OPINION: Subprime Blame: Where Were the Realtors?

October 24, 2007
While much criticism has been leveled at subprime lenders and mortgage brokers, there has been little focus on the role of the Realtors, even though the agent often serves as the homebuyer's chief advisor.
     Many Realtors help buyers find loans by recommending lenders or mortgage brokers. Real estate agents typically spend much more time with homebuyers than mortgage brokers and lenders do, and presumably could issue warnings about risky loan products.
     Thus, real estate agents have yet to receive their fair share of the blame for the subprime mess, says Shanna Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance.
     "I think the greed factor works with agents as well as loan originators," Smith said. "It is my experience that real estate agents have been pushing people to buy more expensive homes than they were initially qualified to buy under 30-year, fixed-rate [loan]s."