Monday, April 30, 2007

Econo-Whore Lereah to leave NAR

In what could have been a move to restore some semblance of credibility, the National Association of Realtors chief economist David Lereah is stepping down. He will become chairman & parter of a new division being started by Move, Inc.

Lereah is probably one of the most vilified individuals in blogosphere history.

Lereah is fairly infamous for his uncanny ability to NEVER be correct about the US housing market. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but Lereah demonstrated NAR subscribed to the May West theory of Optimistic Forecasting: Too much of a good thing is wonderful! NAR clearly never really wanted an economist, as much as they wanted a perma-optimist who would ALWAYS be wrong on the upside. "Realism" it seems, doesn't quite sell as many houses as a "pump-N-dump" cheerleader.

One thing I have no doubt about: Lereah is going to make more money at Move, Inc. than he ever did at NAR. This man's ability to turn persistent delusions of grandeur into money says volumes about human nature. We only want to hear what we want to hear, and organizations will pay dearly for someone who can persistently and voluminously delude the masses into swallowing their bullshit.

Before you head down to the nearest watering hole to celebrate this victory for the American homebuying public, know that Move, Inc. is the owner of Realtor.com. This website is something of a nationwide clearinghouse for listings. Clive's inventory counter uses this website to compute outstanding inventory in the Bend area. Hopefully Lereah and his penchant for borderline fraudulent representations are kept as far away from the database as possible.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shit. Who am I going to make fun of now?

--TimToe

Adhor said...

I wonder if he was asked to step down, or if Move, Inc. just offered him a fortune.

Gotta wonder about the ethical standards of ANY org that'd hire Lereah.

Anonymous said...

I have to think that there were more than a few people at NAR who understood that Lereahs' BS was actually costing them a lot of credibility. And now that the US housing bust is well and truly joined, maybe NAR is looking for a scapegoat(?)

John M said...

uh, a broken clock is right twice a day.

Anyway, thanks for the plug! ;)

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

CACB Shorter --

Maybe Move, Inc. is your next big payday? (symbol: MOVE)

What did you ultimately clear on that CACB short? Damn, that was sweet.

Anonymous said...

On CACB I shorted 5500 shares at 30 and closed out at 23.4.
Of course I would have made a bit more money if I had held on a little bit longer (or if I had really shorted a lot more).
Plan to buy my wife a new car.
-CACB Shorter (Formerly)

Anonymous said...

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Real estate broker accused of unauthorized home sale
State agency suspends license after multiple complaints
By David Fisher / The Bulletin
Published: May 02. 2007 5:00AM PST

A Bend real estate broker accused of trying to sell a home she wasn't authorized to sell has had her license suspended.

The Oregon Real Estate Agency suspended Mt. Hood Realty Group sole practitioner Lyn Hellen's license for a year, beginning May 18, and placed restrictions on it for an additional two years, according to a stipulated order signed last month by Hellen and acting Real Estate Commissioner Katie Cannon.

The suspension stemmed from three complaints filed against Hellen over three separate Bend home transactions during the red-hot housing markets of 2005 and early 2006, according to an agency document labeled Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Hellen signed the document on April 17, according to the state's records, agreeing to accept its conclusions as true and agreeing not to fight the license suspension.

Reached on her cell phone Tuesday, Hellen said she sold 70 houses in 2005, mostly in conjunction with Web sites that promote low-commission real estate sales with limited help from brokers.

She blamed the state's charges and her license suspension on full-commission, full-service Realtors who pushed the state to act because they felt threatened by her low-cost success.

"That's what it boils down to," Hellen said. "I've never had one complaint from a customer. They were all just from Realtors who ganged up and were jealous."

One of the three complaints that led to Hellen's suspension came from a former principal broker at NorthWest Crossing Realty, said Becky Osborne, regulation division manager for the state's Real Estate Agency. Another came from a client of Hellen's who lost out on a home purchase in early 2005. The third came from a woman who tried to buy a property that Hellen personally owned.

In the NorthWest Crossing deal, Hellen was accused of trying to sidestep NorthWest Crossing Realty's representation of its own client, a builder, in order to negotiate a sale directly with the builder, according to the state's written findings. The builder signed a contract in July 2005 with price and downpayment amounts that had been daubed away with white-out and changed by Hellen, according to the findings. That contract was later voided. By the time the deal finally closed in August 2005, the price had risen from $501,200 to $523,965, according to the state's findings.

In another deal that started in December 2004, Hellen offered a home for sale on Hastings Street, telling a potential client that it was owned by a business partner of hers, according to the findings. But the partner did not actually own the house. Instead, the partner had put an offer on it three weeks earlier, the findings said.

While Hellen, on behalf of her partner, agreed to sell the house to her client for $250,000, the partner's deal to buy it fell through, according to the findings. His brother later bought it, then refused the client's subsequent offer to buy it for $275,000. Hellen's client never got the house.

In a third case, Hellen apparently wrangled with the potential buyer of one of her own homes over washer, dryer and refrigerator allowances and other contract details, according to the state. Hellen eventually nullified the deal altogether. In the process, the findings say, she failed to retain adequate records, and made "material misrepresentations" when she threatened at one point in the negotiations to jump to a backup buyer who did not exist.

The one-year license suspension stemmed from numerous violations of the state's administrative codes, according to the findings, including material misrepresentations of fact, attempting to sell property without the consent of the actual owner, advertising violations and failure to maintain adequate records.

Hellen's suspension was not the stiffest penalty the agency can dish out, Osborne noted. Licenses can be revoked altogether for the most serious violations, and the worst of the worst can be referred for criminal prosecution. On the other end of the scale, complaints can result in simple reprimands, or in no disciplinary action at all.

Records aren't routinely kept on the number or severity of disciplinary actions, Osborne said, but at any given time the agency is working on 150 or so complaint files. A look through the past year's worth of disciplinary actions posted in the agency's newsletter indicates that Hellen's suspension was longer than most suspension terms, but not the longest.

Through 2006, six brokers had their licenses revoked, mostly for incidences that involved the misuse of clients' earnest money. Sixteen were reprimanded, and seven were suspended, including a Beaverton pair suspended for 2 1/2 years for encouraging another firm's agent to write contracts through their agency before he left his old firm.

Hellen said her suspension is irrelevant to her business today because she has transitioned almost entirely into trading and maintaining her own properties, anyway.

"I make a living through buying and selling real estate," she said. "That's not going to change. It's really not changing my life at all."

Anonymous said...

What a winner.