Turning Listing Deception Up To Eleven

A sharp-eyed reader sent in the listing at 13909 129th Place NE in Kirkland. Here’s the Google street view:

Google Street View of 13909 129th Place NE Kirkland, WA 98034

Note the house to the left, and the relatively small front yard. Now take a look at the primary listing photo for this house, being sold by Jon Cacabelos of Real Home Network:

Phony Listing Photo of 13909 129th Place NE Kirkland, WA 98034

What. The. Hell.

How is this even legal? Not only did they make an insultingly poor attempt to erase the house next door, but they’ve somehow made the front yard appear two or three times bigger than it really is.

And it’s not just the primary photo. The deception continues in the back:

Phony Listing Photo of 13909 129th Place NE Kirkland, WA 98034

The fact that NWMLS heavily fines agents who blog or tweet about another agent’s listing (even with positive comments), but they allow garbage like this is a great example of why I still have a hard time respecting them as an organization, and why I’d never want to join as a member myself.


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.

101 comments:

  1. 1

    As you mention, I can’t really say anything about this particular listing. But as to the NWMLS, I think you’re sort of mixing up issues. I can fully understand why an agent shouldn’t be able to publicly comment about another agent’s listing.

    The issue you’re complaining about here though would really start a slippery slope. Would there be a fine for having a fake fireplace or the Czech sky? What about just photo-shopping in a working light bulb if one was burned out or someone didn’t think to turn it on? Or what if you notice shoes were left at the door and you just want to remove them from the picture? At some point it probably is over the line, but I doubt the NWMLS wants to be the judge of that.

  2. 2
    m-s says:

    Happy 25th Anniversary, Photoshop.

  3. 3
    David B. says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ – True, it’s often hard to tell exactly where to draw a line, but that photo is way, way, beyond the line. I am not an attorney, but it sure seems to me that someone is exposing themselves to prosecution under RCW 9.04.010 and/or RCW 9.04.050 with that listing.

  4. 4
    Rudolfo says:

    Wide angle lenses distort space like that. The effect is often seen in interiors.

    It is also seen in nature landscapes: unusually big flowers in the foreground with Mt. Rainier in the back.

  5. 5
    Mike says:

    The house would still a dump even if had a big front yard or no house next door. That information is correctly conveyed in the listing photos. At last the kitchen is nice.

  6. 6
    Joe M says:

    This seems deceptive to me because it looks like they used a developer’s picture from when the house was built 27 years ago (at least so I read the record to guess when it was constructed). The trees have grown quite a bit since those days.

    Was there even a house on the left back then? Easy to imagine there wasn’t. And no sidewalks which would make the big lawn a little less of a lie. The wide angle lens I can buy, but radically photoshopping this property seems a stretch.

  7. 7

    It Reminds Me of the Personal Pictures on Match.com

    Before they gained 100 lbs and put on 15 years of haggard aging….you meet them and they look nothing like their pictures.

  8. 8

    Tim, just like American Express, membership has its advantages. Like being able to do your job as a real estate broker. I doubt if every broker approves of every rule enacted by the NWMLS. But every rule serves a purpose, and generally speaking the NWMLS does a pretty good job. I’m proud to be a member!

  9. 9

    By Joe M @ :

    This seems deceptive to me because it looks like they used a developer’s picture from when the house was built 27 years ago (at least so I read the record to guess when it was constructed).

    There are many ways to tell the age of a photo. The existence of Vinyl windows and satellite dishes or even the number of roof vents can give you a pretty good idea.

  10. 10
    Erik says:

    Tim is a consumer watch dog for the real estate industry.

  11. 11
    redmondjp says:

    By Rudolfo @ :

    Wide angle lenses distort space like that. The effect is often seen in interiors.

    It is also seen in nature landscapes: unusually big flowers in the foreground with Mt. Rainier in the back.

    You are correct, but they don’t make the house next door completely disappear!

  12. 12
    Blurtman says:

    Coffee’s for closers only.

  13. 13

    I think I may have mentioned this before, but Google Street View now has historical images for many areas. It allows you to see how the neighborhood has changed over time. Very useful.

  14. 14

    Here’s something sort of related–not sure, but there seems to be both an old and a new dishwasher. So the kitchen is not entirely 1956 as claimed.

    http://fb-131.sfglobe.com/2015/02/21/jp3/?src=fbfan_35581

  15. 15
    David B. says:

    @Kary – An intresting time capsule, to be sure, but an electric stove? No thanks. Now, if it had a nice, classic Wedgewood gas range….

  16. 16
    Erik says:

    RE: David B. @
    Quit rubbing it in. You rich folk and your fancy gas machinery.

  17. 17

    RE: Erik @ 10 – You are 100% correct. But his attack on the NWMLS is I believe unfair and inaccurate. The organization does a pretty good job at keeping the data clean, which is a concern of everyone here on the internet. Indeed, it seems to me that Redfin is often contrasted favorably with other “new real estate models” like Zillow based on the accuracy of its listing data. That data is due entirely to the NWMLS. So while I can appreciate that the NWMLS can be criticized on some points, I think Tim goes a little too far.

    But overall, yes, the guy’s an alpha-junk-yard consumer watch dog.

  18. 18

    RE: Craig Blackmon @ – While I’m sometimes critical of the NWMLS, overall they do a very good job. My complaints are relatively minor, if not nit-picky. And in some instances where they don’t do what I think they should be doing, I can at least understand why they are not doing what I think they should.

    As to Tim, I think not being in the industry he might not understand everything as well I he might if he were in the industry. He did seem to grasp the problems with Zillow’s Coming Soon, and understand that wouldn’t benefit a seller. I would argue that the no commenting on active listings also benefits the seller, but he apparently hasn’t thought about it from that angle. And that might be because of his prior connection to Redfin, and having accepted their positions on that issue. Commenting on listings only benefits the agents making the comments, and that is why there is a rule.

  19. 19
    redmondjp says:

    This is copied directly from the NWMLS home page:

    “Real estate listings provided by our members display the NWMLS three tree logo, confirming that the listing information was directly entered by our membership and meets our high standards of accuracy. To find the newest and most accurate residential real estate listing information available, look for the three trees.”

    I went back and looked at the listing again trying to find the three trees, but two of them had been photoshopped out!

    Apparently those standards of accuracy aren’t as high as they appear (but then again, that could be a result of using a wide-angle lens).

    Buyer be aware.

  20. 20
    Jonness says:

    All this work to make the place look better, and nobody bothered to mow the lawn before taking the picture.

  21. 21
    Erik says:

    We are about to experience a big spring bounce. The Californians are going to continue to migrate to Seattle as their state gets too hot to live in. They destroyed their state and they are going to slowly destroy ours. Just like the irreversible melting polar ice caps, the influx of fruits and nuts from California has begun. They better bring a bags of cash so they can afford my place. If I can get enough cash, I will retire and escape to Idaho or Montana.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-home-price-gains-strengthening/#comments

  22. 22
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ – Don’t forget flakes.

  23. 23
    Erik says:

    RE: Blurtman @
    This doesn’t include you Blurtman even though you moved here from California. You have been grandfathered in.

  24. 24
    David B. says:

    “The Californians are going to continue to migrate to Seattle as their state gets too hot to live in. They destroyed their state and they are going to slowly destroy ours. Just like the irreversible melting polar ice caps, the influx of fruits and nuts from California has begun.”

    Emmett Watson, is that you?

  25. 25
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ – I cleansed my New Jersey roots in numerous religious ceremonies at many Dead shows. And so yes, I became a Californian, but I do not believe I could find a nicer place to reside than in the Northwest.

  26. 26
    Erik says:

    RE: Blurtman @
    Okay, you can stay. Don’t tell your friends about us though. From the dirty streets of jersey to the wealthy land of lake sammamish. Well done sir.

  27. 27
    Mike says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ :

    Commenting on listings only benefits the agents making the comments, and that is why there is a rule.

    Why would the comments not benefit the buyer, assuming the agents are required to be truthful?

  28. 28

    By Mike @ :

    By Kary L. Krismer @ :

    Commenting on listings only benefits the agents making the comments, and that is why there is a rule.

    Why would the comments not benefit the buyer, assuming the agents are required to be truthful?

    You need to assume more than truthfulness. You need to assume competency and ethics too! Get all three and you might benefit some unknown buyer (not the agent’s client).

    Sure there are some people who actually try to help other people out. I like to think I fall into that camp when I answer questions on Trulia or Zillow. But most of what I see agents post is designed primarily to help themselves.

    On this topic it might be hard to tell. Maybe a negative comment about a listing is designed to deter other buyers, so that the agent’s own client can be benefited through less competition.

    Somewhat related, on two different forums right now agents are complaining about Zillow and how it’s not helpful to buyers. What they are really saying is they don’t like how their name doesn’t appear prominently in their listings, so they don’t get many calls from buyers that they might be able to convert to clients. The even call them “leads.”

  29. 29
    Mike says:

    Let’s cut to the chase here. All this really does is limit people’s ability to speak freely about the property in a way that might be outside of a closely controlled one on one conversation involving one of two salespeople that both have an incentive to close a deal. Arguing that allowing others into the conversation ‘might provide misinformation designed to sway the buyers choice’ is just to further limit who does have the ‘right’ to do that. It’s silly and absurd and absolutely counter to the buyers interest in most cases. That the overwhelming majority of agents support the practice and justify it based on the premise that someone else could come along and tell a bigger, better more convincing lie just further illustrates how consumer unfriendly the MLS Cartel operates.

  30. 30

    Most of this discussion is incorrect. It is NOT “the mls” that decides whether or not the agent(s) can blog or tweet. It is the seller.

    There is a data field “prohibit blogging” and the seller answers “yes” or “no”. There is only a fine if the seller said “no”. It is the same fine basically that would be imposed if the seller said no agent should enter without a confirmed appointment. The mls would fine agents for not complying with the seller’s wishes as noted in the listing information.

    Most sellers do say no to blogging because there are almost none that would allow comment #5 here, as example, where someone chooses to call their home a “dump”. That type of “advertising” is rarely covered in most listing contracts or OK with most sellers. It is also very hurtful to the owners of the home for people to randomly call their homes dumps. You would never say that to the owner’s face if they were home when you saw the property, so why would you say that in a place where the owner can see that? Very hurtful.

  31. 31
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @
    The comment limit has finally been lifted…. Just sayin….

    This is your opportunity to show if Kary Krismer knows what he’s taliking about or not.

  32. 32
    Erik says:

    RE: Mike @
    Whoa Mike! Mls cartel? This has escalated above what the tim intended.

    I have heard stories of the mls cartel breaking people’s legs for saying less than that. You better hope Ira, one of the cartel leaders, doesn’t see your comments.

  33. 33
    Erik says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @
    Calling someone’s dumpy house dumpy is like calling a fat person fat. They know they are fat, so it is rude to say.

  34. 34

    By Blurtman @ :

    RE: Erik @ – I cleansed my New Jersey roots in numerous religious ceremonies at many Dead shows. And so yes, I became a Californian, but I do not believe I could find a nicer place to reside than in the Northwest.

    I’m always happy when I run into fellow Garden Staters. We done nothin but improve tings around here.
    By the same token, there’s a reason that I don’t live in New Jersey. And it’s not because I’m hiding out from the mob.

  35. 35

    By Erik @ :

    RE: Mike @
    Whoa Mike! Mls cartel? This has escalated above what the tim intended.

    I have heard stories of the mls cartel breaking people’s legs for saying less than that. You better hope Ira, one of the cartel leaders, doesn’t see your comments.

    No, I don’t see the comments.

  36. 36
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ – Yes, Ira, it builds character and is a good place to be from. Still has the best pizza in the USA. I bailed on NJ and headed to San Diego. Folks were so laid back and non-aggressive in San Diego that I figured they were up to something, and didn’t trust them. Where I grew up near the refineries, the local rivers would occasionally turn red or green from industrial discharges. One summer our above ground pool had a large layer of sediment in it from a local factory. This was all quite normal back then which is how NJ builds character, I guess.

  37. 37
    Erik says:

    RE: Mike @
    You have more to worry about than a few tree limbs blocking your view. You now have to worry about MLS Cartel leader Ira the snake Sacharoff breaking your legs. Seriously though, he’s from Jersey… you should be worried. Dennis Rodman is from Jersey. These people are a different breed than us pacific northwest nerds.

    I had a design lead that was from Jersey. As a deadline was approaching he would remind us that he was from Jersey and he would break bones if the design was not out on time. He was a 63 year old nerd, so it was funny, but it wouldn’t be funny if there wasn’t a hint of truth there.

    No wonder Ira likes living in Renton. Renton is to Jersey as Beverly Hills is to Seattle. If I moved to Jersey, I don’t think I would survive.

  38. 38

    RE: Blurtman @
    A cousin of mine through marriage had a pizzeria in Queens. I asked him once why the pizza was so much better in NY and NJ, that I’d heard it had something to do with the water. He said that yes, it is the water, that gets it’s flavor from the dead bodies floating in the East River.

  39. 39

    RE: Erik @
    Other than the weather, you’d probably do very well in New Jersey. There are some beautiful spots, there’s an Ivy League school, and some of the most expensive real estate in the country. In addition to some of the ugliest slums and most ignorant people.

  40. 40
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @
    I watched 2 seasons of “The Jersey Shore.” Please take time to view the informational video of New Jersey below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA-Ri7IIaSw

    And this is filmed in the nice area by the water. I feel like I have enough education from this reality tv show to make an informed decision. I am use to mouthing off and nobody doing anything. In Jersey, I have a feeling my outcome would be much different.

    If you enjoy this kind of lifestyle, I am not even going to argue with you. Please understand I like to learn and do nerd things, so this lifestyle doesn’t seem attractive to me.

  41. 41

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 30 – It’s nothing more than rank MLS bashing, Ardell. It doesn’t reflect reality, merely people’s perceptions. And it’s ironic, because there are a lot of reasons to criticize our MLS, this (and Tim’s related criticism) just isn’t one of them.

  42. 42
    Mike says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – Awww… don’t want to hurt the houses feelings, eh?

    FWIW, when we were putting together our offer on the house we bought, we stayed at the open house for a couple of hours just to listen to the comments people made – not all were positive – as a way to feel out the offer situation. Now that we have lived here for a while, quite a few of them were spot on and we’ve prioritized fixing these items as parts of the house are remodeled. The biggest negatives were on the layout of the bathrooms, which indeed sucked and it wasn’t at all obvious at the time how to fix them without spending an inordinate amount of money to do so. However I’m confident that we now have a cost effective solution. If it hadn’t been for those objective criticisms, we might have assigned a lower priority since most of our guests wouldn’t be as blunt.

    Agents seem to think any mention of a problem is a potential deal killing negative. As an engineer, I see it as an opportunity to develop a solution.

  43. 43
    The Tim says:

    RE: Mike @ – That gives me an idea for an awesome service that listing agents could provide (or pay someone for):

    Prior to listing the home, have a team of 5-10 experienced home buyers go through the house (individually or in small groups) and provide feedback (positive and negative) to the homeowner / listing agent. The feedback could be on any subject related to listing the home, e.g.

    “The carpet is really worn.”
    “The paint color in the kitchen is really off-putting.”
    “I loved the custom bathroom.”
    “I’d pay X for this house.”

    Something like this would give the homeowner and listing agent a good basis for things they might want to fix before listing the home or strong points that they should emphasize in the listing photos, etc.

    Someone please steal this idea, or message me if you want to sign up for the “Seattle Bubble Home Critics” team so we can start soliciting our services to agents and future home sellers.

  44. 44
    redmondjp says:

    Now now, Tim – stop that MLS bashing immediately ;<)

    But seriously, I think it's a great idea. I remember being a first-time homeowner 18 years ago – I knew a few things about what I wanted, but knowing what I do now, I would have run far away from my current house for a number of reasons that I won't get into here. When I look at houses today (I would like a fourth bedroom and a larger garage or separate shop), I can easily spot potential issues/problems, some of which are easy to rectify and some which are not.

    I doubt this will ever happen though. Salespeople want tight control over the image presented, and appear to be overly sensitive (I gather from reading other posts above) to the tiniest bits of criticism, no matter how valid.

    And lest you think that I have a negative bias toward RE agents, I'll leave you with this:

    A home in my cul-de-sac is now for sale, having just come on the market today. The house is in excellent condition; the listing agent did a fabulous job preparing it for sale and properly staging it (insisting that the hideous purple front door be repainted white, for example), and the pictures ACCURATELY reflect the property, inside and out. And it's listed on a Thursday with an upcoming 2-day open house on a beautiful sunny weekend. Perfect! I can certainly recognize and appreciate when an agent does their job well – it comes through clearly in the listing. I expect this home to sell very quickly (and I think it is priced right as well but we'll know that soon enough).

    What would be refreshing is if the MLS would do a little bit more to bob out the rotten apples (or at least teach them Photoshop Ethics 101), but I suppose that's about as likely as a teacher's union actually doing something about bad teachers . . .

  45. 45
    Mike says:

    By redmondjp @ :

    What would be refreshing is if the MLS would do a little bit more to bob out the rotten apples (or at least teach them Photoshop Ethics 101), but I suppose that's about as likely as a teacher's union actually doing something about bad teachers . . .

    This aspect is what gives the Real Estate community a bit of a ‘den of thieves’ feel to it – nobody rats anyone else out because they’re not any more innocent than the next guy. I realize that’s an exaggeration but it’s the impression you get when so many casual observations reveal ethical lapses. Kary has admitted as much in many posts. I look at some of the obvious scams that were going on during the bubble days and mental gymnastics even the agents were going through as to why it wasn’t a ‘real problem’.

  46. 46

    RE: Erik @
    If you watched two seasons of Jersey Shore, it says more about you than it does the people of New Jersey.

  47. 47

    By Mike @ :

    By redmondjp @ :

    What would be refreshing is if the MLS would do a little bit more to bob out the rotten apples (or at least teach them Photoshop Ethics 101), but I suppose that's about as likely as a teacher's union actually doing something about bad teachers . . .

    This aspect is what gives the Real Estate community a bit of a ‘den of thieves’ feel to it – nobody rats anyone else out because they’re not any more innocent than the next guy. I realize that’s an exaggeration but it’s the impression you get when so many casual observations reveal ethical lapses. Kary has admitted as much in many posts. I look at some of the obvious scams that were going on during the bubble days and mental gymnastics even the agents were going through as to why it wasn’t a ‘real problem’.

    Mike, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. What I have said is that regulators don’t do a great job of policing. That you can bring a perfectly good infraction to their attention, but if it’s not the type of infraction they’re currently interested in, they won’t likely touch it. And that makes it less likely anyone will complain about something. But that’s hardly an issue just with real estate. I think it applies to regulators in general, or at least the ones I’ve had experience with.

    As to what RedmondJP said, there is no weeding out, other than for eventually going broke or licensing issues. When an agent interviews to become part of a firm, it usually isn’t the firm trying to decide if they want the agent, it’s the agent deciding that they want the firm. Stated differently, there are no unemployed agents! Sometimes a firm will discover what an agent is about and send their license back to the state, but I think that’s rather rare, and when that happens some other firm will likely pick them up. The better firms (or more aggressive firms) will spot and recruit the better agents (or the higher volume agents). But it’s really very unlikely that an agent will not find some firm to latch onto. I will say I don’t deal with that side of the business, so maybe there’s more going on there that I’m not aware of. But from what I can tell, you’d have to be a really horrible agent, probably to the point of being involved in litigation, before some firm wouldn’t agree to pick you up IF you had your license. And again, this isn’t unique to real estate. Here real estate is probably better because you need a license and a firm to pick you up. If you’re an attorney, for example, you only need a license.

  48. 48
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ – I am getting nostalgic.

    Exxon Mobil Settles With New Jersey Over Environmental Damage

    A long-fought legal battle to recover $8.9 billion in damages from Exxon Mobil Corporation for the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in New Jersey has been quietly settled by the state for around $250 million.

    The lawsuits, filed in 2004, had been litigated by the administrations of four New Jersey governors, finally advancing last year to trial. By then, Exxon’s liability was no longer in dispute; the only issue was how much it would pay in damages.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/28/nyregion/exxon-mobil-settles-with-new-jersey-over-environmental-damage.html

  49. 49
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @
    Ouch. I was merely watching the show for educational purposes. I wanted to figure out how people from New Jersey conduct themselves in their natural habitat.

  50. 50
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ – I believe that was covered in one of the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom shows.

  51. 51
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Erik @
    http://www.theonion.com/video/in-the-know-are-reality-shows-setting-unrealistic,14308/

    panelists debate whether TV programs like A Double Shot At Love and The Bad Girls Club depict unattainable levels of skankiness.

  52. 52
    Erik says:

    RE: whatsmyname @
    Seen bad girls club, but haven’t seen the other one yet. I’ll have to check it out.

    I’m not seeing how this relates to jersey shore? Those shows are trash tv. Jersey shore is an accurate depiction of life in the nice areas of New Jersey. I’m surprised it was not aired on the national geographic channel since other cultures are explored on that channel.

  53. 53
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ – Offering the rebuttal for the State of New Jersey.

    Rebuttal: Hey, @*ck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”

    (This reply is also suitable for use by Southies and other ethnic groups. Void where prohibited.)

  54. 54
    Erik says:

    RE: whatsmyname @
    Hahaha! Skanks across america are being sent the wrong message.

  55. 55

    By Erik @ :

    RE: whatsmyname @
    Seen bad girls club, but haven’t seen the other one yet. I’ll have to check it out.

    I’m not seeing how this relates to jersey shore? Those shows are trash tv. Jersey shore is an accurate depiction of life in the nice areas of New Jersey. I’m surprised it was not aired on the national geographic channel since other cultures are explored on that channel.

    So…how much time have you spent in New Jersey, Erik?
    You must have spent a lot of time there, to declare that Jersey shore is an accurate depiction of life in the nice areas of New Jersey.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @
    Technically I have never been there. I’m not very worldly if you haven’t noticed. I’m kind of a hillbilly from the northwest with an awesome degree.

  58. 58
    chrisM says:

    It is interesting to see the utter lack of outrage on the realtor’s part for this example of fraud.

    As a consumer, I just see further sleaze.

    A couple of years ago I tried to contact the NWMLS on a gross mispresenatation. They blew me off big-time. I suppose the upside was I learned NWMLS was a completely sleazy organization with no ethics whatsoever.

    This only ties into my large beef about how difficult it is for an ordinary buyer to determine how good an agent is. Looks like many agents don’t care about falsified listing photos.

    Thanks, Tim. You provide an extremely valueable service.

  59. 59
    chrisM says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – First off, kudos, for sort of responding to why this isn’t a completely unethical position. If i understand you correctly, you assign the sleaziness to the seller instead of the agent, am I correct?

    My followup question is why is this allowed at all? Other, more reputable, professions, such as doctor and engineer, don’t get such an “out.” Instead, they have to adhere to standards, regardless of the customer’s wishes. Why doesn’t the Realtor ™ profession have such a standard?

  60. 60
    chrisM says:

    RE: Craig Blackmon @ – I’m going to blow my number of comments allowed on this thread prematurely, but I have to say I’m extremely disappointed on your respoonse to Tim’s post.

    All this time I thought you presented yourself as an altruistic alternative to the evil Realtor ™, but here you are defending the NLMLS’s actions. I fully thought you would come out swinging against the evil misrepresenation, but here you are seemingly defending it.

    Have I grossly misunderstood you? You state:
    “generally speaking the NWMLS does a pretty good job. I’m proud to be a member”

    Wow. I have tried to show NWMLS gross mispresenations in their listings, and they have totally blew me off.

    Do you stand behind this representation of a listing? It sounds like you do!

    I’m extremely disappointed.

    I remember when you first came out, and I thought it was a great model. What happened?

  61. 61

    By chrisM @ :

    It is interesting to see the utter lack of outrage on the realtor’s part for this example of fraud.

    As a consumer, I just see further sleaze.

    This is an interesting situation for me, because to me this is the type of sleaze that doesn’t work. Buyers will show up and be disappointed, and you can’t manage or undo disappointment.

    But a lot of the agent sleaze consumers eat up! Scripts where agents sell themselves come to mind. Look at the Hellricksons (sp?)) the agents who had their licenses suspended for 10 years. They managed to get a ton of listings signed by being sleazy.

    So my point is, whose fault is it? The agent who is sleazy or the consumer who not only accepts the sleaze, but allows the sleazy agent to benefit financially? I’m only half serious with that question–I do believe in consumer protection and agents being held accountable. But at least some of the blame has to go to the idiots who fall for the sleaze.

  62. 62

    By chrisM @ :

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – First off, kudos, for sort of responding to why this isn’t a completely unethical position. If i understand you correctly, you assign the sleaziness to the seller instead of the agent, am I correct?

    I think all she was focusing only on the blogging rule and saying that per the NWMLS rules it’s the seller who controls whether other agents can blog about a listing. That’s technically true, but I don’t know that any seller ever changes the default answer to yes.

  63. 63
    Racket says:

    I think we should create a law that requires a banana to be used for “scale” on all real estate listing photos.

  64. 64

    RE: chrisM @

    Sometimes you have to choose your battles and there are bigger fish to fry. The one that always gets me is that the Seller Disclosure Form asks the seller “Do you know the age of your house?” and then has a blank space for the seller to tell the buyer the age of the house. AS IF everyone in the world doesn’t know how to find the age of the house on the County Records. BUT that’s not the problem. The problem is how about asking if they know the age of the ROOF? No…no mention. Why not ask the seller something only the seller would know? Drives me crazy .

  65. 65
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – Thanks Kary & Ardell for responding. This website has been a very educational website for me in the seven (!!!) years I’ve been reading it, in no small part to the agent involvement. I started as a generic consumer and to this day contemplate becoming a licensed agent, due to what I’ve read here.

    That said, I strongly feel there is something “unsaid” in this thread by the agents.

    I’m sort of shocked by the responses (or lack thereof, like the dog that didn’t bark).

    Tim, I hope you follow up on this. I have a Quixotic hope that evil-doers will pay. I see Blurtman on NC, and now completely share his viewpoint. Had you asked me in 2006 or earlier, I would have said he was insane, but now I appear to agree with him.

    I’m sad we’re at this state, but looking at human history I guess I should not be.

  66. 66
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ – You state: “So my point is, whose fault is it? The agent who is sleazy or the consumer who not only accepts the sleaze, but allows the sleazy agent to benefit financially? I’m only half serious with that question–I do believe in consumer protection and agents being held accountable. But at least some of the blame has to go to the idiots who fall for the sleaze.”

    Yeah, I understand your point. I’m somewhat in the computer security business, and for the past twenty plus years we’ve been bitching (b*i*t*c*h*i*n*g) about how users click on stuff they shouldn’t, visit websites they shouldn’t, etc.

    But the problem really rests on the morons who wrote the operating system (etc.) that allowed users to corrupt the system in the first place. (Of course, this is a complicated topic dealing with legacy support, etc.)

    This is an ongoing debate, but IMO it parallels what we’re seeing with this listing. Computer users aren’t experts in the computer security field, nor will they ever be. Ditto, w/ people buying a house.

    (Unfortunately???) the computer/website world is the unregulated Wild West, but people like William Gibson imagined a future where that wouldn’t be the case (you can’t browse the web unless you have a license (and, presumably your computer’s operating system has been vetted by the govt., with all the relevant privacy ramifications)). His future was supposed to be a dystopia, but I can well imagine it happening in the next ten (actually, five) years.

    But I don’t forsee how Real Estate could be handled the same… In other words, anyone should be able to buy/sell a house, right?

    That’s why (for me at least) this listing is so objectionable – it seems to be a transparent fraud where the listing photo has been altered such that it incorrectly represents the reality of the surrounding area, yet no relevant authorities immediately shut it down. This then calls all listing photos into question. Yet no knowledgable people (agents) call this into question?

  67. 67

    RE: ChrisM @

    You are absolutely correct that there is a lot unsaid by the agents in this thread. What part of “The fact that NWMLS heavily fines agents who blog or tweet about another agent’s listing (even with positive comments),” did you not understand? Tim included that in the post. Do you really want to get your license so you can pay $5,000 per comment about someone else’s listing?

    We are talking around the issue somewhat, yes, like I haven’t pointed out that no one seems to have noticed that there is no house “next door”. There is a house around the corner. Have been biting my tongue on that since this post went up. Seems to me if I stood at that house at that exact spot and took that shot, I might see this view. I can see the eave of the house on the right and I can see the skylights of the back of the house that is around the corner to the left. I can clearly see a wooden fence on the right belonging to this house that is not in the Google Street view. Does that mean someone photo-shopped a wood fence into the picture? I don’t think so.

    I can talk about this other house in the link below because it is my listing and guess what…the listing photos don’t look anything like the Google Street View on my listing either. They NEVER do if the listing agent and photographer are doing their job well. Look at photos #1 and photos #2 compared to the google street view of this house that was my listing. The difference is just as pronounced. I never looked at the Google street view of this listing. I hired a photographer. I did ask her to take the 2nd shot from that angle which is basically the same angle as in this post example to highlight the fact that there is ample off street parking on the right, NOT to hide the fact that there is a house next door.

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/228-NW-41st-St-98107/home/302058

    Many, many, many times if not ALWAYS when I or a photographer I hire takes a photo of a home for sale, we are standing at an angle and cropping the photo so that only the home we are selling is in the photo. I’ve been doing this for 25 years come June…and that is just how how you take a picture of a house for sale. How that equates to hiding the fact that there is a house on either side is pretty ridiculous. But to be clear…there is NO house “next door” to the subject house. There is a house around the corner. So who is misrepresenting the facts?

  68. 68

    Further to mine above, if you want to elicit a discussion by agents on the ethical issues of real estate photography, you can do that if you don’t put a local listing in it. If you need an example you can post photos from an out of State house. But you can’t put a local listing in a post and then ask the agents to discuss the general topic of real estate photo ethics or complain that the agents aren’t saying everything they know on the topic.

    You can post a picture of a dress and I can say I hate it…but if you post a picture of my mother in that dress you are NOT going to get the same answer. That’s just life in the big city.

  69. 69

    ChrisM wrote: “That’s why (for me at least) this listing is so objectionable – it seems to be a transparent fraud where the listing photo has been altered such that it incorrectly represents the reality of the surrounding area, yet no relevant authorities immediately shut it down. This then calls all listing photos into question. Yet no knowledgable people (agents) call this into question?”

    I’m going to get hyper-technical again and point out that this sort of thing wouldn’t be fraud because the buyer wouldn’t be mislead at the point of the transaction, unless maybe they somehow bought the house sight unseen, which is extremely unlikely. So there would be no real damages. Alternatively, you could argue there is fraud with the damages element of fraud being the time wasted going to see the house, but that is hardly even a small claims court suit.

    As to something being “unsaid” I think your impression is right, but I don’t think anyone is afraid of being critical of the NWMLS, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’ve not seen it be a vindictive entity. It’s just that some things are better left unsaid.

  70. 70
    redmondjp says:

    I nominate this thread for the best blog post of the year, and it’s only March!

    How about we rename it? Dating myself here, but going back to a 1970s pop song: “50 Ways to Deceive Your Buyer”.

    Or how about: “50 Shades of Gray”.

    Oh I heard about a small error in the listing near me (from talking with open-house visitors over the weekend): NO MENTION that we are on a private street (with about $35K of asphalt replacement imminent that six homeowners jointly have to pay for) and therefore in a homeowner’s association. But as Kary said above, “. . . some things are better left unsaid.”

  71. 71
    Mike Bates says:

    Just amazing. What a disappointment for buyers and their realtors when they see the house in person. For a moment I wasn’t convinced it was the same house in the two pictures. Then I looked at the architecture and the trees in the background and realized yes, it IS.

  72. 72
    Erik says:

    RE: Craig Blackmon @
    Nerds have fun by bashing the mls because we know there will not be retaliation. This isn’t court and we don’t need proof the mls is wrong. Some of us bash the mls because we didn’t get enough love as children. Some bash the mls because they were always chosen last on the playground. Others bash the mls because they just because they are not in a good mood.

    Do you see that it doesn’t really matter what the reason is for bashing the mls other than it makes us feel better than we did. My advice to you sir is to loosen up and rip out a slam on the mls. It just may be what you needed to feel better today.

    I personally don’t give a rats about what the mls does. I join the beat down for entertainment reasons. If you said we are all going to hate on the color blue today, I would hate the color blue. That’s pack mentality.

  73. 73
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Mike Bates @ – It can’t have been too disappointing in person. It’s pending with a backup offer.

  74. 74
    ChrisM says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ – “It can’t have been too disappointing in person. It’s pending with a backup offer”

    Agreed – they’re pending. But let’s be clear – this is a deceptive listing. But having the MLS agree makes bit a safer bet. Sort of like Catholic dispensations.

    I’m somewhat astonished any agent ™ would argue MLS is in any way ethical. The sleaze oozes.

  75. 75
    ChrisM says:

    Kary – could you elaborate about the possible usages of the term “unsaid?” Thanks!

  76. 76
    Erik says:

    RE: whatsmyname @
    That’s because inventory is at an alltime low. Not many choices. Buyers will buy just about anything right now.

  77. 77

    By ChrisM @ :

    Kary – could you elaborate about the possible usages of the term “unsaid?” Thanks!

    Mainly just that I don’t think the agents here want to be critical of a specific situation that pertains to a specific agent. In this section I’m trying to avoid talking about listing photos at all, at least when it comes to their quality (I did address their age). If this post had instead been about a 4×8 room with a closet called a bedroom, then I might address photos in more detail, just as I have addressed photos in more detail in the past.

  78. 78

    RE: Erik @ 72 – Your honesty is refreshing!! And duly noted.

  79. 79

    RE: ChrisM @ 74 – I’ve been bashing the traditional real estate model (which by definition includes the MLS) for about 10 years. So I’ve got bona fides! :-) But age + experience = wisdom.

    I am here to tell you, there is method to the apparent madness of the NWMLS. And if you scrape the surface, you’ll appreciate that the NWMLS in fact provides real value in ensuring quality data. As I’ve said before, it’s ironic that folks here on SB would be so dismissive of that aspect, when Trulia and Zillow are slammed repeatedly over the poor quality of their data.

    And while brokers don’t always follow the rules, the NWMLS rules are in fact quite fair to consumers. For example, it is a serious violation to market a property before the listing is “live” i.e. a pocket listing. This ensures that all brokers, and all consumers, have the same opportunity as everyone else. This benefits consumers in that (a) the seller gets exposure to the market, which is the ONLY way to ensure seller gets market value; and (b) all buyers have access to all homes for sale, regardless of who they know.

    So the NWMLS doesn’t merit outrage. Want outrage? Think about the color blue, man that color really sucks….

  80. 80
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Craig Blackmon @ – Thanks for posting this , Craig. As a consumer I will now sleep better at night knowing that the NWMLS has my best interests at heart. I’m all for fairness myself. I’m going to go sing the Lego movie theme song now for the rest of the day.

    p.s. If you can find me one example of how they “provide real value in ensuring quality data” (BTW, did you cut and paste that from their website?), please do let me know. Taking the nearby pending listing in my neighborhood, for example: how is completely omitting the fact that we are on a private street, with a private sewer main, a private storm sewer system, and private sidewalks that all have to be homeowner-maintained “quality data?” Maybe I just don’t know what that term means. The same thing happened when the home next door sold a couple of years ago – I was threatened by the realtor that I could be charged with interfering in the sale if I mentioned the private street issues to potential buyers.

  81. 81

    RE: redmondjp @

    Those issues are covered in the seller disclosure form http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=64.06.020 and if “of record” as to agreements, they are also covered in the Title Report and/or as additional documentation to the Seller Disclosure Form.

    Both are often received while the buyer is in escrow with a right to cancel after receiving, reading and reviewing the restrictions and information.

    How did you learn about them when you purchased the property? Is there a recorded agreement as to how the repair and replacement will be paid for when needed? Often not. If yes, then that will be in the paperwork the buyer receives, much as all of the underlying information when buying a condo is delivered to “the” buyer with a right to cancel after review.

    These issues may also be briefly addressed in the listing by a check box in a data field, especially water and sewer issues. However relying on the listing information or even the seller disclosure form alone is not as certain as reviewing the Title Report, Exceptions and Deed Restrictions, all in combination with the listing information and the seller disclosure form.

  82. 82
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – Hi Ardell,

    Thanks for posting that – yes, I am aware of the legal requirements, but essentially this is the same thing as an engaged person spilling the beans (“I’ve got a secret child” “I have a STD”, etc) right before the wedding. Are you saying that is OK?

    If I had known what a nightmare I was getting myself into, I would have never bought the house I am in now. I spent the best years of my life, several times having to stay up all night in a s__thole in the ground working on repairing a sewer pump. Thank God, those days are over.

    Yes, after going through all of the paperwork I knew that it was a private street; yes, I knew we had a homeowner’s association, and yes, I knew we had a sewer pump. But as a first-time homeowner, I had no idea what any of that really meant. I certainly do now, which is one of the reasons I am commenting here.

    At the very least, when you are reviewing a listing, it should say PRIVATE STREET right on it somewhere. Or, “Homeowner partially responsible for cost of replacing cul-de-sac asphalt.”

    But I can see that this is a losing battle. Everyone in the house-selling business has a vested interest in keeping the bad stuff hidden under the rug. The best concept would be self-policing, but with this inane MLS fee for commenting on listings that you all are so carefully dancing around, it’s pretty obvious that it will never happen.

    Let the buyer beware.

  83. 83

    RE: redmondjp @

    Your comment reminded me of a client who wanted to buy a similar property a couple of years ago. I spent hours impressing on them why they should not buy the house and fast forwarding to what kind of nightmare and expense they would face if they did. Talking someone out of a house is not easy and at the time you are doing it the client who wants the house for other reasons doesn’t always appreciate hearing all that bad news. Eventually they did, and sent me this email “Your research, as always, is amazing. Thanks for all the info. We have decided to pass on this house. We’re reluctant to get into a house with…this house doesn’t make sense. I’m personally very grateful you brought these things up before we ended up in a house we might end up regretting. Thanks.” A year later they wrote me again about how happy there were in the different house they did buy and reiterating how glad they were that I talked them out of the first house.

    Sometimes I have to say “You can buy it…but not with me.” Sometimes I have to say “You can buy it…but please don’t call me if and when you want to sell it.” before they fully understand, just as you did not understand what you were getting into. Getting people to understand is a very tough job. Many people want the home buying experience to be happy and fun and don’t hire a PITA Buyer’s Agent. In fact they often think the Buyer’s Agent has absolutely nothing to do and are not needed once they “find” a house they like. That is the beginning…not the end.

    You seem to want the Agent for the Seller to be the one who looks out for the buyer. In a way the Seller does, as almost always properties in the mls, any mls, will provide the buyer with the money to buy an agent of their choice to look out for their best interests. But how many use that money to that purpose and do it as well as sellers do when they hire an agent? Sellers are usually much better at hiring an agent to represent them than buyers are.

    Most of the “progress” new brokerages fight for is less “disruption” of the happy dance of buying a house, less agent involvement, lower fees and little or no respect for buyer advocacy. It is not the seller who is going to scream “don’t buy my house!” or the agent for the seller. The only person who should have pinned you down and impressed on you what kind of nightmare you might be getting into is YOUR agent. Did you have one? How did you pick your agent? With the same care a seller does? ALL of what you got into was disclosed to you before you bought the house. The person who needed to talk you out of it…was not the seller or the seller’s agent or the seller’s home for sale advertisement in the mls. The asking price in the mls includes an amount for the buyer to hire wise counsel. How many do that well?

  84. 84
    ChrisM says:

    Not sure this is hopeful/useful, but my observation is that we’re all talking past each other. Hopefully some intern 50 years into the future will be able to distill this into something useful…

    In the meantime, my intial response was to point out potential fraud, and the lack of a professional response. Throughout this thread I saw no real response to my allegation of fraud, so I have to suspect a signifant number are part of the problem.

    I guess in the 21st century we’re reduced to “Buyer Beware” and “Carpe Diem” — I hope you have your carp under control?

  85. 85
    redmondjp says:

    RE: ChrisM @ – Yup. It’s pretty sad, but I guess expected given human nature to look out for one’s self. The MLS has done an excellent job of doing that on an institutional/corporate basis and they circle the wagons well; I’ll give them credit for that.

    After watching the dealings that went on when the house next door sold a couple of years ago, I truly did lose a lot of faith in humanity (at least those involved in selling and fixing up homes). I didn’t even get so much as a simple “thank you” for the referral that resulted in the realtor making $17K for a quick month’s work. And I bought that very same realtor a very nice dinner after the purchase of my home several years earlier on which they also made a tidy profit, but my house sale was a lot more complicated (bankruptcy/foreclosure) and it took several months to close.

    Not to mention the contractors that cut every single corner that they could – imagine a drainage contractor trespassing on another neighbor’s property on which they dug a ditch so their drainage system (which has made my back yard more swampy) would work better. I wish I was making this stuff up! And no, I nor the other neighbor pressed any charges – it’s just not worth it. A lot of strongly-worded emails were exchanged, with no effect either (other than a long-lasting bitterness).

    Oh well . . . assume that everybody is trying to take advantage of you, and you will probably be correct a large percentage of the time (and sadly, all of the comments above don’t convince me otherwise).

    It can’t be said often enough: let the buyer beware.

  86. 86

    RE: redmondjp @

    Sadly, I agree with you, RedmondJP. Since Buyer Agency began it was my hope that time would improve the system. But I find for the most part that buyers are satisfied with “the title” alone, and the industry knows that, and there is no hope for improvement from what I can see. Things aren’t remotely moving in the right direction.

    There was a huge outcry that the then 80 year old “caveat emptor” system of all agents representing sellers, no matter who they were with the buyer or the seller, was misleading to the buying public. But actually, as it turns out, it was less misleading than pretending otherwise for the last 20 years or so.

  87. 87

    The idea that a system could be fair where the agent is deemed to represent a seller they have never met after showing the buyers 30+ houses is absurd.

    If some agents are not adequately representing buyers, that is the agents’ fault, not the system’s fault. It isn’t that difficult to know what you should do when you represent a buyer. And from a buyer’s point of view it shouldn’t be that difficult to tell. If the agent is constantly pointing out all the wonderful things in a house and none of the negatives, and constantly pushing the buyer to make an offer, then the buyer has the wrong agent.

    That said, there is only so much an agent can do. They don’t rule over the client. The client does not have to follow the advice of an agent, and the client can make an offer on a house the agent has recommended against.

  88. 88

    RE: redmondjp @ – IMHO, Washington is currently moving more in the direction of buyer beware. There was a case a couple of years ago where the seller seemingly clearly covered up serious defects with the house, but the buyer was not allowed a recovery because they did an inspection (poorly). I don’t think you would have seen that decision 10 years ago.

  89. 89

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @

    First regarding your comment 87, you agree with me when you say this in comment 88 ” IMHO, Washington is currently moving more in the direction of buyer beware.”

    If you are talking about the wood rot case that had even some of the best RE attorneys a bit stymied, that was not a poor inspection. It was VERY similar to RedmondJP’s situation where he knew it was a Private Road but did not fully understand all that it entailed. That is why the seller prevailed. Not because the wood rot wasn’t in the inspection report. It was. The buyer just didn’t realize, and it was apparently not impressed upon him by his agent, that what an inspector can see as to wood rot is almost never the full extent of it, and the inspector can start ripping things out to ascertain the full extent of it. Very common in Seattle homes vs Eastside. That’s why the seller always throws a credit at it vs agreeing to repair. Which is what happened in that case and why the seller prevailed. It didn’t surprise me one bit.

  90. 90

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – The one I’m thinking of did involve a poor inspection in that the inspector didn’t crawl the entire crawlspace. But I might be mixing up the facts of two cases.

    As to RE attorneys being stymied, that’s because they completely overreacted the the Alejandre v. Bull decision. Remember my ranting about how stupid the additional Form 21 language and choices were about Form 17 liability? That language was quickly changed and then it disappeared entirely, and the reason for that is it never should have been there in the first place. I wonder if any agents were ever sued due to that language? But even so, yes some of the fact patterns in the decisions are rather shocking that they don’t impose liability. Even in Alejandre v. Bull the facts are somewhat shocking, although that one might have been a simple lack of proof.

  91. 91
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – I had a good inspector – I even suited up and went into the crawl space under the house with him. It didn’t matter much, as the house was being sold as-is and the price was set by the bankruptcy court.

    It was the private sewer lift station that was the nightmare. I could run my own consulting business on this, but then I don’t really have any desire to think about the subject any more than I must. Thankfully, the regular “sewer backup” nightmares (literal ones, not to mention the actual pump failures or power outages) I used to have stopped as soon as the gravity sewer line was put in.

    Trying to herd cats in the mostly-inactive homeowners’ association isn’t my favorite thing to do either. And if somebody doesn’t pay up, all we can do is place a lien on the property, which won’t get paid until the property changes hands (and that could be 20 years or more – our neighbor who just sold bought in 1992). That doesn’t help much either when we have to have the money up front to get work done (such as getting the street repaved).

    But the upside is, location, location, location! Next to a great park for the kids, and well-placed for a decent commute for both my wife and I. Things could be a lot worse!

  92. 92

    RE: redmondjp @

    I can’t find our old emails to identify where the property is to look up if the neighbors noted “private road” on the Form 17. I’m very, very glad that “things could be worse”. :) Still not sure it’s worth putting a 2nd story on though. Send me the address again so I can decide.

  93. 93

    RE: redmondjp @ – A bankruptcy sale likely is “as-is,” but the court doesn’t set the price. It approves the offer, and it is extremely unlikely price was even considered prior to then (I don’t think I’ve ever seen that). At the time your inspection was being done it is extremely unlikely that the court had done anything more than approve the employment of the listing agent.

    Inspections are typically completed within 10 days of mutual acceptance, and the typical court hearing to approve the sale would not typically be any earlier than 23 days after mutual acceptance.

  94. 94
    redmondjp says:

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ :

    RE: redmondjp @

    I can’t find our old emails to identify where the property is to look up if the neighbors noted “private road” on the Form 17. I’m very, very glad that “things could be worse”. :) Still not sure it’s worth putting a 2nd story on though. Send me the address again so I can decide.

    I’m not sure if it’s worth it either, but it really depends upon how the market fares in the future. Given our current market, I’d say that my house is a teardown, and I’ve seen similar houses to mine (smaller ramblers) disappearing and larger ones being built in nearby neighborhoods (even on single lots, not 2-lot short plats). With that said, however, I really need at least one more bedroom and a bonus room for all of the kids’ stuff. I sent you an email to your raincityguide address with more details – d’op! That email address doesn’t work any longer – do you have another one to use?

    Kary, It’s been 15 years since I bought my house, but I was told that the price was fixed in order to pay off debts and it was not negotiable so we didn’t even try. It was a low price (but looking back at all of the issues, probably not as good of a deal as it appeared!).

    One other issue – the county records are wrong and show us connected to public sewer – we are indirectly, but through a private (homeowner-maintained) main. Previously, we were even more indirectly connected via our lift station.

  95. 95

    RE: redmondjp @ – 15 years ago was before trustees considered doing short sales. So in that scenario the price might have effectively been fixed.

  96. 96
    Mike says:

    Here’s a real bargain: $641K for a brand new Sound view house next to Golden Gardens. Fine print: *House not included.

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/9109-Cyrus-Ave-NW-98117/home/289056

  97. 97
    redmondjp says:

    By Mike @ :

    Here’s a real bargain: $641K for a brand new Sound view house next to Golden Gardens. Fine print: *House not included.

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/9109-Cyrus-Ave-NW-98117/home/289056

    Wow! Good find Mike! This is far worse than, but in some ways, just the opposite of (photoshopping IN the yet-to-be-built house) the original listing that started this discussion.

    Talk about a bad listing, sheesh! Not even built yet but they still show the house square footage! According to the fine print, the price should be $1,291,000, NOT $641K.

    Fine print: “This price does not include construction costs at $250/sf or $650,000.”

    Wow. NWMLS, where are you? Where is that “ensuring quality data” bla bla bla spoken of earlier? How can advertising a house (supposedly under construction) using only the lot price be considered ethical under any circumstances?

    I can’t stop saying it: wow . . .

    Oh, and I’m going to start using a new ‘truthiness’ rating system based upon the NWMLS trees as follows:

    Three Trees = very accurate and complete listing
    Two Trees = somewhat accurate listing
    One Tree = inaccurate and incomplete listing
    Zero Trees = you gotta be kidding me!

    This listing gets zero trees in my book. I’d give the original photoshopped listing a two-trees rating.

  98. 98

    RE: redmondjp @

    My comment 83 was a private septic issue. The city had put public sewer in the street and attached a lien to all of the houses that could be on it but were not on it. Then they would have to hire someone to connect to it and pay a connect fee. I was wondering if the City (or County) did that to you to insure that eventually the private system would go away, how would you feel about that? Forcing you all into a better long term scenario? My email is ardelld@gmail.com. RainCityGuide.com is not owned by me so I don’t control that email as it goes in and out from time to time.

  99. 99
    Mike says:

    RE: redmondjp @ – Why this was allowed as a house listing and not a “land” listing… ? I dunno. It’s a lot with permits.

  100. 100

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – I ran into a south end city which has done that. On the first sale of an existing house on septic they have to connect to sewer and pay a connection charge that is about $15,000 now, plus pay someone to physically connect it, plus they will owe the King County Capacity Charge, but that at least can be paid over time. The rest would need to be paid in cash. If the owner just has a failing sewer and needs to connect, they can pay that city charge over time if they meet certain income limits (which they probably would).

    I first ran into that on a REO listing. The prior owner had still been on septic and actually had a small amount of equity after costs of sale, but the city connection charge (and physical connection charges) would have made it a short sale. Can you imagine trying to convince a bank that they had to accept less than what they were owed to cover new sewer connection charges? I don’t think that would fly, so maybe that’s why the owner didn’t even try to sell short.

    On the bright side, you can at least find those situations out in advance by checking with the recorder’s office. The city recorded against each of the properties affected.

  101. 101
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ – Kary, I knew I could count on you to get the post count up to 100!

    Our sewer situation wasn’t any of the above – we were on a private lift station, with each household still paying an individual city sewer bill since day one back in 1976-77 (so no additional capacity charges for us which I believe applies to everybody not already on sewer by 1980 or so). After I wore down the city for 15 years, now-retired public works director Bill Campbell was our savior and got a capital project through which put a gravity sewer main into our cul-de-sac (Bill, if you ever read this, I’d like to thank you in person if you still live in our area – there are too many people in our area with your exact name to find you easily).

    Ardell, check your email regarding my house. You can see everything you need on street view (look past the junk, er I mean assessor value-downer, er, passive theft-deterrent!).

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