One Man’s Opinion

The following post is taken from a letter to the editor of the Torrance Tribune. I post it today as a sample of some of the tactics going on in the real estate industry. It is not meant as advice, simply as an example of what not to do.

By Gerry Chong

An interesting story is currently circulating around the Internet that is purportedly true, but I could not vouch for its authenticity. I repeat this only to describe a mindset that ensues when an entitlement mentality erodes society’s morality:

As a Realtor for the past 28 years, I thought I had seen or heard it all… until now. I was showing homes in Pontiac, Michigan one afternoon recently and showed up at a home at the 4 p.m. time my appointment was scheduled for. After I woke up the homeowner, she let us in and then proceeded to tell my buyers and I (sic) that she had already entered into a contract to sell the home on a short sale (a short sale is a sale where the bank accepts less money than is owed on the home). After some chit-chat, she proceeded to tell us that she and her sister (who also lived in the area) were buying each other’s homes via the short sale process. I mentioned to her that I thought relatives could not be involved in those transactions. She smiled and said, “We have two different last names, so no one knows the difference.” She went on to tell us that each of them owed over 100K on their homes and were in the process of buying each other’s homes for 10-15K cash. To top it off, they were each receiving $3,000 in government-provided relocation assistance at the closing.

My buyers and I were amazed that she was outright admitting to fraud and yet, she continued. She began to tell us that the best part of her scheme was that because they are currently not working, that they (both) are now receiving Section 8 vouchers. I said I thought those were for renters and she said, “That’s the best part–me and my sister are going to be renting each other’s homes so we don’t even have to move, and Obama is going to give us each $800 a month to pay the rent!” She then picked up a picture of Obama and did a little happy dance around her living room and while she kissed the picture she was singing, “Thank you, Obama…thank you, Obama.”

So here’s the bottom line…Both of these scammers got at least $80,000 in debt for- given–$3,000 in cash for relocation (when in fact, they did not relocate); and to boot, you and I will be paying $1,600 in rent for them each and every month, perhaps forever… End of story. Prominent Stanford University Economist and Hoover Fellow Dr. Thomas Sowell wisely noted, “One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel society owes them something, apparently for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” Dr. Sowell continued, “I have never under- stood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you’ve earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”