September 1, 2013

Housing Market Trends for 2013: Up, up, up!

This is why we all have so much esteem for real estate professionals.

20130831-ads-graph

The above is a postcard received by Burbed reader Realtard Math. Let’s hear from RM why this was shared with us:

I love this graph. The trend arrow is shooting almost straight up, but every individual year goes up about the same. What’s the index here? No idea. We don’t know what’s being measured, or where. All we know is it went up every year, including this one. But 2013 isn’t over yet!

Aw, c’mon, RM, you missed how the arrows all have little chimneys on them, and 2009 and 2013 are right-handed varieties. And it also asks us “Did You Know” although it doesn’t inform us what we were supposed to find out. So we’re still ignorant of many things about Housing Market Trends other than that “Buyers are clamoring to purchase a home in your area.” Since RM didn’t tell us which area, for all we know it could be Alviso.

The local market called bottom sometime around the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, though. Perhaps this is a graph of agent enthusiasm, because it sure isn’t a graph of agent results.

Long Weekend Open Thread. open now! Share your favorite examples of agent math skillz.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am






August 24, 2013

Internet hasn’t obsoleted Realtards. Why not?

Perhaps they will always be with us.

Here’s why real estate agents are still around

130823-realtards-picBy Lydia DePillis, The Washington Post
POSTED:   08/23/2013 09:25:43 AM PDT

In this Tuesday April 2, 2013, photo, Christian Bell and his wife Beth Heinen Bell view a home for sale with real estate agent Becky Dickenson, left, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Paul Sancya/AP)

The quintessentially mainstream American real-estate brokerage — Re/Max — went public Tuesday. The housing market is hot enough, its initial filing explained, that raising investor cash could launch it into markets around the country it hadn’t yet reached.

But wait — real estate agents? Wasn’t the Internet supposed to drive them out of business?

The online age has been hard on all kinds of middlemen, after all. Travel agents, for example, were rendered obsolete by Orbitz and Expedia. Soft-goods retailers were outpaced by Amazon. The effect should be similar with people who sell homes: What do they have but what they know? And what of that can’t be better figured out through unbiased, publicly available data, crunched and presented free on websites such as Zillow and Trulia?

This is a piece that asks many questions yet delivers few answers. “It’s complicated” is not really an explanation.  And what the heck is Jason’s House?  Shouldn’t he be more original and call it Jason’s List?  It’s mentioned in a Washington Post article and there’s mentions in Texas media, so it should be really helpful to all our Northern California readership.

It’s Weekend Open Thread time, too. Met any helpful real estate agents lately?

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am

July 27, 2013

Coming to a listing near you

130726-bowers-placementProduct placement in movies and television have been going on for a while.  Remember the Reese’s Pieces in E.T.? If you see a brand in a movie or other video, you can be sure it was put there deliberately.

Well then… why haven’t realtards tried product placement in listing photos? After all, buyers are such a fickle lot, underbidding during bubbles and expecting freebies thrown in like refrigerators and kitchen cabinets when the sellers have every right to keep them. At least if they had product placement to fall back on, there would be some bucks in it for them, whether or not the house sold!

Let’s have a look at a really egregious example of product placement. We’re not talking about a loving paean to Andersen Windows or Bosch dishwashers that are features of the house for sale, either.

130726-bowers-greygoose

130726-bowers-greygoose-farHere’s the Redfin listing, where you’ll find another photo of the booze.  The even better Bunus portion of this amusing photo is where we found this REGULAR SALE!

Would you buy your next house from this realty firm?

And it’s Open Thread time! Tell us what products you saw placed when you looked at open houses!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am

July 14, 2013

Agent Scammer to the Slammer for a fixed 15

Let’s have some more news about our favorite people: realtards. Or at least one particular realtard who was particularly clueless. Pro Tip: If you’re going to pull off a classic Ponzi real estate scam, don’t do it to your own friends and family. Pick people who won’t be continually reminded of you. They’re less likely to notice there’s a problem, and even if they do, they’ll keep forgetting to do something about it.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for passing this story along.

San Jose real estate agent who scammed friends and family gets 15-year sentence

130713-ponzi-mugshotBy Eric Kurhi, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   07/10/2013 06:10:02 PM PDT; Updated:   07/11/2013 12:12:36 PM PDT

SAN JOSE — A real estate agent has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for using a Ponzi scheme to bilk friends and family out of more than $2 million, which she spent on luxury cars, expensive clothes and fancy furniture, according to prosecutors.

Jill Marie Silvey, 51, was convicted earlier this year in Santa Clara County Superior Court of 52 fraud-related felonies. Her scam involved convincing at least 20 investors to lend their money to homeowners whom Silvey had dealt with before. The homeowners would then send the investors monthly interest payments.

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of real estate agents out there not going to jail. Some of them might not have even scammed anybody!  This a good time to let us know your agent stories, both good and bad.

PG notes “She reportedly asked if we could refinance the sentence to a 5/1.” 

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am

July 13, 2013

Congratulations! You now have your equity back!

Here’s an interesting piece of Real Estate pr0n received by Burbed reader nomadic.

130712-congrats-equity

In case you cannot view the graphic, here’s the text:

Congratulations!

You now have your equity back!
Prices have shot past the all-time
highs in many areas.
-As-Is Sales-
-Top Sale Prices-
-Minimal Preparation-

What’s Your Home’s Current Value?

Two Beautiful California Peaks

 

(with photos of Half Dome and a large red arrow labeled 2013 Real Estate Values getting bigger and fatter as well as higher on a graph with no labels). The last segment appears to have a rise to run ratio of 8, so perhaps the X axis is fortnights and the Y is mills.

For the record, real estate prices have gone up about 15-20 percent, which would be a rise to run ratio of, well, at most one fifth. You know. 20%.  A one to one ratio is a straight line at a 45 degree angle.

This is your weekend Open Thread, and it may have to last you all weekend, too. Do you have your equity back? You know if you lived in the Real Bay Area you never would have misplaced it in the first place.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:05 am

May 25, 2013

Why Everyone Loves Realtards: Part LXIV

130520-billboard-realtard

Self-serving arguments: what else would you expect?  Item for discussion: which is cheaper, a divorce or a bigger house? Be sure to indicate where said house would be.  And if you push for downgrading your school district while upsizing your residence, the divorce may well follow on its own.

It’s the weekend! In fact, it’s a three-day weekend! Will you look at more or fewer Open Houses?  Will you post more or fewer comments in this Weekend Open Thread?

Photo from Funny Signs website.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

May 14, 2013

Los Altos Hills Property Available at Full Price

Yesterday we featured a humongous three and a half million dollar spread on half an acre in San Jose. It was a block from the actual Rose Garden that gives the Rosegarden district its name, but still, San Jose. For three and a half million. Yeah, we don’t think it computes either, unless we want to talk Bay Area Bubble 4.0 some more.

Now, today’s property and its pricing won’t make your eyes pop out because it’s in the Real Bay Area! Let’s find out why it won’t sell!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for sending in this Real Realty Reject.

130513-francemont-redfin11860 FRANCEMONT Ave
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
$3,999,000

6 Beds
6 Baths
5,250 Sq. Ft.
$762 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2006
Lot Size: 1 Acre
On Redfin: 387 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
Community: Los Altos Hills
MLS#: 81214828
Style: Mediterranean
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Property available at full price. Fabulous nearly new 5250 square foot home in a quiet cul-de-sac location on 1 acre with easy access and outstanding quality. Excellent floorplan with a huge kitchen/breakfast/family "Great Room" opening to a beautiful backyard. Luxurious master suite. Guest suite on main floor. Excellent Los Altos schools. 6 bedrooms, 6 baths.

Upcoming Open Houses

Saturday, May 18: 2:00-4:30 pm

130513-francemont-gameFirst let’s check in with nomadic.

I sent this to a friend a few minutes ago before taking a good look at the listing copy and history.  This should go on burbed.  “Available at full price.”  It’s been on the market since November 2010 and went pending twice, failing to close both times.  The price has been raised at least twice in the past year – now up $700k from last April.

The icing?  It’s an REO.

130513-francemont-counterWell, it doesn’t say it’s an REO in the listing, but the history admits to a foreclosure back in June. June, 2010.  But still, compare this property to yesterday’s! It’s on a full acre instead of a half, it’s got an extra bed and bath, and it’s in the RBA! All this for just “not a lot of money” more! Yet it’s been a languishing listing for at least a year, and that doesn’t even cover all that time before it went pending twice.

Why didn’t this place sell? There are definitely homes in this price range on this street.  Maybe this comment on short sales from a local Realtor might explain things:

The only active short sale in Los Altos Hills, located on Francemont, has been on and off the market since 2006. While it’s a nice house, it has had many offers and still seems to be having trouble closing. It’s unusual for any home to remain on the market so long. In my opinion this is an issue with the bank and not the home.

And the owner of the home is… BAC Home Loans Servicing, through ReconTrust! Thanks a lot, B of A! We all know it really stands for Bunch of A-holes.

Bunus: Virtual tour guaranteed to give you motion sickness.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

May 5, 2013

Don’t want to pay 6% commission? Make agents beg for less.

Here’s a press release from the “Lending Tree of Real Estate Agents.”

LessThan6Percent Revolutionizes How Home Sellers and Real Estate Agents Connect

Press Release: LessThan6Percent – Mon, Apr 29, 2013 6:39 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — LessThan6Percent (http://www.lessthan6percent.com), the online marketplace where home sellers can compare commissions and marketing plans from local real estate agents, is exiting its beta launch in the San Francisco Bay Area and expanding into Southern California. Founded in late 2012 by serial entrepreneur Simon Ru, LessThan6Percent provides home sellers a convenient platform to streamline the process of finding the best agents to represent their home.

"The problem home sellers face is that there are thousands of agents in any given market," says Ru. "It is difficult for home sellers to compare agents to find the best match. They don’t know what questions to ask, what to look for in a marketing proposal, or how to start the awkward conversation of negotiating services & commissions." This is where LessThan6Percent steps in.

LessThan6Percent differs from traditional agent-matching service such as Trulia (http://www.trulia.com/) and Zillow (http://www.zillow.com) by matching sellers to proposals submitted by agents rather than agents’ profiles. Instead of directing sellers to call agents’ numbers on a directory, LessThan6Percent transforms the matching process by having agents compete for sellers’ business. With a click of a button, home sellers would know exactly what services they are going to receive and how much they would cost. This level of transparency is unparalleled in the real estate industry.  

130504-lessthan6percent-agentsYou may have noticed that LessThan6Percent is one of our newest advertisers, featuring that oversized entry form on the right. We’re certainly in accord with their business model. Some home sales are pretty routine, and there’s no reason why the six percent commission rate has been enshrined as unchanging. Personally, we’d like to see home sales done as flat fees, because that would mean the buyers’ agent wouldn’t have a financial incentive to advise you to bid more than a home is worth.

130504-lessthan6percent-proposalThen again, we are in Bay Area Bubble 4.0, every house is worth more than it’s listed for, and you couldn’t possibly pay too much for a place in the Real Bay Area. That means your agent was right to tell you to overbid by 85%.

Meanwhile, LessThan6Percent says you can specify what you want in an agent and look over the proposals you get in response.

And if their algorithm predicts you may be likely to sell, watch for their ads appearing wherever you surf.  This reminds us of that creepy datamining prediction that Target became infamous for: figuring out you were expecting before the rest of your family knew.

130504-lessthan6percent-bidsBut LessThan6Percent also expects to reel in many leads through an algorithm that the company has created to identify people who are likely to sell. Ru said the algorithm scours a wide array of information sources, including social media, and then turns up likely sellers, like people who it’s discovered are having children soon.

The company then uses printed materials, cookies and keyword advertising to invite those people to use the site, Ru said.

- See more at: http://www.inman.com/2013/04/08/new-website-lets-sellers-see-proposals-from-listing-agents

According to Ru, the comments on this article were “getting heated” once a NAR official showed up. It appears Inman removed them by moving the article to a new location and conveniently neglecting to bring any comments along… or even allow them to be made.

LessThan6Percent envisions having agents slug it out for the right to sell your house. Why not have a good fight in comments on what you think of this idea? 

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

March 3, 2013

How do you REALLY feel about Real Estate Professionals?

It’s been a while since we had a realtards thread.  But today’s Not So Professional Agent isn’t being given the Burbed Loving Hug of Attention for his brilliant listing copy.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader J from Alameda for alerting us to this story.

130302-hitnrun-sceneSonoma Co. real estate agent held in fatal hit-run

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle | Updated 7:52 am, Saturday, March 2, 2013

Photo from KTVU, no credit specified

(03-02) 07:49 PST SANTA ROSA — A Santa Rosa man turned himself in Friday in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian, police said.

Steven Harry Heath, 60, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run in the crash Wednesday that killed 64-year-old George Michael Black of Pacifica, Santa Rosa police said.

Black was walking on the 4600 block of Montgomery Drive shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit by a car that fled the scene, police said. Black died at the scene.

On Friday, a Santa Rosa law firm contacted police on behalf of Heath, who works as a real estate agent. Heath’s attorney told officers that the vehicle from the crash would be found at Heath’s home, authorities said.

130302-hitnrun-heathLet’s review.  Real estate “professional” in a Mercedes S550 hits a pedestrian in broad daylight, and flees the scene. Unlucky stroller who had traveled to Santa Rosa to attend a healing program is pronounced dead seven minutes later#1 Agent in Sonoma the last 3 years running then requests his lawyer contact police two entire days later to say they’ll find what they’re looking for at the hit-and-run driver’s house. Why two whole days? We’re going to make an educated guess that it was long enough for all possible alcohol in someone’s bloodstream to dissipate.

130302-hitnrun-pepperwoodPerhaps you think we’re being cynical.  Well, the readership of sfgate.com is far more so, as several commenters hypothesized that Heath had his attorney transfer his assets to the law firm. We think that’s nonsensical speculation, and that he asked the law firm to transfer his wealth to some deserving relative outside the United States.  Heath, we note, is British and probably has relatives in non-US locales.

Here is just one of those assets: his house on 5562 Pepperwood Road. None of the real estate portals have any specific information on the house other than the lot size (11,246 sf) because they aren’t in the public recorder’s office search results either (yes, we checked).

We are now opening the floor to discuss whatever you’d like about those wonderful real estate professionals in your life, or about anyone who would leave the scene and lawyer up when the right thing to do was fucking call 911 because you just ran your fucking 6,000 pound vehicle into some innocent party’s 175 pound body.  We usually don’t pick on realtards by name, but we’re going to make a giant-ass exception in this case because.

Oh yeah, and this is an Open Thread. It’s March! Time for some Spring Bounce! Let us know how many Mercedes S-class vehicles you see parked at Open Houses!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

February 3, 2013

Top Ten Reasons You Should Ignore Realtard’s Columns

Today we’re going to have a look at a realtard’s piece over on Trulia’s blog.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Real Estater for letting us know about this essay.

Tough Year Ahead: Top 10 Issues Facing Bay Area Buyers

East Bay Real Estate Focus — Providing Definitive Information for the East Bay Area
By
Carl Medford | Agent in Fremont, CA
Posted under: Market Conditions in Alameda County, Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Ownership in Alameda County  |  January 26, 2013 8:22 AM  |  257 views  |  1 comment

“TWO recent national surveys of real estate agents suggest that first-time buyers are on the decline, their access to the housing market blocked by tight credit and eager investors,” states Lisa Prevost, of The New York Times (12/20/212).

Old news. In fact, I’ve been saying the same thing since August, 2012.

Truth is, no one knows exactly how many have decided to sit things out a bit until the market calms down. Although we’ve seen a decline in the number of buyers “actively in the hunt,” in reality, there are not “fewer” first-time buyers – if anything, there are more. LOTS more. The problem is that less of them are actually managing to buy a home, and, unfortunately, that’s the primary statistic that is being measured. No one is sitting outside open houses counting the bodies as they hit the front door and then compiling the numbers to a national database. If they did, a much different story would be on the evening news.

Buyers trying to purchase a home in the existing market conditions are facing into the teeth of a perfect storm, real-estate style, and it doesn’t appear that it will be ending anytime soon.

Here are the Top 10 issues facing Bay Area buyers:

130202-top10-suitcaseActually, as realtard happyprop goes, this is a little bit better informed than most.  It does say something other than “NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY,” and best of all, the disturbing faceless and sexless icons include the ever-popular, we swear we are not making this up, Dude With A Suitcase Full of Cash.  We know you won’t believe without seeing, so here he is.  (And from the minimal clothing, it’s either a Dude or it’s Annie Hall.)

Here’s that Top Ten list. If you’ve been a regular reader of Burbed, none of these should surprise you.

  1. Sorry, you missed the bottom.  Sucks to be you.  Medford says February 2012 was the official bottom.  Maybe it was… in the East Bay.
  2. Inventory? What inventory?  Raw meat, here’s the sharks.
  3. Prices are going up.  Some areas are up 40% from last year.  Actually, if Mr. Real Estate Person had read the actual data instead of just looking at a piece in the Chron, he’d have seen that some areas are up a lot more than 40%.
  4. Lots of cash buyers out there.  Yeah, and not just in the hellhole that’s the East Bay.  RBA too, only these aren’t investors.  On this item the realtard confuses the difference between “Central County” (probably Alameda County given the link) and the entire Bay Area in claiming 30% of all offers are cash.
  5. Crowds lead to multiple offers.  Take low inventory and desperate sellers, what do you expect, other than the author citing hard numbers with his opinion columns from a different site.
  6. FHA or VA buyer? Don’t even bother in this market; even conventional buyers are losing out to Mr. Suitcase.  And Mr. Suitcase doesn’t care about appraisals.
  7. 130202-top10-house-familyNew homes are in demand againaccording to CNN, that is. That doesn’t apply to the RBA because they still aren’t making any more land.  Why the realtard didn’t quote this local story in his own backyard is left as an exercise to the reader.
  8. Appraisers haven’t a clue prices are up, which is preventing prices from going up even faster.  Includes helpful link to another of his columns mostly about packed open houses with one throw-away graf about appraisers.  What stayed with us was the tsetse flies.  But there was something useful mentioned: appraisers were blamed for the last bubble, and they’re not ready for this one.  Yet.
  9. Banks are mucking up your loan even more than usual, although the link provided explaining the loan approval process doesn’t look to us like anything has changed much.  We suppose if you’re a realtard remembering the glory days of If You Can Fog This Mirror You Can Buy This House, you’d have a different opinion.
  10. Bank underwriters especially are being poopy-heads, and Medford’s happy to give some examples. Most of them look like underwriters working through a pile of documents, marking off inconsistencies, and resolving them later, where later is some period greater than the five minutes realtards think is appropriate.

While we are perfectly capable of posting house after house in the five mile radius of The Googleplex, we would never confuse the RBA with the entire Bay Area.  Just because an agent can write a column even longer than one of ours doesn’t mean he won’t commit the Fallacy of Composition.  The East Bay isn’t the entire Bay Area any more than the South Peninsula is.  Market conditions vary, so may your mileage, and definitely will housing prices. 

But we can guarantee there will always be some real estate professionals out there who take a few shortcuts.  Let’s give this one a golf clap for giving the appearance of a housing market review, even if he found ten different ways to say You Are Now Priced Out Forever.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am