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A Bail Out Plan



“A car goes around a one mile oval track at an average speed of exactly 30 miles per hour.  How fast would it have to go around the same track a second time to get an average speed of exactly 60 miles per hour for both laps?”

I first heard that one when I was eighteen years old.  My answer at the time was 90 miles per hour, the 2nd time, the car would have to go around the track at an average speed of 90 miles per hour to “average” 60 MPH for both laps.  I was wrong.  The correct answer is IT CAN NOT BE DONE.  I was so impressed with this little exercise in logic I tried it on most of the people I ran into for the next several years (oh yes, I was totally overbearing).  Most of them also thought the correct answer should be 90 MPH.  I will never forget that one engineer I asked started immediately doing calculations with his slide rule and I told him it could not be done.  He said, “That does not surprise me, I knew it would be really really fast.”

Really really really really fast.  In fact the 2nd lap would have to occur in precisely zero seconds in order for the the average speed for both laps to be 60 MPH.  Why?  It would take two minutes to travel one mile at 30 MPH.  To go around twice at 60 MPH would take two minutes.  Therefore it can’t be done, as the time is already completely used up.  This could be considered a TIMES, RATE, DISTANCE problem or it could be considered a trick question.  But the answer is that IT CAN NOT BE DONE.

No matter how good something may sound or how wonderful something may seem some things just won’t work out.  This is one of those things.   Do all Realtors hate  No, not all.  There is actually a very very small minority that truly likes them.  Many are indifferent.  Most active working agents openly detest them.  If you are with NAR and don’t believe this or think it is an exaggeration – don’t take my word for it, ask around yourself.  They’ve had over a decade to win them over and the exact opposite has been the result.

There is an inherent conflict of interest between the natural impulses and actions of MOVE and working Realtors.  This is also a conflict with the stated goals and purpose of the NAR: “to help its members become more profitable and successful.”  The new site looks fine.  The people working at are technically talented and the sales and support staff are knowledgeable and helpful.  Still, it is just wrong.  And any thinking person can see that.  NAR needs to make a member benefit included with the dues.

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and

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  1. Jim Gatos

    November 20, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Hello and Good Morning, Russell…

    To me, anything that is labeled by is a real estate “narcotic”. You pay fee after fee after fee with questionable effects, if any..

    Examples would include … Top Producer 7i.

    Their awful and ridiculously expensive websites.. (Templates, anyone?)

    and of course,

    Sorry, but if is going to act like “another 3rd party provider”, then I am going to treat them as “another 3rd party provider…

    They really should be included in our already ridiculously high fees. Tell them to cut costs; otherwise they will go the way of the auto industry…


  2. Jonathan Dalton

    November 20, 2008 at 9:59 am

    The only reason I still have enhanced listings on is I pay for them per listing through my office and don’t have to pay the ridiculous annual fee. (There’s also a cap so I won’t be spending more than I would if I were solo.)

    Two-plus years, a couple of inquiries. Again, no ROI. Not even for homes with glass block.

  3. Bob Wilson

    November 20, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I want to comment on this, but the hate mail I’m getting now from NAR volunteers will surely double if I do.

  4. Jim Gatos

    November 20, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Why don’t any of these “Volunteer” NAR folks every send ME any hate mail? I’m feeling “left out” here… LOL..


  5. Michael Russell

    November 20, 2008 at 1:44 pm is supposed to benefit all realtors, not just the ones who can afford or justify the subscription fee. I can live with paying for upgraded features if every agent had a profile. But I will not pay to have banner ads hanging above my paid listings. is supposed to be our flagship site, I don’t see the difference between them and

  6. Missy Caulk

    November 20, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    There is no difference in and Move. The new site says it all, Owned by NAR.

    I’m not going to say much more, everyone knows how I feel, I’ve blabbed it all over the net this year.

  7. Torb

    November 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm is not owned by the NAR, they are the official site of because they manage the trademarked ‘commercial’ site. You should consider the millions that go into paying wages for technicians, engineers, developers and support for this single website. You may be surprised on the costs related to maintaining such staff for any web companies.

  8. Ozarksagent

    November 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Wow, you sure know how to get a response to your blogs.

  9. Jim Gatos

    November 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Well then… I wouldn’t mind closing down I won’t miss it..

  10. Bob Wilson

    November 23, 2008 at 10:13 am

    You should consider the millions that go into paying wages for technicians, engineers, developers and support for this single website. You may be surprised on the costs related to maintaining such staff for any web companies.

    Torb, do you work for Move or NAR?

    It can be done for substantially less. Start with eliminating the sales staff.

    The local MLS does what is needed solely on the basis of a member paid flat fee. Assuming a membership of 900k, a fee in the $5-$10 range would be $4.5 to $9 mil. It can be done for that.

  11. Jim Gatos

    November 23, 2008 at 11:47 am

    The folks who own are also responsible for Top Producer 7i and the Top Producer websites they peddle. I personally detest Top Producer 7i. It is a useless, overpriced online software gizmo with more unused features than needed. The software is sooo time consuming you need to hire an assistant to get it going, and if you need an assistant than why would YOU need access to the software itself? MS Outlook or even Thunderbird with the Lightning extension can do that. They’ll even sync to your smart phone.

    It’s that “Let’s get those agents all signed up” mentality that runs I personally know an agent who has Top Producer 7i and is soooo intimidated by both TP7i AND the idea of switching to MS Outlook or TB that she is held ransom by a product I labeled a “Real Estate Agent’s “narcotic” years ago. I know; I had Top Producer for a couple of years. The only dues I pay now aside from my Realtor and MLS dues are my website and Typepad, two products I can easily say “buh bye” to with a week of planning. should kiss the sales staff “buh bye” and combine with the NAR. Let the President of the NAR have someone appointed to run and knock down the fees like Bob Wilson says. Standardize everything, and stop siphoning agents for “enhanced listings”, and other crap… Make the general real estate populace respect you, not avoid you. With the feeds coming straight from your “organization” and a couple of templates, I’m sure the ridiculous costs of websites will come down.

    So, Torb, are you with or, er,

  12. Eric Blackwell

    November 23, 2008 at 7:18 pm


    @”NAR needs to make a member benefit included with the dues.”

    This is PRECISELY how it should happen IMO.

    While I have huge issues with NAR, I think now is the time for a buyout and making a benefit of membership. I remain an inside out kinda guy…

    Then we can at least start to work to clean up our trademark where we have some semblance of control–little granted, but some. I do think that the REALTOR name has some value in it and would like to see that preserved if possible. For me the thing always goes back to “taxation without representation”. It is offensive to me in that regard. 10 years or 100 does not dim that.

    Without a sales force being needed and shareholders to satiate…and executives flying in jets to convince us we NEED and must buy enhanced listings…this looks pretty attractive… Spin off TP and the other stuff…

    I wonder how much of the marketing budget for Move is detailed in their quarterlies?
    How much S,G&A expense?

    Off to check that out.


  13. Cheryl Johnson

    November 25, 2008 at 4:45 am

    Hi Russell,

    Over the last couple days, I have been receiving calls from salespeople.

    My renewal is not due until March; and I doubt if they want my opinion on anything, so I am puzzled why they are calling. I suppose I should take the call and find out.

    You know what I’d like before I take that call?

    Some scripts and/or talking points for the conversation.

    Anyone want to suggest some questions I should address to an salesperson?

    Or some suggested responses to the inevitable sales pitch?

  14. Torb

    December 1, 2008 at 10:47 am

    15 mil would start to come close to the wages of alone, not including employees, topproducer and other extended sister companies. Wages do not pay for equipment, facilities, benefit plans or bonus structures. The point being made is is a commercial site used for advertising like most all other ‘resource’ sites. MLS fees go towards running MLS. NAR member fees towards the NAR. Move is not the NAR. Move was a business deal initiated many years ago and is only a branding.

  15. Fred Pickard

    December 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    NAR signed a deal with the devil about ten years ago. The devil was HomeStore, now

    Assuming Torb’s number are conservative, what would it cost NAR to operate and give all members equal access.

    Even assuming membership dropped to one million and it cost 4 times Torb’s numbers above to operate, that would be 60 million or about $60 per year ($5 per month) per member to give all parties full access.

    What’s that, a latte grande or two per month?

  16. Joe Schmo

    December 3, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    This goes to show that the generalization that realtors are not the brightest professionals is fairly dead on… is just an advertising medium for realtors…it is not run by NAR but NAR must approve everything that goes on the site. If you don’t like the basic structure of, complain to NAR.

    As for Realtors wanting it included in their dues, that idea is asinine…you wouldn’t have newspaper ads included in your dues…it just doesn’t make sense…the future of home searching is online…it’s already here in most major metros…yet Realtors still spend an inordinate amount of advertising money on newspapers when they should be going online…if you don’t like, then put your advertising money elsewhere…however currently corners the market on eyeballs…and eyeballs is what you’re looking for…

    The problem with Realtors is they don’t get it…younger, more technologically astute realtors understand how to use technology to their advantage…but the old school realtors that still complain about just don’t understand how to quantify their advertising and marketing budgets…they stick to “tried and true” techniques that older generations keep clinging to, but don’t realize they are no longer “true”…

    people looking for a home (like other major purchases in their life) go online to research…they want information…they want pictures, virtual tours, videos…yet Realtors don’t know how to best utilize any of this technology…they pay to advertise on, but then don’t post photos of their properties. Or they don’t post quality professional photos. They don’t make it easy for customers to contact them. They just don’t understand how to attract leads, and then don’t know what do do with them once they get them.

    I found my realtor on because she was technologically competent, responded within minutes to my questions. She has since been responsible for the purchase of one home, the sale of another, and gets referrals to all my family and friends.

    Don’t get me wrong, has alot of flaws in how its run, and its ability to supply consumers with the most innovative features to help the home buying process…but you people who just want to complain endlessly make me sick…I’m sure most of the top producing realtors in the country appreciate they don’t have to compete with a bunch of morons like you…makes their jobs easier as well as their profit margins much larger…

    as for the author of this article…the biggest argument is “It is just wrong”…what kind of logic is that?

  17. Benn Rosales

    December 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Hey Joe Schmo, thanks for commenting at Ag, can you do us a favor and stick with one name and one email address… it’s sincerely appreciated.

  18. Jim Gatos

    December 3, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Joe Schmo says… “If you don’t like the basic structure of, complain to NAR.”

    Yup, that’s what we’re doing, man.. Thanks for your support…

    Joe Schmo says… if you don’t like, then put your advertising money elsewhere…however currently corners the market on eyeballs…and eyeballs is what you’re looking for…

    I agree wholeheartedly.. I support the MLS system I work with and THEY put my listings in, but other websites, (example; google, trulia, etc…)

    Joe Schmo says … “Don’t get me wrong, has alot of flaws in how its run, and its ability to supply consumers with the most innovative features to help the home buying process…”…

    Sounds to me like you possibly work there…

    I am asking every realtor who is reading this article to answer one simple question; for all the money it costs ONLY because NAR contracted out, how many sales have YOU made from

    Me? In all these years? ZERO.. and I have enhanced listings. Most of the time I always did… and I’ve been around over 20 years..

    Yeah, may be the #1 place, but I think people and the general public are starting to really wise up and find alternatives. If real estate is local, they are beginning to look at “local” sites.. You know it and I know it…

    We can spar all day on this.. The issue isn’t whether or not should exist; the issue is whether or not the sales staff and other RIDICULOUS and UTTERLY USELESS “extras should exist…. If you’re one of them, well, hey.. sorry!

  19. Torb

    December 4, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    It’s not only about costs to maintain, it’s the nature of supply and demand. Most all products and services are inventoried. i.e. limited and specific to certain markets. No matter who pays for what, if you want additional marketing on there’s only limited supply for many of the exclusive positions for Featured Homes, Banner Advertising, Comparative Market Analysis positioning, etc. To offer these services to many realtors at a lower rate would defeat their purpose and as well destroy their efficiency. Joe summarized in great detail and accuracy that is about utilizing. Spend less time crying and more time learning and you’ll find a whole world of top agents who embrace web 2.0.

  20. Jim Gatos

    December 4, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Torb, since when did “embracing” Web 2.0 technology mean getting robbed?

    C’mon, the internet is the internet. There is NO limited supply except what is artificially produced… How can offering all these services lower their “efficiency”?.. That’s ridiculous. It would bring down’s profit. That’s fine by me..

    I swear I think a couple of people think you and Joe Schmo are one and the same person…

    Are you, out of curiosity…?

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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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Point & Purpose

What makes a top producer in real estate?



What makes a top producer?

Stop and think for a few minutes about who the top producers are in your market?

Ok, now think about what they doing that has allowed them to continue to consistently produce in a down market, when everyday REALTORS are throwing in the towel.

Every day I scan the MLS to see, what has sold, what is active, and what went under contract (I assume that is something most agents do every day.)

Over and over again the same names pop up as the listing agent with the home that sold or the actual buying agent that sold the home.


Except for one agent in my area, all the top producers have teams. Now it may be a two person, husband and wife team or a well oiled team with a team leader, several assistants, a listing coordinator or a closing coordinator. But, they all have HELP.

In my area, the names that keep popping up are on Teams. I believe it is virtually impossible to be a top producer without help. Well, you could do it alone but if you do how is that effecting time with your family? Realistically how many transactions can you juggle and give good service?

Running a Business

The second thing I notice about those top producers is the fact that they treat their business like a business. Real Estate to them is not just selling a house, but something they brand, allocate resources for, grow and manage. Not only are they thinking of ways to grow their business but they also thinking of the future and how to sell it down the road.

I remember being told by a entrepreneur friend of mine years ago, “all businesses are built to be sold.”

Far to many REALTORS, think of Real Estate as a job they do and someday when they retire then all the hard work of creating and nurturing relationships they have built is gone. (I’m outta here)

Focused and Positive

One other observation I have observed with top producers is they are focused and positive. I never see them “hanging out at the office”, or attending broker opens, or really for that matter, serving much at all on their local boards. Oh there are a few, but really very few.

Finally, I don’t see many top producers in my market on Twitter, Facebook, Empire Avenue or other social media sites during the day. I don’t see them at every conference known to man around the country.

What I do see is they work everyday, on their business and in their business.

How ‘bout you?

Think of the top REALTORS in your market, what characteristics do you see?

Flickr Photo Credit

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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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