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How Long is Your Memory?

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Having a decent memory helps greatly in the real estate game. From a sales standpoint, it helps greatly to remember names and faces. From a customer service standpoint, it helps to be able to remember differences between the 37 homes you visited over the past three weeks as your buyer lurches closer to an eventual decision.

But sometimes a short memory is necessary. Like closers in baseball and defensive backs in football, a short memory is the key to long-term success. Spend too much time dwelling on the failures and your mindset never will get right for the successes ahead.

I’ve not been blessed with such a short memory, unfortunately.

About two months ago I received a call from my Westbrook Village website from a couple asking me to help find them a casita in the Village. We spoke on the phone twice more that week and met one Sunday afternoon to look at homes. No decision was reached as they needed to put her condo on the market before they could buy.

Two days later, I was asked to keep them updated on any changes in Westbrook and more specifically with two of the casitas we’d visited. We scheduled another showing tour for the coming Saturday.

Friday night I get a call canceling the appointment. They didn’t want to look at any more until they had her condo sold. Four days later, I was informed that I’d been fired in favor of someone “with more experience” in the area. Checking through sold listings today, I saw they wrote a contract the weekend after I was fired.

Who wrote the contract? Not someone who has “more expertise” but rather their listing agent, who likely offered some sort of rebate for using her on both sides of the deal.

Now, I don’t begrudge using the same agent for the purchase as for your sale especially if there’s a rebate involved. I routinely offer something similar to my clients. But I do have a significant issue with being lied to.

Real estate agents are accused of being little more than used car salesmen who’ll say anything to secure a deal, but it’s rarely if ever pointed out how often the public will lie to an agent (theirs or otherwise) rather than being up front any given situation.

In what may be a supreme act of chutzpah, I’ve asked for referrals from this couple – since they didn’t use anyone else who works in this area, my expertise likely was not the issue. So what have I got to lose? In truth, it seemed like a far better solution that calling them both miserable liars, deserved or not.

In any event, other buyers and sellers are waiting so the time’s come to try and put this memory behind me and move on to the next pitch. Whether that works is another story.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jeff Royce, RE/MAX Choice

    October 15, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    There is definitely a double standard on lying with agents and clients. We are professionals so we are to be held accountable to what we say. The public is allowed to lie to us in return. This is the way it is, and probably the way it should be. None the less, the people who lie to us are not the people we want to work with. Be careful with the people they refer to you, people often have friends with similar values.

  2. Jay Thompson

    October 15, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    “In truth, it seemed like a far better solution that calling them both miserable liars, deserved or not.”

    Deserved, IMHO, but best not to call them that.

    And I agree with Jeff’s comment above. Their friends are likley to be of equal moral fiber.

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    October 16, 2007 at 12:25 am

    > This is the way it is, and probably the way it should be.

    Yes … and no. Though perhaps I’m guilty, inasmuch as the answer “I’m just looking” while browsing in a store is less white lie than “when I need you, I’ll come get you.”

    I just think it would be refreshing to have a client say “sorry, Jonathan, but we’re getting a rebate if we use this agent on both sides” rather than putting things in terms of my “lack of expertise” in a given area. Especially when the agent they used had never completed a sale in the subdivision in which they were buying.

    I agree … the referrals coming from folks like this would be worthless.

  4. Benn Rosales

    October 16, 2007 at 2:30 am

    I have many times fired clients for lying. I am all about loyalty and I demand respect at the very least in return. In Texas, if that happened to me, I would be collecting that commission even if my name was not on that contract- simply on principal. And do not think I would not have lit mr experienced agent’s broker up like a roman candle because no matter who lied to you, it was up to the realtor to follow the code of ethics- rep agreement or not. I’m pissed with you.

  5. Jonathan Dalton

    October 16, 2007 at 5:37 am

    Thanks for the support …

    Trust me, I double-checked my records to see if the property they bought was one I had shown them. The weakness was I didn’t have anything signed. I did discuss agency but didn’t have them sign off on the form.

    I rarely use a buyer broker agreement because I tend to trust the people I work with. It’s cost me in the past and may do so in the future. But it’s hard for me to get my arms around it.

  6. Benn Rosales

    October 16, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    It still falls on the other agent & broker. It is just plain disgusting. I wont even show a home another agent has shown the same client, it’s that simple. What a sad day…

  7. Nicole Mills

    October 18, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    I feel your pain. Not 20 minutes ago, I got an email from a client inquiring about a particular listing. I pull it up, and wham! It’s a home belonging to a couple I’ve worked with recently. I won’t tell the entire story, because it’s one we’ve all most likely lived and heard a thousand times. But, what it boils down to is they lied to me, and it really irritates me!

    Why is it so difficult to speak the truth? Why not just tell me, “Nicole, logically we know you’re right, but because we found an agent that was willing to tell us what we want to hear, we’re going to go with him….Thanks for all your worthy advice, we’ll be sure to remember it when our agent starts hitting us up for price reductions next month…right before the Holidays.”

    I ask you, would that really be all that difficult to say? Put it in an email if you don’t have the chutzpa to tell me to my face.

    Geez…I’d like to have a short term memory about this, but then I wouldn’t remember to keep my eye on the final selling price, which I hate to admit, will give me a small amount of satisfaction while I’m silently singing the “I told you so, I told you so” song. Forgive me, but that’s the only compensation I’m going to get from being honest with them…without receiving the same in return.

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints these writers work on are interface copy, emails, and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post. But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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Opinion Editorials

Have an in-person job interview? 7 tips to crush the competition

EDITORIAL) While we all know the usual interview schtick, take some time to really study for your next face-to-face job interview.

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Job interview between two women.

So, you’re all scheduled for an in-person interview for a job you’d kill for. It’s exciting that you’ve made it to this step, but the question is, are you ready? Especially with remote interviews being the new norm, your nerves may feel shaken up a bit to interview in person – but you’ve got this! And many of these tips can be applied no matter the interview setting.

We all know the basics of a job interview: dress nice, get there early, come prepared, firm handshake, yada, yada, yada… However, it’s good to really sit and think about all of the requirements of a successful interview.

There are seven steps for crushing a face-to-face interview. Do your homework upside down and inside out in order to walk into that room.

Which brings us to the first step: know everything you need to know backwards and forwards.

This can be done in two steps: getting to know the company and getting to know yourself. By doing website, social media, and LinkedIn research, you can get a feel of the company culture as well as the position you’re interviewing for.

By getting to know yourself, have a friend ask you some interview questions so you can practice. Also, take a look at your resume through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. Make sure everything is clear and can compete with other candidates.

The next step is to anticipate solving future problems. Have some insight on the department that you are interviewing for and come prepared with ideas of how to better this department. (i.e. if it’s marketing, give examples of campaigns you’ve done in the past that have proven to have been successful.)

Step number three requires you to go back to the research board and get some information on the employer. Find out who you’re meeting with (head of HR, head of the department, etc.) and make your self-presentation appropriate for the given person.

Next, work on making the interview conversation a meaningful one. This can be done by asking questions as people like to see you take an interest in them. Also, be sure to never answer the questions as if it’s your regular spiel. Treat each job interview as if this is the first time you’re presenting your employability information.

With this, your next step is to have stories prepared for the job interview. Anecdotes and examples of previous jobs or volunteer/organization experiences can help bring life to an otherwise run-of-the-mill resume.

After this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re showing enthusiasm for the position you’re interviewing for. Don’t jump on the couch in the lobby like you’re Tom Cruise on Oprah, but definitely portray that you’re excited and up for the challenge.

Lastly, make a good impression by being impressive. Be professional and in control of your body language. Put yourself in the mindset of whatever position you’re interviewing for and show them that you have what it takes.

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Opinion Editorials

The benefits of remote work are just too good to overlook

(EDITORIAL) Employees scream it from the rooftops and businesses don’t want to admit it: Remote work is just too beneficial to pass up- and here’s why.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

Less happily, many people lost their job during the pandemic, but they ended up having more time to put toward their passions or were compelled to get creative with their remote business ideas to ensure a consistent stream of income.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they work from home full time. There are benefits to having your employees work in an office part of the time – say, two or three days – and working from home, in more familiar surroundings, the rest of the week.

In this way, your workers enjoy some freedom and independence while retaining the ability to interact face-to-face with their peers. That provides human interaction, which can play a substantial role in terms of improved mental health for your staff.

Happy employees means healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

Whether you are a small business owner or have crafted your work to tailor toward a life of remote labor, this is an opportunity for someone who has dreamed of being a digital nomad. You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

When you’re a business owner, this can be incredibly useful when you outsource tasks to save money. You can find a higher quality of performance by searching for contractors anywhere in the world and it doesn’t limit you to workers who live near to your office.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

 In the end, remote work typically saves money for every person and entity involved. Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

According to FlexJobs, employees or remote business owners may save around $4,000 on average every year for expenses such as car maintenance, transportation, professional clothing in the office, or even money spent dining out for lunch with coworkers. Eventually, the costs add up, which means extra money in your pocket to take that much-needed vacation or save up for a down payment on your first home.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

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