justice http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9007/all en-US Is It the End of 6% Real Estate Commissions? http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-the-end-of-6-real-estate-commissions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-it-the-end-of-6-real-estate-commissions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bowescocks.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This week the Justice Department <a href="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2004442254_realtors28.html" target="_blank">reached an antitrust settlement</a> with the National Association of Realtors that is meant to spur competition and bring down the standard 6% commission that comes with each real estate transaction. Basically, the NAR is no longer able to withhold the information on multiple listing services from discount online brokers such as Redfin and ZipRealty. Will consumers like us see a huge deduction in real estate transaction prices soon? </p> <p>Before I make any predictions, I would like to say that I have always found it odd for a buyer&#39;s agent to take commissions on the sale of a house. The reason is that technically a buyer&#39;s agent is supposed to negotiate for the best price for the client, but the dangling carrot of the commission probably tempts some of them to hype up the property price as high as possible. Instead of taking a percentage on a sale, I think buyer&#39;s agents should just charge for the time they spend showing homes to a client and perhaps get a bonus on the amount they save the client by negotiating for a price below asking. That way, they will be actually paid for their work, and they will have no stake in hyping up prices. For agents with picky clients, it is possible that charging by the hour is more lucrative than charging 3% on a sale. </p> <p>I think this settlement will definitely promote competition and bring down commissions as more people start to use the internet to search for real estate. It is good for sellers because their listings will get more exposure on many different sites rather than a closed multiple listing service. It is also great for buyers because information will be more freely available and they no longer have to depend on realtors to find real estate of their choice. On the side of the agents, I think excellent selling agents could still make great commissions because discount online realtors have limited services that may not be advantageous to a seller in our current tough market conditions. However, I think buyer&#39;s agents really need to cut down their commissions or change their billing model to compete with discount realtors that refund up to 2/3rds of the commission because many more people will be picking out homes online in the near future. </p> <p>Ultimately, this settlement shows us that knowledge is power, and the internet is a great place to obtain knowledge. The real estate industry can no longer take 6% commissions for granted, but as long as the agents are able to adapt to the situation and keep their customers happy I think they will still thrive in our turbulent economy. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-the-end-of-6-real-estate-commissions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/low-interest-rates-do-not-make-homes-affordable">Low Interest Rates Do Not Make Homes Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8000-housing-tax-credit-can-now-be-turned-into-cash-at-closing-according-to-fha">$8000 housing tax credit can now be turned into cash at closing according to FHA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-tax-credits-coming-for-homebuyers">More Tax Credits Coming for Homebuyers?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Real Estate and Housing antitrust discount government housing Internet justice real estate settlement Fri, 30 May 2008 08:59:04 +0000 Xin Lu 2136 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Target Really Just as Bad As Wal-Mart? http://www.wisebread.com/is-target-really-just-as-bad-as-wal-mart <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-target-really-just-as-bad-as-wal-mart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/targetcart.JPG" alt="Target shopping cart with teeth" title="Is Target Just a Smaller Shark?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I caught some flack here recently when I expressed a very common attitude: I won&#39;t shop at Wal-Mart due to their well known labor problems, but I love to shop at Target.</p> <p>Is there really any moral difference between shopping at the two big box stores? Or is it just that Isaac Mizrahi and Jovovich-Hawk blind us to the store&#39;s values?</p> <p>Here is how the two stores stack up:</p> <ul> <li>Both have fought off employee unionization efforts, so far with 100 percent success in the United States. Target employees are shown an <a href="http://www.alternet.org/workplace/35610/?comments=view&amp;cID=118628&amp;pID=118609">anti-union video as part</a> of their orientation. </li> <li>Neither store pays a living wage. A 2005 <a href="http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/2005/target_better.php">newspaper article</a> quotes the United Food and Commercial Workers, which had tried to organize some Target workers, saying that wages and health plans at the two stores are similar, but Target&#39;s plan is more restrictive. &quot;We feel they are worse than Wal-Mart because they are masquerading as this benign employer,&quot; said Bernie Hesse, a UFCW leader, in a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/18/news/companies/reingold_target.fortune/index.htm">Fortune piece</a> published this month.</li> <li>Both <a href="http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/rs/profile.cfm?id=295">Target</a> and <a href="http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/rs/profile.cfm?id=306">Walmart</a> use factories with poor human rights records. </li> <li>Both stores present obvious environmental problems with all the packaging used, etc. Both have initiatives to improve their record in this area; Wal-Mart&#39;s promises go farther, according to the <a href="http://aliberals-hitlist.blogspot.com/2007/08/target-and-wal-mart-try-to-get-green.html">Minneapolis Star Tribune</a>.</li> <li>With their low prices, both stores have the effect of putting smaller, more specialized and often locally owned retailers out of business.</li> </ul> <p>There are plenty of reasons in there to justify boycotting both chains. However, there are also arguments for focusing on just one store: A boycott of one store is more effective. People have to buy things someplace, and for many, especially those outside urban areas, that someplace is going to be a big box store. A boycott is an easier sell if it isn&#39;t an undue burden on those who are asked to participate.</p> <p>And if just one store is chosen, Wal-Mart is the obvious choice. Although both companies have labor problems, it&#39;s Wal-Mart that has shown in legal cases to abuse its workers by coercing them to put in <a href="http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0625-04.htm">unpaid overtime</a>, and its Wal-Mart that faces a class action lawsuit on <a href="http://www.walmartclass.com/public_home.html">discrimination against female employees</a> (Target was found guilty in an <a href="http://www.eeoc.gov/press/12-10-07a.html">EEOC suit</a> on racial discrimination in Wisconsin stores). </p> <p>Wal-Mart&#39;s <a href="http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/rs/profile.cfm?id=306">rap sheet</a> at Co-Op America is as long as my arm, much longer than Target&#39;s. It&#39;s true that as a larger and higher profile company, Wal-Mart has been the subject of more scrutiny, but still -- there are many more documented reasons to avoid Wal-Mart than Target.</p> <p>Finally, Wal-Mart&#39;s sheer size makes it the better candidate for a boycott. It&#39;s Wal-Mart&#39;s size that is allowing it to dictate changes in the retail supply chain worldwide. It&#39;s the size, and its 1.9 million employees, that make its wage-lowering influence on the labor market so powerful and its uncared-for workers such a burden on the public health system.</p> <p>This last fact, the size, is what keeps me away from Wal-Mart while still caving occasionally to Target&#39;s siren song. Even if Wal-Mart was a model of good labor practices, I would feel uncomfortable adding to this behemoth&#39;s coffers and helping it become more powerful than any world government. Personally, I feel that no company should be as big or powerful as Wal-Mart has become, and, no matter what the sins of the other retailers out there, I know for sure that I&#39;m not adding one more cent to the Wal-Mart world domination fund.</p> <p>By the way, if you are looking for a big-box retailer with a reputation as a fair employer, <a href="http://www.laborresearch.org/print.php?id=391">look no farther than Costco</a>, where employees make more, get better health care, and see a smaller difference between their own wages and those of executives than workers at either of the two leading retail chains. Costco is <a href="http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/rs/profile.cfm?id=207">far from perfect</a>, of course -- choices that truly benefit communities, the environment, etc. don&#39;t involve big boxes at all. But in a relative world, shopping there will cause you less guilt than shopping at Wal-Mart or Target.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-target-really-just-as-bad-as-wal-mart">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-perimeter-perusing-at-target">Tips for Perimeter Perusing at Target</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/special-holiday-return-policies-of-popular-stores">Special holiday return policies of popular stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/90-off-is-not-a-deal-if-you-don-t-need-it">90% off is not a deal if you don’t need it.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stampede-death-walmart-black-friday">How many human lives is a flat panel TV worth?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pursenalized">Pursenalized</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping justice labor target Wal-Mart Thu, 27 Mar 2008 19:37:59 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1953 at http://www.wisebread.com