Category : Home Buying

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:


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

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:


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:

What is wrong with this picture? Why have an inspection?

So often we talk with real estate agents who question the choice of inspectors or question the reasons for even having an inspection.

As the company that represents buyers in our area I am not surprised. But sometimes I see an issue so obvious I think that anyone in the business should be able to identify it.

Here is one such photo:


Unless you are in your first year in this business you should really see one obvious and one more subtle defect with this installation.

And, we rely on home inspectors to find and document these types of concerns and since both of them are safety related, they may be worth discussing with a home seller for a credit or repair by a licensed contractor.

If you are a buyer considering who to use as a buyer’s agent or a designated buyer’s agent, you may want to make sure those you are considering have enough knowledge of homes to discuss topics like this with you.

Jon Boyd Broker/Manager
The Home Buyer’s Agent of Ann Arbor, Inc
1905 Pauline Blvd. Suite 1 
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
We serve the Ann Arbor – Brighton – Plymouth – Novi – Canton – Ypsilanti – Saline – Chelsea – Dexter – Novi – Northville areas in Southeastern Michigan.

News on Solar’s impact on value from the Appraisal Institute

As a local expert on solar homes I was pleased to see the Appraisal Institute announced their conclusion on the topic of solar’s impact on property valuation:

Solar Electric Systems Positively Impact Home Values

To determine the actual number for the value impact is not an easy task. And, it has very little connection with what the homeowner paid for the solar system, just like anything unique thing a home owner does to their home.

But at least appraisers now have a tool to use to get a handle on the impact of a solar system on a home’s value.

The Appraisal Institute worked with scientists at Sandia Laboratories to pin down some data that an appraiser can collect from the homeowner or the installer of a system. Inserting these numbers in to an online spreadsheet can pop out a dollar amount that the system might contribute to the home’s value.

The tool is usable for both photovoltaic (PV) solar, (Which generates electrical power) and solar thermal water heating, which is typically used for domestic hot water, but can be used for domestic space heating in extreme installations.

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Why Would You Intentionally Bring Cold Winter Air Into A Home?

Especially when it is -15 degrees F. outside?
This is a discussion that almost always comes up with home buyers, either on a detailed viewing of a home or during a home inspection.

Systems that bring in this air are typcially called make-up-air systems or outside combustion air systems.

And they are a building code requirement on newer homes.

And as I write this the make-up-air system in my home is pulling in lots of frigid outside air to my furnace room.

And this is the way it should be.
The steel triangular device here is a vent bringing in outside air. (Yes, that is ~15 inches of snow on the ground.)

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