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Mar 27, 2007


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It's just another way to separate people from their money in a way that's sometimes not visable.

It would hurt those who already own homes, and it would hurt those trying to become homeowners.

Everybody suffers, including those who have no definite inclination to buy or sell.

Particularly, the local economy suffers in any number of ways


Mr. Bubba. I think you're missing the point.

Six percent commissions, which are basically a monopolistic practice by the real estate industry, are the fixed, non-negotiable practice being referred to here. Realtors don't want the 1% transfer charge because it might eat into their long-standing ability to skim 6% off the top.

Greg Flynn has the analysis here.


I wouldn't trust anything said by Realtors. These are hard-core Republicans -- in NC they gave tons of money to Burr's Senate campaign. When I buy or sell, I always do it with a real estate agent who doesn't belong to this organization.

Realtors opposition to this is just trying not to have anything cut into their 6 percent which, as had been said, is a monopolistic practice. There's no reason why a tax on the sale of homes should not be put into place and used to fund infrastructure improvements.

Also, yesterday I saw at least 25 of their signs along I-40 on the 20 minute drive from Chapel Hill to RTP. Ridiculous!


Realtors do not "require" 6% to sell a home. The use of their services is completely optional. Also, there are numerous alternatives in todays market which ruin your assertions of monopolistic practices. Furthermore you can always sell your home on your own.

The "analysis" linked above is weak at best. The author loses all credability when he suggests that municipalities could even lower property taxes. Pull the other one! That assertion is well beyond naive and borders on pie in the sky.

Debra, Do you ask for the voter registration cards of all with whom you do business? I can think of a lot of reasons not to put a tax in place. I imagine many folks can. There are a googly million signs on I40. Are these folks also money grubbing, Republican, liars or is it just the Realtors? Grow up.


You hit it, Mick.

Anglico's response was just flat out wrong.

Debra's response was just foolish.


As someone who has saved several thousands of dollars over time by not employing a realtor, I have to say that their services are generally overrated for the price they charge. Selling a house by owner is much easier than most people realize and there are dozens of books at the library that provide good information on how to do so.
The only reason IMO to use the services of a realtor is if you are absolutely new to an area and don't have any idea about schools, neighborhoods and amenities. I think the realtors do realize that the days of easy commissions are over - with the internet it is much easier to market real estate yourself and save a bundle.
One other thing: all commissions are negotiable and don't let anyone tell you differently.


Actually, I do make an effort to do business with people whose politics I respect. There are no signs, other than highway signs, on I-40. I'm guessing that such signs may actually be illegal. Realtors are money grubbing Republican liars.


And not all taxes are bad things.

Here's something interesting. I believe in New Zealand, there are no taxes on property (homes). However, there are also no tax breaks or incentives for homeowners. So housing prices there are, as I understand it, not inflated by taxes the way they are here. And homeownership is not as high as here in the U.S. (I strongly question why home ownership is so important -- it isn't in any reality other than one driven by tax breaks.)

Of course, in New Zealand, schools are not funded based on property taxes, which is one of the worst ideas ever. This creates a terrible inequity in public school funding and artificially inflates housing values. My little ol' townhome in Chapel Hill costs about $65,000 more than the same house in Durham and I pay a ton more taxes (the tax rate is actually the same, but the value of my home is so much more that I pay much more) -- all so my kid can go to the world-class Chapel Hill schools.

I have to laugh at the folks who bought homes in Orange County (not Chapel Hill) to avoid the extra school tax we pay and then start bitching about how their schools aren't as good as ours. Duh!


No billboards on 40? Huh. I guess I was wrong then.

I will simply call BS on the remainder of your post.


There are no billboards on I-40 between Chapel Hill and RTP which is what I referred to in my previous post. I'm sorry that wasn't clear enough for someone at your level. And calling BS is about as valid of an argument as we can expect for someone of your ilk too. I see from your email address that you might be an appraiser -- so I guess you have a vested interest in all of this, eh?

Ed Cone

Aside from the trampling of the excellent irony of the post itself, this thread could be a good one.

No need to yell at each other, though. It's not a crime to be a Realtor, a Republican, or an appraiser, and it's not an argument to "call BS."


On-topicism: a real estate agent can be a useful part of home buying and needs to be paid for his/her work. I'm not advocating a set percentage or arguing whether it's monopolistic; rather, how would you suggest paying an agent for services?

Only MLS members have access to the MLS database and there are few real estate books published anymore.

What's the anti-realtor sentiment from? They work for a living and are successful only if they have satisfied clients. Is the whole issue the 6% (of which probably half goes to the firm, not the agent)?

David Boyd

Yes, one of the best comments of all time at your blog, EC.

Jim Saintsing

As a straight read, I find the website unnecessarily misleading. They're opposing an increase of up to 400% in an existing tax. It's reasonable to oppose such a massive increase in almost any tax, so why not just say that? Instead, they mischaracterize the tax as a "tax on equity" (the tax is based on the sale price of real estate, whether you have any equity in it or not), and as a "home tax" (it's a tax on all conveyances of real estate, residential and otherwise). And -- please -- "taxing the dream of homeownership"? How about "taxing the sense of security your little children feel as they wake up in their own snuggly beds on Christmas morning"?


Agreed, calling BS is not a valid arguement. No defense. Doesnt mean it isnt accurate.

I understood what you meant about signs and billborads but I was skeptical. Actually I am happy there are no billboards on I-40. I find them ugly.

Now can someone explain to me how calling Realtors, money grubbing Republican liars is a valid arguement? or to quote further "I wouldnt trust anything said by Realtors. These are hardcore Republicans....." What grade does that get in arguement class, Ed?

I never said taxes are bad. I just happen to believe as a citizen and business owner (real estate appraiser - you caught me) I pay more than enough already.

Level? Ilk? This aint Blue NC you'll get more than an amen corner here. Call an entire profession liars and you just might get less than polite responses.

Does anyone think Builders are going to eat thousands of dollars in real estate taxes per year for the good of mankind? Does anyone think existing homeowners will eat 1% for the good of mankind? No of course not. Furthermore, I do believe the tax will cause hardship particularly in the new, first time buyer markets. $900 to $2,000 may not seem like much to Percy Walker and Co but it is all the differance to some folks.

Jim Caserta

Don't we all (homeowners) eat about 1%/year every year? I'm generally pro-tax, to the extent that we should pay for the services we receive from government, but I'm also for simplification. How would the transaction tax really be different from property taxes? Would people prefer an increase in property taxes to remain revenue neutral? Is there a website providing the pro real estate tax viewpoint, highlighting why it was developed?


Does anyone really think that once the 1% were in place that property taxes wouldnt go up anyway or that 1% would soon go to 1.5 or 2? We all know how this works. Lets not fool ourselves.


I apologize for calling Realtors money grubbing Republican liars. I don't know whether all Realtors are that. It is, however, my feeling (note I said feeling, not fact) about Republicans in general.

I do have serious problems with the coercive techniques of Realtors regarding that 6% and the exclusivity of the MLS.

That said, I have paid real estate agents 6% to help me with transactions because I didn't want to do it myself. And because they were not Realtors, I did not have to worry about any of that money going to support Republicans through the Realtors organization.

I also have problems with the techniques of Realtors in opposing this proposed tax. But Jim has done a great job of exposing that for what it is.

And Mick is right that if this passes, it'll show up somewhere else. That was part of my point about the difference in the price of my own property if it were in another community -- our housing costs are driven by property taxes and the costs aren't true reflections of the value of the property.

I do not think, though, that this tax will prevent people from becoming first-time home buyers. It'll be absorbed or made transparent just like all those other costs associated with buying a home are.


Housing prices are driven by three things - location, location and location. This can and many times does include tax rates. But prices are not "driven" by property taxes.

This tax will not be magically "absorbed". It will be passed on directly to the buyer (so long as the market will allow). Being "transparent" doesnt mean John Q wont have to pay it. That extra $1,000 on your first house can hurt and MAY make a differance to some. Afterall, its not just $1,000 its $1,000 at .08 for 30 years. Math anyone?

A tax is a tax. It wont replace anything its just more.

Ed Cone

Mick, how did you manage to read the second half of the sentence for my thoughts on calling BS, but not the first half for my thoughts on blanket comments about realtors, republicans, and appraisers?


Ed, did you mean me, not Mick? Gotta get my Zen on this morning, I guess.

And I think the location thing is a fallacy. Its all about school systems. That's my problem with funding school systems by property taxes. If schools were funded by some other means, then we'd really see the true value of property. Then my Chapel Hill townhome would not be valued at $65,000 more than it would be if it were in Durham.

But that's off topic. The issue is the Realtors campaign against this tax proposal and I've already expressed my thoughts on that.

Ed Cone

No, I meant Mick -- he graciously noted that calling BS wasn't much of an argument, but then asked what I thought about blanket dismissals of repubs and realtors, which I had addressed with equal disfavor in the very same sentence.

School district seems to me to be a component of location, that is, one of the factors that might make a location valuable to a given buyer and group of potential buyers. Location is not an absolute value.

There are other factors in home pricing beyond location, including the price of money, labor, and building materials.

Jim Caserta

From what I know personally, the places with the highest home prices also have the highest property taxes - comparing Broward Cty, FL, Westchester Cty, NY and Forsyth & Guilford, NC. There's a correlation, but property taxes are not a main driver on home prices in those areas, or would taxes be in the top 5 of reasons why there is a large difference in median price.

$1000, at 8% for 30 years is $7/month. Is that really going to impact someone's ability to buy a house? If so, they're probably overextending themselves.

Jon Lowder

Here's an interesting item pertinent to this discussion on the Department of Justice website. From the introduction:
"In this report I describe how nine different violations of the law by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and its affiliated Realtor associations have prevented competition and boosted consumers' prices. I offer solutions and projected benefits in the billions.

The direct victims of Realtor association abuses are realty agents who are members of Realtor associations. Because they are unorganized and Realtor associations have betrayed them, realty agents are unrepresented in protecting their rights. Most realty agents are eager to do an excellent job for their clients, but are restrained from doing so by NAR, which calls itself the world's largest trade association."



Highest property taxes or highest property tax rates?

If you are OK with adding $1000 to a families first home then there is little to discuss. Lets not forget that $1000 extra will also affect property tax, various insurance policies, etc. At some point in most peoples lives every dime counts.

Ed, I read your take. I see a subtle differance in the wording, still do. Doesnt matter either way.

Jim Caserta

I think tax rates. The town my parents live in - Coral Springs - have overall rates+fees of around 1.6%, while Winston is 1.1%. Factor in a 2-3X median price, and that's a big difference. Yet, more people are moving there & buying houses.

On the $100k house, a 1% sales tax would correspond to changing the property tax rate from 1%, to 1.08%. People might notice the up-front (effectively rolled into a 30 year mortgage) more than they'd notice the 1.00% - 1.08% tax rate change, but they're the same amount out of your pocket every month.

Given a constant overall tax bill the choice of two taxes vs. one, I'd have to choose one.

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