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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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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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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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Finally a good article that fully explains everything the consumer needs to know about buyer agents.  Broderick Perkins with deadlinenews.com has put out one of the best articles that I could find explaining the differences among “so called” buyer agents.  Fake Buyer Agents have always been a problem for the average home buyer.  Hopefully, similar articles will follow in the future.  Watch out and good luck out there!

 

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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Another “somewhat” good article about buyer’s agents popped up over the weekend in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.  Buyer’s agents work on clients behalf, using one can help bring a better deal on home purchase.  This story was written by Mary Ellen Slayter of The Washington Post.  Mary has a decent history of writing informative articles (for example, Watching Out for You, the Buyer) that help educate home buyers and explain the virtues of using a buyer’s agent.

But, like many writers, Mary’s articles fall  short of providing accurate information.  Mary’s main sources and references in her articles are mainly tainted by traditional  real estate agents and organizations that are trying to promote the real estate industry in general, and NOT really promoting true buyer advocacy.  The most important issue for any potential home buyer is to first find a qualified Exclusive (true) Buyer Agent (EBA).  Articles like Mary’s do more harm than good because they don’t clearer state the important differences between a traditional real estate buyer agent and an Exclusive Buyer Agent.

Many traditional buyer agents will sell homes and take listings.  This creates a huge, conflict of interest to any home buyer and exposes them to being “sold” properties by their so called buyer agent instead of their buyer agent being their advocate and adviser.  Almost all Exclusive (true) Buyer Agent have access to all homes in their market but they do NOT SELL homes or take listings at all!  An Exclusive Buyer Agent is the highest, best representation possible for any home buyer.

Many traditional buyer agents are just using the “title” to try and capture business.  Mary’s suggestion for finding a buyer agent, “Another way to find a buyer’s agent is to visit open houses” is probably one of  the most negligent and craziest suggestions that I’ve ever heard.  Home buyers should start at the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) if they are trying to find a good, qualified buyer agent.  Good luck!

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike 

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Staging homes is really “storming” the real estate industry.  In the past few years, staging homes has become an increasingly growing “cottage” industry within the real estate market.  In 2007, The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) surveyed their  brokers & agents and found that 82% of the respondents stated that buyers were likely to get distracted from important issues when viewing a  staged home.  In addition, 51% of the respondents noted that staged homes often cover up Home Interiormajor defects and structural damage.  NAEBA is a small, international, professional trade organization that works to represent the best interests of the real estate buyer.  A recent article by columnist Blanche Evans with Realty Times ATTACKED NAEBA’s position on home staging.  Blanche’s article is one of the most biased pieces of journalism that I’ve ever read!   In Blanche’s article she states that “NAEBA is a spoilsport when it comes to staging homes” and NAEBA’s position on staging is SILLY and can possibly do serious damage”  Blanche’s article continues the trend of “old school”, traditional real estate brokers, insiders, agents, etc. that just don’t get it.  Blanche’s article is just preposterous!!!

OK, let’s try and help all the “confused” Blanche’s in the world.  First of all, Blanche is correct that a home-buyer’s decision (right or wrong) to purchase a home is always going to be based on three factors:  emotional, practical and financial.  A buyer agent’s responsibility is to properly advise their clients not to rely too heavily on the emotional aspect of buying a home.  As buyer agent’s, we believe our home-buyers decision process should be ranked:  financial, practical and then emotional.  The sole intention of staging a home is to get the buyer emotionally attached to a home.  So, why attack the “spoilsports” at NAEBA?                  Vase

There is nothing wrong with staging homes.  Right now, staging homes is “red hot”.  In the past, staging homes was limited more to higher end properties.  Not anymore, sellers can spend a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars to stage their homes.  Done the right way, staging a home is another excellent way for the seller to market their home.  But, I have no doubt, that the increased emphasis and “frenzy” on more elaborate ways to stage homes will definitely increase abuse and deception by the sellers.  Sellers will be more likely to try to hide defects in their home through staging options.  For example:

It is OK to add small furniture to make rooms appear bigger, but NOT OK to position furniture to hide holes in the walls or termite damage.

It is OK to play soothing, pleasant music as long as you are not trying to hide, “clangy” plumbing pipes.

It is OK to have cookies baking and pleasant smells as long as you are not trying to hide dingy mildew/mold smells.

It is OK to add a nice, expensive rug as long as you are not hiding a stain in the carpet or damaged wood flooring.

All the examples above are based on a seller NOT disclosing these issues or problems in a state required disclosure form (if applicable).  Most states require sellers to provide a disclosure form to potential buyers.

It is a buyer’s agent responsibility to protect their clients by uncovering issues or problems that are listed above in the examples.  I do not want to diminish the responsibilities and duties of the buyer’s agent.  But as staging becomes more prevalent then deception by sellers is going to occur no matter who the buyers have protecting them.

I can GUARANTEE you that the increased emphasis on more complex and elaborate home staging will increase the number of sellers trying to hide major issues that they should have disclosed (ethically and legally).

”So, be careful out there” – Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, Hill Street Blues

Now let’s end this post on a lighter note.  The all time FUNNIEST home staging mistake that our office has seen was when a seller left a ”porn” tape on a bookshelf right below their framed picture of the Ten Commandments.  No joke, this funny staging “faux pas” did actually occur with one of our agents and their buyer client.  Post a comment to this blog post, if you have a funny or deceptive staging story that you would like to share.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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 Television

In 2000,  we won FIRST PLACE in the television advertising category for a medium/small real estate firm in the State of Ohio.  The advertising & promotion contest was  Blue Ribbon  sponsored by the Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR).  These television commercials were conceived & produced in Central Ohio by a good friend of mine who is in advertising.  We produced these commercials for the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA).  NAEBA is our professional trade organization.  I hope you enjoy these spots.  I am really proud of the commercials.  I think the messages of these commercials are very powerful.  Today’s home buyer really has to question their “so called” buyers agent’s loyalty, competency and advocacy.  The home buyer really has to be aware of their agents duties and required disclosures to them or LACK OF!  The 30 second spots are funny, informative and controversial.

Cannonball II   http://youtube.com/watch?v=agN7p1lGvtQ  

(This is not a clip of that great Burt Reynolds sequel movie in the 70’s – Cannonball Run)

Problem             http://youtube.com/watch?v=1c15qPWkAz8

Flight Path        http://youtube.com/watch?v=1ASHpSARguU 

Watercooler      http://youtube.com/watch?v=5OR8JSETKVs 

SOB                   http://youtube.com/watch?v=C1KfYDx_DAI  

Thinking            http://youtube.com/watch?v=mTaiJqGDmPg   

Hounds              http://youtube.com/watch?v=cKFtTGCzHJ0   

Cannonball        http://youtube.com/watch?v=1xD37nhebGU     

In the future I hope to have more home buyer advocate clips on my main youtube site:

http://youtube.com/profile?user=OSUMike64

Ohio Association of Realtors Award Certificate 

I hope you enjoyed these funny, informative spots.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

 

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Great News!  The Federal Reserve (Fed) on Tuesday had a bigger than expected drop in the federal funds rate.  The aggressive drop will really help the local real estate Market Chartmarket.  Lenders in central Ohio now have approximate 30 year mortgage rates in the “low” 6% range.  Many “so called” experts predict additional lower adjustments by the Fed over the next three to nine months.

In my opinion, in 2008 we will see many loan program rates between 5.50% – 5.99%.  The low rates and Buyer’s (slow) market continue to make it a great opportunity to purchase a new home. 

Current homeowners should continue to watch the mortgage rates to see if it would be advantageous to refinance their mortgage.  You can click here to check your local mortgage rates.  If you have questions about possibly refinancing then I would recommend that you contact your mortgage originator/lender or your Buyer agent for more help and information.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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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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