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AG Flash Poll – agent listings next to FSBOs [POLL]

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With the advent of third party aggregators using Realtor listings to populate their site, and the advent of an overwhelming majority of home buyers beginning their search online, many questions have risen regarding the legality and/or ethics of how listings are posted.

Real estate industry insiders have opined in the past against agent listings appearing alongside FSBO listings, while others (especially non practicing agents) have pointed out that it is consumer advocacy to show all data possible.

But forget about all that for a second and tell us what you think by taking this poll. Results will be posted in the coming days.

CC Licensed image courtesy of cocoen via Flickr.com.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Nadina Cole-Potter

    July 9, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Somebody enlighten me, please. I only pay attention out of the corner of my eye and ear because it is residential and I restrict myself to commercial. I have watched the expansion of the number of web sites the listings of the residential agents in my company (Keller Williams) will be automatically posted to in addition to being posted in the agent’s personalized KW web site. And I think there is a for-pay listing web site that receives the listings after they are posted to the MLS. So, are you saying that these listings reside with FSBOs on the same web site (or that FSBOs will come up in a search along with listed properties)? And how is this a bad thing?

    I see Realtor advantages: 1) Leads to turn into listings (although if the FSBOs are investors used to turning their own properties, probably not a good lead); 2) Better property descriptions written by Realtors (although with Gwen Banta’s examples, perhaps not); 3) Better pictures, 360 degree tours, more pictures; 4) Better response time from a Realtor — a FSBO still in the work force returns inquiries after dinner and on the weekend — if they don’t go away for the weekend; 5) Knowledge of how to move the deal forward — to written form. The AZ Assoc of Realtors’ forms are no longer printed or sold in hard copy. They are only available through our Zip Forms subscription which comes with our AAR membership. What is a onesie FSBO to do (the investors will have their own forms — g-d help the buyer)?; 6) Knowledge of how to handle the inspection period, other contingencies, deadlines, and closing — and the correct forms; 7) Handling the security and safety of the property and the owner — not admitting just anyone who says they want to have a look around.

    Are FSBOs still telling Realtors who want to list their properties that there was this guy yesterday who said he wanted to buy the property and they were going to wait a couple of days to see what he does before thinking about listing?

    A NAR slogan should be: “Even dentists don’t perform their own root canals; why are you selling your house without a Realtor?”

    Happy weekend and happy selling, everyone!

    • Fred Romano

      July 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Nadina, you NEED to be enlightened! If you seriously think people can’t sell without a Realtor you are just plain wrong. And your analogy about dentists is just dumb, because if they “physically could” do it themselves, I am sure they would. But of course it’s not possible since you can’t drill while being doped up!

      Selling one’s home on their own is quite simple, given the seller has the right mentality (think like a sales person), the right tools (MLS access), prices the home right for the current market (keep it real!), and uses legal counsel with real estate experience. It’s not rocket science, and you don’t need a college degree or a Realtor.

      Many savvy sellers are using flat fee listing services, like ours, to take advantage of the worldwide marketing exposure facilitated by posting their home “by owner” on the MLS. I don’t know if you realize this – but sellers (in most states) don’t need to hire a “full service” broker to get on the MLS. They can easily pay a small fee, list in a day, and get under deposit in 7-10 days. I know – we have had clients that have done it.

      • Benn Rosales

        July 10, 2010 at 12:11 am

        Do you list your sold percentages on your site, Fred? Total properties listed versus Solds versus withdrawn- that type of thing for your consumer? I thought you did, but I can’t find it?

        • Fred Romano

          July 10, 2010 at 2:26 pm

          No Benn, I do not list those stats on my site – never have.

  2. Nadina Cole-Potter

    July 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    “Dumb”? Fred, I wouldn’t go there if I were you.

    “But of course it’s not possible since you can’t drill while being doped up!” My point exactly!

    Our MLS does not take FSBO listings and I hope it never does. No wonder the survey asked if we thought the Realtor brand was being diluted! Does the FSBO lister then have access to the MLS to find his/her replacement property? Any MLS linked with a Realtor board that is linked with the NAR and that accepts FSBO listings is diminishing its service to its paid members who are locked-in to joining. I would be organizing colleagues to attend the MLS board meetings and protest mightily.

    I understand the gov’t’s position against locking out limited service brokerages but I do not think that any settlements or case law require MLSs to accept FSBO listings. Talk about acting counter to one’s own interests! Now that is dumb!

    • Fred Romano

      July 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Nadina – I never said FSBO’s were listing themselves on the MLS. I am not even sure if I understand the reason for this AG poll. I said that they can get their home listed using a flat fee listing service like ours. They represent themselves throughout the transaction, and our only responsibility is to make sure the listing is updated.

      I had a client 2 months about with a very expensive home close… She saved nearly $60,000 using our service.

      Some states have tried to “lock out” the discount brokers by passing laws which require brokers to perform “minimum” services. This is wrong in my opinion for 2 main reasons. 1) the consumers choice is now limited and they are forced to pay for services they do not want or need 2) the brokers are forced to perform services their client does not want or need.

      You can find out more about this on the DOJ website. There are a handfull of states. I hope the DOJ pushes these states to change their laws. Everyone deserves choices.

      And I still think your dentist analogy is dumb. You are not seeing my point – IF they COULD, they WOULD. Sellers CAN, so they DO!

      What state are you in? I bet there are flat fee brokers in your state posting listings on your MLS – so YES there would be listings that are “by owner” on your MLS.

  3. Nadina Cole-Potter

    July 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    My understanding is that if a broker takes a flat fee, regardless of the limited services provided, that is technically a listing, not a FSBO. The Agent Note may say, “Contact owner” for a showing. Or there may be a disclosure of limited service (which translates that the Buyer’s agent is going to have to do all the paper work).

    As an agent, I have never understood the limited service business model although I think my brokerage allows it — with a lot of written disclosures (expectations) from the agent and sign-offs by the “client”.

    Frankly, just from a risk-management basis, and with all the inventory on the market, I can’t see why a Buyer’s agent would want to be involved with such a deal. As we all have pointed out in another post today, both Buyers and Sellers are not necessarily rational beings and to have a professional on the other side of the table as a reality check, if nothing else, is helpful.

    When we (both my husband and I were licensed at the time) sold our residential investment properties, we responded to buyers’ sign calls by asking if they had an agent. If they didn’t (and were not experienced investors), we always recommended that they get one and would recommend someone not even affiliated with our brokerage as the buyer’s agent and took no referral fee. We were happy to pay a co-broke just to keep the transaction sane and on track — and, of course, to make sure there was no chance we could be accused of unfair dealing.

    I don’t have any statistics but I see limited service as a risk management nightmare waiting to happen.

    • Fred Romano

      July 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      Why would you think there is any more liability with these listings vs. others? You are working for the buyer right? Then you should not be advising the seller. period. If you do, then yes you would be opening up yourself for additional liability. But only a foolish agent would do that right?

      Our listing contract is very specific:

      “Owner agrees to waive the following services which are typically provided by a broker; (a) Scheduling property showings on behalf of Owner, (b) Receiving offers and counter offers and forwarding them promptly to the Owner, (c) Answering any questions that the Owner may have in negotiation of a successful purchase agreement within the scope of the licensee’s expertise, (d) Advising the Owner as to whatever forms, procedures and steps are needed after execution of the purchase agreement for a successful closing of the transaction. Upon waiver of the above duties, the Owner is advised that they may not expect or seek assistance from any other licensees (such as buyer’s broker) for the performance of the above duties listed.”

      As you can see we are covered. There is actually LESS liability on the listing side based on our listing agreement, and since the owners are providing all the info required by the MLS.

  4. Dunes

    July 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    “Do you list your sold percentages on your site, Fred? Total properties listed versus Solds versus withdrawn- that type of thing for your consumer?”

    Do any Realtors do that on their Site…for the consumer?

    Just Curious

    • Fred Romano

      July 10, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks Dunes – I don’t think many do. I have never seen that.

    • Benn Rosales

      July 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      Fred doesn’t operate as a Realtor, he operates as a media site. Bulk listings for so-called FSBOs who actually are listed by a Realtor. Most serious listing agents do boast their time on market, or time to first offer, hell Russell Shaw does it on the radio. I’m merely looking for some data points that show that people are selling their own real estate in mass or in minority based on this: “Many savvy sellers are using flat fee listing services, like ours, to take advantage of the worldwide marketing exposure facilitated by posting their home “by owner” on the MLS. I don’t know if you realize this – but sellers (in most states) don’t need to hire a “full service” broker to get on the MLS. They can easily pay a small fee, list in a day, and get under deposit in 7-10 days. I know – we have had clients that have done it.”

      So the next logical question (based on that assertion) would be the ratios. What does “many” look like? They’re using the services, but are they being successful? 7-10 days? What percentage?

      • Benn Rosales

        July 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm

        PS and what percentage of that is actually due to the fact that they’re featured on RDC?

  5. Dunes

    July 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Who has defined that “Fred doesn’t operate as a Realtor”?

    Who defined FSBOs that use a Flat-fee to get on the MLS or Realtor.com as
    “Nope not an FSBO”?

    IMO that definition has more to do with 1. Justifying there presence on the MLS and Realtor.com
    2. NARs …Only x% of people go FSBO or only X% of FSBO are successful statistics that Realtors toss around…

    I remember the First time I saw Fred post over a year ago at Trulia and he used the words Flat-Fee…Realtors created Profiles just to jump in and throw out insults…state Fred was obviously desperate, a sell-out, a lesser skilled Agent, a Scam artist ect….

    A good number of those same Agents now daily offer flat-fee Services, discounts, rebates, we list FSBOs…anything to get clients/leads…I’ll be glad to post their names

    “Most serious listing agents do boast their time on market, or time to first offer” does not equal..
    “Do you list your sold percentages on your site, Fred? Total properties listed versus Solds versus withdrawn- that type of thing for your consumer?”

    One is a claim or as you put it “Boast” the other is “sold percentages on your site” and “Total properties listed versus Solds versus withdrawn” posted on a your Site..

    Are there examples of many Realtors doing that?…posting sold % on their site or Total listing vs Listings sold vs withdrawn or even properties listed and relisted and relisted

    BTW..Will ya be asking Agents like Russell Shaw to verify their claims or “Boast” or they don’t need to because they are not Flat-Fee…they are “Serious Listing Agents”

  6. Fred Romano

    July 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I am sure everyone would love to see my numbers so they can twist and tear them apart, then manipulate and use them in their “sales pitch”. Sorry folks – it’s not happening here. You also must keep in mind that we work listing homes on high volume (5-10 per week) and because we are not involved, have no control over the outcome of the transaction.

    We also contend with agents constantly pressuring our clients to list with them, which is not something most “full service” agents deal with. Because of this, we sometimes have clients cancel and list with one of them. It’s sad that it happens, but there is nothing I can do to stop these unethical agents. They will lie and say just about anything (I have heard some stories) to take one of our listings.

    I love what I do, and take great pride in the service I offer. I truly believe I am the best flat fee broker in Connecticut. And if you ask any of my clients (even the ones that have canceled) they will tell you about our awesome customer service.

    Bottom line is sellers need choices – they demand options, and not all of them want or need a “full service” agent. We simply offer the alternative solution. I am still a broker, Realtor, and business owner – just like all the rest of you. I just do it differently.

    FSBO’s on the MLS? Not really… Just listed with one of us 😉

    • LesleyLambert

      July 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      Interesting that you don’t want to post your stats to have them twisted.

  7. Mike

    July 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Fred, I have no beef with what you do, but you use the term “unethical agents”, and unless you sell your service disclosing the VERY poor closing percentage of the vast volume that you market, then isn’t that shady, if not unethical? Your business would evaporate if you told these people the truth. VERY few FSBO’s sell, and there is a reason. If they do, many are a royal pain, the seller may lose money, and they open themselves up to legal liability. Very few succeed.
    You are not a Realtor, or a Broker unless you are handling the transaction, at least to the degree that the “limited service” brokers are doing it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but all you do is set up the actual listing, and make price adjustments and such, as the seller instructs? (Which is probably well worth the $300 or so that you charge.)
    It’s a cop out to call yourself a Real Estate professional, and then say, “I don’t handle the transaction, so it’s not my fault that they don’t succeed.” Again, I don’t have a problem with your model, but it is what it is.
    You said that a recent seller “saved” $60,000. How so? You mean that they didn’t pay a commission. How do we know that, that property could not have received a much higher sales price if it were marketed to a MUCH larger buyer pool, and was negotiated by a competent listing agent? The truth is, you don’t know how much, if any, was “saved”.
    Hey did you hear? Obama “saved” 100,000 jobs last month. Never mind that the US lost 200,000 jobs. Numbers can be twisted, and the truth can be easily over looked.
    The truth is, home owners CAN sell their own homes. The MAJORITY don’t, and there are reasons why. having typed all of that, I honestly have no problem with your model.
    -Mike O’Hara

  8. Mike

    July 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Gee Fred, I thought that I was quite professional. You just admitted that you are a COWARD! Wow.
    Mike O’Hara

    • Fred Romano

      July 12, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      Removed for violation of TOS

  9. Benn Rosales

    July 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I’m still stuck back on twisted statistics. If they were in fact real data points that back up the claim that there is a growing majority being successful, I would think that would be good news we could all get behind. Folks have been playing the disruptive card for over 5 years now, I think that’s long enough that we should be able to compare notes.

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Opinion Editorials

Before you quit your job, ask yourself these 5 questions

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Frustrated at work? Here are 5 ideas utilizing design thinking and exploration tactics to assess if you really are ready to quit your job.

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Man reclining on beanbag with laptop, thoughtful. Considering tactics before you quit your job.

We have all been there. We are in a job that just doesn’t feel right for us. Maybe we strongly dislike our manager or even our day to day work responsibilities. We find it easy to blame everyone else for everything we dislike. We question life and ask “Is this what life is all about? Shouldn’t I be spending my time doing something I am more passionate about?” But, we probably like the regular paycheck… Thus, we stay there and possibly become more miserable by the day. Some of us may even start to feel physical symptoms of headaches, stomach aches, and possibly depression. We also may go to the internet like this person seeking answers and hoping someone else can tell us what to do:

“I feel conflicted but I want to quit my job. What should I do?

I was thinking of quitting my job because I dislike what I do, and I feel I am underpaid.

However last week my colleague tendered her resignation too. Needless to say, if I leave too, my whole department will fall into a larger mess and that causes some feelings of conflict within me.

Should my colleague quitting affect when I want to leave too? How do I go about quitting now?”

We can definitely empathize with this – it’s really uncomfortable, sometimes sad, and hard to be in a position where we feel we are underpaid and we aren’t happy.

So, how can you navigate a situation like this? How do you figure out if you should just quit your job? How can you be an adult about this?

Here are some exploratory questions, ideas, and some design thinking activities to help you answer this question for yourself.

  • Before you up and quit, assuming you don’t yet have your next opportunity lined up, have you considered asking for a raise – or better yet, figure out how you add value to the organization? Would your supervisor be willing to move you in to a new role or offer additional compensation?
  • If you don’t have a job lined up, do you have the recommended AT LEAST six months of living expenses in your savings account? Some would recommend that you have even more during a global pandemic where unemployment is at an all-time high – it may take longer to find a new position.
  • Do you have a safety net of family or friends that are willing and able to help you with your bills if you don’t have your regular paycheck? Would you be willing to put that burden on them so you can quit your job?
  • Why aren’t you job searching if you are unhappy? Is it because the task seems daunting and the idea of interviewing right now makes you want to puke?
  • What would your ideal job be and what would it take for you to go for it?

Many people claim they don’t like their job but they don’t know what to do next or even worse, don’t know what they WANT to do. To offer a little bit of tough love here: Well, then, that’s your job to figure it out. You can go on Reddit all you want, but no one else can tell you what is right for you.

Here are some ways to explore what may be an exciting career move for you or help you identify some areas that you need to learn more about in order to figure out where work will align with your skills, interests, and passions.

  1. Consider ordering the Design Your Life Workbook that provides writing prompts to help you figure out what it is that you are looking for in a job/career. You may also like the book Designing Your Work Life which is about “How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work”.
  2. Utilize design thinking to answer some of your questions. Make a diamond shape and in each of the four corners, write out the “Who” you want to be working with, “What” you’d like to be doing, “Where” you’d like to be, and “Why” you want to be there or doing that kind of work.
  3. Conduct informational interviews with people doing work that you think you might be interested in. Usually these conversations give you lots of interesting insights and either a green light to pursue something or validation that maybe that role isn’t right for you either.
  4. Get your resume updated. Sometimes just dusting off your resume, updating it, and making it ready gives you a feeling of relief that if you did really want to pursue a new job, you are almost ready. Consider updating your LinkedIn profile as well.
  5. Explore what you can do differently. A lot of what we can be frustrated about can be related to things out of our control. Consider exploring ways to work better with your team or how to grow to become invaluable. Tune in to Lindsey Pollak’s podcast, The Work Remix, where she gives great ideas on how to navigate working in current times where there are five generations in the workplace. There may be ways you need to adjust your communication style or tune in to emotional intelligence on how to better work with your supervisor or employees. Again, focus on what is within your control.

You may decide that you need to quit your job to be able to focus your energy on finding a better fit for you. But at the same time, be realistic. Most of us have to work to live. Everyone has bills, so you may continue working while you sort out some of the other factors to help you find a more exciting prospect. Either way, wishing you all the best on this journey, and the time and patience to allow you to figure it out.

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Opinion Editorials

New USPS duck-shaped truck design has mixed reactions

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) The USPS is getting a fleet of electronic delivery vehicles. We’re wondering if the actual design got lost in the mail.

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New USPS truck in a fictional neighborhood delivering mail.

So the USPS is getting new trucks and they look like ducks and maybe that sucks… or maybe it wucks. Like “works,” if a duck said it. Just give me this one please.

Anyway.

I don’t know how mean I can be here – there has to be something said for objective journalistic integrity – but I have a feeling most people are going to have a rather sarcastic reaction to the new design. I’m not so sure I can blame them – it has a kind of stubby little nose with a shortened hood and a boxy frame and super tall windshield, which gives the wheels a disproportionately large look compared to the rest of the silhouette. It’s sort of like a Nissan Cube but less millennial cool, which A) is discontinued (so maybe not so cool), and B) is not the car that had those giant hiphop hamsters running around, but I’m still going to link to it anyway.

Elon Musk must be breathing a sigh of relief right now.

The contract was awarded to Oshkosh Defense (which I was thrilled to find out is NOT the adorable kid’s clothing company, even though I personally think that would be hilarious if there was a factory making overalls for tiny humans alongside tactical defense trucks) and officially announced on February 23rd, 2021 to the tune of $482 million. Seriously though, someone is going to mix those up for the rest of all time and eternity; I’d never not think about my own baby pictures if some contractor from Oshkosh Defense showed up.

The release mentions that, “The historic investment is part of a soon-to-be-released plan the Postal Service has developed to transform its financial performance and customer service over the next 10 years through significant investments in people, technology and infrastructure as it seeks to become the preferred delivery service provider for the American public.” It’s called the NGDV – Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, which I happen to adore, and will pronounce as Nugduv, and you can’t stop me anyway. The old one was called the Grumman, by the way.

Some credit this as a radical change, and keeping in mind that radical doesn’t necessarily denote positive or negative, it seems like the perfect word to use here. Then there are those who correctly identify “a mixed bag of responses,” sort of like when you get a bag of candy at Halloween that has at least one thing no one likes. Some call it strange, while others defend it as something every new big vehicle should look like (this is where – as one of many – I found it called a “duck” which oh man do I love, quack quack).

We can also hit up the ever fair public opinion of Twitter, because why wouldn’t we?

JavaScript is not available.

This is how I would draw a car. That is not a plus for this design

I really can’t get over that last one. But I mean, whoa. That’s quite the spectrum. There’s less disagreement on pizza toppings I think. But luckily I think we’re safe there – Domino’s makes people drive their personal cars.

Taking a step back and putting snide commentary away for a moment, there’s some areas that should be discussed. First – and what should probably be obvious – there was a laundry list of requirements and restrictions from the USPS, which made Nir Kahn – design director from custom carmaker Plasan – offer up his own tweets that give some insight on dimensions and design:

JavaScript is not available.

I was involved in an early proposal for the USPS truck so I know the requirements well. They pretty much dictated the proportions – this package sketch shows that to meet the ergonomic and size requirements, there wasn’t much freedom 1/2 #USPS pic.twitter.com/Fk35g98Z83

Kahn mentions that “there wasn’t much freedom,” but also that “it could have looked much better,” and this sort of underlines the entire discussion I think – there were goals in place, and possibly some more aesthetically pleasing ways to meet them, but the constraints won out and drove (hehe) the design more than style did.

Certainly, there are other concerns – the ability for USPS drivers to reach a mailbox while seated is paramount. Others have pointed out that this design – with its large windshield and shortened front – should help with safety around small children (all the better if they are wearing Oshkosh B’gosh, because that implies they are tiny and may not be at all concerned with the dangers of streets). The open field-of-vision will aid in making sure drivers can navigate places that might be frequented by any number of pedestrians, so that’s a plus.

Further, if you get struck by one of these, you’ll basically “just” get kneecapped versus taking it square to the torso. The duck article is the one making this call, and I think there’s some merit there (though it makes me question how the USPS fleet is going to do against the SUVs and big trucks out in the wild). It then goes on to point out that this design has more cargo space, fitting into the idea of “rightsizing,” where the form and function of the vehicle meet in a way that is downsized, but still punches above its weight.

“From smaller fire engines to nimbler garbage trucks, making vehicles better scaled to urban tasks can make a huge difference, not only for keeping other cars moving on narrow streets, but also to ensure that humans on those same streets can access the bike lanes, sidewalks, and curb cuts they need to get around.”

I didn’t try too hard to find stats on crashes in mail trucks, but seems like something that should be addressed.

Maybe the biggest point here is that we sort of have to get new trucks – they are outliving their 24 year expectancy and catching on fire. On FIRE. I mean a mail truck might be the worst place for a fire. I’m not even sure I can’t think up a better answer… Ok maybe toilets would be worse.

The new vehicles can be either petrol or electric powered, have 360 cameras, airbags, and automatic braking. Oh, and air conditioning, which the old vehicles did not have. So yes, literally the worst place to have a fire. But due to the taller vehicles, someone can stand in them now! So escape is even easier! Hooray!

A series of delays pushed back the introduction of new vehicles from their 2018 projected date, with poor initial prototypes and the pandemic being major setbacks. Aggressive bidding led to extended deadlines, which had been narrowed down to a small list of candidates that included Workhorse (who unfortunately suffered a large stock plunge following the announcement). It’s been in the works for at least six years.

In the end, I don’t think we can discount all the advantages here – more efficient vehicles that are safer and provide drivers with modern amenities. That’s a LOT of good. I think once the initial goofy shock is over, the design will be accepted. Everyone thought Nintendo’s Wii was a hilarious name (still pretty much is regardless of being in the public book of acceptable nomenclature), and Cybertruck sales are brisk, so I think we can set a lot of this aside. The Edsel these are not.

So hey, new USPS vehicles in 2023, like an exceedingly late birthday present. All I want to see is a bunch of baby ducks following one of them around oh please let that happen. The USPS kind of has an identity crisis in the modern era, so maybe a funny little cute silly boxmobile is just the right way to get some attention.

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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, or that we’ve put off ‘declutter’ on our to-do list for too long.

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, taking time to declutter can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those 3 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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