In defense of Realtors

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The National Association of Realtors and its members have been catching a lot of flack lately, much of it deserved. As the chief cheerleaders of the housing bubble, led by the clown princes of economics David Lereah and now Lawrence Yun, Realtors encouraged a lot of people to overextend themselves, using risky mortgages to buy overpriced homes when they could have continued renting for a lot less money.

But let's look at the bigger picture. According to a 2004 Federal Reserve study, the average renter had a net worth of $4,000 while the average homeowner's net worth was $184,000 -- homeowners are 46 times richer than renters.

I would defy anyone to show me any other group of salespeople who can say that, on average, they've helped to make their clients 46 times richer. I know: it's not that simple. You could say that "the average Lamborghini driver is x times richer" but let's be real: the dream of homeownership is within reach for almost anyone who works hard and manages money prudently, and the National Association of Realtors has been a chief proponent of that dream, to the great benefit of millions of Americans.

A few years of turmoil doesn't reverse decades of great work that Realtors have done and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a group of salespeople who've done more to improve the lives of everyday families. The vast, vast majority of homeowners are far better of owning than they would be had they stayed renting, and the agitprop arm of the NAR is partly to thank. So if you see a down and out Realtor who hasn't had a closing in months, give him/her a hug!
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