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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

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).

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job market video

In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.

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marketing courses

Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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