Confused about politics? Let REALTORS® think for you!

REALTOR Voting Guide 2011A friend of mine that happens to be a member of the National Ass. of REALTORS® shared this gem with me. It’s the Seattle / King County REALTORS® 2011 Voting Guide.

Clearly designed to look and feel just like the official voter’s guides (same paper stock, same layout styles), this local REALTOR® publication contains a list of every REALTOR®-endorsed candidate for offices in King County and the various cities in the county.

You might think that you would get to see both candidates for each office, read a little about each one, and learn the justification for why one candidate earned the REALTOR® endorsement over the other. You would be wrong. Instead, all you get is the name, photo, and a brief pro-REALTOR® statement from each endorsed candidate, and that’s it.

Why are the REALTORS® endorsing Jane Hague over Richard E. Mitchell for King County Council in District 6? Who knows! All the REALTOR® Voting Guide tells us is that Jane is “proud to have received the early endorsement of the SEATTLE KingCounty REALTORS®.” Wow, that is really useful information.

The guide does have the questionnaire pictured below on the last page, which they explain that they gave to candidates to determine a “rating” that a handful of the candidates in the booklet have been given. Apparently the most pressing political issue to local REALTORS® (judging by the length of each question) is the restriction of Open House Signs (question 6).

Gotta protect that precious open house traffic, after all.

REALTOR 2011 Candidate Interview Questionnaire

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

65 comments:

  1. 1

    As Brainless As the Book Seems to be, Per Your Description Tim

    I need the book, it will help me decide which candidate not to vote for if they’re endorsed in the book…

    Seriously though…..I’m sure realtors’ lobbys [not Ira] support growth orientated candidates that consider Earthday another HORRIFYING Halloween celebration to ignore.

    The Kent Council candidates wrote what they wanted and it was all unlimited GROWTH, with no additional access streets in their pitches [let alone a tax base or qualified buyers to pay for all their pipe dreams].

    Like some of the SB bloggers noted, why do we need more new housing, when the pent up demand to sell by owners for under water real estate is off the Richtor Scale and simultaneously, the banks just board up a “lion’s share” of the foreclosed listings anyway, lest it sells and bankrupts them….just keep the unsold titles and keep it out of their budget results.

    Another likely root cause for the low sales inventory in the Seattle area.

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  2. 2

    “Clearly designed to look and feel just like the official voter’s guides”, sounds a bit like they’re trying to confuse readers. That seems unlikely, considering the biggest, darkest font on the cover says “REALTOR”, along with at least two other logos/references.

    I totally understand why some Realtors don’t like this idea–if you have strong political affiliations and your dues go to an organization that’s promoting other candidates, you’re not going to be a big fan.

    And, yes, the issues like open house signage do sound a bit comical–seems pretty trivial to most. Land use and development are far more important.

    It’s a lot like a teacher’s union voting guide–except that the Realtor organization is voluntary and we’re independent contractors. It’s really a guide for those who currently have no political leaning, they might as well support their industry if nothing else. Whether we like it or not, there are a lot of folks out there who have no idea who is on city or county council.

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  3. 3
    Scotsman says:

    I’ll need to pick one up before the election. Today’s issues are so complicated it would be good to have some guidance. And what better way to understand and resolve the issues facing government at all levels than knowing the candidate’s views on real estate signage? I too view signage regulation as a leading indicator for. . . . /sarc

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  4. 4
    masaba says:

    This is pretty funny, particularly the vacuous statements that the ‘guide’ makes about their supported candidates.

    However, it’s also not surprising. The NAR spends millions corrupting our political system by buying out politicians in DC. Why not spend a few bucks trying to influence the votes of their members in electing the reps that are more easily swayed by their lobbying money?

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  5. 5
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 2 – The irony, of course, is that the NAR is too short-sighted to understand what is good for it. All the price cheerleading and lobbying they did during the runup has without a doubt put them and the profession into a much weaker position today. Just sample any David Lereah or Larry Yun quote and try not to laugh.

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  6. 6

    RE: wreckingbull @ 5RE: masaba @ 4 – This has nothing to do with NAR. It’s SKCAR (Seattle King County Realtors). The locals endorse local candidates.

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  7. 7

    By masaba @ 4:

    However, it’s also not surprising. The NAR spends millions corrupting our political system by buying out politicians in DC. Why not spend a few bucks trying to influence the votes of their members in electing the reps that are more easily swayed by their lobbying money?

    Look at what they judge them by and then tell me what you disagree with. Do you want an increase in property taxes? An increase in B&O taxes? Increased point of sale requirements (e.g. having to do an energy audit on a house before you can sell your house)?

    And the sign thing you’re all making fun of, I’d like to hear from you when you are trying to sell your house and your agent is limited in how many open house signs they can put out. I can fully understand the restrictions on directional signs, which in theory stay out for the life of the listing. But considering that the city will get some excise tax money when the house sells conventionally (including short sales), but probably not at a bank owned sale, you would think they would be a little more friendly to conventional sales.

    There are some things I don’t necessarily agree with that pertain to new construction. But I don’t think there’s an entity on the face of the earth that I agree with everything about.

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  8. 8

    RE: wreckingbull @ 5 – There was a lot of overhype during the boom, from agents, lenders, consumers, etc. Agreed that it was overdone by many. We still need good solutions to work our way out of the current mess, and that’s the drift of the voting guide. Some might not agree, but it’s the view of our local organization.

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  9. 9
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Same thing, smaller package.

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  10. 10

    By wreckingbull @ 9:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Same thing, smaller package.

    Not really. But if you don’t know anything about them, that’s what you might think.

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  11. 11
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10 – “The SEATTLE KingCounty REALTORS® are one of 15 charter member Boards of the National Association of REALTORS®, founded in 1908″

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  12. 12
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 7 OK,

    Where I have heard prose like this before?

    “Pro-REALTOR® candidates
    who support legislation to encourage
    housing affordability and availability,
    increased homeownership opportunities”, (blah, blah, blah)

    Oh yes, it was Dubya and Easy Al spewing the virtues of our new gilded era of the “Ownership Society”. We certainly know how that ended. This is precisely my point.

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  13. 13
    ARDELL says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 11

    I am not currently a member, but have been for at least half of my 21 years in the biz, on and off. Probably 16 years of 21 at least. Seems to me that Political Action Committee, PAC, contributions changed from voluntary to mandatory, or vice versa, over the years. Not sure which it is now.

    Someone who is currently a member of NAR,WAR, SKCAR can probably tell us if those contributions are currently voluntary or mandatory.

    Had the same thing with Bank Lobbyists when I was in the banking biz 20 years prior. But I thought they made it a law that those contributions could not be made mandatory by “employers”. My 41 years in business have both been in businesses that had PACs. Is this uncommon?

    What other types of businesses in the Puget Sound have PAC contributions from employees? University of Washington? Microsoft? Is there a list? I only know Real Estate and Banking and both of those have had either mandatory or voluntary PAC contributions.

    I opted out as soon as it was not mandatory, while I was in Banking, as I don’t believe that government should be swayed by PAC monies. Though as Sam points out, there are clearly two schools of thought on that.

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  14. 14
    Jonness says:

    By Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 8:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 5 – There was a lot of overhype during the boom, from agents, lenders, consumers, etc. Agreed that it was overdone by many. We still need good solutions to work our way out of the current mess, and that’s the drift of the voting guide. Some might not agree, but it’s the view of our local organization.

    Your local organization and the politicians whose campaigns it helps to fund are a big part of the reason why we are in this mess in the first place. Where were you, and what were you involved in in 2006 that could have prevented the ensuing catastrophe? What assurance do I have that your organization has the skills to get us out of this mess without creating an even bigger mess? From my perspective, your organization has a terrible track record, and one would be foolish to place any trust or confidence in it unless they enjoy throwing good money after bad. If this organization managed to completely screw up a really good thing, imagine what kind of havoc they can do to something that is already actively heading toward the sewer.

    This is kind of like the government interference into the housing market guaranteeing loans to families who under no circumstances could ever have afforded to pay them back. Now that these people are defaulting in absurdly gross numbers, the supposed cure is another costly government program that will artificially inflate house prices above what is historically affordable to families who actually have 20% down and good credit scores.

    It’s all a little like being captured by a serial killer who cuts off your arms after which you escape out into the woods. Suddenly, you realize you need somebody to stop the bleeding, so you run back into the serial killer’s house and politely ask him for a couple of tourniquets.

    I agree with the other posters who say this guide is extremely useful as a record of who not to vote for.

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  15. 15
    Jonness says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 10:

    By wreckingbull @ 9:
    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Same thing, smaller package.

    Not really. But if you don’t know anything about them, that’s what you might think.

    What steps did they actively partake in to ward off the impending housing bubble that complete laypersons like The Tim easily spotted and took steps to warn and protect people from the horrific ensuing aftermath?

    Organizations like this are all the same to us little guys out on the street who give their members 6% of gigantic leveraged purchases we can’t afford to buy with our life savings. But I suppose there are some minor distinctions that matter to the RE agents who profit off the inner workings of these organizations.

    To us little guys on the street working for 30 years to indirectly pay for this organization’s existence, we care less about what color of the walls and more about whether we will lose $200K in a matter of a couple of years if we trust the printed propaganda in the book. What steps has this organization taken to assure this would not and will not continue to happen? Have they printed anything anywhere that has warned people about the dangers of buying a house in their coverage area?

    The answer is no. For that, we have to rely on complete laypersons like The Tim who are not biased by the good ol’ American dollar bill.

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  16. 16
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Jonness @ 15 – I’d have no problem with the NAR and its child organizations if they officially stated that their mission is to maximize the short-term commission revenue of their members.

    This “we are looking out for you” is rather insulting.

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  17. 17

    By wreckingbull @ 12:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 7 OK,

    Where I have heard prose like this before?

    “Pro-REALTOR® candidates
    who support legislation to encourage
    housing affordability and availability,
    increased homeownership opportunities”, (blah, blah, blah)

    Oh yes, it was Dubya and Easy Al spewing the virtues of our new gilded era of the “Ownership Society”. We certainly know how that ended. This is precisely my point.

    By wreckingbull @ 11:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10 – “The SEATTLE KingCounty REALTORS® are one of 15 charter member Boards of the National Association of REALTORS®, founded in 1908″

    What do you think any of that indicates?

    You’re treating SKCAR and NAR alike because they are both Realtor groups. That would be like treating the Seattle City Council the same as Congress, because they are both government legislative groups. Here’s a hint: The Seattle City Council had nothing to do with the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, nor were they responsible for the “Great Recession.”

    Skcar focuses on local issues, like the home energy audit thing I mentioned. They basically act to counter stupid ideas of the Seattle City Council, which keeps them rather busy.

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  18. 18

    By Jonness @ 15:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 10:
    By wreckingbull @ 9:
    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Same thing, smaller package.

    Not really. But if you don’t know anything about them, that’s what you might think.

    What steps did they actively partake in to ward off the impending housing bubble that complete laypersons like The Tim easily spotted and took steps to warn and protect people from the horrific ensuing aftermath?

    What do you think King County or any of its cities did to cause the bubble? Those are the entities that SKCAR deals with. If anything the increased density regulations of local government helped keep prices lower during the rise, which made the bubble less severe. But I doubt SKCAR did anything to slow that down.

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  19. 19

    Rather than just making things up about what SKCAR does, how about finding something they actually do that you don’t like:

    http://www.nwrealtor.com/

    BTW, I have responses to posts 12 and 16 awaiting moderation for some reason, so you two will have to go back and read those when they appear.

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  20. 20
    Scotsman says:

    Soon we’ll need a union for real estate brokers. . .

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  21. 21

    RE: Scotsman @ 18 – No, no, no…no union. That’s the point of the organization. It’s totally voluntary. PAC “dues” are not really dues at all, just suggested donations to the members. If members don’t like it, they don’t donate.

    RE: Jonness @ 15 – All parties deserve blame for the boom. Agents sold big, lenders lent frivolously, and buyers eager for big gains overbought and over-refinanced to buy toys. We can all be honest about that. The serial killer analogy is a bit dramatic, but on your other points I’d mostly agree in substance if not style. There was far too much push for lending to borrowers who couldn’t afford it. We need to reinforce lending standards that include verified income, high-quality credit scores, and a reasonable down payment.

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  22. 22
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 19 The disconnect going on in this thread is really something else. I guess not much has changed. It’s OK though, Suzanne researched it.

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  23. 23

    The disconnect is between ignorance and information. Knowing all three entities I don’t really care for NAR, like WR and am somewhat neutral on SCKAR. They are different entities that do different things, like the analogy awaiting moderation comparing the Seattle City Council to Congress.

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  24. 24

    I’ve never been a Realtor, but more by accident than by design. If you affiliate with a brokerage that belongs to the Realtors group, you have to join. If you affiliate with a brokerage that is not a Realtor member, you can save your money and not have to join.
    Even though the Realtor PAC is voluntary, and you don’t have to donate, I’d just as soon not be associated with who or what they were endorsing. Sure, they are going to endorse what’s good for them, things that they feel will result in more home sales and higher home prices.
    That’s not necessarily what’s good for society, and more often than not, it’s not.
    But, at this point, I don’t have the hatred of the Realtors I used to. I’ve met some some hard working honest ones, and some slimy douchebags as well.
    Plus, they hire Jillayne to teach. How bad could they be?

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  25. 25
    Jonness says:

    I’m not making anything up!

    This is from SKCAR’s latest quarterly report and appears to be more of the same action that got us into this mess in the first place. When I buy my next home, I will make absolutely certain my agent is not a member of SKCAR or NAR so that not one cent of my purchase money goes to fund this kind of manipulation of house prices.

    NAR Government Affairs has been closely
    monitoring the implementation of Section 941 or
    the so-called “QRM Rule” that is part of the riskretention
    provisions of the Dodd-Frank legislation
    passed last year. (The Dodd-Frank Act requires
    mortgage securitizers to retain 5% of the risk unless
    the mortgage is a qualified residential mortgage.
    The proposed rule issued by six federal regulators
    would require families to make a 20% down
    payment to meet other stringent requirements.)
    The “Qualified Residential Mortgage” has the
    potential to stop the fledgling housing recovery
    in its tracks if implemented in its current form.
    NAR has joined with a diverse network of groups
    who share our position that, as written, the QRM
    regulation would push millions of American families
    out of the home market. The regulation would
    require onerous down-payment requirements of up
    to twenty percent of the purchase price. NAR has
    asked for and received an extension of the comment
    period until August 1, 2011.

    http://www.nwrealtor.com/images/stories/pdf/REALTORS_GA-Reporter_2Q11.pdf

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with asking banks to shoulder 5% of the risk of loans that do not meet safe lending standards. In fact, I would ask that they shoulder 100% of the risk. Why should myself and other taxpayers be on the hook for this? I didn’t lend the money to the guys down the street who couldn’t afford to pay for their homes in the first place. Why not reward buyers who took the time and effort to save 20% down and can actually afford to by the home by providing them a little better interest rate? Why should the unemployed strawberry picker down the street be able to use nearly infinite leverage to bid up the price of the home I want to buy, when that buyer will be in foreclosure 3 years after moving in? And of course, the taxpayers get to pick up the cost.

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  26. 26
    Jonness says:

    RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 19 – “Buy now or be priced out forever.” “Seattle is a special world class city that is immune from the RE downturn.” “We’ve reached the bottom.”

    Now that it’s turned against them, it’s suddenly everybody’s fault.

    Yes, buyers made bad choices, and they are paying the price. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is a conflict of interest to give RE agents 3% of the sales price to represent buyers if they buy homes and give them 0% if the buyers do not buy homes. IMO, this model has led to mass negligence and fraud, and it’s about time the RE agents admit how immoral and unconscionable this sales model is and start accepting responsibility for twisting the arms of those who eventually ended up in foreclosure and bankruptcy. IMO, the majority of RE agents are wolves in sheep’s clothing who pretend to represent the best interests of their buyers. I say this after having interacted with no less than 20 RE agents. The only honest one of the bunch turned out to be a discount agent.

    At least the serial killer reveals himself before he screws you.

    I’m tired of the catchy slogans, the clever manipulations, and the political alignment. I’m especially tired of the continued monthly bottom calls, the “now is a great time to buy” slogans, and the absolute denial of having even a slight amount of responsibility to the best interests of the buyers that are represented in these transactions.

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  27. 27
    David Losh says:

    RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 21RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 8RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 2

    Sorry, but that’s all baloney.

    This is an organization that is attempting to direct a market place. These are extremely dangerous people. They started out as a joke, but the lobby has since brought us dangerous land use, and construction practices while promising the public they can trust them.

    These people, along with criminal bankers, and lenders, drove up prices, and took advantage of those who should have been protected, if you believe the propaganda.

    We can lay blame for this mess we are in at the feet of this organization in collusion with the Mortgage Bankers of America.

    It always amuses me when any one tries to spread the blame around to the consumers.

    These are people who claim to know the market, who claim to elevate customer service, and profess professionalism. As near as I can figure these people are just hanger ons looking to steal as much as they can.

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  28. 28

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 24:

    Even though the Realtor PAC is voluntary, and you don’t have to donate, I’d just as soon not be associated with who or what they were endorsing. Sure, they are going to endorse what’s good for them, things that they feel will result in more home sales and higher home prices.
    That’s not necessarily what’s good for society, and more often than not, it’s not.

    Two years ago the main fight was to fix the distressed property law, keep excise taxes and BP& taxes where they were, and to pass a requirement for CO detectors. They lost the B&O fight, even though real estate agents get screwed on B&O (we don’t get the same small business tax credit everyone else gets).

    This year the main issue for RPAC (WR) was passing the foreclosure fairness act, and one other I don’t remember off the top of my head.

    Which one of those would you be against?

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  29. 29

    RE: Jonness @ 25 – They’re explaining what NAR was doing, as is clearly evidenced by the material you quoted. Also, that’s clearly a federal issue and SKCAR doesn’t deal with such things.

    Again, you need to distinguish between the entities.

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  30. 30
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 28

    I’ll go on that. Real Estate agents have it easy, as a small business. Every frigging thing is tax deductible. My time here, your time here, it’s all tax deductible, we’re advertising.

    Trip to Maui? go look at some property, tax deductible. Big get together with other like minded lobbyists in Florida? tax deductible. Pencils, pens, group ads, Brokerage fess, and accounting? business expenses.

    I just finished my taxes, by myself, for my small business, because my accountant of over ten years fired me. My bookkeeper quit. Too much work for not enough return. My Real Estate returns were a breeze, even with the capital gains, improvements, rental income, losses, and depreciation.

    It’s all set up so that Real Estate agents don’t really need to think about, or do too much.

    So boohoo on the B&O, and that foreclosure fairness act is another gift to lenders.

    Sorry, this is a bad organization. It has been very bad, for a long time, but this bubble should have been a wake up call to the industry. Get rid of these sleaze balls. Don’t give them another dime. These people do no good for anybody.

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  31. 31
    Cheap South says:

    By Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 21:

    RE: Scotsman @ 18 – No, no, no…no union. That’s the point of the organization. It’s totally voluntary. PAC “dues” are not really dues at all, just suggested donations to the members. If members don’t like it, they don’t donate.

    RE: Jonness @ 15 – All parties deserve blame for the boom. Agents sold big, lenders lent frivolously, and buyers eager for big gains overbought and over-refinanced to buy toys. We can all be honest about that. The serial killer analogy is a bit dramatic, but on your other points I’d mostly agree in substance if not style. There was far too much push for lending to borrowers who couldn’t afford it. We need to reinforce lending standards that include verified income, high-quality credit scores, and a reasonable down payment.

    I don’ think all parties are to blame. Realtors want to sell, and as funny as the “buy now or be left our forever” statement was back then, it scared the pants our of most people. And Realtors make money only by selling. Every industry has its marketing technique; and most use psychology to a different degree.

    The problem was not the secretary making $20K a year wanting to buy the $500K home with a view; we all want that.

    The problem was the banks that found a way to sell their risk to someone else, and based on this “it’s not my risk” attitude, they went ahead and made the loan to the secretary. And whoever bought the debt was told by Moody’s that they were as safe as they’ve seen.

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  32. 32

    By David Losh @ 30:

    I’ll go on that. Real Estate agents have it easy, as a small business. Every frigging thing is tax deductible. My time here, your time here, it’s all tax deductible, we’re advertising.

    You realize that if you can deduct one dollar that gets you maybe 30 cents of benefit, right?

    Also, I have no idea what you’re deducting for spending time here. Also, travel expenses would be highly scrutinized and restricted.

    As to the B&O tax, I don’t know what the current limit is, but small businesses earning under something like $40,000 don’t pay any B&O tax. Because the state uses the brokerage as a conduit for paying the tax (the agent is liable for the B&O but the brokerage is charged with collecting for the state) agents don’t get the benefit of that small business credit.

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  33. 33

    RE: Cheap South @ 31 – Keep in mind that roughly half the time it’s the job of the agent to get as high of price for the property as possible. That’s what the seller wants.

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  34. 34

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 28:

    This year the main issue for RPAC (WR) was passing the foreclosure fairness act, and one other I don’t remember off the top of my head.

    The one I couldn’t remember was banning private transfer fees. Developers were starting to place covenants on properties that they would get money (e.g. 1% of the sales price) each time a property sold for the next 100 years (or some such thing). golly WR for fighting such things!

    You can see the entire list of what they were supporting, monitoring and opposing here:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7696523/Leg2011/Bill_Tracking_0421.pdf

    General information here: http://www.warealtor.org/government/leg-session-2011/

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  35. 35
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 21

    “All parties deserve blame for the boom”

    nope nope nope..

    If you take the time to DIG you will find who is truly to blame. Real Estate Agents, Mortgage Reps, Appraisers, etc were all the simple pons on the street and dealing the hands they were dealt.

    Sure their were pockets of deceipt and corruption on the street level but this remains today as well.

    I suggest you all remind and EDUCATE yourself who was to blame and pointing fingers at RE Agents and home owners shows GROSS INCOMPETENCE at the understanding of what occurred and what we are attempting to unwind over the next decade:

    http://www.500realty.net/crisisofcreditvideo.php

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  36. 36

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 35

    Most of the Time I Agree With You Ray

    When General Motors produced the Vega and Citation, were these planned obsolence monstrocities the fault of American Engineers? Hades no, it was the number counters American CEOs making sure the doors fell off after so many uses…..the engineers just did what they were told and a good percentage of the American consumers bought them why???? Because of slick advertising brainwashing and brand loyalty….

    Same thing with real estate, the blame is on the managed deception. And who were the “con artists” that swindled buyers into signing the Escrow????

    In this case the cons were the ones thinking they’d make a buck:

    The mortgage companies

    The buyers

    Wall Street Crooks

    Media, bought off by above

    Politicians, bought off by above

    etc, etc…..

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  37. 37
    Ray pepper says:

    Real estate agents sold properties at what the market dictated. You give real estate agents to much credit for being so powerful. They r the easy ones to point fingers at because they are on the front lines.

    We r simply facilitators for those that want to buy and sell. Agents who feel they r more then that remain ignorant as to their role.

    There was deceipt from all involved but I stress we did not set the value of these properties then or now. We continue to just go along for the ride in the car we are being driven in .

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  38. 38

    Ray, et al, I didn’t mean to imply that every individual was responsible, merely that every group had individuals who carry some of the blame.

    An agent who said “buy now or be priced out forever” clearly didn’t do any historical research.

    Lenders who wrote mortgages based on zero income documentation were the biggest issue, in my opinion.

    For buyers, I knew 25-year old guys who were buying condos 3 at a time in new construction buildings, banking on the big profits when they flipped them (not my clients). We like to paint the sympathetic picture of the $20k income secretary who was swindled, but there were a lot of buyers looking for profits, not just a house to live in.

    Unfortunately, we all paid for it in the end, including those who were merely looking for a house.

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  39. 39

    RE: Ray pepper @ 37
    Yes ,but.. real estate agents are also supposed to be looking out for the best interests of their clients. The way agents are compensated means that many of them are going to push buyer clients into making offers, no matter how unwise that move might be.
    In 2007, my son and his wife wanted to buy a house. She( his wife) also owned a condo they wanted to sell, and they came to me for advice. My advice was to sell the condo and rent a house.
    But they had been brainwashed, and had seen the fast rate of home price acceleration. I then suggested that if they felt that they HAD to buy a house, they should go ahead and sell the condo, live in our basement for a while, and take their time looking at houses, because prices were about to fall.
    You can’t tell kids anything. They decided to buy a house first( before they became unaffordable?) and sell the condo afterwards. It all worked out, ultimately, other than for the fact that the new house is worth 100,000 dollars+ less than what they paid for it.
    A lot of real estate agents like to blame someone else for the mess. ” I was just doing my job.” Or ” It was the lenders, it was loose lending standards”, or ” It was Barney Frank, it was the liberals.”
    It’s really easy to blame others. It’s a little harder to take responsibility. That said, I don’t think that real estate agents are the cause of the bubble or the crash, and that the CEOs of the brokerage houses bear much more responsibility. Still, it just sounds a little too much like the Nazis. ” I was just following orders.”

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  40. 40
    Scotsman says:

    Anyone who’s looking for a “GEM” should check out Ira.

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  41. 41
    Ray pepper says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 40

    Ira is a gem! Also a lutefisk champion! How many agents wear that crown?

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  42. 42

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 39:

    In 2007, my son and his wife wanted to buy a house. She( his wife) also owned a condo they wanted to sell, and they came to me for advice. My advice was to sell the condo and rent a house.
    But they had been brainwashed, and had seen the fast rate of home price acceleration. I then suggested that if they felt that they HAD to buy a house, they should go ahead and sell the condo, live in our basement for a while, and take their time looking at houses, because prices were about to fall.
    You can't tell kids anything.

    I think this tells you the real problem. The real problem is that we are human and prone to the herd mentality. A relatively small percentage of ordinary people are who drove up prices to unreasonable levels.

    If agents, appraisers and banks were so powerful, people would still be buying.

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  43. 43
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 32

    Kary, every thing you do, if you are a Real Estate agent, is tax deductable. In theory you should be working at least 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep yourself afloat.

    You could have other income, but a working agent knows, once you stop, you die. It’s the shark concept.

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  44. 44
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 37

    Number one, the post is about an organization known to be after as many dollars as they can squeeze out of a membership. One of the big problems in the run up in pricing were Real Estate agents, who had no experience, no education, other than what this organization brain washed them with, and were told Real Estate was a great profession to make $100K per year. These were the talking points inside this organization as opposed to the poison they spewed onto the unsuspecting public.

    This same organization has a long history of destroying wet lands, the environment, promoting cheap construction practices, and inflating Brokerage fees.

    You should be the first to recognize that this low life scum is what promotes the very Brokerages you rail against. These are the Coldwell Bankers, Windermeres, and John L Scotts that force their agents to give this vermin blood money.

    This organization over the course of 25 years that I have had a license as continually lied, cheated, extorted money, and paid any one who might give them access to more membership fees, to put it as nicely as I can.

    Don’t ask what I really think.

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  45. 45
    David Losh says:

    RE: Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com @ 38

    Baloney.

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  46. 46

    RE: David Losh @ 44
    Great post, David, and I agree completely.

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  47. 47
    Macro Investor says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 39:

    You can't tell kids anything.

    I think this tells you the real problem. The real problem is that we are human and prone to the herd mentality. A relatively small percentage of ordinary people are who drove up prices to unreasonable levels.

    If agents, appraisers and banks were so powerful, people would still be buying.

    The cause was extremely easy credit terms (which includes low rates).

    Banks and the fed did the deed and deserve to be hung in the public square. Regulators looked the other way. Appraisers (as always) uselessly went with the flow. Agents acted like salesmen should be expected to behave. The media sold the whole stink ball to the public, who unfortunately for them believe the media is credible.

    “If agents, appraisers and banks were so powerful, people would still be buying.”

    Seriously? People just have unlimited credit and income and can just bid houses up to millions or billions?

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  48. 48

    By Macro Investor @ 47:

    “If agents, appraisers and banks were so powerful, people would still be buying.”

    Seriously? People just have unlimited credit and income and can just bid houses up to millions or billions?

    I think you missed the point of that, or perhaps some sarcasm. The point was agents, appraisers and banks don’t have that power.

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  49. 49

    Okay, I’ve posted links above to what WR was doing in the 2011 legislative session, and to SKCAR’s website, and no one has said yet what either entity does that they don’t like (although one person did respond with something NAR does because it was on the SKCAR website.

    So let’s hear it folks. What do these local entities do that you don’t like?

    (And BTW, as mentioned, I’m not necessarily in favor of everything WR does to make development of undeveloped land easier, so something else.)

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  50. 50
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 49

    OK, I read it. It is so distasteful as a whole, but you want to discuss specific points.

    That takes to the double B&O Taxation, because that is the only thing there that shows anything that you may consider a positive. There again we have one version of a subject I know nothing about.

    This is like a person walking down the street shooting any one in their path, but stops to pet a puppy, and one person walks past, so that shows the compassion. The person, once done petting the puppy, stands up, reloads, and begins shooting people again. Let’s discuss the puppy.

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  51. 51
    David Losh says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 47

    If you want to discuss the Mortgage Bankers Association, and it’s collusion, great, I’m all for that. The point is people are, to this day, paying thousands, and hundreds of thousands, in some cases millions of dollars over what will be fair market value.

    Yes, it’s that powerful. Powerful enough to collapse an economy, and the world as we knew it.

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  52. 52

    RE: David Losh @ 50 – What the double taxation is about is referral fees. When a brokerage gets say 6% commission and then pays out say 3% to the buyer’s agent, they only pay B&O on the 3% net, and the buyer’s agent pays on 3%. But if one of those two entities pays 1% as a referral fee, they’ll still pay tax on 3% and the firm getting 1% also pays. That probably wasn’t an intended result of the statute, but something DOR stumbled onto in audits.

    I don’t generally give or receive referral fees, so not a big issue for me, but since that’s not what the general practice was prior to DOR raising the issue, it affected the survival of a lot of firms because they could go back something like 3 years.

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  53. 53
    David Losh says:

    You really don’t understand how vile this organization is. It’s like the training camp. It recruited membership with the lure of unlimited income potential. They don’t discuss the economy, or the value of housing. They train in sales technique.

    Thousands of people with no back ground, no working knowledge, or product knowledge of Real Estate, or Real Estate matters were turned loose to make sales. The product they were selling were “historically low interest rates.” “We can make this deal happen for you,” was the closing sentence. That’s it.

    Mortgage Brokers began billing themselves as “financial planners,” or “financial professionals.” They were selling “historically low interest rates,” and “we can make this deal happen.”

    A lot of people made a lot of money, and millions of people, globally, now own properties that are falling in price while the mortgage remains the same.

    Let’s forget that all the mortgages were sold, sliced, diced, and are the basis of a securities financial market place. Let’s just focus on the millions of people in this country who bought low quality construction, brought to us by the “Master Builders Association,” financed by the “Mortgage Bankers Association,” and sold by the organization that is the subject of this post.

    I can’t mention the Real Estate organization, because they have nothing better to do that search for trademark infringement.

    Yes, they are that powerful, and I don’t think you see how massive this lobby is.

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  54. 54
    tomtom says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    I think this tells you the real problem. The real problem is that we are human and prone to the herd mentality. A relatively small percentage of ordinary people are who drove up prices to unreasonable levels.

    ‘Ordinary’? I think not. The Mortgage Industry (r) was pushing cheap loans on the marketplace and the Realtors (sic) were advertising “Buy now or be priced out of the market FOREVER!”

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  55. 55
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    So what? They stopped to pet a puppy.

    This is also something that those referral firms could have addressed. I don’t need SCAR to audit anything for me. I would prefer them to slink back into the night, or under a rock. Better yet, I would like to see them dismantled.

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  56. 56

    By David Losh @ 55:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    So what? They stopped to pet a puppy.

    This is also something that those referral firms could have addressed. I don’t need SCAR to audit anything for me. I would prefer them to slink back into the night, or under a rock. Better yet, I would like to see them dismantled.

    So you would prefer to see the broker you work under go into bankruptcy and then be personally [David Losh] subject to malpractice claims for the next three years without having any malpractice insurance available?

    I think you simply don’t understand the problem or the personal consequences.

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  57. 57

    RE: David Losh @ 55 – Referral firms? While there are agents that only get referral fees, I doubt there’s a brokerage out there that doesn’t get any referral fees. That’s something setup at the agent level, not the broker level.

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  58. 58

    By tomtom @ 54:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    I think this tells you the real problem. The real problem is that we are human and prone to the herd mentality. A relatively small percentage of ordinary people are who drove up prices to unreasonable levels.

    ‘Ordinary’? I think not. The Mortgage Industry (r) was pushing cheap loans on the marketplace and the Realtors (sic) were advertising “Buy now or be priced out of the market FOREVER!”

    Loans weren’t all that cheap during much of the rise in prices.

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  59. 59

    By David Losh @ 53:

    You really don’t understand how vile this organization is. It’s like the training camp. It recruited membership with the lure of unlimited income potential. They don’t discuss the economy, or the value of housing. They train in sales technique.

    Rather clearly you don’t understand the entity at all. They weren’t recruiting people to become agents. They do discuss the economy and the value of housing.

    About the only thing you have right is that they do some training. Whether they train on sales technique I don’t know because I’m not that familiar with their clock hour course offerings.

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  60. 60

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 49
    From the SKCAR Voters Guide, a question to the candidates:
    ” In light of the growth that’s coming ( to this area), what actions should your city take to maximize the productivity of the city’s remaining land base.?”

    They don’t come right out and say it, but they’re not asking ” In light of the growth that’s coming, what actions should your city take to ensure that forests aren’t destroyed to make way for ghastly townhomes?”
    Also, from their voters guide, discussing what they do…” This crucial activity( identifying and assisting candidates who support Realtor positions) provides the foundation for legislative success to enhance Realtor profitability….”
    Personally, I don’t think that enhancing Realtor profitability does a whole lot of good for anybody but Realtors. I’m in favor of things that will benefit the region and most of the people in it. I’m not sure that “maximizing the productivity of the city’s remaining land base” is good for anything but short term profits. We live in a beautiful part of the country, and I’ve seen places that used to be beautiful just destroyed by development, because that kind of stuff ” maximized productivity”. I’d rather have them support leaving things the hell alone.

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  61. 61

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 60 – Peoples’ positions on land development are too dependent on their individual positions. If you own a piece of land out in the middle of nowhere, you want to be able to develop that. If you own a piece of property on Beacon Hill, you want to be able to develop it more densely. Others who don’t own such land might be opposed to either or both. Maybe they want trees to be left standing. Maybe they hate townhouses.

    That’s why I was trying to stay away from that type of issue. Also, I tend to be more in the latter camp, so it is an area where I differ from WR and SKCAR (as mentioned above).

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  62. 62

    But if you’re a Realtor, SKCAR assumes that you will vote in the interest of enhancing Realtor profitability. That’s why they come out with their voter guide. I wouldn’t want it to be assumed that if I were a Realtor I supported these positions. As far as candidates, they sure like incumbents.

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  63. 63

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 62 – That’s probably the simple sales pitch. Although taking an issue from two years ago–sale tax on services–there Realtor profitability was highly correlated with a lot of other types of service provider interests and also with consumer interests, and I would suspect, aligned with the position of most voters outside of King County.

    I don’t know how SKCAR picks their picks, but incumbents (unfortunately) are more likely to win, so I’m sure that gets factored in somehow.

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  64. 64
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 63

    You don’t get it. You obviously don’t get it, and are quoting some party line.I have no idea what you think this organization does, but they do brain wash, I mean, do some “training” on how to best close a deal. There is a lot of legal gobbly gook that goes along with that. I really don’t want to waste my time with that end of the business.

    My focus is that you are right, they promote the idea that land lords should be allowed to do whatever they want, when ever they want, for as big a profit as possible.

    In the 1950s, and 1960s this organization was all about destroying farm land. In the 1970s they lobbied to protect developers from environmental issues, such as destroying streams, and wet lands. Then we had the commercial land use efforts of the 1980s that gave us strip malls, and ware house space close in to kill off any chance of local farm production. 1990 was the conversion of tech dollars to hard assets like Real Estate, until they lobbied for the unbridled building of equity bubbles in worthless properties.

    They didn’t do it alone. They had a lot of help. The fact remains that it was diliberate, calculated, and intended to build a membership, without any care about the consequences. They knew, they were well aware, that what they were doing damaged the majority of the people, but catered to a viciously greedy few.

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  65. 65

    […] everything the National Ass. of REALTORS® publishes is comedy gold. I also quite enjoyed their 2011 Voting Guide, and watching their ads over the last five years back to back is a […]

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