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I feel so exonerated! I've claimed for years that Curb Appeal = Sex Appeal. In fact my 1st videoblog in 2010 addressed this! Now finally, according to a new study, the attractiveness of your real estate agent does affect how well your property sells! Duh! People judge me all the time by the way I look..not always to my benefit. The study has some ineresstin findings about race & gender. Homes sell for more when agents are female &/or white. But, hey, can't let that get us down. We gotta do the best with what we've got!
"grab collar" pose! classy!
My friend Scott Schang thinks Supernatural on the CW Network made a few jabs at real estate agents on their episode last week. Bottom left clip is a snippet example.
Jab or not, it is so true! It's practically a cliché to have a headshot that's 15 yrs old! As I have videoblogged before, from a consumer stand point, an "outdated headshot = outdated agent"!
BTW, if you seen any other media representations of realtors, please forward!
An older agent asked me for advice: should he get iPhone or stick to his flip phone? I cracked up hysterically, until I realized he was serious (D'oh!). Feeling guilty, I put on my teacher hat & for next hour showed him the wonders of internet, email and apps all in the palm of his 65 yr old hand. The next day he bought a simple flip phone.
I screamed, "Why oh why?! Haven't you heard of Nomophobia?"
He said, "What's your sexuality got to do with it?"
I retorted, "Not Homophobia. Nomophobia: the fear of being without a mobile phone"
Huffington Post reports consumers are addicted to their phones which spells opportunity. Double down on your mobile strategy, identify ways to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media.....You need a smart phone for all this! If you show up to a showing with brick cell phone, clients will crack up hysterically at you!
It seems everyone is on some "real estate team" now. Some are effective, meaning there is clear division of labor and works like well oiled machine. But more often than not, I find teams to be just disorganized. I have to communicate the same conversation 5 times to 5 different people. Many are inexperienced new agents who need to join a team to do any business. Too many hands in the pot leads to no accountability. But then again, if I were them and I had to split my earnings 5 ways, I probably wouldn't be very motivated either...I'm just sayin'!
Mitt Romney was disqualified as McCain's VP in 2008 because he owned 6 homes. You'll recall McCain disastrously told a reporter he couldn't remember how many houses he & his wife owned. (They own 8) Hmm, not the best thing to say when the nation dove into foreclosure crisis in 2008!
Well, it's interesting to know one's real estate holdings are part of the VP selection process! (I guess that means Sarah Palin didn't have many homes). Oddly, they disqualify a VP for having too much, but don't mind if he is boinking his "videographer" during the campaign (John Edwards).
I'm perusing the MLS, minding my own business, when I come across this! How can this be a photo for a property for sale?! Looks like a scene from COPS or Cheaters! Ironically, it says "Cute, Cozy & Clean Clean Clean" (overboard with the alliteration). This area actually is nice quiet suburb. This pic makes it seem like a meth house! Well even crackheads need a home, right?
What would you think if you did a deal with another agent, and at the end of the transaction, they gave a closing gift to YOUR client? I'm not talking dinky rubber keychain with their contact info. I'm talking a sweet jaw dropping present.
Is it merely in the spirit of celebration? A kind gesture of congratulations? Or... is it poaching your client?! Back-handed try to steal them?
What would you think/do?!
Real phone conversation with clueless listing agent
Herman: Hi, I'm calling about listing on *&^@& St. Is there anything wrong with the property?
Agent: It's gorgeous!
Herman: How come there are no photos?
Agent: Didn't you read the pretty description I wrote?
Herman: (rolls eyes) Um, a picture is worth a 1000 words.
I feel so sorry for his clients! People are visual creatures. If your house is for sale, make sure you have TONS of pics. It's like online dating, you are more likely to click on the guy with attractive photos and sparse bio, than a guy with no pix and long flowery bio (TMI or over compensation). Let's face it. No pix implies fugly!
Case in point: Notice how boring this blog post is without any images?!
When 90% of the business is done by 10% of realtors, does it honestly matter if membership to National Association of Realtors dips below 1 million? Membership peaked in 2007 at 1,369,411. It's all for the best, if you ask me.
Dirty little secret: Despite their "aura of success", most realtors across the nation maybe sell 1 house per year ...usually to a relative! No joke. Even if the number of realtors drops to 100k, when selecting representation, be sure your agent is full time & part of that top 10%. With so much on the line, you can NOT risk your house and money to a part time amateur!
Domainnamewire.com reports "National Association of Realtors filed a complaint with World Intellectual Property Organization over the domain name GayRealtor.com" First of all, I get this is about the improper use of the realtor, er, I mean REALTOR® trademark. But, honestly folks, a cursory search on Twitter or Google brings up plenty of people incorrectly using realtor in their email, URL or username. To be fair, NAR does issue cease and desist letters left and right. But it is rare for the association to escalate things to this level. In the past 12 years, this is merely the 6th domain arbitration case they've filed. Why are they zeroing in on gayrealtor.com? The site has been active for many many years.
What is especially striking is the timing of this enforcement. It has always been a raging bone of contention amongst my LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly REALTORS® that NAR did not include sexual orientation in its discrimination clause. NAR’s REALTORS® Code of Ethics only prohibited the “denial of its professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” The "Realtor Party" was apparently a party we weren't invited to! In a sign that NAR finally joined the 21st century, they decided to add sexual orientation to the aforementioned list last year. Clutch my pearls! At long last, some good will!
Is gayrealtor.com a trademark misuse? Yeah, rules are rules.
Is this the best time to take them down? Not sure. What do you think?
Every time this year, expect to see Xmas trees pitted against each other! Those poor things! Not only do we ax them at the root & ferret them way from their forest friends, but we imprison them in our Febrezed living rooms & dangle dangerous sharp inanimate objects off their limp limbs, strangle them with flammable mini-lights & suffocate them with faux pine l'eau de parfum! What's worse is we make fake & real trees mortal enemies! Haven't they suffered enough! Let's just forego the tree entirely. Just don't tell the National Christmas Tree Association (yes one exists). Incidentally, you can earn $100,000 investing in a Christmas tree farm! Amen!
I'm wildly impresed by Ice Cube's video about celebrated Eames architechts for Pacific Standard Time. It may seem like an odd pairing between hi-brow and low-brow. But hey, aside from being beautifully post-modern, it actually is authentic because before rapping, Ice Cube studied architectural drafting! He not only disects the Eames' work but the video is also an homage (or defense) of Los Angeles, often stereotypes as plastic and fake.
Trust me when I say there is a notorious rivalry between both camps: NorCal as the free loving hippie granola crowd and SoCal as the superficial vapid crowd. Living in both SF and LA, I feel like bi-racial kid. I can see both sides. But why all the hateration?! I believe you find your niche wherever you go. If you wanna be crunchy or hipster in LA, then live in Silver Lake/Echo Park. If you wanna be Ken & Barbie in SF, live in the Marina district. Just find your flock! They exist in both places, for reals.
"Who are these people who gotta problem with LA? Maybe they just mad they don't live here." - Ice Cube
What with the job market so tough and the ever increasing cost of living, how do you kids afford to buy a home? It's darn near impossible, unless you scrimp and save through your 20's (who wants to live off Top Ramen?), or live w/ parents to save on rent (Social/sex life tanks!) or if you're a trust fund baby (Jealous!).
CNN Money spotlights 5 scenarios where parents help kids buy homes, ranging from paying out right in cash to lending money to their kids interest free. I've noticed this trend in the market, especially in more pricey areas like San Francisco, whose average sales prices is near $700k.
Do you think this is a function of Baby Boomer spoiling adults kids? Or wise investment decision for their kids?
Look, we realize real esate agents are stressing for business but ummmm, dang, has it really come to this? This is a true bonafide listing for sale on the MLS.
Buyer: I'm calling about Carol Ave. Tell me about it
Agent: It has some water intrusion.
Buyer: That's OK. What about the neighborhood?
Agent: It's changing. It's very fluid.
Agent: Let me put it this way. Do you like the Little Mermaid?
Yes, the McRib has made its triumphant return to America, but let's not forget another Mc whose glory days are gone. The Mighty McMansion.
One of my favorite websites Gawker ("Today's Gossip is Tomorrow's News") posted an obituary for the McMansion. Once a symbol of American decadence and excess, the McMansion is now nothing more than brothels, pot farms or remnant of faux suburban paradise.
According to the Wall St Journal, buyers are finally realizing they don't freakin' need a room for every single purpose. It's like the kitchen. How many darn kitchen appliances do you really need!? Some people's kitchens cabinets are stuff to the max with tools. And it's just for the sake of having them...not using them. Buyers see now that rooms can be multi-purpose (gee, that's a novel idea!). This explains why I'm seeing a new design trend: open flexible floor plans where the common area & kitchen blend together.
Like I always say, "It is not Down Sizing, It is Right Sizing!"
PS: Check out this spot-on blog McMansion Makeover. Hilarious stuff!
My latest column for AGBeat is bound to raise a few eyebrows in the realtor community. Do you want your agent to inform you they are a victim of foreclosure?
An industry secret
It’s considered hush hush, but many agents have lost their homes to foreclosure. This housing mess has affected everyone. Admit it or not, that includes us real estate agents. Realtors were not immune. Some of us speculated just as much as the banks and some of us got swept up in the dizzying ascent of the market. And frankly, some of us lost our shirts.
For those agents who have personally gone through foreclosure, do you tell clients, or do you sweep it under the rug? An agent’s own REO experience can be a blemish. People think “Wait, you’re supposed to be the real estate expert. How could this happen to you? Shouldn’t you know better? And if you couldn’t save your own house, what makes you think you can save my house?”
Painful, albeit valid, questions. Would you hire an electrician whose own sub-panel gets burnt to a crisp? A plumber whose own pipes explode? When we position ourselves as the authority on real estate, there is a certain expectation from consumers that we know what we are talking about. Our own real estate failings can discredit us.
The flip side of the coin
On the other hand, is it better to tell clients that you know first hand what they are going through? As prevalent as it is, foreclosure is still shameful and a seller may take solace that you can relate. A strong rapport helps, especially in distressed sales. Sometimes emotional support is more important to a client. Also having gone through the process yourself, you know the pitfalls to avoid. Sharing your past mistakes can help them navigate the rocky road ahead.
Do you think agents who have lost property in a foreclosure or a short sale ought to disclose this to clients? Are they more or less qualified to assist owners facing repossession?
I'm not one of these real estate agents who perpetually paints a rosy picture about housing. I'm all about keepin' it real...but wow, looking at these images is just too real even for me. I can't stop staring at these photos. They are all at once mesmerizing in all their decay & beautiful in their destruction. Mere remnants of a by-gone American era. A reminder of the fleeting nature of any predominant society. Nothing lasts forever....
In their 2010 book The Ruins of Detroit, French photographers Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre set out to document the decline of an American city.
"As Detroit''s white middle class continues to abandon the city center for its dispersed suburbs, and its downtown high-rises empty out, these astounding images, which convey both the imperious grandeur of the city''s architecture and its genuinely shocking decline, preserve a moment that warns us all of the transience of great epochs." - Buy.com
Check out more gorgeous eerie photos of what were once architectural masterpieces now reduced to abandoned derelict ruins here.
Zillow is one of the few IPO success stories this year. They went public mid-July and finally hit profitability for the first time in Q2. How this will improve Zestimates remains to be seen. In real estate circles, Zestimates are known to be fairly accurate or totally off the wall. On a small link on their site, you can find their median error %. Some areas are respectably within 4-5%, but other areas are off up to 38%!
Zillow can be a great tool to get a ballpark guesstimate of a property's value, but take it with a grain of salt. It works best in tract homes or cookie-cutter communities. It's dubious in areas that have a lot of property diversity & older homes, like is most urban cities.
A fancy algorithm just can not take into account intangible factors that affect value like view, curb appeal, layout, schools, and so forth. I'm just sayin'!
ForSaleByOwner.com is a website that encourages sellers to bypass Realtors & try to sell their home by themselves. Ugh! Obviously I'm biased, but hey, live and let live. If people want to take a stab at For Sale By Owner (ie FSBO), go for it. But well over 80% of FSBO's eventually have to list with an real estate agent to get their house sold. It's harder than it looks!
Apparently, the founder & COO of ForSaleByOwner.com learned that the hard way. The Wall Street Journal reports he could not sell his own 2 bd Chelsea apartment after 6 long months. He finally relented & hired a Realtor who got it sold for $2.15M. Basically, this guy has no problem charging sellers to be his FSBO site without Realtor representation, but he himself hires a Realtor to sell his own place. What does that say about the value of a Realtor?
Below LogoTV viewer asks me if they should sell their house without an agent. Ummmmm, if the guru of ForSaleByOwner.com can't do it, what makes you think you can!?
UPDATE: Agent Genius quoted me about this story. Clearly, this struck a cord in people b/c the on-line reactions are off the charts!!
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