Monday Morning Real Estate May 12

I’m actually not lacking for post ideas but I thought this topic might be a good way of doing a little house keeping here at the Portland Real Estate Blog. I’m finding it more and more frustrating to write a post about A and then spend the day reading comments about X that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Even giving an open forum post on Thursday didn’t stop destroying Friday’s Earth Advantage thread by going off topic. So, for the next week, I’m not going to delete comments but I am going to move off topic comments to this thread. I’d rather not waste my time doing it so it would be greatly appreciated if you can monitor yourselves.

I showed property yesterday and found this to be the piece de la resistance of the day. The listing said the oil tank had been decommissioned. It didn’t say what it had been replaced with.

32 Comments on “Monday Morning Real Estate May 12

  1. Y’all must check this out. It’s a “This American Life” clip regarding the housing crisis and the connections to the banking/credit crunch.

    355: The Giant Pool of Money


    I know Portland is immune from all this but it’s great to keep an eye on the rest of the country;O)

  2. what is that a picture of? Did they replace their oil tank with oil barrels?

  3. Wow, how big is the house with those two drums?

  4. To be fair, it is a big house that is a fixer. If I were the seller, I wouldn’t want to committ the buyer to using oil by replacing the tank which will run about $2000. I am glad I wasn’t the one delivering the drums. Thanks to our friends at Google, those drums weigh about 430 pounds each!

  5. “I showed property yesterday and found this to be the piece de la resistance of the day. The listing said the oil tank had been decommissioned. It didn’t say what it had been replaced with.”

    Charles – I’m interested in the legality of posting this photo. I’m assuming you were acting as a buyer’s agent when you saw this house. Have you done any research as to whether or not posting this photo is legal, since (I’m assuming) it’s not one of the photos on the RMLS listing. Is your assumption that because you do not name the address you can post this photo? Would you remove it if the owner of the house saw it on your blog and asked you to?

  6. OK, I’m a dink. Move my post to the open thread!

  7. Bearlee – Love the American Life piece. My favorite part was the marine who takes out an ARM for an expensive house, then can’t make the payments because it resets, and has to cash in his son’s CD. He cries.

    Boo Hoo.

    You’ve got to be kidding. So many of these borrowers made bad decisions and then cry about it and blame it on the lenders, the government, greedy mortgage brokers, etc.. Too bad.

  8. Such idealism Tiffany! Spinning the poor into gold so that the mortgage buyers/sellers could make millions and then cause the credit markets to fail. But you probably worship the crooks. Your kind usually does.

    And Charles wonders there are so many people like me that want to see the real estate industry suffer for its sins. Are you going to admonish Tiff for relishing the misfortune of others?

  9. Does anyone know the best place to order pizza? Sure am craving a slice of deep dish pizza. Franchise or locally owned, whatever.

    Also, anyone know any good recipes for Mexican meals that can be prepared in under 15 minutes?

    Thanks in advance.

    Bob and Wang (roomates)

  10. Tiffany,

    Interesting question. I think about the legality of everything I write and did not consider it to be an issue. I just called RMLS but the person who would know the answer is out office until tomorrow. I will remove it if I need to. I may be in error.

    If the seller asked me to remove it and RMLS says it is okay? That I will have to consider. Again, if RMLS says it needs to go, it will go.

    My (potentially flawed) rational:
    1) It doesn’t mention the property address.
    2) My comment is not derogatory; it is actually brilliant as a holdover for the buyer to be able to make a decision on the heat source.
    3)It is part of a fixture of the home, not personal property.
    4) It is not an attempt at marketing the home. If I were the seller or the listing agent, I’d post the address not ask me to take it down.
    5)If I had said, “a listing I showed had two oil barrels as the fuel source” rather than a photo, would there be a question?
    6)The law and RMLS rules trump my rational.

  11. Chris I personally don’t think there should be a problem with you posting the photo. I’ve taken photos of properties I’ve viewed with my agent and emailed them around to family and friends. If they are opening up their homes to be viewed by the public do they have an expectation of privacy? I think if you had altered the photos in some to exaggerate the imagery in some way then you might be in some trouble.

    Naysayer – plenty of blame to go around I’d say.

  12. http://www.amw.com/fugitives/capture.cfm?id=52753

    AMW Capture #1000
    NYC Realtor Becomes AMW’s 1,000th Direct Capture

    On May 2, 2008, America’s Most Wanted announced that fugitive realtor Dwight Smith — who is accused of murdering a longtime friend over a real estate deal — became the 1,000th person to be apprehended as a direct result of AMW viewer tips. Even before the arrest, it was clear that the takedown would become a part of television history.

  13. The majority of the blame goes to the industry that should have been acting ethically. Even if one is so callous as to not care about the individuals ruined by the greed of the real estate industry, mortgage sellers and Wall Streeters, the actions of those groups were not in the best financial interests of their businesses, investors and the greater economy. They committed fraud on a mass scale and were paid handsomely for doing so. But most of you worship the people who screwed people over and have rationalized anything that makes someone a buck as being ok. Amazing, if you think about how far that says we’ve sunk as a culture.

    In keeping with the spirit of the blog, my, those oil tanks look messy.

  14. To Naysayer; if an adult makes a decision that has a negative effect on the quality of their life, do we as a society have the duty to protect these people from their own bad judgement?

    Your argument blaming the lending industry or the real estate industry for the woes of their clients does not ring true, in my opinion. While there are a lot of laws set up to protect against illegal or deceptive practices that take advantage of consumers, there are no laws that I can think of that protect people against their own poor decision making, nor should there be…

    How many people do you see driving around in cars they obviously cannot possibly afford? Do you blame the car salesman?

    How many people are using credit cards to make their monthly living expenses while they live beyond their means? Do you blame the credit card companies?

    Should people blame the supermarket when they buy groceries and then overdraw their checking account? Or maybe it’s the bank’s fault? I don’t think so…

    Why should any of these people not be responsible enough for their own lives to be held accountable for the decisions that they made, without placing the blame on the resources that they used to put themselves in their current situation?

    If you’re an adult, and you sign a contract, then you owe it to yourself to fully understand what it is that you’re getting yourself into. People have to be accountable for their own actions.

    I do not work in the real estate or lending industry, BTW.

  15. So did you all miss that IMPORTANT piece where ‘This American Life’ discussed the switch to NINA loans…HELLO!!??! No Income, No Assets needed to take out a loan. What bank in their right mind would hand out $500K to someone that cannot verify income of assets?!?! Well, a hell of a lot of banks made these loans and passed the buck to investors. Did you guys even listen to the clip?

    Would you lend someone $100K not knowing their employment history or assets? What kind of business, successful business/bank/lender would do so?

  16. The lending institutions have a responsibility to their businesses and customers to not lend money to people who can’t pay it back.

    Have you convinced yourself that people weren’t encouraged to take out these loans to pump up the bottom lines of banks and Wall Street? No, it’s just easier for many people to blame the individual and not the institution that made the money off the sketchy transactions. That’s because as a culture we’ve accepted that making money, no matter how unseemly, is ok.

    As bearlee said, if you’d listened to the This American Life, the loan sellers knew full well that what they were doing was wrong, that the people should not have been given the loans. Are you going to tell me that the loan sellers, real estate agents and Wall Street traders were acting responsibly? Part of their job is to check the creditworthiness of the borrowers. That they stopped checking is indicative of malfeasance or more correctly, fraud.

    So now we have to bail out the likes of Bear Stearns, a growing number of banks, Fannie Mae, et al. And the real estate industry and its cohorts skate with the cash generated by these fraudulent sales.

    Funny how we rush to judge other individuals under the guise of “personal responsibility” and absolve those in control of the situation of any culpability.

  17. No one is exonerating the banking industry for its obvious greed and idiocy. My comment was meant to _also_ underscore the greed and idiocy of individuals who took out NINA loans. Yes, the banks were wrong, stupid, greedy, etc., but the people who signed the NINA contracts are not innocents (in most cases).

  18. I understand your rationales, Charles, and agree with them for the most part, though I don’t understand what you mean by 3 (“It is part of a fixture of the home, not personal property.”). How are fixtures not personal property?

    However, based on the mostly negative comments the photo evoked I’d suspect that if the owner of the house saw this photo on your blog they would at the very least have a diminished opinion of you, if not Prudential in general. I would also suspect that some readers (not Bob and Wang, of course, because they’re busy eating deep dish pizza and watching cop shows) who might be otherwise inclined to hire you as their agent would now have second thoughts, because the photo violates the expectation of privacy (regardless of the fact that you’re not the listing agent).

  19. How are fixtures not personal property?

    Fixtures are fixtures, they stay with the house through the sale: dishwasher, stove, furnace, custom fit curtains and blinds, light fixtures (and their bulbs),planted plants. Unless they are explicitly EXCLUDED from the sale, they stay with the house.

    Personal property is personal property: fridge, clothing, books, potted plants, etc. Unless they are explicitly INCLUDED in the sale, they leave the property when sold.

    The expectation of privacy in a vacant listed property with no personal property could be an interesting debate. You make it sound like the seller and listing agent are be trying to hide a flaw that hopefully the buyer will miss and I have revealed it. It’s hard to miss and I don’t think a flaw. If the tank had been decommissioned and left, there would be no functioning heat source and that would probably prevent conventional financing. The tanks provide a temporary heat source and allows the buyer to decide whether they want to stick with oil or convert to a different fuel. If the seller had replaced the tank (approx $2k) that money would have been thrown away if the buyer was switching fuels.

    If I had taken a picture of your underwear drawer and posted your address, I would agree with you completely. Nor do I read the comments above as being negative. To reiterate, I think it was a great idea, just not what I expected to see when we stepped down into the basement.

    I invite the seller or listing agent to post the address and tell buyers to come take a look at the great potential this home has.

    They might have a diminished view of me but why? I had interested, qualified buyers looking at their home. I think I’ve proven that I could help a buyer overcome the objection to the barrels rather then telling them, “we need to get out of here, you don’t want to touch this.”

  20. I stand corrected, the listing does show: decomm/temp oil supply in bsmt. I read the abbreviations wrong so the expectation was managed and I missed it. That said, I don’t think it changes the above discussion.

  21. Home prices continue sharp descent
    Tuesday May 13, 10:29 am ET

    Single-family home prices dropped 7.7% in the first quarter in the largest year-over-year decline since the National Association of Realtors began reporting prices in 1982.

  22. …there are no laws that I can think of that protect people against their own poor decision making…

    I bet if you think about it for a few seconds you can come up with quite a few laws that fall into that category. (Hint: Prohibition)

  23. Well argued. Thanks, Charles.

  24. We are still cracking up that the 1,000th America’s Most Wanted criminal to be busted is a Realtor… Busted for a real-estate related incident too. To keep the post relevant though… Speaking of “fixtures.” Does anyone remember the Richard Pryor movie, “Moving?” Remember the guy from Idaho who removed all of the cabinets, flooring, carpeting, and everything else? That was classic!

    -Bob and Wang

  25. Question, Charles:

    This seems to vary from broker to broker, but what is your policy regarding commission: As a listing agent, do you take the 6 percent off of the listed price (e.g., 350K), or off of the actual price (i.e., the price minus any concessions, e.g., sewer repair, house inspections, etc., which might amount to 7K — 343K)? I ask because I’ve run into agents who do both, though those who take their commission off of the list price instead of the lower price, after concessions, usually never say anything unless the seller notices it.

    ***Editors note:
    Answered here: https://www.portlandrealestateblog.com/realestate/2008/05/net-or-gross-ba.html

  26. Bob and Wang – “WE’RE TAKIN’ IT WITH US!!!”

  27. Guess I should add that having a qualified real estate professional like Charles working for you could have prevented Richard Pryor’s problems by leaving legal recourse when the sellers take the pool. He could also help you find movers without split personality disorder.

  28. Comment deleted by editor for being borderline (or overtly depending on your view) racist.

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