Author name: HouseRat Zero

What Will Zillow Do?

Dear Rich Barton … haha. Just kidding. (Rich Barton is CEO and one one of the founders of Zillow) I already wrote Mr. Barton an embarrassing letter a couple years ago about how to position Zillow better for consumers. I’m pretty sure that went nowhere. Besides- who do I even think I am, anyway? But […]

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Yes, Realtors Are Guilty of Steering

Photo by Ashford Associates – Discover exterior home design inspiration The not-so-secret secret is out. Business Insider reports that realtors are in fact guilty of steering. Their article is mostly talking about steering buyers away from homes that offer low buyer commissions. But this isn’t the only way realtors steer buyers! Unfortunately, as long as

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Death of a Tenant

I slowly opened the door hollering, “Helen, we are coming in!” As I pushed the door open further, I saw her on the floor. She was strangely peaceful; lying on her back with a hand on her stomach. Did she lay down for a nap and just peacefully pass? I wasn’t sure. Those thoughts came

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Soft Rules for House Hunting

More and more I hear of people who regret buying their house (like here or here). I’ve been there and it sucks. I want everyone to be as happy as they can with their choice. So I thought I’d share some tips and reminders so you can increase your chances of finding a house you

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Commissions aren’t the NAR’s only problem. MLS access is a problem too.

The recent Sitzer lawsuit finally called out the National Association of Realtors’ anti-competitive behavior. The NAR structures agent commissions by making home sellers pay for both the seller’s agent and also the buyer’s agent. The suit alleges that home sellers who don’t agree to pay for the buyer’s agent, or who offer a lower buyer

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Deep funk

Wow. It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted anything. Partly, it’s because I’ve been in a deep funk. For the last 12 years; my primary income has been from book indexing. Weird- I know. I’m technically self-employed although I work for a company that acts as the middle-man. They get the projects from

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On Big Corporate Homeowners

Corporate homeowners are making it harder to buy homes. Especially little cheap homes. The same ones first-time homebuyers are vying for. My first house was a cheap and shitty one.  Some repairs were made, some love put in, and eventually I sold it for a small but nice profit. That profit allowed me to (eventually)

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The Great Housing Lollapalooza: Why It’s So Hard and Expensive to Buy a House Now

The current housing narrative being pushed onto us goes something like this, “We have a housing shortage! We need to build more houses,” along with, “let’s blame the Nimbys for blocking more construction” and so on. Let me be clear; I’m not saying that urban metropolises don’t have issues with construction, zoning, and Nimbyism. But

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Ramblings on Real Estate Disruption and Re-framing the Agent

The way we go about facilitating real estate transactions sucks.1 It’s riddled with conflicts of interest, inefficiencies, and hidden gatekeeping. On top of that, there’s this weird part requiring home sellers to pay the buyer’s commission costs. That weird part is being contested in a major lawsuit against the NAR. Jason Oppenheim (the broker from

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Homebuyer Hack- Know Your Comps

Are you a house hunter looking for a great deal? Unless you know your market, sorry; you’re shit out of luck. So let’s fix it. My biggest house hunting tip is to know your market. And you Can’t know your market without learning all about comps. When you’re buying or selling a home, comps are

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Marmoleum

I love Marmoleum flooring; it’s amazing. And no, this post is not a partnership, sponsorship, or affiliate. I do not get paid for saying any of this. I just like their floors. (This is a new website nobody even knows about. Partnerships/affiliates? Ha.) Let me save you some time by immediately telling you why I

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Think Before You Tear Down That House

Before you call the wrecking ball… You should go watch (re-watch) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Remember Cameron’s parents’ house? Ferris tells us, “This place is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.”1 Or remember this? “Ferris, my father loves this car more than life itself.” (Cameron)

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Fuck Algorithms, you Techholes

At least this was my initial sentiment as I was contemplating the impact of algorithms on housing. Any of you ever read Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck? Well, I finally decided to read it. (In case you haven’t, it’s more about choosing your cares and worries wisely rather than not

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