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Opinion Editorials

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



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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  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

Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) In the COVID-19 crisis, some leaders fumbled through it, while others quietly safeguarded their company’s future.



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 strong leaders can see their teams, their companies, and 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 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve their 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 was disrupted and people are 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 leaders game plan, 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

7 sure-fire ways to carve out alone time when you’re working from home

(EDITORIAL) It can be easy to forget about self-care when you’re working from home, but it’s critical for your mental health, and your work quality.



Woman in hijab sitting on couch, working from home on a laptop

We are all familiar with the syndrome, getting caught up in work, chores, taking care of others, and neglecting to take care of ourselves in the meantime. This has always been the case, but now, with more people working from home and a seemingly endless lineup of chores, thanks to the pandemic. There is simply so much to do.

The line is thinly drawn between personal and professional time already, with emails, cell phones, and devices relentlessly reaching out around the clock, pulling at us like zombie arms reaching up from the grave. Working from home makes this tendency to always be “on” worse, as living and working take place in such close proximity. We have to turn it off, though.

Our brains and bodies need downtime, me-time, and self-care. Carving out this time is one of the kindest and most important things you can do for yourself. If we can begin to honor ourselves like this, the outcome with not only our mental and physical health but also our productivity at work will be beneficial. When we make the time to do things we love, our mind’s gears slow down that constant grinding. Burnout behooves nobody.

Our work will also benefit. Healthier, happier, more well-rested, and well-treated minds and bodies can work wonders! Our immune systems also need this, and we need our immune systems to be at their peak performance this intense season.

I wanted to write this article because I have such a struggle with this in my own life. I need to print it out and put it in my workspace. Last week, I posted something on my social media pages that so many people shared. It is clear we all need these reminders, so I am paying it forward here. The graphic was a quote from Devyn W.

“If you are reading this, release your shoulders away from your ears, unclench your jaw, and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.”

There now, isn’t that remarkable? It is a great first step. Let go of the tension in your body, and check out these ways to make yourself some healing me-time while working from home.

  1. Set aside strict no-work times. This could be any time of day, but set the times and adhere to them strictly. This may look like taking a full hour for lunch, not checking email after a certain hour, or committing to spending that time outdoors, reading, exercising, or enjoying the company of your loved ones. Make this a daily routine, because we need these boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
  2. Remember not to apologize to anyone for taking this me-time. Mentally and physically you need this, and everyone will be better off if you do. It is nothing to apologize for! Building these work-free hours into your daily schedule will feel more normal as time goes on. This giving of time and space to your joy, health, and even basic human needs is what should be the norm, not the other way around.
  3. Give yourself a device-free hour or two every day, especially before bedtime. The pinging, dinging, and blinging keep us on edge. Restful sleep is one of the wonderful ways our bodies and brains heal and putting devices away before bedtime is one of the quick tips for getting better sleep.
  4. Of course, make time for the things you absolutely love. If this is a hot bath, getting a massage, reading books, working out, cooking or eating an extravagant meal, or talking and laughing with a loved one, you have to find a way to get this serotonin boost!
  5. Use the sunshine shortcut. It isn’t a cure-all, but sunlight and Vitamin D are mood boosters. At least when it’s not 107 degrees, like in a Texas summer. But as a general rule, taking in at least a good 10-15 minutes of that sweet, sweet Vitamin D provided by the sun is good for us.
  6. Spend time with animals! Walk your dog, shake that feathery thing at your cat, or snuggle either one. Whatever animals make you smile, spend time with them. If you don’t have pets of your own, you could volunteer to walk them at a local shelter or even watch a cute animal video online. They are shown to reduce stress. Best case scenario is in person if you are able, but thankfully the internet is bursting with adorable animal videos, as a backup.
  7. Give in to a bit of planning or daydreaming about a big future trip. Spending time looking at all the places you will go in the future and even plotting out an itinerary are usually excellent mood-boosters.

I hope we can all improve our lives while working from home by making time for regenerating, healing, and having fun! Gotta run—the sun is out, and my dog is begging for a walk.

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Opinion Editorials

The one easy job interview question that often trips up applicants

(EDITORIAL) The easiest interview questions can be the hardest to answer, don’t let this one trip you up – come prepared!



Women sitting nervously representing waiting for a remote job interview.

A job interview is tough, and preparing for them can seem impossible. There are some questions you can expect: what is your experience in this position? How would you handle this situation? And so on.

But what about this question: what makes you happy? Though it may seem straightforward, getting to the right answer is not such an easy path.

Work engagement

According to research, less and less employees feel like they are truly engaged at work. Some blame the work environment but truth be told, it is not a company’s responsibility to make you happy.

Without a passion for what you are doing, you will never enjoy the job.

It is the best case for everyone. More engaged workers are more productive in addition to feeling like they serve a purpose.

Do your due diligence

So before finding yourself in an interview where you have to take an awkward pause before answering this question, the best thing is to do some research. It all starts with the job search.

When looking for a job it is easy to get caught up in high profile company names and perks.

For instance, although “Social Media Coordinator” may not be your thing, the position is open at the cool advertising agency downtown. Or perhaps the company offers flexible hours and free lunch Fridays. The problem is that these perks aren’t worth it in the long run. Working for a cool company can be exciting at first, but it is not sustainable without passion for the position.

It’s important to pay attention to is the position you are applying for.

Is this work that you are passionate about? Take a look at the job responsibilities and functions. Besides figuring out if those are things that you can do, ask yourself if they are things that you want to do. Is this an opportunity that will match your strengths and give you purpose?

Let your passion protrude

With all things considered, when asked “what makes you happy” at the next interview, you will be able to answer honestly. Your passion will be apparent without having to put on an act.

Even if they don’t ask that question, there is no downside to knowing what makes you happy.

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