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More DUH Moments in Online Real Estate

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I don’t know about you, but we’ve been hearing about so many people getting scammed on-line with vacation and regular rentals and I hate to point a finger, but most of them are coming from Craigslist.

People finding agents and sending deposits to then find themselves with arms up in the air wondering what they were thinking.  DUH!!  In Miami we have another type of scam, this one not so serious, but very common nonetheless.  We have agents advertising our listings on Craigslist even if the MLS reads “do not advertise“.  We used to love for other agents to advertise for us until we found ourselves showing up to our listings and the clients would express feeling cheated thinking the listing belonged to the person advertising on Craigslist.

Today we hit a new high – an agent advertising one of our “do not advertise” rental listings, calling us to bug us about 15 times per day, doing everything wrong and after having an executed Lease loosing the client over amateur incompetency.  We found out because after the prospective tenant walked, they called us directly to help them out.  The prospect had been reading Miamism and didn’t know it was our listing, and after getting fed up with her agent, ended up finding out that the listing was ours to begin with.

I know the logistics can be complicated – but can’t we do something about these Internet scams?  Unqualified agents not only making our lives impossible, but making us and our clients loose time as well.  I’m so over it!  May listen to my friend now and open up Ineslist.com……NOT!

The worst part is that even though this is a rant about incompetency and wasting time, it ultimately is about misinterpretation of information which hurts the client directly.   I still try to understand the logic behind people who don’t want to work with agents, choose to be unrepresented and end up getting cheated.

Rant over

Disclosure:  my dis is not against Craigslist directly, but those that choose to misuse the medium

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    October 13, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I guess the broker reciprocity rules must be different down there, Ines. Here listings have the option of “IDX share” yes or no. Not sure if that would prevent what’s happening there. Assume you’ve gone the regular route of complaining to the agents’ brokers, so I won’t bother suggesting that avenue.

    Is this something the Florida Real Estate Commission should be aware of?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Mack Perry

    October 13, 2009 at 8:14 am

    If memory serves me correctly, and at my age that is somewhat difficult, I believe it is an ethics violation to advertise another agent’s listing without written permission from the listing broker.

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 13, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Joe, the rule here is to check the MLS and see if it reads “OK to advertise” or “NOT” and in this case it is a no and agent violated that. We have complained to the brokers in many instances but it is getting old, happens too often and don’t have time to police our listings on Craigslist. I do think it’s an issue the Florida Real Estate Commission should be aware of though.

    mack – you don’t need written permission, but need to check the MLS for what the agent allows.

  4. Keith Lutz

    October 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Just like there are all those social links and links for reporting spam, someone needs to come up with a link that reports back to the proper MLS board violatiors. Sounds do-able, but beyond any skill-set I have.

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Keith, I think that’s exactly it – if they would make it easier to report, then more people would take the time.

  6. Paula Henry

    October 14, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Ines – I have had people call me devastated they were ripped off by someone advertising a rental and know Realtor’s whose listings are being used as bait. With all the advertising venues out there, it would be hard to track.

    In Indy, our board does have a report violation link on each MLS page, but outside the MLS, it’s almost impossible to catch everyone who might be advertising another agents listing. It really comes down to ethics. People are ethical or not, unfortunately.

  7. Matt Thomson

    October 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Seth Godin wrote a good blog about “What if Craigslist cost $1.” Would solve that type of problem, but I suppose they’d just find somewhere else to advertise. Here in the Seattle area, our MLS levies a pretty good fine if you advertise another agent’s listing without written permission.
    I’m all for advertising my listings in print or somewhere that I don’t advertise, but I want control over them online. I’ve been fortunate I guess in that I don’t know of any incompetent agents stealing mine.

  8. Louise Scoggins

    October 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Interesting read, Ines. I know here in Atlanta we have a “Broker Reciprocity Agreement” that allows other agents to advertise my listings via a MLS search on their website, but I haven’t heard of other agents advertising someone else’s listings on Craigslist. Sneaky. I personally advertise my resale and rental listings on Craigslist, so it’s something I will be on the lookout for from now on.

  9. Portland Real Estate

    October 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Its like having a site automatically try to guess and assign a value to a home that you are trying to sell. Thank you very much but no, I dont want you to advertise your estimated value of the home because the number is so far off of reality. It makes clients pretty irritated when other websites fill them with crap information and you get to be the one that tells them otherwise.

    -Tyler

  10. Marlow

    October 16, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Perhaps you need to urge your MLS to instigate stiff fines for those who break the rules.

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, advertising someone elses listing can result in a fine of $10,000.00 or more, and they are enforced. And then the MLS announces all of the rule breakers and fines on the front page of the website!

    Believe me, this tends to keep people in line.

  11. Terry@Charlotte Homes

    October 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Devils Advocate here – Isn’t not allowing other Brokers the right to advertise a listing one of the prime FTC complaints- ie if we are actually acting as an Agent acting in the Seller best interest, don’t we want all advertisement possible? Many home sellers think so.

    That said, I almost fell victim with my daughter to a CL scam… a rent too good to be true at college in Memphis. “Unfortunately just have to send you the keys because I didn’t leave them with anyone”… full of “God Bless you” and other colloquial English , it was quite believable,and my daughter exchanged 3- 4 emails before we discovered the fraud-andthey had “borrowed” a local new condo sellers identity.

    don’t know the answer on policing listings…

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Terry, we actually allow for others to advertise our listings – when they are not rentals (somehow rentals are more open to scams) – and what’s the point to advertise the same rental in the same medium, like CL?

    CL has rules against double advertisement – so that’s a double whammy on those agents’ side. “buyer beware” could not apply more in these cases

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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.

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As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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