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Alienation or Education – What’s your Point!?!?

What’s your value?

Recently there have been a number of indicators that my personal reservations, have been appropriate. I’ve been trying to be more deliberate in commenting and sharing on-line.  If I have no value, I want to be silent.  This means no wasting time trying to “correct the record” of someone’s inept opinion or debating semantics.  (I am finding myself being silent a lot – so go figure that)

I’ve done my “opinion posts” where I’ve dissevered practitioners from what I consider to be the “winners” from “losers.”  I’ve been wrong.  I haven’t the slightest idea who is a professional and who is doing business correctly – I don’t. Only the practitioner’s clients and immediate peers can actually tell you how good the agent is.  No one can judge another’s intent, other than those directly involved.  That is to say, I think it’s a bad practice to do dual agency; but that doesn’t mean that the person practicing it is truly nefarious.

It matters, not at all, how many social media groups you belong to; or if your sycophantic tendencies compel you to comment on one blog versus another.  You don’t care if I think you’re a knuckle-head for only having 1 listing photo.  None of this matters if you’re selling more real estate than those around you and doing so without complaints or allegations of unethical behavior.  What do you care, if thinks your antiquated methods aren’t good – if you’re still out-selling the folks in  

I’ve read more than my fill of self proclaimed experts defining their own level of “integrity,” all the while devastating and abusing the creativity and work of others, as if their own level of narcissism wasn’t a sign of poor character.  I’ve read people, who I respect greatly, discard real estate educations as useless, because the designations associated with them aren’t of personal value.  Frankly, at the end of the day I look at my reader and the time spent reading and said – what value have I gained?  This week the answer has been none, unless I consider adolescent bullying and school yard fights entertaining.  (I don’t)

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Heterogeneity in Real Estate

There seems to be an overwhelming tendency in the to alienate those agents who don’t do things the way that I do them.  This is such a messed up way of thinking… its as if you’re saying that all consumers are alike.  Some of the most successful agents in our market place, use a computer only as necessary, have never read a blog and still prefer to get on the phone.  You and I (when I was still actively brokering) may not like or use those techniques; but it is still working for many – so let’s not devastate those who have actually made a career of this; is all I’m saying. 

It seems that we spend a great deal of time belittling those who have practice habits different than our own and making them a punch line.  Just imagine how far we could all advance if we’d just learn to teach and share instead of eviscerate.  Not teaching is not going to lessen the competition – they will always be there; but they’ll just be more difficult to deal with, sharing with other practitioners as a peer is far more valuable than lecturing or speaking down to these agents.  In return for your sharing, you may find out what they are doing and learn as well.  

Returning to my roots

I am honored that AgentGenius would allow me the privilege of writing to an audience they have cultivated.  However I fear that I have wondered off the reservation of what I consider to be valuable.  As an instructor / speaker who frequently is asked to talk about real estate technology, the conversation routinely comes around to social media and what may be the value of involvement.  Of course education and knowledge are the primary reasons I encourage agents to join in.  However, more often than not there is at least one agent who will state that they have found some popular real estate blogs and all they see are angry people with bad information.  Look around – you’ll see that that agent is right and it’s hard to defend at times.  Unfortunately, when I travel around it’s becoming harder to find something that will genuinely help an agents career.  

Therefore, I am making this 2009 resolution –  I am only going to write posts that I would find of some value – that doesn’t include posts that are solely a “Matthew rant” on my own blog.  (This will be my last, as old habits are hard to break).    If I can’t come up with something that would be useful to someones career, than I’ll just not write.

Any idiot can attack someone else’s work…  Its easy to cultivate a following of lemmings if you’re fueling the fires of acrimony.  I strive to be better….  I’ve failed at times and became part of this lack of integrity.  I apologize and look forward to moving forward.

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Written By

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is



  1. Susie Blackmon

    December 27, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I’m having a hard time wanting to write about RE per se right now. Another consideration is the dissemination of information – – and the proliferation of web savvy, information-laden clients who ARE out there. Do I need to write lists of things sellers need to know/do? No. The lists can be researched and pulled up extensively and repeatedly on Google. I’m writing more about my area (localism) and lately am throwing in technology posts. I love and value Twitter, and you can tell that on my site. Over the next year I think RE sites will evolve even more and if you don’t have your own presence on the internet if you are in [any] business, you are missing some great opportunities. I am shocked at the number of realtors here who have no interest in the internet. I’ll look to you and AgentGenius to help me keep my fingers on the pulse out there. Enjoyed your post!

  2. Dave Shafer

    December 27, 2008 at 9:55 am

    One issue real estate agents haven’t addressed is the fact that in many markets it is the best policy to put off a residential purchase until the market turns around. How does a real estate agent make a living when the best advice is don’t buy (right now)? I understand that the entire industry is set up in a way to avoid this issue, but it might make for interesting reading if you were to address this question!

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    December 27, 2008 at 10:02 am


    Your point is well taken. Even though its not a good time to buy, there are those who have to move and in some cases renting isn’t their best option. Some have invested in bad markets and done very well and are willing to do it again. I don’t think it’s bad for everyone to buy, but there is a select group that it’s good for. IN some ways it’s always been this way – we just allowed people who shouldn’t have bought to do so anyway.

    If your clients have 30% down and want a long term investment as a second home – they are probably in the right market to buy. (depending on what region your in)

    Concentrate on that group who it is appropriate to be investing.

  4. Jonathan Dalton

    December 27, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Dave – how does the market turn around if no one purchase? Not saying we’re required to be the catalyst, but if everyone sits on the sidelines until “things get better”, nothing will get better. Simple market mechanics.

    For many it’s not a good to buy. For others it is. Just depends on a person’s particular circumstances. No blanket answer one way or the other.

    Back on topic, this was an excellent post, Matthew. As I wrote yesterday, we as a group have a tendency to forget our own reach. We mock those who don’t follow.

    I’m guilty of it in my own office as I watch people with no online presence trying to attract clients with a name tag at Starbuck’s.

    Realistically, if it works for you, do it.

    But never be so arrogant as to assume your way of doing things is the only way.

  5. Lisa Heindel

    December 27, 2008 at 10:53 am

    This has to be one of the best posts I’ve read recently. I’ve been blogging for over 18 months now, mostly very local information for consumers in my market. Although I read most of the big hitters, I have to honestly say that I can’t keep straight why so and so big name RE blogger doesn’t like the other guy and vice versa. And you know what? I don’t really care.

    I’m looking for information that can help my grow my business, not wasting time on people throwing barbs back and forth inside of a very insular group. That doesn’t help me sell houses, which at the end of the day is what I do.

  6. Dave Shafer

    December 27, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I don’t have all the answers. But, one of the answers is about “confidence” in both the real estate market and individual realtors. So how does an agent help in establishing “confidence” in the market and in their clients if all they want/need to do is sell? It is a age old problem. If I bought in my area circa 2005-06 (down 30% since), I would not have much confidence in either the market or the real estate agent that sold me a house for a long time. I think this is one of the problems we are seeing. The real question for me is how to avoid this issue in the future for whatever you sell(real estate, stocks, mutual funds, mortgages, etc.). Real Estate folks are pretty smart, so I thought I would pose the question here as an alternative to the “insular” blogger on blogger attacks referred too in the post. Discussing/solving the problem would be extremely helpful to this non-realtor individual as well as realtors/brokers.

    Jonathon, market’s work on alternatively, emotional and rational levels. They turn around when the level changes. The irrational bear market will turn around when a degree of rationality among buyers is reached. In other words, when it makes sense to stop renting and start buying, when an investor can cash flow a home with a reasonable down payment, when a growing family can afford to sell and buy a larger home, etc. Pushing against this is largely futile.

  7. Matt

    December 28, 2008 at 1:18 am


    Great post (and it’s not ’09!) – I’ve been hoping someone would post something like this (wouldn’t really be any of my business). A good friend of mine wants to get online and start learning the way of the but doesn’t really see why he would break something that works. He does everything that any Internet Savvy agent would say is old or wrong – and he does well enough to have two nice cars a beautiful home and a smile on his face everyday. As you mentioned, consumers are different – different strokes for different folks.

    Most of what goes on is great, encouraging and educational but the negative comments, posts etc.. happen often. As a whole – I think the group is fantastic and extremely helpful. I definitely wouldn’t be where I was today without a lot of them.

    Nice post – btw, it’s not a good time to buy?

  8. Jayson

    December 28, 2008 at 1:30 am


    I justify my claim that “now is a great time to buy (for some)” by pointing out the low interest rates, more affordable housing and letting anyone wanting to buy know that they should only buy if their family needs to buy e.g. more space, better neighborhood and most importantly is it time for your children to grow up in 1 area and attend and finish school with all their friends. Investing in a good childhood for your children is often more important than making sure you get a huge return on your investment. In some cases, the loss may be too big – those buyers should wait it out..IMO

  9. Bill Lublin

    December 28, 2008 at 1:44 am

    I think you might be missing the point that over a longer period of time, no one loses money on their real estate purchase. Unlike the other items you mentioned in your last comment, real estate is a long term purchase. If you bought a house in 1988, you probably paid more than the same house sold for in 1990. However by 1998 the house was selling for substatially more.
    This is te third major recessin I have experienced, and in every case, people who bought and waited did much better than people who waited and bought.
    I believe that no is a wonderful time to buy a house, rates are low, and prices are better than they have been for years. And even if you bought the house this year for moe than next year, in 5 years or more, that probably won’t be the case, and that’s without calculating the tax deduction, the principal that has been repair, the lack of rent iceases, or the security of owning your own home.
    Hope that helps…….

  10. Lisa Sanderson

    December 28, 2008 at 7:55 am

    I’m with you, Matthew, in that I have no interest in ‘competing’ with bloggers who want to wallow in their own negativity. It has absolutely no value whatsoever. “What value is in this post for the reader?” is an excellent question to ponder before hitting publish. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. Dave Shafer

    December 28, 2008 at 8:21 am

    I had no intention on starting this particular discussion. But I think we see that there are some who are in denial over the facts. There are many good reasons, both emotional and rational to own your home, but from a purely financial comparison,it is a much closer call, even in the best of buyers markets, than realtors like to admit. If I own stocks, they don’t call me up and ask for money for a new roof, or to fix the plumbing 🙂 Bottom line is that there are huge expenses in owning a home. A buddy of mine, who has owned investment homes for 30 years in my area, told me the other day that his insurance and taxes have gone up so much that he is barely making any cash flow on his mortgage free investment properties!

    But the real point is that to tell people to purchase any asset, when you know the asset price is way above where it historically should be, is not good advice for the client. So maybe this year, after a couple of years of massive devaluation of real estate, it might be good advice, but it certainly wasn’t in 2006 (in Florida, California, etc.). And this was the point I was trying to bring into discussion. If the real estate industry, and more specifically, broker/agents aren’t capable of helping clients make good buying decisions then you delegate yourselves to merely being transaction technicians. Then you are surely putting your livelihood at risk in my opinion! Twenty years ago if you wanted to buy stock, you needed to go to a full service broker and pay big $$$. Now you can trade stocks at less than $10/transaction. Don’t think it can happen to you?
    Real estate a long term investment, yep! If you bought at the peak of the market in my area you would have lost 35% in value and even if real estate appreciation goes back to its historic rate of 5% it will take you over 10 years to get even, not counting mortgage interest, taxes, insurance, 10 years worth of maintenance, etc. When you add all that in it might take you 20 years to get even. Long term, yep!
    The point is that there are a significant, although small sector of home owners that will probably never trust the real estate market nor realtors again. Distrust is not a good thing for the industryand I only wanted to see if anyone here had some ideas about how to avoid this in the future.

  12. Matthew Rathbun

    December 28, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Dave, I’m thrilled that you started this conversation! This is a great example of what we should be discussing.

    If you’re struggling with the morality of representing buyers who shouldn’t be buying I know that most of applaud you for your concern. If it’s truly a bad decision for your client to buy in their situation, I agree that you should tell them that. However, they are still adults and should be able to make their own decisions. You should voice caution….but not tackle them before they sign the contract. I’ve had several clients buy homes that I didn’t think was a good idea and then sold them for a profit that I never would have thought they could get.

  13. Missy Caulk

    December 28, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Matt, historically it was always a good time to buy in Ann Arbor. Even if you were a medical school resident.

    Now we look at the data for rent vs own. If they are ONLY here 3 years it might be best to rent and we tell them that.

    If they have dogs, it is not easy to rent, so in that case it is better to buy as they are not willing to give up their dog(s) and want a house and yard.

    It is totally individual.

  14. Dave Shafer

    December 28, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Let’s be clear, I wrote many purchase mortgages in Florida in 2006. And I knew that the prices were out of control, that there was very little upside, and huge downside. Yet, I shook my head and sent the paperwork to the underwriters. And now I field the calls from people looking to re-finance into the great rates of today and have to tell them it can’t be done because they are upside down! However, I stopped writing purchase mortgages about a year ago because by then it was clear that these people were going to be screwed! And yes they were, with the bulk of the valuation drops happening Jan-July 2008. But, I was becoming less dependent upon my mortgage origination for my livelihood so I could afford to make that decision!

    Now here is my point; when the market goes back to equilibrium will the market continue to mainly use full service brokers or will they say to themselves, realtors won’t tell me or they are not capable of telling me when a good time to buy is, so I can’t trust them. And if history of other industries is any guideline, then you will see a solid migration aways from full service brokers to merely transaction technicians which will get cheaper and cheaper. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, etc. have all gone through this. Is real estate next?

    I think my business would be much better now if I had encouraged all those first-time buyers in 2006-2007 to hold off. Even if they didn’t heed my advice, they would be much more likely to tell other people about my correct advice, marking me as someone who was a truth teller or a true fiduciary!

    And I guess my question is, will the real estate industry morph into an industry where a much smaller number of realtors make a good living giving good advice in a true fiduciary relationship, including advice on macro-economic factors, and then transaction technicians who make much less money and offer only to guide the transaction through the process? And if this is the future, how does a realtor change their practice to become the former, rather than the later?

  15. Matthew Rathbun

    December 28, 2008 at 9:31 am


    I’m with you for the most part. However, I’ve listened to more than a few buyers who if they lied and cheated, may convince a crooked lender to also lie and cheat to give them a loan that once the ARM adjusts they could NEVER have repaid… I’ve walked away from the buyers.

    In this market, these types of buyers should not be buying, because they will not be able to sell the property when they really need to. Residential Real Estate is a good investment – long term. Fiscally responsible buyers with intentions to say in the home for at least five years should be buying.

  16. Louis Cammarosano

    December 28, 2008 at 9:40 am


    Thanks for a terrific post.

    “There seems to be an overwhelming tendency in the to alienate those agents who don’t do things the way that I do them.”

    Not on twitter? You get branded as a neaderthal

    Don’t follow every real estate blog and attend every social media conference? Well, you are not keeping up and will be made irrelevant soon.

    Require registration on your site to view listings? You obviously don’t know (like we do) what consumers want.

    It does seem often that “” practioners do spend an inordinate amount of time grandstanding in front of their peers about their page ranks, SERPs or how “transparent”, “2.0” or number of followers they have on twitter – just to show that they “get it”

    Not often enought do I see the “” adequately discuss how effective they are in satisfying their customers and selling homes.

    No amonunt of blogging or twittering can make a person a great realtor.

    I would think that Education, not just about social media, as well as focus on customers and the nuts and bolts of real estate practice deserve more attention – in the blogosphere and more importantly in real life.

  17. Jonathan Kauffmann

    December 28, 2008 at 10:40 am

    It’s impossible to answer the question “is it a good time to buy?” b/c the answer is dependent on each buyer’s unique situation.

    When someone asks me that question, I have to ask them 10 questions for us to come to a joint decision on whether it’s a good time.

    If they have a house to sell somewhere else, the answer is almost always no.

    If they have the resources, are planning to be in the home for a long time, love the home, can afford it, and are OK if the market drops a little more, then it probably is a good time to buy.

    As Realtors, it doesn’t make sense to provide blanket cheerleading statements like, “It’s a great time to buy.” Real estate is a personal transaction and needs to be treated that way.

  18. Jonathan Dalton

    December 28, 2008 at 10:44 am

    — If I own stocks, they don’t call me up and ask for money for a new roof, or to fix the plumbing 🙂

    No, but your stockbroker can call you with maintenance calls if the equity in your portfolio is below margin levels. Made those calls for two years while I worked at Schwab.

    Agree wholeheartedly that there’s a rational and emotional component to things … I’ve even written about it here on AG. But supply/demand still wins. If there’s no demand because “no one should buy” then the recovery’s not going to happen.

    Incidentally, you’re hitting on what I see as one of the interesting storylines of the new presidency. People are so smitten with Obama as a symbol of hope and other such emotional labels, fundamentals may need to change very little for perceptions to change a great deal.

  19. Dave Shafer

    December 28, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Agree with you on the Obama “hope” effect.
    His timing is really impeccable with most of the damage behind us!

    The rational point for entry into the real estate market is when the cost of rent versus ownership are similiar and when investors can cash flow a home with a 20% down payment. I know some neighbors who are paying $2200 on their mortgage,taxes, insurance on a home they could rent for half that. Throw $1K/month into even a savings account for a while and you have real money! Add in the maintenance cost of ownership and you really have some savings!
    Now the cost of ownership has probably dropped to around $1500/month so there is still a couple of hundred of dollars cost to ownership over renting, but if re starts to appreciate in the next couple of years, you can see some long term benefit. Add in the emotional satisfaction of “owning your own home” (thanks to the re industry and media for that!) and you have the possibilities of a decent buying time once the veil of fear is lifted.

    But, there is a strong undercurrent of distrust toward the re brokers out there. If they are simply transaction technicians then they are seriously overpaid (this is not me saying this). And since they were trying to sell folks on real estate at the height of overvaluation, they really don’t have their customers best interest in mind nor do they deserve high wages that a fiduciary might command. I have three neighbors, very different people, all tell me this in the last couple of months. All three have had their homes for sell at sometime over the last year/ two with a full service broker. Maybe the re industry is strong enough to withstand this challenge, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see a very different sales/marketing strategy emerge strongly that tries to bypass the realtor/broker stranglehold on re sales. The tradional stock brokerage of yesterday thought they had a monopoly through licensing and control of the information too! Now anyone with a computer and access to the internet can be a do-it-yourselfer stock trader for a small price! How long before books appear telling people why and how to bypass the traditional broker/realtor? I’m just asking some questions around this area, about how to position yourself if this indeed becomes a reality?

  20. Bob

    December 28, 2008 at 11:56 am

    A market recovery occurs when fundamentals return to the market. Rent vs own and cash flow are two pretty solid benchmarks. No buyers just speeds up the process. Perception is no longer a factor, as banks are not playing that game today. The lenders are only going after sure bets. They no longer can pass the risk off as agents can, so perception isn’t going to be a factor.

    @Dave – a man after my own heart. I tell buyers that I am going to assume they’ll call me back in 3 years and tell me they need to sell and be out of dodge in 60-90 days, so because I dont want to be in a position 3 years down the road where I have to tell them why that would be a difficult thing to do, I’m going to give them all the potential issues upfront. Sometimes that means issues inherent with the property and other times it is more about external factors. That would include economics.

    I ask every buyer why they want to buy today vs tomorrow. Then I make them work the numbers backwards, starting with a 5-6% cost of sale. They are already down and need the market to not only stop dropping, but level off and go up in the next two years for them to break even.

    With a 5 year window, we know in this market that the projections are at least another 10% down, with some estimates higher. Just taking the conservative numbers, We are now down 15-16% in two years. That leaves 3 years to see 15% appreciation. Most don’t think that will happen. A safe bet is at least 7 years. It is now up to them to decide. Some still go forward, and others do not. What does happen in every case is a thank you. As a result, I have received several referrals from these non-clients. We close one in January where the buyer is the boss of a young guy I talked out of buying. He is looking to retire in this house, so its long term.

    The key here, as always, is knowing your market and getting your facts straight. I see agents in my area blog endlessly about buying today because rates are low, but if you want a decent school district and one of the more desirable areas, conforming rates don’t apply and there is close to a 2% spread in jumbo vs conforming. The thing is they have been saying the same thing for 2 years now and are no longer credible.

    will the real estate industry morph into an industry where a much smaller number of realtors make a good living giving good advice in a true fiduciary relationship, including advice on macro-economic factors,…

    Dave, I’m betting on it.

    And if this is the future, how does a realtor change their practice to become the former, rather than the later?

    Great question that brings the discussion full circle. Be more than proficient. Focus on education and learn as much as you can about all aspects of the industry and the factors that influence and drive it. Economics and the law are crucial aspects of this biz that will become even more important as Washington and our individual state houses go on a legislation and regulation binge like we haven’t seen in our lifetimes. Broaden your reading material beyond AR and the RE blogging world. Don’t look at news as negative or positive, but as information that leads to knowledge that will take you beyond proficiency to expertise. A RE license is easy to get, so licensees are easy to find. Expertise is not. And that is the value added proposition the consumer will seek out.

  21. Bill Lublin

    December 28, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I think you misunderstood my point.

    As far as someone owning their home, it needs to start from a point of economic sense, which does not revolve around fluctuations in sale price, but around how the property fits the needs of the buyer, whether they can afford to carry the debt, and what their long term plans are.

    In terms of buying investment properties, if the purchase is made based upon sound investment principals, then the market is not important, the investment is. And unlike to other investments you discuss, each property is its own price point – there is no uniform pricing. I actively invest in real estate and have for many years, and found it to be exceptionally rewarding financially, And I am still buying, but my investment strategy is always long term , and relies less upon appreciation than it does the other three basic returns of a real estate investment (I’ll write a post about that since it takes too long to go into here)Bottom line, there are some great deals out there.

    As far as your comments about full service vs. limited service brokerages and ethics, I’m confused. In what world would your ethics change based upon a business model? As an Industry (and forgive me if I get preachy about this, but I spend a lot of time working in this arena) we are always working towards improving our members understanding of business etiquette and ethics, and hold them responsible to a code of ethics that has been in place for 95 years. There is a big difference between a consumer being upset because an agent encouraged them to buy before a major market change, and the agent doing something unethical. After all if you buy a stock, you may be upset with your stock broker, but was he unethical to advise you to buy the stock? Or was he just misinformed, or did something out of his control happen? Though its only human to want to blame someone, is that the fault of the person you blame, or just a personal weakness?

    As far as books appearing telling people how to bypass real estate professionals, I know from my own experience that they have been around, in substantial quantity for the past 37 years and longer, so I don’t see that as an issue of today’s market – especially when the largest majority of buyers and sellers choose to use a real estate professional. Heck I did when I bought my property on the West Coast- and he made the process work well for me and helped me find a property that suited my needs. Was it his fault that property values in the area have gone down over the last year? No more then it is the fault of my CFP that my IRAs have lost value in that same period – I wouldn’t give either of them credit for gains in the market, so I certainly won’t hold them responsible for any losses. (Though I do have to point out that the CFP actually claims to be responsible for the gains, unlike most real estate professionals). And as far as my place in LA goes, I’m confident that over the long term, as in every price reversal I’ve seen in the past 37 years, eventually it will recover. The property is sound, desirable and in a great location. All solid basics in any real estate purchase. And if not, this was the place I wanted, where I wanted it, and at a price I could afford, so its not as terrible as it might have been if I bought something I couldn’t afford, and didn’t want or need, in a speculative attempt to profit serendipitously.
    Great points though, and thanks for the conversation.

  22. Bill Lublin

    December 28, 2008 at 11:58 am

    BTW – I did forget one thing – It is always risky to project any movement in price, up or down, so I would suggest that NOT be part of a real estate professional’s job unless they are prescient.
    Assume the worst, and prepare for it – the best always takes care of itself!

  23. Dave Shafer

    December 28, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    @Bob, you are indeed a rare bird in the re world. Your advice is practical and I believe right on. I have altered my business model to afford me the changes I felt I needed to make in order to give real advice and information to folks, like you do!

    @Bill, you have your priorities straight about investment re. However, I disagree with you about buying a personal residence. Price does matter, acutely. Since most people only accumulate savings in their homes, buying property at bubble prices severly curtails that. In addition most people don’t live lives that have guarantees around how long they will live in any particular area. The fact is renting for many people does make financial sense.
    As far as blame, no one said it was fair. My point is that some pretty astute people are aware that the industry has been promoting “its always a good time to purchase re” instead of “let us help you make a smart financial decision with your re purchase.” RE industry is not immune from the changing environment around all things financial nor from the opening up of information.

    I strongly believe in real estate as the best middle class investment around going forward, but hook my clients up with brokers/realtors that I know are willing to say “now is not the time” or “this is not the place, right now.”

    And if I was to put one of my pieces of real estate up for sale, the only reason I would use a full service realtor is because of friendship and professional connections. And two out of the three neighbors I spoke about earlier will only go the FSBO route with paying a small fee for MSL listing! Maybe, my neighborhood is strange (ok I know it is), but gotta wonder if what I am hearing and thinking is not what is going on in the heads of many more????

  24. Bob

    December 28, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    It is always risky to project any movement in price, up or down, so I would suggest that NOT be part of a real estate professional’s job unless they are prescient

    Take a look at the graph on this post. I don’t have to be prescient, or even a NAR economist, to see how that is going to impact market values in my neck of the woods.

  25. Matthew Rathbun

    December 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm


    I agree that it’s local and specific to the consumer. Would you mind sharing what questions you think are important for agents to ask a potential buyer to see if they would be a good match for you and your market?

  26. Benn Rosales

    December 28, 2008 at 8:46 pm


    This post is exactly what we see in you in almost everything you do, and exactly why you’re here and will be for as long as you’ll have us.

    A good friend told me I needed to make time this holiday weekend to read this and he was right- I’ve now read it three times.

  27. linsey

    December 28, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Such a great post and wonderful dialogue that ensued.

    I have to say that one of the things that I learned in coaching different agents is that there is no ‘right way’ to succeed in this business. It’s the responsibility of each agent to define what they love doing and then, most importantly, DO IT.

    Not everyone needs to be operating in the 2.0 world and to knock one another only diminishes each of us and the profession as a whole.

  28. Paula Henry

    December 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    I came to this post late and there really isn’t much I can add to the debate of whether or not it is a good time to buy and whether it’s better to buy or rent, it depends on individual circumstances.

    What I can add is, It is a pleasure to know you Matthew. Like you, I am honored to be amongst the writers here and while I often struggle with content, I hope to never stoop to the level of discrediting anothers success, just because it is not my way.

    Happy New Year!

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