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Opinion Editorials

Realtor gimmicks and blue light specials reek of desperation



Real estate coupons!? Please tell me this is a joke. says it “allows Real Estate Professionals to dramatically increase their Business and Production by offering Coupons for their Real Estate related business.” This is nothing but a cheesy gimmick aimed at despondent agents who think that lowering themselves to this level is going to procure business. What gets me most is that there are actually agents who buy into this and fork over their time and money. Glancing over the coupons posted by agents, it literally reeks of desperation. We do not need to stoop that low.

One of the more outlandish coupons offered is 50% off all real estate services, valid through 07/2012. It’s an agent firesale! Besides the fact you’ll probably go negative giving away half your earnings after factoring fees, taxes and expenses, you might as well strap a mobile police light atop your car, driving around the neighborhood with a speakerphone blaring “Attention Kmart Shoppers!” Who in their right mind wants to be known as the “Blue Light Special” Agent?

For those agents who are even remotely thinking about creating coupons, make no mistake… No client is ever going to have the following conversation with their friends and family:
“Sue is a great agent! You ought to give her a call”
“Wow, she must be an ethical and knowledgeable expert.”
“No, you silly. She accepts coupons! Here‘s one I clipped out for you. Hurry, though. It expires tomorrow.”

Furthermore, real estate coupons are a dangerous path to go down. One day you’re doling up coupons to drum up business, and pretty soon, you find yourself accepting food stamps for your commission. Have some standards, people! If you continue debasing yourself, you are going to find yourself one day blurting out “Yes, I do!” when a prospect asks you, “Can we pay you on layaway?” Where does it end?!

Who goes to to look for coupons anyway? If you have to coupon, at least look less desperate by putting on on your Google Places profile, on Yelp or Groupon. Please!

For the love of Lady Gaga, there is no need resort to these foolish antics. Instead of wasting time and money on real estate coupons (and incidentally demeaning your brand), allocate your resources elsewhere to attract clients. Can I get an Amen!?

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!

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  1. Ken Montville

    September 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Amen, Brother Herman. Testify!!

    This is one of the most ridiculous marketing schemes I’ve heard of and I’ve seen quite a lot. Why real estate professionals continue racing to the bottom is beyond me. Hell, if you really want to give your services away, do a pro bono transaction for someone who needs it or give your commission to a good cause.

    Besides, I don’t think my Broker would take food stamps for my commission. 🙂

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm


      although with some of the rinky dink deals out there, there is hardly any commission left. i’m sure at times the food stamps are worth more!

  2. Fred Romano

    September 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    So do you think that flat fee brokers are a “gimmick” too? After all, we discount the real estate service fees for sellers (and in some cases buyers). Just curious 😉

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      hey fred~! nice to hear from ya
      agents can discount all they want. its not uncommon to get a home warranty for clients or chip in a buck or two to close a deal. but i don’t think they oughta do it thru paying a ugly website to post coupons. that site wants agents to pay them money to give away more money. if an agent wants to give away some $ to client, that’s fine, but i don’t think an agent should have to pay on top for that “service” ! 🙂

  3. Fred Romano

    September 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Herman, if you look at that ad you noted in your post… “One of the more outlandish coupons offered is 50% off all real estate services, valid through 07/2012. It’s an agent firesale!”… you will see it’s actually a company that offers real estate services to Realtors, not the consumer.

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm

      thx for clarifying fred!

      still the concept of someone clipping out a coupon, and bringing it up to me mid-escrow (or worse, after closing!) to redeem just doesn’t sit right w/ me….

      • Fred Romano

        September 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm

        It is awfully funny though! I’d love to see it.

  4. Rob McCance

    September 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    This is pretty funny.

    How about this coupon for a buyer: 100% off my Services!

    That’s right, for a limitied time, of forever, I won’t charge YOU a single red cent for driving you all over in my sweet ride and buying you lunches.

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      right, b/c it is SUCH a privilege to be someone’s chaffeur!

  5. David Sherfey

    September 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

    That someone would take the time to conceive stuff like this.
    That consumers would actually buy into it.
    That an agent would resort to it.

    But I love it when my competition does this kind of stuff! It makes for great conversations on value…

  6. Kelsey Teel

    October 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Hahahaha, Herman- you are hilarious. All I have to say about this cheesy mess is that you get what you pay for….and I’m a firm believer in chipping in that extra dollar for an extra bit of value.

    When you are looking for an attorney to help you win an important case, I can guarantee you wont be looking for the one giving discounts. You will be looking for the one who will win for you. I believe choosing a Realtor is just as important.

    Thanks for sharing the article!


      October 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      kelsey, glad you enjoyed my hilarity! i like your attorney analogy. bye!

  7. Greg Lyles

    October 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I spoke with a friend recently who works for one of the big national real estate companies. I won’t mention the company since some of you may be affiliated. They had an open house scavenger hunt where “potential buyers” would go from home to home looking for clues. The winner would get a $20,000 check to use towards a downpayment. When I asked him how many homes they got under contract as a result (weeks later) he replied “none”.

    Sounds like somebody was still clueless.


      October 5, 2010 at 12:38 am

      i think contests are just a tad better than coupons, but nonetheless it’s a ruse to get biz…..

      i wonder what the person who won did with the $20k?

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Opinion Editorials

How the Bullet Journal method has been hijacked and twisted

(EDITORIAL) I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal method, but sticker-loving tweens have hijacked the movement. Worry not, I’m still using black and white bullet points with work tasks (not “pet cat,” or “smile more”).



bullet journal

It’s taken me some time to come around to the Bullet Journal method, because it took me some time to fully understand it (I have a tendency to overthink simplicity). Now that I understand the use, I find it very beneficial for my life and my appreciation for pen-to-paper.

In short, it’s a quick and simple system for organization tasks and staying focused with everything you have going on. All you need to employ this method is a journal with graph or dotted paper, and a pen. Easy.

However, there seems to be this odd truth that: we find ways to simplify complicated things, and we find ways to complicate simple things. The latter is exactly what’s happened with the Bullet Journal method, thanks to creative people who show the rest of us up.

To understand what I’m talking about, open up Instagram (or Pinterest, or even Google) and just search “bullet journal.” You’ll soon find post after post of frilly, sticker-filled, calligraphy-laden journal pages.

The simple method of writing down bullets of tasks has been hijacked to become a competitive art form.

Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at this stuff because I dig the creativity. But, do I have time to do that myself? No! For honesty’s sake, I’ve tried just for fun and it takes too much damn time.

With this is mind, this new-found method of Bullet Journaling as an art is something that: a) defeats the purpose of accomplishing tasks quickly as you’re setting yourself back with the nifty art, and b) entrepreneurs, freelancers, executives, or anyone busy would not have time for.

Most of these people posting artistic Bullet Journal pages on Instagram are younger and have more time on their hands (and if you want to spend your time doing that, do you, man).

But, it goes against the simplistic method of Bullet Journaling. The intent of the method.

And, beneath the washi tape, stickers, and different colored pens, usually lies a list of: put away laundry, feed cat, post on Insta. So, this is being done more for the sake of art than for employing the method.

Again, I’m all for art and for people following their passions and creativities, but it stands to reason that this should be something separate from the concept of Bullet Journaling, as it has become a caricature of the original method.

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Opinion Editorials

The perfect comeback to that earnest MLM guy you meet at every coffee shop

(EDITORIAL) We’ve all been cornered by someone that wants to offer us financial freedom for joining their pyramid scheme, but we typically freeze or just reject them. There’s another way…



The following editorial was penned by Chris Johnson who offers the perfect comeback to that stranger who approaches you in Starbucks or that person you haven’t talked to since high school that wants to discuss your financial freedom:

Last week, I was at Starbucks, doing some marketing work. This was apparent to all who could view my laptop by the big 72 type “Marketing” headline that I was working on in my browser.

A man sharing a table, with no apparent laptop of his own, was taking interest in what I was doing. He was mid-40s and he was ambiently stalking and sizing everyone around him up. He was swallowing and always “about to talk.”

Finally, after I looked up to collect my thoughts, he broke my reverie.

“Are you in marketing?”

See, our man (Justin was his name) had just stated a business, an e-commerce business. He was vague on his details.

I knew where this was going. We all know.

Anyone that’s ever worked from a Starbucks has met Justin.

Justin mentioned a couple of his relatives, also with businesses. And, without asking what type of clients I serve, told me that they’d be a great fit for me. He’d love to introduce me, if we could just exchange contact info.

I knew exactly what he was doing. As God as my witness, I knew the only place where this interaction would possibly go. I wasn’t, not for a minute, fooled by the promise of referrals that would never happen.

Of course, I give it to him, not because I think there’s any hope that this will work out. But because I want to know. We exchange texts, and I save his contact info.

He excuses himself and gets into his 2002 rusty Kia, and drives off.

The next day, I get a call with the ID: MLM GUY STARBUCKS 2019.

“Chris, we met at Starbucks,” he says, “This is Justin. And I was wondering if you were open to financial opportunities for your family.”

Well, knock me over with a feather. This was such a surprise.

Without a plan in my head, I said “Justin, are you in the Amway organization? Because if so, I have been waiting for your call.”

Justin confirmed that yes, he was in Amway. And he was really glad!

“Justin, I’ve got some great news for YOU, would you like to hear about it?”

“Sure,” he goes.

“OK, well, you have to be open – and committed – to improving your relationship with Amway. Is that something you’re open to right now?”

“Yes,” he said, “Definitely.”

“Great. So let me tell you about what I do with the Amway people I meet. See, I’ve made a really profitable career out of helping them, and it’s turned into the focus of my life.” This is, of course, a lie, but we were even because Justin got my phone number on the pretext of referring me business.

“OK, so the deal is this. One of the problems with Amway is that it turns you into someone that has to monetize all of your family and friends. And when that happens, you become less about the relationship, and more about the money. Has that happened to you?”

“Yes. Yes it has.” Justin admits.

“Yes, great, this is what we’re hearing.”

The words tumbled out of my mouth: “See all over America there are Amway distributors, just like you. They are chained to various Starbuckses. This is the old model, there’s simply no freedom.

They have to fight tooth and nail to get appointments and most of ’em don’t go anywhere. For most of the Amway owners, this isn’t working once they pitch all their friends and all their family.

So I’ve created an organization called Amway Freedom. All you have to do is sign up. By signing up, you agree to automatically pay $5.00 per month to me, to be free of Amway.

But the REALLY good news is that you can sign OTHER people up, and keep half of the money for your family and your freedom. And when they sign up, half goes to support the reps, and the other half goes to support your opportunity!

From what I hear, over 1.5 million Americans signed up for Amway at some point. Tell me, Justin, if you got just 1% of that market – 15,000 people to pay you $5.00 a month without you having to do anything, would that change your life?

Would $75,000 per month change your life?”

Justin said “Um, well, this isn’t really what I was think-”

“Look Justin, this isn’t for everyone. I know that. Most people won’t be able to take advantage of this opportunity. They only think of the problems. They can’t imagine how this could work, a business with no merchandise and freedom.

But, Justin, you’re helping people get free of the endless random meetings… the Starbucks bills… the gas expenses. You’re turning your story of struggle into a story of success. Are you ready, Justin?

This is my business,” I said, “And this is what I want for you, Justin. Are you ready to join your challenge and fight for the freedom of 1.5 million people that have tried Amway?”

“Um…” Justin said. “I just don’t.”

“I see. This might not be working for you, Justin, and that’s 100% OK. Take all the time you need. But, if you sign up today, I’ll offer you the EXCLUSIVE market rights to help free people from Younique, Herbalife, Infinitus and over 30 other household brands. That makes a market – just in America – of 20 million Americans! Doesn’t that sound great, Justin? If you captured just 1% of that, that’s 200,000. And that business would earn 1 million every MONTH.

All without products to store, all while helping people.

Will you be paying with a Visa or Mastercard?”

Justin paused for a moment. “This was a waste of my time,” he finally said.

“You don’t really have a business!” he spat.

Well done, Justin, well done indeed.

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Opinion Editorials

Funny females are less likely to be promoted

(CAREER) Science says that the funnier a female, the less likely she is to be promoted. Uhh…



funny females promoted less often

Faceless keyboard warriors around the world have been — incorrectly — lamenting that women just aren’t funny for years now (remember the “Ghostbusters” remake backlash?).The good news is they are obviously wrong. The bad news? When women dare to reveal their comedic side in the workplace they are often perceived as “disruptive” while men are rewarded.

That’s right. Women not only have to worry about being constantly interrupted, receiving raises less frequently than men despite asking for them equally as often, and still making nearly $10,000 less than men each year, but now they have to worry about being too funny at the office.

A recent University of Arizona study asked more than 300 people to read the fictional resume of a clothing store manager with the gender-neutral name “Sam” and watch a video presentation featuring Sam. The videos came in four versions: a serious male speaker, a humorous male speaker, a serious female speaker and a humorous female speaker.

According to the researchers, “humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females.” Translation: Male workers earn respect for being funny while their funny female coworkers are often seen in a more negative light.

There are, of course, several reasons this could be the case. The researchers behind this particular study pointed to the stereotype that women are more dedicated to their families than their work, and being perceived as humorous could convey the sense they don’t take their work as seriously as men.

Psychiatrist Prudy Gourguechon offered another take, putting the blame directly on Sam the clothing store manager, calling out their seemingly narcissistic behavior and how society’s tolerance for such behavior is “distinctly gender-based.” She says these biases go back to the social programming of our childhoods and the roles mothers and fathers tend to play in our upbringing.

So what are women supposed to do with this information?

Gourgechon’s status quo advice includes telling women to not stop being funny, but “to be aware of the the feelings and subjectivities of the people around you.” While recommending an empathetic stance isn’t necessarily bad advice, it still puts the onus on women to change their behavior, worry about what everyone else thinks and attempt to please everyone around them.

We already know that professional women can have an extremely hard time remaining true to themselves in the workplace — especially women in the tech industry — and authenticity is often a privilege saved for those who conform to the accepted culture. We obviously still have a long way to go before women stop being “punished” for being funny at work, but things seem to be progressing, however slowly.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her thoughts last year on the improvements that have been made and the changes that still need to happen, including encouraging men to step up and do their part. In the wake of the #metoo movement, CNBC recommended five things men can do to support women at work. There are amazing women in STEM positions around the world we can all admire and shine a spotlight on.

All of these steps — both big and small — will continue to chip away at the gender inequality that permeates today’s workplaces. And perhaps one day in the near future, female clothing store manager Sam will be allowed to be just as funny as male clothing store manager Sam.

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