Feb 5Liked by Josiah Lippincott

Good advice and I fully-agree with the author.

Back in the day, the realtor was the one who shuffled contracts/paperwork (the fill-in the blank kind) to and fro. Everything's electronic now so no errand boys needed. Last time I made a sell, I saw my realtor once, the day I signed the listing contract. It sold itself within a week and I felt ripped-off by the "commission" transaction. Not everyone has a brain for it, but if you do, take the author's advice!

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I'm a licensed Realtor/Associate Broker. I will give you a real life example of the difference between using a qualified agent and doing it yourself. I had helped this couple buy their first home. The time came to get a larger home and I was called to help with that. Long story short, after some time and many explanations to every question I was ghosted. Well the lender I had suggested for them didn't know that so one day I walked into the office and the lender said "Sorry, (so and so's) house didn't appraise. This peaked my curiosity so I asked how much was it off? She said $37,000! Mind you, this was long before the market went crazy . With so many stories about way over asking sale prices this probably seems, well, to be expected. No, this was during a more balanced market. Guess who came calling? Guess who didn't answer? Zillow for the record is notorious for misinformation. With the exception of the past @3 years of crazy offers, their "zestimate" was always a joke. In fact THEY thought pretty much the same thing as you suggest and decided they were going to take the whole market, buying and then selling houses. Look up how many people they laid off after throwing in the towel. Apparently it wasn't as simple as they thought. I've had situations recently where sellers told me what offer they had on their property and with no regard for my own bank account, I explained why (with the house in the condition it was in) it would be in their best interest to take it. I had time and effort into that and got $0.00 for it. It's hardly the only time I've done that.

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You ask, what are we manufacturing? Electronics, especially computer-related. This subsector has the highest productivity growth by far. Other subsectors of manufacturing have grown, but not nearly so fast.

I've often pointed out that American manufacturing has grown at the same rate or faster than the economy when someone refers to the "hollowing out" of manufacturing, and the response has never been "oh, maybe I am mistaken, I thought it had declined." It is always to find a different argument that somehow international trade has ruined manufacturing. There are real problems (which I'll get to) but if one doesn't even get the basic facts right, the diagnosis and proposed solutions will be wrong.

Antimony mining is effectively banned by EPA. That has nothing to do with international trade. Primary lead processing is also effectively banned, so is construction of new petroleum refineries (none since the last century). Yes, that's by intent. EPA fanatics are "saving the environment." Similarly, OSHA is one of several agencies that are pricing skilled American labor out of the market, in the name of "safety." Our insolvent entitlement programs (Medicare and Social Security) also make American labor a bad bargain. Foreign labor (e.g. China) is cheaper but less productive. On a dollar-for-dollar basis American labor would be a much better deal except for all the added costs the administrative state has added on. Notice that when corporate taxes and regulation were cut under Pres. Trump, our economy boomed.

What are the problems with American manufacturing and importing? In manufacturing, outside of electronics, productivity growth has been weak, barely positive. I don't think this has been fully explained, but the dire state of American education is part of it. As for the trade balance, the shocking fiscal irresponsibility of the Federal government guarantees we'll have deficits in the capital and financial accounts and thus a current account deficit, i.e. we'll be a net importer.

Regarding the global supply chain, there's no reason at all that trade with friendly nations would jeopardize national sovereignty. If China were in the hands of friendly officials whose greatest dream was to build a China grounded entirely in our best political principles, I can think of no reason why we should not import from them. Because China is in the hands of communists who want to conquer the world, we should break off our connections with them, but that has nothing to do with "hollowing out" or other alleged negative economic consequences of trade.

Obviously there's much, much more to discuss on these issues. I appreciate your willingness to engage.

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I am not a realtor nor related to one in anyway. In fact, I was a mortgage broker for 18 years and had to work with quite a few of them. Let's just say, that I am not a fan of significant fraction of their lot.

HOWEVER, that said, in most states it is absolutely essential that the BUYER get professional representation. Josiah (the boy king, BTW) may have the personal skills to negotiate a real estate transaction without assistance, but the reality is that most folks do not. There are a LOT of moving parts to a real estate transaction.

Another factor to be considered is that the average selling price of a home listed buy a realtor is significantly higher than a home sold by owner. More than the cost of a realtor in most cases.

I have been in sales my entire life including auto sales, so I have experienced a LOT. I probably have the skills necessary to competently negotiate a transaction like that. But I wouldn't except in rare cases.

If you know what you are doing and are NOT in an absolute insane seller's market the way we were the past few years, most realtors will negotiate their commission.

So, unless you want to get into a situation that may require you hiring an attorney (which will cost you a LOT more than a RE commission) after the fact because a seller failed to disclose something or something that the home inspector missed or something else went awry, get yourself a realtor. If you are a buyer, since in most states the seller pays both realtors involved in this transaction, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by using a realtor.

Finally, since the vast, vast majority of homes are listed by a realtor, if a buyer enters into a sale without a realtor looking after his interests, you are going up against someone who has a contractual obligation to look after the interests of his client, the seller. No one will be looking out for you except you. That is like the man who represents himself in court. You are a fool.

So, get a realtor. As Greyhound Bus Lines use to say in their old commercials, "sit back and leave the driving to us".

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So if “America transformed itself from a manufacturing economist to a service economy” how is it that manufacturing as a share of the economy has remained constant? Manufacturing has increased; the problem with the “hollowing out” thesis is that it isn’t so.

Proof by a simple example - the town of Hillsdale - which has been notoriously anti-new business for decades - is a fallacy.

As for condemning finance, the ability to amass capital and to distribute risk is one of the things that has made the the American economy more dynamic and more productive than any other. It is certainly true that the system gets gamed by the politically connected via regulatory capture, but that’s a problem of government, not finance per se.

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