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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Looking for an Underwater Homeowner to Interview"

Conscience of a Realtor

I can't imagine journalists calling stockbrokers and asking, "do you have any clients who've lost money on their stocks who might be willing to talk to me for a story?"

Or if they did, I can't imagine a whole lot of stockbrokers complying.

So, I find it curious -- to say the least -- to be on the receiving end of a fairly constant stream of requests seeking out underwater homeowners (I suppose that that's what you get for having the 18,476th most popular blog in the world!).

Of course, if any of my clients want to vent, they're free to call/email any journalist they want.

But that's up to them.

Underwater Clients

The fact is, if you've been selling real estate longer than 5 years -- and I have -- by definition you have clients whose homes are now worth less than what they paid.

But that doesn't mean they overpaid at the time, or chose poorly.

Or -- and I'm sure that this is what the journalists are fishing for -- everyone who bought a home between 2004 and 2007 made a reckless, "go for broke" financial decision that predictably went sour.

(For the record, my wife and I purchased our Sunset Gables home near Cedar Lake in 2005).

Conscience of a Realtor

As for my role in my clients' purchases, were you to debrief them, to a person I'm confident they'd tell you that: a) I scoured the market for the best home meeting their requirements; b) patiently showed them all the homes that met those criteria; c) carefully researched fair market value for the leading candidates; and d) aggressively negotiated to help them buy the home they ultimately chose.

That's in addition to providing counsel on their loan; guiding them through their home inspection and any resulting issues; sharing my knowledge of local neighborhoods, trends, etc.

And the vast majority of Realtors I know could say the exact same thing(s).

So, yeah, it's not fun to see (some) clients lose money on their homes -- or much more common, sitting on paper losses.

But as regular readers of this blog know, I hardly think it's Realtors who are responsible for the housing market's woes (see, "Shill or Schlimazel").

There . . . that's my vent, for any journalists looking for story material.

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