Category : Home Inspection

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.

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.

Broker Weasel Clauses

This year we’ve seen a disturbing trend reappear.

Here is what I experienced at a closing yesterday:

At a closing the title company asked the buyers to sign a hold harmless agreement that stated the buyer will not ever sue the real estate brokers for anything. That is what we call a broker weasel clause. The listing brokers have asked title companies to put that clause in the closing documents to take away a buyer’s rights after closing.
In fact this is re-negotiating the relationship between the buyer and the real estate companies involved.
These weasel clauses show up as parts of other normal closing documents.

There was even one company a few years ago, Greco Title, who wanted the purchaser to indemnify the title company against legal action brought against them buy the seller or others.

We feel this is both crazy and offensive.

The title company should not be re-negotiating the contracts between the buyer and the real estate companies at closing. Most buyers are not prepared to argue these items and it is totally inappropriate for them to have to.

If you as a buyer refuse to sign these inappropriate documents the title company will back down. They have no right to force you to sign that.

In the closing yesterday the title company checked with their legal department after I objected and they were happy to scratch out that paragraph.
Here is example wording from one we saw recently:

“Purchasers hereby relsease the real estate broker and their agents from any claim whatsoever wtih regard to the condition of the herein described premises.”

This issue should have been covered in the purchase contract form or the contract between the real estate broker and the buyer. It has no business showing up at closing mixed in with the dozens of legitimate documents a buyer needs to sign.

And I would be embarrassed if a title company I recommended used one.

Michigan May Have Missed The Poison Chinese Drywall Issue

I’ve posted before about the concern with poison drywall from China. It is a big problem in Florida and a number of other states.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission now has a website devoted to the topic here: Drywall Information Center

And it looks like there have not been problems reported to date in Michigan.

This is very good. Some people are predicting this will be the largest liability issue to hit the country ever.

If you hear of it becoming a problem in Michigan please let us know and send us a link so we can share it here.

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.


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.

Ann Arbor Home Inspector Gets Threat From Real Estate Agent

I heard an interesting story yesterday from a home inspector that works in the Washtenaw County area.

It was about one of those enlightening moments in his career and it happened ten or twelve years ago.

He was at an inspection and he was talking to the home buyer about radon and how it was a suspected carcinogen an how it was prevalent in the area. He also recommended that the buyer have a radon test done on the home.

Later that day after the buyer had left the nice real estate agent came up to him and said something along the lines of: “If you ever mention radon to a home buyer again I’ll have to stop using you.”

That was such a clear instruction, and so anti-buyer, that it made a huge impact on him. At that point he knew he either had to get under the thumb of the real estate industry or build his own referral base totally outside of the REALTOR organization. He chose the latter and he is still in business today.

And, our office is one of the only real estate companies in the market that actively uses this guy.

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.


What happens when a home owner removes the filters in their furnace

We sometimes talk about homes that have suffered from abuse from their owners. A friend of mine ran across this example in a home he bought recently. The furnace had been run for years without a filter. Here is what he saw when he opened it up and looked at the air conditioning coils:

Homes that have been “abused”

We sometimes talk about homes that have suffered from abuse from their owners. A friend of mine ran across this example in a home he bought recently. The furnace had been run for years without a filter.

Here is what he saw when he opened it up and looked at the air conditioning coils:


Here is what it should look like:


You can imagine how this impacted the unit’s efficiency for both heating and cooling.

This is something that I think any buyer agent should understand and be able to talk about. This isn’t highly technical and it certainly isn’t a buyer’s agent’s job to open up a furnace, but, a buyer agent should understand this. Many real estate agents call themselves buyer’s agents but don’t know much about houses. This is unfortunate. Our people understand homes and we are willing to tell you what we see. Remember if you want an unconflicted, true buyer agent to help you with your home buying, call us.

Sunday afternoon with a 50 foot sewer snake

In the business of helping home buyers I am often working on Sunday afternoon. When I don’t have appointments though, I like to take a Sunday afternoon nap in front of the woodburning fireplace.

Yesterday my life took me in a different direction. You see we live in a ~40 year old home that has a drain line that gets really slow about every five years. It is a drain line for the dishwasher and the laundry, so I’m thinking it is probably laundry lint and maybe ground food that collects in some low spot.

Unfortunately the “low spot” is under our basement floor. So the solution is to auger it out every couple years. And yesterday it was time.

Previously I was able to clear the run with a 25 foot drill mounted auger. But this time I sent that thing all the way out and the drain was still sloooow.

So off to Lowe’s to get a 50 foot model.

Eventually we got the thing to drain fairly well. But, the reason this is interesting to home buyers is:

Most real estate agents that claim to be “buyer agents” don’t want to actually tell buyers anything about the houses themselves. Like, disadvantages and advantages of living on a city sewer system vs a well and septic system in the country. Like disadvantages and advantages of a hot water heat system vs a gas forced air.

There were a bunch of discussions on thisl forum about this very topic.

Judging from that thread it would seem that the majority of the regular real estate agents are afraid to say anything bad about a house!

If you have excellent credit and will be buying a $100,000-$900,000 home in the next 90 days and would like a company and agent who will work exclusively for you, call us at 734 662 6240 or contact us via the link on this page.

Jon Boyd
The Home Buyer’s Agent of Ann Arbor, Inc.

Exclusive Buyer Brokerages like ours do not list homes and never represent Sellers.  Their agents represent Buyers ONLY on the Buyer’s side of the transaction.

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 ( has given me some interesting national exposure.

A month or so ago I spoke Jay MacDonald of 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 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.

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.)

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.*

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