The AJC and its Violation of Our Trust

TASS is the official news agency of Russia.  I’ll bet you didn’t think the AJC had a lot in common with TASS.  But sadly, it does.  When it comes to reporting the world of real estate, the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) and TASS operate from the exact same page.   Tell only one side of the story, deflect attention away from all deviation and refuse to acknowledge any alternatives. 

TASS is evil and their editorial position costs lives.  The AJC is greedy, and their editorial position has cost Atlanta-area homeowners billions of dollars.

Atlanta is the most unique real estate market in the United States.  One-of-a-kind!  Rare! What we do in Atlanta is NOT done anywhere else in America!  Does the average Atlanta consumer know this?  No, they do NOT!  The AJC knows this!  They just don’t want to tell you about it because they get paid not to.   

It’s very easy to get lost in the weeds but know this; the Department of Justice (DOJ) and NAR (National Association of Realtors) have been in court for years now.  The DOJ claims NAR is a monopoly and operates like a Cartel fixing real estate commission rates.  And everyone yells; “Duh!”   But also know this; the DOJ does nothing unless it is forced to.  Meaning their court battle with NAR is the result of tens if not hundreds of thousands of complaints from consumers. 

Across the board, consumers think Sellers being forced to pay the commission of the agent they are negotiating against is stupid!  Also stupid; 6% commission rates.  But this is the control NAR has over their industry as they continue to operate as if it were the 1970s.  What NARs says goes and they pay tens of millions of dollars every year to keep it that way.  NAR spent $44M in political donations in 2021.  $300M spent over the last 5 years.  Proving once again it takes a lot of money to entomb an entire industry. 

Except Atlanta!

Since the early 1990s Atlanta was legally set-apart from everyone else.   https://wyndrealty.com/race-real-estate-why-atlanta-is-so-different/  What does this mean?  It means our market is not driven by NAR.  In Atlanta, NAR is optional and most of Atlanta’s agents do NOT belong.  Atlanta is the only large market like this in the United States.   

People complain about real estate all the time.  “That’s the way it is”, is the most often repeated refrain.  Why 6%?  Why Do Sellers pay Buyers Agents?  Why join a Realty Board? For most of the United States, “that’s the way it is”, works.  But NOT in Atlanta.  Everybody knows this, except the consumer.

If during the 1980s and 1990s, the AJC had been honest and told the story of our market, Atlanta homeowners would have saved a ton of money.  Saved money from 30 years ago would have compounded significantly.  But that was last century.  How about last week?  To this day the AJC has yet to address this issue. 

In terms of real estate, Atlanta is the most unique market in the United States.  So why doesn’t the AJC man up?  Again, everyone yells, “Duh”!  If the AJC were to tell their readers the true story, they would be biting the hand that feeds them.  In the 80s and 90s, realtors spent a ton of money on paper advertising.  It paid the Paper’s bills.  Everyone remembers when Brokerages would buy splashy multi-page color inserts featuring thumbnails of all their agents.   Could there have been a bigger waste of money?  (Considering the average age of realtors, it always came across more like an obit page; “In Memorial – The Agents we Lost)  

The AJC wasn’t going to tell Atlanta’s real estate story, and they didn’t want others to tell it either.  For three years in a row, we submitted proof that millions of dollars were being lost in Inman Park homes sales.  The AJC didn’t want it printed.

Year after year Inman Park listings maintained a DOM (Days on Market) of around 30.  Awesome!    Given that, there is absolutely NO reason any Inman Park home seller needed to pay their Buyer’s agents 3%.   They could have paid 1%.  Statistically speaking, their home will be gone within 30 days no matter what.  The homeowner could have kept 2% if they only knew they could!  And given the price of  Inman Park single family homes, this represents a significant amount of money.  

The traditional real estate business model is flawed.  And it’s not the job of the AJC to point that out or pick on any one company or industry.  OK.

But I remember Journalism class.  Wasn’t the mantra “follow the story”? Atlanta is so very different.  Why?  Having a general sense of curiosity is another mantra found in most newspapers.  Didn’t think the fleecing of the Atlanta homeowner merited the attention of the AJC readership?  Sorry; have to call BS on that.   

Will the AJC ever write an article about our unique market?  Would it matter?  Zero cred on the matter, says no.  It’s Fake news. 

Who can the consumer trust?  The AJC?  Depends on who is paying?  The National franchises?  They did so well for all those Inman Park homeowners? 

But just remember this: if a realtor ever tells you, “that’s just the way it is”, and you are standing in Atlanta Georgia, you know they are lying.

 

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