Friday, April 22, 2011
Real Estate agents are a devious lot - mandating 6% commissions, failing to tell buyers that their legal duty often runs to the seller, pretending that a property is in a safer or more desirable neighborhood and demanding a higher price. Boo.
Some real estate agents are even more aggressive, inventing entirely new neighborhood names for "up and coming" areas. South Harlem becomes SoHa. The area "down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass" becomes DUMBO. The place downwind of the sewage treatment plant becomes Dowisetrepla.
Finally, the anti-Real Estate Agent Brigade has a hero. According to the New York Times, "State assemblyman, Hakeem Jeffries, is writing legislation that would punish real estate agents for inventing neighborhood names and for falsely stretching their boundaries. It would also require that name changes get city approval."
Obviously, the regulation here is impractical - neighborhood borders are notoriously difficult to define and they change over time (see this map of Manhattan neighborhoods). Moreover, the whole process would be subject to easy capture by agents.
Nonetheless, anyone willing to stand up to the real estate cabal deserves some praise. And, as Mr. Jeffries notes, “Neighborhoods have a history, culture and character that should not be tossed overboard whenever a Realtor decides it would be easier to market under another name.”