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ActiveRain is the world’s largest online real estate network.  There are more than 200,000+ real estate industry professionals on the ActiveRain network.

ActiveRain has often been described as the real estate industry’s example of FaceBook or MySpace.  ActiveRain was launched in 2006 as a networking site for real estate agents/brokers, appraisers, title companies and mortgage professionals.

ActiveRain is NOT just for real estate agents.  ActiveRain “channels” are a great resource for consumers.  The channels are loaded with information and advice on every topic involved in a real estate transaction.  ActiveRain is very similar to other large real estate web sites, such as Zillow or Trulia.

Many real estate web sites are constantly changing and evolving their vision or purpose.   But currently, Zillow and Trulia web sites are “geared” more toward listing properties and providing estimates of value (zestimates) than providing information.  ActiveRain has always been a network for real estate professionals and a fantastic information resource for consumers. 

The ActiveRain Leaderboard allows members to search for any profession (lender, real estate agent, home stager, insurance agent, home inspector, etc.) involved in a real estate transaction.  You can search by state, county, city.

I am currently listed #7 on the ActiveRain leaderboard for real estate agents in Columbus, Ohio (#13 in Franklin county).

ActiveRain Profile – Michael Marshall, Buyer’s Agent

What’s even more amazing is that there are NO other Exclusive (True) Buyer’s Agent in the Top 100 in Columbus, Ohio.

There are many good real estate web sites out there.  Make sure, you don’t pass by ActiveRain.

Good luck out there.

Contact me if you have any questions.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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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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A recent Fannie Mae poll of homeowners and renters indicate that 78% of Americans believe home prices have bottomed out.  

Is now the right time to buy a home?  High inventory levels, low-interest rates and home prices that have bottomed out.

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

 “Representing People, NOT Property!”

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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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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uncle-samThe clock is ticking down for first time home buyers.  You need to act NOW to make sure that you don’t miss out on the $8,000 from Uncle Sam. 

Here is the fast, quick information you will need to see if you qualify for the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers from The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

  • You must be a first time home buyer, defined as not owning a home in the past 3 tax years.
  • Tax credit amount is 10% of the sales price of the home up to a maximum of $8,000.
  • There is NO price limit on the sales price of home.
  • Maximum income to receive FULL tax credit is $75,000 for a single person, the limit for married couples is $150,000.
  • You can receive a PARTIAL tax credit for income levels up to $95,000 for a single person and $170,000 for married couples. 
  • There is no payback or penalty as long as you stay in home as your principal residence for 3 years.
  • You must CLOSE on your new home on or after January 1, 2009 or before December 1, 2009.   

***IMPORTANT:  Congress passes tax credit extension.  Must have binding sales contract dated on or before April 30, 2010 and close on or before June 30th, 2010. 

 

This is the quick & dirty information that you need right now for the $8,000 Tax credit.  For more detailed information you can go HERE.

It is a great time to be a home buyer.  This is the perfect time to by a home, especially 1st time home buyers, as long as your job is secure.  If you feel safe in your current employment/job, then there are just so many positive reasons to now buy a home.  Don’t miss the “gravy train!”

  • Buyer’s market
  • Really low mortgage interest rates
  • High inventory levels.  Plenty of home options
  • Depressed, low prices (buy low, sell high) 

Please contact me if you have more questions or need help.Throwing Money

IMPORTANT:  I’m just trying to help the “average Joe home owner” to understand the new $8,000 tax credit.  I have to put this” CYA” disclaimer in my post.  Please consult a tax professional or accountant for more details and eligibility questions regarding the $8,000 1st time home owner tax credit.  I’m not an accountant or tax professional.

 Good luck out there!

 Home Buyer Advocate Mike

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Another new home builder in the Central Ohio area has called it quits.  On Tuesday, Joshua Homes unexpectedly shut down its web site and disconnected their phones.  Joshua Homes appears to be the latest, in a long list, of new home builder casualties in our market.  In the past few New Home Build  years Central Ohio area has lost many new home builders:

  • Toll Brothers
  • Joshua Homes
  • Centex Homes
  • CV Perry
  • Beazer

Many current Joshua home owners are very concerned about their new home warranties.  This latest new build casualty really magnifies the potential problem of new home warranties.  Joshua Homes had one of the longest home warranties (40 year) in our area.  But, a warranty is only as good as the builder or warranty company.  Does it really matter if you have a 40, 45 or even 50 year new home warranty if your builder is out of business in a few years?  

The home buying consumer needs to realize that new home builder warranties are NOT regulated by any State agencies or the Department of Insurance.  It is buyer beware!  So, make sure you use an Exclusive (true) Buyer Broker when purchasing your next new home.  An Exclusive Buyer Broker will protect you during your transaction and act as your advocate.

Good luck out there.

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

Representing People, NOT Property!

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chinese-drywallThis is a follow up to my blog post on March 25th, “Toxic Drywall Could Be Largest Lawsuit In US History!”    This blog post produced record high amount of views and comments.  We really tapped into a very important topic for the consumer.

 The good news is that the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that it appears there is NO Chinese drywall in the Columbus, Ohio area.  The Columbus Dispatch did a thorough job of interviewing new home builders, home contractors, drywall suppliers and it appears that no toxic Chinese drywall made it to the Central Ohio area.

The Bad news is that the toxic Chinese drywall is definitely in the United States.  In 2005, Chinese manufacturers shipped 500 million pounds rotten-eggsof drywall mainly to southern gulf coast states of Florida, Louisiana & Texas.  Chinese drywall smells like “rotten eggs” and is being blamed for damaging furnaces and electrical wiring, tarnishing jewelry and possibly sickening families.  So the potential is still there for toxic Chinese drywall to be the largest lawsuit in US history.  Just be happy that it is not in our area.

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

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NAR Green Designation

NAR Green Designation

Congratulations to Andrew Show for being the only Exclusive (true) Buyer Broker in the State of Ohio that has obtained the  National Association of   andrew-showRealtors (NAR) GREEN certified designation. (NAR Green Council)

Consumer demand for real estate professionals that are GREEN knowledgeable is exploding.  More home buyers are requiring their Buyer Agents to understand Green building principles and the financial advantages of properties that are energy efficient and ecologically friendly to the environment. 

Again, Congratulations Andy!

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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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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