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Shotgun + Foot = Yahoo! Real Estate

Virtue Pimps

Real-estate agents have been pushing the virtues of homeownership since homes were invented. Or since real-estate agents were invented, anyway. Paying a mortgage, they insist, is a can’t-miss investment (the tax breaks, the appreciation, the thrill of fixing your own roof!). Renting is for simpletons who don’t like keeping their own money.
USNews story featured on Yahoo! landing page

I Must Have Fallen Asleep… Wait, What?

I’m sorry but I must be missing something here. Isn’t this the same Yahoo! Real Estate that used to be all over Prudential’s jock? The same Yahoo! that was uber Realtor-friendly in hopes of establishing a national MLS (the universal goal of most media companies who see dollar signs when it comes to real estate)? Wasn’t Yahoo! courting major national brokerages so they could leech their IDX feeds? Is this the same Yahoo! that has 8 million reasons on the sidebar to counterintuitively click OFF the site (including those fancy Zestimates)? Perhaps the same Yahoo! Real Estate that could potentially have lowered traffic issues to the point that they need to start disruption against the industry that butters their bread that Yahoo! Real Estate couldn’t possibly exist without? Well sure, it works in bubble blogging- soapbox when you’re down and scream as loudly as you can so people hear you even if they don’t want to (and they vomit a bit at every word they see).

Real Estate Agents Invented Stupidity, Huh?

So are people like Jeff Brown (national investment broker), Barry Cunningham (Florida investor) and Jonathan Dalton (Arizona agent who shifts many many Canadian investment dollars to the US) all ignorant because they’ve sunk time and money into real estate investing? They still own property- for the long term investment (who pays for the roof in this scenario?). Are hard working REALTORS like Vicki Moore, Greg Swann, Russell Shaw, Kevin Boer, Jay Thompson, Chris Shouse and Teresa Boardman all stupid for waking up every day and helping people buy their second, third or twentieth home? Should Realtor Association executives like Ben Martin, Dr. Mark Dotzour, Bill Lublin and Brad Nix all wear protective helmets so they don’t hurt themselves with the simple act of walking around? Are brokerages that aim to change the face of real estate like Redfin, Zip Realty and Buyside all just dumb monkeys because they are a resource for home buyers and sellers? Despite the Zillow affiliation, the implication is that Zillow must be a crayon short of a full box too by providing a platform for people buying, selling and planning for either. Are most major universities moronic because they offer graduate degrees in real estate (which do not focus strictly on rental markets)? Because the national market average isn’t so hot, should all real estate professionals advise that renting is better because buyers won’t have to fix the roof out of pocket?

I’m confused, because the stats here in Austin actually look good, values in general are up and although home sales are down, we are still averaging between 97-98% of asking price from what I understand. So, you’re saying that Realtors should get all those stupid homeowners who pay for their roofs to get fixed out of their homes and abandon them and run away to apartments? Oh wait, you mean that agents are stupid and homeowners should just walk away.

Reckless, Ignorant, Hasty, Dangerous, Shall I Continue?

But for who’s good- the consumer’s or Yahoo! Real Estate’s traffic? Seriously, what is Yahoo! really telegraphing here? Did we just get a glimpse into the future of Yahoo! Real Estate’s portal by their choice of which article to feature on their *landing* page? I’m sure there was a point in the article and it was good, probably even backed up by fact, but it was immersed in a sea of ignorance and I was too busy rolling my eyes to catch it. As a consumer, I am offended as this article calls into question my own judgment along with millions of other Americans with blanket statements about “THE” market. There are not enough adjectives to describe how irresponsible this type of distortion truly is regardless of whose salary increases next year.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. BawldGuy Talking

    June 28, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Stupid is as stupid does. Grandma promised me if I was honest, worked hard, and was consistently fair with folks, things would work out. Turns out she knew which way was north on the map.

    These so called experts have been coming and going since I was first licensed just three months after we landed on the moon. These guys screamin’ about who’s stupid and who isn’t are merely the latest.

    Your instincts are right, Lani.

  2. Vance Shutes

    June 28, 2008 at 5:06 am


    I like the BawldGuy’s quote from Forrest Gump above – “Stupid is as stupid does.” I see it in our local newspaper, who begs all real estate companies to prop up its flagging real estate section with huge ads, and then goes on to bash all real estate in both the business and op/ed sections. How dumb is that?

    I, for one, have had enough. While compelled to support my own company’s advertising efforts, I no longer feel compelled to support our local newspaper. A few perfunctory ads in the company ad page suffice for me.

    A couple of lunch dates with clients who work for the local newspaper confirmed my understanding of the dysfunction in the newspaper biz. In their warped world, as a means to maintain “objectivity”, there is no coordination of effort between the various newspaper departments. Thus, the results we see. Further, your article title “Shotgun + foot = ” could just as easily apply to most (if not all) local newspapers.

    Frankly, good riddance to them all.

  3. Mack in Atlanta

    June 28, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Right on Lani!!! I guess if Yahoo! has its way, the American Dream will be paying someone else’s mortgage. Good thinking Yahoo! Thank goodness I don’t have to count on Yahoo! for my internet traffic.

  4. PropertyMagnate

    June 28, 2008 at 5:50 am

    How long before big G wants a slice of the pie? Then I’ll be worried – 80% of my traffic comes from G.

  5. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 28, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Is home ownership for everyone – particularly in declining markets? Of course not. But, for most Americans – its their single biggest asset. And to point to a brief snapshot in the real estate appreciation time line that currently shows a down market as not owning a home as being smart – is a foolish proposition.

    Be sure to remember that author’s name. In 5 years, lets see how many articles he’s writing about how renting is so smart.

  6. Don Reedy

    June 28, 2008 at 7:33 am


    Let’s see if the author’s use of the language gives a clue about his laser beam focus.

    Using “pushed the virtues”, “can’t miss investment”, and the word “simpleton” gives us all the information we need about how little this guy knows about the real estate agents you reference, and lots, lots more.

    But don’t beat up too much on Yahoo. They are, of course, practically rudderless, without a clear agenda, and with management placating to anyone who will come to their dance. Your indignation is one more leak in their hull, one more reason to see their objectivity as suspect, and one more reason to wish that someone in the media really could be “clear and balanced.”

    Until that day, is more an object to be pittied than anything else.

  7. Gary Miljour

    June 28, 2008 at 7:44 am


    I am a big fan of yahoo, compared to google just because of media outlets built in. However, you are so correct that a lot of their news is just fluff or garbage.

    I think Yahoo, like so many people who have jumped on board with the internet are still having indentity issues. Yahoo, is still just chasing the US Greenbacks and need to focus on a business plan and figure out what they are.

    What you have clearly identified is they are NOT real estate professionals in the least.

  8. Jason Sandquist

    June 28, 2008 at 8:15 am

    I think it’s time for some ground and pound AG Style. Yahoo! is a bunch of jock sniffers and shame on them for letting this go online! Let them not forget who generates a good chunk of cheese for Yahoo!

    Right back @Mack as far as not being dependent on Yahoo!

    @Lani way sound off!

  9. Ken Smith

    June 28, 2008 at 9:10 am

    This isn’t nearly the first time that Yahoo has had anti homeownership articles on their main landing page. Have pointed this out to fellow agents many times over the last 5 years, yet agents continue to help them. For example Lani you just helped them by linking to them and driving traffic (their major revenue source) to their site. The link helps build their authority and rankings in turn driving even more traffic/revenue.

    Agents need to realize sites like don’t care about anything other then getting traffic to their sites. They generate revenue with every page that is viewed with multiple ads. You want to send a message to Yahoo, remove all links to their site and stop visiting the site.

  10. Mike Farmer

    June 28, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Yahoo is a floundering has-been. I gave up on them.

    I wish you would have mentioned my name.

  11. Mike Farmer

    June 28, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Another aspect of this is that most writers on the subject don’t acknowledge the existence of anything outside the west, northeast and Florida.

    I’ll bet buying a home in Austin right now is a good long term investment, just as it is in Savannah GA, and Knoxville, TN, and Charlotte, NC and lots of other places they ignore.

  12. Heather Lawson

    June 28, 2008 at 9:41 am

    I was on MSN some time ago and they had a similar article in the Real Estate section on why you shouldn’t use a real estate agent to sell your home. I wish I had a blog at that time because that got my blood boiling. Thank you for posting about this hypocrisy. I don’t want to support Yahoo or MSN. Do they think we will blindly hand over our money while they continue to bash us?

  13. Benn Rosales

    June 28, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Mike, indeed, I don’t know if its snobbery or just the the news online is just that “what came up in Google” at the time. It’s unfortunate.

  14. Ken B.

    June 28, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Insane in the membrane? What bizarre benefit would a consumer or for that matter, Yahoo derive from this mushy angle of approach. I can only conclude that the bobbing white life boats, furiously paddling away from the sinking Titanic Portal, known as Yahoo are filled with all the smart people. The remaining stranded deckhands are sadly, yet understandably addled.

    My 2cents.

  15. Bill Lublin

    June 28, 2008 at 11:23 am

    @Lani – My new three favorite Oxymorons; Jumbo Shrimp, Government Organization, Yahoo Real Estate As so many people have already pointed out, the conflict between the news articles and the advertising (not to mention the truth) is not new – print media have been guilty of this for years. The juxtaposition in elctronic media just makes this more idiotic/humorous/ill-considered.

    As far as renting be ing better then buying, I go back to a comment I have made before and will, no doubt make again. Everyone with a monthly housing payment is paying someone’s mortgage. I’m glad that people rent because they pay mortgages for me. So I am really hoping that everyone who rents property from me has Yahoo as their home page. Keep sending in those checks ladies and gentlemen- We’ll keep cashing them.

    BTW, thanks for listing me with Ben Martin, Dr. Mark Dotzour, and Brad Nix. I am honored to be included with such luminaries, but just for clarification,though I am the CEO of a 25 year old multi-office residential real estate firm, an active agent (listing about 75-100 properties per year, mostly REOs or long term acquaintances at this point since I never competed with the agents in my firm), an active real estate investor (rehabbing,rentals,development) and operate a property management business (which collects rents on my properties and several hundred units owned by others) , I am not bright enough or creative enough to be an Association Executive (no sane Association of REALTORS would hire me!) just a volunteer member 😉

  16. Bill Lublin

    June 28, 2008 at 11:32 am

    @Jennifer; I would have to challenge the statement “Is home ownership for everyone – particularly in declining markets? Of course not.”

    Maybe I’m just too “Old Skool” , or maybe it comes from having immigrant Grandparents who held home ownership in the same esteem they held education – but I would suggest that over the long term, owning your own home is for everyone – even in declining markets.
    Of course that means :
    1. You need to purchase the home at the best possible price at the time of purchase
    2. You need a place to live, or raise your family, or facilitate your life in some manner.
    3. The monthly payment is affordable and doesn’t change – or the changein payment is long term and non-volatile, and there will some change in your situation that might mirro the event (you finishing college- eligible for better positions – child finishing college providing you with a raise –
    4. You have to be in it for the long term –

    You have to remember – a mortgage taken for 30 year looks much longer at the start then it does from the end 🙂

    Given those thoughts, I still think that anyone who can, should own their own home (except for my tenants- stay where you are please!)

  17. Benn Rosales

    June 28, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Ken B, Yahoo is saying through other means that since your’re not going to buy, you can search rentals which I suspect others will do as well, as have many agents switched from sales into full time leasing.

    I also gather that the online media companies will have to roll with the wave too and are learning first hand that you have to be nimble to survive in this business we call real estate.

  18. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 28, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    @Bill – when I said “everyone”, it means EVERY-SINGLE-ONE. There are lots of extreme examples I could dream up where it would be totally inappropriate for a person to make a real estate purchase – particularly in a declining market.

    But yes, if you put in the caveat of over the long term, that real estate makes sense for most persons, I would of course agree. 🙂

  19. Toby

    June 28, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Not sure what to add to this discussion — I’m dissapointed in Yahoo! but hardly surprised.

    We live in an age of journalism that is almost as yellow as the legendary battles of Hearst et all. Online articles are being written with a short-term objective — landing more page views — rather than truely educating the public.

  20. Jim Gatos

    June 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    First the newspapers collectively went against the real estate industry, and of course anyone can guess why… we as a collective force massively reduced wasting our money on ineffective advertising. Now that real estate agents are scaling back due to the market and the fact that the survivors are smarter and for the most part are collectively turning down overpriced listings, I suppose the internet will “collectively go after us too…
    Can you imagine the mess? A country without a single real estate agent?

  21. Paula Henry

    June 28, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Funny, how the bias swings in favor of the article written. First of all, where can you rent a $400,000 home for $2000. a month?

    Do they not think the cost of insurance and taxes are passed on to the tenant? If the tenant can save $300. a month, invested in stocks over 20 years, they would earn $114,000.

    If a homeowner lives in a $400,000. home 20 years at a 3% increase in property values per year, they would earn $322,000. Plus the tax savings.

    What happens when the rent rates go up 3% per year? Just a thought!

  22. Caesar Parisi

    June 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I can’t figure out what Yahoo is thinking. What is their goal by taking more away from the Realtors, who have worked this business forever and making it even harder on the new agent. Do they think we can actually pay our bills on leasing alone?

  23. Chris Shouse

    June 28, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    As usual Agent Genius is right on the cutting edge of WHAT IS. Yahoo is out of there minds, the media are out of there minds. Negative, Negative, Negative instead of positive stories that will give the public confidence to move a head and get this economy healthy again.

  24. Gordon Baker

    June 28, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I’d like to know how many of the staff at Yahoo Real Estate are renting. A controversial article that challenges traditional thinking with the end goal of creating interest and higher readership. It’s all about the numbers. Not really surprising to me.

  25. Brad Nix

    June 29, 2008 at 7:05 am

    I love waking up to see pingbacks in my inbox. I love it even more when I see it’s from a passionate post highlighting more irresponsible journalism about ‘THE’ real estate market. I love what Mack in Atlanta said, “I guess if Yahoo! has its way, the American Dream will be paying someone else’s mortgage.” – dead on!

    Way to call out Yahoo Lani.

  26. Ben Martin, CAE

    June 29, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Oh, good. I can take off this helmet now. It was getting hot in there.

  27. Bill Lublin

    June 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    @Mack in Atlanta You are so right when you say “I guess if Yahoo! has its way, the American Dream will be paying someone else’s mortgage.” It is someone’s American Dream – their landlords (and lets’ not be picking on landlords here – ) 😉

  28. Vicki Moore

    June 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Go Lani Go!

  29. Barry Cunningham

    June 29, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    @ Paula..”First of all, where can you rent a $400,000 home for $2000. a month? “ me..they are all over South Florida! Actually some are renting for less than that.

  30. Bill Lublin

    June 29, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    @Barry – WOW – But even if they were able to rent a property that cost $400,000, with property appreciation of only 3% and rental increases of 10%/year They would be better off buying in just 4 years – and in 10 years would be $150,000 ahead Check out the NY Times link here – Of course you can adjust the appreciation and rental increases as you wish to make either point, but as I said earlier – over the long term- its still a good thing – and I think I would agree with Paula in most areas – even in South Florida – because no cycle last forever – ,

  31. Barry Cunningham

    June 29, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Bill I wasn’t debating the virtue of home ownership. Paula merely asked where you could rent such a home and I was letting her know where.

    By the way…investing down here takes a lot more Bill. Our insurance and taxes make most home ownership arguments moot. Down here we need to offer more and show better numbers.

  32. Bill Lublin

    June 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Gotcha Barry – And I don;t mean to argue with you about South Florida – You know much more abou tthat market then I do.
    But what do you mean when you say “Down here we need to offer more and show better numbers.”? Are you talking about for investors or for hime buyers? If there’s so much on the market does that make the opportunities better to buy properties for rental purposes? Or do the insurance and tax issues make the cash flow a problem?

  33. Active Website

    March 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    It is incredible to watch first-hand the demise of the Print industries. Although newspaper is going to go the way of the dodo, slowly we will also see the demise of the “analog” book publisher, the printed “office reporting” and perhaps eventually even the printer itself!

  34. Local Realty Service

    May 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Great article but it looks like Yahoo is not putting a lot into this section of their business. When you go to the site it’s more informative then provide listings of homes. I why what’s next for Yahoo??

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