Too much information. Be careful what you eat… and who you believe.

We know Americans tend to be critters of excess. Now a UCSD study confirms it.

Americans, it turns out, consume 100,000 words a day. Two much information? I’ll say. And to think I am only capable of contributing 1% of the recommended daily requirement on my own (on a good day, I must add).

The problem, and I suspect at least two of our three readers know this, is that all information is not created equal. It’s not a bad thing that there is an answer for every question out there. Unfortunately, Google serves up hundreds, even thousands of answers for every question, and rarely is there consensus.

The Internet has given us all a voice, and it’s too often difficult to separate news from opinion or to distinguish fact from fiction.

We recently received a comment here from Eric Bryant pointing out that our blog ranks number three on Google for the search term “Buyer’s Choice Act.”  This made me both laugh and shudder. Sure I wrote a riveting post on the subject back in October and, sure, I am a highly regarded, oft-quoted authority on California legislation related to real estate, but…

See? I made that last part up. And that’s the problem. I thought my post was fun, and I defend my position (that the Buyer’s Choice Act was a waste of time) as being spot-on, but I am humble enough to admit that I might not deserve higher billing on the topic than Inman News, the Merced Sun Star, and  Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani. Heck, it was Assemblymember Galgiani who sponsored the darn bill. Want to know the specifics? Ask her!

Here’s the real estate angle, and it is not “Don’t read my blog,” although things were heading dangerously in that direction. It is that, for consumers, there is too much information, and it is all different information. You may get lucky and click through to the right authority on a topic, or you could end up getting your advice on a six or seven-figure real estate transaction from a thirteen-year-old in Solvang who started his blog for the pay-per-click promise of a new skateboard.

Steve recently fielded a call from a buyer in escrow on a short sale. The buyer was interested in accelerating the lender approval process (stop giggling), and explained his plan to meet the bank’s agent assigned to deliver the critical broker price opinion (BPO) in order to influence the outcome. Forgetting that influencing appraisers is right out of the 2003 playbook, about as relevant today as the “T” formation, when my husband suggested that even the listing agents can’t meet the BPO agent — not, that is, unless they are psychic and can sense on what day of what month in what year on the Julian calendar he might be coming around these parts– the buyer referred Steve to a helpful article on the subject.

OK, you didn’t click through, so let me share some of the high points (emphasis added represents me laughing hysterically) as presented by “Expert Author” Jarad:

  • So the lender sends a realtor out to the property and it’s your job to influence the BPO to come down as low as you can. This is the whole key to a successful short sale. This is why you want the lender to contact you, so you can meet the realtor at the front door and influence their BPO to come in as low as possible… (You should) show up with a list of comps in the area that are low. Most real estate agents appreciate you doing some of their work for them.

(Having the lender contact you is a fine plan! They will do this right after they contact the home owner, right after they contact the listing agent, and right after Wile E. Coyote catches the roadrunner. Oh, and agents do in fact love it when you tell them how to do their job. Yep. That’s the way things work, alright.)

  • When you meet the realtor on the property steps, just tell him you are the buyer and doing a short sale on the house. Then you will proceed to walk the realtor through the property. When you are walking through the property make sure you point any and every repair or problem with the property. Again, you are trying to make the value of the home come in as low as possible. If you are dealing with a nice house with minor cosmetics, you may really have to search for problems.

Another swell idea, this one. Assuming that you have set up a lean-to encampment in the driveway and happen to be present when the BPO agent arrives on Tuesday, Year of the Dragon, he will really appreciate your guided tour and thoughtful presentation on the nuances of this property. The other 76 BPOs he has scheduled before noon can wait.

  • If there is someone living in the property, you may want to ask them to leave when the realtor comes out to do a BPO. If they can’t, just tell them to stay out of the way. Explain to them you will be trying to make the house value look as low as possible. They may not understand why, just tell them it is the only way to save their house.

That’s right. Tell them you are saving their house. Just be sure to leave out the part about how they are losing their house.

  • Then call (the agent) the next morning to see if he was able to get the price you wanted. Sometimes they will tell you sometimes they won’t. Just ask to find out. If they won’t tell you, call the bank.

Hey, Culligan Man!

  • If it comes back high not in your favor, sometimes you can call the loss mitigation department and tell them the BPO is way to (sic) high. Many times they will work with you and order another BPO.

Again, by “call,” the author doesn’t mean that you should attempt to use a telephone. Successful two-way voice communication requires both a valid phone number and a receiving party who can find your file before the polar ice caps are but a memory.

Jarad, Jarad, Jarad. I think we should have a “Bring an Expert Author to Work” day here at San Diego Castles Realty. You could shadow us while we sit on hold with Bank of America waiting for news on where our nine-month-old file might be today, and you can share in our delight as we learn they found our most recent (sixth) resubmittal and that a negotiator will be assigned “soon.” Then, you can watch us call the seller to inform him that his fourth of four buyers, two of whom were offering market value and all cash, has died from old age.

Having said that, you now have a little fewer than 99,000 words to consume today. Eat up, but be careful. The heartburn can be a killer.

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