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The other day I was attending a home inspection with one of my Buyer clients.  The  Home Inspector discovered some bugs that he thought were bed bugs.  My Buyers asked me a good question, “Do Seller’s have to disclose bed bugs to potential homebuyers?”

Bed bugs are becoming a major problem everywhere in the United States.  But, the bed bug problem is huge in the state of Ohio.  CBS Evening News recently had a story of the  “Top 15 Worst Cities For Bed Bugs!”  The State of Ohio has 4 cities in the top 15.   Eeek Gads!!!

The answer to this question above might not be as straight forward as you think.

In a residential real estate transaction most states do require a property disclosure form.  But, many states, including Ohio, do not specifically address bed bugs in their disclosure form.  In my opinion, the state of Ohio residential property disclosure form is inadequate and needs to be greatly improved.

In the State of Ohio we have a four page Residential Property Disclosure (RPD) Form.  A Seller is required to disclose any material problems or defects on their property that has occurred over the past five years.

The definition of a “material defect” is any problem with a home that would affect a Buyer’s decision to purchase the home or affect the value of the property.

The State of Ohio RPD has 14 sections (A-N) that address such items as; structural, roof, water intrusion, mechanical, wood-boring insects, etc.  But, there is no specific section for disclosing bed bugs.  So, if there is no section in RPD do Sellers have to disclose?

I am not an attorney!!!  But, if you are a Seller struggling with what to disclose then I would use common sense and follow these 2 steps:

  • The best approach for any Seller is “when in doubt always disclose”.  Many Sellers do the exact opposite and disclose nothing.  Sellers don’t want to jeopardize selling their home.  This is a huge, risky gamble for any Seller.
  • Ask yourself, “would a reasonable person think the problem would affect the value?”.  If the honest answer is yes, then disclose.

You would think it would be a “no brainer” on how to answer the question, “Do Seller’s have to disclose Bed Bugs?”.

Yes, Yes, Yes…..you should disclose to potential Buyers any TYPE of pest, insect or rodent infestation in your home.  This is not just limited to termites, carpenter ants, bed bugs.  But, also squirrels, rats, bats, etc. 

Any reasonable person would think that a bed bug infestation in their home would affect the value of the property.

So, in the State of Ohio, even though we don’t have a specific section in the RPD to disclose bed bugs, you would need to disclose under section N (Other Known Material Defects) 

Real estate disclosure procedures vary greatly from state to state.  If you have specific questions then you should contact an attorney, licensed real estate agent or your states division/department of real estate. 

I really need to finish this post.   Bed bugs are so creepy that my mind is playing tricks on me.  As I’m writing this blog post,   I’m itching everywhere.  I hope this is not happening to you.  LOL!

If you want a little giggle, then hover your cursor over the bed bug pics above.

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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Great article in this past Sundays, The Columbus Dispatch newspaper about home inspections.  “Inspector aims to open eyes”.  Local home inspector, David Tamny of Professional Property Inspections will be the  new president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

David has been a home inspector on our company approved list for nearly 13 years.  His company web site is also on my blog roll link on left.  David is a very competent home inspector.

Suprisingly, home inspectors in the state of Ohio are still not licensed.  Home buyers have to be very careful when selecting a qualified home inspector.   A good option for home buyers to find a qualified home inspector is to check and see if the  inspector is a member in good standing with one of the two big professional trade associations.

National Associaton of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) are the two largest home inspector trade associations in the United States.  David Tamny will be the new incoming president of the 5,800+ member AHSI. 

Make sure you take a second to read the article link on home inspections.  It is great information for possible home buyers.

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

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

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Small HouseA good story on WSYX-ABC 6 – “Six On Your Side” about toxic drywall from China.  M/I homes faces a lawsuit for possible toxic drywall.  This has the potential to be a HUGE local and nationwide story.

It seems like the story is really flying under the radar.  I wonder why this isn’t getting more media/press coverage?

M/I Homes is the largest new home-builder in Central Ohio. 

http://tinyurl.com/cmlyak

 (Watch Consumer Alert Story)

This lawsuit has the potential to be the largest class action home defect lawsuit in US History!

Stay tuned for future updates and opinions in blog.  A story this big could be a “game changer”!

Be careful 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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Warning!

Warning!

The volatile, toxic nature of manufacturing “meth” makes it a very serious health issue.  For every pound of methamphetamine (crank) manufactured there is six pounds of toxic waste and residue left behind.  In addition to the hazardous waste concerns, the making of “crank” in a drug lab is highly susceptible to explosions and fires.  Trust me, you don’t want to be living in a former drug lab home or even near a drug lab.  It is not going to be very good for your safety, home appreciation or resale value.

It would definitely be nice to make sure your new home wasn’t a former drug lab for Meth.  The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) thinks the same way.  This is why they have started the National Clandenstine Labortary Register, a great web site that will allow you to look up houses in your state that have been identified as meth labs.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is still trying to set guidelines & procedures on how to deal with drug lab homes.  It seems NAR can’t figure out how to properly disclose drug homes and/or how to set standards for cleaning up drug homes.  As of August 2008 NAR has no policy in place to deal with this issue.

So, take a second to review the registry to see if your new dream home was a former drug home.  While your looking, you also might want to check other addresses of family members, friends, co-workers, etc.   Lucky for us, it appears the higher concentration of drug homes are located in the southern states.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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How Radon Gas Enters A Home

How Radon Gas Enters A Home!

We’ve had reason in recent days to re-investigate the risks of radon gas to our health. We got a lot of help from Elizabeth James, radon maven. [Thanks, Liz!]

The news is not good!
Radon, you will remember, is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas—the product of decomposing uranium deep in the earth.
Radioactive?
That can’t be good.
You’re right, it’s not.

According to the U. S. EPA online radon is a very serious threat to our health.                                                                     

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.  Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. [emphasis mine, ed.]                  

It’s everywhere.  But, mostly, it’s in your house!

A silent, invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive killer gas is sneaking into my home to give me cancer? R-I-G-H-T!
Sounds like another eco-maniacal greenie off the deep end doesn’t it?

It’s not.

(BTW, our sincerest apology to all ecologically concerned individuals whom we may have just offended. We’re just trying to drive home a point here—not make a political statement. Really.)

And there’s more bad news.

You are at a greater risk of dangerous exposure to this killer stuff here in central Ohio than most other places!

Uh Oh!

This is serious business, and you need to find out more about the risk to you and your family and what you can do about it.

Do it because there are reasonable ways to reduce exposure. Do it because you want to be here for your grandchildren. (Okay, here’s the real reason. Simon says “Do it.”)

The EPA has a free booklet available on line that provide excellent general information. There is an additional free publication that addresses the special concerns of those considering buying or selling a home.

Possibly the best source of good information about radon in the central Ohio area is our new friend Elizabeth

How We Are Exposed To Radon Gas!

How We Are Exposed To Radon Gas!

James at the Ohio Department of Health. (You were wondering when we were going to get back to her, didn’t you? Thanks for staying with us.)

Call Liz at 800-523-4439 and ask her some questions about this stuff. She’s an expert. Find out how serious this really is…and what you can do about it.

Go ahead call her…she’s really nice.

Tell her we said “Hi”.

You smokers with children. [You know who you are.] Stop smoking now and call Liz. Your risk is like 100 times worse! No kidding. Do it right now.

Buyer Agent George

 (This health safety blog story was reproduced from the Buyershome Journal”  blog – July 31, 2007)

 

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After years of failed attempts, it finally looks like we will have some licensing regulations in place for Home Inspectors in the State of Ohio by 2009.  House bill (HB) 257 recently passed the Ohio House of Representatives by a wide margin (83-11).  The bill will be reviewed by the Ohio Senate later this year when the legislature reconvenes after the November 4th election.

With all the problems in the last few years in real estate, it would be “political suicide” for any political official (wink, wink Gov. Ted Strickland) not to pass some positive legislation.  Legislation designed to regulate & license Ohio’s home inspection industry is long over due.

For too long, any “Joe Schmoe” could print up a business card on their home computer and start a home inspection business.  Because of this reason, there are inexperienced, unqualified inspectors in our area.  This is a problem for a potential home buyer.  The problems we have had in the home inspection industry are really “small potatoes” compared to all the other major problems in real estate (lenders, fraud, greed, non-disclosure, foreclosures, etc.).  But, this is a good thing.  This means legislation will probably get passed in the State of Ohio.

The new Home Inspection Licensing will probably include the following provisions:

1.  Criminal penalties for performing home inspections without a license.

2.  Creation of a process for investigating complaints filed against inspectors.

3.  Creation of the Ohio Home Inspection Board to regulate the industry.

4.  Creating minimum standards and guidelines for performing inspections.

Hopefully our state legislature will have the home inspection bill passed soon.  I am confident that home buyers in 2009 will have the protection of home inspection regulation and licensing.
Home Inspector

Home Inspector

Check out my previous past about “Home Inspection Nightmares”.  This blog post also has good links to find qualified home inspectors in your area via The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)

Good luck out there!

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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 This Old House magazine’s latest Home Inspection Nightmares IX (9) photo gallery is hilarious.  My favorite photos are #1 (8 junction boxes) & #5 (cymbal diverter).   I love this photo gallery series.  You can also check out past Home Inspection Nightmare photo galleries.  All the photos are very funny.  But, all joking aside, the photos reinforce an important part of buying a home. 

First, always get a home inspection.  Never skip a home inspection just to save a little money.  100% of my clients agree to do a home inspection or I will NOT represent them as their buyer agent.  A home inspection contingency is one of the home-buyers best protection options.  Second, make sure you home inspector is qualified.  About half the states in the country have little or no licensing requirements for home inspectors.  In many states, anyone can print up a business card and say they are a home inspector, even your Uncle Bubba!

I would recommend looking for a “certified” home inspector that is a member of The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or The National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).  Both of these organizations are very good at establishing high standards of practice, inspection guidelines, professionalism and code of ethics for its members in the home inspection industry.  It is very important that you make sure your inspector is a “certified” inspector.  A “certified” home inspector has more experience, education and testing requirements than other home inspectors.  You can search here for home inspectors in your area:  ASHI home inspector search or NAHI home inspector search.  Good Luck!

Below is one of our award winning buyer broker TV commericals that deals with home inspections.  Check out my previous blog post for more information on our funny, informative television commercials.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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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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