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mybuyerbrokerheadGood news, foreclosures in central Ohio fell drastically in 2013.  In the eight county central Ohio region (Franklin, Delaware, Licking, Union, Fairfield, Pickaway, Madison and Knox counties) foreclosures are nearly 15% less than the previous year.  Statewide foreclosures dropped 12 percent to the lowest level since 2006.

Columbus Dispatch Newspaper:  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2014/01/16/foreclosures-fall.html

Low foreclosure rates is great news.  But, overall inventory levels are now really low.  It looks like the upcoming Spring and Summer season will be a real estate market that will favor Sellers and not Buyers.

HomeBuyer Advocate Mike

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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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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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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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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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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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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I’ve been receiving a lot of good information from experienced lenders that I trust.  Everyone really needs to be aware of some drastic changes that will be occurring in 2008.  The sub-prime lending mess, declining real estate market and foreclosures in the past few years has finally starting to “trickle down” and will affect almost all potential home buyers.   In 2008 you will see a lot of changes to underwriting guidelines.  The good news is that FHA loans will be less affected than conventional loans.  The demand for FHA loans will probably increase in 2008.  The guidelines will be more strict.  For example:

*Conventional loan home buyers with a credit score of less than 680 and less than 30% down will see a significant increase in interest rates. 

*Home buyers putting less than 5% down and a credit score of 620 will be ineligible for mortgage insurance.  If you don’t qualify for mortgage insurance then you don’t qualify for the loan.  This is not rocket science!!!

*Mortgage insurance companies will also require appraisers to document if a home is in a increasing, stable or declining market.  If a home is in a declining market then a buyer putting less than 10% down and a credit score of 620 will be ineligible for mortgage insurance.

The problems in the lending market are really starting to take their toll on home buyers loan options.  Again, most of these changes will affect conventional loans and not FHA loans.  In 2008, FHA will incorporate a sliding scale for mortgage insurance rates based on credit score.  This sliding scale system is more of a “reward” for higher credit guide scores than a “punishment”.  As of right now, there are no major underwriting or pricing changes forecasted for FHA loans.  So if you’re a potential home buyer next year, it is now even more important to make sure you use a good, experienced lender.  Contact me if you need a reference for a good lender or if you have any further questions.

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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Yikes, times continue to be rough in the real estate market, especially for new home builders & lenders.  Yesterday another good builder in central Ohio closed its doors for good.  C.V. Perry & Co. has gone out of business due to serious financial troubles.

C.V. Perry & Co. was a good, solid builder that had been around for 60 years.  C.V. Perry “folding up” was not as unexpected as Centex Homes leaving the central Ohio          New Build Housemarket last year.  Centex Homes leaving our market was a total surprise to many people.  I’m pretty confident that C.V. Perry probably won’t be the last builder in central Ohio to call it quits or to be bought out by a competitor.

Hmmm, let me guess, maybe Dominion Homes might be the next fatality.  It seems like Dominion Homes has been hemorrhaging cash forever and has had a “ton” of lending problems  (see additional links below).  If you are new home buyer in this market please make sure you are protected.  You need to make sure you fully understand your builders deposit policy.  Don’t risk losing your deposit money.  Contact a real estate attorney ASAP if you have any questions.  Good Luck!

Additional info:

Dominion 5.9 million in red for 3rd quarter

M/I Homes post 21.7 million 3rd quarter loss

Dominion Homes sales drop nearly 25%

Beazer Homes report weak earnings

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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