Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Oh Lordy. Chicago (Association) Blows Up.



I was going to just keep posting my series on REThinkFuture, but this development simply demands attention:

The Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR) is suing Andrea Geller, a CAR member and agent for Coldwell Banker, for defamation for public statements she made on Chicago Agent magazine’s story on the impeachment of former CAR President Bob Floss.

The lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess $50,000 from Geller, according to a Chicago Tribune story on the lawsuit, is believed to be the first such lawsuit in the association’s 129-year history.

Oh. My. God.

I wrote a couple of months ago about the unfolding drama in GLVAR, in which three members of the Association are suing the Association, its past CEO, and possibly members of its Board of Directors, and said that was a story that Association leaders simply could not ignore. I could not imagine for a second that a mere two months later, a major Association would actually take the step of initiating legal action against one of its own members. For defamation.

I don’t know the specific facts behind this lawsuit, and I suspect we’ll find out over time, but… I have to ask the Board of the Chicago Association of REALTORS something: Y’all didn’t read my post on GLVAR, did you?

There are some vital takeaways in this story for other Associations.

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Episode 5 of Trialogues Podcast is Up

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been having some fun with Matthew Shadbolt of Corcoran and Gahlord Dewald of Thoughtfaucet on a podcast thing of late. Episode 5 is now up:

Take a listen if you enjoy the kind of impractical, highly theoretical ramblings that we happen to like. :)


An Interview with Matt Dollinger, Head of Industry Relations, Trulia

New Head of Industry Relations, Trulia

As many of my readers know, Matthew Dollinger is one of my closest friends in the industry. Some folks, including Matt’s wife, have called our relationship a full-blown bromance. (It’s the hair, really….) But fact is, Matt has been one of the driving forces behind the innovations at @Properties — the largest brokerage in the Chicagoland market, whom I have profiled as an example of a viable brokerage business model. The man knows what agents want and need, and what concerns and challenges a broker has.

So I was happy for Matt when Trulia tapped him to be the new Head of Industry Relations. I rather thought Trulia managed to pull off a coup on that hire, and I’m somewhat eager to see what Matt would bring to the table as he shifts from the brokerage side of the industry to the technology side.

I thought it would be fun to conduct an interview with Matt and bring it to my loyal (if silent) readers. It starts after the fold.

(Full Disclosure: Trulia is not a client. However, I have provided unpaid advice to Trulia on certain strategic matters in the past, and may again in the future.)

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Median House Prices, 1970-2011… in GOLD

I’ve seen quite a few posts of late suggesting that the housing market has finally hit bottom. Agent friends of mine are telling me about increased activity in their local markets, multiple bids on houses, low inventory, and so on. We have Stan Humphries of Zillow saying the Spring 2012 season should be positive. And none other than Calculated Risk, hardly a cheerleader for housing, has called the bottom on housing:

And it now appears we can look for the bottom in prices. My guess is that nominal house prices, using the national repeat sales indexes and not seasonally adjusted, will bottom in March 2012.

There are several reasons I think that house prices are close to a bottom. First prices are close to normal looking at the price-to-rent ratio and real prices (especially if prices fall another 4% to 5% NSA between the November Case-Shiller report and the March report). Second the large decline in listed inventory means less downward pressure on house prices, and third, I think that several policy initiatives will lessen the pressure from distressed sales (the probable mortgage settlement, the HARP refinance program, and more).

I’m working on the Redfin 3.0 post, but this was interesting enough that I took a short break from that to run some quick numbers. Maybe all these green shoots of positivity will indeed result in the housing market finally turning around. For a variety of reasons, I’m skeptical of such a thing, but I could be and hope to be wrong.

What I wondered about is whether this increase in housing activity, increase in prices, were actually just a reflection of higher inflation and inflation expectations. Well, there might be a way to measure that…

Enter GOLD!

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