Category : Buyer Agency

Rant Warning: Another Annoying Listing Agent Behavior

As an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent office we show a lot of property.

And, we get opinionated.

And, this month I seem to be running into a lot of listing agents who are happy to tell me over the phone what a wonderful large or deep lot their listing has, but then they are too lazy to provide:

1. A copy of a mortgage report survey or at least some kind of written drawing of the lot and the boundaries. (Even if it is labeled as not exact or estimate, as long as it is what the seller thinks they own it is normally useful.)

2. The lot dimensions. (Tonight I’m showing a home in the city with a reported 1/2 acre lot, but there are no lot dimensions provided. Just a “the home has a deep lot”.

Note to listing agents:

If your listing has a nice lot, get some specifics and share them.  Thank you!

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.

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.

House Officers Getting Bad Information About Mortgages?

It sounds like some incoming physicians doing their residency here have been receiving bad information about available mortgage options. The mortgage market has changed dramatically over the last two years. There are now only about a half dozen zero downpayment mortgage options now where two years ago there were about twice that many. (And they were dramatically more available.)

But, when you are buying a home you only need one mortgage, and if you are a physician here for your residency then relatively easy zero downpayment options are still available.

It will take some preparation and there are some limitations, but in general the Midwest Financial Credit Union is still a good option.

They offer:
Closing before  first paycheck
Zero downpayment
Ignoring student loan obligations in most situations
No PMI (but a higher interest rate to compensate for some additonal risk.)
A  physician friendly application process

Note: These loans are specifically for physicians, so they are not visible on the credit union’s website.

You can reach the Credit Union at 734.769.4621

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.


Two Little Words That Are Causing a Lot of Frustration for Home Buyers – Procuring Cause

The national association most of the top buyer agents belong to ( just posted this press release:

AVONDALE, Ariz., March 31, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — As fewer transactions are split up between a relatively fixed number of real estate agents, those agents are using whatever tools they can to hold on to home buyers, in some cases against the buyer’s will. One of those “tools” is an outdated industry secret called “procuring cause,” and it is frustrating many of today’s home buyers, according to the home buying specialists at the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA).
Procuring cause is an industry term that describes the ability of any agent who showed a buyer a home to claim that they should be paid if the buyer eventually wants to buy that home.
Many buyers get “married” to agents who show them a property without ever knowing it. Charlie and Meg Bear, of Acton, Massachusetts, are like many buyers in today’s market. When they started house-hunting, they went to the Internet. Click … they found a house to see; click … they sent a request to the listing agent. At the second house they saw this way, the agent who showed them the house disclosed that he was a “buyer’s agent.” He was the husband of the listing agent. Charlie did not want a buyer’s agent who was married to the listing agent. “This disclosure is not a contract” was clearly on the form. Meg signed the form; Charlie did not.
Time went by. Charlie and Meg hired Connie LeDuc of Authentic Home Buyers Brokers in Southborough, MA. When they eventually decided to make an offer on that home they saw through the Internet, confusion reigned. The “buyer’s agent” did not want Connie to represent Charlie and Meg on his wife’s listing. The listing agent, his wife, was all for getting this home sold to the Bears, but her husband insisted that he was their “buyer’s agent.” After much negotiation between the brokers, the Bears bought their new home.
“Potential homebuyers who attend open houses or view properties with the listing agent, or a licensee working for the listing agency, may forfeit their opportunity to have full representation,” said John Sullivan, President of NAEBA . “To have 100% representation 100% of the time, homebuyers should have a written agreement with an exclusive buyer’s agent that spells out the duties and obligations of both parties before looking at any home.”
What did Charlie and Meg Bear learn from their experience? “People like us don’t know they should find their agent before they find their house,” says Charlie.
The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents was founded in 1995 to help consumers become educated home buyers. NAEBA is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to be the “champions of real estate buyers’ rights and representation.” NAEBA offers industry standard certifications, ongoing education, client referral services, technology, and information sharing. The NAEBA Code of Ethics pledges undivided loyalty to real estate buyers only. For the name of an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent in your area,
SOURCE National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents
When you think about it the idea that a wife can be a seller’s agent and the husband can be a buyer’s agent on the same transaction is a complete scam. Why don’t those licensees admit that they are dual agents or non-agents and stop destroying any confidence that consumers might have in the profession.
If you are looking to buy a home and you don’t want to expose yourself to this kind of nonsense we can help.
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. We will always be your buyer’s agent!
Call us today at 734-662-6240 to talk about how we can help you achieve your home buying dreams!

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.

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.

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:


1 2