Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bad Karma

"The days when real estate agents were the gatekeepers for the housing market have gone the way of typewriters and printed MLS books. The key to coping in today's online housing market is to provide as much information as possible and let the consumer decide."

-Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News
(Kudos to the Sacramento Land(ing) blog for this quote.)

* * *
A Chicago district court cleared the way Tuesday for the Department of Justice (DoJ) to proceed with its antitrust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The DoJ contends the NAR is engaging in anti-competitive behavior against online home brokers.

According to the DoJ, the NAR is concerned online sites might lead to lower commissions for real estate brokers. In 2003, NAR passed rules allowing traditional brick-and-mortar brokers to block their home listings to brokers operating Virtual Office Web sites (VOWs).

The DoJ claims online brokers can deliver brokerage services more efficiently, resulting in better services and lower prices.
I can't help but wonder if realtors and real estate agents as a whole (as an industry) had acted with greater integrity, had not engaged in fear mongering (e.g., "buy now or forever be priced out", etc.), had not promoted false expectations and "mythology" (e.g., "real estate always goes up", "now is a great time to buy" (when prices are racing upwards), "now is a great time to buy" (when prices are falling), "we here in [insert your favorite locale] are immune", etc.), had not effectively privatized information, had committed to making more honest public statements regarding the state of the market, and if the house buying process fairly emphasized the buyer's interests as much as the seller's interests, that public perception of their industry would not have become so dour. Now they face extinction. Like dinosaurs, they had their chance, they had their moment in time when they could prove their utility; but alas, in the end, as an industry, they could not adapt their behavior and move beyond their self-interest.


Blogger Rob Dawg said...

It wouldn't matter if Realtors® kissed babies and took vows of honesty. Their time is over. Does anyone ever recall travel agents being reviled? No, yet they went away despite enjoying modest approval. Realtors® have no such love to to rely upon. THey aren't endangered pandas, they are polio. no one will miss them when they are gone.

Dec 2, 2006, 1:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can't join my local mls without becoming a member of the CAR,and the far as the trustworthiness of realtors,7% of the people polled rate them as trustworthy...NIH figures 15% of the populace is seriously mentally or emotionally disturbed...and by definition 50% of the populace has an IQ under it possible you have to be stupid and crazy to trust a realtor?

Dec 2, 2006, 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger Rob Dawg said...

I know several honest and trustworthy agents, brokers and such. That isn't the point. Good and bad, they are buggy whip manufacturers, whalebone corset stay salesmen, typewriter repairmen, VCR installers, gaslamp lighter, town criers, DOS programmer, etc. The idea of house seller is just outdated so I'm not gonna pile on here. Just goodbye, thanks for your service, no thanks for your tolerating diservice in your ranks and let's move on.

Dec 2, 2006, 4:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Broker in Lake County. Spring 2005 prices increased $50,000 based on pure greed. I told every buyer I worked with a crash was coming, and told them do not buy...they went to other agents and bought. One built a spec which they cannot sell, and one bought two properties both now worth less.I keep hearing seller's say spring 2007 the market will "pick-up" .....and they can't hear me tell them outsourcing/insourcing/national debt/trade deficient/incomes & pensions down/health care up/dollar falling etc...their property will be worth less come Spring 2007.

No one - absolutely no one listened to me last year and they still can't hear me. Greed is a terrible thing and causes deafness.

We are having a planned gutting of the American economy as we move into the North American Union created by Bush,Martin and Fox: go to

All my listings are over-priced and no matter what comps I show sellers as to the real value they won't budge on price. And each month that passes the listings lose more value.

I don't like real esate agents either...

Dec 2, 2006, 8:48:00 PM  
Blogger Paige Turner said...

Anonymous said...
I am a Broker in Lake County...I don't like real estate agents either...

Are you talking about Lake County CA? I just went through there on on highway 20, by way of the Rumsey Cutoff, last Friday. Beautiful country! The weather was nice in Nice.

Sorry to hear about your crashing property values. A real estate agent would be the last person I would expect to be the Cassandra who warns of dropping home values. Things don't appear to be much better next door in Mendocino County.

Dec 2, 2006, 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Annonymous Broker in Lake County- at least you tried! Sleep well at night and hope you planned wisely for the crash!

Once again, Marinite, you've written a great, thoughtful essay on a major problem. I totally agree that the word "Realtor" will be mud, in large part because of the hysteria that so many of them cheerleaded, dragging their audiences into financial hell.

It is unbelievable to me that there is still the odd listing out there with the words "!!!Instant Equity!!!" attached.

These people are totally asking for it.

Dec 6, 2006, 11:06:00 PM  

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