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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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I’ve been an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent (EBA) since 1996.  During this time, I’ve evaluated thousands of homes with my Buyer clients.   I’m constantly amazed at some of the stupid staging techniques that I’ve seen.  When done correctly, I think there is place for subtle home staging techniques.  But, I think 90% of home staging techniques creates a fake, phony home and is more of a distraction.  As an EBA that just represents home buyers, I’m constantly focused on home staging tricks that might be trying to hide a problem with a home such as, fresh-baked cookies or popcorn to hide mildew or moisture smells.

Here is the Top 10 list of “Stupid Home Staging Tricks”:

10. Playing mood music. Playing music to set the atmosphere in a home is not that ridiculous.  This is why mood music comes in at #10.    It is a little distracting when you are viewing a “blue-collar” home with “Mozart’s  Symphony No. 16 in C Major” playing in every room.  Many Sellers think playing music will create a relaxing and peaceful environment in their home.  But, many times the music is just distracting the potential buyer from the home.

9. Too many lit candles. A few candles are nice but don’t overdo it.  I’ve evaluated many homes where the Seller will have 5-6 lit candles in almost every room.  Fire Marshall Bill would say, “Let me show you something!”  This many lit candles are ridiculous, if not to say a fire hazard.

8. Plastic anything! Plastic anything is a big “no-no”.  You don’t want to stage your home with plastic cookies, cake, flowers, beverage, fruit, etc.  Using plastic props to stage your home is probably the most overused staging techniques.  New build model homes are the worst offenders of plastic prop staging.  Even Pamela Anderson would be embarrassed by the amount of plastic used in some model homes.

7. What’s up with this diagonal crap? A Professional stager will state that placing furniture on a diagonal, especially beds and couches is supposed to make a room seem bigger.  I think the theory of “diagonal staging” is debatable.  Even when it is done correctly, I really don’t think it makes the room bigger.  The first thing that I notice when I see a diagonal bed is how odd and fake this looks.  No one lives with their bed or couch on a diagonal.  I’ve had numerous Buyer clients ask me “What’s up with this diagonal furniture stuff?”

6. Where Art Thou? Hanging artwork on walls pose many different problems.  A big, fancy piece of artwork in a room will distract buyers from everything else in the room.  This is especially a problem if there are no other pictures, family photos or other artwork on the walls.  Incorrect artwork placement  just screams fake and phony.  Another artwork problem is “theming” (I thought I was making up a new word but this word actually does exist) of the rooms.  Every room in the house has one single recurrent artwork/picture theme (ocean, barn, flowers, forest/landscaping, etc.)

5. Full blown table place settings! Dining room tables or island counters set up to look like a 5 star Michelin restaurant.  Silk table mats, fancy silverware, napkins stuffed into glasses or napkins with rings, etc. is too over the top!  If your dining room table would make the Queen of England proud then it is probably not appropriate and looks fake.

4. Ribbon Envy! Avoid decorating your home with any ribbons or cords.  Tying ribbons around your towels on towel racks, decorative robes on curtain rods/drapes and shower curtains with big, huge ropes are all laughable.  No one wants to spend extra 10 minutes to take a shower by untying and tying shower curtain cords or tie backs.  You don’t live in King Henry’s castle.

3.  Cookbook. The open cookbook staged on a stand in the kitchen.  This is not your mother’s Home  Journal magazine from the 50’s.  Just as hilarious is the copies of wine or cigar connoisseur magazines right beside the cookbook on a stand.

2.  Breakfast tray. The breakfast tray on the bed with tumbled wine glasses.  Is the Seller thinking, “I had caviar and crumpets for breakfast this morning and I didn’t have time to put my breakfast tray away before showing my home.”  I’ve also never understood the staging of turned over glasses.  Some houses would even have plastic liquid coming out of the glass to resemble spilled milk or wine.  Why are these items in a stage home?  What’s next a whoopee cushion in a chair?

1.  Rose petals.  The #1 most stupid and outrageous staging technique that I’ve ever seen is rose petals everywhere in the filled bathroom tub along candles, wine bottles and glasses.  Luckily, we’ve only seen this staging technique once, but it was enough to easily make it number one on the list.  The house we viewed was actually a nice home with a great, updated kitchen and big back yard.  The house had everything my Buyer was looking for in a new home.  But, the only thing the Buyer ended up remembering was the crazy use of rose petals in the bathtub.

Home buyers need to be careful in our market.  When evaluating homes don’t be too distracted by tacky home staging techniques.  Obviously, I’m not a big fan of overblown home staging of homes.  My definition of home staging is fairly basic.  I think every Seller should remove clutter, clean their home, make all beds and pick up dirty underwear.  A Seller that tries to hide problems or defects in their home via home staging is a serious problem.  I addressed this issue in a previous blog post:  Problems With Staging Homes!

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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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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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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Last week there was a great article in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, “Independent Title Agents Sue”.  A group of small, independent title agents is petitioning the Ohio Supreme Court to STOP real estate brokers, banks, mortgage companies from steering business to affiliated title companies.

In a nutshell, the independent title agents are suing the Ohio Department of Insurance for failure to protect the consumer and to enforce state laws against what it calls “the spread of kickbacks and referral schemes in the real estate industry” (aka, affiliated business relationships).

Good news, Ohio law prohibits banks, real estate brokers and mortgage companies from being licensed title agencies.  But, since 1974 the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) has allowed affiliated business relationships.  In my opinion, overall RESPA has been great legislation that has helped protect the consumer.  But, RESPA really dropped the ball in regards to affiliated business relationships.

Let’s hope the independent title agents will be successful with their lawsuit.  I will keep you updated with future blog posts.  “Affiliated business relationships” are really bad for the consumer.  These relationships raise the cost of many title company fees with no benefits to the consumer.

In my opinion, if this lawsuit wins it could really open an “ugly door” into our state departments and agencies that are set up to monitor and regulate many industries, such as real estate, lending, financial securities and insurance.

The “average Joe citizen” would think these agencies are set up to protect the consumer.  But, in many times, the actions and decisions of these agencies have worked to protect the industry that they are monitoring more so than protecting the consumer.

We have been mixing “big business industry” with politics for years.  This has fostered an environment of “sleeping with the enemy” and/or “the fox is guarding the chicken coop”.

This is a dangerous mix of power, control and greed that has been dormant for a long time.  If this lawsuit is successful, hopefully it will expose other agencies and open up a lot more questions.

If you can’t tell by now, I am no proponent of “one stop shopping”.  The problems of affiliated business agreements are just a smaller component of the entire “one stop shopping” farce.

There is only ONE reason why big banks, insurance companies and/or real estate firms offer you the convenience of one stop shopping and that is profit and greed.  It will almost never be in your best interest to make a major financial decision on one stop shopping.

If you need to buy or sell a home in Central Ohio and you are thinking about using the largest real estate broker in our market to help with everything (real estate transaction, new loan, home warranty, title services, etc.) then you need to be really careful.  As Dr. Phil would say, “You need to get REAL” (or not real, if you know what I mean).

You need to do research and work to be a smart, informed consumer.  Shop around, make phone calls, get multiple estimates or quotes.  If you do your research you will make the best informed decision and you will be better off financially.

In my opinion, there has always been a public perception that the real estate industry has been notorious for kickback schemes and unethical referral arrangements.  Eliminating or better monitoring of affiliated business relationships/agreements will be a good start toward improving our public perception.  Let’s hope the Ohio Supreme Court can do the right thing! 

After we fix affiliated business relationships we will move onto stopping one stop shopping. heh, heh, heh!

Here are some related links:

Ohio Department of Insurance

Ohio Department of Commerce (Real Estate, Mortgage & Financial Securities)

Division of Financial Institutions

Division of Real Estate

Division of Securities

Be careful 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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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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