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Real estate poker game misses a full deck

Realtor Notebook

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Real estate is local, but my experiences over the past several months are similar to those of real estate agents around the country. My job is like playing poker without a full deck. Not all of the homes I list will sell. A few years back getting a listing almost guaranteed a paycheck, and no agent would admit that they can't sell every listing. Today, the only guarantee is that listings will generate expenses, and sometimes we need to say no to a potential seller. Preapproved buyers used to get loans. These days a buyer can be preapproved until the rules, or "guidelines" as the underwriters call them, are changed. Homes used to appraise for just about whatever amount a buyer offered. That's no longer true as homes now appraise below the asking price. Buyers still use a lot of 100 percent financing, which in some cases works out to 106 percent financing. Sometimes buyers offer more than the list price, but the seller's bottom line is still below the asking price ...