The private sector and government leaders must be on guard as trillions of public dollars wash through the economic system and a broken economy can become a feasting ground for unsavory opportunists

Could “iBuyers cause the next S&L style crisis, how can realtors help! The public only believes what they want to believe hence why people will take out their life savings and give to scammers over the phone

I will try not to bore you with too many facts, I’ve provided enough for you to drill down and investigate on your own.

While working Broker Price Opinions for asset managers from 2009 thru 2014 Germany’s Deutsche Bank seemed to populate the industry. Then a bold well-written, “Non-fiction” business book about a white-collar criminal scheme can be a book you will not put down! By David Enrich’s book Dark Tower. Another “The Spider Network!”

The worst part of these stories is how many banks and their lavishly paid executives enriched themselves at the expense of others.

One political issue that has enjoyed “BI_PARTISAN” support over the last 40 years is allowing Wall Street to have its way with laws and regulations. President Regan deregulated the banks, President Clinton erased the 60 year old Glass Steagall Act. Both President Bush and Obama followed the same hands-off policies, but they also acted quickly to bail out big financial institutions that were guilty of fueling the subprime loan crisis.

The private sector and government leaders must be on guard as trillions of public dollars wash through the economic system and a broken economy can become a feasting ground for unsavory opportunists.

The good news is that everyone will receive a report card on their behavior during the COVID-19 lockdown and its aftermath. Today, transparency is a powerful watchdog. Consider the rapid backlash against companies that tried to unfairly enrich themselves from the Payroll Protection Program loans. Thanks to the sunshine, companies were busted with shame and bad public relations and in a few cases, arrests.

Real estate is again ripe for bad deeds

In our industry, chances are that mortgage forbearance will turn into foreclosure, and that always brings out some shady characters.

Low-level, white collar crime is common when it comes to housing shenanigans. But the big players can wreak the most damage by taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners, while never breaking the law.

iBuyers are back, for example, which is leading the way with billions of dollars from private equity. But the context has changed in the last couple of months, as we begin to see more desperate owners and anxious sellers. When iBuyers launched several years ago, vulnerable homeowners were not the backdrop because the market was healthy and the economy strong. That could change quickly, as the housing market becomes more precarious.

Historically, private equity funds are eager to buy up foreclosed homes or houses from troubled sellers with little concern for the consequences. This time, they can move more quickly with vehicles like Zillow, Offerpad, Opendoor et al. While partnering with Wall Street has rewards like ready access to capital, these tech companies must also be faithful guardians of the public trust. If private equity becomes predatory, the alarms should go off.

Realtors are one line of defense

Realtors must interject themselves in the iBuying equation to ensure sellers are protected from what could be an unseemly partnership. The commission dollars may be smaller, but never has the agent’s role been more important.

During the foreclosure mess 10 years ago, real estate agents played a vital role helping all parties. Many helped local banks unload properties, or they protected buyers on the other side. In other cases, agents worked with sellers who faced foreclosure with solutions such as short sales to free them from bad credit down the road. Realtors did not cause nor could it stop the misery, but they could help people navigate the mishmash.

Sticking companies with big debt payments, private equity has also had a hand in destroying businesses, when it swoops in and buys companies. And the government has provided generous tax breaks to enable such sales, many of which are questionable deals that hurt otherwise healthy companies.

Too much debt suffocates innovation

When the housing market collapsed in 2010, its debt forced Realogy to make widespread layoffs and hampered its brands from innovating. As an example, companies like Coldwell Banker and Century 21 were once powerful online consumer destinations, but they lost out to Zillow and Trulia when Realogy stopped innovating. It had no other choice but to partner with the two big portals.

Many managers inside these brands often rant about Compass. But ironically, it took its playbook from the original Realogy roll-up. And the franchisor’s hobbled position made it easier for Compass to steal share quickly. 

Regardless, the carnage and missteps like we saw during the last recession will happen this time around. It is too early to know what mistakes are being made and by whom. When you are in the middle of the fireball, it is difficult to see clearly.

In the end, we should not hamper a free market or even consider putting an end to capitalism. That would be stupid. But we should curtail Wall Street’s heavy-handed political influence and its generous tax breaks that serve no public purpose. And we need better protections and policing to prevent fraud, to slow down real estate predators and to crack down on corruption. Then, let the free market run its course so entrepreneurs can thrive, and so new businesses can be created from an abundant source of capital to fund these enterprises.

Credits go to Brad Inman, and my experiences in the Real Estate Market Place.

Today, a lot of buyers are making decisions from afar, and sellers need to step up their game when it comes to prepping their homes for sale. How can we help virtually?

Here is a brief synopsis of the protocol I will manage with my sellers! We will cover more detail in a call!

Despite many states and localities lifting stay-at-home restrictions on various levels, the days of in-person visits to a seller’s home may still be sidelined for now. With the real estate buying process largely going virtual, you’ll have to step up your game when it comes to prepping your home for sale.

It’s critically important that how a home shows online translates to the way it looks in person (or better). So, in our “NEW NORMAL” of social distancing, how can we as agents better prepare our sellers from afar? Here are eight ways to virtually prep a home for sale.

1. Send pictures

I ask you as the seller to take pictures and videos of your home and send them to me. This should include shots of the exterior as well as the interior of all rooms in the house.

2. Schedule a video walk-through

If you or someone in your household — have the technology to communicate by video, let’s schedule a “Virtual Walk Through! where you can take me through the home “LIVE.” This way I can walk with you through the various areas of your home, we’ll have a conversation from my notes I’ve developed from the pictures you sent and perhaps offer suggestions.

3. Follow up with a list of action items

Preparing a home for sale is not an easy thing to do in person under the best of circumstances, let alone Virtually. There’s a lot of information flowing back and forth.

To recap what we’ll discus, I’ll send you in an email, a list of recommendations, room by room. Essentially creating a “prep for sale” checklist that you a seller can refer to so we don’t forget anything.

4. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words

Whether in fashion or home decor, having visuals always helps. The same goes for getting your home ready for sale. I’ll send examples of competitive, well-presented properties that are active, under contract or recently sold within the last six months in the vicinity of your home. This will give you an idea of the look we’re trying to help achieve.

5. Send post-prep-work photos

After the prep work has been done, send me your photos and videos showing the changes you’ve made or propose. We’ll make notes of any items that may need adjustments, and brain storm ideas!

6. Schedule an in-person visit before going live

Prior to me scheduling a photographer taking photos. Let’s schedule a walk-through to review everything in person and go over”showing protocol!” We’ll have a conversation on how I will manage showings and who will be responsible for protective gear. Will it be myself or a person on my staff entertaining the showing for the buyers and or their agent. I may provide the wipes, and hand cleaner or if you feel more comfortable you may use your own and cleansing whips.

7. Take my own photos, and do a video walk-through on my phone

I’m finding that it’s best to schedule taking the photos and videos until we can arrange an appropriate time for everyone to meet the photographers and obtain pictures and video, it may be helpful to have a quick repository of photos and video content that I can send to potential prospects.

8. Besides photos, consider video, aerial and 3D

In today’s market, many buyers are making decisions from afar. The more options we use to showcase your property virtually from all angles, the better chance your property has to sell faster and for top dollar. This is why the way you prep your home “Matters” now more than ever.

This is a brief synopsis of some of the preparation we’ll begin with. Once we have a conversation I will share more explicit avenues, and detailed matters with you. I want your home to sell for the highest and best offer in the shortest amount of time. This is what I do best.