch. You have to work for it. The good news is that there are many mentors out there who have discovered these secrets (or, have actually discovered that there are no secrets, there is only faulty memory) and who are standing ready to lead us along the paths they have already trodden. All we have to do is ask the right questions and really pay attention to and apply the answers.
We really can manifest the lives we want and by doing so, we can change the world.

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Sep 262022
 

It’s true.

A good example of a successful premium (free bonus) was in the Ginsu knife infomercials. If you’re familiar with the old Ginsu knife infomercials… you will remember how they’d use the “pile-on-technique” to get you to order. Can you remember, it went something like this…

“But wait, that’s not all! If you order immediately… you’ll not only receive the entire 36-piece set of Ginsu knives, I’ll also send you a second set absolutely free. And, you still get the free steak knife, the free cutting board… and… etc., etc., etc.”

Anyhow, the reason they did this… and the reason just about every infomercial uses the “pile-on-technique” is this: It works!

But the lesson here is: Whatever your product or service is, you should always include free bonuses to increase the perceived value of your offer and increase your sales and profit margins. Just use your imagination and I’m sure you can think of quite a number of ways to use high-perceived value premiums.

By the way, marketing wizard, Jay Abraham is the master at using the “pile-on-technique” to get people to buy. If you buy any of his stuff (which I highly recommend) you’ll be on the receiving end of a first-class education in how to use the “pile-on-technique”. He’ll sell a $5,000 seminar and “pile-on” over $10,000 worth of premiums if you sign up for the seminar.

Anyhow, if you’re not already, I suggest you use the “pile-on-technique” to boost your sales and profit margins. And the key to doing that by getting the prospect thinking: “Wow! I get all that valuable stuff for FREE? Damn, I’d have to be a moron not to get in on that offer!”

Look: You shouldn’t just aim to satisfy your customers. You should aim to astonish them! And the easiest way to astonish the customer is to deliver more than they pay for.

A few other important points to remember to successfully boost your sales using premiums (free bonuses):

* Always quantify the value of each premium (free bonus), both in real terms and perceived value. For example, you may offer a free bonus report that has a real price of $49.97… but… in the right hands could make somebody $10,000. Make damn sure you sell and educate the prospect about what you’re doing for them. Don’t give away $1,000 worth of free stuff without making sure the prospect knows exactly what you’ve just done for them!

* With already touched on this but it’s worth mentioning again: Your premium(s) must be desirable, of good quality, and have a high perceived that enhances the overall value of your main product. If you give away junk… not only will it not have any positive impact on your sales… in all likelihood it’ll backfire on you and hurt your sales.

* You can (and should) use premiums as a compel prospects to act fast and order your product or service right away. Maybe you’ve got a limited number of premiums you can give away. Maybe there’s a time-deadline on your premium offer. You get the idea. This is a scarcity tactic and the more a prospect feels that there’s a very real chance that if they stall they’re going to miss out on possessing the premium(s)… the faster they’re likely to order!

* As a general rule of thumb, offering 3 – 5 premiums is optimal. Offering too many premiums (say 10 – 12) sends up a “red flag” in the prospects mind because they start thinking to themselves, “Gee, if they’re giving away all those free bonuses I guess they’re a bit embarrassed about the quality / price of the main product.” Too many premiums are overkill – it will backfire on your sales conversion.

* The very best low-cost / high-perceived value premium is INFORMATION. For example, it costs next to nothing to create a simple report / CD / DVD etc.,… yet… the information itself can be immensely value… maybe even life-changing!

Okay, that about wraps up this article.

If you’re not using and capatilizing on proven power of premiums… shame on you!

Till next time.

Dan Lok

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Sep 252022
 

You are selling your own home because you think you’re up to the task, that it can’t be that difficult? You’re right of course; however you want to make sure you abide by some basic common sense guidelines to help ensure your success. It’s not all about putting a sign on the lawn and an advert in the paper.

Your first step should be calling a lawyer. If you don’t have one you will need to find one. A good bet is to get a referral from friends or family. A lawyer at this stage of your sale will give you all the legal information you need to enter into the sale with a confidence that would be lacking otherwise. Your lawyer can do a title search on your home to make sure it’s free of encumbrances that may only turn up on closing i.e. an encroachment. Do you have an up to date survey? These can be deal killers at the last minute you want to avoid. You’ll need a search done anyway to close your sale.

Lawyers can also advise you on any new by-laws or regulations you should be aware of for your home and area. Every jurisdiction seems to have rules that need to be followed when preparing an offer to purchase form. A lawyer can make sure these special clauses are written into your offer to purchase form. Have your lawyer provide you with copies of the offer to purchase in hard copy format and also on disk so you can print them off your home PC when needed. Ask your lawyer how he would prefer to see your offer set up.

Ask your lawyer to give you any information you will need to make the closing of your sale timely and without any surprises. If there is anything that will hold up or quash your deal you want advance notice so you can take care of the problem now. Count on being charged for your lawyers’ services but it’s the old adage pay me now or pay me later.

Ask your lawyer to give you some insight into your mortgage situation. He can give you details and options based on your current loan that perhaps will help your sale. At the very least the lawyer can give you questions to ask at your lending institution i.e. is your mortgage assumable? If the interest rate and terms are attractive the purchaser may want to assume your current mortgage. All good stuff to know in advance of your sale. Likewise your mortgage may need to be removed so the purchaser can arrange their own financing. What are the ramifications with this, will it be expensive to remove?

When you recruit a real estate agent to help you sell your home, the good ones know all this information in advance. Any information they don’t have that can create problems generally surfaces at closing thanks to the lawyers. Your agent acts in your best interests along with your lawyer to sort out these problems at closing and many issues are usually dealt with to either parties’ satisfaction one way or another.

Not having an agent working for you means your chances of having a problem sometime during the process of trading your real estate is a real probability. The best way to mitigate your chances of potential headaches is to spend the money up front for a legal professional to sort through the landmines before you step on one and your deal disintegrates at the worst possible time. You’ll be investing a great deal of time selling your home. Make sure you are prepared. It is fairly simple to sell your own home. Closing that sale cleanly is another matter entirely.

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