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UnReal Estate – Why Agentz Shud Proofrede:

Hi Everyone – I am traveling, so with your permission, I am re-posting a blog from one year ago with just a few changes. It had a lot of responses, and some things just bear repeating:

The MLS and the L.A. Times Real Estate pages should be on Oprah’s Reading List. Seriously. There are so many typos and outrageous remarks in the MLS that it makes for great leisure reading. The newspaper ads certainly add to the merriment. I love houses with features such as a “slimming pool” or a “crook’s kitchen,” especially if those features are in a “Post and Bean” house. And what could be more entertaining than a “barge yard” (for your barges of course) or a “wall of widows?” Thus, I have compiled some of my favorite typos. So take a moment to smile, fiends. (Uh, I meant “friends.”)

Would YOU Buy This House???

Large slitting room (Is this Tony Soprano’s house?)

House on Beautiful wok street (But what if I don’t cook?)

“Libary” with built in shivs (In all fairness, perhaps this is in a prison.)

Disclosure: Crack on back side (Relax, we all have one.)

Call lasting agent (It’s true, there aren’t many of us left!)

Oven flew in from Italy (Paid for with frequent flyer miles, no doubt.)

Built in wino bar (Is there a stool with my name on it?)

Lunch severed (One misplaced r and you’re dead.)

Snacks and drunks okay… (My sentiments exactly.)

Bang hard (Let’s just not go there).

Let’s Sell This Sucker

Seller moved but furniture strayed (In most states that’s grounds for divorce.)

Brick Drivaway (Mama Mia – Those bricks must have flown in from Italy with the oven.)

Seller in NY – Coming out soon (Okay, this was in West Hollywood…think about it.)

Plumbing needs motivation (Way too much information.)

Seller says Gas is a problem (His plumbing must “need motivation” also.)

Terrorist yard (Another head-scratcher.)

Pouter room (A place to go when the first payment is due)

Call Frist (Will the Senator filibuster for me?)

Beautiful terpentine tiles in shower (Note to self: Do Not Smoke in the Shower.)

Rear entry blocked off (Eat prunes already.)

Pieceful feeling (Especially when in the shiv room)

Seller can’t say no (Neither could my ex…hence the “ex.”)

Weird and Random

Rooster somewhere in the neighborhood, but not for long. (Need I say more?)

Screams reported at twilight open house were coyotes we think. (Or a rooster perhaps?)

The foundation bolted (But the house stayed???)

Grass fireplace starter (For a home on the tundra…)

Owner says dog likes the taste of people. (What are his thoughts on fresh rooster?)

Built-in smoker (Grandpa won’t leave.)

Strange glass windows (I’m too dumb to make this stuff up.)

Cemetery nearby (This guy really knows how to close the deal.)

Ass is (Seriously? …I mean SERIOUSLY?)

Agents to be split down the middle. (One screw up with a Tudor and suddenly you’re on the rack!)

No smaking please (But you deserve one upside your thick head.)

Close to Therapy, Rehab and Shopping (One of those choices is bound to work.)

Designer Don. (A decorating offer you can’t refuse!)

And in Case You Need Your Own Motivation:

Call then go. But call again if you can’t get in. Then try again. (Fool me once…fool me twice…)

Call for show times. No kids. Seller may be there and can’t handle anything less than four feet tall. (Hey Bozo – half the kids in Hollywood can probably afford to buy your dump!)

Seller says he’ll give dog to buyer. Check with city for past complaints. Cute dog. (Uh-huh.)

Does anyone want a noisy bird? (To feed to a “cute dog” maybe…)

Hysterical Home (Is it in the Hysterectomy Books?)

Recently bombed for fleas.  (That may have been overkill.)

Marina Del Ray houseboat w/ great living style. Ask about leaks and other issues. (Uh-huh…)

Biggest Sellers, So take Note:

No earthquake insurance. But this is a few miles from the San Andreas Fault so you’ll be fine. (Good to know…IF YOU’RE SUICIDAL!)

Voted Safest Neighborhood until last year. (So I take it the chalk outline has some significance?)

Driveway is shared, but other party doesn’t share too good. (That explains why the chalk outline is in the driveway.)

Neighbor on N. side is nasty. You’ve been warned. (Yes – I saw the driveway…)

And My Fave

Seller leaving state, Going to State of Denial. Kidding. It’s just a bad market.

Okay, so I know what you all are thinking: Los Angeles is not a state of mind…it’s a mindless state. But at least we are colorful and constipated. I mean consistent. Until next week, go in piece.

Comments include those made when first posted on April 4, 2009:

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. John Kalinowski

    April 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Gwen- I laughed so hard I almost “split down the middle”. Your comments are hilarious! Thanks for the Friday afternoon humor, though it is pretty sad what you can find in the MLS.

  2. Michelle DeRepentigny

    April 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    OMG “Terrorist yard (Another head-scratcher.)” – is that supposed to be Terraced yard?

    Infreakingcredible – Hey I’m going to use that in my next MLS description!

  3. Vicki Lloyd

    April 3, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Oh my goodness! I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face & could hardly breathe!

    I know you didn’t make this up, but this collection is way funnier than I have seen in the MLS in 15 years!

  4. Gwen Banta

    April 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you, John, Michelle and Vicki! This was one of the most fun blogs to write. And believe me, I have plenty left over for a sequel. For someone who can never even remember where I park, I somehow manage to accumulate a lot of these in my vacant cranium. I think it’s because they are so funny, they’re unforgettable. I bet you’ll start noticing them more often now yourselves. It’s wonderful entertainment while working!

  5. Mike Sparr - Goomzee.com

    April 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    What a great way to end the week. Thanks!

  6. Norm Fisher

    April 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    My all time favorite is still, “Large dick, perfect for entertaining.”

  7. Elaine Reese

    April 4, 2009 at 7:38 am

    That was hilarious! Makes my goof of “large panty in kitchen” seem so mild.

  8. OCTeam

    April 4, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Hilarious. Who knew we would be in such an entertaining business. Can’t wait for the sequel!

  9. Dan Connolly

    April 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I woke my wife up, I was laughing so hard! It’s not just the agents remarks, but your comments are also hysterical.

  10. Mack

    April 5, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Gwen~Thanks for the laugh. I can’t wait for the sequel.

  11. Missy Caulk

    April 5, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Hillarious….opps sounds like they could be on The Jay Leno show for newspaper ads.

  12. Cathy Nealand

    April 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Gwen,thanks for sharing, I have not laughed this hard in a long time. And to Elaine-large panty in the kitchen belongs on Gwens list up at the top. I laghed as hard at that one as I did the list.

  13. Matt Stigliano

    April 5, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Gwen – I swear I commented on this, but realized I commented on ActiveRain and not here. No matter where I commented, this is hilarious.

  14. Paula Henry

    April 6, 2009 at 7:13 am

    This is the funniest post I have ever read – saved in my favorites for those days when you just “need a good laugh”.

  15. Russell Shaw

    April 8, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Gwen,

    I am now officially a fan of yours. I loved this. One I saw years ago – that my wife and I still repeat to each other, “Good for anyone who wants to live”.

  16. Paula Henry

    March 5, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Made my day………..again!

  17. Gwen Banta

    March 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you, Paula – again and again!

  18. Joe Loomer

    March 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Ok, thanks Gwen. I thought I’d be fine having seen this one BEFORE!!

    One pair of shorts and pants later, plus a shirt in the wash because of the soda stain, and a dog that will no longer come anywhere near me, and I’m about done. I may – in fact – charge you for the new keyboard (had to get on my wife’s just to post this comment). I’ll let you slide for the monitor – it’s about four years old anyway.

    Oh, and the shared driveway thing may not be a big deal in LA LA land, but lemme tell you about deeded easements in Gawgah – just in case you’re in OUR neck of the woods and FAIL to ask someone that knows about this sort of thing !

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  19. Gwen Banta

    March 5, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Joe, you are the third person today to tell me that “shared driveway” is fightin’ words in your neck ‘o the woods. One guy said they take the “ease” out of easement.

    I love your description of your reaction to my post, however, I will not be happy until you collapse onto the keyboard and get a permanent impression of letters mashed into your forehead. Then I’ll start calling you “Home Row.” You’re my inspiration!

  20. Houstonblogger

    March 6, 2010 at 1:22 am

    This is so awesome I cannot even pick a favorite. By the time I got to “screams reported at twilight open house….” I was rolling. Thanks for the laugh!!

  21. Dana Voelzke

    March 6, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I once had a client who would flip through all of the MLS listings each week and giggle at all of the typos. These are terriffic. Your point is right on!! The lack of proofreading in the MLS is out of control!

  22. Gwen Banta

    March 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Dana, one of the best bloopers I have ever seen was one my partner spotted in our open house guide that said, “Live near the Hollywood “Bowel”!!!

  23. Gwen Banta

    March 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you, Houstonblogger! Yes, I live in a crazy but exciting city. Usually the screams at twilight open houses involve naked bodies in a swimming pool!

  24. Matt Stigliano

    March 8, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Gwen – You could probably just re-post this one each week and still be welcomed as a writer here at AgentGenius. It has so much quality content, I’m going to go back and read it again.

    Sad thing is that your posts are made great by bad things. Wish it was possible for you to run out of material.

  25. Gwen Banta

    March 8, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Thanks so much, Matt – your praise just made my day. I agree, I will probably never run out of material – thus is the human condition. However, isn’t it wonderful when we are able to laugh at ourselves? Some of the bloopers in my column have been my own or those of very respected colleagues. Flying fingers on a typewriter and the brain’s ability to see what one meant to say (rather than what is on the page) are the enemies of even the best brains. Thus, I laugh without judgment unless the error is egregious, or the agent is so obviously lazy about looking up a word that the misspelling is beyond excuses. Example: “house in colensack,” or “clotted cheese ceilings,” “pig-in-groove floors,” “new assfault,” and one of my faves: “hand rubbed basebroads.” Enjoy your week!

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Business Marketing

Going into digital marketing as a jack of all trades: Yay or nay?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, should you be a jack of all trades or a specific expert, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand in 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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Business Marketing

Video content rules – but how trendy do you need to be?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The Promotional Angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience Matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s All About Strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.

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Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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