We Need Another Movie

In the film, Giorgio is pursuing how housing became the critical component of the middle class.  The racial injustice is real – agents will tell you that we still see it regularly in the C.C&Rs of older neighborhoods that blacks were forbidden to own there.

Thankfully those covenants have been struck down, and declared invalid.  But as you heard in the movie trailer, the damage has been done.

There are other atrocities seen daily that could be stopped, if desired.

But there is no desire within the industry to end the rampant fraud being perpetrated by realtors upon the unsuspecting real estate consumers.

It ranges from the blundering incompetence of not including decent photos and remarks to the deliberate and intentional felony fraud that we see every day.

The lack of transparency fuels the fraud, and the realtor community does nothing to stop it.  When was the last time you saw a realtor do a perp walk? Yet there are realtors committing fraud and deceit every day.

The breakdown is with the brokers – they aren’t properly supervising their agents, and I don’t think they have a clue what is really going on.

  1. Short sales that are spooned to insiders who then defraud the bank into agreeing to a below-market price so it can be flipped for tremendous profit – and the MLS is complicit in the fraud by refusing to turn off the DOM meter, which is the convincing evidence that tricks the bank into thinking the property was on the market for months, instead of minutes.
  2. Listings that never get the benefit of being on the open market. Sellers deserve it, agents have agreed to do it in order to be a member of the MLS, but every day you see another ‘sold before processing’.
  3. The ‘re-freshing’ of listings to purposely deceive the buyers into thinking this is a hot new offering.  But it’s not – it is a re-hash of an old listing that in most cases, nobody wanted for months.
  4. Listing agents who intentionally high-ball the list price to get the listing.  Their guilt is evidenced in the listing period – they insist on 6 to 12 month listings.  With a third of the listings selling in the first 10 days, why do you need a 12-month listing?  Because the agent knows the list price is too high, and hopes to work down the seller as time goes on.
  5. Are agents experienced, and have proper skills? The industry has done nothing to help educate the public about hiring competent agents.  In fact, the brokers want you to hire the least-experienced agents who have the most favorable commission splits to the house.

Yes, buyer beware, blah blah. But real estate consumers don’t do this enough to have ample education or experience in selling and buying homes – that’s why they hire us!  But agents prey on consumers, and the industry does nothing to stop it.

This is the movie I want to do!



Giorgio’s movie is wrapping up – here is the trailer:

Cost per Square Foot is a documentary film project about the singular and perverse nature of the American housing economy. Though much has been written and filmed about the 2008 housing collapse, we seem to have failed to ask a fundamental question:

What is it that we are actually building?

This documentary attempts to answer that question. And in the process, it tell a larger story about housing in America that many people don’t know.

In the years since the US housing market became the epicenter of an unprecedented global economic collapse, protests in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Southside Chicago have highlighted the stark disparities of opportunity that define many American cities. These phenomena are not unrelated – they are divergent paths set in motion by postwar housing policy, a feat of social engineering that simultaneously created the world’s largest middle class, by directly subsidizing suburban development, while systematically depriving inner cities of resources and denying huge swaths of the US population the ability to build wealth through homeownership.

This was by design.

Cost per Square Foot is a historical road trip through the American housing landscape, in all its glory and all its blunder. The film invites viewers into a deeper conversation about our housing economy, one that addresses the fundamental issues of segregation, inequality, and financial instability. Through the stories of a retired NYC cop, a quietly socialist war bride, an aspiring Youtube star / realtor, and a young photographer whose photos of the Baltimore riots propel him into the national spotlight, Cost per Square Foot charts a course between the imagined wealth of seemingly endless “neo-taco-mediterranean special” suburban tract homes built atop razed orange groves, and the stark realities of life in many of America’s inner cities.

If you’d like to contribute, click here:


N.A.R. Forecast 2017

Just two months ago, on October 5th, the NAR prediction was for 6 million existing home sales in 2017 – they have backed it down to 5.5 million now.

Fannie, Freddie, and the MBA are predicting 6.2 million and higher, but the 5.5 million looks more realistic.  We have higher prices and rates – it would be a miracle for sales to increase too.

More Than A Fed Hike

A bad day for rates – mostly because they look like they will keep going up in 2017.  Elective sellers won’t budge until they get 1-2 years’ worth of proof that the market won’t support their price.


Mortgage rates skyrocketed (relatively) following today’s rate hike from the Fed.  It wasn’t the rate hike itself, however, that markets find most troubling. In fact, the hike was almost universally expected.  Rather, this was one of the 4 Fed meetings of 2016 that included updated economic projections (sometimes referred to as “the dots” due to the dot-plot chart the Fed uses to show where members see the Fed Funds rate in coming years).

Today’s dots showed that the Fed now sees an additional rate hike in 2016 compared to the last set of projections.  Longer term rates like mortgages and 10yr Treasuries had already adjusted for today’s hike, but they had not yet adjusted for any change in the dots.  With time running out for traders to take advantage of liquidity ahead of the holidays, the race was on to sell bonds as quickly as possible.  When traders sell bonds, it pushes rates higher.

Nearly every lender raised rates this afternoon–some of them multiple times.  At first that took the form of mere increases in upfront costs (i.e. the contract rate itself wasn’t moving higher), but subsequent reprices added up to an eighth of a point in rate for several lenders.  From a range of 4.125-4.25%, top tier conventional 30yr fixed quotes moved up to a range of 4.25-4.375%–well into the highest levels in more than 2 years.

To recap: this isn’t happening because the Fed hiked.  This is a reaction to the shift in rate hike expectations among Fed members.  It means they’re having a Matrix-eque moment where they’re “starting to believe.”  In this movie, the belief isn’t about Kung Fu and dodging bullets, but rather about the ability to continue gently raising rates.

Another Disrupter

Sounds like Zillow’s Make Me Move, but they charge 1.5% to 2.5% which sounds like a brokerage – and they are going to start it in New York.  Whoever spends millions on advertising could win:


Jarred Kessler, a 15-year Wall Street veteran and former head of US equities at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, came up with his big idea when a friend lost his job.

His friend was in a tough spot and thought about putting his house on the market, but didn’t want the associated “public scrutiny” of a “For Sale” sign on his lawn or neighbors talking.

He wanted to keep it discreet, and he wanted to know the value of his home in case he needed to sell. He wanted to test the market without being in the market, Kessler told Business Insider.

Kessler realized that no other services currently on the market offered potential sellers a chance to quietly assess the value of their homes. Then, trouble with regulators at his Wall Street job pushed him to leave Cantor and create one.

Enter EasyKnock.

EasyKnock is a residential real estate technology startup on a mission to change the process of listing and selling one’s home. It should be up and running by February.

Del Mar Beauty

Remember when Carson Palmer bought the hilltop lot in Del Mar at auction for $4,000,000, plus the 10% buyer’s premium?  This is what he built:

Word on the street was there were offers that were close, but no sale – it was listed on the range $19,995,000 to $24,995,000.

The home is currently off-market.

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