Archive for October, 2008

Russell is Interviewed by Kent Dana

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Kent Dana 1 on 1

NAR Reclaims Series # 2: Gratitude

Monday, October 13th, 2008 Shaking Money Out

It seems to me that if a REALTOR wants to "attack NAR" they might also think it was a good idea to take an axe to their own head if they had a headache.  We are the NAR.  When I hear statements to the effect that all NAR has ever really come up with is the MLS, I wonder why those same people don’t find it odd that jewelry stores only sell jewelry.  Or grocery stores seem fixated on food.  BMW just with the nice cars.

I think that agents who don’t have a thankful attitude towards the (very) nice people who run NAR and sit on all the endless committees are ungrateful.  If it wasn’t for the work of a tremendous number of people you don’t know you wouldn’t even have a real estate career.  The MLS that we have and enjoy is one of the most valuable assets our industry has and we have it thanks to the National Association of REALTORS.  Countless lawyers, government busy bodies and other destructive types have done everything in their power to attempt to take it away and ruin it.  Thanks to the NAR we have it.

If there is really something you think "NAR should fix" and they aren’t doing it quite as fast as you would like the answer is simple: get on a committee.  The people that have are not only intelligent, have the wonderful quality of wanting to see others do well and (this one is very important) also play well with others.  That last one alone disqualifies most of the self appointed experts on what everyone else ought to be doing.

Even when it comes to no one here is making a demand.  NAR has the goal and purpose:"to help its members become more profitable and successful."  Any intelligent analysis confirms that has not and does not accomplish that.  But that doesn’t make NAR "wrong".  At the time it was set up the people who voted to set it up in it’s present form thought it would be great.  That beautiful building we have in Washington, D.C. was paid for with stock from Homestore.   Anybody who was factually guilty of wrongdoing (at Homestore, now MOVE, is long gone).  So your hindsight and mine is 20 – 20.  So is theirs.  The foresight part is where we sometimes make mistakes.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Is there anyone reading this (over the age of 25) who can’t look back and see something they would have done differently?

It is the future that matters not recriminations about the past.  NAR is going to totally reclaim  I know this is going to happen because I am not going to stop writing about it until it they do.  Every working REALTOR in the United States will eventually know about this and every person taking a seat on any committee at the state level on up will know about it too.  They will do the right thing.

One of the best written articles on this subject is from Jonathan Washburn, one of the founders of Active Rain.  I also have created a Reclaim links page.  Please check it out.

The NAR Reclaims Series

Friday, October 10th, 2008 Pencil Sharpener

I don’t know how many posts there will be in this series but I will continue to post them until I find out.  I want NAR to completely reclaim  I want them to take it away from MOVE (formerly Homestore).  I want everything about to be a member service included with our dues – just like is for Canadian Realtors.

My pencil sharpener graphic above is pretty much how most Realtors who are involved with selling real estate tend to see

Is there anything about Zillow you don’t like?  How about TruliaAnything you don’t like about Trulia?  There are perhaps a hundred (a thousand?) other me-too sites that I won’t even mention.  Let me tell you who to thank.

Thank the early to mid 90’s NAR Board of Directors.  If it wasn’t for them and the decisions they made Zillow, Trulia, etc., etc., etc. would not exist.  Oh, I know, the internet changed everything, blah blah blah.  How do I know?  Simple.  Look again at the Canadian version of "".  Then, check around Canada and notice how Zillow, Trulia and any other home valuation, MLS search (fill in whatever adjective you like) aren’t there.  Not there.  Why?  Canada has homes.  Canada has homes for sale.  People buy and sell homes in Canada.  Canadians want to know what their homes are worth. 

Why aren’t any of those companies in Canada? is the answer.

I understand that the decisions made by the NAR about a decade ago seemed like a good idea at the time.  It is easy to now find fault with those decisions – that isn’t my point.  I am not accusing them of doing the wrong thing then.  I am asking them to do the right thing now.

What Turns Your Dial?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Fear Dial

The emotion of fear is a gradient scale that starts at simple, garden variety “worry”, at the lowest level and goes up to a high level of terror.  At the highest levels of fear the body will literally shut down.   The emotion of fear is built-in to the body from a long time back as a survival mechanism (the fight-or-flight response).  If you have a mental fear the body will respond.  Any real or imagined threat to survival can produce this response.  However, possibly having less money (which is a survival point in the current society) is not likely to cause death.  But many people will get a mental and physical reaction to being laid off, fired or receiving less money that is not much different than if life itself was about to end.

If there was ever a question about stock market prices ever being based on anything other than greed and fear that question had to have been answered in the past two days.  Oh-my-god-congress-didn’t-pass-the-bailout-bill-sell-everything.  Good-news-it-looks-like-they-will-work-it-out-my-stock-is-valuable-again. 

Good grief.

This isn’t the end.  The four horseman are not mounted and riding – I make that statement fully realizing that folks wearing suits who are on TV or work for the Federal Government are saying this is the worst possible situation.  Blah, blah, blah.  In case you missed it over at Bloodhoundblog, see this for a good laugh.

This is only about money.  Money that was spent by people who didn’t earn it and who didn’t have it.  One of the primary laws of finance is that income must be greater than outgo.  Sounds simple.  So simple it is routinely ignored:  by individuals, companies and governments.  The United States is the richest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth.  More so than any nation has ever been in all of recorded history – even Rome, when all roads lead there.  And yet, our country – with all of it’s riches and all of it’s resources has been spending more than it has been earning.  The current “meltdown” is just the house of cards that was there all along, falling down.  You can’t lose what you didn’t have.  We haven’t “lost something” so much as we discovered we didn’t have something.  To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s statement on democracy, the bailout is the worst possible solution, except for all the others.

Some say if we don’t do the bailout we could have a depression.  Not a recession, a depression.  Truth is we could have a giant recession or even a depression if we do the bailout.  And I’m writing this to make you feel better.  It is just money.  That’s all, money.  No matter what happens, it isn’t the end of life as we know it.  You want to survive.  Me too.  A simple way to accurately predict how a person will behave or fare in the future is to look at their past pattern.  How did they do before?  How do they tend to handle things?  Do they tend to screw things up no matter what?  Or do they tend to land on their feet – always finding some way to make things go right?  That is always the ultimate test of any being: The ability to MAKE things go right.  Not “are things right?  The ability to make them right.  Don’t you usually so just that?  So what makes this all that different?  The suits from the government and TV yip yapping about this mess like they know what they are talking about?  If they knew what they are talking about we wouldn’t have this mess. 

No no.  It isn’t that I have faith in the people “fixing” this – it is that I have real faith and confidence in man’s survival drive – your survival drive.   Something really bad?  September 11th, 2001, New York City.  Yet, here we are.  If you insist on having something awful to worry about at least have the good sense to move it off of the subject of money.  Money does not equal life.  Worry about (I’m not really wanting you to do this!) World War III.  This small little planet is composed of an anarchy of nations armed with nuclear warheads.  Potential mid-east conflicts alone could bring about the end of life as we know it.  If you must concentrate on “something awful” – use that one.  But let me suggest, if you have managed to make it through the past few weeks without losing sleep over that one – skip the bailout, as well.

The question, what turns your dial isn’t nearly as important as who.  Who turns your dial?  And hopefully, the answer to that question – at least most of the time – is you.