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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

The Body Shop’s new policy is first come, first employed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) An issue that has been on a lot of peoples minds recently is fair hiring standards, be from sex, race, or age discrimination to former prisoners.

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The body shop hires prisoners

Anyone who has tried to get a job in the last decade can tell you that hiring is getting near dystopian. Everyone has heard jokes about needing 5 years of experience for an entry level job or the combined skillset of 3 positions to get one job. Things have gotten to the point where even some large companies are wondering if maybe hiring (and getting hired) shouldn’t be so complicated?

The Body Shop is making a radical change in the way they hire their retail employees this summer. They will be hiring on a first-come first-serve basis. Employees must meet three criteria to apply, but beyond that it’s open season – or “open hiring” as they are calling it.

1. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
2. Can lift over 50lbs
3. Can stand for 8 hours

The company will not be performing drug tests or background checks for this “open hiring” round. The goal is to remove some of the barriers to entry for people seeking employment. This move will be hugely beneficial to the formerly incarcerated and people who have minor offenses on their record.

The Body Shop’s U.S. GM, Andrea Blieden, said, “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

This isn’t the first time The Body Shop has tested out this hiring strategy. In December 2019, the company ran a pilot program at their distribution center. According to them, their employee turnover rate dropped from 43% to 16% and productivity improved.

This change could be equally beneficial to both employers and employees. According to PrisonPolicy.org, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of 27%. To put that in perspective, that is higher than the overall national average during the Great Depression.

When established brands make big moves, people pay attention. If they continue to report success, The Body Shop’s hiring practices could be used as a case study for other businesses looking to shake up their hiring process. Perhaps in a few years, this type of hiring could become more common place among retailers.

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.

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instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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Business Marketing

2020 marketing calendar – plan this year’s marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Have you ever wondered when is the best time for your ad campaign, well look no further. This marketing calendar has every event listed, even weird ones.

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When you work for a small business or non-profit, marketing is one of those essential tools that can make a difference in your monthly bottom line or fundraising take. And yet it’s often a challenge for busy owners and employees to find — and take advantage of — fresh promotion opportunities.

Add this to your toolkit… a 2020 Marketing Calendar from the team at Liramail, making note of big events and days that you can use online and IRL to engage customers and donors.

February marketing calendar

Some dates are obvious… major holidays, for instance, particularly the gift-giving ones. But you can find success around other events as well. The Central Texas Food Bank uses the Super Bowl as a driver for one of their most visible annual events, the “Souper Bowl of Caring.” On a smaller scale this year, restaurants and shops around the Austin area and all over the country used January 25, Australia Day, to raise funds for bushfire relief—drawing customers into their businesses, creating community ties and doing good all at once.

This marketing calendar compiles dates both big and small, providing plenty of opportunities for tie-ins and promotions. Running a clothing boutique? Play with Fashion Week. Looking for a good cause to support? World Wildlife Day and International Women’s Day are just a few weeks away. Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day… and that’s all just in the next six weeks.

The calendar is as useful for engaging your social media audience as it is promoting IRL events. You don’t have to own a pizza place to make a post with your team celebrating International Pizza Day and quizzing your followers on their favorite topping. You don’t have to be a veterinarian to turn Love Your Pet Day into a way to engage people by encouraging them to share photos of their pets.

And if you do have a direct tie? Absolutely use it. Each March, for instance, the small Austin well-building non-profit Water to Thrive observes World Water Day with a quick Facebook fundraiser. One of the Austin-area businesses that participated in Australia Day, Bee Cave coffeehouse/boutique Runaway Luna Lifestyle, did so because of family ties there, raising several thousand dollars with an in-store event and social media promotion of a GoFundMe fundraiser.

So page through the marketing calendar, making notes of days that you can take advantage of. And don’t forget, if you’re inspired to create an in-store event or other promotion, be ready for it. Get the initial date on the calendar, and then work backwards to create a long-range plan to support your event. Check your inventory, possibly looking for related items to feature. Book your advertising, draft your newsletter, schedule your social posts. Let your audience know that something special is coming up.

Have fun with it. Add your own dates. Whether you zero in on Talk Like a Pirate Day or Make a Difference Day, you can create new opportunities for your business or non-profit and for your customers as well.

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