Several of my blog posts have commented on the media and their spin on real estate related issues. It is interesting that they make drama on just about every subject. Lately, there has been too much about Lady Gaga’s meat dress, and the Florida pastor that wants to burn the Quran—neither of which are stories that (in my humble opinion) deserve any media time. (Yet, ironically, here I am mentioning these stories yet again.)
There has also been a great deal of media hype associated with loan modifications and the government’s HAMP program. In 2009, this President told the masses that four million borrowers would be able to take advantage of this program. Yet earlier this year I reported that only 13 percent had actually successfully completed those HAMP modifications. Yes, the bank’s inability to process the paperwork in a quick and efficient manner is much to blame. And, sadly, the victim of Fannie Mae’s latest industry decision with regard to foreclosure will be the homeowner who is caught between a rock and a hard place waiting for the bank to address their loan modification while the investor is moving aggressively towards foreclosure.
I hold the media partially responsible. You bet I do. If they had not spent so much time publicizing these modifications, individuals who cannot and/or would not qualify would not be on that sinking ship.
I am also a little bit irritated about Time Magazine’s September 6, 2010 cover story entitled “Rethinking Homeownership.” I enjoy Time Magazine and this is an extremely well-written article and a good case is made for certain individuals to avoid homeownership as if it were the Plague. But, what does that negative spin do to our national economy? If that same story was reported in a tabloid, the results might be quite different. However, the long term impact of an article antagonizing homeowners as members of a ‘cult’ (the cult of homeownership) is really not going to help us get buyers off of the fence and into homes. The long term result of such an article could be a partial paralysis of the housing market.
Wall Street Journal did have a great rebuttal, and most folks are already aware of the great advantages of homeownership and purchasing a home right now: low interest rates, low prices, positive tax benefits, etc.
As real estate agents, we already face many challenges. Most of us took a huge cut in pay that began in 2007 when housing prices in many areas fell significantly. Additionally, many home buyers and sellers have trouble understanding that we do provide something of value: we know the contracts, we know the neighborhoods, and we know the best way to get a home buyer and/or seller the best deal possible. But, with sales people, in general, having getting a negative rep (think: used car salesman stereotype), our job gets pretty tough.
But, all in all, it is a great job. It is a thrill to help a young couple buy their first home and then help them to buy a larger one after they have two children. It is an amazing feeling to help a friend of a friend avoid foreclosure by negotiating their short sale. The folks that you meet along the way become long-lasting friends. For all of these reasons, I am able to get up every day and and do my job. It doesn’t matter whether Time Magazine maligns the market; I can take all the media spin.
The big question is…. can you?
Liked this post? Here are a few more of my past posts written on similar issues.