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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Letters to the editor: The value of Realtors

The value of Realtors With all due respect to Joe Yarborough of St. Pete and his letter May 13 (“Modern home-buying,” Your Views), I don’t think you have a clue about what you opine. My fiancee is a Realtor. She still drives people all over creation, all days of the week and all times of the day. But showing the house is not all she does. I have assisted her with printing, scanning and faxing documents. Not just contracts, but a myriad of red tape required by the government and lenders. If you have not bought or sold a house in the recent past, you haven’t a clue. My son just bought one in January, and thank goodness she was involved to help with advice during negotiations and the entire process. My daughter is stuck with a Mobley home that has Chinese drywall. She built this home in 2008 and had to walk in about January 2011. She was not late on payments, had good credit and had put another $5,000 into this $200,000 home after moving in for additional upgrades. She will be lucky if it sells it for $65,000 to an investor who will have to “gut” the home to the shell and rebuild. Meanwhile my daughter is faced with the lender possibly coming back on her for the difference, or the IRS, for the difference to be taxed on if the bank does forgive it. How do I know all of this? My fiancee, the Realtor, has all that knowledge and helps people buy and sell houses in this dilemma frequently. The paperwork is enormous. Finally, she found me a cash buyer for my home following my divorce. She handled the entire process, getting paperwork sent out of town and keeping all the parties informed every step of the way. She is there for appraisals and inspections. She is often in her office at our home working nights and weekends or in her realty office or showing homes. Before you malign the Realtor, know what they do for their money and understand they only get a very small percentage. The realty company gets the lion’s share to cover their meager office overhead, training, etc. Harald Stone
Tampa Overcompensated Regarding “Modern home-buying:” The letter from Joe Yarborough hit the nail on the head. I have been a Realtor for 39 years and have never felt that a percentage of the sale’s price was fair compensation for selling a property. Ask yourself: Is a Realtor worth twice as much for selling a $200,000 home as opposed to a $100,000 home? Worth twice as much for selling a $1,000,000 home as opposed to a $500,000 home, etc.,? I’m pretty sure what your answer will be, yet that is what they get and it is not questioned. In the typical transaction, a Realtor is highly overcompensated under the current percentage of sale’s price standard, and the time is at hand for that to be changed. As Yarborough stated, much of the work today is done by the potential buyer/seller before contacting a Realtor. Realtors should be compensated on a fee basis. That is how others involved in the typical transaction are compensated — the home inspector, appraiser, surveyor, etc. The only other person who is compensated on a percentage basis is the loan officer, who receives a percentage of the loan amount. That too is far too much for what is done. If a property is a more complex type, a slightly higher fee would be justified. In this case, “complex” does not mean higher-valued property; they usually sell themselves. David Bramuchi Dade City Drug war a waste The government justifies the drug war by saying it “takes drugs off the street.” What it really does is raise the price so high that casual users quit. But they were no problem in the first place. Problem users will do almost anything to get the cash to pay the price. The best way to take a drug off the street is by giving it the legal status of alcohol. Then, its tax revenue could be used for treatment of those who ask, and people selling to kids would lose their jobs. Start with marijuana and see how that goes. Then decide what, if anything, to do about other illegal drugs. The funds now being wasted to arrest marijuana smokers could be used elsewhere. Most important, patients who smoke marijuana would no longer have to hide from police. John G. Chase Palm Harbor Utter disgust My displeasure with the Obama administration has turned to utter disgust with this testimony by Greg Hicks about what really happened in Benghazi, and the apology by the IRS for targeting conservative groups. Anyone with half a brain could tell that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our government leaders, including the president, vice president and secretary of state, deliberately lied to the American people about the attack. And for months, the IRS has denied any wrongdoing in the processing of applications for nonprofit status by conservative groups, but now they have admitted wrongdoing and apologized. We don’t want your apologies. We the people demand truth and justice. Now the government is in full spin mode trying to minimize the damage through misdirection and obfuscation. Enough. Send the guilty parties to prison to make an example of them. Yes, Hillary, it does matter. Brian Boyle Tampa Imperiled species Shame on Taco Fusion for pushing lion meat on its menu. Thirty-five dollars for a lion taco? Is that the price of extinction? The African lion, one of the planet’s most iconic animals, has seen its wild population cut by more than 50 percent since 1980. Habitat loss, retaliatory killings and trophy hunting are primarily to blame. But now we know that lions in America, bred for roadside zoos and commercial photo ops, are being slaughtered for their flesh, too. A 2011 investigation by Born Free USA showed that the trade involves lion cubs bred for the captive display industry, caged lions shot at a slaughterhouse, and lion meat sold to unwitting consumers without proper regulatory oversight of animal welfare or human health and safety. Neither the U.S. Department of Agriculture nor the Food and Drug Administration has taken responsibility for monitoring this trade. Sad to think that as a Florida taqueria runs out of lion meat, Africa is also running out of lions. Clearly, now is not the time to stimulate demand in the flesh of an imperiled species. Adam Roberts Washington, D.C.

The writer is with Born Free USA.

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