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Opinion Editorials

REALTOR most despised – an open letter to the industry

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img-credit-fairportweb.jpgOriginally published October 20, 2007: First of all, not all Realtors fall into a category of “disliked,” in fact, I would imagine that the reason Realtors rank so highly with consumers in polls is because the one-on-one relationships overlook shortcomings. Maybe you are self-important, always on your cell phone in public, pacing up and down the outdoor patio of the Starbucks, speaking loudly about how you’re not going to put up with a builder who lags behind lending in a quick closing process (I observed this yesterday).

I would imagine that your client can look beyond your need to wear make-up as if you were about to appear on broadway. I am sure your clients really don’t mind the pounds of hairspray it takes to prop up your 1980s hairdo in the wind and high humidity.

Never mind that you roll up in a brand new Lexus next to your first time buyer’s 1987 honda civic hatchback, and are dressed to the hilt- I’m sure they’ll let that go easily when they look to you for advice on how to manage 10% down when they only have 5%. I’m sure the ease in which they can sit around the bare living room of a vacant home and confess their credit ills is like butter for them- you’re so approachable.

I am sure the buyer & seller looking to you for moral support believes you when you say “I’m here for you,” even though you answer every cell call in a five minute period while they’re trying to open up to you about their buying & selling anxieties (not to mention your inability to answer or return their calls for days following their contract signing).

I’m sure the tenant whose lease home is being sold by the owner appreciates your calls during dinner to inform them the house they’ve rented for 3 years is for sale (duh) and asks you “why in the world would you be a renter?” I know consumers understand you’re a busy agent and you’re simply calling with this newsflash at your convenience- at least you thought enough of them, right?

Sometimes, I’m just embarrassed at the behavior of those agents I would normally make excuses for. Sitting in that Starbucks watching Miss Dallas 1972 pace back and forth beside me yelling at people on her cell phone in complete disregard for the consumers that were looking on (go ahead, take another drag of that capri menthol 120 light cigarette as you make yet one more call) at you in utter disgust. Thank you for reminding each caller that you’re a Realtor who works only on referrals (it’s obvious that’s the only business you could attract- maybe).

Thank you for humiliating me and my chosen profession. As you were so important to no one but yourself, I watched people laugh at you behind your back. I sank in my chair for you- should I jump up and stop you? Should I embarrass you the way you embarrassed all of us for the better part of an hour- the consumer looking in? How about you check your look just one more time in the reflection of the Starbucks window- you’re so important.

Maybe I am being mean…

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. Mariana - Springs Realty Scoop

    October 20, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Absolutely brilliant – Definitely on the same page as I am. Thank you.

  2. Reuben Moore

    October 20, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    IMO, if we had real standards in this business we would see less of this. Either at the licensing level or at the er, REALTOR® level. The big-haired irony is that, as it stands today, it’s far easier to get a real estate license than it is to get a license to cut hair. I mean really, what else could these guys do for a living???

    So for now, this has to be addressed at the firm level. Just don’t hire them….

  3. Chris Lengquist

    October 20, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Benn, how do you know when a woman in Texas has “big hair”? Sorry – that was a cheap shot.

    But so was your posting. And I liked it. I once heard a guy say the reason he got into real estate was to piss off the town’s top agent who he described as a chain-smoking-cadillac-driving-nonstop-talking-100 year old lady. It was hilarious.

    And your point about the car is hilarious as well. I’ve seen agents get so uptight about their car thinking they have to have that status car to make people think they are successful. And I’m thinking “BUT YOUR CLIENTS ARE IN THE $150$200 CATEGORY…THEY AIN’T DRIVING THOSE EITHER!!!”

    Anyway, I have to go. My double mocha with a squirt of carmel, goat-milk with paprika, extra tall latte is almost finished? I hope I have $10 for this beverage.

  4. Chris Lengquist

    October 20, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    And by the way. I love the G-Love tab. But don’t you also need & Special Sauce?

  5. Cindy

    October 20, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    A few months ago while standing in a check out line I heard a rather loud man discussing in unpleasant &^%* words a client of his. I turned around and there for everyone to see was the name of the real estate brokerage he worked for. Oh please. I wonder how much business he lost for his company that day?

  6. Benn Rosales

    October 20, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    Cindy, I know exactly who this agent is, she yelled her name several times, and also her company. That was the only good thing to come of it- folks knew what brokerage recruited from the trailor park. Unfortunately, for the profession, the damage is done.

  7. Benn Rosales

    October 21, 2007 at 1:17 am

    Benn, how do you know when a woman in Texas has “big hair”? Dallas, Houston = land of the big hair, any big hair you see here is a transplant or in real estate or both.

    This isn’t just about the ladies either. There is actually a top producer here who male, and has had enough plastic surgery to – well, I don’t know, just keep the ac on low. His mail order brider, mixed with his southern preacher style of selling is a powerful turnoff combination.

  8. Norm Fisher

    October 21, 2007 at 1:55 am

    You’re not being mean. You’d be doing her a huge favour if you found a way to get this post to her.

    While every profession has its share of idiots, agents are the worst for loudmouthing on a mobile phone.

    Don’t get me starting on taking calls during client meetings. They may say they don’t mind, but 95% of the time they think you’re a real jackass. The rest of the world can get by without you for a flippin’ hour folks!

  9. Jeff Brown

    October 21, 2007 at 3:02 am

    What’s big hair?

  10. Benn Rosales

    October 21, 2007 at 3:13 am

    Jeff, the exact opposite of what’s on your head, baldone!

  11. Benn Rosales

    October 21, 2007 at 3:13 am

    Norm- no, in fact, I aim to get you started!

  12. ines

    October 21, 2007 at 4:27 am

    flipping hilarious!! Thanks for the good laugh and for reminding us what to look forward to every day in this business. I love Real Estate!

  13. Laurie Manny

    October 21, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Hilarious! Every town has it’s share of these. I want to know how to get them to stop admiring themselves in the mirror or window glass while they are screaming into their cell phones.

  14. Norm Fisher

    October 22, 2007 at 1:17 am

    Thank you Benn. I will be in touch.

  15. monika

    October 22, 2007 at 2:57 am

    I recognize some of them here in NH too. Thanks for laugh!

  16. Thomas Johnson

    October 22, 2007 at 3:15 am

    Benn: Now I know why my cell phone has that little video camera in it. Snap, Click-off to youtube, (and my listing presentation?)!

  17. Benn Rosales

    October 22, 2007 at 3:17 am

    Thomas, you know what, I was tempted, but there’s that whole legal thing.

  18. Sue

    July 10, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    From Mariana’s penguin post to here, so funny. I guess every town has Realtors like this. Actually I’ve seen them surface over night after one sale!

  19. Downtown Vancouver Realtor

    November 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    In every game there are players that suck and players that are good.

    The question you have to ask is why are people hiring realtors like this?

  20. Bill Lublin

    July 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Nothing to say but 😉

  21. Jim Gilbert

    July 26, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    There are those who have an inflated sense of self-importance. I delight in finding those who actually do their jobs and put their clients first.

  22. Ian Greenleigh

    July 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Thank God they have WiFi in my tanning booth, because this was hilarious. I have my face on every urinal cake in every Bennigan’s from here to El Paso, and I won’t stop now.

  23. Bill Cobb

    July 27, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Here’s the Kicker Here! Do you actually think that Agent that shows up dressed to kill, with their 6% entitlement mentality, is going to smear that makeup with perspiration by actually measure the home they want to “professionally” represent to a buyer? A buyer that’s going to pay $140/sf, where a 200sf error means the buyer could be overpaying by $28,000?

    Let me ask this question: When is the proper time period in a home sale transaction to get the physical information about the home’s size correct, during the listing appointment or after the purchase agreement has been written and the appraiser shows up to tell all parties that the home wasn’t measured and the subject is actually 200sf smaller than represented by the listing agent? The Listing Agent is Duty Bound to get it right during their initial appointment – that’s part of what they get paid 6% to do, accurately represent the home. 6% of An Average $225,000 sale is a whopping $13,500. The seller has their bags packed, is moving, has a purchase agreement on a another home that hinges on their current home closing at the selling price. Then the P.A. has to be renegotiated all because the home wasn’t measured by the agent. Or, the agent simply chose to copy the previous MLS listings and not even updating the new listing. How did the current Real Estate Industry ever become so sloppy? What I see happening is these new rookie agents are being trained to skip several important steps along with way and think you’re nuts when you remind them of how it’s supposed to be done. Actually measure a home?…..that’s beneath some. Of course, I’m not describing the entire NAR here. In my market, about 25% of them are truly professionals, care about their clients and accurately represent a home. Thank God for these few!

  24. Free Real Estate Agent Training Videos

    July 27, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Wow, what an interesting blog post. It should give some real estate agents some pause. Luckily, there are a lot of quality realtors out there. Kudos!

  25. hermanchan.com

    November 7, 2010 at 2:43 am

    exCUSE you benn! those were not capri menthol lites. i was puffing on benson & hedges lites! Get it right, will ya! 😉

  26. Paul Francis

    November 7, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Living in Vegas… it’s not just the occasional Realtor that acts like this..

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Opinion Editorials

6 skills humans have that AI doesn’t… yet

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s not unreasonable to be concerned about the growing power and skill of AI, but here are a few skills where we have the upper hand.

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Man drawing on a roll of butcher paper, where AI cannot express themselves yet.

AI is taking over the workforce as we know it. Burgers are already being flipped by robotic arms (and being flipped better), and it’s only a matter of time before commercial trucks and cars will be driven by robots (and, probably, be driven better).

It may feel unnerving to think about the shrinking number of job possibilities for future humans – what jobs will be around for humans when AI can do almost everything better than we can?

To our relief (exhale!), there are a few select skills that humans will (hopefully) always be better at than AI. The strengths that we have over AI fall into 3 general categories: Ability to convey emotion, management over others, and creativity.

Let’s break it down: Here are 6 skills that we as humans should be focusing on right now.

Our ability to undertake non-verbal communication

What does this mean for humans? We need to develop our ability to understand and communicate body language, knowing looks, and other non-verbal cues. Additionally, we need to refine our ability to make others feel warm and heard – if you work in the hospitality industry, mastering these abilities will give you an edge over the AI technologies that might replace you.

Our ability to show deep empathy to customers

Unlike AI, we share experiences with other humans and can therefore show empathy to customers. Never underestimate how powerful your deep understanding of being human will be when you’re pitted against a robot for a job. It might just be the thing that gives you a cutting edge.

Our ability to undertake growth management

As of this moment, humans are superior to AI when it comes to managing others. We are able to support organization members in developing their skillsets and, due to our coaching ability, we are able to help others to grow professionally. Take that, AI!

Our ability to employ mind management

What this essentially means is that we can support others. Humans have counseling skills, which means we are able to help someone in distress, whether that stems from interpersonal relationships or professional problems. Can you imagine an AI therapist?

Our ability to perform collective intelligence management

Human creativity, especially as it relates to putting individual ideas together to form an innovative new one, gives us a leg up when competing against AI. Humans are able to foster group thought, to manage and channel it, to create something bigger and better than what existed before. Like, when we created AI in the first place.

Our ability to realize new ideas in an organization

Think: Elevator pitch. Humans are masters of marketing new ideas and are completely in-tune with how to propose new concepts to an organization because, you guessed it, we too are human. If the manager remains human in the future (fingers crossed!), then we know what to say to them to best sell our point of view.

Using what we know, it’s essential for almost all of us to retrain for an AI-driven economy that is most likely just a few years away. My advice for my fellow humans? Develop the parts of you that make you human. Practice eye contact and listening. Think about big pictures and the best way to manage others. Sharpen your mind with practicing creative processes. And do stay up to date with current trends in AI tech. Sooner or later, these babies are bound to be your co-workers.

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Opinion Editorials

Questions you wished recruiters would answer

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Job searching is anxiety inducing, and not getting feedback can be tough. What can job seekers, recruiters, and HR do to make it easier?

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Two men interviewing at a table, job searching.

Job searching can be frustrating and stressful – not to mention anxiety-driven – but also sometimes filled with hope and excitement for a new opportunity on the horizon. Most people aren’t huge fans of multiple interviews, constantly selling themselves, or the uncertainty of when an exciting offer will come their way. Here are some considerations to try to put it in to a healthy perspective.

Yes, you will feel stressed and anxious. If you can, allow yourself to accept these feelings as part of your journey in life. Take note of what can you do to move forward, and hopefully it will propel your energy into time and space that is well spent.

Just know that you are not alone on a myriad of questions that no one has really answered for you. That is mostly due to the other side of the table which usually includes Human Resources and a Hiring Manager.

Question: What is the status of my application?

Answer: It really depends. Did you apply online? Is it sitting in an ATS (Applicant Tracking System = software to track job applicants and open job requisitions)? Has anyone looked at it? Have you gone through a recruiter and are waiting to hear back? Have you sent it to a friend or former colleague who works at that institution? Do we know if this position is still open?

Ideas to move forward: If there is anyone you can get in touch with about your application, do it. Send a polite email to them asking if there’s any chance if the position is still open and/or if your application has been reviewed. If there is no one to get in touch with, keep moving forward in your job searching. ATS’s are GREAT for the employer. They help track applicants and scan for keywords. The challenge is they may not be great for the job seeker and might be sitting in a black hole. Consider that 300 job searching applications are sitting there with yours.

It’s not that you are not good enough. And it’s not that you don’t have what it takes. It’s that your resume is combined with a lot of other information and may not even have been reviewed. They may have also filled the position and didn’t take the posting down.

OR, clients change their minds all the time – maybe they are going in a new direction with this role. See if you can find out the status first. And if you can’t, move on. You can learn more about ATS here from Jobscan.

Question: May I have feedback from my interview(s)?

Answer: Most likely, no. They may give you some simple answer “You didn’t quite have the experience they were looking for” or “We’ve hired an internal applicant.” Without getting into too many details and legal guidelines (that I’m not even sure I’m aware of), company representatives often cannot give too much feedback to an interview for fear of being sued. They don’t want to be sued for ageism, sexism, etc. so it’s easier to not give any feedback.

Please excuse the gross oversimplification here, but also think about the company. They may be trying to recruit new employees for 100s of positions. If they interview even 3-5 people per position, they just don’t have the time to give detailed feedback to every interview. Try to think back to a time that maybe you had a crush on someone and or were dating and it just didn’t fit or feel right. Did you want to have to give a detailed explanation or did you just hope you (and they) could move on? Move on if it’s not a right fit. NEXT.

Question: If not a fit for this role, am I fit for other roles within the organization?

Answer: You can certainly ask this if you are given a rejection (and not ghosted). The truth is, the team (or people) you were interviewing with are most likely not concerned with too many other roles in the organization. They may not have been briefed on what others are looking for nor care – going back to the time thing, they just don’t have a lot of it.

However, it could be worth asking on the off-chance that Jim from another department did mention to them he was looking for someone like you. However, if you don’t hear back on that, definitely do not take it personally. They likely have no clue and it may take you applying to another position or another person in your network helping you to identify this other role during the job searching process.

Question: Why did the recruiter ghost me?

Answer: Honestly, I’m sorry that they did. It’s crappy and doesn’t feel good. It’s disrespectful and really doesn’t leave a good impression. I don’t have an excuse for them other than to say that they’re busy working to fill roles. It’s unlikely that they are on a 100% commission basis but if they are, think about how they need to move on to the next thing to keep food on their table. And even though most get paid a decent base salary, each role does lead to commission for them. It is part of their job responsibilities to find and hire the right talent. Recruiters have a lot of metrics they need to hit and they only have so much time in the day like everyone else. They may not have the luxury of time to follow up with every person that is not the right fit.

I still believe they should let you know, but chalk it up as something out of control, do your best to move on.

Request to HR/Recruiters

If there is any way at all that you can make sure you keep in touch with your job searching candidates (even if it’s to say you don’t have new updates), you will really help their anxiety and help them balance timelines and possibly other interviews and offers.

As this article from Evil HR lady shares, if you are unable to give them feedback regarding their rejection for a position, consider offering a couple things you feel they could approve upon. Your advice may not even be job specific but here are some ideas to consider that may be helpful to the job seeker:

  • Make sure you answer the phone with enthusiasm and not sound like I interrupted you or you just woke up.
  • Be sure to do company and role research for every single interview.
  • Dress to impress – even if it’s a virtual interview (and don’t forget to test your camera and audio before).
  • Turn off your phone and IM notifications when interviewing to minimize distractions.
  • Thank you emails or snail mail are still more than welcome and a nice gesture.
  • Google yourself and do a quick look at what a recruiter might see if they Google you – are impressive and professional details coming up? If not, you may want to work on pushing out some thoughtful content.
  • Tread lightly with insincere LinkedIn connection requests.

You cannot control the process so you must hold onto your hope and continue to make efforts. Hopefully this help shares some insights and helps to normalize this process.

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Opinion Editorials

Woman fired for premarital sex, raises questions of company culture

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) This unfortunate circumstance for a former David Ramsey employee has raised the age-old conversation of how to enforce a company culture.

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Company culture being established around a meeting table with dark colored drinks and notebooks.

America, the land of the free, and the opinionated. And in company culture, this is no different.

Over the years the US has grown and changed. A nation that over the centuries formed from the amalgamation of beliefs and cultures. Now let us be frank, there is a majority in certain beliefs and practices. Those groups can also sometimes come with rather large mouth pieces as well, but that isn’t always a bad thing. People’s moral and cultural compasses influence the world around us. Ultimately, we can create cults or communities. We can be harmful or helpful with how we choose to influence those around us.

When you combine that with economics, though, that’s when things can get tricky. The difficulties of mixing the cooperate world with morals and beliefs can get expensive. There are numerous instances of companies being sued for wrongful termination. Currently, Dave Ramsey’s company has recently come into the spotlight due to a lawsuit being filed against them by a disgruntled employee. The company culture has strict rules against certain extracurricular activities. Now usually people would think they would mean recreational drugs, but not in this case. As of March 8th, Ramsey Solutions has reportedly fired 8 employees over the last 5 years for engaging in premarital sex.

Caitlin O’Connor is the latest employee to deal with this situation. Now, while some of us may have seen this company culture and decided to just keep life and work separate, there’s another difficulty here. Ms. O’Connor has recently become pregnant, which leaves no doubt about her outside of work activities. Now there is a number of different emotions that happen here. A woman who is now pregnant is losing her job. This may be a person who has no desire to get married and now she’s thrust into unemployment for doing nothing but enjoying a part of life. It is a frustrating situation to say the least on her side.

In that frustration on the part of Ms. O’Connor, however, there are also similar issues on the part of the company. While they have set up this company culture and laid down rules for all their employees, they now have to uphold and find a replacement for this resource completely unexpectedly. It was not only clearly laid out in their company guidelines that they do not condone this behavior, nor its implications, but Ms. O’Connor openly admitted that she was aware of the implications of her actions as well. This company has built a community with expectations and is willing to uphold them. That is their right.

I remember growing up there was a cake shop in Colorado that refused to create a cake for a gay couple based upon their religious beliefs. It was back in 2012. In 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that the shop had the right to refuse service based on their beliefs, which to be honest was my expectation. However, in the process of this that particular his business has not flourished. Ultimately one has to decide whether they want to follow their beliefs in the face of economic hardship. It’s a true show of faith of course but also, is it practical.

Living your life, your way, is the point of this country. We have to remember to share that space with those who believe differently. Bringing no harm to others is one thing, but can we truly be a common people if we refuse to go outside of our own beliefs and morals?

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