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Since 1996,  I have viewed 1000’s of homes with Buyer(s) in Columbus, Ohio as their Exclusive Buyer’s Agent (EBA) and one question I continually get asked by my Buyer(s) is “how to fix squeaky floors?”

Squeaky floors are an annoying problem that can affect both newer and older homes.   Typically squeaky floors occur when your wood flooring (plywood sub-flooring or hardwood) dries out and shrinks.  The squeak you hear can either be your wood floors rubbing against your floor joists or the flooring nails have become a little loose.

The basic fix is usually just to screw the wood flooring to the joists.  But, If you have newer carpeting or hardwood floors then the fix is a little more complicated.

I discovered a few of low costs solutions that might work for most home owners.

  • Squeeeeek No More (could you add a few more “e’s”)
  • Squeek-Relief
  • Squeek Ender

All of these methods are very inexpensive (approximately $10 – $30) and not the hard to do for even for the most “home repair challenged” home owner.  You should be able to purchase these items online or at your local hardware store.

Check out the short videos below:

I have NOT used these products and I do NOT endorse them.  But, they appear to be a great, easy fix for a very frustrating problem.

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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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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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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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 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 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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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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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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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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