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(Another) Great Listing Debate

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MLS: The Holy Grail of the Listing World?

We can’t deny that MLS has become an integral part of listing and selling homes in most areas of the country.  Numbers show that the majority of home sales are with the help of cooperating agents/brokers which reinforces the need for a clearinghouse to share listing data.

Not all Listing Cards are Created Equal

Most of us have probably loot count of the number of listings we run across where the person entering it obviously didn’t want to take the time to fill out the fields or worse the required fields are filled with bogus information.  At best this is a annoyance to other agents and the consumer and at worst can be missed buyers especially if the incorrect information causes the listing to no show up in searches.

Are MLS Listing Pathways or Roadblocks to Showings/Sales?

A complete and correctly filed out listing card is the roadmap or blueprint to the widest net being cast to potential buyers which leads to showings and offers (assuming priced correctly).  Complete and coherent information/instruction also alleviate listing agent headaches avoiding the endless calls from coop agents and gives the them a more professional image in the face of the local real estate professional community.  A poorly done or incompletely card is an aggravation to everyone involved and the fact that many still sell reinforces the complacency that exists in this area.

Matt is an Real Estate Broker and Consultant from Northern Virginia. He is always looking for new ways to make the industry more efficient and consumer-oriented. Matt is a social networking junkie who can be readily found on Twitter and Facebook.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Matt Stigliano

    August 18, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Matt – For some strange reason, our here on the Northeast side of town (it happens elsewhere, but it seems rampant here), people don’t like to use decimals in acreage numbers. So a quarter of an acre shows up in the MLS as 25 acres. Big difference, no? It makes it pretty hard when searching for a property in larger acreages. I was looking for a 1 acre or larger site for someone and that was their main criteria – I had to wade through hundreds of listings, most of which were homes with a postage stamp sized yard that were incorrectly entered.

    We all make mistakes from time to time and I try and be understanding when it looks like it’s one little detail that I would have done differently or know better, but when a listing is rife with mistakes it really makes for a rough search.

  2. jf.sellsius.theclozing

    August 18, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I am convinced that the MLS system sells MANY more homes than any internet portal.

    It is the first place real estate agents look, (and, perhaps in many cases, the only place… unless it fails to deliver).

    Sites like TruZilla offer only incremental listing value. They survive on selling the perception that if the listing is more widely disseminated, it must bring many more buyers—an internet myth, in my opinion. Show me the stats. I’m of the belief that those portal buyers are miniscule in comparison to the MLS machine.

  3. Matt Wilkins

    August 18, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Natt – things like that do happen everywhere. Up here it seems more listings where the home style and type are incorrect. The bigger thing I see is the number of listings where no one feels needs to fill in the optional fields even if the answers are know. You can save a lot of precous comment space by just checking the boxes.

    Joe – I agree completely thus why I wanted to surface the point of taking the time to fill out complete and accurate listing cards. I kinda chuckle when I have to call a listing agent to get a question answered that should of been clearly communicated via the MLS listing.

  4. markbrian

    August 18, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    It is sad but many times I think this is a case of the agent fills out the paperwork and then hands it to an assistant or office person to enter into the MLS. The agent then never double checks the listing for accuracy. If more sellers did the same thing that the banks do and ask for a copy of the MLS listing then this problem, as well as the lack of pictures I often see, would not happen as much.

  5. Brian Larson

    August 19, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Accurate data is one of the big strategic strengths of MLSs and should be a key strategic focus. It’s tricky though: several of our MLS clients that have adopted an aggressive stance toward enforcing data accuracy rules have felt push-back from brokers. Brokers claim they don’t want “rule Nazis” (always the reductio ad Hitlerum) in “jack boots,” etc.

    -Brian

  6. Jeff Allen

    August 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Having accurate data in MLS is completely essential. From a selfish point of view, the more accurate the data the better our ability at 10K to provide detailed and reliable market trend analysis.

    From an industry point of view, it looks extremely unprofessional to consumers to see issues like the one Matt S. mentioned in his comment. That reflects poorly on EVERY realtor, not just the listing agent for that property.

  7. Paula Henry

    August 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I came across this issue twice this week. One client wants a master bedroom on the main level; another wants a garden tub in the master. I know there were homes missing from the searches. As I did my search, I wondered how many listings were not properly represented by the agent.

    It is such a simple step and yet, often overlooked.

  8. Lisa Sanderson

    August 22, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I am surprised by the number of sellers who never see how their home appears in the MLS. I always send them a link to get an extra couple sets of eyes on the listing to ensure accuracy.

  9. Real Estate System

    September 19, 2009 at 12:14 am

    nice post and its one of the innovative and informative one so keep up post cont,this useful tips really help s the readers like me,hope its must be a great for the next generation.Thanks for the cool post

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Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?

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Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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Business Marketing

Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?

[BUSINESS MARKETING] Would you rather pay less but still pay for shipping, or pay more with free shipping? They may cost the same, but one appeals more than the other.

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Person standing over pacakge, sealing with masking tape.

When it comes to competing with huge corporations like Amazon, there are plenty of hurdles that smaller businesses have to cross. Corporations can (and do) undercut the competition, not to mention garner a much larger marketing reach than most small businesses could ever dream of achieving. But this time, we want to focus on something that most people have probably chosen recently: Free shipping.

How important is free shipping to consumers? Well, in a 2018 survey, Internet Retailer discovered that over 50% of respondents said that free shipping was the most important part of online shopping. In fact, when given a choice between fast or costless shipping, a whopping 88% of those surveyed chose the latter option.

Part of this has to do with the fact that shipping costs are often perceived as additional fees, not unlike taxes or a processing fee. In fact, according to Ravi Dhar, director of Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, if it’s between a discounted item with a shipping fee or a marked up item with free shipping, individuals are more likely to choose the latter – even if both options cost exactly the same amount.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dhar refers to the economic principle of “pain of paying,” but the short answer is simply that humans are weird.

So, how do you recapture the business of an audience that’s obsessed with free shipping?

The knee jerk reaction is to simply provide better products that the competition. And sure, that works… to some extent. Unfortunately, in a world where algorithms can have a large effect on business, making quality products might not always cut it. For instance, Etsy recently implemented a change in algorithm to prioritize sellers that offer free shipping.

Another solution is to eat the costs and offer free shipping, but unless that creates a massive increase in products sold, you’re going to end up with lower profits. This might work if it’s between lower profits and none, but it’s certainly not ideal. That’s why many sellers have started to include shipping prices in the product’s overall price – instead of a $20 necklace with $5 shipping, a seller would offer a $25 necklace with free shipping.

This is a tactic that the big businesses use and it works. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

That said, not everyone can join in. Maybe, for instance, a product is too big to reasonably merge shipping and product prices. If, for whatever reason, you can’t join in, it’s also worth finding a niche audience and pushing a marketing campaign. What do you offer that might be more attractive than the alluring free shipping? Are you eco-friendly? Do you provide handmade goods? Whatever it is that makes your business special, capitalize on it.

Finally, if you’re feeling down about the free shipping predicament, remember that corporations have access to other tricks. Amazon’s “free” prime shipping comes at an annual cost. Wal-Mart can take a hit when item pricing doesn’t work out. Even if your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped, take heart: You’re facing giants.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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