One more note on the nomination – Inman News is the sponsor, which publishes an e-newsletter sent twice a day to agents around the country.  Their mission is to help agents, and while I’m a daily reader, I don’t cover realtor-centric topics here.  I figure that they have it down pat.

But with their attention possibly sending a few new readers this way who are realtors, I’d like to take the opportunity to give you something to think about – and comment if you’d like.

Running a real estate blog leaves me wide open for blasts from people who figure I’m like all the other realtors, so they take their shots.  A couple of days ago this post-and-video was re-published on, which drove a few newcomers my way.  Here is a comment left by Robert:

(I worked for two years as a full-time marketing assistant for one of the top 20 agents in Chicago.)

You don’t provide us with an address so we can’t determine whether this property was overpriced at $3.2M. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that was the case with this exceptionally bland joint.

As a result, this post comes across as whining, Mr. Mercedes. Most people have been priced completely out of the market by the bubble, which needs to deflate. In 2010 realtors who prop up prices are the scammers.

On your youtube page you complain that this sort of behavior undermines public confidence in realtors. There is no public confidence in realtors, precisely because you refuse to recognize a)the bubble b)your near-irrelevance in the Internet age.

My girlfriend recently made an offer on a house that was in line with local rents, in line with fiscal responsibility (and she makes 50% more than the zip’s median household), in line with the tax assessor’s value. Her buyer’s agent laughed (literally) at her offer. He declined to write the offer up but agreed to pass it on verbally. He got fired. The listing agent failed to return a phone call for two weeks, and finally had someone else call us back. Result? We looked up the owner in the online tax records and sent him the offer directly.

Realtors are superfluous from a buyer’s perspective. As of now, all the stupid buyers have been squeezed through the system. The rest of us know the only thing we need you for is to open the lockbox. That’s worth $20 I suppose.

My point is that only an idiot would buy at market value at this point. If you’re not an idiot, you’re going to find your way around a system that is currently set up to scam you.

If realtors want to regain some sense of integrity, how about starting with some honesty as to where the market is going. And how about changing your fee schedules to reflect your actual social function in the year 2010: taking photos, uploading listings, opening lockboxes, babysitting inspections, and filing paperwork.

The bank is not being scammed. The bank is a scam. Let me wipe away my tears for Bank of America. Oh wait… I have none.

The neighbors, I have more sympathy for. Not everyone was after unearned bubble cash, and owners have suffered large losses. But owners need to understand they were scammed out of their hard-earned money when they bought the overvalued house, not when a legit buyer makes an offer that reflects reality.

I think there are a lot of consumers that are fed up with the realtor community, and are increasingly frustrated that they don’t see much improvement.  If you are a realtor wondering how you can better serve the consumer, re-read the above.  Then go start a blog and use video to share your expertise – please!

P.S. The video above put the spotlight on a very shady short-sale deal, where the agent deliberately did not expose the property to the open market.  As a result of the exposure on Calculated Risk, I received two phone calls from Bank of America’s upper management. They were very interested in the details, so I sent them my entire case.

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