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Cul-de-sac: Realtors in la-la-land?

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Cul-de-sac: Realtors in la-la-land?

Postby gnome de blog » Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:19 pm

My wife is a real estate agent. Believe me, she is well aware of the falling market. At her sales meeting this morning, one agent after another announced price reductions on their listings. By all accounts, Portland hasn't been hit nearly as hard as the rest of the country.

I can't speak for all realtors everywhere, but it's pretty apparent to me that not all of them have their heads in the clouds. I would also suggest (without, I'll admit, having seen the article) that journalists are not above crafting pieces to engage emotions rather than to inform.
"Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Brownest." - Lucy Van Pelt
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Postby poppinjay » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:50 am

As a journalist I disagree! We never color a story. Unless we feel like it.

Here's the story:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01368.html

Just like everybody else who has ever bought a house, we're working with a realtor who we think has our best interests at heart, and that it's always the other guys who are the predatory sharks.

Also, the DC area is very different from just about every metro I've ever lived in. It's an area filled with younger people willing to indebt themselves to the hilt in order to portray an aura of having some kind of power or influence. It's expected that people will buy well over their heads because they believe they will climb up the ladder rapidly. And we lead the country in foreclosure.
Cherry Trail? Really?
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Postby gnome de blog » Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:35 pm

It's a well-written, clever piece that absolutely plucks emotional chords. Based on the comon-sense implication that houses - like point guards and power hitters - have intrinsic value that is inflated by the marketplace, the author invites the reader inside with a conspiratorial wink to share his superior insight.

Naturally, any fellow with the wit that God gave a horse knows more about what a house is worth than the shallow effervescent fool who's trying to make a living trying to determine not "worth" but what it will sell for.

I'd be interested to see what he'd write about putting his own house on the market and - as is often the case - his realtor told him he's gonna get $200K less than he "knows" it's worth. As Paul Simon once said, one man's ceiling is another man's floor.

Good writer that he is, the author has turned his tour of open houses into a bit of melodrama, with a sinfully corrupt marketplace and the shallow effervescent villains scavenging the innocent. "It's a jungle out there, dear reader," he seems to say, "but you and I, *wink!* we know better." He even has a Happy Ending and a Moral: There's No Place Like Home.

I think I read someplace that real estate agents are the third-most despised profession, after politicians and lawyers - and it's easy to make fun of them. Certainly I've met plenty that I wouldn't care to discuss moral philosophy with. However, unlike law and politics, it's an easy profession to get into, and it's highly competitive. It is a jungle out there. Like my wife says, "I wake up unemployed every morning."

While folks are out there having a good time poking in other people's lives, our shallow effervescent villian is out there in a necktie (or stilettos, depending) on a Sunday afternoon - working. Trying to be pleasant and reasonably informative to strangers. It's not as easy a job as most people think.

Most realtors don't make a lot of money. Some make a bundle. In the last 12 years my wife has cleared anywhere from $100K to less than $10K in a year, and we never know what it's gonna be.

But there's one thing that every successful realtor knows that the average man on the street, or even the discriminating newspaper reporter, doesn't: how to get the most value the market will allow for his client's property. Most of the time.
"Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Brownest." - Lucy Van Pelt
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Postby poppinjay » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:41 pm

I think in this particular market there are ample cases of villains scavenging the not so innocent. Just before things really started to tank, realtors were drawing up sales contracts and leaving them at the doors of a particular neighborhood near where I live. These were not asked for, it's just that area became "hot". Everybody was offered $600k. And these things were left at the door like a pizza flyer or UPS package. For those who took the bait, their lots were sub-divided so that two McMansions could be built where previously one rambler sat.

And then the seller, who admittedly made about a 700% profit was left to find other housing in the area for that profit. Of which none is available.

The nudge nudge wink wink attitude of the article is pretty accurate for the DC area. The only thing left out is the disappointment of the neo-yuppies that they can no longer dream about flipping houses.
Cherry Trail? Really?
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Postby gnome de blog » Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:05 pm

poppinjay wrote:The only thing left out is the disappointment of the neo-yuppies that they can no longer dream about flipping houses.

Yeh - too bad, ain't it?

And all because the house-of-cards lending schemes of the last few years finally collapsed of their own weight when the balloon payments started coming due.

Well, it's not quite that simple. Nothing is ever simple. But that had a lot to do with it.

Don't you get a lot of transient population in D.C., folks who plan to be there for 2 years, or 4, or maybe 8, buy a house and hope to walk away with a tidy sum when they head back to the hinterlands?
"Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Brownest." - Lucy Van Pelt
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Postby poppinjay » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:03 pm

Yeah, sort of. There's also alot of us fresh scrubbed cheek types thinking we could help out. But the DC market is absolutely abnromal and not at all like others.

I'm a big fan of realtors. Ours is helping us a great deal, and we would never dream of traveling this market alone. It would be like relying on a bear to help us transverse the heavy woods.
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