Monday, March 2, 2009

Making It Crystal Clear For The Real Estate Consumer


Do you believe real estate consumers are being served optimally? Do we have all we need to make informed decisions? Are we being told the truth?

When we reflect on just the last 24 months of real estate market news, obviously many Americans did not use good judgement. Many Americans listened to the wrong people. Many listened to individuals who were in reality more preoccupied with protecting themselves and lacing their own pocketbooks than in ensuring that the biggest financial outlay of their customer's lives would work, and make sense longer term.

I really like both of Crystal Cox's blogs The Real Estate Industry Whistleblower and If you've enjoyed The Rancid Truth over the past few years, then I think you might enjoy both of hers.

Crystal has posted numerous, informative vlogs on her website about the current state of the American real estate industry. Most importantly she does so in the context of what is important to the real estate consumer. She's identified several key areas of concern that most prospective consumers either don't know about at all, or tend to dismiss entirely.

According to Crystal, a former realtor and broker owner, the American real estate "system" is broken. And seriously so.

I really like, for example, the way Crystal highlights some of the common pitfalls within the real estate transaction process itself, including agency, home inspections, appraisals, "E and O insurance" (in other words, "Ethics and Omissions insurance" for real estate transactions, which mainly protect Realtors to the full extent of the law, but too often leave real estate consumers holding the bag when things go wrong, and then wondering just what the hell happened to them). She touches upon other interesting topics too, such as selling without a realtor, "the emotions associated with real estate", and even thee oxymoronic subject of "realtor ethics".

And as you might expect, Realtors around the country are apparently either pissed or completely shocked.

I'm sure there are some good intentioned realtors out there working really hard to make a living these days. But every realtor in America has to admit on some level (even secretly to themselves) that, following arguably the most spectular collapse of the housing market in modern history, and the global economic repercussions of irrational exhuberance over home value, WHICH REALTORS FREAKING CHAMPIONED UNAPOLOGETICALLY FOR 8 YEARS, might a little intellectual honesty be in order when it comes to the Realtor profession?

I believe so.


Toronto Realtor said...

I've read couple articles from Crystal on her blog and I must say, she is a pretty good writer. But I do disagree with some of her opinions. For example in the article "more On Banks in Real Estate" she bashes every Realtor in the US. These days it's very difficult to make a living in this field and unfortunately lots of Realtors turn to the easier option of cheating the consumer. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Don't you think?
Take care, Elli

Markus Arelius said...

No I don't think desperate times call for Realtors, or any one else for that matter, to cheat the consumer.

Somehow I am able to find encouragement from the fact that this US-originated, economic depression may hurt so many financially and so severely that they may never again so easily trust a real estate sales agent who is paid solely on the sales price of the house at transaction. This arrangement is wrong. The good news for consumers like me is that there will be investigations at federal, state and county levels, and they will restore confidence.

Good luck in Toronto. I love that city.