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Why There is a Portland Real Estate Blog, Again

Every so often it seems like I need to remind myself and my readers about why I write the Portland Real Estate Blog. As I interject a lot of my personal opinion I take the comments personally even when they are directed at a more general industry attack. I often feel that what I write isn’t being read before the “Realtors suck” contingent arrives. It should be clear now that I don’t agree with a lot of what is embedded in our industry (the legality of dual agency in resale real estate, the commission model, the political stance of our association, etc) but that is often lost.

I’ve stated before that the marketing component to the blog is that I hope it brings good clients to us who know who I am and respect what I say. January will mark the third birthday of the blog and I can say the clients that have come from it have been some of the most pleasurable to work with. It should be noted that I’m not aware of a client actually ever posting a comment on the blog. I don’t advertize our listings, get paid by Google or pay for my content. I cite my sources and give credit where due. I write my content and don’t cut and paste it off the Interent.

I have tried so hard to keep this an open forum and have never edited or deleted a comment to date. I did just ask Naysayer to leave but I did invite him to contact me privately and will reiterate it here so that maybe we can resolve our differences. A public forum is not the place for that to occur.

To conclude, I ask that you respect me and other commenters. I may not get along or agree with everyone but that, in my mind, is the point of this blog. If everyone agreed, what would be the point?

6 Comments on “Why There is a Portland Real Estate Blog, Again

  1. Thanks for this blog Charles. It is important to have something like this at this time. I was a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch in the 90’s and when the bubble burst, as I was telling my clients it would, everyone was angry with stockbrokers. Like the stockmarket, the real estate moves on supply and demand. Also like the stock market, an investment in a good company stock with a longer investment horizon weathers the volatility of supply and demand. Please continue with this blog, and hopefully someone like Naysayer might be able to have an educated view and engage with others without comtempt prior to investigation.

  2. Charles – I think a lot of the frustration you’ve been on the receiving end of isn’t actually personally directed at you – it’s frustration at the ludicrous situation at this point.

    Personally I’ve been priced out of the market – not because I don’t earn enough to buy a house – but because I believe the market is so overvalued it’s better to rent at this point in time.

    Easy credit has blown real estate prices beyond any reasonable wage/price ratio – and we are starting to see the fallout of that now.

    This generates a lot of frustration out there – I’m at a point in my life where I should be a home owner – but I can’t justify taking that plunge as I’d be seriously overpaying for the asset.

    Really it’s the bankers that have caused the problem by dropping all semblance of lending standards – Realtors happen to be on the front lines and an easy target – and to be honest the propaganda put out by the NAR isn’t really helping.

    There are however good realtors out there – Charles seems to be one – and Jim Klinge in San Diego another.

    Personally I’ve probably come across as pretty combative in the past – but it’s not personal – it’s just frustration at the situation.

    It’s getting more obscene though – Bernanke now wants to put the taxpayer on the hook for the bank’s losses in this debacle by having Fannie may buy loans of up to $1m dollars secured by the full faith of the US government – that’s the taxpayer in case you hadn’t guessed.

    FNM was born out of a desire to allow low income earners their shot at the American dream – not to offload a pile of $1m fraudulent loans gone bad on the taxpayer after the banks book the profits for writing the loans. It represents a moral hazard where the risk is separated from the reward in the worst possible way.

    Privatize the profits and socialize the losses.

  3. Charles: Kudos for putting up with us housing bears. Most RE agent blogs don’t even allow comments, let alone divergent opinions. I know back in January or so when I first found your blog I thought it was just another one of those Realtor Propaganda sites. But you’ve proven to be independent.

    UncleGit: I heard about Bernanke suggesting that the conforming loan limits be raised to $1M – it’s obscene. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, especially since the GSE’s (Fannie & Freddie) books are not at all transparent at this point – talk about throwing gasoline on the fire!

  4. I too think that dual agency should be illegal, that a Realtor(R) should be an advocate for either the seller or the buyer. However, I don’t think Realtors(R) should be held responsible for hyping on the ramp-up of prices – after all their job is to get a piece of real estate sold. Realtors(R) collecting fees or comps from lenders or escrow firms should be illegal. There is just no one out there with no skin in the game as an advisor to the buyer.

    Charles, are Realtors(R)now learning about the issues of short sales and foreclosures?

  5. Nell,

    Funny that you bring up short sales and dual agency in the same comment. The only time we did a “dual agency” transaction was a short sale where Jennifer represented the seller and I represented the seller. Sure there were two agents but if you go to bed with them… What I do know is that transaction never would have stayed together with two agents. That was three years ago.

    We have stayed out of the foreclosure market less by design but by the fact that hasn’t been our typical clients. Of course, that may soon change.

    Equally important to the “new market” is going to be lease-options. Jennifer took a class on them yesterday so will hopefully post soon on them. We actually recieved a lease-option offer on one of our listed properties on Thursday. It didn’t get accepted or countered only because it was the second offer of the day on the property and the other offer had a 30 day close. The lease option took closing out to 2009.

    And to everyone else, thanks for the kind words.

  6. I just realized that it was a year ago this week that I got motivated to really dig into this whole mortgage mess.

    At that point we were planning to buy another house closer to work and rent out our current home which has been paid off for several years now. The mortgage broker I spoke with kept telling me that I needed to “think bigger” and borrow more (for more leverage, of course). He was talking up interest only loans for managing cash flow. Adjustable rates. 80/20 piggy back to avoid PMI (I really wondered about the legality of that scheme the first time I heard about it) Down payment?! “Why would anyone want to put any money down when they don’t have to? Put your money in the stock market instead” he said. After a half an hour of that I walked out of that place thinking that he didn’t care if I ever paid back the loan or not. It seems like such a different experience than when we bought our first (and current) home back in the early. 90’s – the lender made damn sure you were gonna pay back the money back then. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this would not end well. It really seemed to me that there must be a lot of people in over their heads.

    So we put the idea of buying on hold and I started doing a lot of research on sites like Calculated Risk. And I learned all about the looming subprime mortgage crisis months before it hit the mainstream.

    Yes, the lenders and brokers bear a lot of responsibility for this whole mess…

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