Sunday, July 24, 2011

Had an Odd Conversation With A Realtor Today....

Maybe I should subtitle this post as...

The Great Satan of House Reviews is Back!!!! Muuu-Ha-ha-ha!!!!

Man, did I have the oddest conversation with a Realtor today....I'm still puzzled by it...

Cause honestly, I can't tell if the Realtor was just clueless or if they where very cleverly F'ing with me...

I'll tell the story and let you guys decide.

I went and looked at 1330 Clinton today.  When I was looking through the binder of inspections (good for them) the Realtor was chatting with me off and on as she was greeting people coming in the front door.

I told her that I lived around the corner on Sherman and then she got. I thought, sorta strangely interested in WHICH SPECIFIC HOUSE I lived in.
   I said something like,  'the big ugly white one with the ugly fence.'
   She said, 'The one where all the work is going on?'
  I said, 'No, I'm not that crazy.'

  And then she kinda launched into this odd diatribe.

  'That's the house where the guy lives who writes all those horrible things on his BLOG about houses for sale in Alameda.' She said blog like it was drenched in sewage.

  So now I stop trying to make sense of the roofing estimate and look at her...and say, 'There's somebody who reviews houses? And you think that's a bad thing?' Honestly, I'm looking at her and I can't tell if she's messing with me...

  'Yes, he says horrible, personal things about people.'

  'Does he say untrue things about the houses?'

  'Yes, its all untrue...I don't know why he feels like he needs to write such nasty things about people...but I guess some people just feel the know...'


   'And that's why no realtor will touch his house.'

   'How do you mean?'

   'No Realtor wants to show his house because of all the horrible things he says on his BLOG.'

Then she went off to talk to someone else and I finished reading the reports and left. She left me with the distinct impression that she thinks that I am some sort of mental defective with a strong nasty streak. Like I should have horns on my head and a tale....

I just can't tell if she was screwing with me or not? If she was screwing with me its a super clever way to do it. Right in front of a crowd of people she basically called me an F'ing A-hole and told me to stop writing reviews in such a way that I couldn't really respond in kind.

First off, it really seems like she's never read any of my house reviews. And that stuff about no Realtor will touch his house...she doesn't know that Chez 2.0 is already sold? Weeks ago? She seems to think that I live in the big white house with the columns (I wish, I could afford that place...its like a palace that sold for $1.1M and the new owners immediately launched into a multi-hundred thousand redo) and that I'm trying to sell it?

It really seems like this particular Realtor got all her info about me from some bizarre game of telephone that went on too long and where all the different messages have been intermixed and reshuffled.  Like all the folks who where pissed off about the 'pink feather ladies' at the 4th of July parade who didn't actually see them!!!

I haven't reread every single review I've written but honestly where does that 'I write horrible nasty personal things about the home owners' come from???

Ruminations On Realtors
This odd exchange got me to thinking about all the other exchanges I've had with Realtors since I've been doing my reviews. There seem to be several common threads to what Realtors think of me.

They just can't seem to understand why in the world I would feel the need to do this.
I mean really, trying to comprehend my motivations seems to cause a lot of mental gears to be stripped. This is going to sound ridiculous I know but...Like I'm completely challenging their world view and their place in it.

Demonization is easier than self introspection.
Most Realtors refuse to admit that there is even a spec of truth in what I write. They prefer to think of me as some 'nasty little man' who has some sort of evil 'hidden agenda' who is quite possibly 'mentally deficient and or unstable.' One of my favorites was the Realtor who asked me why I hated Alameda so much?? Basically, what ever they can do in their minds to be able to discount everything I say. Such as believing that all I do is write nasty personal things about people.

So, here goes, another attempt to explain why I do this.

Why I Review Houses
It's pretty much as simple at this.

I believe that the deck is so completely stacked against house buyers (especially 1st time buyers) that there is hardly any chance that they won't get screwed.

The buyers and sellers agents get paid based on how much the house sells for. C'mon folks do you really think that that simple truth doesn't effect the actions of both agents? That they are not, at least, subconsciously motivated to get the house sold as quickly as possible for as much money as possible? I'm not saying that all Realtors are crooked....just most of them.  

Then you say, 'The buyer has inspectors.' Please...the inspectors are almost always referred by the Realtors. The inspectors know that if they don't 'play the game' they won't get referrals from Realtors and will essentially be out of a job. I'm not saying that there are not good inspectors out there..they just won't be the one the Realtors refer you to and they will cost about twice what the hacks charge.

This situation is not alright to me. I just can't seem to ignore this basically institutionalized theft.

Does it make sense to anyone that there are not independent reviews of houses for sale?
Its the most expensive purchase just about everyone makes..yet there are no independent sources of info.

You want to buy a new car, you read Road and Track reviews or Consumer Reports.
You want to buy a new motorcycle, you read the reviews of the different models in magazines like CycleWorld.
You want to buy a new flat screen TV, you read the reviews at CNET or Consumer Reports and hell, the reviews on Amazon.
Looking for a new Restaurant to try? You check the Yelp reviews.
Hell, just about any kind of service business you can check reviews on Yelp.

Yet nothing like that exists for houses? Why is that exactly?

In this modern world where you can get reviews of anything on the internets, why no reviews of houses??

Why Not?
As one commentor here said, 'Looking at open houses on Sundays is Alamedas Fav pastime.'
It really seems to be a hobby of peoples to looky-loo open houses and then make snarky comments to each other about it. Am I evil cause I choose to share my thoughts?

Honestly, am I not doing what any intelligent potential house buyer would do? Am I evil cause I choose to share a process that other people are most likely already doing? And if they are not already looking at houses the way I do and I save them some grief is that a bad thing?
So Much Real Estate Info Is Online
I can go on Zillow, Movoto, Redfin and see when and how much a house was sold for..what all the price changes are for a house that is still on the market, what the legal definition of the house is, what other similar houses sold for in the same area. Movoto even tells you who the legal owner of the house is. I can go to the cities website and print out the permit history of any house I'm interested in.

Now I know that the average age for Alameda Realtors is like 102 so maybe they are not as Internet savvy as your average person.

Hey Alameda Realtors, you probably don't need to worry about this interwebs thing...I'm sure its just a passing fad. I bet lickety-split that people will be back to relying solely on you for all their information on the house they are interested in and the local housing market....

So, in a first I am dedicating this post to D of Bayside Real Estate....for either being super clever or super clueless.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate all your reviews and it has given the husband and I more insight of what to look for in older homes in Alameda. I don't care what those realtors say, YOU ROCK!


Anonymous said...

The deck is stacked against buyers in Alameda. It's a small market. The homes have unique needs. The realtors are either dinosaurs or lizards.

You DO complete a service. New and existing Alameda residents should know about foundations (brick or concrete, seismic renovations or none, etc.). People do deserve an education in permitting (and the necessity of asking if any were pulled). Buyers should be made aware of sub-standard mech-plumb-elec systems. Etc., etc., etc.

Keep on keeping' on.

The realtors here are all bark and bluster, fighting to keep commissions high and buyers/sellers captive. A little opinion and education is never a bad thing for anyone.


Anonymous said...

Considering that shes wiling to

*accept/give offers from/to her husband, a realtor-who claims to be a reo specialst. no conflict of intrest there,no sirree
*willing to deal in a double-agent capacity
*pushes her client's to rent her staging furnture

Yeah ethicaly dubious wouldnt adequately describe the business practices of Dianna Wyman.

That's Dee-awe-nnuh not Dye-ann-uh becuz it sounds fancyer. Alameda realtors are mostly all a big pile of comprmises.

The MadScientist said...

Wow Anon, sounds like you've had personal dealings with the realtor in question and they were not good...sorry to hear that..pushes you to rent her staging furniture?
Does deals where she works one side and her husband works the other? Wow.

The MadScientist said...


Just in case someone is offended by these comments and has the urge to get sue happy.

Its a well set precedent that the blog owner is not responsible for comments on their blog.

I don't want people to be nasty just honest.

The MadScientist said...

Thanks Joe and Mary for the kind words.

I think Realtors and the MLS is one of the last bastions of unfree info in this modern world.

It can't stay that way.

I think some Realtors are starting to feel a bit like buggy whip makers...

Anonymous said...

Amazing to me that people are not aware of all the info one can find on the internets. Saw someone posting on Alameda Parents Network yahoo group to rent their home. I was interested, but a quick google search on the person's name + alameda shows that the house in question is listed for sale! Who would want to move their family into a home just to have it sold and have to move again?! Anyhow...I enjoy your blog and the reviews.

Anonymous said...

Don't feel you have to justify to ANYONE, least of all real estate agents, why you review houses and what your blog is about.

If all agents were competent, acted with integrity, and truly put their clients' best interests above their own (few do), they wouldn't have to worry about your lil ole blog. ;-)

Case in point: I toured an older home in Alameda during its open house recently, and saw that the structure was on the original brick foundation. When I asked the agent about it, she said, "you can replace the foundation for $20k." I said, "That's strange, because it cost $120K to replace my foundation, so would you put that $20K figure in writing?"

She asked, "Are you a lawyer?" LOL. Enough said.

The MadScientist said...

They always freaking say that! It'll be $20k to replace the foundation...such total and complete B.S.

There is this one particular contractor that all the Realty companies seem to use to do quick fast cheap work. I've seen foundation quotes from this guy in that range but if you read what he's actually going to do its a total waste of money. Besides, do you want your foundation redone by someone who makes the bulk of their money unsticking windows???

Have one of the local REAL foundation guys write a real bid to do the foundation correctly...then see how much...