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Opinion Editorials

A funny story about two fantastic clients

In the practice of real estate, we all encounter enthusiastic clients, but this couple took the cake. There’s nothing more flattering than excitement in a transaction!

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home-coupleAbout a year ago, I sold a home to two of the most fantastic clients I think I’ve ever had. I love 99.9%, but these two were just fantastic. I’ll set the stage- two immigrants that have been in country for over 15 years, both have had the same jobs since they immigrated here and rented an apartment for just as long. I Met Yira (wife) at one of our apartment communities here about 5 years ago and she is one of those women who must begin every conversation with a hug and kiss to the cheek (with a quick squeeze of the cheeks). Making you feel welcome was her specialty.

We got into a conversation one day, about what I was up to, and I told her I was on my way to meet a client which reminded her I was an Agent. We spoke briefly about her wanting a house but she just wasn’t ready. I swear I gave her a card but maybe she lost it, because about a year later I got a call from a mutual friend telling me Yira was calling around all over the city trying to find me. I quickly called, wondering what was wrong; she said, “I was wondering, do you think my husband and I could really buy a home?” I asked her a few questions and realized it was going to take some work.

Meanwhile we found the home, and I don’t think it was really real to her until we sat on the floor leaning against our own walls in the family room looking around and dreaming- and boy were her dreams big. It was a brand new home and she just kept saying, I don’t know why I dream about having a home, I don’t think it will happen. You just do not say these kinds of things to me- tell me I can’t, and I will prove you wrong every time.

I personally went by the lender’s office during the process to help move things along, I helped resolve some last minute V.O.E.s and other things- within a few days we had final underwriter approval and we were moving to title. When I got the call, I drove over to Home Depot and bought Yira a brand new paint brush- grabbed a bow from Target and headed over to visit Yira. She was in the main office visiting with the managers of the apartment community. I snuck up behind her to surprise her with her brand new “congratulations” paint brush. Grown women breaking down in tears will always bring me to tears- every time. The office managers returned the favor with hugs and tears, it was a proud moment of moments in my life. This was Thursday- fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Here comes the funny part.

I am coming home from a family picnic and receive a call from Bob at the new home subdivision, he said, “Hey, you’re not going to believe this, but I was driving by your client’s house today and you won’t believe what happened!” He said, “They have installed drapes in every room of the house, added ceiling fans to the secondary rooms and planted shrubs!” He went on to say, “when I drove by, Danny was in the garage mixing paint to paint accent walls in the living room and hallway!” “WHAT!?” I shouted. I drove there to find everything exactly as Bob had described only to have Danny and Yira apologizing profusely. “We did not understand!”

If you haven’t guessed, we were not scheduled to close for another week! They’re probably right, I did explain not to do anything in the house until closing, but when I told her she was final approved, she took it to mean it was all done! Judging by the amount of work they had done, they had been at it for at least two days. I mean, the house was now move-in ready. I made a call to the regional with Horton and smoothed everything over- no harm, no foul as they put it. Still, it was a pretty funny moment in my moment of moments…

I did get permission to tell their story only to be asked, “what’s a blog?”

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Barry Preusz

    October 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    They were just putting your paint brush gift to good use–a bit premature though. (Side note: I think the paint brush gift is a great gift idea for buyer agents.)

    Barry Preusz

  2. Batangas Real Estate

    June 24, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Yeah right.. haha.. I wonder what you're real face reaction that time Bob called you.. Anyway, you're right, for me, its fine to post their story here.. It will make them famous. Aren't you glad they find time to look for you? 😀

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Opinion Editorials

How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) We’re months into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are still fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.

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strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.

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decluttering

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob or an un-alphabetized bookshelf.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, decluttering can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those three things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer slowing you down? Does it make a simple job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment to improve your productivity.

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better equipment, better work

What is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes.

In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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