Say it until it's true!!!... NOT

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty

While researching yesterday’s blog entry, I ran across this little tidbit.  Frankly, it p***es me off.  I am proud to be a member of the NAR.  I think that there is a place for a strong voice both for real estate professionals, and to champion the issues for increasing home ownership for consumers.

But this is downright stupid.  Whistling past the graveyard.  Spinning… without anything to spin.

Just as I will call the bubbleheads to task for making blanket predictions with no sort of timeline, I will call the NAR to task for making flat out bad predictions that they should have known to be wrong as they were making them.

  • 12/11/06, Lereah predicts most of the correction is behind us, and we should sell 6.4 million units nationwide.
  • 1/10/07, ups the sales forecast to 6.42 million.
  • 2/7/07, ups it again to 6.44 million.
  • Starting in March, downgrades the sales prediction every month until November hits 5.5 million… scrubbing almost a million homes from the beginning of the year.  Each time there is a statement saying something to the effect of the worst is past.
  • Beginning in May, Yun is doing the predicting… Lereah is at Move . com…  Same stuff going on.
  • In December, Yun revises sales for 2007 to be up slightly from the previous month’s prediction to 5.67 million units.

In what I hope to be a final bit of honesty, Yun states that 2008 may only be slightly better than 2007.  But, after 12 consecutive downgrades, while each was accompanied by a statement about the worst being past, I have my doubts.

Despite what I think is an attempt by the NAR to buoy consumer confidence in the housing market, the result is exactly the opposite, with the added issue of making the NAR seem unwilling to level with the public.  Real estate agents already have less statue in the community that used car salesmen and lawyers… spinning bad numbers and trying to pull one over on the public is not a way to fix that.

I get a bit tweaked when the media seems to fail to recognize that there are markets in this country that are doing quite well.  I get MORE tweaked when my own trade organization tries to hide reality from our consumers… my clients, customers, friends and even me.

NAR, this is why you are sliding into irrelevance.

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Martinelli Caputi
Martinelli Caputi & Associates, Ltd. - Warwick, RI
& Associates, Ltd.

Lane:  Great post.  I understand the frustration.  Stats are not inherently deceiving, they are just easy to manipulate.  The forecasting on NAR's part could very well be considered lackluster (and that's putting it nicely).  However, as Jim Lee seems to suggest, would you have preferred the gloom and doom forecast that we receive every day from the national media?  I wonder how many folks actually wrote to the NAR to indicate that their forecasts were wholly off-base.  hmmmmm.... my guess is no one. 

And I quote:  Realtors have "less statue (sp) in the community that (sp) used car salesmen and lawyers."  How dare you associate us lawyers with used car salesmen and realtors!  LOL.  ;) 

Dec 27, 2007 02:25 AM #29
Marston Myers
Area Pro Realty - People's Choice - Discovery Bay, CA

NAR is a self serving trade union that will probably go the way of all trade unions in a free society. Away. I pay my dues because (for now) I must but DO NOT pay the PAC fees. NAR owns which sells our own listings back to us on as "enhanced listings" and promotes itself to sellers forcing us to pay the enhanced fees while itself has become little more than a glossy ad for homes and agents with little "real info" (I call it "house porn").

The NAR and the Media at large have very little credibility when it comes to real estate with savvy consumers. The media is chicken little running around saying the "sky is falling" and NAR is like Don Knotts whistling past the cemetary.

As local agents and Brokers we need to emphasize our honesty, knowledge of the market and educate the community to our best ability (whether that makes money for us this month or NOT). We MUST be 'trusted advisors or we should not call ourselves "professionals".

Dec 27, 2007 04:33 AM #30
Joe Cline
Affinity Properties, Inc - Austin, TX

Hey lane,

I agree with what you are saying. Within the national picture there are local markets and within those markets there are sub markets. The news media, the special interests (Wall Street Journal for example) and others can slice and dice the data to support whatever point they want to make at the time. I really think any analysis other than at the sub market level will always have exceptions and sometimes even contradictions. Great post!

Joe Cline
Coldwell Banker Austin Texas

Dec 27, 2007 04:37 AM #31
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy
The NAR neeeds to step back and look at reality, and get some better spokesperson. They need to educate the public about how real estate is local as well as looking at the big national picture.
Dec 27, 2007 05:27 AM #32
Heather Fitzgerald
REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc. - Greenwood, IN
REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate
Thanks for the info.  I am new to this portion of the industry, not to real estate, just to being a REALTOR.  Not surpised by the info you have passed along though.
Dec 27, 2007 05:36 AM #33
Suzanne Gantner
Sky Realty, Central Texas Real Estate - Round Rock, TX

Yes, lets' talk about the Austin, Tx market - we have (those that work on it and don't buy into the gloom and doom of the media) have had a great year.  Sure, we have alot of listings, sure we are up 28% from last year in listings but finally someone had a great plan....UREKA - isn't now a great time to buy?  Good prices, lots of inventory to select investors and clients are going nuts.  Why doesn't the media pick that up? I am afraid NAR is going to be sorely distanced..... 

SO my business plan for next year doesn't reflect any gloom, I am not buying into it!~!  Happy Selling - I am!!   

Dec 27, 2007 05:38 AM #34
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Tom - you are right that we all need to work on market-proofing out business.  It is a valid strategy.  It doesn't fix anything that I've talked about in my post, but it is a good way to build a personal protective layer around your business.  

Renee - Sorry, but it isn't USA Today's job, nor CNN or Fox, ABC, NBC or CBS's job to report about Birmingham's market.  I will agree that the Atlanta Journal Constitution SHOULD be reporting about local numbers, but the national media has every right to report about national trends... of course I wish they would mention that local markets are doing all sorts of different things.  

Graham - I think that after 12 consecutive reports that all begin with "the worst is behind" while 8 of those consecutively revise estimates downward might be a clue that maybe the worst wasn't behind.  Perhaps a report that began with "we blew that into the weeds..., oops."  Instead, trying to blow powdered sugar up everyone's butt is only a way to show that you can't be a trusted source for info. 

Karen - In the battle of wits, we sent in someone unarmed...  'nuf said.  

Ryan and Kieran - Thank you. 

Michael - It doesn't help when our trade group is seen as unable to predict the boom after the lighting of a fuse.

Ron - That isn't how the money is being spent... whole different post...  One that I am not qualified to deliver.  

Hugh - It is actually easier for a company to put together a health plan... the employees don't vote.  Those same people probably can't name their elected representatives... Congress, NAR... anything.  

Diane - Tent cities?

Donna - Thank you and I agree.  If it is going to hurt, tell me.  I had a nurse (delivering a shot to the butt) say "This isn't going to hurt a bit... brace yourself."  I got the message.  

It hurt.  

Kevin - See what I said to Tom above.

Anne - ditto above and Thank you.  

Bob - Did you say that just to get me started on Global Warming?  ;^ )

Seriously, if the NAR could put themselves in the same position as the Climate Change crowd, where if it changes it's out fault, and if it doesn't it's because they warned us, then the NAR would be staffed by geniuses.

Bill - The NAR doesn't have to be irrelevant.  They seem to want to be.  Aside from that I agree with about half of your comment.  Still trying to decide which half...   ;^ )

Don - Move to Atlanta, two MLSs, and you don't have to join a local association to join either of them.  I don't think that the MLSs should be tied to the local associations, but the fact remains that the local trade group got together an made it, that is why they get to own it...  I have mixed feelings.  

Sean - It WAS a great time to buy for many of those years.  When they were still saying it in late 2005, it was self-serving. 

Dean - Yes they are... "Flow, flow" (wolf in reverse...)

Debe - I can't say that I have seen any major media report that wasn't truthful.  I have seen opinions that I think were based on bad info... or just wrong (like the one that prompted yesterday's post), but reports are a different matter.  Don't confuse local market conditions for national reporting... or personal production for local conditions. 

Jim - Wow, thank you.  

Richard - Should have been stature... sorry.  Actually, I think real estate agents rank slightly better than lawyers... and just a touch behind cold sores.  My wife works for lawyers.  I think that they are great people (ok, some of them).  I think that the public feels the same way about real estate agents.  Individually we are nice people... collectively (as demonstrated by the NAR, ACLU and ATLA) not so much...  it's not the ones we know, it's those other schmucks. 

Marston - I agree with you on part of your comments.  I am not a unionist, but I also don't trust Congress to not do silly crap... look at the bailouts.  Heck, here in GA one of the morons at the state house thought that agents should buy low-flow toilets out of their commissions for all homes they sold.  

Joe - We all slice and dice the data.  As long as we do it honestly, and maintain our transparency with the truth, it is ok.  

Michael - Absolutely.

Heather - You're welcome.  It is a great job.  

Suzanne - The media should pick it up... in Austin.  But, people in _____, __ that are down by 24% this year don't care what is happening in Austin.  Local media should report local conditions framed by national conditions. 

Thank you all.  I appreciate EVERY comment, whether it agrees with my post or not.  Thank you for taking the time to pass along your thoughts.   

Dec 27, 2007 06:58 AM #35
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Lane:  There is no confusion here--except that I should have written 'articles' rather than 'reporting' for the NAR!  Our numbers in Charlotte speak for themselves and I think that oftentimes, the general public confuses the national, over-exaggerated articles on the market with our local market. 

Debe in Charlotte, NC

Dec 27, 2007 07:22 AM #36
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker
There are so many numbers to interpret.  Worked at radio stations that during Arbitron ratings week, always came out number one in some category to run with. It might be 12 year olds with blackheads or little ole ladies with blue hair and partial plates. But you were on some top of the pile! I just wished everything that is said to really think if it reflects "EVERYWHERE in the nation"..and if not, back off Jack.  And secondly, that anything said, see if it is a positive way to promote.  We are all in sales and wording and attitudes are everything.  We complain about a liberal negative press, yet fall in the same doom and gloom.  There is ALWAYS a market to work with..always.  If we spent less time complaining, waiting and studying it, and working it, life can be like a sporting event.  You never stop trying your hardest no matter what the score because the game is not over.
Dec 27, 2007 11:10 AM #37
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
NAR is just like everyone else.  No clue as to what is happening but trying to put a spin on the market that they hope will make it take off again.  Oh well I just work my local market and ignore what the pundits are saying.
Dec 27, 2007 12:03 PM #38
Russ Perlowski
People's Choice Realty Services LLC - Tampa, FL
Tampa Real Estate
NAR = Not About Reality
Dec 27, 2007 12:24 PM #39
Karl Burger
ERA Beach Ball Realty - Pensacola, FL
Pensacola Real Estate News

I am right with you on this one. I was just commenting on another blog today about how far off base NAR is in their predictions. I wonder who makes the ultimate decisions to be downright full of it when making these kind of predictions. Thanks for the post.

Dec 27, 2007 01:19 PM #40
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Debe - Here we can partially agree.  I think that the public isn't exposed, even by local media, to local conditions, but rather just told of the national trends.  Of course, I got roundly bashed by some agents here in Atlanta when I peed in their Wheaties by talking about actual numbers that weren't as favorable as they wanted them to be.

Andrew - I think balance is the key.  To say it's a great market... no matter what... all of the time... is disingenuous.  It can be spun that way.  Some markets are good for buyers, others for sellers...  But it always sucks for some, and rocks for others. 

Cindy - Don't ignore.  your clients know what is being said, and you need to be able to speak to those fears that may arise.  

Russ - There used to be a game on the internet call acrophobia.  it was cool.  But, the comment didn't help... and I think it was too short for 25 points.  

Karl - I wish I knew.  They would start their eyes rolling just at the sight of my email address... their delete finger would twitch...

Dec 27, 2007 02:11 PM #41
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer
I feel like you do Lane.  Each market is different with submarkets within that area market.  Maybe they should leave it to the area professionals to give that information.  I am talking area boards.  Ours do release information monthly but I think they should go deeper within the markets.  I see a bunch of misinformation about our market right here on AR and in the blogosphere.  The market that is lied about the most is our high rise market.  Makes me want to lose my lunch.
Dec 27, 2007 03:38 PM #42
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

I was so happy when the local media here finally got the hint that our market here isn't crashing and has been going up every month and never has gone backwards. They even said it this way "Despite our past reports how bad the market is, it seems we were wrong and Portland has been bucking the trend"

No kidding, the same things we agents have been telling you for two years now! Thanks for paying attention finally. Do you have a home on the market or something?

Dec 27, 2007 04:37 PM #43
Frank Jewett
tech4REpros - San Jose, CA
NAR economists remind me of the guys who used to hawk Beanie Babies on Shop at Home.  On the one hand they are just doing their job, but on the other hand they are killing their personal credibility.  One wonders if Yun was brought in because Lereah had exhausted his credibility fighting the good fight.  The most important thing to take away from examples like this is that NAR's positive spin doesn't change anything.  NAR is wasting their credibility with the public in a fruitless attempt to impress their own members.  Is this really what their members want?
Dec 27, 2007 05:08 PM #44
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Renee - And as I think most of us know, no matter what level market we talk about, there are spots inside of it that are vastly different...  So, how is the high-rise market there? 

Todd - You might actually be closer than you think.  I ran across someone that was in the media, and much of their perception was based on the house next door.  

Frank - I think that back in 2005, when the market was rocking, the NAR should have been saying "things are getting out of hand... we need to slow down and examine what we are doing."  That would have built an incredible amount of consumer credibility... instead we get "prices will NEVER go down... spend, baby, spend."  Now that the market has slowed, they would be better off saying "it's a different market, and those in it for the long haul will remain in a good position.  Short term buying is risky now... there might be further erosion of some markets."  

Honesty brings credibility.   

Dec 28, 2007 01:17 AM #45
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Tommy - Aside from getting your links on to a reasonably popular post, did this have anything to add?  This would be comment spam.  I'll probably delete the comment later...

Wishing You HAPPY HOLIDAYS and Best Wishes for A GREAT YEAR 2008.

Tommy   New York Certified Home Inspector Long Island NY Nassau/Suffolk/Queens Home Inspections


12/28/2007 by "Tommy" - Decebal Adamescu - Long Island NY Home Inspector   Delete Report as Spam

Nevermind, I'm reporting it as spam now, but thought I'd let everyone else that reads that reads this know what I was talking about.
Dec 29, 2007 01:11 AM #46
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results
Lane - is it figures don't lie but liars sure figure - go figure - or is it just impossible to predict the market to any degree of accuracy when outside influences affect it.
Dec 29, 2007 01:37 AM #47
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Kathy - I have some empathy for those trying to figure out the market.  But, as a good example, I just looked at the 2008 outlook for commercial sectors.  They are calling for flat growth, even though it is obvious in most markets that the commercial sector is overbuilt and vacancy rates are going up... they go so far as to say so.  But, instead of saying we need caution or something to that effect... they say it isn't bad...  I don't concentrate on commercial properties, but I know a few people that do, and they think it is going to be ugly in the commercial sector next year...

I know that the folks at NAR are smart enough to figure it out. 

Dec 29, 2007 07:05 AM #48
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