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The worst of 2007: a buyer's agent's view

Posted by Rona Fischman December 10, 2007 05:36 PM

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As a buyer's agent, what was the worst part of 2007?

The ongoing spin from my trade association, NAR.

The exploding number of "buyer's agents" out there who don't get it about conflicts of interest.

Staging and over-staging of homes for sale.

But the worst of the worst was the flip-side of what was best:

Falling prices and the death of subprime mortgages brought financial woes to many people. Those who over-reached -- whether of their own volition or by being encouraged by someone out to make a buck -- were hurt. Since the beginning of the run-up, mistakes washed out in the escalating market; if someone overpaid by 10 percent, they were even or ahead a year later. When the market went down in 2006, owners fell behind by what they overpaid plus 5 percent, or so, each year. If they bought with an ARM and/or at subprime rate, their rate adjusted up, their place is worth less, and they could not refinance it. In many cases, they also could not sell without taking a loss. There are people losing their homes and their credit. Those hurt were disproportionally working poor and working class, minorities and women.

The slow-down in demand has been hard on many people, including the real estate and mortgage industries. There are good people, as well as bad, out of work.

Those most badly hurt are those who were just making it. If you are inclined to help at this time of year, consider an anti-poverty agency. I am particularly fond of CAAS, which does tenant advocacy and eviction prevention. Think about it; there are always people worse off than you are!

So, what else fits the category “Worst of 2007?”

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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