Thursday, April 05, 2007

MAR's Propaganda Blitz

In a desperate attempt to drum up business, the Marin Association of Realtors is engaged in a first-ever-of-its-kind propaganda blitz. Some realtors are even undergoing "special training" for the propaganda campaign. Special propaganda training...hmmm.

Some choice quotes:

In a presentation to the San Rafael City Council - the first of its kind before a municipal body in Marin - the association said newspaper headlines announcing Marin's recent real estate highs and lows are accurate, but not a true measure of the market's rock-solid history in Marin as a steady climber.

"When it comes to real estate prices in Marin ... the true guide should be the long-term history," said Edward Segal, chief executive of the Marin Association of Realtors.

Association officials, concerned about the media's recent portrayal of the market as weak based on "snapshot" data, are making the rounds to Rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, community groups and others across Marin hoping to spread the word that business is good.

About a dozen association officers have undergone training as part of the "proactive" public education campaign, Segal said.

"Public education campaign"? More like public brain-washing.

'Spreading the word"...halleluiah!
One has to wonder why this is necessary now. Are they scared? And what's the deal with the whole "long term" emphasis? Of course long term things look good. No one has ever claimed otherwise, at least not on this blog nor anywhere else that I can recall. It's the short to medium term where things look less rosy. Considering the typical house owner only stays in the house 5-7 years on average, people should be concerned about the short- to mid-term. Shame on the MAR to suggest otherwise.

And then:
"We're much better off than the media would have you believe," she said.
Ah. So it is the media's fault. This being said in the IJ, the MAR's poodle. I don't recall the MAR or RE agents/realtors anywhere admonishing the media when the media was pumping up real estate and down-playing the risks. So you are only bad if you go against the real estate industry's bottom line. Got it.

Well, I sure hope our business leaders are savvy enough to recognize when vested interests are only looking after their financial best interests and no one else's.

"As the name implies, it's data and it's quick," Segal said of the La Jolla-based real estate information service.
Cute. How professional. I'll have more to say about DataQuick's "quickie" data in a later post.
Perhaps these, dug up from the 'ol archives, will help clarify things (and maybe I'll get around to updating them too):

Do you want to do your part to help put these middlemen (or is that "middlepersons"?) out of business and help to lower prices? Check out BuySide Realty. According to the review over at Mish's place (scroll down to the post entitled "The Changing Business of Real Estate (Part 1)"):

In the typical relationship at present, a person finds a home with or without the help of a Realtor, makes an offer, and commissions on the sale are split between the buyer's agent and seller's agent.

Those commissions are usually in the 5-6% range. Historically the split has been 50-50 between the buyer's agent and seller's agent but given the current slowdown the buyer's agent now gets as much as 4% of 6% commission.

The question is "for what?"

BuySide Realty operates on the principle that people who find the home they want to buy should get paid for their effort. So BuySide actually shares with the buyer 75% of the commission it receives. This commission sharing can be substantial. On a $500,000 home with a 6% commission spit equally, BuySide Realty would return $11,250 to the buyer of the house. If the commission was split 4% to the buyer's agent (not uncommon in this market) BuySide Realty would return $15,000 to the new home buyer. The largest rebate so far was $40,000.

The current perception that BuySide is attempting to change, is that one needs substantial help from a Realtor to buy a house. Mr. Fox offered the following comment about those perceptions: "The NAR has done an excellent job of convincing the consumer they are too stupid to buy a house on their own accord even when their own facts show otherwise".

So go out there, find that Marin foreclosure, preforeclosure, bankruptcy, tax lien, and use these guys to get the house. You are not only putting an RE agent out of work, but helping to bring prices down.

And no, for you skeptics out there, I am not in any way, shape, or form affiliated with BuySide.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a famous economist once said

"In the long run we are all dead..."

but when that is all that you can hang your hat on, I guess that is what you must do.

Apr 5, 2007, 9:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

. Considering the typical house owner only stays in the house 5-7 years on average, people should be concerned about the short- to mid-term.

If I'm above average and want to stay longer than the "typical" 5-7 years, can I buy a house?

Great. Glad to hear it. I'm even going to use a full commission broker. But don't worry. I plan to work his ass off.

Apr 5, 2007, 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think the Agents are among us.

I am going to wait for rational pricing.

I advise everyone to smell the ratcake.

Do not get in over your head!

The Marin IJ is not independent.
It is a Real Estate sponsered rag.


Apr 6, 2007, 2:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If I'm above average and want to stay longer than the "typical" 5-7 years, can I buy a house?"

Sure, you can even buy one and sell it again next week. No one's stopping you.

"Great. Glad to hear it. I'm even going to use a full commission broker. But don't worry. I plan to work his ass off."

I pity the poor agent. Tirelessly printing a dozen houses for you to look at for a measly 20-30K.

Apr 6, 2007, 7:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Similarly, the East Bay city I live in also has a newspaper that up until 6 months ago had a HUGE section devoted entirely to Real Estate. What's worse is that in addition, there was a big advertising supplement that in itself was almost as big as the newspaper. It was made to look like it was actually part of the publication, with articles written by Realtors and other industry people. The articles were written as fact.

Recently, I've noticed that our beloved NAR has been changing their tune, but only just enough to avoid sounding totally clueless. Their slogan for November was " Now is a great time to buy a home." That slogan was lengthened to have an additional tag line. At the end of the above slogan, the tag line goes: "Every market is different, so call a Realtor today." Translation: "Some markets now suck but we'd never admit it since you already know that."

What tops the cake is that the NAR is still being so helpful to people by throwing caution to the wind, blaming first the media, and now the reports coming out of Wall Street and the national economy for the current woes. Who's left to blame? people who refuse to buy?

Apr 6, 2007, 8:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another article by the author of the article in the previous post. It's long but worth the read I think:

And I love his comments about real estate agent behavior.

Apr 6, 2007, 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it hopeless?

Apr 6, 2007, 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The greed factor with these RE agents boogles my mind. Can they not just let the market dynamics work themselves out?? As the old saying goes, "pigs get fatter and hogs get slaughtered". I'm smelling bacon cooking.....

Apr 6, 2007, 1:27:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

At these prices, how many people can really afford to hang on for the long term? That implies a mortgage with a nice safe fixed rate, full P&I payment, taxes, insurance. Yeah right.

It's why so many buyers used voodoo financing. They couldn't afford the more "long term" plain old vanilla mortgage.

When prices go down to 3x or 4x gross income, people can hang on. And in Marin, that was only about 10 years ago. Certainly not ancient history.

Apr 6, 2007, 2:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sad that Marin and the BA will slowly lose their specialness.

On the upside...

It's not too late!
The funny money is still out there!
Grab a toxic loan and a Real Agent and you can still grab on to this Titanic Bonanza!

I just heard that they aren't making any more land.
This could be your day to grab a piece of this historic event.

Lemming shlemming.

Get a piece of the pie!
Or at least a piece of something.

Apr 7, 2007, 2:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[...]facts and figures, not one or two months but over 30 years."

My favorite part of the article. So, for everyone who's buying a house and will live there for 30 years; you are in great shape. However, everyone else is f*cked.

Since historical data is use. Let's use the past two years' trend and project forward two years. Why should I buy when the market is tanking?

Love to hear the answers in the Rotary Club environment. LOL

Apr 7, 2007, 7:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From The Housing Bubble Blog:

"In March the number of houses on the market in the Bay Area jumped by more than 12,000 percent to just over 24,000. Dr. Chuck Williams, the Dean of the University of Pacific School of Business believes 2007 will mark rock bottom for the housing market.”

The inventory increases over 12K percent in the Bay Area. Wow! Cleary it is not as rosy as realtors want to paint out there.

Apr 7, 2007, 8:55:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

That "12000 percent" was an obvious typo. It's not that bad here (yet?).

Apr 7, 2007, 1:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to bust anyone's bubble but houses are selling. There are currently 15 SFH listed on the MLS in San Anselmo under $1million and 13 of those are in escrow.

Apr 7, 2007, 3:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are currently 15 SFH listed on the MLS in San Anselmo under $1million and 13 of those are in escrow.


Prices cannot come down if houses don't sell.

Apr 7, 2007, 5:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Yes! I have a couple of neighbors in Rotary,and have been to a rotary breakfast.There were few if any dummies in that seeing joe realtor git up up on his hind laigs and sing a few verses of "don't believe your lying eyes" would be amusing in a vicious way.especially if there was a Q and A afterward.YES!!I will ask for an Invitation,bring my little knife...It is REALLY sharp...Marinite,Rotary is always recruiting,and they are a very social group,why not encourage those of us with a little knowledge to wangle invites to these presentations,we could perform a valuable service and get a decent meal at the same time!

Apr 8, 2007, 8:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...believes 2007 will mark rock bottom for the housing market.”

That's rather optimistic. I'm going to predict more hard times for homebuilders in '08. No doubt Area market psychology will erode by next spring, and that much more when the Alt-A meltdown ensues.

Apr 8, 2007, 10:11:00 AM  
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