Recall notice on some GE Dishwashers

If you’ve got a dishwasher manufactured by GE from Sept 1997 to Dec 2001 you may want to check out their website at or call the recall hotline at 1-877-607-6395 (8am-8pm Mon-Sat Eastern Time) to see if yours is on the list of recalled products. Be sure to have your model and serial number with you when you call.

I got a notice the other day, and I’ve had a client receive one before too, asking me to check the model and serial number on my dishwasher to see if it might be one of those that has had problems.

“What is the problem they are concerned with

Is your agent spending your money without asking your permission?

It is common practice in the real estate industry, and has been since the beginning of time, for your agent to assist you outside of their area of expertise or geographic service area.

Let’s say you ask an agent to come to sell your house in Seattle.  They ask where you are moving, and you say California.  They offer to have an agent contact you in that area.  You thank them.  You just spent $6,750 if you buy a house in California, using the agent that contacted you, for a home purchase of $900,000.00.  The Seattle Agent who talked to you about this will get $6,750 when you close on your home in California, EVEN IF you never hire that agent to sell your house here in Seattle.

OK, I’ll stop shouting.  The same agents who will scream “disclose, disclose, disclose” when it covers their butt if you do, will not disclose referral fees and ASK your permission to SPEND YOUR MONEY!  Oops shouting again.  Sorry, this topic just freaks me out.  I better go chill.

Russ, NO! Please Say It Ain't SO!

[photopress:joe.jpg,full,alignright] One of the FEW rights of a buyer these days, is that they have 3 days to review the “Form 17” Seller Disclosure Form.

These forms are often sitting out at the homes when buyers view property, and often buyers pick them up at every single house. Recently the mls system has made these available online, so we can send them to our buyer clients, before they even see the property. A buyer could conceivably recieve 20 or more Seller Disclosure Forms, before even deciding on a property.

The first page of the Seller Disclosure Statement says in all caps: “You (buyer) have 3 days from the day seller or seller’s agent delivers this disclosure statement to you, to rescind the agreement.”

Some agents are suggesting, that every single buyer who has picked up a Seller Disclosure Form in a house, and now possibly weeks later makes an offer on that same property, has given away their 3 day right to review it! They had it in their hand weeks before they were even interested in making an offer, but the clock started ticking the day they picked one of these forms up while looking at property? Is that even remotely possible?

Please say it ain’t so! Otherwise get those darned things out of those houses and off the online access! What a TRAP! Please say it ain’t so…please. Russ, your thoughts MUCH appreciated. Seems to me that if a buyer has “3 days to rescind the agreement” that there has to in fact BE an agreement at the time of delivery!

The ROOF – Things you should know

Whether you are buying or selling real estate, or just trying to decide about your own roof replacement, there are a few things you should know about a roof. As I look out of my window, 95% of the neighbors have a composite shingle roof. So let’s talk about those.

When you are buying or selling a house with a composite shingle, do the math. The house next door to me has a 20 year shingle. The house next door to that one has a 30 year shingle. It is easy to tell a 20 year shingle, because the shingles lay flat, with almost no “definition”. As the shingles get thicker on a 25 year, 30 year, 35 year and up shingle, there is definition and a “layered” look. Even some of the best home inspectors can’t tell a 30 year from a 35 year shingle, so if you are a seller, and know you have a 35 year shingle, it would be good to tell your agent to highlight that feature, and you should also put it on your Seller Disclosure Form.

Sellers: Don’t forget to put GOOD things on the Seller Disclosure form, so it is not merely a highlighting of “bad” things. Add a list of good things, as an attachment if needed, and have the buyers initial the attachment too.

It took me about a week in the real estate business to learn the simple lessons of “roof math”. When I was selling my own home in Cherry Hill NJ, the home inspector went up the ladder to the roof. He came down and told the buyer that the roof was about 18 year’s old and may need to be replaced in 2 years, because it was a 20 year shingle. I said, “The house was built 8 year’s ago. Are you saying they found some 10 year old shingles to put on the roof of a new house?” I really wasn’t trying to be “flip” or nasty, it just popped out of my mouth like that in true “Philly” style.

Everyone should know how to do the simple math of a roof without relying on the inspector. Not because the inspector will be wrong, but because a roof can be just fine and still be “due” for replacement soon. I’m not going to go into second shingles and third shingles, because something tells me these will be obsolete in the future, given most roofs are no longer flat enough to go that way. I will mention roof color briefly. Mr. Cherry Hill Home Inspector was somewhat correct, in that it was a black shingle. Often black shingles will not make it to 20 years, while gray or tan ones can go to 23 or 25. Heat absorption issues. You see very few black roofs in year round sunny climates, like Florida and CA.

Buying a condo? Think you don’t need to look at the roof? Not so. A few weeks ago I attended a home inspection of a condo built in 1986. I walked across the street and climbed up on something to see the roof. The inspector and buyer said “What the heck are you doing over there?” I said I’m checking out the roof. The inspector said “Why? That is the condo association’s problem.” By then both the buyer and inspector joined me under my “perch”. I said look, it’s flat, it’s a 20 year shingle, right?” Inspector said yes. I said “This place was built in 1986. 1986 plus 20 equals 2006. When I get the resale certificate, I need to check to see if they have enough money in reserves to replace the roof, or warn the buyer about a possible special assessment. I need to check the Reserve Study for cost of replacement. I need to check the dollar amount currently in reserve for all replacement items. If there is not enough money there for all things, I need to divide the shortfall by the number of units, or prorate per total square footage of complex by unit size, and give a range of possible special assessment amount.

Buyers note: The condo association is YOU. There is no Fairy Godmother, named HOA, with a magic wand.

I’ll end with this “red flag” for both buyers and sellers. I ask the owner or listing agent, “How old is the roof, especially when I can’t do the math well on a 1917 built home…too many roof changes to do simple math. Owner responds: “I just had the roof checked and it’s fine.” Big red flag! That is not the correct answer to “How old is the roof” 🙂