Friday, September 29, 2006

Petoskey Breakwall Repairs Underway

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of repairing damage the Petoskey Breakwall sustained during a storm last winter, when a large section of concrete was dislodged by wind and ice.

On scene from Wisconsin for the repairs are USACE tugs "Kenosha" and "Racine", along with barge "Manitowac". Work has been delayed recently on account of weather.

The breakwall, which protects the Petoskey City Marina, reportedly dates back to the 1890's. On behalf of everyone who docks their boat at the city marina, or who enjoys taking a stroll on or swim from the end of the breakwall, a big thank you to the Army Corps of Engineers!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Agents Falling Short on Disclosure

Joel Stern of Silver Spring, Maryland, filed a lawsuit against Weichert Realtors, reportedly one of the largest independent brokerage firms in the country, for failing to properly disclose that they represented the seller in connection with his recent aborted home purchase. Stern believes he was induced to sign a contract to buy the house at an excessive price because the agent that Stern thought represented him as a buyer's agent was in fact functioning as an agent for the seller. Click on this link to the article for all of the sordid details.

Recent data released by the National Association of Realtors indicates that real estate agents are failing to disclose whom they represent in transactions at an alarming rate, even where state laws (such as Michigan's agency disclosure law) require them to do so in writing at their first substantive meeting with a potential client.

According to the author of this article, Kenneth Harney of the Washington Post, "You as a buyer or seller need to be alert. Demand a formal disclosure of representation before beginning any substantive discussions with an agent. Do not assume that you are working with a buyer's agent whose sole loyalty is to you."

Harney further cautions, "If it's not in writing, it doesn't exist. In the absence of a signed buyer-agent agreement or other disclosure to the contrary, your agent is almost certainly working for the seller and will squeeze the highest price possible out of you on the seller's behalf."

Related Posts: Agent Disclosure Worse Than Ever
Agency Disclosure Laws Largely Ignored

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Petoskey Real Estate Sales Rebound

Petoskey residential real estate sales volume for the month of August, 2006 rebounded slightly from last year's anemic numbers. Although still well shy of the 41 sales recorded in August, 2004, the 26 transactions reported in August, 2006 was an improvement over the 21 transactions recorded in August, 2005.

Petoskey residential sales measured by sold dollar volume for the month increased a whopping 50%, from $5.6 million in August, 2005 to $8.4 million in August, 2006. While the jury is still out, it looks like the Petoskey real estate market may have bottomed out in 2005, and is now showing signs of improvement.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Michigan Real Estate Agency Relationships

The subject of real estate agency relationships is confusing and often misunderstood, even by many real estate licensees themselves. Fellow National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) Member Jon Boyd of The Home Buyer's Agent in Ann Arbor has produced an informative video explaining the six different types of services available to homebuyers in Michigan, including seller agency, buyer agency, exclusive buyer agency, dual agency, designated buyer agency, and transaction brokerage.

Six different bypes of services available to homebuyers from real estate licensees in Michigan? No wonder consumers are confused! Are you familiar with the Syms clothing store slogan, "An educated consumer is our best customer"? Unfortunately, uneducated customers are far more profitable for the entrenched real estate establishment. I challenge the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Michigan Association of Realtors (MAR) to do something, anything, to help educate the public when it comes to choices regarding real estate agency relationships.

Unfortunately, instead of trying to educate and inform consumers, MAR has been scrambling to try and enact minimum agency services legislation in Michigan under the guise of "consumer protection". This anti-consumer, anti-competitive legislation is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to keep flat-fee or discount brokers off of the MLS. Shame, shame, shame!