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To the Editor: Readers Respond to Main Street Article

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RISMEDIA, February 24, 2009-The article, “What about Main Street” http://rismedia.com/2009-02-18/what-about-main-street/ by George W. Mantor that ran in our e-news last Wednesday, Feb. 18 garnered a wealth of reader feedback. Here are a few responses we received:

Politicians Just Don’t Get It

I am on the same page with you. It all comes down to common sense, which our politicians don’t seem to get. Why don’t they take advantage of the educated and successful people of this country who understand about economics and business and ask for their advice?

Certainly, people who buy drapes that cost more than the average American can ever think of earning in a lifetime, is not one of those people. And the majority of the politicians that we have elected to make these enormous decisions don’t have that background.

It scares me that the answer always seems to be to just throw more money at the problem and “hope that it works this time,” before weighing out all the options. We should be marching in the streets. Can’t you get a direct meeting with the President or even [House Speaker] Nancy [Pelosi] to discuss your “common sense” thoughts over coffee?

Lori Zimmerman
Operations Manager
Lawyers Realty, LLC
Lemoyne, PA

Stimulus Should Help Small Real Estate Business Owners

Amen and a toast to George W. Mantor.

Speaking as small business owner, qualifying broker and real estate franchisee – I wish there were more focused efforts on helping us through these difficult times. Unfortunately, I did not see my name on the list for the stimulus package. Bummer. I’d promise not to redecorate my office, buy new curtains or give myself a bonus (I don’t actually get a salary, so a bonus is out of the question!) but I would pay bills, I swear. Pinky swear.

Many licensees are leaving the industry hoping to find other work which adds another strain to our economy. In our board, nearly 20% of agents have taken their license and gone inactive. Not a bad thing because about 6% of real estate agents really work in the industry with a full-time effort (not sure where the 80/20 rumor came from). My personal philosophy is it that it takes a full time effort and production to know our industry – after all, who would use a heart surgeon that does two to three operations per year? Silly me. But, we’re not hearing much about real estate agents/small biz owners and our woes; it is still pretty focused on lending. We’re hemorrhaging in our real estate industry as small business owners and I’ve yet to see any focus on this problem as across the country real estate offices of all brands are closing. I think the last man (or woman) standing may actually win this one, I just hope my bad knee doesn’t give out…

While our market is still performing well (#44 out of 50 for lowest foreclosures), the writing on the wall is pretty clear – on average 50% of office listings (and I spoke with several other offices so I find this a solid stat) are now short sales. We are at the tipping point of a foreclosure market that many of you have already experienced. It will be interesting to see if the stimulus package, impacts our housing market or we end up like Florida, Arizona or Nevada. But the cyclical problem is, if you couldn’t afford the home to begin with, how can you afford the home now?

Barbara Gregus
Qualifying Broker/Owner
Exit Realty of Albuquerque
Albuquerque, NM

Was I Just a Pawn?

Thank you George for writing something that makes sense in today’s new world. After 26 years in the real estate business I am wondering now how much of a pawn I was in someone else’s money game. There is not much going on that makes sense anymore.

Debb Dideum
President/Broker
Green Gates Real Estate Services
Port Orchard, WA

Article Needs to Be Seen beyond the Trade

Thank you for the article in RISMedia…but this should be in The New York Times. Please send it or something like it as a letter to the editor of ALL the big-town USA newspapers. More people need to see this, and yes, just why aren’t we marching in the street? Have we all been dumbed-down by our media and anti-depressant drugs? I just don’t understand why we are not saying “I’m mad as hell and I’m just not going to take it anymore!”

Juana Guevara
CEO and President
Habanero Media Group
Silicon Valley, CA

Contractor Trying to Save His Own Home

I could not agree more. You have described my situation to the tee. As a self starter landscape architect and [Los Angeles] contractor, I had the privilege of employing eight men over the last 10 years and developing a rather successful business in Orange County.

As the housing market began to close down two years ago, I gradually had to let everyone go and am presently trying to recover from a loan modification exactly as you described in the article.

You have really lifted my spirits, as I felt like such a fool and failure for buying into such a scam. I am now hoping that the bank will show a little more reason in figuring out a short term solution to saving our home.

Keep up the accurate writing as to where a great number of Americans have found themselves.

Charles Rathfon
Owner
Rathfon Garden Design
Los Angeles, CA

Ready for Economic Activism

I just read your sound and well-written article on RISMedia.com and agree whole-heartedly, especially in light of the newly revealed Obama plan that does nothing to require banks to work with homeowners or lend our money, much less account for it.

This is appalling and, I believe, many Americans agree. While the idea of “taking to the streets” in protest was certainly recommended by Thomas Jefferson, we don’t seem to know how to actually do this effectively.

So here we are with a surge of lost jobs, lost homes, lost confidence and a spiraling down of our society toward more fear, despair, chaos and poverty. Would a taxpayer revolt be possible? It has never worked in the past because the IRS takes people’s homes and arrests them one at a time. Would a mortgage revolt work?

The bottom line is we are in a serious, unprecedented crisis and I, for one, am willing to extend my energy for some effective activism.

Aysha Griffin
Owner/Broker-Consultant
Go Realty
Santa Fe, NM

Government, Read This Article!

I think your article should be required reading for each and every member of Government! As a small business owner (my husband is also a small business owner); it gets harder everyday to believe that I am living in the land of opportunity.

Cathy Verne
Agent
Patterson Schwartz Real Estate
Newark, DE

Miss the article? Read it here: http://rismedia.com/2009-02-18/what-about-main-street/

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