No Sugar-Coating from This Longtime Realtor

cheap-house.jpgLegendary real estate agent Fred Sands, speaking before a group of industry professionals on Friday, called the current housing market “pathetic” and advised agents to seek other employment, according to this story in the L.A. Times.

“If you’ve been in it for five or six years and are barely making a living, you might want to think about what you were doing before and get back into it — you can come back in a couple of years,” Sands told members of the California Assn. of Realtors meeting in Universal City….In the short term, the local real estate market “is not going to get better,” Sands said.

Sands expressed sympathy for agents working in the San Fernando Valley, saying, “I feel your pain.” He suggested that they and other agents who wanted to stay in the business ”move to the Westside” or focus on more-affluent areas.

But wealthy areas won’t escape unscathed, Sands said. “We saw 25-year-old guys buying $3-million houses,” he said of the questionable mortgage practices of recent years….”The idea that everyone is supposed to own a home is baloney,” he added.

Sands also told agents to practice tough love with clients by insisting that they slash their listing prices to realistic levels.

Sands counseled agents that property prices must be cut drastically to “get in front of the crisis.” Otherwise, agents will “follow it down like a dope” and get even less for the properties, if they can sell them at all, he said.

Also at the gathering was Alan Long, president of the Southern California region of Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., who told agents to drop sellers who won’t lower their prices.

“Let go of the fear another agent will take over and sell it — they won’t,” he said.

  • Coco Clayman-Cook

    There are many honest realtors out there contrary to what Mr. Sands has to say. We are in a transitioning market where many agents are taking listings from Sellers that are clearly too high – I have lost many listings to other agents that give Sellers very high numbers as to the value of their properties and unrealistic expectations only to see their condos reduced in 30 to 60 days to the price that I suggested in the first place. When pricing properties today the sale comps that are more than two months old do not even apply anymore.

    I also have met and spoken to many Buyers that are waiting for the sky to fall and in some cases there will be people that have to sell as the mortgages they were offered and accepted were clearly not explained to them and now they will be in a position where they are forced to sell rather than lose their properties. But on the Westside, people need to remember that compared to other major metropolitan cities around the world, Los Angeles real estate will always be highly desirable and one of the best values in the world.

    I agree with Mr. Sands that many of the newer agents that entered in to the market in the last few years and have not looked at their business as a business will be filtered out of the business. This happened before in the 1990′s and will most likely happen again. Additionally mortgage brokers that made these “liar” loans with companies that have gone bankrupt will also be weeded out and what will be left are real estate agents and mortgage brokers that have the integrity, client relationships and business sense to make it through this transition. Additionally, since so many banks have gotten out of the business the loans that will be offered will be good loans that are based on someone’s income and what they can afford not just their FICO scores without back up documentation. Lenders will be forced to be more careful and hopefully Agents will be more careful as to what listings they take and tell the truth to their Sellers whom they work with. The Sellers in turn will need to decide if they really want to sell.

    What comes up must come down and we are in a process of stabilization and a period of readjustment. The sky is not falling in LA – the clouds are clearing and the weather is adjusting. We need to make Los Angeles a place that people of all types can afford to live. There will always be good deals out there in condominiums and homes and fortunately for those of us that are lucky enough to be in this very exciting industry on the Westside of Los Angeles we will continue to have the opportunity to be of service to our clients and list and sell beautiful properties to qualified Buyers and Sellers.

  • Cindy Allen

    Hi, Coco: Thanks for writing. What you say makes sense about the market being in a period of transition.

    I have one question. Could you explain what you mean when you say that Los Angeles real estate is “one of the best values in the world”? I agree with you that L.A. real estate is highly desirable; plenty of people want to live here. But if you have found properties of late that you consider good values, I would like to know about them. This is one of the priciest cities to live in in the world, and on the Westside, it’s rare to find anything decent for a price that most people would consider a value.