December 20, 2006

A HousingPanic open letter to the realtors of America: It's Time for Change


1) Stop denying the housing bubble and crash. Be honest with yourself and with your customers. Housing is tanking, prices are falling, inventory has skyrocketed, and it was all a cheap-money-investor-fueled-REIC-corruption-enabled Ponzi Scheme. You can still make money off of people selling and buying houses at the new lower prices. So stop the lying, stop the deception, and just tell the truth. People will respect you more if you do and you'll get more business.

2) Stop supporting the NAR and the corrupt David Lereah. Publicly call for his immediate dismissal and a shake-up of the NAR leadership. Mandate that the NAR change tact and adopt a "no deception, no lying, no exceptions" policy. You have a problem in your own house - clean it up. The organization who leads your profession is now seen by the American people as laughable corrupt and a den of liars. You pay them dues and yet they're costing you money. Are you that stupid?

3) Call for regulation and congressional oversight of your industry. Demand an end to realtor bribery through co-broke or bonus-commission arrangements. Outlaw any kickbacks among builders, mortgage brokers, appraisers and realtors. Your industry is covered in stench - clean it up.

4) Embrace change. Zillow and the internet can be your friend. The MLS should be free to all. You do not deserve 3% of the selling price. Change your fee structure to meet the new market reality. You will quickly go the way of travel agents and buggy whip salesmen if you do not change.

5) Shun your peers who are liars, jerks and as*holes. Athol Kay, Greg Swann, Todd Larsen, Russ Shaw, the list gets longer everyday. There are some good, decent, kind and honest realtors out there amongst the HP readership, I get nice email from them every day, who are too afraid to post. I suggest it's time. Customers don't want to do business with as*holes and liars. Honesty is good for business. Rise up. Cast out your garbage. Clean it up.

6) Ask yourself if what you do for a living, and how you are doing it, is contributing to society. You'll be dead soon enough - was screwing people for a buck while lying, deceiving and conspiring the best way to live your life?


7) Stop using the silly REALTOR(TM) SHOUTING ARROGANT FONT TREATMENT. You're a damn realtor. You're not a doctor. You're not above other professions. People are laughing at you. It's time to change.

I have hope for the realtors of America. Not all million-plus of you are bad people. There's gotta be thousands of realtors out there who are also disgusted with your peers and the state of your profession. Take the lead, clean it up, do good, take a risk, and you'll prosper in the end.

For the best example in the land, look to
Osman in Boulder. A tribute to your profession, who has the courage to fight the NAR's deception and corruption, a balanced, truthful and kind HP poster, and as solid a person as you can find.

Peace out.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

"A man's character is his fate."

— Heraclitus, Greek philosopher (c. 540-c. 475 B.C.)

Anonymous said...

Keith your a dork.

Anonymous said...

realtors hate HP but they really should hate the NAR more

Butch said...

Time, market conditions and technology will greatly thin out the herd of real estate clerks.

As time goes on, and the housing bust deepens, the weaker clerks, who have jumped in over the last few years looking for "easy money" will go back to selling copy machines and bartending.

Technology is already on the march in the form of Zillow, easy access to state records, and blogs such as this one.

So, in a few years the low-end of the clerks will be decimated and the more-experienced will adapt--at a much reduced commission structure--to the new reality.

Anonymous said...

Dishonesty and Deception simply sealed the deal with the real estate profession

The honest ones may survive for a bit longer, but not much

Anonymous said...

I agree wholly. In fact I am suggesting to my wife to try to get into RE school. I want her to be a sellers agent only, where she can educate them instead of just being a short order cook.
Lets see how it pans out.
Cool.
Cow_tipping.

Anonymous said...

That Athol guy is a real Assh@le. He must have gotten beaten up a lot in grade school and is now just angry at the world

Anonymous said...

"Stop denying the housing bubble and crash. Be honest with yourself and with your customers. Housing is tanking, prices are falling, inventory has skyrocketed, and it was all a cheap-money-investor-fueled-REIC-corruption-enabled Ponzi Scheme."

Nothing has crashed yet, the only thing thats days are numbered are sites like this...your occupation as a "blogger" is more important than helping americans buy homes? now thats the fucked up part of all this...

keith said...

'your occupation as a "blogger" is more important than helping americans buy homes?'

- my hobby or community service is to blog about the housing crash, and to warn people of what's happening. Since there's no association or job that serves the public in this space, it's really left up to the media or the bloggers to get the truth out, and to counter the lies of the REIC and NAR.

And yes, it's VERY important people don't buy homes right now - they'll be financially destroyed if they do. It's IMPERATIVE people don't listen to realtors or the NAR.

Now be a good realtor and get out there and try to sucker someone into making a horrible decision so you can make your nice commission

Point made HP'ers. Not one realtor yet has gotten the message or joined our call. I'm still holding out hope.

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Anonymous said...

Now, after they have collectively run it into the ground, they say, it's time for a change'!

Genius!

Anonymous said...

6) Ask yourself if what you do for a living, and how you are doing it, is contributing to society. You'll be dead soon enough - was screwing people for a buck while lying, deceiving and conspiring the best way to live your life?

Kieth: while I certainly support this post, did you not sell at the top and knowingly screw someone else?

I think you need to look in the mirror before unleashing your next diatribe against the greed and excess that fueled this fiasco.

Anonymous said...

So not ALL realtors are assholes then?

Anonymous said...

Closing fees are not paid to realtors. They are paid to lenders, title companies and city/county governments. Just like realtors don't lend anyone toxic loans.


"Lower Closing fees via online online by a lot of discount versus traditional methods !!"

keith said...

"Kieth: while I certainly support this post, did you not sell at the top and knowingly screw someone else?"

- When I sold everyone thought I was crazy - that there was no bubble, that real estate only went up and up and up and up. Even I had no guarantee I was making a good decision

In the end, yes, it was a good call and I sleep very well at night

jrinlv said...

I sent the HP URL and my thoughts to the Las Vegas Realtor Association. Others might do the same in their respective cities if they feel strongly about Keith's message. I do, and I commend his courage and insight.

Todd Tarson said...

jrinlv... are you saying it takes courage to post lies and half truths in the manner that Keith does.

Wow... standards sure have lowered.

Todd Tarson said...

>>And yes, it's VERY important people don't buy homes right now - they'll be financially destroyed if they do. It's IMPERATIVE people don't listen to realtors or the NAR.

I just sold a house to a real nice lady that told me that she knew homes were, in her opinion, overpriced. Yet she still wanted to relocate here to live near her family.

I should have tried harder to sway her into living by herself in a community far from her family and not to buy because she will be financially ruined (even though she is buying the residence in cash).

Not everyone buys a home because of financial reasons. Often folks buy homes because the move to another town, outgrow their current dwelling, or want to downsize after all the kids move out.

Look, I give my clients the facts on the current market. Always have always will. The investor clients are gone. Why?? Because you are right Keith, it isn't financially as sound as it once was to invest in property.

My buying clients that are primary residents are told that a home purchase should not be viewed as a real investment. The primary residence is not an asset, it is a liability on the cost sheet.

Can a primary residence be an asset?? Yes it can, but nobody should expect to realize a gain on the sale of their primary residence.

OMG, a proud Member of NAR just said the things said above. But I thought we were all liars and money grubbing bastards. Well, looks like Keith was wrong again. Typical.

Anonymous said...

I wanna hot chick to fel*te me after buying a house. It would be even hotter if she was someone else's wife!

How's that for standards!

That's customer service!

Oh, yeah, I forgot. She can't use her hands, 'cuz that's cheating!

Anonymous said...

Now's a great time to get a rim job!

Anonymous said...

Todd,

You'll never convince anyone here. Save your breath. You can't win.

Example:

Housing starts are way down last month, aha!! more evidence that the crash is happening since builders know they can't even sell what they have. This month housing starts surge, but to these yahoos that is also evidence of the crash since it means supplu will increase even more.

When someone argues both sides of the issue and comes up with the same conclusion, how do you have an intelligent debate?

And no I'm not a realtor, just someone with common sense.

Bubble Shmubble said...

There are still about 90,000 travel agents in the country. Just like I can't imagine why anyone would use a travel agent instead of booking online, there is obviously a demand in the market place.

Same will be true of realtors.

Zillow is a piece of shit. According to that thing my zip code has appreciated 3% over last year. If I want fake optimistic news, I can call the NAR and they'll probably tell me the same thing.

"Technology is already on the march in the form of Zillow, easy access to state records, and blogs such as this one.

So, in a few years the low-end of the clerks will be decimated"

Anonymous said...

"Now be a good realtor and get out there and try to sucker someone into making a horrible decision so you can make your nice commission"

No, actually a mortgage broker getting ready to cash in on the biggest refi boom in history...but your blog is interesting, but is full of a lot of shit sometimes...we aint gonna go back to the hills and live on canned food anytime soon!!!

you are intelligent enough to have a well traffic'ed blog, though.

Anonymous said...

Todd you should have advised your client to rent, and buy again when the market was stable

But no.... you wanted your commission, we all understand

Did you get your kickback from a mortgage broker too? And did you push her into a home that had a co-broke bribe on it like your peers do?

Todd Tarson said...

>>Did you get your kickback from a mortgage broker too? And did you push her into a home that had a co-broke bribe on it like your peers do?

Kickback from mortgage broker?? Nope, what part of 'she is buying the residence in cash' didn't you get??

Push her into a co-broke bribe?? Nope, in fact I am rebating her $770 dollars in the transaction because the my fee is only $4,000 and the listing broker was set to pay me 3% of $159,000.

But I'm a liar and a money grubbing member of NAR, with a GED education, and can only afford tom ramen noodles for dinner.

Todd Tarson said...

>>You'll never convince anyone here. Save your breath. You can't win.

Thanks for the advice, anon... but I'm not trying to 'win' anything. I'm merely engaging in discussion, and while doing so I am proving the blogs author wrong on so many levels. I'm having a great time.

You do sound like you have good common sense, though. Thanks again for the shout.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

real estate clerks
--------
that is too funny butch...

real estate clerks

LOL

Anonymous said...

Todd -

I appreciate your incredible patience with some of the true idiots on this blog.

I agree that prices are set to drop like a stone, but the way you keep a logical and rational tone to your posts... in response to some of these people is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Do you remember what happened with Travel Agents a few years ago? I think it will eventually happen with RE agents

Anonymous said...

I agree with Todd Tarson that it's a new paradigm, and everybody who doesn't buy, now, will be priced out forever. Anybody who does buy will be rewarded with a lifetime of riches, as their property will continue its 30% yearly price increase.

Renters, and anybody born in a future generation, will not be able to afford a $10,000,000 starter home in 15 years. They will live in tent cities, and Hondas.

This asset bubble is different than all of the others - it will never slow down, or pop. The gains are permanent.

DaRealEstateClerk said...

Hey Todd

Suck it and suck it good.

keith said...

A Realtor's Note to HP'ers: Not All Realtors are Blind, Corrupt and Evil Liars.

Thank you Keith for allowing me to guest post and to everyone for reading this.

I understand the hatred and disgust most consumers have with agents, brokers, realtors, NAR, lenders, the MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) and the real estate industry in general. I am an agent and feel very much the same way you do and want things to change.

Most agents are shady, selfish and will screw over their own mother for a dollar. I tend to treat my clients like my friends. I give a crap about them whether it results in a sale today, next year or never. I have plenty of clients who are first time home-buyers that I told months if not over a year ago not to buy anything and wait because rates were still coming down and prices were far from the bottom. Yes, I "killed the deal" months ago, but I have made a client and friend for life. More importantly, I can sleep soundly at night knowing I was honest and upfront with my clients. That's just one example, but it illustrates two very simple ideas - honesty and integrity. These two things are lacking greatly in the real estate industry.

I see agents, lenders and title companies not acting in the best interest of their clients and/or screwing them over often. Sometimes, it's on purpose. Sometimes, it's out of stupidity and lack of knowledge or experience. Either way, it is what it is and there's no excuse. What can we attribute this to? There are several things:

Most agents are concerned with their commission much more so than their clients best interests. The commissions are high and greed steps in. The lack of thought for the consumer is incredible at times and I wonder whether these agent's parents taught them any kind of values or morals growing up.

There is a very minimal barrier of entry. Doctors and lawyers who deal with the livelihood of others (just like agents) and make approximately the same amount of money as agents are required to go through up to 12 years of school and 1 to 2 year internships prior to being able to practice medicine or law. Agents on the other hand only have to pay $400, take a two-week course and pass a kindergarten-level test to get their license (at least in VA). No degree, nothing! To add insult to injury, NAR recently thought it would be "great" to pass a requirement of a high school diploma in order to be a Realtor. HA! Gee thanks guys, what a "huge" step in the right direction!

There is almost no continuing education requirement either. In VA, if you've had your license for less than two years, you only need 30 hours of continuing education and 16 hours if you've had your license for longer than 2 years. Are you kidding me? You know how much changes in the real estate world in 2 years? And how could anyone remember everything that they learned 2 years ago? There's no way!

All agents who are not brokers are supposed to be supervised by the broker at the office that they have their license hanging in and work out of. That's a joke. How can one broker supervise up to 250 agents in one office at one time? They can't! There is no supervision and most brokers are out trying to recruit new agents for the office rather than trying to supervise the ones they have already. It's all about getting more agents into an office to make more money and have more "clout" in the community.

There is no regulation in our industry. Agents get slaps on their wrists IF they get brought up to the board and IF they board finds them guilty of wrong doing. Even so, 99% of the time, their license is NOT suspended or revoked and the fine is minimal. That tells agents that they can screw people without a high probability of getting in trouble and even if they do get in trouble, the consequences are almost nothing. There is no fear of wrongdoing instilled in the industry, which breeds wrongdoing!

Yes, I am a member of NAR, but I'm not proud. I only am because I have to in order to get access to the MLS and a lock box key to get into properties. NAR and General Electric (GE) who makes the lock box key run a monopoly over the industry. I, as one agent can't do anything to change it. But I believe that if we all get together, we can start making a big enough stink and get the industry turned around.

I believe that we should completely turn NAR upside down and recreate it for the better of the consumer and the good agents who care about the consumer and doing the right thing. But we may have to disband NAR altogether and form another association from scratch. I believe that NAR or whatever association it ends up being should regulate the industry much, much more than currently. The shady agents will object while the honest and good agents will have no issues and see it as a step in the right direction. If you're not doing anything wrong, you won't be afraid of being held accountable. It's why criminals hate the police while law-abiding citizens generally like the police.

I think we need a "corporate shake up" when it comes to NAR and the industry in general. We need to get everyone up top at NAR (especially Lereah) the hell out of there and replace them with people who care about the consumer and the industry in general rather than their own pockets and self-interests. We need accountability, transparency, a much higher barrier of entry and increased continuing education requirements. We also need to start holding each other more accountable as agents in day-to-day dealings. If an agent runs across another agent who is doing something unethical or illegal, they should be able to alert a committee and/or board that will deal with them immediately and without fear of getting "black listed" in the real estate community. This, along with what Keith wrote in his post entitled " A HousingPanic open letter to the realtors of America: It's Time for Change " is a great start. Now we have to spread the word and put it into action.

Thanks for listening,

Danilo Bogdanovic

keith said...

Todd Tarson I hope you read the letter from your realtor peer Danilio above and take it to heart

Your days are over Todd. You are the "Dark Side" and "The Past".

Todd Tarson said...

Gee Keith, I guess you CAN'T read. I've been saying much of the same things as your sock puppet guest realtor has. I just don't generalize nearly as much. I doubt Danilo is in leadership, has served on a pro standards committee or an ethics panel.

I've said that the broker/agent business model is outdated and needs to be changed. I'm the one on the inside working my way up to see that it happens.

I've repeatedly said that I'm all for transparency in real estate, related to representatives and commissions.

The education requirements and continuing education rules come directly from each states government. Realtors don't have anything to do with it. I know it sounds nice to say that there should be more of this and more of that, contact your state legislation to make it happen.

Danilo tries to make some good points about NAR and I'll agree to some of it in principal. Yet it is so easy to sit on the sideline and wish for things. I'm involved. I'll get to NAR. I have a strong feeling that Danilo has never sat on a local committee.

Also Danilo, NAR is not a partner with the GE lock box key system. NAR is partners with Sentri-lock. But like Keith, don't let the facts get in the way.

And if I'm on the dark side Keith, then your realtor here is also.

keith said...

Spin spin sugar

Todd Tarson said...

Lie, Lie, sock puppet.

keith said...

Todd Tarson - a&shole

I like that title. It sits nicely

Hey, aren't you due over at Greg Swann's party?

Todd Tarson said...

Wow, Keith, I can't believe it is this easy to get to you. You're unhinged. Calling your guest names. Tisk-tisk.