BMIT

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Raybyrnes on January 12, 2009 - 9:48pm

What happened to Bubble Market Inventory Tracker? I know the author purchased a house but I used the links to get to the other real estate blogs.

That was a really good blog. I would ask the author if he reads this to put it back up.

Submitted by Trojan4Life on January 15, 2009 - 7:07pm.

Some interesting posts, some of which I think require a little more consideration.

SDNerd has an interesting theory that it is possible for a neighborhood's value to be manipulated through the postings on a blog. That's a real chin-scratcher there, and it makes me wonder.

Think about a theoretical blogger exhorting his fairly vast, regionally-focused readership to lowball bids on homes in targeted neighborhoods based upon the blogger's desire to drive prices down in those neighborhoods to facilitate a purchase at a price they are comfortable with. Sounds a little like stock price manipulation, but virtually the same. Imagine the economic impact felt by those neighborhoods, and the anger those people would feel if that blogger in fact had that kind of impact. I know it's a stretch, but it's only a theory.

Then add into the mix that information about the purchase is disclosed to someone this blogger apparently trusts, because some relationships have been formed between posting individuals to the point where a trust bond was created. Imagine if that blogger disclosed to the person he trusted the way they got such a great deal, and the trusted party - acting in an ethical manner - said that the blogger may have acted illegally, unethically and at the very least immorally, and thought the blogger should be sued. The fact that the trusted party stated they would not actively disclose the blogger's identity makes me for one pause and think. Then, through the power of the blogosphere, other uncover the scheme because certain regular posters to the blog - posters who may be that trusted person - are not weighing in.

These thoughts are purely theoretical, but it makes you wonder...SD Realtor and SDRealtor, what do you think?????

Submitted by SD Realtor on January 15, 2009 - 8:06pm.

Trojan I guess theoretically it is possible yet unlikely. Think about it the other way. My favorite example is the home around the corner from me in Scripps. I will not use the street name here but it is a type of wine with an R....Anyways I was enraged that some bobo bought it for what they paid last year. It was a flip. The home was purchased in the low 600's and purchased for close to 800 maybe a bit more or less as I haven't looked at the tax roll for awhile. The guy paid cash!!!

This was a TOTAL softball. This is what happens when buyers do not study the data or conversely the agent does not study the area right?

So let's take your example. A blogger wants to buy a home in a particular subdivision so he invests alot of time and energy nuking the area...Could he succeed in actually lowering the comps? I guess it is arguable that he could but if the neighborhood was of decent quality and it was priced to sell the homes would sell. If I had a client looking at the neighborhood and they asked me why homes were not selling I would look at the data, not look at the blogs.

It is a tough call. Virtually all of my buyers ask me the same question:

What do you think of the price?

My answer is always the same. I think the price is to high and that it will depreciate in the future until we hit bottom.

So I don't really think that the blogosphere has enough clout to manipulate real estate pricing. I think there are way to many savy people out there who would jump on inventory that fell prey to that.

*************************************************

I think that I fall on a different side of the coin with respect to posting public data. I know Rus and I have a bit different opinion there. Once upon a time a Carmel Valley home that I was involved with popped up on BMIT. I was the selling agent, represented the buyer, who had purchased the home from a private party who had purchased the home at trustee sale.

So my client got a smoking price on the deal and the home was flagged and highlighted on BMIT. I didn't really even know until someone had actually discussed that home here on Piggington. So when I went to BMIT I put in a long post that actually stated the facts. I think JPINPB had initially brought up the post and I was pissed at first and then cooled down. I guess to someone on the outside it could look bad. With all of that said, even though there were ALOT of IDIOTIC statements and presumptions, there was nothing that would have been litigation worthy in the entire thread.

Think of it this way... how many times have there been posts on here about suspicious transactions? ALOT. most of them were harmless ignorance on the part of the posters but every so often one of them indeed rang true.

Anyways personally I am sorry to see BMIT go because I think the owner of the site is indeed a good guy. I do agree that there is an obligation to try to stick to the facts and avoid speculation and that is where things get quite difficult. Could a sophisticated scheme work with many people rather then one poster. I suppose.

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on January 15, 2009 - 8:09pm.

Trojan: Using your scenario as an example, it would appear that the blogger might potentially be guilty of inducement to fraud as well as collusion. The problem with that is this: Unlike a "pump and dump" scheme, the homeowners in question are under no obligation to accept the lowball offers and, even presupposing that the blogger in question commands that sort of vast readership, there would have to be enough individuals in that area willing to go and make offers.

On the face of it, it appears like a conspiracy of sorts, but it falls apart when you pay closer attention. However, and here you make a good point, if there was a third party who was aware of the conspiracy, well, that changes the calculus somewhat. It would certainly be unethical and immoral, but it's doubtful that it would actually be illegal and, therefore, where is the threat to this blogger? He wouldn't really be facing criminal and/or civil charges, so why worry?

Submitted by PCinSD on January 15, 2009 - 8:26pm.

Allan basically got it: Causation could be a tad bit difficult to establish. And damages.

Submitted by NotCranky on January 15, 2009 - 9:03pm.

SDR,
I looked for one of the threads where we discussed this public info topic. It was on the thread where OCrenter brought up an incident in which someone was threatening retaliation against him. That thread and many other Ocrenter Pigginton threads, interestingly enough, have been renamed and zeroed out.

My policy comes from the golden rule basically and has less to do with fear of being sued.I do think it is especially improper for Realtors to do it. If I were a FB I wouldn't enjoy my case being paraded around on the Internet.Anyone else want the specifics of their home & other property stats including addresses posted here for discussion?

Submitted by patientlywaiting on January 15, 2009 - 9:30pm.

There is no basis for any lawsuit.

It's perfectly OK to discuss public transactions.
People have been doing that since the founding of America. The Net is like a townsquare.

The only hassle would be to respond to a lawsuit.

http://lajolla.whoboughtwhat.com/news/?c...

Remember the Ummel case?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/busine...

If Realtors can't be sued (successfully) for pumping up the comps, then bloggers who bad-mouth a neighborhood can't be sued either.

If I overpaid, I would sue the appraisers who may have used comps which were fraudulent to justify prices. The Ummels actually settled with the appraiser.

Submitted by SD Realtor on January 15, 2009 - 10:57pm.

Hi Rus

I absolutely understand with what you are saying. I think there is a difference though in simply stating facts without speculation verses presenting factual data in a biased manner.

You are correct that it is simply more of a golden rule approach and that does make alot of sense.

Submitted by NotCranky on January 16, 2009 - 9:17am.

Hi A,

I am sure your policy and intentions on this topic are fine. I remember the occurrence on BMIT that you referenced. You handled it quite well.

Thinking about the sdlookup forum, that is a site designed for discussing listed properties.Like you say, without speculation and accusation it is probably fine.

Submitted by patientlywaiting on January 16, 2009 - 10:42am.

SD Realtor wrote:
I think there is a difference though in simply stating facts without speculation verses presenting factual data in a biased manner.

You are correct that it is simply more of a golden rule approach and that does make alot of sense.

Some questions and comments:

- Do realty insiders ever discuss facts without speculation?

- Didn't Realtors tell their buyers that they think that prices would increase x%? Buy now or you never be able to buy again. This neighborhood is gentrifying. Interest rates are low, buy now, it's a lifetime opportunity. Obama will stabilize home prices. The Fed will ignite inflation.

- What's wrong with speculating that prices will drop? Or that gang activity in a neighborhood will increase?

- What's wrong with speculating that a buyer can't afford the house or that he bought or obtained shaky financing to buy it? What's wrong with speculating about a possible foreclosure or bankruptcy soon to come? People have been doing that for age in their own forums (at home, on the town square, at the water cooler, at the country club, etc...).

Blogs are social networks. They are like private journals that the writer chooses to share with other readers.

Don't worry, people can continue to speculate that a person is pregnant, or had an affair with the neighbor, or is about to lose the house in foreclosure without fear of lawsuits.

I remember a realtor posting that he looks in the closet to see if a spouse might have moved out. Isn't that speculation?

Submitted by DWCAP on January 16, 2009 - 10:52am.

Russel,

Here is my problem with you stance. As I understand it, OCR did live by the golden rule. He wasnt nice to people, but when the request was made he provided the details about his/her own purchase. You make it seem like as soon as he bought he tried to hide it, but didnt want other people to hide. I dont know, but I believe it unlikly, that OCR ever tried to SUE someone who purchased a house. There is a world of difference between badmouthing someones decisions with public facts on a public forum, and attempting to sue someone to hurt them financially. He was willing to provide the details about his purchase, and I have to believe that he realized that it could end up on a blog somewhere (hopefully without outing him) and analized. Only when financial ruin was brought into the picture did he stop. Was OCR ever directly responsible for bringing financial ruin on the subjects of on of his stories?

The golden rule is great and all, but in the course of public discourse, the censurship of "you were not nice to me" cannot be tollerated if we are to have a truthful discussion.

And T4L, I would also like to hear how OCR created a lack of creditability using public facts. Ethics is debateable, cause your ethics and mine can be very different. But creditablility says that the guy isnt believeable, or most commonly called lying, and I am curios how you came up with that charge.

Submitted by jpinpb on January 16, 2009 - 11:12am.

We can't really be calling into question OCR's ethics, especially considering the featured properties, some of realtors, and the fraud committed and the walkaways occurring. I guess that would be hypocritical, now would it.

Submitted by NotCranky on January 16, 2009 - 1:25pm.

DWCAP,
I don't know anything about OCR's purchase and ensuing flack. I don't think I am making reference to that? It probably is angry people giving him trouble out of revenge, justified or not.

Like you say opinions on ethics are variable. That is not necessarily my point though. It just seemed pretty predictable that he would have problems with this. I think that started way before he bought a house. It seems to me, he, by his behavior, especially the deleted material, is slowly admitting that something other than his house purchase is questionable. I hope all is well in the long run.

JP, I guess it could be hypocritical depending on the source. There is nothing in my past that makes my commentary hypocritical. I just don't see what it matters that the problems include an element of hypocrisy.Hypocrisy is endemic to our society, especially business culture.The blog wasn't working or else it would still be up. Maybe there is a better way to accomplish whatever the legitimate goal was?

As far as the public square comparision goes,well yeah, you can go to a public square and gossip at your own risk. I wouldn't think at any time in history it would be a good idea to print and distribute material, factual or not, which included accusations of unethical or criminal wrongdoing that affected some one's fame and fortune. If you do, expect a backlash.Seems like common sense.

Submitted by Raybyrnes on January 17, 2009 - 8:34am.

It's not quite as good as BMIT but Housing Kaboom is not so bad

http://housing-kaboom.blogspot.com/

Submitted by TheBreeze on January 17, 2009 - 9:33am.

LOL at realtors and this T4L guy discussing a conspiracy to drive down house prices in a neighborhood. Do you think OCR wrote all those articles for four years in hopes that he could eventually drive down the price of a single house? What a friggin' joke!

And where were you guys when prices were rising to insane levels? How come you didn't have your panties in a bunch during the ride up? Was it because you were benefitting? Maybe you yourself as a realtor or appraiser or whatever contributed to the insanity with some hype of your own?

Rest assured that there were many more conspiracies to drive prices up than there will ever be to drive prices down. Our own government has put in place a system to inflate house prices beyond any reasonable level and is to this day using incredible amounts of taxpayer money to keep house prices unaffordable.

And for God's sake T4L, if you're going to trot out some entity with 'ethics', pick something else other than the mainstream media. The MSM was gorging themselves on ad revenue from the real estate and mortgage brokerage industries during the whole time this bubble was inflating and didn't dare print a negative word about it. The MSM is about as ethical as Bernie Madoff.

All of the housing bubble bloggers should be commended for their efforts. They were out there putting their ass on the line trying to protect people when our own government wasn't doing anything about this crazy housing bubble and was in fact working against us.

Thanks for fighting the good fight, OCR. You helped a lot of people, including me.

Submitted by NotCranky on January 17, 2009 - 9:44am.

Breeze, Not sure why I care about this discussion but it has nothing to do with being a shill. I was a concientious objector on the bubble after spring of 2003. I sat it out until about a month ago. You flap your mouth as bad as any realtor I have ever met.

Submitted by TheBreeze on January 17, 2009 - 9:54am.

If you don't care about it, then why not keep your own flap shut? Stop giving troll's ideas on ways to seek some kind of petty revenge against OCR.

Submitted by Trojan4Life on January 17, 2009 - 10:02am.

Breeze,

If everything OCR did to make his purchase was above board, why would he be worried that someone has information about his identity that could lead to him being sued?

There's more to this than meets the eye, but the legions of BMIT readers aren't willing to look further than their nose.

Submitted by NotCranky on January 17, 2009 - 10:10am.

I didn't say I don't care. I think I said I don't know why I care. I don't want to hurt the guy.I am surprised that OCR continued up to this point. I warned him a long time ago and I guess that is the hook for me...seeing this thing unfold. I am ready to drop it ,but every post I make someone counters the common sense angle that I think I am providing. I am not going to respond any more....so that I don't cause OCR any more problems.

O.k One mistake I made was congratulating T4life without understanding that he may have an BS angle. Maybe he does maybe he doesn't. I am out of this one.

Submitted by TheBreeze on January 17, 2009 - 10:25am.

Trojan4Life wrote:
Breeze,

If everything OCR did to make his purchase was above board, why would he be worried that someone has information about his identity that could lead to him being sued?

There's more to this than meets the eye, but the legions of BMIT readers aren't willing to look further than their nose.

I can think of all sorts of valid reasons for OCR not to broadcast his identity and his address on his very popular blog.

Have any of the Pigg posters broadcast their address? None that I can recall. Heck, even though I'm beloved by practically every one here, it's likely that even I will decide to keep my ID and address private when/if I decide to buy.

Submitted by waiting hawk on January 17, 2009 - 4:03pm.

Trojan4Life wrote:
Breeze,

If everything OCR did to make his purchase was above board, why would he be worried that someone has information about his identity that could lead to him being sued?

There's more to this than meets the eye, but the legions of BMIT readers aren't willing to look further than their nose.

I got to ask. Are you that same guy the followed Casey around and starting websites about him? The weirdos surrounding that story around reminds me of this guy. What the hell do you care guy? stfu already you have to much time on your hands I guess. Again start up your own blog and post what you want.

Submitted by zk on January 17, 2009 - 11:03am.

Trojan4Life wrote:
Breeze,

If everything OCR did to make his purchase was above board, why would he be worried that someone has information about his identity that could lead to him being sued?

There's more to this than meets the eye, but the legions of BMIT readers aren't willing to look further than their nose.

T4L,

Anybody can sue anybody. Whether they have legitimate grounds or not. If OCR gets sued, he's got to defend himself, and that costs money. Whether he ends up winning the case or not. To answer the questions people have been asking you about why you're questioning OCR's ethics with, "he's afraid of getting sued, therefore he must have done something wrong" is to not answer the questions at all.

So you still haven't answered the questions. And now you look like someone who's attacked someone else's integrity without cause. If that bothers you, perhaps you should answer the questions.

Submitted by patientlywaiting on January 17, 2009 - 11:06am.

Trojan4Life wrote:
Breeze,

If everything OCR did to make his purchase was above board, why would he be worried that someone has information about his identity that could lead to him being sued?

There's more to this than meets the eye, but the legions of BMIT readers aren't willing to look further than their nose.

Responding to a lawsuit (even a frivolous one) is costly and time consuming and a big hassle.

Implode-o-meter was sued by a mortgage company that lost financing allegedly because of leaks on implode-o-meter about their financial health.

The suit was thrown out but but Aaron Krowne had to spend thousands to defend himself. Then he had to incorporate to protect himself.

http://ml-implode.com/

OCR has no obligation to post his address or defend his purchase.

I see OCR as someone who chronicles the housing bubble as a pass-time on his blog. Just because he ridicules knife catchers, doesn't preclude him from being one himself.

His speech is protected speech. If you don't like it, don't read it.

One good reason to remain anonymous is if you can't be served, then you can't be sued.

Submitted by ocrenter on January 17, 2009 - 3:45pm.

thank you to everyone's support, it is much appreciated.

someone on this board has a very wild and active imagination, a need to prove his academic theory right, and a lot of time. those make for very deadly and dangerous combination.

Submitted by CA renter on January 17, 2009 - 4:17pm.

Since the real estate industry makes every attempt to keep transaction information opaque, I think OCR was doing a tremendous public service in exposing **possible** fraud and speculative transactions.

Buyers need to be informed, and the RE industry is NOT going to be where the legitimate information comes from.

Is anyone here suggesting we should hide fraudulent transactions or flips and speculative transactions? I would hope not.

There is no way OCR's posts could have affected a neighborhood's value. The only people I know who pay attention to these blogs are those whom I've met through the blogs. I've run into a few bubble sitters, and NONE of them were blog readers. I imagine very few "regular" purchasers read these blogs at all, or are even aware of their existence.

Submitted by ocrenter on January 17, 2009 - 7:33pm.

from UT today:

Single mother Kelly Soban, who in 2004 bought two homes using $350,000 in proceeds from the sale of a previous house, recently sold one of them for substantially less than what she paid for it to avoid foreclosure.

I was really poorly advised every step of the way from different people, and my Realtor kept saying, 'The market will get better; keep paying the mortgage,' ” said Soban, who still owns her home in Clairemont. An investment house she bought in Lakeside for $510,000 recently sold for $278,000

the goal over the last 3 years was to provide just some balance to the avalanche of poor advise out there. and seriously, we can only do so much convincing with data, charts, and graphs.

Submitted by jpinpb on January 17, 2009 - 8:18pm.

It's sad to hear these kind of stories. People will believe/trust Realtors as the end-all be-all experts and when you even have the government pushing home ownership and banks willing to qualify anyone, well, we all know how it went down.

Thanks for giving the other perspective and flip side of the coin.

Submitted by NotCranky on January 17, 2009 - 9:13pm.

CA renter,

"Is anyone here suggesting we should hide fraudulent transactions or flips and speculative transactions? I would hope not."

Maybe I am just pessimistic CA renter. I don't think fraud is acceptable or should be hidden. I don't think anyone is going to do much about some of the more common stuff like liar loans and such.Common loan originators were clearly given the message that they could originate nearly anything they wanted to.I know a few people who wouldn't do it. Appraiser were mostly just doing what the system wanted them to do. I am not saying it is right. I didn't put myself on the sidelines for nothing.

The exceptional cases wouldn't be something I would go on about publicly. I am really kind of a fight for the underdog kind of guy. Just wouldn't put myself or family at risk over these types of crimes. Hopefully working some of the excesses out of the system will take care of it for a while. That said, I have posted here a few times that there was fraud on the way up and there will be fraud on the way down. I would guess the primary methods will be deal steering on REO and short sales. Maybe there is some straw buyer activity still.

I think poorly of the system that is designed to bring justice. If you gave law enforcement some of this stuff on a silver platter they wouldn't do anything about it most of the time. You would have to hire a private detective and a lawyer to try force the DA to do something. Maybe this opinion gets dumped on it's head now and then but I think it is the norm.

If I had to make it public that I knew of crimes or suspected them,and wanted to bring them out in the open,I would have a lawyer do it. I would probably also have restraining orders against those I have accused. That makes sure that it is all in limelight which brings some protection. Not that I need to do this!

Maybe something to do is to quietly inform the lenders, maybe PMI company? I would think they have fraud department. Try to get them interested and if not, then let it go?

Would you operate a high stakes,vigilante type blog? I wouldn't, but I don't think that would construe pro crime values either. Isn't it possible for computer savvy people to trace the site back to who runs it, even if it is "anonymous"?

Russ

Submitted by CA renter on January 17, 2009 - 11:29pm.

Would you operate a high stakes,vigilante type blog?
-------------------

Russ,

I would not, especially because some of the bad apples could be particularly bad. This is exactly why I commend someone who does have the guts to do it, and I would do everything in my power to protect and speak out for them.

I've tried to pass along some information to lenders and the FBI, but they do not have the manpower nor do they have the desire to pursue these potential cases one at a time. If someone is willing and able to pick up where law enforcement leaves off, they should be applauded and held up as heroes.

Those of us who choose to abide by the law should stand together because **we** are being ripped off by criminals in almost every aspect of our lives. Insurance, retail goods, housing, etc...all of this WE pay a higher price for because of fraud.

Until the RE industry comes clean and provides 100% transparent data, we need to rely on those who are willing to do the extra work to find the real stories behind the numbers.

As to having a lawyer present all the information, that would be exceedingly expensive. OCR, Rich and the others are providing information and spending a lot of time doing research so we can just "check the blogs" and know what's going on for free.

The whole point of blogging is that we can side-step the advertising/administrative/operating expenses and biases of the MSM and provide information that others might not want us to know. It basically levels the playing field, and because of this, I never want to see anything that encroaches on a blogger's rights, especially when it pertains to financial matters and events that affect other people's lives.

Submitted by NotCranky on January 18, 2009 - 8:03am.

CA renter, Well, you made a lot of good points. Hopefully the kinks will get worked out. I have enjoyed the idea that maybe some of the more corrupt facets of our society are thinking, "we better act right, those bloggers are watching us!"

Allan from Fallbrook made a good point in saying that the blogging forum is pretty green and in it's evolutionary phases with regards to legal interpretation(paraphrasing). The good part is that it brings us together on issues that we couldn't begin to touch in numbers, from our lives outside cyberspace.

My guess is that if we ever have anything like martial law the Internet,or at least part of it will be the first thing to get the curfew.

My pet injustices don't really have real estate as a focus too much. I know it is a system with a lot of problems and have no qualms against saying it is a "cartel" of sorts. However a few stupid or even rogue realtors didn't make prices go up to the extent they did. Loan terms and underwriting did. Realtors were just in the best position to be exceptionally greedy. So naturally the level of realtor on the end of these shady deals is high. Buyers would have driven them up nearly as high anway.

I also think the industry and its actors are just easier targets for people to focus on.Especially now. I mean, it is the focal point of the "American Dream". Hearts are made and broken with this stuff apparently. All jobs & industries have ethical baggage and bad players. It is just way less exciting. In the case of individual players there are few "professions" that make the bs component more clownishly apparent than many Realtors do. If I had not pondered this and put it into perspective as compared to the other crap people do in almost all professions it would be impossible to be a realtor.

I think , that a lot of this backlash comes from people's disappointments with their own situation relative to the "American Dream". I bet when either people buy, or come to realize only they are stopping themselves from owning this vigilance will go away.

My guess is that if this last paragraph were not true and injustice was our main aim,we would be blogging about women and children being buried in their houses in Iraq or world hunger or something like that, instead of when we are going to buy our relative palaces and all the jackasses that messed it up.

Submitted by jpinpb on January 18, 2009 - 1:46pm.

OCR - Thanks for putting up your blog again!

This whole real estate does affect us much more than the atrocities occurring in other countries. Many of us were not interested in risking it all on liar loans to get our foot in the door and "buy" a house. Though many of us would like to own, it was obvious that purchasing w/those type of loans did not make sense to many of us.

The tax burden from the whole banking crisis will also affect us. All of it is personal when you look at it that way.

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