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Hey Man, Want to Buy a Picture of My Sister Listing?

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I just finished a search for a potential client.

They are looking for a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home that is pet friendly and have a wide geographic scope of where they would live and a fairly high price ceiling for the marketplace.

So, I started in my legacy, local, required MLS service on the space windows computer that I keep at my desk. (Note: I am a Mac user with an iPhone and I don’t do windows.  And yes, I do have Fusion with XP but why slow my Mac down. My MLS is still a server with an active-X link, so only available on an IE browser).

After pulling up 29 properties that fit the criteria, I was astonished to see (or for that matter not see) listings of over 90 days with NO PICTURES.  You think that’s a good one, how about the listing with NO DESCRIPTION.

Now, let me start with my usual skeptical side.  These agents know that they don’t have pictures because they want potential renters to call.  They think that way, they can block out other agents and do a double bubble!

My nice side would say that they forgot or their camera is broken or the seller won’t let them take pictures.  Yea right!  I don’t think my nice side wins this argument!

The MLS in the Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern new Jersey, Northern Delaware (https://www.trendmls.com) does not have a rule that makes a picture within 24-48 a necessity.

I think getting that changed would be harder than passing ObamaCare through an all-Tea party Republican Congress.

But, it must.  It’s all about being on a level playing field. This is just a business trick (to quote a current commercial) and if we real estate agents really want to get our public image out of the gutter, we have to petition our MLS (and yours if they do the same) to get this as a rule.

Yes, there are 20,000 other things that need to get done, but this can be a good start.

Above is the transcript to the video below. Enjoy:

Realty Reality! That describes Fred, a sharp witted and outspoken realist for the mortgage and real estate world who has appeared on CNBC and NPR's Marketplace along with being quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Fred is the CEO of U S Spaces, Inc/Arrivva (a real estate brokerage firm in PA, NJ, DE and CA) and U S Loans Mortgage Inc (mortgage brokerage in PA, CA, FL and VA), and serves on the Board of Directors and is the Federal Legislative Director for the UpFront Mortgage Brokers. Fred is also the co-creator of real estate startup Rentscoper.com, a mathematically driven rental search engine. See everything Fred at fredglick.com.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    February 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    lol dude, you had me at space windows!

  2. Craig Frooninckx

    February 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Hey Fred, we were able to pass a rule at ARMLS that there must exist at least one exterior picture of the home within 72 hours. It’s a start, next time I will go for a requirement of at least 5 interior photos. Good luck.

  3. Matt Wilkins

    February 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Craig:

    I too am in favor orf requiring interior photos in all MLS listings. However, I know there is going to be opposition from both sellers who don’t want the inside of thei home on public display 24/7 (and others just too embarrassed to show of their home) and RE professionals who still feel that a home will sell itsself without the need (and extra work involved) in taking/upoading photos both exterior and interior.

  4. Aaron Charlton

    February 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    We have a huge lack of photos and description, too. It’s mainly caused by a glut of bank-owned properties on the market. It seems like you don’t really have to do a good job of marketing foreclosures because they just sort of sell themselves.

  5. John Badalamenti, Prudential Fox & Roach

    February 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    My personal favorite is pics with snow on the lawn – and its now July…makes we want to put on my ski boots, yippie!

  6. Ross Therrien, Prudential Verani

    February 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    The Northern New England Real Estate Network-www.nnern,com, regulates our mls and we are required to submit at least 1 photo within 48hours, or else we can be fined. We’re allowed 24 photos to really highlight the properties “best” features. Best is often in the eye of the beholder though! Then you have the listings with 6 pictures of the front of the house, perhaps one of the backyard–focusing in on the 20′ drop off the nowhere……..and yes snow pictures in July, we need reminder of that magical time of year. When I don’t see interior photos my imagination fills in the blanks and it often isn’t pretty. Works for bank properties though, expect the worst and be surprised. A lack of description just reflects the lack of interest the listing agent has in marketing the property.
    Thanks for letting me vent on an issue thats been an itch for years. Happy Selling.

  7. MIssy Caulk

    February 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I think getting that changed would be harder than passing ObamaCare through an all-Tea party Republican Congress.

    I needed a good laugh…thanks.

    Who is on the MLS Committee? Well not who but that is a good place to start in getting involved to see the rule change. Our MLS committee brings up new rules and then they go the board to get ratified.

  8. Ken Montville

    February 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    This is a great post because I have a questions around this issue. My camera works, I can get in the house, there is no impediment…..except the interior of the house is trashed. I’m talking gutted kitchen with no cabinet doors, no cooktop where one should be, peeling wallpaper, seriously damaged hardwood floors, plumbing issues too numerous to mention and more, more, more.

    Now. Would it be OK if I just put as detailed description as possible within the character count limit of my MLS and do a couple of exterior shots? Or should I really put the trashed house photos on the MLS and, by extension, the entire Internet? I mean, I really don’t want the pictures to show up on someone’s “worst of” blog post somewhere. Or create any liability exposure for me or my Broker.

    Whaddya think?

  9. Fred Glick

    February 3, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Put yourself in the shoes of the other agent.

    If the description says it’s trashed and they don’t read it, shame on them.

    As long as you describe it in detail, you’re good.

    I have actually posted an MLS heading “Buy Your Very Own POS”. It was a total shell and the pictures (even from the outside) showed that. It gets attention!

  10. Mike

    February 4, 2010 at 6:02 am

    I posted something a week or so ago about just this topic. A rep from our local MLS came out to our office to demonstrate some new features, as well as some description of what is coming soon. When she was done, I asked her why the MLS does not MANDATE a minimum of 6 interior photos. I even said that an “opt out” could be included in the one page MLS listing addednum that already exists, if there were sellers that actually did not want interior photos. I told her that, not only is there a huge marketing benefit, of multiple photos, but the MLS is creating a historical archive for agents, appraisers and the public alike. Hey, it’s their MLS, they can mandate photos if they want.
    I received the response yesterday. The upper management of the MLS responded that, SOME buyers don’t want interior photos, (Hello, my “opt out” idea!?) so we only mandate one. (Which they don’t). I guess I need to take it to the top myself.
    Nothing irritates me more than lazy 1 photo agents. If they won’t add photos to a listing, what else won’t they do?

  11. Fred Glick

    February 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    What if I were to charge the agent for my time because their description was not in any way related to the property and there were no pictures.

    Is this fraud? Misrepresentation and a NAR ethics violation?

    mmmmmmmmmmm……

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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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