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Small RanchA home purchase is typically the largest financial transaction that any of us will encounter in our lifetime.  Buying a home can be an overwhelming, complicated process with many steps and decisions to be made.  Hopefully this article will help you by breaking everything down to just two simple steps to buying a home.

1.  Find your agent first, not your home!  Everyone loves searching for homes in their pajamas at night.  But, you should actually first start researching for the best agent to represent you.  There is no denying that buying a home is an emotional decision.  But, typically in life, any major financial decisions based on emotion will increase your odds of making the wrong decision and possibly costing you a lot of money.  When it is all “said and done”, researching for the right agent is not as fun as searching for homes but in the long run your wallet will probably thank you.   “Angie’s List” is an excellent resource to help you find an agent that will be your advocate and trusted advisor in the home buying process.  “Angie’s List” provides potential homebuyers with an unbiased, comprehensive database of qualified real estate agents and not just pretty pictures of houses.  The most important first step to protecting yourself is not to do the process alone and have an experienced, real estate buyer broker looking out for your best interest.

2.  Not all agents are the same!  As a home buyer you want to find an agent that will be your advocate throughout the home buying process. You should try to contact or interview at least 2-3 real estate agents.  But, not all buyer’s agents are the same.  Some buyer’s agents will try to work with Sellers at the same time and be a dual agent.  So, it can be very confusing trying to sort through all the different types of real estate professionals.  You should make sure at least one of the agents you contact is a “true” or Exclusive Buyer’s Agent (EBA).   In December 2009, The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) advised home buyers that it is their responsibility to search for a real estate agent that will represent their best interests.  HUD revised the Shopping for Your Home Loan – HUD’s Settlement Cost Booklet”, HUD states: “If you want someone to represent only your interests, consider hiring an ‘exclusive buyer’s agent,’ who will be working for you.”  An EBA does not take listings or sell homes.  EBA’s just works with Buyers, not Sellers.  Buying a home is the most expensive financial decision that most of us will make in our lifetime.  Don’t cut corners!  Make sure you interview multiple agents and be aware that not all agents are the same.  If you do this then you should end up with an experienced agent that you trust.

The home buying process can be incredible stressful and complicated.  But, if you follow these two simple steps above then you will be going in the right direction to getting your new home for the best price and terms.

Good luck out there!

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

Contact me if you have any comments or questions:

BRRS new smallThe year is finally coming to an end and 2013 is almost upon us.   2013 will mark the 18th year that Buyer’s Resource Realty Services has been representing and protecting ONLY home buyers in central Ohio.  We are the oldest established Exclusive Buyer Agency in Columbus, Ohio.  If you are a potential home buyer then Buyer’s Resource is your best choice.  No other real estate brokerage in Columbus that represents buyers exclusively can compare to our total experience and number of client transactions (1,000+).  We are dedicated home buyer advocates who always represent the best interests of the buyer.  For more information you can review my Testimonials & References!

Way back in 2007, I started this blog (HomeBuyer’s Advocate!) to be a resource of important real estate information for my clients and any potential home buyers.  I’ve been very fortunate that a few of my blog posts have been referenced in local newspapers and a national magazine publication (“This Old House”).  I honestly don’t know how this happened because I think I have the writing skills of a junior high school student (LOL!).   One of my major goals for 2013 will be to reach 100,000+ views on my blog.  Stayed tuned during the next few weeks for some interesting topics and posts for home buyers.  My upcoming blog posts will have timely and important tidbits of information that every home buyer should know before they start the journey of buying a home.

In 2013 I hope to continue and expand my blog as an invaluable resource for future home buyers.  My vision is for HomeBuyer’s Advocate Blog to be the preeminent resource for information in Columbus, Ohio for home buyers.

Good luck out there!

Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions.

How do you like you the “snowy background” on the blog?  I think it is very festive.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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Buyer's Agent Map-Columbus, Ohio - A Beehive of Activity!

Most traditional real estate agents tend to “farm” or specialize in a certain areas or subdivisions.  As an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent (EBA) I don’t specialize in certain areas.  In the past 17 years, I’ve helped nearly 300 clients throughout ALL areas of Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding counties.

I’m a true Buyer’s Agent.  A true Buyer’s Agent is an agent that will NEVER will list or sell a home.  I specialize in only representing home buyers.  My responsibility is to be an advocate & advisor for my buyer client throughout the entire home buying process.

If you are a home buyer that doesn’t want to be SOLD a home, then you need to contact an EBA.  An EBA will be your advocate and always look out for your best interest.   A smart home buyer’s choice is to use an Exclusive (true) Buyer’s Agent.

For more information check out testimonials:   Buyer Broker Testimonials!

Good luck out there!  I hope this information is helpful.

Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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Over the years, I’ve really been impressed with my client’s “home makeovers”.  The last few years have been an excellent market for buyer’s to buy at extremely low prices.

Below are a few “before” and “after” photos of some recent client’s home makeovers.  The Buyer’s did almost all the work themselves, along with a little help from their families and friends.

I would say, “move over Ty Pennington you might have some competition!” 

Kitchen Makeover – Before & After!

A kitchen remodel can bring some good returns when you go to sell.  The only problem is that they can be very costly, unless you do a lot of the work yourself.  A client in Powell, Ohio did this excellent kitchen makeover.  Beautiful job, Scott!

Laundry Room – Before & After!

Bedroom – Before & After!

 

Living Room – Before & After!

Dining Room – Before & After!

Kitchen – Before & After!

An incredible home makeover in the Hilliard area, this client did a wonderful job on their HUD foreclosure purchase.  I’m always amazed how much you can totally transform a home with just new flooring/carpeting, painting and cleaning.  Incredible job, Jason & Liz!  You have a beautiful home!

Since 2007, the HomeBuyer’s Advocate blog has been featured in “This Old House” magazine and the Columbus Dispatch with 100+ posts and 54,000+ views!  The HomeBuyer’s Advocate blog has been a leading resource for home buyers and homeowners in Columbus, Ohio.  The HomeBuyer’s Advocate blog has been true to the blog mission statement “real opinions & quick, valuable information for the homebuyer in central Ohio.”

For additional information, we now have a great compliment to The HomeBuyer’s Advocate blog.  Check out our company Facebook fan page to stay updated with the latest important news for home owners in central Ohio. Our fan page is loaded with great information, coupons, monthly Lowe’s gift card raffles, contests with prizes and funny home pictures and videos. Make sure you click to “Like”.

Buyer’s Resource Facebook Fan Page!

In January, we will be celebrating the new year (2K11) and reaching 200 Facebook fans with a special, incredible gift card raffle.  Check us out and make sure you don’t miss out on this special prize.  We are NOT your typical traditional real estate Facebook fan page.

Good luck out there!

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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The Commerce Department reports that new home sales in June rebounded 24% from the previous month.  You would think this would be good news, but this is very misleading data.  March and April homes sales exploded because of the tax credit rush.  May was an all time “stinker” month.  So, it is not too hard to have a big increase over a previous terrible month.  Plus, the June sales pace is the 2nd slowest ever on record since Commerce Department began tracking the data in 1963.  Also on Monday, The National Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales fell 5.1% in June.

So what does all this mean?   On the same day, we get conflicting data on the real estate market.  Home buyers and sellers are frustrated.  They don’t know what to think. 

So is the real estate market improving?  Who knows the answer?

How about Bernanke, Buffett, Geithner or Greenspan….do they know the answer?

The answer is……nobody knows, not even the so called “experts”.

In my opinion, I think we’ve definitely hit the bottom months ago and the market has been slowly improving.  But my opinion or “guess” is no better than any other market expert.

But, the 2 things that I definitely know about the Columbus Ohio real market are:

  • The real estate market is extremely turbulant and volatile.  This is not always a bad thing for home buyers.
  • We are still in a Buyer’s market.

Good luck out there!

Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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The guaranteed best representation possible for a home buyer is to hire their own personal Exclusive Buyer’s Agent (EBA). 

Exclusive Buyer agent representation for home buyers has recently (Jan. 2010) been endorsed in the new consumer publication from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD);  “Shopping for your Home Loan:  HUD’s Settlement Cost Booklet“.  This is HUD’s first major revision in 10 years and advises home buyers to hire a real estate agent that will only represent their best interests.  Page 6 of HUD’s Settlement Cost Booklet states, “If you want someone to represent only your interests, consider hiring an ‘exclusive buyer’s agent’, who will be working for you.”

You would think this would be great news for home buyers & exclusive buyer’s agents.  But, now the problem is that many real estate agents are calling themselves an “Exclusive Buyer Agent”, when they really aren’t EBA’s.    Real estate agents are just making up their own “titles” or “specialities” just so they can generate more business.  But, they are NOT EBA’s or a true Buyer Broker

Quite simply, The only definition of an Exclusive Buyer Agent is an agent that never list property for sale and the company they work for does not list properties or provide any representation for Sellers.

If you are potential home buyer that is interviewing possible Exclusive Buyer Agents then just ask this simple question:

“Do you or any other agents in your office list or sell properties at anytime?”  If they answer yes, then the agent is not a true EBA.

Here is what leading national magazines and newspapers say about “true” Buyer Brokers:

 “Agents:  How to hire one for your side.”  Most agents who show you homes don’t represent your interests.  They work for   the seller, and their object is to sell the house at the highest price.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

“Many people don’t realize that, unless specifically stated otherwise, brokers are legal representatives of Sellers.  A buyer’s broker representing only the buyer, may be able to secure a better price and better terms.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 “Unlike the traditional agent who looks out for the seller, a buyer broker acts as your advocate, helping you find the  homes you want and then negotiating the lowest possible price.  the best buyer brokers are so-called exclusive agents – that is, they represent only buyers, never sellers…”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

“Exclusive agencies are best.  They remove any conflict of interest, which is the main reason for considering a Buyer Broker in the first place.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

“…A Buyer’s Broker is prohibited from disclosing to a Seller that the Buyer can, or will, pay more than what has been offered…  To eliminate conflict of interests, exclusive buyer agents do not take listings.  Buyer’s Broker make a great deal of sense”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

“Groups such as Consumer Federation of America and AARP recommend using Buyer’s Agents.  The reason is they work.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

“Buyer Brokers:  agents that buyers can call their own.”  “If you real estate agent isn’t a Buyer Broker, he works for the Seller.”  Buyers no longer have to fend for themselves.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

“A conflict of interest is more likely when a real estate firm that represents sellers assigns you one of its Brokers as a Buyer’s agents.  That’s why many people believe, “Exclusive Buyer Broker” is preferrable.  Exclusive Buyer Broker aims to get the best deal for home buyer.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Good luck out there!

Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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Many home buyers and sellers in central Ohio were hoping for a third extension to the popular home buyer tax credit program.  According to the Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR) and National Association of Realtors (NAR), this appears  very unlikely to happen. 

Vicki Cox Golder, NAR President states “NAR has had extensive discussions with our congressional allies and concluded that an additional extension of the tax credit is unlikely.  While lawmakers recognize that the tax credit helped stabilize the market, it appears that much of the benefit has been realized.”

So, time is running out, we are down to the last few weeks for home buyers to claim the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit or the $6,500 move up buyer tax credit.  You must have a found a home and have a binding sales contract by April 30th, 2010.

Review these links for more information on Tax Credit Programs:

Tax Credit For First Time Home Buyers!

 Tax Credit Bonanza

Good luck out there!

Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, many potential home buyers & sellers were aware of the great $8,000 tax credit for 1st time home buyers.  But many consumers are not aware of all the other tax credit programs that are available:    
 
 
 

  • $8,000 tax credit for 1st time home buyers  extended until April 30, 2010, must close by June 30th, 2010.  Click HERE for more  info. 
  • NEW-$6,500 tax credit for move up/repeat buyers.  Existing home owners must have occupied their home for 5 years.  Click HERE or contact me for more detailed info. 
  • $1,500 tax credit for energy efficiency updating for existing homes.  Improvements must be completed by December 31, 2010.  Most popular updates are: new furnace, central air, tankless water heaters, windows, doors, patio doors, water heaters, etc.  Click HERE for completed list of eligible improvements and more info.
  • State of Ohio Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program.  Ohio residents can receive anywhere from $100 to $250 for EACH eligible appliance that they replace ($700 maximum).  Program starts 1st quarter of 2010.  This rebate program offers the perfect excuse to buy a new expensive front loading, super high-efficiency steam washer & dryer.  Program ends when funds are depleted.  Rebates will possibly only last 4-6 weeks.  Important info:  Ohio appliance rebate program, Ohio offers rebates for Energy efficient appliances, Rebate Program Outline

We hope this information can help save you some money.  Please contact me if you have additional questions.     

Disclaimer:  Please consult a tax professional or accountant for additional details and eligibility questions regarding the federal tax credit programs.  Thoroughly review all guideline requirements for energy-efficient home improvements or appliances before making the purchases.   

Good luck out there.   

Home Buyer Advocate Mike   

Representing People, NOT Property!

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superman-logoIf you are looking for help to buy a home in Columbus, Ohio then you should contact a Buyer’s Agent.  But, not all Buyer’s Agents are the same.  The best representation for a residential or investor home buyer in Columbus, Ohio is an Exclusive Buyer Agent (EBA) or Exclusive Buyer Broker (EBB).  An Exclusive Buyer Agent will always look out for your best interest and protect you in the home buying process.

Here are the TOP 10 reasons to use an Exclusive Buyer Agent:

  1.  We ONLY represent buyers.  We are EXPERTS at buyer representation.
  2.  We negotiate the BEST price and terms for you.
  3.  We don’t sell homes.  We advise, counsel and educate.
  4.  We assist Buyers in evaluating the BEST financing options.
  5.  We have a duty to DISCLOSE all material information to our Buyer’s.
  6.  We are Buyer advocates that work to PROTECT your investment.
  7.  We are the GUARANTEED highest level of representation.
  8.  We SAVE you time and money.  We pay attention to the details.
  9.  We provide MORE available homes to our Buyer’s than most other  agents.
  10.  We locate, evaluate and negotiate for our Buyer’s.

For more information contact an Exclusive (true) Buyer Agent today. 

Helping home buyers is our only speciality.

A true Buyer’s Agent (EBA) will have no conflicts of interest….ever!superman-picture

An Exclusive Buyer Agent is NOT Superman.  But, we are the home buyers best protection and advocate in the home buying process.

Good luck out there.

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

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In our market, a FROG in your house is actually a really good thing.  In real estate terms, a FROG means “family room over the garage” 

How many of you out there honestly knew what this abbreviation meant?  Many real estate agents & brokers don’t even know what a frog is?

Being able to decipher real estate abbreviations & terms has always been a funny, frustrating problem for many home buyers.

“Newer CC style home, 3BR, 1.5BA, WBFP, new A/C with a large FROG, no bsmt and only 209K” Can  anyone  please translate what I just typed here? heh, heh, heh.

Years ago, selling homes via classified ads in the back of newspapers and magazines was common place. But, now traditional real estate agents use other marketing venues, especially the Internet.  So, the good news is that heavy use of vague real estate terms, abbreviations and euphemisms in real estate marketing is on the decline.  But, abbreviations and euphemisms are still a problem in real estate that the homebuyer needs to be educated on. 

Before I give you more important information on this problem, take a quick second and review our award winning TV commercial (SOB) below about the abbreviation problems in real estate.

I hope you enjoyed our funny commercial. You can click here if you would like to view our entire TV commercial series.

Now, back to the important information that you need to know!  Our professional trade organization, “National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents” (NAEBA) recently released an excellent home buyer informational report; “2008 Report on Home Buying Euphemisms and Lingo-How to read between the lines when you’re shopping for a home”

(you will need to have adobe software on your computer to view/print report.  Click here if you would like to download the free adobe reader)

For years, I’ve told my clients that you have to be able to read between the lines when you are looking for a home.  The information about the home on the main listing page usually has misleading descriptions.

For example:

Needs a little TLC or fixer upper…………really means the house is a dump and hasn’t been updated at all.

Cozy, cute home……………..really means the home is so small that it is difficult to turn around in. 

Great landscaping, beautiful yard……………..really means the house is a piece of crap, but the seller has to found something positive about their house.   

Damp basement in the spring…………really means we usually get 2-3 feet water in our basement once a year.

Sometimes sellers think minimizing problems in their listing descriptions, like, “damp basement” will protect them from getting sued for non-disclosure.  I don’t think so!

One last tidbit of information for you.  Many times in the listing description you will see the words “many updates” or “mechanical’s updated”.   The problem is how do you define recently “updated”.  My personal definition of “updated” is anything that has been done in the last 5 years.

You really have to be careful when you see a sellers and/or listing agents that uses “many updates” in the listing description.  I had one personal experience where a listing agent stated that the roof was recently updated.  After evaluating the home with my buyer client, It appeared to me that the roof had some prominent signs of aging (lost granuales, slight peeling/curling of roof shingles, etc.) and didn’t really look like the roof was recently updated.  I contacted the listing agent for additional information and/or paperwork on the roof.  The listing agent provided documentation that the roof was nearly 9 1/2 years old.

I asked the agent how they could describe a nearly 10 year old roof as recently updated.  The listing agent’s explanation was that the new roof’s expected life expectancy was somewhere between 20-25 years and since the roof was still less than “half old” that they felt they could list the roof as recently updated.

Geez, are you kidding me! So again, be very careful when you see these words.  You always want to make sure you have a full home inspection completed by a qualifed home inspector.  Your Buyer Broker should also always ask for copies of receipts and/or invoices of any recent updates.

These are just a few of the funny, informative listing descriptions that you will find in the “Home Buying Euphemisms and Lingo report”.  There are 50+ listing descpritions in this report that will help you understand the lingo when review listing information.  But, remember your best protection is to have an Exclusive (True) Buyer Broker representing you.

If you thought this blog post was helpful, then you should also check out the “Problem With Staging Homes” blog post.  Both articles deal with the same general topic. 

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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Buyer's Resource Realty Services 7100 N. High St. Suite 204 Worthington, OH 43085
614.321.9577

Michael Marshall – Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013!

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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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