It didn’t start out that way, though. We trudged into 2010 trying to survive a dreary, depressed real estate market. But thanks to Ben Bernanke, who engineered the greatest soft landing in history, the rules were changed and the market responded – quickly turning into a wicked sellers’ market.
Reader LM commented on what Ben Bernanke said towards the end of a live press conference:
“We have told the banks to handle their REOs…..long pause....in an economy-supportive way”.
Oops. What he was GOING to say – ‘we have told the banks not to flood the market with REOs’.
How we sell real estate has changed too. The physical hand-writing (and explaining) of contracts has morphed into a slick bunch of clicks on an electronic form that the buyers will never read while committing themselves to being hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars in debt. The realtor teams have emerged to usher clients to the finish line, which means most buyers are rushed through a home inspection, then beg for a few bucks from the seller instead of repairs, and pick up their keys usually within 30 days – all so you can leave 5-star reviews!
It looks so easy that just about anyone can make it in real estate sales now – and it’s become the career of last resort for many. The best example is the blogger Casey Serin, who became famous for losing five properties to foreclosure that he had he bought on ninja loans. He got divorced, changed his name, went offline, and then resurfaced as a realtor. He now has his own brokerage in the Sacramento area, and he made about $60,000 this year – which is a decent living for a guy like him:
Heck, if he can do it, anyone can!
Biggest surprises of the decade? The no-doc mortgages haven’t returned (yet), Google & Amazon haven’t entered the fray (yet), and the district attorney hasn’t prosecuted more than a handful of realtors for doing shady deals (I could name hundreds). I did have two encounters with the FBI where I laid out the evidence, but they weren’t interested, so I guess it’s ok.
Our move to Compass in 2018 was a result of it becoming obvious that outsiders would disrupt our industry without a fight, and being on the right team was going to be critical to success. In-house sales are the future of the residential resale market, and who you know will make all the difference (just like in commercial real estate sales).
Over the last ten years, I’ve had 7,711 blog posts, Donna and I helped 300+ families buy and/or sell a property, we got two kids though college, and we appeared in a documentary film – wow, what a decade!
I appreciate you being here – let’s make the next one, the best one!
I few days ago caught that cold that’s been going around, and revived myself just in time to prepare for 40 people at our house for Christmas – including six octogenarians and six kids under the age of five!
My Uncle Bob and his daughter/my cousin Jenny did attend, so for the first time I brought some of the memorabilia – four boxes of stuff that’s been stored in my garage for years. We agreed that we should digitize everything!
It was 14 years ago today that I started this blog on an early-Saturday morning using a Squarespace free site with the hope of providing evidence to back up my observations – and advice to clients – that the real estate market was in trouble.
I told Donna that I wanted to get in early before every realtor was doing a blog!
I left comments and links back to the blog on Calculated Risk and Ben’s blog, which were both attracting large audiences who wondered about the direction of real estate. I did get to meet both Bill (who came to my house) and Ben when he came through Carlsbad had a blog party at Pizza Port.
I agreed with the negative sentiment on real estate blogs – which was odd and unusual because readers had never heard a realtor says things like that before.
Nowadays, Klinge said, his blog gets about 2,000 unique visitors per day. About half his clients now come to him from the blog, Klinge said. He closed 43 house deals last year, he said, down from the 61 sales and purchases he brokered in his peak year of 2004, but enough to keep him in business when many agents have quit.
Lately, his videos have been picked up on Calculated Risk, an influential economics blog whose followers include Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. In one clip, the camera pans across the kitchen of a million-dollar fixer near Interstate 5. He pointedly notes the house’s proximity to the freeway, which he calls the “De-troit river.” There’s mold under the sink and a foot-sized hole in the drywall just above the floor.
On the off-chance the real estate agent who sold the place is watching, Klinge puts in a request: “I want you to put your mai tai down, go grab your shingle and send it in to the DRE [California Department of Real Estate] right now. You don’t deserve a job,” he says. “Everyone who was on that deal deserves to be fired, even the janitor at the escrow company. This is embarrassing, $1 million. Right now it’s listed at $575,000 and that’s probably optimistic.”
Along with the house wreck videos, the site includes statistics on local home sales totals and price declines. Klinge has skewered brokers on the blog, calling them names like “clown” and “cherry-picking cheerleader” for not admitting that the housing market had tumbled. But he said no one had gotten upset enough to retaliate.
The morning the article was published, my phone started ringing before 7am. One of the first callers was a producer for ABCNews Nightline, and he wanted to send a reporter to do a piece on the crash. By now the crash was in full swing, so I agreed.
A very nice reporter named Vicky Mabrey came for a day and a half, and then this 7-minute piece ran on Nightline (after being bumped by the Somali pirates):
Thankfully we had brought on Richard Morgan the same month, and he was instrumental in being to handle the flood of client inquires that followed.
Eventually Ben Bernanke and the Fed manipulated the market forces enough to pull us out of the death spiral well before it should have ended, but I did get in a few more videos before it was over:
This one has 22,000+ views and part of it made it into Giorgio’s movie:
The pot farm was a big favorite, with over 27,000 views (and the only time I dropped a Toker 2 reference):
My old 1966 Chevy truck was a co-star in many videos:
The negativity that ensued was brutal – and not just the nasty remarks on the blog and videos. One guy did videos of my videos, and then him and his cronies bad-mouthed me as a realtor on their youtube site. Another guy was making comments on other blogs in my name, and one agent went to my own clients and bad-mouthed me to their face – and it cost me a $1.5M listing.
But I wouldn’t change a thing – it’s been a blast, and extremely positive otherwise!
Old friend Jeremiah said last week that he misses the old renegade Jim the Realtor, and correctly guessed that today’s overly-sensitive society probably couldn’t handle the truth. I agreed, and said all that is left for me is to be a great realtor and cater to those affluent folks who can participate in this high-level game.
I was the 160th agent hired in the region. Now there are 565 Compass agents in San Diego County!
In the beginning, we thought that Klinge-Realty-Powered-By-Compass had a nice ring to it, but it proved to be a mouthful, so we changed to the Klinge Realty Group for ease of use.
We’ve hired Brittnie Dixon to be our licensed assistant. She has been doing a wonderful job with marketing and special projects!
We’ve joined the company’s sponsorship of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which means you will see Donna and I in the race program this weekend.
We are also contemplating a move to the office at the La Costa Resort.
We have a new website being developed that should launch in the next few weeks. I was hoping to combine it with bubbleinfo.com but formatting them together is still being explored. There will be a blog!
Most of all, I’m glad Compass has a strategy to dominate the real estate universe. It’s not perfect, but at least we have a strategy! I’ll get into our Coming Soon program in more detail as time goes on, but consider how the entire industry has rushed to Coming Soons as a primary marketing device.
Want a sample of how the public perception has changed about selling homes?
A consumer (not an agent) said this month, “If you don’t sell your home off-market, and have to put it on the MLS, then people think something is wrong with it…..or the price.”
"Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community... more "
by Ann Romanello
"Jim educated us, helped us find the perfect house, and then negotiated us a great deal. I would hate to be sitting across the negotiating table from ... more "
"Jim is thorough and will be brutally honest about the homes he shows you. He provides great service and follows through until the very end and even ... more "
"I highly recommend Jim as a buyer’s agent. Working with Jim, we closed this week on a San Diego condo. Jim prepared a list of comparable sales to ... more "