Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud, "The Investigative Process" ~ Inside Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS' General Membership Meeting
On September 13th, the "San Jose" board held another great convention featuring an outstanding line-up of speakers. The very same day Greg Swann of Bloodhound Realty posted another article regarding, "supplanting the NAR (National Association of Realtors), with a more rigorous predictor of quality representation."
My arguments for stricter licensing laws were again reinforced after hearing from the convention headliners:
Prominent Real Estate Attorneys Ron Rossi and David Hamerslough repeatedly gave examples of how licensees have harmed consumers. Rossi spoke of how a slow market results in "cutting corners and shady practices." Rossi actually consults for the FBI, DA and DRE. They have both seen an increase in criminal investigations against the licensed and unlicensed. It is imprudent to suggest that unlicensed persons practicing real estate will result in fewer criminal and civil prosecutions.
Speaker Leslie Appleton-Young, the long-time economist for the California Association of Realtors, (CAR), has again ably demonstrated the graph on the increase and decrease in sales so closely tied to REALTOR membership. No surprises there! She is projecting CAR membership in 2007 to be 185,000 REALTORS from 215,000 in 2006. She freely admitted this is important to CAR's '07/'08 budget. Many, like Brian Brady felt CAR was all to happy to collect fees and questioned its earnestness lobbying tougher licensing laws. Flawed thinking, read on.
California Real Estate Commissioner Jeff Davi quipped he is in the business of "giving or taking away a license." One of his graphs showed a steady increase in licensees. For instance, in '03/'04 there were 292,000 licenses in "good standing." By '06/'07 there were 535,000 licensees, one in 53 Californians with a real estate license. He also followed the day's themes, that complaints have gone from 5,091 in '01/'02 to 9,103 in '06/'07, (one-third are criminal). He had to hired new investigators and also predicts a large fall-out of licensees. The Commissioner gave examples of toughening licensing requirements for new and current licenses. Thankfully, this commissioner, a second generation broker, is Not interest in "just collecting fees."
Kris Berg of San Diego must have been in the San Jose audience when CAR Attorney Gov Hutchinson spoke. Hutchinson also always puts on a good show. He commented that while sales are down from two years ago, CAR is getting twice the number of calls on their legal hotline. In fact, so much so, CAR had to hired a bevy of real estate attorneys to assist with the barrage of calls.
These private and public organizations know why toughening licensees laws are so important. In fact, CAR has sponsored multiple bills toughening licensing laws which would ultimately cut the amount of fees they could collect. The DRE toughened exams and continuing education requirements for new and existing licensees. That would also mean fewer fees collected. What do these organization know that the naysayers don't? Good business,..is good for business.
Pat Kapowich, "Negotiating Smooth Transactions Throughout The South Bay" SiliconValleyBroker.com