Exaggerated Listing Descriptions – Ann Arbor Real Estate Buying Expert Interview Published At CNBC, Bankrate

Being an expert involved with the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (naeba.org) has given me some interesting national exposure.

A month or so ago I spoke Jay MacDonald of Bankrate.com about the exagerations we see in the listing information. As the Ann Arbor company who represents BUYERS ONLY we focus on being truthful and pointing out the nagatives of homes as well as the positives.

As a result of that interview author Jay MacDonald wrote the piece for Bankrate.com and it has been picked up by quite a few websites and mentioned on almost a thousand webpages. Here is an excerpt:

Most homebuyers have encountered a “lying listing” — the house for sale that doesn’t even remotely resemble its colorful description in the Multiple Listing Service or classified ad.

“The only thing that would ‘stun’ anybody about the house was how bad the previous owner did the work to ensure that every room would need to be redone,” Boyd chuckles. “I don’t know what was going through the listing agent’s mind to say that.”Jon Boyd, an exclusive buyer’s agent and broker for The Home Buyer’s Agent in Ann Arbor, Mich., recently showed a self-described “stunner” to one of his clients.

Presenting all homes, even the nightmares, in the best possible light is part of the listing agent’s job, of course. Most buyers know this and view colorful descriptions with a healthy skepticism.

Here is a link to the full article: ‘Lying Listings’

If you are interested in buying the best home at the best price, call our office to schedule a no-obligation meeting to talk about your needs and how we can help you. 734-662-6240

And don’t forget to visit our Ann Arbor real estate webpage.

The Ann Arbor MLS System Is Going Crazy Today!

It is funny how much we depend on technology in the Ann Arbor real estate business these days.

About an hour ago I started having problems with our MLXchange system. (That is the database of property used by the Ann Arbor Area Board of REALTORS.)

Today the MLXchange system was crashing a lot when I tried to look at some detailed property listings. To the point is was almost unusable. So I decided to take a break and catch up on some email.

Just now I received an automated email of a price reduction that sounded too good to be true. It is a West Ann Arbor home that would be priced around $245,000 and the price noted was $125,000. So, I pulled up the complete data and sure enough it looked like there was a big price reduction.

Well the listing agent is someone I work with a lot and she is normally very professional. As I looked at it closer something didn’t make sense so I decided to call her and see if it was just a typo she would want to fix.

It turns out she knows nothing about a price reduction! It would appear that the MLXchange system reduced the price without human intervention!

Rant – They call themselves “buyer agents” but they are still missing the point!

I just read an interesting post here on Active Rain on the private “Member Only” side. It was about a real estate agent bringing in an offer from a buyer and trying to get the listing agent to respond in a professional way.

This is certainly a common problem in many markets, fortunately here in Ann Arbor it is the rare exception.

But in that post, the agent talks about trying to get the buyer to make a higher first offer. And out of about 50 responses none of the regular real estate agents even questions that effort.

Now it is important to understand that every negotiation and every transation is different. So there  may be times when it is appropriate for a buyer’s agent to suggest a buyer make a higher initial offer. But, in today’s market that situation is not the norm.

If you are a buyer and you have NEGOTIATING POWER in the form of OTHER OPTIONS, then your best strategy may be totally different than what all those regular real estate agents naturally want you to do.

Another Ann Arbor Real Estate Buyer Gets “The Big Lie” From a Local Agent

I received another call yesterday from a frustrated home buyer.

This young man had been working with a real estate agent from one of the big five firms here and he really felt he wasn’t getting his questions answered. He wasn’t even sure he knew what questions he should be asking.

He did make sure to tell me he didn’t have any written agreement with her so he wanted me to know he didn’t have an obligation. I found that interesting because he told me she was being her “buyer agent.”

Here is the thing:

The big offices in our market don’t allow buyer agency. They only offer dual/designated agency services.

And they can’t be designated buyer agents without a written contract.

So he was told she was “on her side” but she wasn’t. In fact she was being a seller’s agent or a dual agent every step of the way.

Did the agent even know the difference?

It doesn’t matter, the broker should know the difference. And some brokerages in our market seem to routinely ignore the legal requirements to the peril of the consumer. And our local association and our state association seem to even encourage this behavior.

That is unfortunate, but at least in this one case the buyer will now be helped by the Ann Arbor real estate company who will treat them honestly and advocate in their best interests.

If you are looking to buy a home and you want a real estate company that will always be on your side, in your corner, and looking out for you, call us.
734-662-6240

Jon Boyd Broker/Manager
The Home Buyer’s Agent of Ann Arbor, Inc.
1908 W. Stadium Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

We serve the Ann Arbor – Brighton – Plymouth – Novi – Canton – Ypsilanti areas in Southeastern Michigan.

And we can guarantee that you will never be stuck with designated agency, dual agency, or non-agency.

Hey Professionals! How About Intelligent File Names For Scanned Documents?

Hey Real Estate Professionals –

How about we all start to use some intelligent, useful, time-saving file names for all the scanned documents we are passing back and forth these days?

Here is the problem:

Every day I receive documents from lenders, title companies and other agents/brokers that are labeled things like “scan.pdf”, “document.pdf”, or “QTEhome.pdf”, or “FAX34234.pdf. None of which help me know what the document is.

Here is a recommendation:

If you start the file name with the eight digit date code it will self-sort in your “downloads” file or where ever it ends up on your computer. And the date is very helpful in locating information on transactions some point in the future.

If you then add either the name of the street the property is on or the name of the consumer, it will be much easier to recognize what transaction it is related to. I normally try to add both.

Finally, if you include one or two words that would uniquely identify it by purpose that becomes very helpful also.

Here is an example:

20100225WilsonMapleFinancingRemoval.pdf

A Delightful Meeting with a Window Replacement Contractor

It is funny what you learn and when you learn it in the real estate business. As an exclusive buyer agent I’ve been been in thousands of homes with new or updated windows. In fact window discussions are very common for us because it does have a significant impact on the quality of living in a home. I know a lot about windows. But I learned a bit more today.

As it turns out my wife and I are looking at doing some remodelling and we met a window contractor at our house today. I’ve worked with a lot of contractors over the years and probably met with a dozen or so just in the last month for one thing or another.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Connie Moore of Wallside Windows. Wallside was referrred to us by one of my past home buyer clients who had them do some work ten years ago.

Now understand that these are not luxury windows. I love the Pella product with the built-in blinds. I like a lot of the premium windows that I see when I show homes. These are not premium windows. Wallside focuses on vinyl replacement windows. These are basic, energy efficient, windows which are guaranteed for 35 years. (And the company is actually old enough that the guarantee means something.)

National and State associations of REALTORS falsely Misleading Consumers on agency

As time goes by a lot of good information can get lost on the internet. This is a press release from NAEBA in August of 2004 that covers the intentional effort of many state REALTOR associations (Including ours here in Michigan) to confuse and mislead buyers about agency.

It is clear enough and important enough that I wanted to reproduce a few of the paragraphs here so when the topic comes up again it is easy to find.

Insider Trading Within the Real Estate Industry? – The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) Points to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and State Realtor Associations for Falsely Misleading Consumers

N.J., Aug. 25 2004 /PRNewswire/ — Claiming that most National Association of REALTORS(R) members (Traditional Agents who often try and claim to represent both sellers and buyers in the same transaction), are infringing on the trust of real estate buyers by falsely claiming to be “Exclusive Buyer Agents,” the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents wants to set the record straight.

“In a nutshell,” says Andrew Show, NAEBA president, “NAR and many of its state REALTOR associations have promulgated a falsification falsification of the truth by claiming that real estate buyers are getting `exclusive buyer representation’ when, in fact, these buyers are simply giving an `exclusive compensation agreement’ to that particular Real Estate Company.”

Show explains that NAR’s promotion of “exclusive buyer representation” has little to do with how the buyer is represented. NAR’s deliberate misuse of this terminology, however, has misled consumers by confusing them into thinking that they are getting exclusive buyer representation with an Exclusive Buyer Agent on every purchase, when, in fact, the consumers are not receiving these specialized services. These misrepresentations that go on in the real estate industry are more massive and widespread than recent corporate scandals that have received so much media attention. This malpractice has detrimentally affected buyers and sellers for over a decade. Show also explains that the misleading representation lies in the fact that many groups use terms such as “Exclusive Buyer Agent,” “Exclusive Buyer Agency,” or “Exclusive Buyer Agency Contract,” yet these same groups do not truly engage in the professional behaviors inherent in these definitions — protection, negotiations, advocacy, no conflicts of interest, and fiduciary representation to and for that buyer, exclusively.

“Very simply, `exclusive buyer agent’ means that a real estate professional and their company is dedicated solely – exclusively – to the rights of the home buyer, not the seller, during a real estate transaction,” says Show. “This means that exclusive buyer agents and exclusive buyer agencies never represent the seller’s property listing. Never! “A seller will sign an `Exclusive Right To Sell Listing Contract’ which has nothing to do with Agency or Representation. That is clarified in a completely separate document. No Realtor would ever refer to this as an `Exclusive Seller Agency Agreement!’ So why does NAR treat buyers like second- class citizens?” Show wonders. Show cites an example of an Ohio real estate company that refers to their buyer agency agreement as an Exclusive Buyer Agency Contract. “Yet the only thing exclusive about it is the fact that the buyer must purchase through that real estate company during the term of the agreement,” says Show. “It has nothing to do with representing the buyer’s best interests exclusively.” “Consumers must be aware of these all-too-prevalent falsifications. Consumers who are aware are now demanding full representation by a true EBA” states Show.

For more information about obtaining representation from a true EBA such as NAEBA, visit their website at http://www.naeba.com.

When it comes to closing fees do you have a “Gutless” buyer’s agent?

A lot of real estate agents in our markets these days say they are buyer’s agents. (Most are actually designated buyer agents but that is a different issue.)

However in our experience few agents will actually help a buyer negotiate anything other than the purchase contract on the house.

Here is an example of negotiating for the buyer’s benefit with respect closing costs, specifically title company services:

Twice this month listing offices have wanted to close at their related title company. I sometimes have a problem with this which puts me in a position opposite the listing office and the title company.

First, the financial relationship should be disclosed. It rarely is.*

We’ve Signed a Contract With a Michigan Solar Panel Installer

This is from a press release last month:

Select Solar And Generator, a Michigan solar panel installer, has signed a contract to design, install, and commission a solar roof for Jon Boyd, a local home buyer’s broker and nationally recognized home buying expert. The installation will have the ability to provide virtually all the electric power needed for Boyd’s 1966 country ranch home.

“This seems like a great match.” said Mike Cooley, Michigan area solar installer for Select Solar And Generator. “Boyd has an electrical engineering degree and has played with solar cells since he was a young child. That, combined with his knowledge of home financing, home construction, and the amazing value with the utility and tax credits, and it is no wonder he is excited.”

The Ann Arbor home is served by DTE Energy and a significant portion of the solar photovoltaic system installation costs will be covered by DTE’s SolarCurrents program.

What is the difference between Buyer Agency and Designated Buyer Agency?

This question comes up often. I’ve never found a consumer who understood it and the vast majority of real estate agents and brokers I’ve spoken to don’t really understand it either.

After years of teaching it in home buyer classes I’ve found that diagrams make it much easier to understand.

The other thing to understand is that a consumer’s legal relationship is always with the broker or brokerage, never with the salesperson directly. In fact, it is illegal for a salesperson to take compensation directly from a consumer. The relationship is with the brokerage and any compensation must be paid to the brokerage.

Here is a diagram of Buyer Agency:

BuyerAgencyChart

Note the buyer is blue, and everybody in the real estate office is also blue. They all represent the buyers and have requirements of loyalty and full disclosure to the buyers.

Here is Designated Buyer Agency:

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