Notes From Readers: Exhibition Gets Rave Reviews

July 1, 2001

An estimated 1,000 REALTORS® toured the Smithsonian exhibition “Within These Walls . . .” (“One House, Many Stories,” June 2001, page 30) at a “REALTORS® only” day, May 15, at the National Museum of American History. The day marked the opening of this year’s Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.

Enthusiasm ran high, as evidenced by comments made in a guest book NAR displayed. REALTORS® called the exhibition “a home run,” “beautifully done,” and “moving.” More than one said the 240-year-old house reminded them of home.

“I’m proud to be a member of an association that sponsors this,” said one visitor. Another said, “Every REALTOR® should see this exhibition,” and yet another said NAR and the Smithsonian had done “a wonderful job of saving part of all of our lives.”

And finally there was this observation from Jerry Brewer, GAA, GRI, with Brewer Realty & Appraisal Services in Senatobia, Miss.: “The exhibition shows that none of us truly own real estate. We’re caretakers.”

Banks and Real Estate: Cut out the attacks

In “The great bank heist” (March 2001, page 15), you cite an NAR white paper and a member of NAR leadership accusing banks of all sorts of things, from collecting federal subsidies to not understanding the risks associated with a real estate transaction. Where are the subsidies banks receive? I’m an NAR member and a banker. I don’t have a position on banks’ getting into brokerage. But it appears to me that you find it easier to attack than to justify why REALTORS® can be better brokers.
Richard J. “Butch” Blanche, Eldridge, Iowa

NAR Research responds: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan has identified the federal safety net provided to banks by virtue of their federal charter as a subsidy. Any commercial bank or bank holding company has the subsidy, directly or indirectly. It begins with federal deposit insurance, which was mandated for commercial banks in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, the federal legislation that set in motion the bailout of the savings and loan industry. The safety net includes other advantages, too, including Federal Home Loan Bank membership, Federal Reserve payment guarantees, and government-imposed barriers to entering the banking business.

FIRREA also established the Resolution Trust Corp., whose purpose was to merge or liquidate troubled or insolvent S&Ls. The cost of the bailout to U.S. taxpayers was $87.5 billion. The figure comes from Managing the Crisis: The FDIC and RTC Experience, 1980-1994, published by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in August 1998.

Ethics: Buyers need representation

In “Ethics” a letter writer was concerned about representing a buyer in the purchase of a property the buyer had first seen with the listing agent (“Representing buyer after showing,” April 2001, page 30). Maryann Bassett’s answer that she’d “put [herself] in the listing salesperson’s shoes and then let [her] conscience be [her] guide” was inadequate. Buyers don’t want a “salesperson” but would like advice and counsel when making the largest purchase of their life. Procuring cause or not, the issue is, should the buyer have separate representation? The answer is yes. Listing salespeople should put themselves in the buyers’ shoes and let their conscience be the guide.
Victor Gerth, homebuyer specialist, Galand Haas Team, RE/MAX Integrity, Eugene, Ore.

Bassett responds: The buyer didn’t have an agency relationship with the listing agent and wanted to be represented by the letter writer. A REALTOR® entering an agency relationship with buyers after a showing isn’t violating the Code of Ethics, but an expectation of compensation from the listing agent might result in a procuring cause claim.

Whether exclusive representation is the only way buyers want to work with a practitioner has been debated for years. It seems to me that buyers benefit most from full disclosure of the options and informed consent.

Correction

In the May 2001 issue ("30 Under 30: Stars of Generation Next," page 38), the photo credit," 2001 Kay Chernush Photography," was omitted from the photo of Yusef Khatib. We apologize for the oversight.

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