Real Actual Listing Photos: Open House Edition

It’s time for another installment of Real Actual Listing Photos. Once a month (or so) I round up some of the most bizarre listing photos from around the Seattle area and post them here, with brief excerpts from the real actual listing description, and probably a bit of snarky commentary.

The idea for this series stems from the ongoing forum thread Detrimental Listing Photos, which is where you should post your nominations for next month’s Real Actual Listing Photos post.

All of the homes featured in this month’s post have an open house scheduled for this coming weekend. So if you’d like to go see what they look like in person, you’re in luck!

Enough explanation. Let’s get to the photos! Click the photo to view the Real Actual Listing.

10327 Sandpoint Wy NE Seattle, WA 9812“…amazing flow of space & natural light as well as modern amenities. Open, bright & light floor plan…”

We mean really bright.

7724 25th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98117“Pride of ownership is obvious.”

I guess they’re just really proud of the pavers running diagonally through the back yard? Or maybe their ability to capture a lens flare from the sun?

1111 E Pike St #301 Seattle, WA 98122“…floor to ceiling windows, dark bamboo floors and fun industrial interiors…”

Photo shown actual size. Oddly, a few of the photos in the set are normally-sized, but most are these tiny postage stamps.

230 NW 41st St Seattle, WA 98107“Great circular floor plan with June Cleaver’s kitchen. Hardwood floors up and Plynyl floors down.”

This appears to be some sort of old-timey peep hole, but there isn’t any clue in the listing description.

1111 E Pike St #502 Seattle, WA 98122“… this open loft home provides… a hip palette to create one’s own space.”

The unit being sold here is #502, so I’m not really clear why they featured a picture of what appears to be Unit 603. I’m also not clear why the door appears to have three peep holes.

2320 43rd Ave E Unit 206A Seattle, WA 98112“Live in your very own vacation home or get away to your special pied-a-terre, nestled in the lake front village of Madison Park.”

That’s right ladies & gentlemen, buy this home and we’ll throw in the door for free!

Let me know if you have an idea for a future “Real Actual Listing Photos” theme.


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.

56 comments:

  1. 1
    Passed Doo says:

    Running out of topic ideas ?

  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    RE: Passed Doo @ 1 – This has been a monthly feature since mid-2010. I usually try to post it around the middle of the month.

  3. 3
    Jonness says:

    This appears to be some sort of old-timey peep hole, but there isn’t any clue in the listing description.

    Everyone needs one of these in their bedroom closet so they can check on guests using the bathroom. It adds value to the house.

    I’m also not clear why the door appears to have three peep holes.

    Three midgets live there, each of a different height? Or perhaps, it’s for checking out different body parts of guests who knock on the door? Then again, it could be the easiest way to disguise bullet holes without having to purchase a brand new door.

  4. 4
    David Losh says:

    I always enjoy going over to the redfin site for these photos. The forums are a hoot, and now we have the redfin partners piping in with drivel? Wow!

    OK, you don’t understand listing photos, I get that, but some of these are actually good, rather than detrimental.

    You picked these out for open houses, thank you. These are great properties that people should look at. Of course no one with a Real Estate license can comment on these property photos so I guess it would be best just to take the tour.

    I think you should have the “I work for redfin” on these also.

  5. 5
    Jonness says:

    David:

    I’m not sure I’ll ever completely understand your bitterness toward Redfin. I get that some RE agents hate them because their business model has cut into their bottom line. But I think there is more to it than that for you. From a consumer standpoint, Redfin is just another available choice. Consumers who don’t like the choice can simply go to the next guy.

    Perhaps I’ve not been paying enough attention, but this company appears to have a lower pubic “spin” ratio than what’s typical in this industry.

  6. 6

    On the pavers, they did do a “damh” good job trimming the grass around them.

  7. 7
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Jonness @ 5

    agreed the bitterness/disgust or whatever makes no sense..Either use em or dont. I like the FREE info and the Red Fin app myself. Each and every tool empowers the consumer even more…But as I warned before….When you enter the mind of David…….there is simply no escape..

    I also enjoy Zillow ALOT..Always hated LEDR and ZIPR for they bring NOTHING to the table…

  8. 8
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 7

    What I have always resented is the man of the people approach Glenn took when in fact this is Venture Capital at work. Glenn said he was going to change the Real Estate Industry for the better of the consumer.

    In fact Glenn took all of the worst elements of the Real Estate industry, and incorporated them, pun intended, into sales hype.

    The consumer waits, and watches on redfin for that perfect “deal.” After months, and years in many cases, of frustration the buyer “pulls the trigger.” That’s exactly the way a lazy Real Estate agent does it.

    That’s not service, that’s not the way it’s done, it’s a sales gimmick.

    As far as the Venture Capital, I think Zillow is a better bet. I’m not sure redfin can undo, at any point, the damage Glenn Kelman has done to the image of the redfin company.

    So it isn’t redfin’s concept, it’s the folksy, man of the people sales spin that bothers me.

    Oh, wait, the loss of commissions that a lot of people talk about? Real Estate agents love redfin. redfin is the best thing that could have happened for full commission agents.

    Tim just encouraged buyers to go to Open Houses. Open Houses are great examples. I love talking with real estate agents who actually know something. When I go into an Open House and the agent knows the house, the neighborhood, construction of the house, and how the electrical panel works, it’s thrilling.

    Open Houses are great places where you can find an agent who can help you.

    Ray always says educate yourself. Well, with a wife, kids, school, the job, when are these people getting that education? Is it at the first time home buyers class? or maybe they should look at some charts, and graphs.

    Real Estate, the family home, is decision you want to make correctly. Some people know the market place, know the product, and some are selling what ever.

  9. 9
    David Losh says:

    Wait a minute, the other thing that bothers me is that John L Scott brought a working online search to the market. Lennox must have spent a fortune, out of profits? I don’t really know.
    Zillow also brought a lot of the technology to put up these charts, and graphs.

    redfin capitalized on these concepts, with an inducement of the rebate.

    Here’s the deal with the rebate, I love the rebate. We service providers have always wanted the rebate. We also love redfin for publishing closed sales.

    Every service provider with a computer knows you got cash back at closing. Of course the mortgage person, title, and escrow would get first crack at it, but still we all know you have money. The MLS doesn’t allow agents to disclose closed sales to service providers.

    What’s interesting is the focus on the commission. The who will rebate the most debate is always interesting. How much money will be left on the table after closing and how can we get it? That’s your rebate, and the data you signed up for, at redfin.

  10. 10
    Jonness says:

    I do not appreciate open houses. At almost every one I’ve attended, I’ve been greeted by an overly friendly RE agent who immediately started trying to pull the wool over my eyes and sell me a house.

    It’s much better to just provide me with a toolbox and allow me to perform my own unbiased and objective research. For this reason, the Redfin toolkit fits my personality. Especially since it’s free to guys like me who will never use the agency to actually purchase a house.

    IMO, Scott spent a fortune on a really bad business model. Without knowing a lot about it, it seems to me his greed would not allow him to rebate a portion of his commission back to the buyer. He just could not understand the concept of investing a significant amount of money, only to collect a smaller commission. Thus, the world marched forward without him.

  11. 11

    By Jonness @ 10:

    I do not appreciate open houses. At almost every one I’ve attended, I’ve been greeted by an overly friendly RE agent who immediately started trying to pull the wool over my eyes and sell me a house.

    I’m not sure what you expect. The agent is there either to try to get that particular house sold or to capture you as their client. The sad thing is, sometimes the agent doesn’t know why they are there, and that’s something the seller should complain about! I know of one case where the seller did complain, and cancelled the listing because a co-listing agent was more interested in capturing buyers than selling their house!

    BTW, I’m not addressing the “wool over eyes” comment, and therefore not suggesting that it’s okay to deceive. I’m just pointing out that the agent in the house doesn’t represent you.

  12. 12

    By Jonness @ 10:

    I do not appreciate open houses.. . .

    It’s much better to just provide me with a toolbox and allow me to perform my own unbiased and objective research. . . .

    Open houses are not a substitute for research, and research does not allow you to avoid actually going inside a house.

  13. 13
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12

    “…research does not allow you to avoid actually going inside a house.”

    Of course research “allows you to avoid actually going inside a house”.

    I have a buyer client due to close on a house today where we pulled up every potential option in google map aerial view to study the direction the front door was facing before going to it or inside it. We were using vaastu principles of front door must face North or East. If South or West…we did not go to or inside the house.

    How many times have I heard an agent say “if people would just come and see this house, they will fall in love with it”. Yes…they probably would…and that’s the point. Research allows a buyer to avoid the trap of going to see a house, and fall in love with a house, that doesn’t fit their overall guidelines.

    Had a call from a client a couple of weeks ago wanting to see a house. I told him to pull up the property on google maps as it has high tension wires running up one side and across the other. Two sets of high tension lines with the house between the two.

    Had another call about a house with water retention ponds on both sides of the house and checked with an expert on storm water management systems and you could call that house “the water runs through it”.

    Many if not most of my clients have a list of acceptable schools, and research the homes based on school boundary lines, and research the schools via various website info.

    Back in the old days I used to open the car door and say “let’s go find the monster”. The client would be a bit surprised, but let’s face it. If the house looks better than any other house in its price class, the job becomes finding the reason why.

    Today we can see the reason why more readily if it is high tension wires or local school ranking or high crime rate or as in one notable case a few years back in Kirkland, because there was a proposed prison to be built within 100 yards of it. Actually that last one was a good value play, as the homes were temporarily discounted…but it was a long shot that the prison would ever get approval to be built…which it never did.

    A buyer’s ability to research, and NOT go inside a house until it meets a list of preset basic criteria, is one of the major advances technology has afforded home buyers.

  14. 14

    RE: ARDELL @ 13 – What I was saying should have been obvious. But to explain the obvious, you cannot typically make an offer without going inside a house.

    And to further explain your obvious point, yes you can exclude houses to go into based on research. Rather obviously you don’t need to go into all 6,000+ active listings in King County to make a decision.

  15. 15
    Ray Pepper says:

    I enjoy going to Open Houses with an Agent “sitting there” about as much as I enjoy taking a test drive with the car salesperson “sitting there”..

    Both uncomfortable situations and quite honestly……………….If your a Buyer and want to know about the house DONT ask the Agent. They do NOT know squat other then what the owner told them! When passing info onto a potential Buyer key facts seem to get LOST IN TRANSLATION!

    Request to speak to the owner directly (at some pre arranged time) or just take your cookie and run!

  16. 16
    ChrisM says:

    We’ve been over this topic before, and again I’ll repeat my comments (focusing on the buy side) as a consumer:

    1. Real estate agents suck. At least all the ones I’ve ever bought or sold a house with. There is no good way for a consumer to evaluate a real estate agent before the transaction (and as Kary would point out, even potentially *after* the transaction)

    2. On the buy side, prior to redfin as a consumer you were left to the mercy of the sheets, and hoped that your agent had the gumption to check them out.

    3. The consumer was effectively unable to determine comps

    4. No way to search in remote areas – I’ve been doing a multi-state MLS search for a few years now; that would not have been possible before

    Obviously Redfin effectively solves all those problems. Prior to Redfin, I was stuck with Zillow – and believe me, at least back in 2007-2008 their lot size data was seriously messed up – something to do with unit conversions between acres and sq ft. For those doing searches by lot sizes, Zillow was a massive waste of time. To top it off, Zillow had absolutely ZERO interest in fixing (or acknowledging) the problem.

    To echo Ardell, I love those listings where ZERO mention is made of high voltage power lines. Instead, only visible via the google pictures. Further confirmation either a) the listing agent is an idiot or b) the listing agent thinks buyers are idiots.

    Redfin has consumer feedback on their agents. Does anyone else?

    For those bashing Redfin, what is a better method for a consumer to buy a house? PLEASE don’t start your advice with “choose a good agent” or if you do, please define how that is done.

  17. 17

    By Ray Pepper @ 15:

    Request to speak to the owner directly (at some pre arranged time) or just take your cookie and run!

    It would be better to just get a copy of the Form 17 or request additional information in writing. Face to face contact could likely lead to costly litigation, which is only a good thing for attorneys.

  18. 18
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jonness @ 10RE: ChrisM @ 16

    Those are points well taken. Most Real Estate “agents” are idiots. I tried to put my comment in as positive way as I could. I do go to Open Houses, and am absolutely shocked that some of these agents are allowed to meet the public. Brokerages really need to monitor agent activity more closely.

    I also agree about John L Scott. They spent the money on technology without a plan on how to use it. Zillow was a better blend of Real Estate and technology. I don’t think Lennox was greedy, he just didn’t know.

    The focus on the rebate, and commissions always fascinates me. It’s all money. Real Estate is now a multi Trillion dollar business. Getting money out of the bank, and putting in the hands of consumers is what it is all about.

    Where is the incentive for an agent to give any consumer information for less money? What the consumer is getting are agents who say, “hey! yeah, that’s the ticket. let’s write it up.”

    I’ve look at some of the affiliate agents at redfin. They are people that make a very good living writing up deals, and talking people into things. redfin is the sales person Brokerage, but it’s done by volume.

    Reason that out for a couple on minutes, they do it by volume.

  19. 19
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 15

    Some times I wonder what the heck with you, and you own a Brokerage.

    People are always allowed to do Principle Only transactions. They can use a Brokerage, but it is much better, and safer, as Kary points out, to use an attorney. There are several attorneys who can provide this service for much less than a Brokerage can.

  20. 20
    ARDELL says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 16

    In my view real estate should become much like preparing tax returns. Some can do it themselves. Some can use H & R Block. Some will need extensive support and service via a competent and qualified CPA.

    Those who can do it themselves should not ask for everyone to be without the top resource, nor seek the complete elimination of that option from the marketplace. Those who need a CPA, or who are a CPA, should not expect everyone to need the top resource, nor should they speak against or lobby against the lower cost options being available in the marketplace.

    More options is good…eliminating any of them in their entirety is bad. Moving in the direction of fewer and fewer needing the highest level of support and service, by providing better publicly available information and simplifying the process as much as possible, should be the goal of all.

  21. 21
    David Losh says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 16

    I’m going to address your last point about the industry of Real Estate brokerage. It should be fixed.

    Jonness brought up this point a year ago. For me, I can choose an agent based on experiences. There are good agents out there. The problem is the Brokerage wants to retain the lion’s share of the compensation, sorry, but redfin is no different.

    Real Estate agents are stuck paying for advertising, good will, doing the leg work, being in the field, and fending off resentment for the vast number of idiot agents out there.

    In turn these agents have to pay Brokerage fees to big Brokerages who do nothing for them, in my opinion. The Brokerage is in the business of promoting the Brokerage. When I ask people who their agent is most times they name the Brokerage rather than the agent.

    Once a month I get a list of who has joined Coldwell Banker Danforth, it’s a desk fee office. It’s cheaper than a Windermere, but it’s getting all muddled up because they are on a membership drive rather than operating a brokerage.

    Now, I’ll give redfin a compliment about the fact they do have a Brokerage business model. I admire the fact that they are a cohesive unit. It is something that is missing in today’s big business Real Estate model.

  22. 22
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 20

    But it’s not tax return, it’s the family home, it’s what people buy as an asset. I think all people deserve the highest standard of service in the purchase of property.

    Millions of people have lost billions of dollars in the purchase of property, and it is still a major problem today.

  23. 23
    Kilen says:

    Well, for those of us who don’t want to be terribly active in house-searching, but still want to form our own idea of the market, Redfin is great. I’ve been looking for two years now, and I’m glad that I’ve only needed to visit a few houses in-person.

  24. 24

    By ARDELL @ 20:

    In my view real estate should become much like preparing tax returns. Some can do it themselves. Some can use H & R Block. Some will need extensive support and service via a competent and qualified CPA. .

    Nice thought, but there is no real estate transaction which is as simple as a 1040 EZ.

    Also, in making that decision, you don’t know what you don’t know. The same is true, however, of doing your taxes. DYI at your own risk.

  25. 25
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 22

    It’s not a matter of “deserve”, David. The highest level and highest cost should not be forced on everyone. There must be lower cost services for those who simply do not need the highest level. The answer isn’t Full Cost agent OR Attorney…there has to be a middle ground. In fact there needs to be at least 5 various options to support the needs of different people. Not everyone needs FULL or NONE.

  26. 26
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24

    Yes Kary, there are a few transactions that ARE as simple as a 1040 EZ. You just have not seen them yet. I have seen many.

  27. 27
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 26RE: ARDELL @ 25

    You have to offer the highest level of care no matter what the commission is. That will become more clear as time goes on.

    Also if you do have a 1040EZ transaction you are obliged to step out of the way and offer a more cost effective way to to get the transaction closed.

    You’re interjecting the commission into this. That’s the BS in this whole thing. It’s all about the commission rather than the level of service, expertise, or care for the client.

    I strongly object to that. If an agent does 150 transaction for a reduced commission in a year, through a mill system, is he a better agent than the person who does 10 transactions at a full commission.

    The debate should be about the agents worth in the transaction rather than who can write it up for less.

  28. 28

    By ARDELL @ 26:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24

    Yes Kary, there are a few transactions that ARE as simple as a 1040 EZ. You just have not seen them yet. I have seen many.

    Do you just say absurd things to be argumentative?

    Even the gifting of a parcel of property to family members is more complicated than an 1040 EZ. Even a transfer from a husband or wife to them both as community property is more complicated than a 1040 EZ.

  29. 29

    By David Losh @ 27:

    I strongly object to that. If an agent does 150 transaction for a reduced commission in a year, through a mill system, is he a better agent than the person who does 10 transactions at a full commission. .

    While that could be true in cases, I wouldn’t agree with that as an absolute. To channel Pegasus, do you think Robosigners are better foreclosure processors than a deed of trust trustee who only does 120 transactions a year?

    I will tell you that’s not generally true in the bankruptcy world. Bankruptcy mills often try to get the debtor filed ASAP, regardless of the circumstances. And I’ve even seen them charge much more, through deceptive billing arrangements.

  30. 30
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 17

    Form 17 is a given Kary but many times its not worth the paper its written on “do not know” being filled out multiple times. You know that. …But, when our Buyers desire to speak with the owners we initiate the BEST we can through the listing Agent.

    Because each and every purchase is an investment it should be scrutinized as such. Form 17, owner/buyer conversation, discussion with neighbors, inspection, and your own DD must all be completed prior to engaging.

    There is “potential for litigation” in each and every transaction and in 16 years I have avoided it in each every transaction.

  31. 31
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 19

    this statement is incompetent : “but it is much better, and safer, as Kary points out, to use an attorney”

    David, an Attorney does NOT guarantee competency or a litigation free transaction. Our Agents/Investors know the contracts that we utilize through the NWMLS above and beyond what ANY Attorney could ever achieve in years of Practice.

    Again, when its YOUR money on the line nobody cares for it better then YOURSELF. I will stick with our 16 year record and trust no Agent or Attorney further then I would trust you in fixing my 2006 Accord.

    Its when you let your guard down and let someone else dictate what you SHOULD do with YOUR money that you will LOSE! BIG TIME!

    Again, other then threatening letters I find the Attorney’s role to be very limited in RE transactions but the joy is Buyers have the right to choose. Just as they do a Doctor. But, multiple opinions should be sought out whenever in doubt. Trust nobody but YOURSELF!

  32. 32
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 30RE: Ray Pepper @ 31

    You are always good for a laugh, but people deserve better than this.

    According to your own logic, no one should trust you.

    Both you and Ardell are presenting Principle Only cases that will become more common as time goes on. It’s a natural course of business, and the market place.

    What redfin will find is that people who have over paid today are also going to blame some one in the future. You keep pushing the idea that people have no one to blame, but themselves. Well, that’s good for you, but the client ends up paying for that advice.

  33. 33
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 32

    “According to your own logic, no one should trust you.”

    You nailed it!

    Analyze all data presented by myself, any other Agent or Attorney, and then when you utilize your own DD the Buyer/Seller should be able to come to a conclusion. Utilization of Red Fin and ANY other source of data is crucial. If they are still confused they will be introduced to 1 or 2 other investors who will give the Buyer another opinion of their transaction at hand. 9 times out of 10 our Agents say WALK..Because they already know when there is too much doubt it is not the right purchase for them.

    You see David the more you DIG the more you find out . But, first the Buyer must and I mean MUST understand their RE purchase is an INVESTMENT. Anyone who tells you differently is giving you FALSE information and should not be listened to in any fashion.

    Lastly, David we do not accept any clients who have not obtained knowledge at The Trustee Sales. Its imperative that Buyers truly know whet properties are selling for before engaging services with us. A little DD goes a LONG WAY when deciding to buy in a declining asset environment..

  34. 34
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 33

    What? and you say “When you enter the mind of David…….there is simply no escape..”

    Let’s try this again. You can’t just write ’em up. If you have a level of expertise you are required to use that.

    In a Principles Only transaction there will be language specific to both the buyer, and seller, and an agent shouldn’t even pretend to practice law.

    More specifically, what you, and Ardell, are saying is what is wrong with the redfin business model.

    If I understand this correctly you are both saying you can just write up a transaction. Well, you have to use a level of care.

    You can’t just tell a buyer, or seller it’s on them to “educate themselves” and call it good. There is no King’s X in Real Estate.

    Just because you haven’t been sued doesn’t make what you are doing good.

  35. 35
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 34

    “Just because you haven’t been sued doesn’t make what you are doing good”

    David……………..All I can say is this………You are correct!…………..

    But, between you and me…….nobody else is really listening…….gather close when I tell you this………………….I am the best….If in doubt………Just ask me…

  36. 36
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 35

    You are better than the best Ray. Shhh, let’s keep this quite.

  37. 37
    ChrisM says:

    For a fun read:
    http://www.realtor.com/basics/buy/looking/realtor.asp

    Interesting that no mention is made there about commission.

    Some of you are focused on commission, but as a consumer (both on the buy & sell side) I’m not fixated on commission. I think the overall savings (on either side) should more than make up for the commission. That’s why I don’t object to the upfront costs of WALAW for example. I’d rather pay for quality.

    That said, how do real estate agents look at how consumers should choose an agent? Are we supposed to flip through those stupid mini-catalogs at the grocery store and choose either the “million-dollar producer” agent or the hottest agent?

  38. 38
    Scotsman says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 37

    Hot’s good. At any age.

  39. 39
    David Losh says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 37

    “An agent is bound by certain legal obligations. Traditionally, these common-law obligations are to: Put the client’s interests above anyone else’s; Keep the client’s information confidential; Obey the client’s lawful instructions; Report to the client anything that would be useful; and Account to the client for any money involved.”

    It is very hard to find a good agent, and it is getting worse.

    I have only been a Realtor for about two years of my career, and refuse to give them money. I have objected to the lobbying efforts that, in my opinion, are extremely anti consumer.

    What I think is that there is a network of Listing Services that should be more cooperative. The change is going to have to come from the Listing Services that are in place, and paid for by agents.

    For me it costs $180 twice a year. That could be opened up to any one who pays a fee. The thing is, that right now the Brokerages control the data. The agents pay, but the Brokers are in charge.

    Some one needs to explain that to me, because it doesn’t seem right. We have John L Scott, Windermere, Coldwell Banker, and ReMax brokers dictating terms, and conditions. That’s just not right.

    On top of that, these brokers are on a membership drive, the same as the National Association of Realtors, to get any yahoo off the street they think will give them money.

    The consumer in the mean time gets nothing, but the privledge of paying commission dollars. Those commissions then pay the Brokerages, and the National Association of Realtors.

    The solution that was proposed by the likes of redfin, and Zillow was a national data base. In my opinion, the idea was that the consumer could subscribe to the data base, the same as agents do.

    What happened is we had Glenn Kelman come in and insult everybody. Zillow got messed up with mortgage companies, and the whole idea crashed with the Real Estate bubble.

    The reason for having security of the data is for the seller. The listing paper work provides for the payment of a commission. The seller has a right to protect his, or her data. The government did away with that right to privacy by publishing assesor records, so that is no longer a Real Estate Brokerage issue.

    I think in time wounds will heal, and we will have more access to national listing services. That would help to put things into perspective.

    After that, yes, the WaLaw business model is interesting, but it would have to be much more profitable.

  40. 40
    Jonness says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 17:

    By Ray Pepper @ 15:

    Request to speak to the owner directly (at some pre arranged time) or just take your cookie and run!

    It would be better to just get a copy of the Form 17 or request additional information in writing. Face to face contact could likely lead to costly litigation, which is only a good thing for attorneys.

    I disagree. As a potential buyer, I simply walk up, meet the owners, and start asking questions about the house. I typically find out at least 1000x more by talking to the owners than the guy in the suit handing out the cookies.

    I find it very useful to talk to the neighbors as well. :)

  41. 41
    Glenn Kelman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 9
    Hello David,
    I’m Glenn Kelman, Redfin’s CEO. I have made plenty of mistakes as Redfin’s CEO. I try to apologize for those mistakes, especially the most egregious. As someone who himself runs a brokerage, I have developed a deep respect for other brokers and for real estate agents at other brokers, even when I have disagreed with industry practices around data licensing, dual agency and other issues.

    But there is one point of fact worth clarifying: Redfin did not, as you seemed to suggest, take Zillow’s idea for a graphical, map-driven real estate site. So far as I know, both Zillow and Redfin agree that Redfin invented map-based real estate search before Zillow existed.

    This is perhaps a more disputable point but I also hope there is a way to discuss how we can give consumers more information and more service options without denigrating any real estate agents or brokers as being lazy or unprofessional. It isn’t a crime to give consumers the information they need to identify a home they want to buy, even if they are already working with an agent, working at Redfin or elsewhere, who has also personally recommended the listing.

  42. 42

    By Ray Pepper @ 30:

    Form 17 is a given Kary but many times its not worth the paper its written on “do not know” being filled out multiple times. You know that. …But, when our Buyers desire to speak with the owners we initiate the BEST we can through the listing Agent.

    There is “potential for litigation” in each and every transaction and in 16 years I have avoided it in each every transaction.

    I should have been clearer as to what I was thinking. I said “costly litigation.” If you have oral contact there can be disputes over what was asked and what was answered. That makes a trial much more likely. If you have written questions and answers, then litigation is more likely to be resolved on summary judgment, or perhaps not filed in the first place.

    One of the biggest benefits of using an agent is there should be no face to face contact between a buyer and seller. That lessens the chance of costly litigation.

  43. 43

    By Ray Pepper @ 31:

    David, an Attorney does NOT guarantee competency or a litigation free transaction. Our Agents/Investors know the contracts that we utilize through the NWMLS above and beyond what ANY Attorney could ever achieve in years of Practice.

    David is referring to what I said out of context (at least in regard to this thread), but you’re fooling yourself if you think you, your agents or your clients understand the NWMLS forms better than an attorney (unless of course they happen to be attorneys).

  44. 44

    By David Losh @ 34:

    <Just because you haven't been sued doesn't make what you are doing good.

    Good point. I’ve come across agents who have been working for years who do not know what a legal description looks like, and one who was repeatedly checking “election of remedies.”

    The thing about real estate transactions is that outside of short sales, 99% of the time both sides want the transaction to close. It’s that 1% that will trip you up if you made a mistake. On the other 99% it probably won’t matter.

    Also, the NWMLS forms are designed to avoid lawsuits. So saying you haven’t been sued is like saying you didn’t get cold when you went outside wearing a down coat.

  45. 45

    By ChrisM @ 37:

    That said, how do real estate agents look at how consumers should choose an agent? Are we supposed to flip through those stupid mini-catalogs at the grocery store and choose either the “million-dollar producer” agent or the hottest agent?

    There is no good answer for that. For attorneys I used to say that to find a good lawyer you should go to law school and then practice in the area for 3 years.

    On my listings I’ve had numerous instances where an offer went nowhere because of a low quality buyer’s agent. One that really sticks out we had two offers for exactly the same amount, and I saw one of the two buyers at the house. They were really in love with the place, and had no idea why we countered the other offer.

  46. 46

    By Jonness @ 40:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 17:

    By Ray Pepper @ 15:

    Request to speak to the owner directly (at some pre arranged time) or just take your cookie and run!

    It would be better to just get a copy of the Form 17 or request additional information in writing. Face to face contact could likely lead to costly litigation, which is only a good thing for attorneys.

    I disagree. As a potential buyer, I simply walk up, meet the owners, and start asking questions about the house. I typically find out at least 1000x more by talking to the owners than the guy in the suit handing out the cookies.

    I find it very useful to talk to the neighbors as well. :)

    I already answered about the proof differences between oral and written communications with the owner.

    I would fully agree though with talking to the neighbors. That can be extremely useful.

    The difference is, you’re not likely to have a potential cause of action against anyone based on what the neighbor said or didn’t say.

  47. 47
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jonness @ 40

    You’ve hit one of the biggest problems. The buyer, and seller having random conversations is a problem in many cases. You think you are being smart, and the seller may have a different reaction to you.

    You are also hitting on why Real Estate egents wear a “uniform.” I happen to like slip on tassle Cole Haans, but it is a part of a perception. People respond to the suit. They don’t actually see me, or my client, they respond to the suit.

    Talking with the neighbors is something I consistently do. I have cancelled listings after talking to neighbors. It’s a two fold thing. Number one I am looking for my next listing. I may pocket a listing while working one that is on the market. The second thing is I find out about the neighborhood, and my own listing.

    One of the ones that I cancelled had water in the basement the seller didn’t tell me about. He didn’t disclose it on the Form 17. Once I found out I had no choice, but to cancel. I’m usually pretty sharp about things like this, but every once in a while some thing can get past me.

    You do however have the right to appoach, and do your own transaction. You have the right to approach a seller and present your own offer. An agent can’t help you once you’ve made that kind of contact. It sounds like Ray would tell you he can still write it up, but he can’t without sever liability.

    You can do, any one can do, a Principle’s Only transaction. You drop the commission, and write the offer with an attorney who knows how. If the listing agent wants to pusue the commission they certainly can, but they would also be smart to step out of the way, and recommend an attorney.

    I know that sounds bad, but it really isn’t. We will see many more of these as time goes on.

  48. 48
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 42

    What I meant to say is that for a Principles Only transaction, where the two parties have conversations, there will be language specific to the buyer, seller, or both. It should also mentioned that the two had verbal communication, at least.

  49. 49
    Jonness says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 45:

    I already answered about the proof differences between oral and written communications with the owner.

    I would fully agree though with talking to the neighbors. That can be extremely useful.

    The difference is, you’re not likely to have a potential cause of action against anyone based on what the neighbor said or didn’t say.

    As you previously mentioned, the listing agent is there to sell me a house and is not acting in my best interest. Thus, I don’t expect to get anything useful out of this person.

    As for using the buying agent to gather info, I use this technique, but it’s less than desirable in all occassions, because the 3rd party nature shields information that can be gotten out of directly talking to the seller.

    The chance of litigation occurring if the buyer contacts a truthful seller is about 0%. The main reason the listing agents don’t want buyers talking to sellers is because the sellers can’t help but reveal information that could cause the sell to not take place (IOW, information the listing agent is purposefully hiding from buyers).

    In fact, talking to agents at open houses is dangerous, because the law allows them to charge buyers an additional 3% of the house price on top of the 3% the buyers pay to their agents (in some circumstances). So the chance of being harmed is WAY greater from attending an open house and talking to the guy in the suit handing out the cookies than the chance of being harmed by directly contacting the seller.

    If contacting the seller is problem for the buying agent, then put on a suit, have the wife wear a formal dress, go talk to the seller, and don’t tell your agent.

    RE is a con game with a huge amount of money involved, and the odds are stacked against you when you play. Thus, if you’re going to win the game, you need to play better than 99.9% of the other sheep who’ve been dealt a better hand than you or are simply too stupid to understand the value of the money involved and are acting on pure id impulses and spur of the moment emotions. Despite what the majority of RE agents want you to believe, this is a major business transaction, not a trip to Disneyland. Thus, it’s best to keep it in this context and act accordingly. And no matter how honest and professional your particular agent might be, it’s still best to do as much of your own research as possible.

  50. 50
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Jonness @ 49

    Thats it Jonness…I’m hiring you!!!…………..so I can retire….Love the spirit………..and the post!

    Jonness the people here are the same retail buyers/sellers and their Agents . They simply do not know how the game is played and I try to keep that in mind on each and every post.

    For the most part they are the same ones who continue to make payments on their grossly under water mortgages while crying that “its so unfair.”

  51. 51
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Jonness @ 49

    Starting at “square one” for a minute.

    1) The sellers hire an agent to represent them, and as a buffer between them and the buyer or potential buyers of their home, for whatever reason they may have to do that. Mostly so that on closing day they are done…and not having a lot of after sale issues and communications. They want to move on the day of closing and not look back, for the most part. Peace of mind that all issues were resolved via the agent the sellers hired to “make it so”.

    2) The seller additionally “offers” an amount at time of listing his home, so that the buyer can hire separate and equal representation. The seller sets a max at which the buyer can spend on that representation, without additional contribution from the buyer direct.

    3) For the seller’s current and future protection, the seller requests (by listing through an mls system) that the buyer get their information from legally required disclosure documents and from whomever the buyer hires with that money, set aside by the seller to that purpose. In that regard, the seller can insist that you use the money to the purpose it was set aside, for the seller’s protection.

    That system is in play, if and when you see a home listed for sale via an mls system. Can you change it? Maybe. But you need the seller’s express consent…via his hired agent…to do so. I do believe you have the right to represent yourself. But you do not have the right to represent yourself by removing the seller’s choice of professional representation.

    I once heard a buyer, who happened to be a licensed agent, freaking out about wanting to talk to the seller direct. She said “I KNOW I can get a better deal if I have direct access to the seller!”. My response…”You are absolutely correct in that regard. That is exactly why the seller hired someone to represent them. So that you can’t do that.”

  52. 52
    David Losh says:

    RE: Glenn Kelman @ 41

    Thank you Glenn for that kind response. I actually credit Lennox Scott for the map based search. I think, though I’m not sure, and I don’t care, that Lennox contracted with Microsoft.

    Lennox Scott gets beaten up here on the Seattle Bubble a lot, and I think he has made positive contributions.

    You did come in like a bull in a china shop. I agree you are learning the business, but also object to some one, any one, without experience opening, and operating a Brokerage.

    I advocate mentoring. I think an agent should learn a trade, be nurtured, and supervised before they are turned loose on the public.

    Brokerages need to be held accountable for the actions of the agent. That is the part that is broken. The information is free, the agency is what you pay for.

    You have set up a business model that is far from viable, on many levels. Consumers are paying the price for that. You have a wait, and watch kind of system that is passive. In today’s market place consumers are going to need aggressive working agent relationships to get value from a property purchase, or sale.

    You may not understand what I’m saying, but there are many good, decent, hard working agents in our market place. From what you are saying you may be realizing that.

  53. 53
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jonness @ 49

    That’s a humorous post, and you are a canidate for a Principles Only Real Estate transaction. That’s fine, you have every right, but let me clarify a couple of points:

    “Despite what the majority of RE agents want you to believe, this is a major business transaction, not a trip to Disneyland.”

    That’s exactly right. The Brokerage system is set up to so the buyer, and seller come to a mutual agreement. If you think you can “win” or get a better deal representing yourself, that is always an option.

    In reality we all do better by having a workable Brokerage system.

  54. 54
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Glenn Kelman @ 41

    GLENN IS IN THE HOUSE!!

    Would you please buy my 20% of 500 Realty,let me take the cash, and divest it into something different….Anything….Breeding British Ferrets would be far more interesting…

  55. 55

    By Jonness @ 49:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 45:

    I already answered about the proof differences between oral and written communications with the owner.

    I would fully agree though with talking to the neighbors. That can be extremely useful.

    The difference is, you’re not likely to have a potential cause of action against anyone based on what the neighbor said or didn’t say.

    As you previously mentioned, the listing agent is there to sell me a house and is not acting in my best interest. Thus, I don’t expect to get anything useful out of this person.

    The chance of litigation occurring if the buyer contacts a truthful seller is about 0%.

    I don’t know why you would expect the agent, who does not represent you, to do anything for you. They are, however, required to treat you fairly and honestly per RCWs and WACs.

    As to the second sentence quoted, that’s extremely naive. This is the United States, my friend, and nothing is ever anyone’s fault. The buyer will honestly believe that they asked X and that the seller answered Y, even though neither is correct.

  56. 56

    By Jonness @ 49:

    Despite what the majority of RE agents want you to believe, this is a major business transaction, not a trip to Disneyland.

    LOL. Most the people here claim that it’s an easy transaction that you can easily do yourself without an experienced real estate agent.

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