"We Were The Cool Guys."

Watching the credit crisis destroy Wall Street this week, it was hard not to think of the mortgage episode of “This American Life,” which aired many months ago.

Clarence Nathan: I wouldn’t have loaned me the money. And nobody that I know would have loaned me the money. I know guys who are criminals who wouldn’t loan me that and they break your knee-caps. I don’t know why the bank did it. I’m serious … 540 thousand dollars to a person with bad credit. 

Glen Pizzolorusso (a mortgage broker in upstate New York): We rolled up to Marquee at midnight with a line, 500 people deep out front. Walk right up to the door: Give me my table. Sitting next to Tara Reid and a couple of her friends. Christina Aguilera was doing some, I’m-Christina-Aguilera-and-I’m-gonna-get-up-and-sing kind of thing. Who else was there? Cuba Gooding and that kid from Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. What was that kid’s name? Fabian Barabia? We ordered 3, 4 bottles of Cristal at $1,000 per bottle. They bring it out, you know they’re walking through the crowd, they’re holding the bottles over their heads. There’s fire crackers , sparklers. You know, the little cocktail waitresses. You know so you order 3 or 4 bottles of those and they’re walking through the crowd and everyone’s like: Whoa, who’s the cool guys? We were the cool guys. They gave me the black card with my name on it. There’s probably 10 in existence. 

Thanks to Peter Cochran and my twin brother Wes for reminding me about this episode, nearly simultaneously.

I searched for a picture of Glen Pizzolorusso but he’s nowhere to be found…

Discussion

  • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/rob_mcgarty/ Rob McGarty

    That was an excellent episode. My favorite part was when they were discussing the ridiculous amount of money a car salesman turned mortgage broker was making out of the gate. I thought to myself that is pretty good money, but not that insane…then came the Ira Glass double take with Ira saying “that is per month, not per year.” Then I was in disbelief.

    Here is a picture of Glen Pizzolorusso from LinkedIn: http://media.linkedin.com/mpr/mpr/shrink_80_80/p/2/000/006/278/115ef9d.jpg

  • http://www.redfin.com Warren

    I agree Rob-I had to listen to that episode a couple of times in order for it to sink in.

  • http://www.bluecollaragents.com Trevor Smith

    Glenn,

    This was hands down my favorite episode of This American Life. I just about fell out of my chair when I heard the Cristal/B-list-celbrity bit.

    The other moment when I about fell out of my chair was when the guy who got the NINA loan actually looked at what his loan officer put on his loan app for his income:

    Kerry Campbell: Here it’s saying your base employment income is 16,250 a month.

    Richard Campbell: Laughs. Wha?!

    Kerry Campbell: That means your salary, on a yearly basis, would be $195,000 to be exact.

    Richard Campbell: I wish. In 2005, right, and they used my 2005 taxes, I was making $37,000 that year.

    Adam Davidson: Did you know that number until now?

    Richard Campbell: no

    Adam Davidson: To me, that is shocking. It’s not shocking to you?

    Kerry Campbell: That’s outrageous. But it’s a common thing. It’s worlds apart, reality and what’s on these documents.

  • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/glenn%20kelman Glenn Kelman

    Great comment Trevor! But let’s be very, very clear about one thing: Christine Aguilera is NOT a B-list celebrity.

  • Danny

    Glenn, assuming the mkts continue as they will for the next 3 years what is your Cash on hand projection at the end of 3 years?

    How much will you need to infuse from investors?

    Will you let some Agents go to keep costs down?

    How do you see the expansion of companies like 500 Realty, Shop Prop, Iggy’s, and Zip?

  • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/glenn%20kelman Glenn Kelman

    Is this a genuine question?

    When evaluating alternatives to Redfin, our clients most often mention Windermere, Alain Pinel, Coldwell Banker and Prudential. Beyond the blog comments submitted under false names, no one has ever mentioned any of the brokers you list except for Zip.

    We are hiring, albeit cautiously. Conditions were far worse last year than now. We are optimistic but we cannot say what will happen next; the markets are very unstable.

    My guess is that the business will likely perform to within 5% of our 2008 revenue projections, and exceed our earnings projections. It is hard to say what our future capital requirements will be but we feel confident that, within reason, we will have access to capital as needed.

    I have no idea what our exact cash position will be in three years. No business does. We try to spend our money as carefully as we can.

    We also want to preserve the privileges of a privately held company: to invest in projects that may take a long time to pay off or not pay off at all, to take risks, to screw up.

    So we want to be an open business but we are not ready to be held accountable to the standards of a publicly traded company in which grandma has invested her retirement account.

  • http://www.outcome3.com Lyal Avery

    It’s impossible for anyone to make predictions in the space. As a supporting consultant for the RE market, even in Canada where things haven’t been hit as hard yet, things are incredibly precarious. I think ultimately it’ll be a great proving ground for the best agencies to excel.

  • http://www.skyminor.com Sky Minor

    I wonder how the rest of the world’s real estate markets are holding up in light of the international crashing of the equities and stock markets. It seems natural to me to conclude that since the economy is truly global, then so too are the crashes. I hope I’m wrong New Zealand!

  • http://glenpizzolorusso.blogspot.com/ Glen Pizzolorusoo

    to my friend at WMC, your lack of correct grammar, knowledge of staff, and off the wall comments tells me you did not work alongside me at WMC, you were most likely an underpaid secretary, and were jealous of the money we were making.

    Anyone who would like to know a little bit more about what really happened can read here:

    http://glenpizzolorusso.blogspot.com/

    You may be surprised that NPR (the media) doesn’t give the full story, shocking I know…

  • http://www.funtimex.info/eva-longoria.php EvaLongoria

    Fantastic Blog! Keep up the top work!