Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I feel a little bad for real estate sales people

... and I should qualify that, cause I feel bad typing it already. I don't feel bad for Realtors; they chose to be part of the NAR, which is one of the most dishonest institutions involved in the housing market, and greatly contributed to the housing bubble and resulting collapse/correction. I also don't feel bad for bubble bandwagon RE agents, who got into the RE business to get rich quick during the bubble by putting up a sign (maybe), doing some data entry (maybe), signing paperwork, and cashing fat commission checks; those people can have fun serving fast food or equivalent in their new jobs. I also don't feel bad at all for RE agents who were involved in leveraged RE investments during the bubble, trying to cash in on the hysteria they were hyping to make million from all their "hard work"; may they enjoy the foreclosure process many times over.

No, the people I feel a little sorry for are long-term, hard working RE agents/brokers who don't fall into the above categories, but are just trying to make a normal living providing a worthwhile service. Those people are getting screwed over by the government's policies, and it's kinda unfortunate. See, they make money on commissions, which are generated from sales (even rational-price, non-bubble sales). With the government doing everything it can to stretch out and amplify the housing meltdown (by delaying foreclosures, or keeping rates below market, as examples), they are turning what might have been a year-long downturn into a many-year virtual market halt. While the end-result is the same (eventually prices will get down to "correct" levels), the interim difference will cost many RE sales people their jobs and livelihoods, as the government destroys the market which they need to continue making a living.

So yeah... I feel a little bad for RE sales people, they are kinda the unsung victims of the whole misguided "stop foreclosures" debacle which our government is currently engaged in. Sure, many share some blame for contributing to the problem (eg: not speaking out against the NAR, lying to clients, etc.), but many will lose their jobs unnecessarily as a direct and preventable result of the current governmental idiocy, and that's unfortunate when the government is purporting to be trying to preserve jobs. Just my opinion.

1 comment:

  1. I think you’re saying that Realtors are partially behind the “stop foreclosures” measures. That may be true. They’re always trying to hype house prices, but I don’t understand why. They make a percentage of the sales, so it seems like they would like to allow the bubble to deflate quickly so sales go back up.

    My impression of the RE bailout measures is that they attempt to help banks by encouraging underwater borrowers to keep making these huge house payments rather than default. The focus on helping people “keep their homes” comes off as good family values. (Most of the measures weren’t very effective at keeping FBs paying those interest payments anyway.)

    What do Realtors want? I don’t trust them any more than you do. If I were them, though, my main goal would be to get people trading houses b/c that’s what they get paid for. The bubble is over, and prices are returning to market value (i.e. number of households vs the cost to build a house) one way or the other. I don’t understand why Realtors have an incentive to slow the deflation of the bubble.