Notes From Readers: Principal Reductions Redux

May 1, 2012

I find “Getting Right Side Up” (March/April 2012, page 39) unbelievable. The solution of having banks forgive a large chunk of principal on nonperforming residential loans won’t turn the problem right side up. First, the banks got themselves into this mess by sheer greed, offering low-interest loans to buyers who voluntarily elected to go along with their plan; neither one deserves a helping hand. Second, the author fails to mention that forgiven debt is taxable, so any home owner receiving a principal reduction will now face more in taxes. [Editor’s Note: True. However, for taxpayers who qualify, there’s federal tax relief on debt forgiveness through 2012.] Third, what does the proposal say to struggling home owners who have been making their payments? Last, the marketplace should determine “the floor” as to how low that investment will go. --Rick Ebert, Austin Landmark Property Services Inc. Austin, Texas

If the author is concerned that some home owners will default on purpose, why is this benefit going only to those who default? I am so tired of being punished for staying current. The underwater mortgage is sucking the financial life out of honest people. What is wrong with the president’s proposal to go ahead and reduce the principal and the rate for those who have stayed current through this crisis? --M-Lunie Fontaine, Premier Realty Team, Hollywood, Fla.

Seeing What’s New

I have read many issues of REALTOR® Magazine over a long career; the March/April 2012 issue is by far one of the great ones. Someone said at the convention last year, “I don’t want to read; I want to see.” This issue allows us to see what the news is, after which we can quickly get the story. Thank you. --Chris Wilson, First Choice PLLC, Laurel, Miss.

Attractiveness Study Turns Heads

An article in the Daily News about research on the effect of physical appearance on the income of real estate practitioners (“Attractive Agents Sell Homes for More Money?” April 13, 2012) generated dozens of heated comments. Readers took umbrage at the thought that the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® funded such research (it didn’t) or the suggestion that attractiveness leads to success (the research didn’t say that).

As a broker, I can tell you an agent’s looks have nothing to do with selling ability or sale price. --Gerald J. Frederick, Century 21 Aloha Properties, Honolulu

It’s interesting to see that many of the readers who commented didn’t comprehend the story very well. It states that just because [more attractive agents] may sell a listing for more money doesn’t mean that they make more than less attractive agents. It states that they tend to sell [fewer] properties than less attractive agents. Why does everyone want to react before fully understanding what the story says? We are all beautiful in our own  way, and for those who don’t think you are, cheer up, because apparently you are making more money than the pretties. --Samantha Davault, de Luxe Homes & Estates, Fort Worth, Texas

Correction: The name of 1988 NAR President Nestor Weigand Jr. was misspelled in the article “What did you learn about leadership as president of NAR?” (March/April 2012, page 14). REALTOR® Magazine regrets the error.


Survive in Real Estate Over the Next Decade

Real estate broker Tom Gillett offered “survival” tips at the 2012 Association Executives Institute, held in March in Louisville, Ky. A few recommendations: Be skeptical of fads hyped by the media, demonstrate your value proposition, and operate as “virtually” as possible.

Posted March 19 by Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

Tina Powers responded: I agree with the need to show your value proposition. In today’s market, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Craig McCall responded: [Real estate professionals who] have taken the initiative to retool and concentrate on their professional skill sets during the economic downturn will be well positioned to thrive in the years to come.

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