December 31, 2006
So you thought your dollars were the world's reserve currency, right? You thought it was a great thing to see house prices leap (in US$) so much over the past few years, right? You thought the Dow setting record highs (in US$) was great for America, right? You thought trade deficits with China, runaway government spending and crushing US Debt didn't matter, right?
The dollar is simply going the way of the realtor. Slowly and surely, it becomes less and less respected, less and less trusted, and less and less valuable.
Get ready America. The times they are a-changin...
Euro notes cash in to overtake dollar
The US dollar bill’s standing as the world’s favourite form of cash is being usurped by the five-year-old euro.
The value of euro notes in circulation is this month likely to exceed the value of circulating dollar notes, according to calculations by the Financial Times. Converted at Wednesday’s exchange rates, the euro took the lead in October.
Posted by blogger at 12/31/2006
December 30, 2006
Bubble Sitters and Bitter Renters - aren't you feeling extreme pressure to buy?
You know, do the nesting thing, settle down, put a roof over your head, live the American Dream, and take advantage of real estate - the 'can't miss' investment of your life?
We may feel rich for the moment, but clearly all we are doing is diluting the money supply… Thus we see that while an increase in the money supply, like an increase in the supply of any good, lowers its price, the change does not—unlike other goods—confer a social benefit.
Whereas new consumer or capital goods add to standards of living, new money only raises prices—i.e. dilutes its own purchasing power. The reason for this puzzle is that money is only useful for its exchange value…its utility lies in its exchange value, or “purchasing power.
The NAR under fire - "Organized real estate is beset with illegality. The victimized public should demand an end to these (NAR) practices"
It'll likely not be taken care of until the 2008 Congressional Housing Bubble hearings, but I expect some MAJOR changes afoot at the ol' NAR.
This corrupt organization, which of course is a top briber of the past Congress, not only needs a serious disinfecting, I would suggest it needs a disbanding.
Yes, the market might take care of that for us, especially when the MLS is ruled to be anti-competitive or google finally destroys it. You'll also see more courageous real estate clerks (like Osman and Danilo) try to take it down from the inside.
If you have a few minutes, browse this anti-NAR tirade - lots of great info, especially that 1972 mob-like shakedown.
Wouldn't it be fun to mount a protest outside of the next NAR convention? I'm thinking in the style of the 1972 Chicago Democratic convention, or Seattle '99 WTO protest. Gotta be a bit of tear gas to really make a statement these days. And I'd bet there'd plenty of bankrupt homedebtors screwed over by real estate clerks, hungry dues-paying realtors themselves, and the masses of bubble blog readers, to mount a nice anti-NAR campaign soon.
From the anti-NAR report on the Department of Justice website:
Organized real estate is beset with illegality. Despite spending over a trillion dollars a year on homes, consumers don't get what they deserve. Agents are victimized by their trade association, the National Association of Realtors.
The Department of Justice should bring criminal charges against NAR for its 1972 price fixing conspiracy that created the DR formula. New Realtor associations spring up each year and NAR actively makes sure each one is part of the conspiracy. Thus, many criminal acts took place within the statute of limitations. The victimized public should demand an end to these practices.
Home prices never fall, right? Wrong. Sarasota Florida home prices crash 18% (so far), How low will they go?
What. Goes. Up. Must. Come. Down.
Yeah, we've hit bottom already the MSM and REIC say.
Right. Sure thing. Believe that and I've got some swampland in Florida to sell you... Ah, those Gators...
Sarasota-Bradenton home sellers are cutting prices so aggressively that the median sales price was 18 percent lower this November than last, the biggest drop in the state.
Consequently, it seems, Sarasota-Bradenton home sales were up by 2 percent from a year ago, the best gain in the state.
Real estate pros said the numbers indicate the market is responding to price reductions. Stubborn sellers are budging, even if it means taking a financial hit. And buyers are deciding to buy rather than bet that prices will fall even more.
The numbers reflect "a significant uptick in showing activity and sales since the November elections as buyers gained the confidence to take action and sellers are willing to seriously consider reasonable offers rather than holding out for mid-2005 prices," said Chad Roffers, president of Sarasota's Sky Sotheby's International Realty.Roffers said the Sarasota-Bradenton market "hit the wall" earlier than other parts of Florida.
"Based on what I am hearing from my peers who run other markets for Sotheby's, we are leading the pack in emerging from what will have been an 18-month-long slump," Roffers said.
December 29, 2006
A picture is worth a thousand real estate clerks - here's the graph the NAR or MSM didn't want you to see
Nice job housing doom with the charts again... And to think this Commerce Department and NAR data price this week didn't even include the cash-back-after-closing or massive incentives being used to move dead inventory. Now THAT graph would've truly shocked America.
But then again, I don't think they can handle the truth.
For the coordinated "housing crash has hit bottom - good times are here again" crowd - what part of this chart don't you get?
No, it's not possible to move from right to left.
Ye, it hath been foretold. Thine bubble must taketh thou down thine path - all the way down. Especially for the biggest financial mania in recorded human history...
We've got a long, long, long way to go still before we start the climb back up. We're nowhere near bottom. Nowhere near.
So until then, we're still somewhere between Denial and Fear right now, with tens of thousands now entering Desperation and Panic as the foreclosure and short sale process is firmly underway. All of this "we've hit bottom" happy talk is sooooooooooooo 1929/1930 isn't it?
What will we do with all the no-longer-needed, hungry and angry real estate clerks?
Hat-tip Marin Bubble for the great pic.
Dead Career List:
buggy whip salesman
US garment worker
punch card operator
gas station attendant
New Dead Careers:
home depot clerk
real estate clerk (aka realtor)
anything greg swann does
real estate seminar leader
newspaper delivery person
mexican border mule
December 28, 2006
So Casey owes Wells Fargo $84,000 (that they'll never see again), and those darn bastards had the audacity to take $1,000 out of his checking account to pay a past due amount on the 84 large.
So Casey accuses them of "stealing" the $1000 from him.
I'm tellin ya, iamfacingforeclosure.com is the most entertaining blog on the internets. I left advice that he should file for bankruptcy today. Now. Get 'er done.
The fact that a 23 year old kid could swindle $2.4 million from the banks (i.e. China) is just amazing and Casey will be the star of the 2008 Congressional Hearings, after his jail term...
Wells Fargo Stole $1000 From Me… or that’s how it feels at least.
I woke up this morning later than planned but it’s OK because I woke up motivated for once ready to take on life and start organizing/reassessing my mess.
Then I login to my Wells Fargo personal checking account and see a debit of $1,099 pending. I
don’t recognize the description so I call to see what is going on.
I find out that because my WF credit line is 83 days past due they made an “offset” from my personal account to catchup the credit line.
“You are allowed to do that?” I asked. They said yes according to the terms of the loan that I signed.
“But I need that money to live on! My landlord is going cash the check today and it will bounce now. Can’t we reverse the offset or appeal it somehow??” I asked. The rep checked with the supervisor and said they cannot reverse it.
FLASH: The corrupt David Lereah declares housing crash over, we've hit bottom, it's up up and away from here!
Whew, it really would've sucked if house prices fell back their historic trendline, as gravity dictated they would. It really would've been bad if the housing price to income ratio had to make sense again. It would have been terrible if 50% of the nation's realtors, who are no longer needed, had to find new work.
Man, I'm glad that short-lived housing crash is over now in the US.
Everyone, party on! Go buy houses today, no matter what the price. The good times are here again!
The corrupt David Lereah told you so.
David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said modest gains are expected for home sales. “As the housing market recovers from its correction, existing-home sales should be rising gradually during 2007 – it looks like we may have reached the low point for the current cycle in September,” he said. “We’ve entered a more sustainable period of home sales now, and we expect greater support for prices over time as inventory levels are eventually drawn down.”
The slight increases in sales were not enough to halt a slide in home prices. The median price for an existing home sold in November dropped to $218,000, down 3.1 percent from the price a year ago. It was the first time on record that sales prices compared to a year ago have fallen for four straight months.
Here's a look at the awesome rise in new home sales celebrated by the REIC-advertising-supported MSM yesterday, care of the consistently good housingdoom:
It's funny when the MSM use change vs. prior month sometimes, and change vs. prior year other times. It's called spin. And I call this one hell of an ugly chart no matter which way you read it...
Great story in the Washington Post on the disappearing REIC jobs and the disappearing illegal immigrants.
HP's question - will they all go home, or will these millions of jobless men and their desperate families now stay in the US, and wreak havoc on society?
And before the lefties and trolls start in with the "racist" crap, let me say this clearly:
Many if not most of these illegal Hispanic workers enticed to break the law of the US and sneak across our border for jobs are likely fine men. Men who simply wanted to provide for their families. But what they've done is illegal, pure and simple, and we are a nation of laws, not anarchy. Right? Anyone?
I strongly criticize our corrupt leaders and businessmen who knowingly allowed this illegal activity for the sake of profits, and continue to break the laws of the land. Shame on them. We need to fix this mess, harshly fine any business who knowingly hires an illegal, send any illegal home, and do immigration right. When you hear "guest worker program" or "amnesty", that's when it's time to march on Washington folks.
Immigrants' Jobs Vanish With Housing Slowdown - Some Are Leaving the Region to Seek Work Elsewhere or to Return Home
The gold rush came in drywall, laminate flooring and granite countertops, and Amilcar Guzman came with it.
Guzman left El Salvador at age 18 in 1999 and landed in Manassas. Soon he had $15-an-hour jobs cutting lumber, driving nails and running a Bobcat loader. He got a car, got married. The Washington region was hungry for houses, houses, houses, and word of the boom reached Mexico and Central America, drawing thousands more eager, jobless men like him.
Then sometime last year, Guzman said, the rush began to go bust, little by little, month by month. The contractors stopped hiring. The phone stopped ringing. Washington, it seemed, had all the houses it could hold .
So Guzman got a plane ticket. On Jan. 20, he is taking his family back to El Salvador, with plans to open an auto repair shop with the money he has saved. "There's no work here anymore," he said, having spent the past month unemployed. "And when there's no work, it's time for Latinos to go back to the countries where they came from."
Get ready for new housing crash cartoons, jokes, videos and Jay Leno digs. Anyone hear or see any good ones? Post here.
Remember, if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger, and as Americans we love to laugh at misfortune.
Thanks HP'ers for the link
December 27, 2006
Folks, you believe this number and you'll believe anything.
Yes, new home sales were up. It's called a fire sale. For $100,000 off, no closing costs, cash back, no payments for a year, a vacation and a new car, I'd have to consider picking one or two up too. No argument that units were up the 3% reported.
But prices up 3.2%? No way. Not in a trillion years. Why? BECAUSE THE GOD DAMN OUT OF CONTROL BUILDER INCENTIVES ARE NOT BEING RECORDED IN THE PURCHASE PRICE. The number is garbage. 100% worthless. Completely irrelevant. Meaningless. Bogus.
Note to the MSM who reports this bullcrap uncensored - DO YOUR DAMN JOB FOR A CHANGE. RESEARCH. DIG. REPORT. THINK.
Note to any readers of the MSM - just like Iraq, the true US deficit and the NORAD Santa reports, just know anything you read in the MSM should be seen as suspect.
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) -- Sales of new homes rose 3.4% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.047 million, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Sales are now down 15.3% in the past year, the government's data showed.
Sales in October were revised higher, to a sales pace of 1.013 million from 1.004 million that had been estimated previously.
The median sales price of a new home rose by 3.2%, reaching $251,700.
"The Establishment", aka the WSJ, interviews some of the bubble bloggers about renting vs. owning, the coming recession and the corrupt David Lereah.
It does feel like one long victory lap coming up for the bubble bloggers, bitter renters and bubble sitters doesn't it? From vilification and scorn for believing there was a bubble and doing something about it to, well, hmmm, I guess more vilification and scorn as the bubble bursts!
Lot's of great stuff in the article from David, Patrick and Steven, but I can tell from the article that the WSJ authors are homedebtors themselves, and not too happy with the bubblesitters. See if you can pick out all the sly back-handed ways they try to make them look bad...
Renters Gloat Over Housing Slump - Some Who Missed the Boom Are Feeling Vindicated Now;Resisting 'Nesting Instincts'
The housing slump has been painful for millions of people who work in real estate or recently bought a house.
For Patrick Killelea, however, this year has been one long victory lap. Mr. Killelea, a 41-year-old software engineer, has long preached that it makes more economic sense to rent than buy homes. He recalls shouting "Wow!" when he heard about September's 9.7% drop in prices of new homes.
"I didn't want to gloat," he says. "But then again, maybe I did."
For years, Americans who refused to buy real estate at what they considered excessive prices were ribbed for failing to profit from one of the greatest booms in history. "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?" needled the title of a 2005 book by David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.
Now, with the housing market in a slump, renters who sat out the boom are finally getting some satisfaction.
Among all the defiant renters, few roar louder than Mr. Killelea, who pays $2,350 a month to rent a snug, two-bedroom craftsman house near Stanford University in Menlo Park, Calif. He figures it would cost him $7,000 a month in mortgage payments and taxes if he owned it.
Even though prices have come down a bit in parts of California, Mr. Killelea vows to resist the pressure to buy. Recently he mused on his Web site about why more people don't follow his example. "I get the feeling many wives are pressuring the husbands to buy," he wrote. "I know it's not politically correct to say so, but I think a lot of irrational purchases are driven by female nesting instincts."
December 26, 2006
Talk about going out with a bang.
What will the next generation of dumb and cocky 23 year old high school GED's do now?
In the late 1990's they did "day trading" until they lost it all. Early 2000's they did condo flipping until they lost it all. So in the 2010's they'll do ________ until they lose it all?
Here's a look at Phoenix area home sales and inventory (thanks bubbletracking). Looks like about 10 months of inventory to me at the current rate.
You might want to check out Phoenix median asking price too, which has fallen $50,000 from August 2005 to now, from $379,900 to $329,900.
So what's going on out there in Phoenix? Are homedebtors giving up at this point, pulling or postponing their listings and waiting for a better day (which won't come)? Will dead inventory owners start slashing their prices now on a race to the bottom?
Most importantly, how much longer will it take to clear away that 52% speculator-driven rise in 2005?
That's still an awful lot of supply and anemic sales. Plus builder dead inventory and FSBO's that aren't recorded here.
December 25, 2006
Good special from the BBC on debt and the banks acting like crack dealers. You owe it to yourself to watch the full video.
Tech note - this is google video, which sucks vs. youtube, so hit play, then hit pause, go walk around the block admiring all the Fore Sale signs, then come back and hit play again, after the video has had time to load
Posted by blogger at 12/25/2006
Ahh... gotta love a bad prediction. I've made a few myself (damn Cubs, and no, the stock market didn't crash this year). But while guessing the exact time of an event can be tricky (Cubs 2018!), laying out the case of why something will happen or is happening is not (goodbye dollar, goodbye housing).
Here are a few gems from the past. Check out Survivingthecrash for a list of Great Depression vs. Housing Bubble doozies:
"There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction"
- General Tommy Franks, March 22nd, 2003.
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, DEC Chairman, 1977
"No matter what happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping"
- Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of Navy, December 4, 1941
"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." - Dick Cheney, US VP, 2003
"Fifteen percent is pretty much in the bag for Orange County in 2006," he says. "It's impossible for prices to go down this year." (Note - OC sales down 21%, reported prices off 3% so far)
- Gary Watts, Spokesman Orange Country Association of Realtors, Oct 2005
"In most of the cities and towns of this country, this Wall Street panic will have no effect."
- Paul Block, Block Newspapers, November 15, 1929
"The worst is behind us, as far as a market correction — this is likely the trough for sales" David Lereah, Oct. 2006
Posted by blogger at 12/25/2006
December 24, 2006
And nope, nothing to do with housing. I just like year-end lists and this is one of my all-time favorites - the most influential people of all time.
My top 5:
4) Tim Berners-Lee
5) Thomas Jefferson
The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History
- Isaac Newton
- Jesus Christ
- St. Paul
- Ts'ai Lun
- Johann Gutenberg
- Christopher Columbus
- Albert Einstein
- Karl Marx
- Louis Pasteur
- Galileo Galilei
- Charles Darwin
- Shih Huang Ti
- Augustus Caesar
- Mao Tse-tung
December 23, 2006
One last Olbermann Special Comment to end the year
I hope at this time of year people begin to look around them and reject debt-fueled consumerism run amok.
I hope people who spent the past year screwing over other people for a commission while lying, cheating and deceiving (they know who they are) consider a better way of making a living.
I hope debt-saddled Americans sitting in their massive ego-gratifying depreciating McMansions give some thought to the things that really matter in their lives, or should.
And I hope you all have a safe and merry christmas.
Keep it clean, don't feed the trolls, peace out.
The NAR attacks Robert Shiller, says they "haven't heard the pop yet". HP's message to the NAR - Are you f*cking deaf?
What's the NAR hiding? Do they think people are so dumb that if they attack the guy who nailed the housing bubble call, just like he nailed the dot-com collapse call, that people will believe the NAR spin and lies vs. the now-obvious truth? And we all know (the NAR included) that the bubble blogs and their readers collectively had a big impact on the mindset of America. But of course the NAR doesn't want to admit that, no way no sir.
Folks, the NAR is run by some of the dumbest people in the country. Which is par for the course as I'd imagine most of 'em are real estate clerks. Garbage in... garbage out... God I hate the corrupt NAR.
Hat-tip to the most excellent paper money blog for the link. Here's their hack-job on Shiller:
Real Estate's 25 Most Influential Thought Leaders:15 Others Who've Had an Impact
Robert J. Shiller - Stanley B. Resor Professor of Economics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Why: Got big media coverage equating rising real estate prices with the tech bubble, but we haven't heard the pop yet.
Robert Shiller scored instant media celebrity when his 2000 book, Irrational Exuberance, predicted the tech bubble's explosion just weeks before the fact. Four years later, when he tried to apply the same principles to the real estate boom, he found out that all investments don't behave alike.
Shiller contended that rising home prices weren't based in the fundamentals of population growth and supply and demand; they were bubbles, destined to pop. To the contrary, NAR economists predicted that market slowdowns would largely be gradual trend that's playing out today. Shiller's failed bubble scenario demonstrates that sometimes even smart guys get it wrong
December 22, 2006
The United States: A country run by a cozy club of corrupt rich white businessmen, with no oversight, spinning dangerously out of control
Pfizer Inc.'s former chief executive, Henry A. McKinnell, who was forced into early retirement in part because of investor anger about his rich retirement benefits, will get a retirement package totaling more than $180 million, a new regulatory filing shows.
Interesting interview of the defensive and corrupt David Lereah at CNBC today where he says people distrust him because he's a shill. Love it! And it looks like he's an HP reader - let's give him a big HP welcome - HELLO DAVID! YOU SUCK!
Read his CNBC spin in the context of these great past Lereah quotes:
"Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom"
"Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust"
"There is no national housing bubble"
"There is no evidence of bubbles popping"
"We feel confident that housing is landing softly"
"This is not a scenario for a hard landing"
Still, NAR’s chief economist David Lereah gets a lot of flak. He not only gets hate mail, he’s got his own hate site: (link). Actually, there are several not-too-savory sites on David. I called him this morning and asked, “Why are people so skeptical of you?” (That wasn’t exactly how I phrased it.)
“Because I’m a shill. Look, they’re basically saying, ‘You’re the Realtors, you’re in it for the money, you have to say the market is going well.’ What are you going to do?” says Lereah.
“When the market is good, we can say no wrong, and now the market’s down and they’re getting skeptical and they don’t believe it. To be quite candid, we all have really good housing models, and all we’re doing is putting the data in and generating the numbers. There’s nothing to hide. My members don’t get angry at me if I say sales are down 10% this year. I don’t get fired.”
David Lereah speaks the truth, but he’s also one of the best spinners I’ve ever met, and after 17 years in this business, I’ve met a lot. David always finds a way to turn a negative number into a positive outlook. The steep fall in sales is a “correction” to him. Falling prices are “healthy for the market.” He’s got a million of ‘em, but guess what, he’s also got real numbers
Boy, wait 'til they see 2007 - 2008.
The first stage of the crash is big news, but oh my god the full crash and the mess to come, that may be the business story of the century my friends...
With headlines like these, how can Todd Tarson, Athol Kay, Greg Swann, Russ Shaw, Tom Stevens, Donald Trump, David Lereah, Bob Toll, Jim Jubak, Chris Mayer, the Harvard JCHS, Nicholas Retsinas, Alan Greenspan and other laughable and discredited housing bubble deniers continue to spin their lies and deceit?
The gig is up. The rabbit is out of the hat. The liars and deceivers have been exposed. And the housing crash underway will be brutal.
Housing Decline Is Business Story of 2006
Sudden Stall in Home Sales, Construction, Prices Is Voted AP's Top Business Story of 2006
The nation's house party ended with a thud in 2006, leaving everyone from condo flippers to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke waiting to see what would happen next.
The sudden stall in home sales, home construction and home prices -- and what that will mean for the economy -- was voted the top business story of the year by U.S. newspaper and broadcast editors surveyed by The Associated Press.
At the housing market's peak, buyers rushed to open houses, blank checks in hand. Lenders gave big-money mortgages to people who could barely afford their monthly payments. That ended in 2006, when home builders scuttled projects, walked away from land they'd hoped to develop and would-be buyers canceled orders.
December 21, 2006
Anyone else thinking The Donald is under a bit of The Pressure as The Real Estate The Blows Up?
Get used to pictures like these...
NAR (aka NAREC) members were sooooo very happy to make commissions off of people who couldn't afford homes and mortgages (aka "the last suckers in), with their members recommending "toxic loans" these past few years to get people into financial death-traps.
And the corrupt David Lereah did such a nice job cashing in with his book while telling people that real estate never went down and BUY NOW OR FOREVER BE PRICED OUT OF THE MARKET!
NAR/NAREC members did a great job steering suckers (for a nice kickback) to their buddies, the commission-hungry mortgage brokers, who out of the goodness of his heart could put them into a no-down, no-doc, negative-am loan so the payment would be just so perfect!
Of course, the mark couldn't afford the house and the loan in the end, and now 20% of them will go foreclosure, but that didn't deter the NAR/NAREC human scum. No way!!! They made their big commissions!
Now dear readers, the NAR/NAREC is saying they're "concerned" about the soaring foreclosure rate. Yeah, right.
The National Association of Realtors said it is concerned over the rising rate of defaults and foreclosures occurring in many areas around the country, and many realtors believe that some families don’t understand the risks of taking out “exotic” mortgages.
In a conference call yesterday with the Center for Responsible Lending and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAR President Pat Vredevoogd Combs urged consumers to make sure they understand the risks and rewards of all types of mortgages before they make a decision on a loan. She also advised consumers to consult with a realtor and to participate in mortgage education programs sponsored by realtors before they buy a home.
“We are committed to helping people buy – and keep – the home of their dreams, and an educated consumer really can make the best decision,” said Combs, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt.
“Realtors help Americans achieve the dream of homeownership. We work to ensure that homebuyers have access to the proper information so they can fulfill their homeownership goals.”
Big hat-tip to Danilo Bogdanovic for having the courage to take a stand and write this eye-opening and extremely important open letter. I hope this is the start.
Courage, morals, ethics and character count in life my friends. The nasty real estate clerks infesting this blog and our country should take note, change for the better, or be very afraid. The wall of deception and corruption is crumbling. What side will you be on when the wall comes down?
The words are Danilo's, the bold highlights are mine (for short-attention span HP'ers!). Please feel free to forward this with your comments to the NAR here.
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,
Anyone want to guess the over/under for when Casey does get the big knock on the door? My guess: April 2007. I guess the banks have to file a complaint first?
My advice for Casey: file bankruptcy, turn yourself in, go States Evidence, write your bestseller book, and live the American Dream - Ring Up Massive Debt and Don't Pay It Back!
Here's his update:
Avoiding Stress = More Stress
I’ve been a little out of it last couple of days.
After coming back home to Sacramento on Monday I was feeling very overwhelmed by the “reality” that was/is waiting for me:…
* still facing foreclosure on 4 houses…
* well over $150K of unsecured debt…
* decision to file bankruptcy or not to file bankruptcy…
* uncertain job situation… utah mortgage issues…
* lack of discipline and lack of progress on December goals…
* being too distracted to do any more real estate deals…
* serious marriage issues…
* oh and on top of all that my laptop died!
So I kind of hid from the world for a couple of days. No cell phone, no email, no blogging, no comments.
December 20, 2006
BREAKING: iamfacingforeclosure.com is quiet and locked, rumors now floating that Casey Serin has been arrested
His last post was Monday the 18th at 8:41pm, and his website is now locked - no new comments or postings.
My only question would be- what took so long? The USA Today story alone should have had the feds calling the next day.
Casey has made himself the poster boy for mortgage fraud and flipping failure. He has a price to pay - bankruptcy, the IRS, jail time, etc. It won't be fun. But fame = $$$ in America so I think he'll reinvent himself and come out smelling like a rose - and rich. Ah, the American dream...
HP'ers know I think the kid has a good heart, and just got in waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over his head, thanks to his $15,000 in "real estate guru" classes. He's just young and naive, and weren't you at 24? You just didn't have banks willing to lend you $2,200,000 with no questions asked.
Robert Kiyosaki, Carleton Sheets, Donald Trump, Learning Expo and the rest who seduced Casey are just as bad as the blood sucking and corrupt realtors, mortgage brokers, appraisers, developers and bankers who together conspired to create the biggest financial bubble in human history.
Naive and greedy people like Casey got caught when the music stopped, and their lives will now be ruined.
Anyone with news on Casey post here.
Posted by blogger at 12/20/2006
Let's Play Lowball:
If a home was listed at $x, what % below $x would you offer today if you were truly thinking of renting the money from the bank to go 'buy' a home?
F) 50% or more
Also report what city you're in (I've gotta believe Miami lowballs are gonna be lower than Topeka lowballs)...
And is anyone doing this yet (just for fun?)
Posted by blogger at 12/20/2006