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Sirens and Sharks



Roaring sirens alert those within miles that someone is in danger.  Police arrive on the scene.   Onlookers create a scene of their own by peering and loitering and whispering,  waiting and watching to catch a glimpse of the destruction; a view of someone else’s heartache.   There’s an undeniable urge, a pull, to come out into the cold, dark night to see what we can. 

When a shark clamps down on its prey, it releases the undeniable scent of blood that draws others from the ocean depths.   Predators arrive to take advantage of the kill.  They circle.  They splash.  They push competitors away, showing their strength, their girth, their teeth.

It’s not just agents who are publicly criticizing  buyers who were “stupid” enough to get into a subprime loan.   A recent contribution by the Bag Lady drew critical, scathing comments by readers who were on the self-righteous slam-wagon.

Those buyers had help; a lot of it.  They had professional advice and encouragement to make those decisions.  It’s ridiculous to critically now say, in hindsight, that these buyers made horrific decisions.  It’s shameful for those in our profession to judge the unknowing victims of such dire circumstances.  We need to remind ourselves that these people are losing their homes, their shelter, their dreams, and a hell of a lot of money.   Where’s the compassion and empathy that another human being deserves? 
Last week at an open house, a looker came.  She asked,

“When is this house going into foreclosure?”

“Excuse me?”

“How much are they willing to lower the price?”

“If you’re asking if these people are in dire straights and are going to die without an offer, they’re not.”  She turned and walked right out of the house.

Buyers want blood.  I want a foreclosure.  I want a deal.  How can I buy REO’s?  What about probates?   Are they justified?  I don’t know.  I’m not questioning that.  I’m wondering why it’s acceptable to so many to ridicule and humiliate people who are in the fight of their financial lives? I was immensely pleased to talk with a buyer today who said, “I don’t want to take advantage of anyone’s pain.  I just want to buy a house.”   I woke up from a dark and stormy nightmare. 

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate

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  1. Athol Kay

    December 12, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    The irony is that if the majority of buyers are hunting for “deals”, that just floats the “deals” up closer to fair market value.

    I just got an email from one of my deal hunter buyers who doesn’t want to sign a buyer broker, refuses to get a pre-approval, and wants details on every hot deal available. Explicitly clear that he wants foreclosed homes emailed to him and nothing else…

    “Merry CHRISTmas”

    I kid you not.

    I’m seriously tempted to just cancel his email alerts.

  2. Benn Rosales

    December 12, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    I am pretty sure you would be justified, Athol. Agents should not take sh*t off of so-called bargin hunters, they don’t want your representation but they want your product and will cut you out the first chance they get. Remember, they arent clients w/o the agreement, they’re a customer- kick’em out of the store.

  3. Mariana

    December 12, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    DUDE (OKay, DUDETTE!)! We are in a HOUSING market … not a FLEA Market!

    All these so called investors need to take a course in reality and ethics before trying to take advantage of people who were, like you said, PROFESSIONALLY guided into decisions that now are causing them heartache.

  4. Charleston real estate blog

    December 13, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Thankfully, we can choose who we want to work with and I’ve found the “want it all’s” buy nothing at all because it’s never good enough.

  5. Vicki Moore

    December 14, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    I’ve learned the hard way – and repeatedly because I didn’t get it the first time or the second time…or – anyway, those bargain seekers are inconsiderate of my time and professional knowledge. Since they believe they can do it without me, then they should – without the free access to the MLS that I provide.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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