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Winos & Flying Ovens

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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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Snapchat’s study reveals our growing reliance on video

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Snapchat released a report that shows some useful insights for future video content creation.

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Snapchat is taking a break from restoring people’s streaks to publish a report on mobile video access; according to Social Media Today, the report holds potentially vital information about how customers use their mobile devices to view content.

And–surprise, surprise–it turns out we’re using our phones to consume a lot more media than we did six years ago.

The obvious takeaways from this study are listed all over the place, and not even necessarily courtesy of Snapchat. People are using their phones substantially more often than they have in the past five years, and with everyone staying home, it’s reasonable to expect more engagement and more overall screen time.

However, there are a couple of insights that stand out from Snapchat’s study.

Firstly, the “Stories” feature that you see just about everywhere now is considered one of the most popular–and, thus, most lucrative–forms of video content. 82 percent of Snapchat users in the study said that they watched at least one Snapchat Story every day, with the majority of stories being under ten minutes.

This is a stark contrast to the 52 percent of those polled who said they watched a TV show each day and the 49 percent who said they consumed some “premium” style of short-form video (e.g., YouTube). You’ll notice that this flies in the face of some schools of thought regarding content creation on larger platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Equally as important is Snapchat’s “personal” factor, which is the intimate, one-on-one-ish atmosphere cultivated by Snapchat features. Per Snapchat’s report, this is the prime component in helping an engaging video achieve the other two pillars of success: making it relatable and worthy of sharing.

Those three pillars–being personal, relatable, and share-worthy–are the components of any successful “short-form” video, Snapchat says.

Snapchat also reported that of the users polled, the majority claimed Snapchat made them feel more connected to their fellow users than comparable social media sites (e.g., Instagram or Facebook). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next-closest social media platform vis-a-vis interpersonal connection was TikTok–something for which you can probably see the nexus to Snapchat.

We know phone use is increasing, and we know that distanced forms of social expression were popular even before a pandemic floored the world; however, this report demonstrates a paradigm shift in content creation that you’d have to be nuts not to check out for yourself.

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Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

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For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

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We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

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Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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