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On Tuesday, February 19, 2008, a couple in Franklin County Court won a jury verdict against Maronda Homes for nearly 3.2 million dollars.  The couple, Roman and Jennifer Cosner alleged that Maronda Homes knowingly sold them a defective home.  The jury verdict in favor of the homeowners stated that Maronda Homes did sell a defective home and that Maronda was aware of that fact.  Maronda acted in an “unfair, deceptive or unconscionable” manner.

Maronda has always had a reputation for building the biggest square footage home possible at the lowest price.  No other local production home builder can even come close to the price and square footage of Maronda Homes.  There is usually a reason why this happens.   It is not really complicated.  Home owners should stop being so naive.  You buy the lowest priced “anything” and you are going to have problems.  I don’t care if you buying a new home, a toilet seat or a widget.  You get what you pay for!!!!  Like many home builders, Maronda has had it’s fair share of unresolved consumer complaints.

In my opinion, this could be landmark case for new home builders.  The jury ruling in this case has now set a precedent for all future, similar cases.  I would be really curious to see how this affects the policies and procedures of other builders in our area.  I bet many builders are now “scrambling” to figure out how to adjust their business practices to deal with this jury verdict.  

I’m glad the home owner had won their court case.  But, I guarantee you, that they probably didn’t use an Exclusive Buyer Agent to help them purchase their new built home.  If they had the proper Buyer Broker representation looking out for their best interest then this problem probably would not have happened.  As consumers we have to be accountable for our bad decisions or lack of…..

Stay tuned for future posts on this topic.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike
Representing People, NOT Property!

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Central Ohio’s largest home builder announced on Friday losses in the 4th quarter and for all of 2007.  M/I homes is one of  the nation’s largest home builders.  M/I builds a quality a home and is a well managed company.  But, even the best, well- run, new home builders were not immune to the recent real estate market crisis.  M/I Homes has been in business for 30+ years and I’m sure they will be in business for another 30+ years. 

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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It is still a great time to be a home buyer in the Columbus, Ohio area.  But, in my opinion, the real estate market has now started to turn in Central Ohio.  The market will gradually start shifting back to a normal market which is typically a Seller’s market.  There are 3 to 4 reasons why the real estate market in Columbus, Ohio is finally starting to change. Rising Rates!

Reason number 1:  Mortgage rates bottomed out at a few weeks ago at a low of 5.125% – 5.250%.  We have seen the end to flat, low home prices and super low mortgage rates.  Everything will start to rise  (interest rates and house prices) from this point forward.  I predict, in the next six to nine months will still see rates in the range of 6.00% – 6.75% and home prices just modestly increasing.  As home buyers we can’t really complain, mortgage interest rates in the “6” range is still really good.

Reason 2:  President Bush will sign the economic stimulus package in a few days.  In financial terms, the 170 billion+ package will not actually do that much to improve the economy.  But, it will help a little.  The main benefit of the economic stimulus package is that the consumer confidence in the economy and our government will increase because we were able to get something accomplished, even though that “something” was very small.

Reason 3:  My personal buyer activity has increased dramatically in the last 10 – 14 days.  I’ve been receiving a lot of phone calls and emails from interested home buyers with questions and looking for help.

Reason 4:  It’s all about supply & demand.  The inventory in the last 9 months has continued to drop drastically.  The end of last Summer we had 21,000+ listings on our multiple listing service(MLS) system. As of right now, we have a little more than 16,300 listings.  Granted the drop in the listings is mainly due to the slow winter and holiday season.  But, it is still a significant decrease.  Even with the listings going down, we are still at insanely high inventory levels.  The key months to watch inventory levels will be May, June & July.  How these three months go will probably predict the rest of 2008.

This is my prediction on where we are headed in 2008 for the real estate market in Columbus, Ohio.  Back in September of 2007 (about 5 months ago), I correctly forecasted in 2008 that we would see all mortgage programs with rates well under 6%.  Review my 5.99% or Lower blog post.  I did receive a few emails and phone calls from lenders that didn’t think I knew what I was talking about.  These lenders didn’t think rates would go that low.  I guess I got lucky on that forecast.  Again, I could be wrong or I could be right on my latest prediction for 2008.   I still think 2008 will be a great year for home buyers.  But, the buyer’s market is sort of over.  Good Luck!

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

 

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Finally a good article that fully explains everything the consumer needs to know about buyer agents.  Broderick Perkins with deadlinenews.com has put out one of the best articles that I could find explaining the differences among “so called” buyer agents.  Fake Buyer Agents have always been a problem for the average home buyer.  Hopefully, similar articles will follow in the future.  Watch out and good luck out there!

 

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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Another builder is leaving the central Ohio market.  Beazer announced on Friday, February 1st that they will stop building new homes in the Columbus, Ohio market.  New home builders have really been affected by the real estate slow down.  Beazer is the second major new home builder to pull out of our market in the last year.  Last Summer, Centex homes stopped building in our area. 

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

 

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As an Exclusive (true) Buyer Agent since 1996, I have had to consistently deal with the false manipulation of real estate statistics by real estate agents that is often encouraged by our local real estate board and multiple listings service (MLS).  Recently the “days on the market” (DOM) statsitic has been in the news lately because multiple listing services in other parts of the country (for example, Southern California) are debating on removing DOM from reports that home buyers view.

 A quote from the SoCalMLS (Southern California Multiple Listing Service) online newsletter, “the bottom line is that you, the real estate professional are in the best position to explain to your customer-buyer or seller-what the true DOM figure is and what it means”.  Part of this quote is true, you need to use an exclusive buyer broker that you trust to help explain the pros and cons of ALL real estate statistics.  But one thing I’ve learned from being a buyer broker is that you have to be able to “read between the lines” or “filter out the garbage” when disseminating information. In my opinion,  the MLS systems and real estate boards will ALWAYS favor the Seller, and not the Buyer or the consumer in general.  The above quote from the SoCalMLS is a perfect example of what I am talking about.  It does make sense to have a qualified, experienced agent help explain the DOM statistic to a Buyer or Seller.  So, WHY hasn’t this been SoCalMLS policy from the beginning?  Isn’t it strange, that they now want to implement this change in a slow real estate market that is now cosidered a BUYERS MARKET?   In my opinion, the real estate boards feel that the depressing DOM stat is making it harder to sell homes in this slow market.  Why are their so many people out there that have their heads so far up there $%&*@#.

I agree that many times consumers are “bombarded” or overloaded with a lot of information and statistics.  Sometimes the information and statistics are meaningless.  But the solution to the problem is not to limit, delete or “hold back” information from the consumer. The best type of market for any industry is where the products, services and information are totally open and available to all consumers.  That’s my opinion!

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike
 

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HomeBuyer Advocate Mike


Representing People, NOT Property in Columbus, Ohio. If you are a home buyer, then you need me to protect you. I can help you get the best price and terms for your next home purchase. You must use a true Buyer Broker! 1.614.805.7607

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