Monthly Archives: September 2010

Like It or Not, You’re All Political Analysts Now

My friend Matt Dollinger recently commented on a post by the longtime real estate expert Steve Harney. Both were commenting on the doom & gloom article from Time Magazine on how homeownership is overrated. Steve Harney rightfully takes Time to task:

Again, they are simply arguing a miniscule point of an extensive research paper that proves the benefits of homeownership. Where is their research, their study, their expert testimony disproving this study’s results? They gave none because there is none. (Emphasis in original.)

Matt, in commenting on what Steve Harney wrote, and on the gloomy headlines from newspapers and magazines, suggests that real estate agents need to start focusing on how to answer questions from confused consumers:

We all understand that this is a difficult time for those in real estate… both consumers and agents alike.  However, your job above all else, is to become the Trusted Advisor of those closest to you and choosing you to represent them.  That means that you are responsible for being able to decipher fact from fiction and opinion from proof.  There are many conflicting headlines out there today published by everyone from trusted sources like Wall Street Journal, CNN and many others.  Your job is to sift through this material and create KNOWLEDGE from the DATA presented.  Only by creating this knowledge and providing it objectively to your clients can you truly assist in their decision to buy, sell or invest in real estate.

I agree wholeheartedly with both Steve and Matt insofar as their trashing of Time’s “reporting” and their recommendations to real estate professionals.  I do, however, think that the implications they draw are not necessarily what we’re going to face.

I believe that every real estate professional today, like it or not, has to become an amateur political analyst because it is well-nigh impossible even to understand what to make of conflicting headlines without understanding the political implications.

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What is the Agent’s Job?

Lambert's in Austin, TX -- just amazing brisket

I’m in Austin, TX on personal business, and thought I would take advantage of the trip to visit with my friends Krisstina and Gary Wise, and Jack Miller, at the GoodLife Team.  Well, it just so happened that Keller Williams was holding a huge conference in town the same week, bringing a number of people to the city (something I found out on the flight down to Austin).  The happy result is that I find myself sitting with the last two Inman Innovator Award winners for brokerages with a beer in hand, having some of the best conversations about real estate in recent memory.

One topic I’m curious to see what my readers think about was: What is the job of the real estate agent?

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Future of Rentals: PETRA, TRA, and End of Housing As We Know It

[Note: This is a longer version of the original, which was posted on AOL Housingwatch a few days ago.  I’m crossposting it because Notorious ROB has no space constraints and my readers are used to 2,000 word posts, heh. :)]

In Part 1 of this series, where I laid out why I believe the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (among other features of contemporary homeownership) was on its way out, to be replaced by a far greater emphasis on rentals.  So let’s take a brief look at what the future of rentals might look like, since many of you reading this now will be renting for a lot longer than you had ever imagined.

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Carnival of Real Estate Policy, Inaugural Edition

Welcome to the first Carnival of Real Estate Policy.  It seems impossible that the real estate blogosphere has gone so long without talking more about government policy given that real estate is a heavily regulated industry, and the more important organization in real estate is a industry lobby group (NAR).  But for the most part, we bloggers in real estate have spent most of our time and energy talking about the market, about the homebuying process, and about marketing techniques, including social media.  Hopefully, we will start to talk more and more about the policy issues that will have far-reaching consequences for the industry, for consumers, and for government.

As is often the case, posts about policy often cannot be distinguished from posts about politics. One’s political views will inform one’s policy preferences.  As the editor (and host, and chief cook and bottle washer) of the Carnival, I have chosen not to accept posts that I felt were purely political: interested more in scoring points for or against one party or another, or one politician or another.  But it is often impossible to separate policy debates from political ones, so you will find posts you consider to be political; well, I’ve tried. :)

Here are the posts for this inaugural edition of the Carnival of Real Estate Policy:

What Comes After the Future of Housing?

Jeff Corbett, Mr. XBroker himself, looks at possible scenarios for Fannie and Freddie based on the comments from the Conference on the Future of Housing Finance.

Recovery Through Policy or Free Markets?

Brian Hickey of argues that what the government needs to do is free up capital and get out of the real estate transaction.

Will the Homebuyer Tax Credit Return?

Jay Thompson, Phoenix Real Estate Guy, discusses the possibility that the $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit may be extended once again.

Recovering from the Real Estate Katrina

Rich Bailey, of The Gopher Files, works the disaster analogy.

Rogue Housing Market Recalibrates to the New Abnormal

David Arbit, of Minneapolis Area Assocation of REALTORS and 10K Research, provides numbers that show the Homebuyer Tax Credit merely pulled demand forward.

A Follow Up to the Hot Issue of Reform for Freddie and Fannie

Mark Brian, a REALTOR and blogger from South Carolina, discusses more Fannie and Freddie and what the government should do about them.

The New Housing Policy – Will It Repair the Housing Market?

Linsey Planeta, the broker-owner of M Realty in Orange County, CA, worries about the new housing policy’s impact on the market.

Fannie and Freddie: Into Commercial Real Estate, Out of Residential

My submission to the Carnival, where I look into why I believe the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is on its way out and how that will occur.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this first edition of Carnival of Real Estate Policy.


PS: I just scheduled the next edition for October 3rd; submission deadline is October 1st.  The BlogCarnival link is here: