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“Gas not corrected” and other MLS stinkers



This week’s MLS and real estate ads had a distinct odor, friends. From gas to dryrot, it seems homes are becoming offensive. Moral of this blog: You can’t sell it if you can smell it!

Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark

“Gas not corrected” (Perhaps you should try Beano.)

“New deposit roof” (I suspect it’s crappy work.)

“There’s dry rot in eve” (News alert, Adam – you’re no Clooney yourself.)

“Nice crone molding” (Is the crone named Eve?)

“Rehabed bungalow in sa fpart of Venice” (‘Doubt it – most fparts are deadly.)

Celebrity Rehabbed

“Upstairs area uplifted.” (Hey guys – Pamela Anderson got a new set of who-whoos.)

“What a breaut!” (Said Clay Aiken while hanging Adam Lambert’s photo on his wall.)

“Call for affirmation” (Okay, Sally Field – I like you already!)

“Tub flew in from Italy.” (Welcome back, Roseanne.)

“Please do not handel the roses.” (No Chopin ‘em either?)

All Aboard the Titanic

“Plans drowned for new landscaping” (Methinks this one is sunk from the get-go.)

“Beautiful cabinets and fizzures” (Designed by San Andreas, I presume.)

“New lettucework and bar on patio” (Must be a salad bar)

“Newly upgrated” (Sounds pretty cheesy to me.)

Last Rites

“A home worth baaging” (Bag ‘em and tag ‘em  – this listing was DOA.)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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  1. Sheila Rasak

    November 5, 2010 at 11:03 am


    Always such a delight to read your comments! I’ll admit to a little something here. After seeing a listing in one of my favorite Camarillo neighborhoods, I alerted the local board of Realtors to several infractions that I found on an out of area agent’s listing. I know it was semi-evil when I also asked the board if this agent could be cited for uploading listings into the MLS while intoxicated and suggested a breathalyzer test. Truth be told, the agent was making this home nearly impossible to sell and the homeowner had a notice of default on their record. Sad, but true.

  2. gwen banta

    November 5, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I enjoy providing some laughs, Sheila, but your comments are a reminder of how careful we must be when describing the homes we sell. Words create mental pictures and impressions, so they are as valuable as photos. I have seen the same problem with photos that are so bad that I ignore the listing in my property searches. And as these properties sit, it’s the seller who suffers. That being said, we are all fallible, so sometimes we must laugh at ourselves when we do make an error. My favorite has always been “Live near the Hollywood Bowel”!

  3. Wholesale Investment @

    November 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    As an English major, it’s hard to see these typos being made. Sometimes it helps to type things out, step back for a few hours and go back to proof. Let the eyes rest so they catch the ‘rong’ words. It definitely isn’t fair to the seller, or the real estate in question, but as you said, we’re only human. Keep the laughs coming!

  4. gwen banta

    November 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    @ My House Deals – Thanks for your comment. I think it also helps to have a “third eye”…hopefully someone who is literate!

  5. Rob McCance

    November 7, 2010 at 11:37 am

    ha ha-ha! as always!

    Nice work, Gwen.

    BTW, you have poisoned my. Every time I see a typo in our MLS system, I think about you.. Not sure that’s the distinction you wanted, but hey..

  6. Janie Nagy

    November 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    It is not just the property listings. Our MLS advised agents about the distinction between detached and attached “residents.” Didn’t know we had Siamese twins in the area.

  7. gwen banta

    November 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Janie, that’s a classic – simply hysterical! May I use it and credit you in my next blog?

    • Janie Sue Nagy

      November 7, 2010 at 1:48 pm

      Feel free to use it. Here was the MLS text regarding MLS violations:


      At first glance you might think that this violation is referring to the garage, but it’s not. It applies to Single Family Resident listings and it’s referring to the actual structure. The challenge is; does the structure share a common wall with the neighboring structure? Your first thought would be no; however, there are a small percentage of Single Family Residents (SFR) that are attached; they’re known as Planned Unit Development (PUDs).

  8. gwen banta

    November 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks, Janie – look for it (and your name) in next week’s blog. Incidentally, your website is excellent!

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.



small businesses new tech

While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.



skilled worker

The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.



side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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