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Opinion Editorials

Integrity in real estate or slime ball Realtors? How to rise above

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Jumping in the car

The phone rings and you are asked if you can show a home to a potential buyer. Do you qualify the buyer or jump in your car and out the door you go? My guess is the less busy REALTORS, and those with less business or new agents would do this.

But, after a few times of being burned… lesson learned. With all the increased activity of agents missing or killed this is also not the smartest thing to do at any time. Never mind that nine times out of ten, this showing isn’t going anywhere.

Never fail to qualify callers

Most of the time when you receive a call like this, “Hey, I found this home on the internet and would like to see it,” it is from your IDX site or one of the major syndication sites.

Depending on where they found the home, I asked them to give me a minute to see if it is truly available. While they are waiting I qualify them.

  • Is this the type of home you are looking for?
  • Have you spoken to a lender yet?
  • Are you currently working with a Realtor?

Besides trying to find out the above answers, while I search I am trying to engage them to see if it would be a good fit to have one of my Buyer Specialists work with them, while looking up the listing.

“Are You Working With a REALTOR?”

When I ask the question of are you working with a Realtor, most will say…”we haven’t signed anything?”

Sometimes I get, “we are working with my Aunt, Brother, Cousin, Friend of my Sister but she lives 45 minutes away and we don’t want to “bother them.” Once I was actually told, “my Realtor told me to call the listing agents to see homes, and then they would write up the offer.”

Ok, but at least they are honest. More times than not you have to pull it out of them, by asking enough questions to get to the bottom of the answer.

How do you handle that?

  • Do you still go and show?
  • Do you say call your relative?
  • If it is your listing do you behave differently?

I have shown my own listing to a buyer like this, because I feel an obligation to my sellers to get their home sold. If they were honest with me. If it is on a listing that is via IDX, no I don’t. I tell them to have their relative to show it or to have their relative call me and I will be glad to work with them since I live in the area they want to purchase in. Showing homes to buyers that you will not end of working with is a complete waste of time.

Here’s the kicker

The one thing that really upsets me is the attitude of the licensed REALTOR who has no respect or disregard for agents in other areas… someone in our profession! Seriously, you are telling your relative to call listing agents or agents in the area and go spend an hour or so to show a home, that you will write the offer on?

I know the consumers don’t have a high regard for REALTORS, that has been documented over and over again, but how can another licensed professional not have respect for what we do? Now if you didn’t take the time to qualify them before putting them in your car, then shame on you.

Once, I had a potential buyer call me and request a showing. As I began to qualify her, and look up the listing, I told her give me a minute to look it up and see if it is available. She said, “Oh you’re not the listing agent, well just give me the listing agent information, I want to work with them, I only saw it on your site and thought it was yours.”

Kinda took me back…the raw honesty. Did I give her the name and phone number? You betcha!

How can we expect the public to respect what we do if other licensed professionals don’t? More importantly how do we respect ourselves if we do this? How do you handle calls like this?

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Steve Phillips

    July 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Most often realtors with a low level of ethics can ride booms but get weeded out during the busts and normal markets. No one wants to work with a person with less than stellar morals, especially when you are dealing with such a large purchase! Steve

  2. Sandra Bundy

    July 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I am amazed by the number of 'professionals' who tell their buyers to call the listing agent for showings but like you if I work for the seller a showing is certainly in order. I have also had agents actually showing my listings and 'show' buyers I sent to property to see if they might like the homes too & write & get accepted offers only to have the buyers come back to me begging for assistance while 'in contract'.
    We are in the business of educating buyers and sellers and at times even fellow agents. It is unfortunate that 'intregity' can't be tested prior to acquiring a real estate license.

  3. Jill Wente

    July 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Missy, Recently I wrote a post on a similiar topic of what to do if your Realtor's out of town and there is a house you want to view. A lot of buyers aren't aware Realtors have working partners that could and should be showing them homes if their Realtor is unavailable.

    I admit in the past I would go and show a home without pre-qualifying the potential buyer. Now with the tougher loan requirements I can't afford to run out and show homes to unqualified buyers.

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Opinion Editorials

Facebook fights falsehoods (it’s a false flag)

(EDITORIAL) Facebook has chosen Reuters to monitor its site for false information, but what can one company really do, and why would Facebook only pick one?

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Reuters checks facebook

So Facebook has finally taken a step to making sure fake news doesn’t get spread on it’s platform. Like many a decision from them though, they haven’t been thorough with their venture.

I am a scientifically driven person, I want facts, figures, and evidence to determine what is reality. Technology is a double edged sword in this arena; sure having a camera on every device any person can hold makes it easy to film events, but deepfakes have made even video more questionable.

Many social media platforms have tried to ban deepfakes but others have actually encouraged it. “I’ll believe it when I see it” was the rally cry for the skeptical, but now it doesn’t mean anything. Altering video in realistic ways has destroyed the credibility of the medium, we have to question even what we see with our eyes.

The expansion of the internet has created a tighter communication net for all of humanity to share, but when specific groups want to sway everyone else there isn’t a lot stopping them if they shout louder than the rest.

With the use of bots, and knowing the specifics of a group you want to sway, it’s easy to spread a lie as truth. Considering how much information is known about almost any user on any social media platform, it’s easy to pick targets that don’t question what they see online.

Facebook has been the worst offender in knowing consumer data and what they do with that data. Even if you never post anything political, they know what your affiliation is. If you want to delete that information, it’s hidden in advertising customization.

Part of me is thrilled that Facebook has decided to try and stand against this spread of misinformation, but how they pursued this goal is anything but complete and foolproof.

Reuters is the news organization that Facebook has chosen to fact check the massive amount of posts, photos, and videos that show up on their platform everyday. It makes sense to grab a news organization to verify facts compared to “alternative facts”.

A big problem I have with this is that Reuters is a company, companies exist to make money. Lies sell better than truths. Ask 2007 banks how well lies sell, ask Enron how that business plan worked out, ask the actors from Game of Thrones about that last season.

Since Reuters is a company, some other bigger company could come along, buy them, and change everything, or put in people who let things slide. Even Captain America recognizes this process. “It’s run by people with agendas, and agendas change.” This could either begin pushing falsehoods into Facebook, or destroy Reuters credibility, and bite Facebook in the ass.

If some large group wants to spread misinformation, but can’t do it themselves, why wouldn’t they go after the number one place that people share information?

I really question if Reuters can handle the amount of information flowing through Facebook, remember almost a 3rd of the whole world uses Facebook. 2.45 Billion people will be checked by 25,800 employees at Reuters? I can appreciate their effort, but they will fail.

Why did Facebook only tag one company to handle this monumental task? If you know that many people are using your platform, and such a limited number of people work for the company you tasked with guarding the users, why wouldn’t you tag a dozen companies to tackle that nigh insurmountable number of users?

I think it’s because Facebook just needs that first headline “Facebook fights falsehoods”. That one line gets spread around but the rest of the story is ignored, or not thought about at all. If there is anything Facebook has learned about the spread of fake information on their platform, it’s how to spread it better.

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Opinion Editorials

Will shopping for that luxury item actually lower your quality of life?

(EDITORIAL) Want to buy yourself a pick-me-up? Have you thought of all the ramifications of that purchase? Try to avoid splurging on it.

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shopping bags

In an era of “treat-yo-self,” the urge to splurge is real. It doesn’t help that shopping – or what ends up being closer to impulse shopping – provides us with a hit of dopamine and a fleeting sense of control. Whether your life feels like it’s going downhill or you’ve just had a bad day, buying something you want (or think you want) can seem like an easy fix.

Unfortunately, it might not be so great when it comes to long-term happiness.

As you might have already guessed, purchasing new goods doesn’t fall in line with the minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the globe. Being saddled with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (and don’t even like!) is sure to make your mood dip, especially if the clutter makes it harder to concentrate. Plus, if you’ve got a real spending problem, the ache in your wallet is sure to manifest.

If that seems depressing, I’ve got even more bad news. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College have found yet another way spending can make us more unhappy in the long run: imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when it seems like you’re not as good as your peers and they just haven’t caught on yet. This insecurity often arises in competitive careers, academics and, apparently, shopping.

Now, there’s one big caveat to this idea that purchasing goods will make you feel inferior: it really only applies to luxury goods. I’m talking about things like a Louis Vuitton purse, a top of the line Mercedes Benz, a cast iron skillet from Williams Sonoma (or is that one just me?). The point is, the study found that about 67% of people – regardless of their income – believed their purchase was inauthentic to their “true self.”

And this imposter syndrome even existed when the luxury items were bought on sale.

Does this mean you should avoid making a nice purchase you’ve been saving up for? Not necessarily. One researcher at Cambridge found that people were more likely to report happiness for purchases that fit their personalities. Basically, a die-hard golfer is going to enjoy a new club more than someone who bought the same golf club to try to keep up with their co-workers.

Moral of the story: maybe don’t impulse buy a fancy new Apple watch. Waiting to see if it’s something you really want can save your budget…and your overall happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer got you down? Does it make your job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment without budget worries.

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better equipment, better work

Aside from bringing the boss coffee and donuts for a month before asking, 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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