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Require a publicly advertised price for a house to be a legally binding offer to sell at that price

By Patrick   Feb 27, 6:57pm   26 links   8,978 views   61 comments   watch (2)   quote      

Unethical real estate agents (but I repeat myself, lol) in California normally ask prices for properties lower than the seller would ever accept.

Why would they do this?

The answer is that lying about the acceptable price is a well-established fraud which has proven effective in cheating buyers out of their money. The fraudulent advertisement of an unacceptably low price as if it were acceptable consistently provokes naive buyers to bid more than they otherwise would bid.

The idea is to make the market look super-hot to encourage the highest bidders to bid even more. Once the house is sold, the realtor can breathlessly claim that there were many bids and the house sold over asking when in reality, the asking price was a cruel and fraudulent lie, and the house would never have sold at all if the only bids were actually at the asking price.

We have laws against bait and switch when selling toasters. Why don't we then have laws against bait and switch when buyers are making the biggest purchase of their entire lives? The answer is simple: corruption of our lawmakers via bribes (aka "campaign contributions") from the real estate industry.

The solution here is to demand honesty from real estate agents, something that will never happen without the force of law behind it, because real estate agents are almost uniformly unethical. Every publicly advertised price for a house must be a legally binding offer to sell at that price within the next 30 days.

Without this, we will continue to get the sleaziest occupation manipulating the public for profit. Even whores provide value. Real estate agents provide no value at all.

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patrick.net's 40 proposals

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22   Patrick   Feb 28, 11:06am     ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike   quote    

indigenous says

How are you going to do that?

Notarize all bids and post them on a publicly available web site.

23   joeyjojojunior   Feb 28, 11:13am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

"You're not seeing all the recent sales."

I guess it depends on where you live. In many(most?) places, property taxes are determined by sales price so those prices are diligently recorded and accurate. They definitely wouldn't be overstated else the new owner gets a shock when his property tax bill arrives.

24   FortWayne   Feb 28, 11:54am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

That should be the law

25   CDon   Feb 28, 12:16pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

@Patrick, what is going to prevent each listing to just be something like: "One Billion or best offer", knowing fully well that the purchase price will be far less?

26   NuttBoxer   Feb 28, 1:18pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

The breaking up of the monopoly on the information is the anti-ass-raping law.

Ahh, vis-a-vis Ron Paul's Audit the Fed bill(for the purpose of ending the Fed). You are much more patient than I. Any system that obviously corrupt will only gain my participation when its time to burn it down.

27   indigenous   Feb 28, 1:22pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

The better way to attack this is with state nullification as in the 10 amendment center.

And the much under appreciated Jury nullification.

The much bigger problem is the 4th branch of government, I think Tom Woods is doing a show on this today or tomorrow.

28   Patrick   Feb 28, 2:38pm     ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike   quote    

CDon says

Patrick, what is going to prevent each listing to just be something like: "One Billion or best offer", knowing fully well that the purchase price will be far less?

That's fine, because it's not fraud.

Asking $100 or best offer *is* fraud.

The lie is that they might possibly accept the asking price. Which they will not.

29   SFace   Mar 3, 12:22pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

I have to agree with Patrick here. The game is rigged to favor sellers which relies on real estate agents. The only losers are buyers. (especially if homes are competed for)

If buyers don't like it, buy a new home (firm price) and the buyer ends up even worst off.

30   Patrick   Mar 3, 12:36pm     ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Actually, sellers also lose with realtors!

Realtors routinely "lose" or "forget" about offers which do not give their own agency both sides of the commission.

This is why I also have this proposal: "Require notarization and publication of all bids on real estate."

Have not written it up as a post yet, but I will.

31   LarryPatrickMaloney   Mar 5, 12:40am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

You are correct.

In Ohio, it's that way... in fact if you offer asked ng, the selller must accept the offer.

Patrick says

Unethical real estate agents (but I repeat myself, lol) in California normally ask prices for properties lower than the buyer would refuse to ever accept.

Why would they do this?

The answer is that lying about the acceptable price is a well-established fraud which has proven effective in cheating buyers out of their money. The fraudulent advertisement of an unacceptably low price as if it were acceptable consistently provokes naive buyers to bid more than they otherwise would bid.

The idea is to make the market look super-hot to encourage the highest bidders to bid even more. Once the house is sold, the realtor can breathlessly claim that there were many bids and the house sold over asking when in reality, those bids were cruel and fraudulent lies, and the house would never have sold at all if the only bids were actually at the asking price.

We have laws against

32   Patrick   Mar 5, 2:10am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

LarryPatrickMaloney says

In Ohio, it's that way... in fact if you offer asked ng, the selller must accept the offer.

Thanks @LarryPatrickMaloney what an excellent law or ruling, lol!

Can you point me me to link about that if you have time?

33   bob2356   Mar 5, 4:56am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

Require a publicly advertised price for a house to be a legally binding offer to sell at that price

So do something other than bitching on patnet if it bothers you so much. Put together a referendum, get it on the ballot, and let people vote on it.

Why would someone who is a renter even care? No one makes anyone bid anything. The way it works for real buyers is you make your offer and if it doesn't get accepted move on. A contract is only binding once both parties accept it.

Patrick says

Unethical real estate agents (but I repeat myself, lol) in California normally ask prices for properties lower than the buyer would refuse to ever accept.

I have no idea what "prices for properties lower than the buyer would refuse to ever accept" would possibly mean. The buyer makes an offer, the seller accepts it. What low price would the buyer refuse to ever accept?

The seller signs a listing agreement with the realtor which stipulates the price. The realtor is bound by it. They can't advertise some lowball price without making a new listing agreement. Anyone with an above room temperature iq can come up with comps in less than a minute.

LarryPatrickMaloney says

In Ohio, it's that way... in fact if you offer asked ng, the selller must accept the offer.

Simply not true. The seller is never forced to accept an offer. The seller would be liable to the realtor for the commission if a full price offer was refused. http://ohiorealtors.org/2014/02/03/legally-speaking-the-case-of-the-reluctant-seller/

34   BayArea   Mar 5, 7:52am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

bob2356 says

The seller is never forced to accept an offer. The seller would be liable to the realtor for the commission if a full price offer was refused.

This is the vehicle for what Patrick is asking.

But then Realtors win more, which is disconcerting.

35   Patrick   Mar 5, 9:44am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

If a store advertises a toaster for sale for $20, and then when you get to the store refuses to take less then $30, that's called "bait and switch" and it's illegal.

Just saying that we should enforce the same thing for houses.

No one should ever be liable to a realtor for anything.

36   joeyjojojunior   Mar 5, 10:02am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

If a store advertises a toaster for sale for $20, and then when you get to the store refuses to take less then $30, that's called "bait and switch" and it's illegal.

Just saying that we should enforce the same thing for houses.

No one should ever be liable to a realtor for anything.

I don't see how it will make any difference. Houses are always going to sell for the highest bid, regardless.

It may change the way the game it played, but won't really make much real difference.

37   Patrick   Mar 5, 10:10am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

bob2356 says

I have no idea what "prices for properties lower than the buyer would refuse to ever accept" would possibly mean.

Oops, meant "seller". Corrected now. Thanks.

38   Patrick   Mar 5, 10:15am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

joeyjojojunior says

I don't see how it will make any difference. Houses are always going to sell for the highest bid, regardless.

First, no, they frequently do not sell for the highest bid. Some bids are "weaker" than other because of financing, and other bids maybe never get seen by the seller at all because the agent is trying to get both sides of the commission for their own agency.

But you know, you're right. If we just had public and notarized bids, that would eliminate a lot of the games realtors play which harm both buyers and sellers. Maybe I should drop this one and concentrate on public notarized bidding.

39   joeyjojojunior   Mar 5, 10:29am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

First, no, they frequently do not sell for the highest bid. Some bids are "weaker" than other because of financing, and other bids maybe never get seen by the seller at all because the agent is trying to get both sides of the commission for their own agency.

OK--"highest" is the present value of offer which includes risk of the deal not going through. And if the agent is not showing all bids, that is fraud and illegal. Making the listing price a binding offer will not change that in the slightest.

Patrick says

But you know, you're right. If we just had public and notarized bids, that would eliminate a lot of the games realtors play which harm both buyers and sellers. Maybe I should drop this one and concentrate on public notarized bidding.

Granted--I'm not a realtor, but I find this conspiracy theory, like most on here, to be greatly overstated. The cost/benefit of not showing all bids to a house seller seems very low. Like someone lying on their expense reports--I'm sure it happens now and again because some people are idiots--but why risk a good job over a hundred bucks? But, I find it very hard to believe that it is prevalent.

40   SFace   Mar 7, 8:11pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

"First, no, they frequently do not sell for the highest bid. Some bids are "weaker" than other because of financing, and other bids maybe never get seen by the seller at all because the agent is trying to get both sides of the commission for their own agency."

You got to be a retard to hire that kind of agent or cant see through that stuff.

There are hundreds of agents, its not that hard to pick the right one.

41   orthofrancis   Apr 17, 9:15pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

While not being a fan of tactics of realtors like this, I think they can get away with it because buying a house is like an auction - maybe with a reserve.

Not a perfect analogy, but you get the idea.

42   marcus   Apr 18, 6:30am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

This obviously wouldn't work, becasue it would be even more subject to abuse by corrupt realtors than the current system. IT would mean that it's the first buyer at that price gets it.

43   Quigley   Apr 18, 7:48am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

This proposal would assume a contract where there is none. This violates basic property rights. I'm sorry, Patrick. I do feel your pain, and came to this site originally because of the same struggles. Of course, you're in the most difficult market in the USA, and that's got to be especially frustrating. Best of luck, and I mean that!

44   Patrick   Apr 18, 9:32am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Why is it true for toasters but not houses then?

If a store advertises a toaster for $40, it cannot raise the price just because you want to pay that price.

45   Quigley   Apr 18, 11:14am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Maybe businesses are held to a stricter code of conduct than private individuals, or perhaps real estate, being that each property is technically unique, gets special treatment in the world of property.
We also don't pay toaster taxes each year based on the value of our toasters. We do pay vehicle taxes, supposedly to support the maintenance and construction of the roads and waterways they use.

In the case of homes, how would the sellers distinguish between identical full price offers if each buyer had the right to buy the house for that price? If several offers were straight no contingency cash offers?

46   Patrick   Apr 18, 12:04pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I'd have no problem with the buyer accepting whichever offer they like, as long as they accept their asking price from somebody.

What I'm objecting to is outright fraud: asking a price you will not accept.

To ask a price is to offer to house for that much money. To then reject a qualified offer for that much money clearly shows that the asking price was a lie.

47   Dan8267   Apr 18, 12:30pm     ↑ like (4)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote    

Patrick says

Why is it true for toasters but not houses then?

If a store advertises a toaster for $40, it cannot raise the price just because you want to pay that price.

Morality is based on the dual pillars of cooperation and reciprocity. This is why people are mean while driving, but nice while walking on the street or interacting with neighbors (for the most part). It is also the reason your local supermarket is much nicer to you than the car dealership or retailers. In the former case, the business makes a lot of small repeated sales that add up over time. They have a vested interest in a long-term relationship with you, and thus not fucking you over. In the latter case, the business makes a single, huge sale and probably never sees you again. They are motivated solely in fleecing you during that one opportunity. There is no incentive to be nice, and plenty of incentive to be mean.

The same holds true for short-term and long-term sexual relations. Relationships between men and women have suffered greatly because they shifted to short-term, and neither man nor woman has the incentive to be nice or to look out for the other party's interests. Long-term relationships, whether business or personal, are always more healthy and mutually beneficial than short-term ones. Game theory predicts far more defection in any short-term game.

A final example is that we live in the most peaceful time in history precisely because of commerce between states, which requires long-term cooperation. Nation-states used to invade each other because the short-term gains outweighed the risks and long-term consequences. Today, war between two industrialized trading partners seems ridiculous and implausible. You don't bomb the factories that make your electronics. You don't kill your customers -- well, unless your a drug dealer like Big Tobacco and plan to replace them with new ones.

Pretty much all evil can be traced back to short-term thinking. Good really is more profitable in the long-run. Again, this is all laid out in Game Theory.

48   Quigley   Apr 18, 12:38pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

^^ a thoughtful, well-reasoned, and informative post by Dan.

49   YesYNot   Apr 19, 2:47am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

If this did become a law, I think you would just have the asking price being inflated. Because everyone would know that the real price was lower, it wouldn't drive serious buyers away. It would probably keep some people away from real estate, because prices would seem unobtainable.
I think a bidding system is necessary. It would be nice if there were a central MLS that was not controlled by NAR. It could have a standardized system of presenting and scoring offers. All offers would go through the system and be viewable by the seller. You could make them viewable by all a la eBay, but that would nudge prices up a bit. Frankly, the current bidding system is a little onerous and may keep bidding wars at bay.
If someone wants to set a fixed price and sell at that price, they are free to do so.

50   YesYNot   Apr 19, 2:52am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Dan brings up the game theory involved with continuous long term relations versus short term one of transactions. I would say another factor is the size of the transaction. If the possible price swing is 20k, most people are going to want to negotiate. If it's a carton of milk or a toaster, it's not worth the hassle. Cars are still a negotiation, although the Internet and the non_uniqueness of the product makes it easier to play dealers of each other.

51   MMR   Apr 19, 7:47am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

extra $100 can make the house sale price appear $100K higher, etc. (Sale price is not recorded in San Mateo County, only transfer tax from which sale price is "estimated")

Interesting. Sale price definitely recorded in NJ and GA

52   MMR   Apr 19, 7:57am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

bob2356 says

LarryPatrickMaloney says

In Ohio, it's that way... in fact if you offer asked ng, the selller must accept the offer.

Simply not true. The seller is never forced to accept an offer. The seller would be liable to the realtor for the commission if a full price offer was refused. http://ohiorealtors.org/2014/02/03/legally-speaking-the-case-of-the-reluctant-seller/

Sounds like pretty powerful incentive to accept asking price offer under 99.9% circumstances.

53   indigenous   Apr 19, 8:19am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

It seems to me that Patrick is talking about some form of estoppel. This usually applies to a quote or a lease agreement. It would be a stretch, but this seems to be a possibility.

54   errc   Apr 19, 8:32am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

How widespread of a problem do you believe this to be? Nationwide or just the Special Snowflakes that just have to live in The Bay Area ? Doesn't seem to be an issue here in the Susquehanna Valley.

One problem i see here, is you would have to leave the seller an out. Many people that are selling a property, live in it, and their ability to vacate is contingent upon their securing a new place to move to. So I can see a situation where I want to sell you my house, at asking, and you want to buy it. However, my deal on the next place fell through, so now i no longer want to sell

55   errc   Apr 19, 8:34am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Also, I'm not sure it's a problem in need of a solution. Say someone is selling their place, and are content with taking 250k. Both you and I really, really want that particular place. It's unique and there won't be another place in this area with these particulars. Isn't the most equitable solution, a bidding war?

56   Patrick   Apr 19, 8:37am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

If the bid were real, perhaps.

But how do you know any other bid is real when all you have is a realtor's word for it?

Do you trust "realtor ethics" when making the biggest purchase of your life?

57   indigenous   Apr 19, 8:41am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Same sort of thing happens in auctions, they usually use shills.

58   Dan8267   Apr 19, 10:16am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote    

YesYNot says

Dan brings up the game theory involved with continuous long term relations versus short term one of transactions. I would say another factor is the size of the transaction.

Yes, people only make a few very large purchases in their lives. As such, large purchases tend to be one-time transactions and thus are particularly susceptible to defection. Also, the payout matrix is different. When the reward for defection is high, it is almost certain to be the optimal strategy even if you lose a lot of sales.

One of the keys to economic prosperity is to eliminate perverse incentives, that is, to align the fiscal incentives of the individual with those of society.

59   Patrick   Apr 19, 10:24am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Dan8267 says

One of the keys to economic prosperity is to eliminate perverse incentives, that is, to align the fiscal incentives of the individual with those of society.

Yes, this is what makes Georgism such a good idea.

It eliminates the perverse incentives to monopolize land (land ownership currently has low taxes) and to stop working (work currently has high taxes).

60   YesYNot   Apr 19, 10:42am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Dan8267 says

defection

Is there a specific meaning of this related to game theory or do you just mean going back on an offer? My point regarding large sales was just that it is not worth negotiating on the price of something small. Negotiation takes time for both the buyer and seller. Thus, it's a lose lose proposition to haggle over small purchases. But for big purchases, it's worthwhile, especially if done efficiently.
Patrick says

But how do you know any other bid is real

Why does it matter? I think that what you are really objecting to is a buyer who gets sucked in at price X, makes an emotional decision to buy it, then when the seller asks for another $20K, the buyer goes ahead and pays it, because they don't want to 'lose' the house. In some cases, a sale is made even though the buyer would never have bid at X+$20K. I do believe that this happens a lot, because it probably works.

61   Dan8267   Apr 19, 12:13pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike (1)   quote    

YesYNot says

Is there a specific meaning of this related to game theory or do you just mean going back on an offer?

In game theory, there are two basic moves a player can make in a multi-player game. One is to cooperate with the other player(s), and the other is to defect, that is to harm the other player for the sake of some personal gain.

The classic example is called Prisoner's Dilemma. Two prisoners who cannot communicate with each other are in separate rooms and given the same choice. Each can either rat the other one out or stay silent. If they both stay silent, they both get very light sentences due. If they both rat each other out, they both get a long sentence. If one rats the other out and the other stays silent, the rat gets goes free and the silent person gets a very long sentence.

The optimal solution is for both to cooperate, but it is in the interest of each individual to defect regardless of what the other person does. Hence, the prisoners both rat on each other and both get longer sentences.

Everything is math including morality.

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