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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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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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The title tells you everything you need to know! A very good video for home buyers from “The Balancing Act” show on cable channel “Lifetime”.  The National Association Exclusive Buyer’s Agents (NAEBA) is an organization that strives to give today’s home-buying consumers the level of service they deserve and are increasingly demanding. NAEBA members firmly believe that home buyers have the same full and equal representation rights as sellers in any real estate transaction.   We have NAEBA members throughout the world.

Exclusive Buyer Agents (EBA) are the guaranteed, highest and best representation possible for a home buyer.  We help our Buyer Clients, “Locate, Evaluate and Negotiate!”

Great information for the 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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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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Starting in January 2009, Condo loan guidelines will be even more difficult for home buyers.  Fannie Mae &  Rising RatesFreddie Mac guidelines will change which will affect nearly all conventional condo loans.  But, FHA loans should not be affected (good news).  The major change is a pricing adjustment  that will increase the interest rate for the following condo loans.

  • Buyer is putting down 25% or less (Loan to value percentage exceeds 75%). 
  • If a condo loan term is great than 15 years

The approximate rate increase on these types of condo loans will be 1/2% or higher.

These new condo guidelines would have affected nearly 99.999% of all condo owners that I have helped since 1996.  This is a ridiculous new change that I think will really hurt condo sales in the Columbus, Ohio area.  We are moving in the wrong direction if we want to try and help the real estate and mortgage industry recover.

Good luck out there!

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

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Treasury and FDIC

US Treasury and FDIC Bailout!

This past Summer, Congress passed a $300 billion housing bill to rescue Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and to help thousands of homeowners avert foreclosure.

The housing bill should definitely help the volatile housing and financing markets. 

At the time, the housing bill was record breaking landmark legislation.  But, Oh my how much has changed in 2008:

 

Largest US bank failure – Washington Mutual, $307 billion in assets.

Federal Reserve intervenes to save investment bank giant “Bear Stearns”.  JP Morgan bank takes over Bear Stearns and receives $29 billion dollar loan from government.

IndyMac bank failure $32 billion in assets.

U.S. Government to take over failed AIG in $85 billion bailout.

In October, the new, largest government bailout in history to help US banks – $700 billion dollars.

There has been so much that has happened in the past 5-6 months that is easy to forget about one of the most beneficial aspects of the $300 billion bailout in July.  The $7,500 tax credit is a great benefit for 1st time home buyers.

Here is everything you need to know:

Eligibility:

  • Purchase a home between April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009.
  • Must be a first time homeowner or haven’t owned a home in the last 3 years.
  • New home purchase must be your principle residence.
  • Maximum income requirements (Adjusted Gross Income) for full $7500 tax credit benefit is $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples.
  • Partial tax credit benefit eligible for adjusted gross incomes up to $95,000 for individuals and $170,000 for married couples (see phase out charts below)

  

  

Terms:

  • $7,500 tax credit is basically an interest free loan from Uncle Sam.
  • There is no application or approval process.
  • If you are eligible, you simply claim the tax credit when you do your 2008 or 2009 taxes (IRS form 1040).
  • Payment starts 2 years after you apply for the credit. 
  • Those qualifying for the full $7,500 tax credit will pay $500 once a year for 15 years.
  • If you receive less than the full credit your payment schedule will be 6.67% per year over 15 years.
  • Payment will be done via completing your federal tax return every year. 
  • You will owe nothing if you lose money on the sale of your home.  Also, regardless of the sale price, you will never have to pay money “out of your pocket”.   Here are 3 good examples that will better explain everything:
  1. Purchased a $200,000 home, sold 4 years later for $204,000.  At time of sale you still owed $6,500 on tax credit.  You would just have to pay $4,000.  The remaining $2,500 would be forgiven.
  2. Purchased a $200,000 home, sold 4 years later for $199,999.  At time of sale you still owed $6,500 on tax credit.  You lost money on your home purchase.  The entire remaining $6,500 balance would be forgiven.
  3. Purchased a $200,000 home, sold 4 years later for $225,000.  At time of sale you still owed $6,500 on tax credit.  You are responsible to pay the full $6,500 remaining balance.

Basic Q&A’s:

  • Are there restrictions on the location of the property?  Yes, property must be located in the United States.  Property outside the US is not eligible for the tax credit.
  • Are there restrictions related to the financing of the property?  Yes, if your financing is obtained via a mortgage revenue bond (example; a tax exempt bond related program from a state housing agency) then you will NOT be eligible for tax credit.
  • Are there any other types of financing restrictions?  No, all types of mortgage finance programs are eligible.  For example;  Conventional, FHA, VA, cash, sub-prime (boo hiss), non-conforming, etc.  Even cash purchases qualify as long as purchaser meets all other eligibility requirements listed above.
  • Are there minimum or maximum home purchase prices?  No, maximum home purchase price for tax credit.  Homes purchased under $75,000 will only receive 10% tax credit.  For example, Buyer purchases a $50,000 condo.  The maximum tax credit will be $5,000.
  • What types of housing qualifies for tax credit?  All types of home ownership qualifies.  For example, condos, co-ops, existing single family, new builds, manufactured homes, town homes, duplexes even houseboats!
  • What happens if I sell my home within 15 years?  You are not reading my post.  You are just “skimming” the article.  Review the last bullet point in terms section above.

I think the $7,500 tax credit is a great benefit for the first time homeowner.  If you meet eligibility requirements then you should really take advantage of this tax credit.

But, some home owners would say “What’s the big deal?  I still need to pay pay back the $7,500!”  I would tell you there are 2 very important things to consider:                                                            

Federal Bailout

Federal Bailout

  1. Basic economic principle called the “time value of money”.  Money now is more valuable than money in the future.  This principle is especially true now in this bad economy.  Cash is King!.  So, I guess my bachelors degree in Finance from the great Ohio State University was worthwhile.
  2. A tax credit is more valuable than a tax deduction.  A credit affects the tax amount you owe or refund amount dollar for dollar.  A tax deduction just reduces your adjusted income that is taxable.

IMPORTANT:  I’m just trying to help the “average Joe home owner” understand the $7,500 tax credit.  I have to put this CYA disclaimer in my post.  Please consult a tax professional for more details and eligibility questions regarding the $7,500 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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Not Really!…..But I made you take a second to review our informative blog.  The Homebuyer’s Advocate Blog could possibly be the best real estate blog in central Ohio.  But that is for our subscribers & readers to comment on, NOT us.  I’m playfully breaking one of the most important commandments of blogging.

Rule #1 of blogging, thou shall not blatantly self-promote. 

10,000 Views

10,000 Views!!!

In the last year, hopefully our readers & subscribers feel the Homebuyers Advocate has been an excellent resource for EVERYTHING real estate in Columbus, Ohio.  We had a goal of reaching 10,000 views within the first year.  We came extremely close to our goal.  But, we fell short by only 13 days.  Our new goal for next year is 50,000 views by the end of year two.

We’ve had some good exposure in the last year.   Homebuyer’s Advocate Blog was used as a reference for a Columbus Dispatch news article in May, 2008.  Andrew Show, Owner of Buyer’s Resource Realty Services was a guest speaker on WTVN 610 radio station.  Our most popular blog post on home warranties was recently used as a reference in the current issue (September, 2008) of national magazine publication, This Old House Magazine”.

Our mission statement for The Homebuyer’s Advocate Blog is to be the premier information resource for home owners in central Ohio with a primary focus on saving home owners money or preserving their equity/appreciation. 

If you are a home owner or potential home owner in Central Ohio our blog is a growing database of important news and information that you need to be aware of. 

If you take a second to review a few of our 37 blog posts, I bet you will find some information that will save you some money.

Good luck out there!

Be Informed, Subscribe NOW!

Home Buyer Advocate Mike

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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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Last week, The Homebuyer’s Advocate Blog was used as a reference for a  good article in the Columbus Dispatch by Jim Woods – Moldy Home Cost Builder $3 Million.

 

Jim put out a thorough follow up article about the moldy Maronda house and resulting lawsuit that has been in the news for the past few months. 

 

Our very popular blog post (over 500 views) in late February reported on the same Maronda issue – Maronda Home Verdict Cost Nearly $3.2 Million.

 

I especially liked the way Jim “touched” on the Reynoldsburg Building Department signing off the home.

 

The house passes all building code requirements, but yet the south side of the house was not attached to the foundation and was inadequately attached on the other three sides.  This was hilarious and sad all at the same time.

 

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person reading this article and saying “hmmm, how does that happen?”

 

How new homes pass building inspections & get occupancy permits is a mystery to most consumers & home owners.

 

I think the Columbus Dispatch has the start of whole other investigative exposé

 

I’ve heard many stories from experienced home inspectors that talk about the same problems and issues with homes passing building inspections.

 

For example, a home can pass plumbing & electrical inspections but yet have water leaks and no working lights.  There are two main reasons why these problems sometimes happen with building inspections.  First, many building inspectors just check to make sure homes are built to the correct specs, materials, items, hardware, clearances, etc.  As long as a home is built to the correct specs and material it could possibly pass a building inspection.  The second main reason why bad homes pass building inspections is human error.  This happens even in spite of pressurized plumbing checks and other tests on mechanical systems.

 

I think it is about time to stop beating a dead horse.  It is time to move past the issues of some new home builders in Central Ohio, like Maronda and Dominion homes. (Another Builder Casualty)  The last few years, their issues have been thoroughly documented in every type of media & press publication.  If you are an informed home buyer in Central Ohio then this is all old news.

 

The key phrase above is “if you are an informed home buyer“.  I’ve been an Exclusive (true) Buyer Broker since 1996.  I only represent residential and investor buyers.  I’m sorry to say that the definition of a truly informed home buyer varies greatly.  In most situations, a home buyer will spend only a few minutes researching the home buying process on the Internet sandwiched in between their favorite TV shows, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.  In one short evening a potential home buyer thinks they have thoroughly researched everything they need to know about the home buying process.

 

The reason this occurs so frequently is because researching on how to find the best representation possible for a home buyer is not fun and feels too much like work.  Home Buyers just want to look at beautiful pictures of fabulous homes.

 

The first and most important decision a home buyer needs to make is who will represent them, NOT which home they buy or what builder to use.  An Exclusive Buyer Broker (EBA) is the highest and best representation possible for any home buyer.  Would an EBA been able to protect the buyer that purchased the moldy Maronda home.  Maybe, yes or no.  There are no 100% guarantees in life.  A  true Buyer Broker (EBA) isn’t  always going to be a “Knight in Shining Armor”.  But, we are the best base or foundation of having a successful home buying transaction.

 

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

 

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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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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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