Are The REALTOR Property Photos Real?

There is a lot of conversation inside the industry right now on listing agents doing photo editing on their listing photos.

Some photo editing can really be mis-leading, but some can actually be useful for us on the buying end.

The comment I commonly hear from our buyer clients is: “that room sure looked larger from the photos online!” Just heard that yesterday as a matter of fact.

I see a lot of photos where the listing agent has edited a fire into the fireplace. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Here is a promotional page for a company that does photo editing for real estate agents: https://www.tourdrop.com/virtual-staging/

There is another page on the same site that offers a slider so you can compare before and after on the same photo: https://www.tourdrop.com/before-after/

Here is a virtual staging example from this same company. TourDrop.Com:

Actual home’s dining room.

Virtually Staged Dining room

What do you think?

If you are interested in a buyer’s agent’s view on actual staging here is a report our national association did a couple years ago that talks about staging and how home buyers need to look beyond the staging to properly evaluate a home: http://naebareports.org/200708142151StagingReport.pdf

Jacuzzi / Bubble tub cleaning. Often overlooked.

We recently helped a couple purchase a home with a nice bathroom featuring a separate tub and shower. And the tub was what we call a spay tub, whirlpool tub, jetted tub or a bubble tub. A popular manufacturer for these tubs is the Jacuzzi company. But not all of these tubs are Jacuzzi. So as professionals we need to be clear with our descriptions.

After being on dozens of inspections of homes with these tubs we can tell you most homeowners don’t do the recommended cleaning. So when an inspector fills the tub with water and turns it on a whole bunch of dried crud sprays out into the water.

On one recent inspection the crud was all in a semi circular shape so the buyers at one point thought they were dead worms. It wasn’t pretty.

In this video you can see the gunk left in the tub after the water was drained out.

WE SERVE HOME, CONDO, AND VACANT LAND BUYERS IN WASHTENAW COUNTY. WE ALSO SERVE LIVINGSTON, WESTERN OAKLAND, AND WESTERN WAYNE COUNTIES, INCLUDING: ANN ARBOR, BELLEVILLE, BEVERLY HILLS, BINGHAM FARMS, BIRMINGHAM, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, BRIGHTON, CANTON, CHELSEA, COMMERCE, COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, DELHI, DEXTER, DIXBORO, DOVER, FARMINGTON, FARMINGTON HILLS, FRANKLIN, GREEN OAK, HAMBURG, HARTLAND, HIGHLAND, HOWELL, HUDSON MILLS, KEEGO HARBOR, LIMA CENTER, LOCH ALPINE, LODI TOWNSHIP, MANCHESTER, MILAN, MILFORD, NORTHVILLE, NOVI, NOVI TOWNSHIP, PLYMOUTH, PINCKNEY, RAWSONVILLE, SALEM, SALINE, SCIO, SCIO TOWNSHIP, SHARON, SHARON HOLLOW, SOUTH LYON, SUPERIOR, WALLED LAKE, WEBSTER, WEST BLOOMFIELD, WHITMORE LAKE, WHITTAKER, WILLIS, WILLOW RUN, WIXOM, WOLVERINE LAKE, YPSILANTI. THIS INCLUDES AREAS NEAR THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN AND EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY.

New Construction Paint Quality Issues

In this first video we see a mostly finished bathroom in a high end home after the painting contractors have just finished. Unfortunately the quality of the painting work is sub-standard.

I don’t think the builder was going to be upset about this as the paint issues aren’t always visible depending on the time of day and the lighting at the time.

At home inspections it is prudent to take a high powered flashlight and shine it parallel to the wall. (A thorough home inspector will typically do this at some point, but normally won’t go through the whole house like this.) The beam of light from the parallel flashlight makes drywall and paint defects show up that might not be visible with the normal lighting in the home during a builder’s walk-through.

Why You Need An Exclusive Buyers Agent When You Purchase A Condo

Most real estate agents in our market will be happy to help you buya property and they will call themselves a “buyer’s agent”. Even though legally they are usually either an undisclosed dual agent or a designated buyer’s agent.

Setting aside the technical language what we usually see is the same “sales” focus these companies have always had. And that includes the typical home inspection discussion.

Often these real estate agents will tell a buyer an inspection isn’t needed on a condominium or they will give the buyer a few names of some “quick and easy” home inspectors.

Often those inspectors won’t inspect the attic of condominiums because the attic is normally the responsibility of the condo association, not the individual buyer.

However, in our experience, it is always good for the buyer to have the inspector go up into the condo attic.

This video illustrates the point. Some insulation was removed from an area, probably when the home was built, and that not only wastes energy, it also would make that area of the room colder.

We negotiated to have the seller have this corrected and most home buyers would have never known because they wouldn’t have had that area of the home inspected.

If you are planning to buy a condo in Ann Arbor or Novi or Wolverine Lake or anywhere in between, give us a call. We are the top exclusive buyer’s agent in the area and we would be happy to speak to you about your needs.

Lightning Strike Causes Yard Fire

In the summer of 2017 I witness one of those really strange occurances. A lightning strike set the neighbor’s yard on fire. Or at least that is what it looked like.

It turned out the lighting current went out into the yard via the steel gas line and it actually ignited a gas line fire in the front yard.

This week I spoke to a DTE technician who said they see those about every summer. Fortunately no one was hurt, it just brought some extra excitement to the neighborhood till the DTE crew could come out, dig up the yard, and shut off the gas.

Luxury Home Chimney In Need of Major Repair

We were helping a university professor and family purchase a home on Ann Arbor’s East side a while back. The home was very nicely maintained, so this was a real surprise.

This home is about 60 years old and you can tell by the size and style of the chimney that it is a larger home that was very expensively built.

There are similar homes in many of the nicer Detroit Suburbs like Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, and Brimingham.

This inspector, Richard Becker, was great example of someone who focused totally on the buyer’s side. He didn’t care what the real estate agents said or thought. In fact he felt home buyers should never take an inspector recommendation from a real estate agent. (That was before he met us, because we only recommend buyer focused inspectors.)

Unfortunately Richard Becker retired, but we do have other buyer-focused inspectors!

Time-Lapse video or a roof replacement

Here is a video of a full roof replacement.

This was a ~1,500 square foot home with long overhangs and a large 2.5 car garage so the total roof area was about 3,000 square feet.

Since we have witnessed hundreds of home inspections we know that roofing is an area where contractors often take short-cuts. In some cases the roof shingle manufacturer won’t warrant the shingles if they are not installed per the manufacturer’s instructions.

We were under contract to purchase a home in Dexter Michigan once where the builder lied multiple times about how the roof was constructed, then the listing agent misrepresented what the county building inspector said all to convince the buyer to accept a defective roof. Our buyer didn’t buy that house, but somebody did.

I also personally witness a home in Canton Michigan where the installers where not using tar paper under the shingles because they know nobody was watching them. (It is a building code requirement.)

On this roof you can see the installers shingle up in a diagonal pattern. This is correct. It can be a bit faster for the roofer to roof up in columns, a process referred to ask “racking”, but that makes the roof more susceptible to leaking and often makes the shingle pattern a bit ugly.

This video shows a quality two layer total tear off and new roof install on an Ann Arbor home. The contractor (AANA Contracting out of Canton Michigan) was chosen after evaluating bids from a number of different contractors. As a top Exclusive Buyer’s Agent for the Ann Arbor area I’ve seen hundreds of home inspections and huge variations in quality of work. I’ve become a bit opinionated and picky on roofing quality.

This contractor used quality materials and expert labor, and took the time to do a quality job.

Michigan Down Payment Resources – Always A Good Topic!

If you are curious what kind of downpayment help might be available for you, we have a service that will search the various current Michigan programs available. We have helped quite a few buyers over the years with the different assistance programs.

They can be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Down payment assistance
  2. Beneficial options on the mortgages.
  3. Tax related benefits.

Usually you be eligible to  receive these benefits if you haven’t owned a home in the last three years.

There is often a limit on household income and there are often limits to the locations with many of these programs. For example there usually more options in rural areas like Chelsea, Hartland, or Manchester than there are in areas like Ann Arbor or Plymouth.

There are some scam sites offering this type of service, our source is legit.

Here is a link to our source:

We are the top buyer agent brokerage in South Eastern Michigan. If you are looking for an exclusive buyers agency, (Exclusive Buyer’s Agent) we would love to talk to you!

Common Lazy Builder Mistake: Brick Lintels

In this video our agent Laura Degiovanni discusses a common problem we see on new construction where a builder takes a shortcut that gets past the municipal inspector. It typically doesn’t become a problem until long after the builder is gone, but by saving on $10 worth of materials and a half hour of labor it can cause a problem that can take hundreds of dollars to fix. That problem is unpainted or improperly painted lintels. The steel leaves the factory with a dark red primer. But the building code calls for steel to have a coat of actual paint, not primer, when the home is finished and delivered to the buyer. Fortunately, with the help of various private home inspectors, we’ve been able to get builders to do the right thing and properly paint the lintels. Laura has helped many buyers with the new construction and custom build process. Call us if you would like 100% loyal help with your home buying adventures at 734-662-6240.

Found & Negotiated: Closet Hiss Mystery

We recently helped a luxury condo buyer and during the home inspection the buyer noticed a mysterious hiss sound in the hallway to the master bathroom. Between the buyer’s sensitive ears, the inspector’s curiosity and our thermal imaging camera, we were able to locate the source of the problem the current owner had lived with for the past 5 years. When the original builder installed the closet shelving a worker screwed some of the mounting hardware right through the exhaust line for the high efficiency power vent hot water heater. Once we identified the problem we used these videos to convince the seller and the listing agent of the issue and we were able to get the seller/builder to open up the wall, patch the hole, then patch and paint the wall. If you are interested in having a real estate company work for you with 100% loyalty when you buy your luxury condo give us a call. We would be happy to find out about your needs and how we can help you! 734-662-6240

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