Let’s Talk about “Science”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

First let me say that the only reason I didn’t put up a photo of a Zeiss Microscope was because there wasn’t a free photo available.  I had to settle for second best and I’m not happy about that.

Now, let’s talk about science.  I’m hearing the word science used as a hammer to whack anyone with a different opinion or perspective, or even a question.  This is because power hungry, greedy politicians have hijacked the essence of it and gotten rich and more powerful as a result.  This is worse than anyone has been willing to acknowledge.

Science is the pursuit of TRUTH.  And by the way an important aspect of science is debate.   Listen, just because you’re a scientist, or stand near one, does NOT mean everything you say, or ANYTHING you say is correct or true.  Read about development of the polio vaccine, about how many people were killed (mostly in Africa, by the way) in the race to be the FIRST to get it done.  And then the ‘safe’ vaccine was administered first to hospital staff and doctors and some of the wealthy (politicians included, no doubt)…many of whom DIED.  They did NOT get it right at first, and it took years to prove the vaccine both safe and effective.  But it was rushed against WARNINGS of other scientists who said, “This is not ready!”

The Covid vaccines were rushed to the masses, and you can say or not say they worked; I don’t care.  MY POINT is science.  This vaccine was pushed on the population by threat, power, greed, and in the name of SCIENCE.  Fauci was the loudest voice saying, “But science!”, while doing his level best to avoid debating, to listening to questions, to opposing views…to the essential debate.  In other words, the antithesis of science.  In true science, you don’t get to shout down the debate and declare YOUR opinion the law, unless you have more power or more money than the other people in white coats.  God help us if an idiot with lots of wealth and power gets in one of the coats.  Wait.  Too late.

First, do some WORK.  Look at the size of the virus and then LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE OPENINGS IN MASK WEAVE.  The ONLY way masks worked was keeping us from touching our faces with infected hands.  That WAS a good idea.  But the people in POWER get to make the rules.  When the rules involve forcing experimental, synthetic drugs into MY body?  Try it.  I’ve been vaccinated in my life.  But not with experimental ones, or ones rushed through a lab.  I worked in labs for over 20 years.  And I did a lot of debating, too.  In the name of SCIENCE.  And it was a debate, not hate, not politics.  It was the pursuit of the truth, and we worked until we found it.

Listen to me: SOMEBODY had to graduate at the bottom of the class.  Not everyone wearing a white lab coat should be in that lab or ANYWHERE near it.  I’ve worked beside people I wouldn’t leave alone with a heating pad!  As long as the companies making drugs are buying government, you had better stop using the word science.  Just say, “Shut up and take this drug so I can get rich.”  Because that’s what it amounts to.  And if you cannot see this, then please, take that pill.  Open your mouth like a little baby bird waiting for mama bird to vomit in his mouth.  

There is NOTHING wrong with scientific debate.  When someone tells you “people are against science” just because they disagree, then they don’t know what the freaking concept is about.  You should be GLAD people question wealthy, powerful people pushing a drug that makes them wealthy.   Why?  Because the BEST science comes in the wake of healthy debate, where EVERY stone is overturned and examined.  Preferably with a Zeiss microscope, or better yet an electron microscope.  If your “science leader” is afraid to turn over few stones, that’s a liar, a cheater, a bully, or just plain stupid.

And if that’s okay with you, please run to be first in line for that synthetic, unproven drug.  I beg you.

Have You Hugged Your Lender Lately??

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Most lenders don’t bite.  At least none of MY lenders.  Point is, these are people to whom you should definitely have a conversation if you are in the real estate world.   Listen, things are changing in the real estate world (can you say interest rates?), and lenders change their programs to align with current conditions.

I always, ALWAYS, encourage my clients to talk to their lender FIRST.  Why?  Because you don’t really know what you can afford, for one thing.  Second, you don’t really know your credit score, most likely, because the ‘deep dive’ is what the lenders do and they find EVERYTHING.

Point is, there are some new programs out there that might get you enthusiastic again, out of the disappointment status you started feeling when rates went up.  Adjustable rate loans are back and don’t wrinkle your nose:  My first mortgage was adjustable rate, and I could refinance any time after year one.  Which I did.  One hundred percent financing is also back ‘in vogue’, meaning that the pendulum swing is enabling buyers to have a bit of leverage again (Thank goodness).  And USDA limits are different now; the household income is higher, which helps.  There’s a new ‘self employed’ loan out there, which helps those of us who itemize and claim deductions.  The deductions lower your ‘income’ according to the algorithm.   Now, we self employed folks can now get a mortgage based on our actual income, rather than what the tax form says.  It’s not a no-doc loan, but it uses tax returns. That’s all I know; consult your lender.

Thing is, there are OPTIONS, and you should explore them.  And different lenders have different products, so do some homework.  Tell them what you want to do and let them tell you what program they have that will help you achieve that dream.  I tell my clients not to be intimidated by lenders.  They are making money by having you as a client, so act like it.  Be as important to them as you actually are, and find out what THEY can do for YOU. 

Online is NOT the best way, by the way.  There, you are a number.  In person lenders get to know you and how you operate, and they know your NAME.  You can meet and talk about where you ARE, where you are GOING, and what you DREAM.  Look a lender in the eye.  Find one who has some battle scars, too.  They know the lay of the land, and are very good at digging out that perfect product for you.

Establish a relationship with a good lender, because they are important to have in your sphere of influence when things change in your life.  Plus, most of them are really nice folks.  I’ve met some who are not, so be careful, be sure they are telling you the truth, and comparison shop.

Don’t be intimidated.  They are people too.

And finally, you STILL have to prove you are able to buy before you make an offer.  So just go, get that letter, know your options.  After you talk to a lender, you will know how much house you can afford, thus avoiding looking at homes that are too small (maybe you can go larger), or looking at ones that are more than you can buy.  Once you see them, others may seem disappointing.  

I’m not a lender but I have some great lender contacts.  I’m Brenda, a Coldwell Banker Advantage real estate agent and Realtor.  Let me know if I can help.


Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

There are a few of us agents in this area who have been trying to raise the red flag about Opendoor for a long time.  Some agents are actually data minded and we can figure out pretty quickly when the numbers don’t add up to what the hype says they should.  The problem was, nobody wanted to listen to us few data folks, because we’re real estate agents and OF COURSE we’re not going to be happy about Opendoor scooping up our business.  And dare I say it?  Because we are real estate agents, nobody thinks we can do spreadsheets, or do math in our head.  Oh but some of us can.

Listen, I expected, based on the fairy dust that was being air dropped on us, that when I showed an Opendoor property IT  WOULD  BE FANTASTIC.  Holy hell, no.  NO NO NO.  That was my first clue.  I smelled a big rat, and mildew and cigarette smoke and pet odors while walking over rotten wood and black carpet.  Not all in the same house but several were in one house.  Now keep in mind this horrible house was BOUGHT from a seller, who PAID FOR THESE REPAIRS, but they were NOT done.  Following me?

I started out by building a spreadsheet and tracking the performance versus hype of Opendoor.  My spreadsheet confirmed (of course it did) what my quick takes were telling me.  Opendoor was NOT doing what they said they were doing, and they were outright misleading consumers.  Let me give you some examples:

First, they factored in exorbitant rental costs the seller would face if they sold through a real estate agency, for SIX MONTHS, and put that overinflated number on the ‘cost of using a realtor’ list.  Where in the HECK did they come up with that?  People have somewhere to go usually; nobody I have EVER dealt with rented for 6 months.  Then they added in 7% commission, which nobody I KNOW does or ever did unless the seller wanted to (never happens), and they added THAT overinflated number to the ‘cost of using a realtor’ list.  Then they added up an average repair cost for repairing ALL of the things usually found on an inspection report (in NC the seller doesn’t have to do ANY repairs), and they added that overinflated number to the ‘cost of using a realtor’ list.  Then they added in the woe is me stuff about cleaning and oh the horror of allowing people to view your home while it’s listed.  They made it sound like people came in and set up camp, when in FACT, shopping buyers are always accompanied by an agent AND they are vetted up front to be sure they’re not just being nosey.  And…they made it sound like opening a closet door to see the size of a closet was burglary, when in fact buyers just want to see how big the closet it.  They open, they peek in, they close.  THEN, OD gave a price before they sent in their inspectors.  Then they added up all of the so-called ‘necessary repairs’ and lowered their offer by that much.  Charged the sellers for ALL repairs, when if they worked with an agent, that would NOT happen unless the seller wanted it to.  In NC the seller is not even obligated to DISCUSS repairs, let alone do them.

THEN…they often did NONE of those repairs the seller paid for, or jury-rigged them (like filling rotten wood with white caulk and painting over that), pocketing THAT money, then listed the house for thousands higher.  I’ve SEEN this stuff.  But…nobody wanted to listen. I used to say people thought it was worth 30 grand to not have to vacuum and repair a broken door knob, for crying out loud.

Opendoor painted a wholly incorrect picture for sellers, using fear tactics and slight of hand, to get listings.  I tried to encourage people to track this stuff, watch the listing service and then look at tax records when they sell…nobody did.  Check for yourself! Be careful!  Nobody did.  They just kept trusting this corporation.  Does anybody just see that one sentence as a problem?  I do.

Now listen, I haven’t been happy about my business being diminished, but it IS the age of electronic everything and online everything, so I have rolled with the punches and tried to use the e-momentum in my favor.  I call it real estate jujitsu.  It has worked.  But when I see clients losing tens of thousands of dollars on the ‘deals’ with Opendoor, well it makes me angry.  I’m going to have business no matter what Opendoor does; I just go on to the next transaction, Opendoor or no Opendoor.  But I abhor watching anyone be taken advantage of.  In some cases, I tried very hard to prevent it, but Opendoor made it sound like fairy dust and magic. And a LOT of people fell for it.  I admit, at times I thought they got what they deserved.  But then no, they did not. 

What OD DID was lowball on the buy side, hold on to the home for the allotted, mandatory time period, and then list the home 30 or 40K higher than what it ‘was worth’ (sometimes less) 60 days ago, spending minimal to no money on repairs.  Unbelievable.  The problem is, consumers don’t know how to research this stuff, or are too uninterested to do it.  I watched one young couple with a little baby lose 30 thousand on the sales price of their home, by going with OD.  Let me use that acronym because I don’t’ want to type Opendoor any more than I have to.

So now OD is being fined by the FTC to the tune of 62 million or so; and that, my friends, is not enough.  In my opinion, of course.  This company has very likely bilked FAR more than that out of unsuspecting sellers.  And don’t forget, buyers are buying this houses with shoddy ‘repair’ work too!  Again, I have seen the tactic in action.  So I’m glad this is coming to light.  And the other I-buyers should take heavy note.  There are not clean hands in this kitchen as far as I AM concerned.

See, right now, because of the fast market, people need to have an idea of the condition of the home before making an offer, because there’s often a big amount of due diligence on the table.  So if, for example, there’s a leak under the bathroom that has rotted the substructure, you are not going to see that until you inspect.  And you cannot inspect until your offer has been ACCEPTED.  So if you have an untrustworthy seller, one who is not required to disclose any issues…or can claim ‘no representation’, you had better know you’re at big risk.  

I’m willing to bet that it costs WAY, FAR, HUGELY less money to use a real estate agency for your real estate transactions.  I’ve seen some pretty scary stuff out there.  I saw one of news reports where one young person actually went to look at the house she sold to OD, and she found that none of what she ‘paid for’ in reduced offer price, was actually done.  I hope she gets well compensated for being hoodwinked.  My first time buyers don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff with me as their agent.  I protect my buyers and their interests.

One more note: Opendoor bought a home on my street, way lower than market price…I knew that because duh, I’m a real estate agent.  I was livid. Why?  They just nuked MY property value and those of my neighbors.  Then they listed it for 30 grand higher…might have been more, not sure.  They did a few repairs on that one…paint and carpet I think…but it was a flip for sure.  Buy low, sell high.  AND I GUARANTEE the seller didn’t know and STILL doesn’t know how he/she got screwed.  And that, my friends, is how OD gets away with this crap. People do NOT pay attention.

Anyway that’s my rant.  Pay attention folks.  Don’t let anybody take advantage of you.

I’m Brenda and I’m a Coldwell Banker Advantage agent in Raleigh NC. If I can help you, call me.  You can find me on my web page.