Sunday, January 14, 2007

What I've Been Up To

So, as you are probably aware, I have not posted for over a month. Some people have even sent concerned email. Well, I've just been really busy at my new job (which has been a lot of fun for me). And I was in jury duty for a month which didn't help. I was at risk of spending too much time on this blog and not enough time with my family. I made my choice. I'll still be posting, but as this is the slow season I decided to slow down too.

And I haven't really been keeping up all that well with the bubble news. There is still a bubble, right? Anyway, below (previous to this post) are some posts that I started and never finished...first drafts if you will.

* * *

But in general, this is how things look to me:

If you go to the Sacramento Land(ing) blog, it is clear that central and lake county markets are getting hammered. If you go to Athena's Sonoma blog, Sonoma is starting to get creamed. Marin has been weakening significantly and there is a lot of market stress here. This is in line with expectations: areas further away from employment centers fail first, the bubble collapses inward. Give it time and it will all play out.

One of my co-worker friends is trying to sell his father's house in Bel Marin Keys. He has been having a terrible time selling it. One buyer has made an offer about 15% below their already reduced asking price. It's their only offer. The house was originally listed "in the high $800Ks" and is now listed in the low $600s. My co-worker seller friend is doing the dishonest thing and trying to get that buyer to up his offer by inventing non-existent buyers saying these other buyers are "offering more than you, are you sure you don't want to increase your offer." IOW, trying to create a phantom bidding war. Apparently, the Marin real estate agent on the seller's side is cool with this sort of dishonest practice. Well, what do you expect from real estate middle men, salesmen?

Get rid of real estate agents I say. They are no longer needed. An internet connection and a car is all you need. Then, when it comes time to make an offer and do the paper work, then pay some money... to a lawyer familiar with contract law. Why pay bookoo dollars to a real estate agent who received almost no training, whose educational requirements are minimal, where dishonesty is structurally encouraged? For example.

Oh, and my co-worker friend mentioned that his real estate agent has been urging him to sell that Bel Marin Keys house ASAP because 'Marin is expected to be hit by a wave of foreclosoures'. Not sure if I believe that yet. We'll see.

* * *

To that end, check out the latest attempts to disintermediate real estate agents:
  1. Partick.Net has created a site where people can leave uncensored comments about specific addresses they have visited.
  2. MLS-2 -- a free alternative to the Bay Area MLS. Unfortunately Marin is not covered (yet). Give it time.
Power to the People!


Blogger Athena said...

Great to have you back!

Jan 14, 2007, 8:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marinite, we need you!

Thanks for coming back.

There is so much propaganda on the other side.

I heard Michael Finney with two RE experts gleefully saying that the slowdown is over.
They said it was slow, but it will bounce back in the new year.

Finney said he would go to homes for sale in his hood just to see how much richer he was.
There was a smugness to this that really bugged me.

I thought he was a consumer advocate, but around RE he is not.

Sorry to rant.

Please keep telling the other side of this story.


Jan 15, 2007, 1:00:00 AM  
Blogger Lander said...

Welcome back!

Jan 15, 2007, 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back! I was worried that you may gone over to the dark side......

Jan 15, 2007, 1:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

22 Mt Whitney Drive, Upper Lucas Valley San Rafael, CA 94903

I am very familiar with Eichler's in Lucas Valley, so I was very surprised when I recently saw the NEW listings which included 22 Mount Whitney Dr, since it is not a new listing at all. I noticed that the listing Agent changed the original list date to 1-2-07, but it has actually been on the market for over 5 months. The home was never pulled from the MLS, and it also has not changed Brokers or Agents. This is from the same listing Agent, she even states, won't last long.

How do Agents sleep.

Jan 15, 2007, 7:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 7:24 -

I guess Marin RE isn't really any different than anywhere else. What a surprise.

Check out the recent BusinessWeek mag...there's an article giving national exposure to MLS manipulations and real estate agent fraud.

Jan 16, 2007, 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

Glad to hear you're doing well.

"Finney said he would go to homes for sale in his hood just to see how much richer he was."

Apparently, that's an important part of consumer advocacy--telling people what they want to hear, despite ample cautionary reports.

If you were to give your local newspaper or TV station a grade on covering the RE bubble, what would it be?

Jan 16, 2007, 3:17:00 PM  
Blogger sf jack said...

I hardly read the thing any more, so I'm probably not an unbiased grader... but I would have given the SF Chronicle a D+ until about six months.

Then, if I recall, it improved suddenly. Probably in part because SFGate columnist Carol Lloyd got off her real estate bandwagoning ass and wrote about what was actually occurring across the landscape.

Which in turn forced the news editors to present similarly-toned stories in their print sections.

Good for Carol!


Great to see you at your blog again, marinite.

Thanks for all of your work.

Jan 16, 2007, 6:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of us thought the Marin REALTORS tm put a price on your head...

People are now asking "What if the price does not go up 20% a year" and is $1.4mm really a good prive for this 900 sf cottage...

Jan 16, 2007, 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marinite- your so called half -finished posts are 10 times better than anyone elses thought- out ones.

Yikes! Don't be such a perfectionist!!

Please don't go so long again without posting -You talk about exactly what needs to be talked about and nobody else is doing what you do.


Jan 17, 2007, 11:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Marinknight
You say the truth.
I'm so happy to hear your voice again!

Jan 18, 2007, 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

SF Jack-
Yes, the SF Chron has taken a refreshing turn towards reality of late. I can't say the same for local papers still clueless on the concept, scoring an "F" in my book.

In fact, today one Bay Area paper goaded its readers to keep "investing" in sure-fire locations such as Las Vegas, Sacramento, Phoenix--even Fresno. It boggles the mind; F-.

Jan 19, 2007, 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the SF Chron has taken a refreshing turn towards reality of late.

Well, the Marin IJ is reporting the -5% drop in Marin SFR December 06 prices. And, knowing the IJ, that is probably the positively spun version.

Anyway, I'll be posting December's results soon enough when all of my usual data sources report in.

Jan 19, 2007, 4:06:00 PM  

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