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Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Real Estate



I have been watching the History Channel’s series on the 7 Deadly Sins, and it got me to thinking about real estate. (I am pretty good at linking just about anything to real estate…) I realized that there are many ways that these 7 deadly sins creep into MY life, and I am sure there are times that they creep into ALL of our lives.

Also, I’m sure there are about 10 more real estate-specific deadly sins, but today I’m just touching on the traditional 7.

1. Pride

Real Estate pride the overtly excessive belief in one’s own abilities (or refusal to notice weaknesses) that leads to the interference of the agent’s own business and eventually to the harm of their clients.

Avoid real estate pride, by:

  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Not taking listings outside of your expertise (commercial, out-of-area, short sales, etc. …)
  • Not representing Buyers who have needs that you cannot meet (investors, if you are not investor-savvy, relocating clients, if you do not understand the relocation process…)

In a real estate market that is shifting, it may be tempting to take on real estate deals that you have no right to take on. Please do not put your business nor your clients’ at risk because of real estate pride.

2. Greed

Real Estate greed is the intense desire for material gain at any cost. Real Estate greed is what helped us edge into the mortgage mess that we are now in. Some lenders made impossible loans. Some real estate agents pushed expensive homes. Some home home buyers CHOSE these homes and loans irregardless of the reality of their situations.

Real estate greed (or any kind of professional greed) is also what causes disruptions in our family and personal lives.

Avoid real estate greed, by always putting the best interests of your clients FIRST and remembering that you are a wife/husband/mom/dad/sister/brother/daughter/son/friend BEFORE you are a real estate agent. Remember – Relationships are Key to Success.

3. Gluttony

Real Estate gluttony is a lot like real estate greed, but is what happens when we are immersed in the spoils of our greed. We continually upgrade our lives past the point of usefulness. Gluttony is what has caused hundreds (if not thousands) of real estate agents and companies to go belly-up when the economy shifted.

Avoid real estate gluttony, by living within your means. Personally, Derek and I are subscribers to the Dave Ramsey school of thought and live to have our personal and business lives completely debt-free. This is one of the largest contributors to our success regardless of the economy. This may not be YOUR idea of living within your means, but finding a financial role model is one of the best ways to be glutton-free.

4. Lust

Real Estate lust is when we put the the pleasures of real estate above the business of real estate. I love social media as much as the next guy, but we CANNOT fool ourselves into believing that social media will resurrect a failing business.

If you have a crappy business, a blog isn’t going to help.” – Linda Davis

No amount of Twitter updates or sheep throwing will revive a dying business no matter HOW witty you are.


5. Envy

Real Estate envy runs rampant in the real estate world. We see it when agents make snide, unfounded stabs at other (more successful) agents around the copy machine. We see it when real estate agents go out of their way to destroy another (more successful) agent’s online livelihood by going after their online reputation.

Avoid real estate envy by finding what it is you admire about successful agents and planting those seeds in your OWN life … making yourself a better person.

6. Sloth

Real Estate sloth is the avoidance of the actual WORK that it takes to be a successful real estate agent in this (or any other) market. Real estate sloth is seen by the agents who are constantly complaining, but refuse to do anything different or better … or anything at all, for that matter to make their businesses grow and prosper.

Avoid real estate sloth by making yourself uncomfortable. What you are “used to” is no longer working. Reconsider how your effectively website/blog is laid out. Pay for traffic to your website if you can’t rank organically. CALL the people who register on your website and ask how you can help them narrow down their search (gasp!). Knock on the doors of the homes in the neighborhood that you want to work and offer them something valuable – your area expertise (double gasp!). Lead generate for 3 hours every morning – no exceptions (gasp! gasp! faint …).

7. Wrath

Real Estate wrath is when real estate agents opt for anger instead of understanding. We yell at the commenter who disagrees with us on our blog. We yell at the other agent for bringing a “low ball” offer. We yell at the inspector for killing the deal. We yell at the lender for changing the loan program last minute…

This economy can bring out the worst in all of us, but filling your business with anger will make you a difficult person to work with AND a difficult person to be around, in general.

Avoid real estate wrath by making a concerted effort to be the calming and understanding force behind your business. You will be surprised at how much power your “understanding” can yeild over even the hardest situations.

Of course, some of these apply (and do not apply) in different facets and strengths in our businesses. Avoiding the 7 deadly sins of real estate will both better our businesses AND better ourselves.

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  1. Debra Sinick

    January 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm


    I laughed out loud when you said you could relate anything to real estate. I’ve said the very same thing. My brother sent me an article from The New York Times about the Seattle Mariners and suggested I post something about it on my blog. I told him it was no problem for me to develop the connection between the Mariners and real estate. (Easy, unfortunately, because both are having problems.)

    Regarding your comment that Realtors need to get out of their comfort zone, I couldn’t agree more. I see a lot of great Realtors who are digging their heads in the sand and waiting. Waiting for what? They’re not willing to do things differently because they’re afraid of change. It’s sad, but this type of Realtor may go the way of the dinosaur. I think Realtors needs to realize real estate is not the only industry that’s changing. Change is everywhere and many people and industries are affected. It’s life and we all need to deal with it.

  2. Marvin Jensen

    January 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm


    All good ideas for a successful business.

  3. Mariana

    January 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Debra – I remember when people would say, “Technology will replace real estate agents.” That is wrong. “Real Estate Agents who use Technology will replace real estate agents.”

    Embracing the changes that we need to make will make us ALL more successful.

  4. Debra Sinick

    January 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Oops, I left the “a” off your name. Sorry

  5. Mariana

    January 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Marvin – Thank you. I am sure there are about a dozen-hundreds of other ideas that could be widely applied …

  6. Missy Caulk

    January 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Great analogy, Mariana.

    I think if people applied these 7 deadly sins with their business it would improve.

    I loved Linda’s quote, the best of the conference.

  7. Chris Shouse

    January 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Excellent post as usual Mariana andso very true. I keep hoping I can keep up with all of the technology so I can stay on top of my game.

  8. Mana Tulberg

    January 9, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Mariana, I’ve been watching the same series and enjoying them tremendously. However, I have to say I really enjoyed your version of the 7 deadly sins.

  9. Esko

    January 10, 2009 at 12:13 am


    It’s a while since I last saw this list, but it’s a good reminder. Controlling pride today is rather important as the real estate and mortgage markets continually adjust, sometimes very abruptly. It’s better to admit that you don’t know something than give wrong advise.

  10. Chris Howard

    January 11, 2009 at 5:21 pm


    I thought this post was right on point. As realtors we need to stay focused on the job at hand. Worrying about what others are doing is a way of avoiding the work we need to do.

    Where does the QR Code lead me? I don’t have the software in my phone.

  11. Mariana

    January 12, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Missy – Linda had the best quote!

    Chris – Thanks!

    Mana – It is a cool series…

    Esko – Pride can be worse than everything.

    Chris – FOCUS! I always need more of that.

  12. Paula Henry

    January 14, 2009 at 5:04 am

    Mariana – Applicable to every area of our lives!

    At least a few good reasons to stay out of the office and away from the gossip. In our current market, at least one of these have been the death of a real estate agent.

    Pride is remarkably high on the list; agents so sure they can keep doing the same things they always have and get the same results, because their pride won’t let them change. I can’t tell you the number of people who are languishng in this business and will not join a team because they have to give up their name.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers



The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)



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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS



I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)


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My secret office organization tip – Sharpies and tape

If you’re still practicing to be OCD, here is a secret I don’t typically share with anyone, but I’m willing to share with you today…



Keeping organized

I used to be obsessed with the P-touch machine. I labeled everything. Drawers, shelves, folders, canisters, and anything that I could think of putting a label on.

But the label makers weren’t as pretty as my own handwriting and didn’t come in every color a Sharpie does, so I got the brilliant idea one day to write in light blue sharpie in my beautiful handwriting on clear tape, placed neatly on the shelves in the pantry. Visitors thought I had written on the cabinets, “what if you have to move things?” they asked. “It’s just tape, look!” I said as if I was performing a complicated magic trick.

Not just shelves!

It’s great to use this tip on files and folders so you can reuse them (especially if you have custom files or designer files), on drawers at the bottom of each section where pens and tape goes, and especially in the break room.

No more label maker, no more refill cartridges and no more mess, especially someone else’s mess! Trust me, this is an OCD person’s dream organizing tip!

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