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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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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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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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Taxes

Taxes

Franklin County has a great automated monthly prepay system for paying your real estate taxes that will pay you interest.  The Franklin County Treasurer will pay the “average Joe” home owner the same interest rate that the Treasurer earns on its multi-million dollar portfolio.  This is really a groundbreaking achievement for the Franklin County Treasurer’s office.  The Treasurer sought and obtained a change in state law that allowed them to pay interest on monthly tax payments by home owners.  Banks are still NOT allowed to pay interest on escrow accounts that collect property tax payments.

The interest rate that you can earn from the Treasurer’s office will be a better rate than most short-term bank accounts (checking, savings or money market accounts).  For example, in 2007, the Treasurer’s interest rate fluctuated between 3.5% – 5.5%.  Last year, I had a so called “high yield money market account” with an investment company that only earned between 1.75% – 2.25%.  I think the Treasurer’s new monthly prepay system for real estate taxes that also pays interest is a first-rate service.   Many homeowners in Franklin County are not even aware of this service.

A  Franklin County home owner could possibly earn a couple hundred dollars a year.   For example, a $265,000 home in Franklin County with yearly real estate taxes of $5,000 a year would have approximately earned $200 – $220 in an interest credit for 2007. The interest that you earn will be credited back against your real estate taxes, to LOWER your taxes!  To get more info, you can visit the Franklin County Treasurer web site.  The process is very simple and easy to set up.  You just have to fill out one simple form.

If you are currently escrowing your real estate taxes with your lender then you will need to check with your lender to see if you are eligible to stop the escrow of real estate taxes.  Most lenders will allow you to stop escrowing for real estate taxes if you have 20% – 30% equity.  But, every bank has different policies and procedures, so before you do anything make sure you first check with your mortgage lender.  You want to make sure you are eligible and there are no fees or costs involved to stop escrowing for your real estate taxes.

As of right now, Franklin County is the only local county in central Ohio that offers this great service.  If you have questions, you can contact The Treasurer’s office for more information  (614) 462-7515. 

I think this is a wonderful service by our Treasurer’s office.  A great benefit for being a home owner in Franklin County.  You have the “worry free” convenience of automatic monthly payments of your real estate taxes that also pays you a great short term interest rate that you probably can’t get at any bank.  And best of all, the Treasurer’s program is FREE.  There is no fee or set up charge to join the program.

Shake Down!

Shake Down!

Don’t let the “Tax Man” shake you down!   Click here for other possible ways to reduce your property taxes and/or save some “greenbacks”! 

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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