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Is there an “L” on my forehead?



Is there an L on my forehead?

I showed 3 properties yesterday to buyer customers who have been looking for some time, are in no rush to buy and know they have the upper hand in this market. These customers are professionals, they are educated, use all the tools available to them on the Internet and are waiting for that right house at the right price.

These customers also understand the inner workings of real estate and how important it is to work with a Realtor that knows the area, has an established relationship with other agents and will be honest with them about their choices. This is what happened at the last showing. Remember that most showings in Miami are “listing agent must accompany” and very seldom will a house be on lock box (unless it’s vacant, or it’s a non-local agent).

When we were done looking at the property, the listing agent handed me 5 property flyers with his contact information and decided to explain that those other properties may also fit my customers’ needs. Without being rude, I took the flyers and walked outside with my customers.

I did not even have to say a word, the customers looked at me with a puzzled look and went off without pause,

“Is this guy for real?

I bet his contact information is all over those flyers!

Does he honestly believe he understands our needs better than our own agent?

Does he think we don’t know how to look for properties on the web?

What kind of service is he doing to his seller if he’s handing out other listing information when we’re looking at this particular house?”.

Oh how I wish all my customers were this vocal, all I could do was laugh. So when you have one of those “Is there an “L” on my forehead?” moments, remember that today’s consumer DOES notice.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  1. Charleston real estate blog

    February 7, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Ines, I share your pain, I just wrote about an agent who had to meet us at a property to show his listing.

    “Not only did the agent not simply let us view the home but he was pushing his listing as a great investment, the best this, the greatest that, pointing out this, that and the other, etc. He didn’t know my clients, he didn’t know what they were looking for, it was just all about his listing. Maybe my clients would have liked the property more if he wasn’t so pushy, maybe not. But they remarked about his boorish behavior after we got into the car and drove off to see the next home on our list.”

    I don’t like “pushy” salespeople. We’re not selling used cars. My clients didn’t either.

  2. Ines

    February 7, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Howard, I don’t criticize “pushy”, some people like that and it’s not up to me to say what style is right or wrong. You and I are obviously not pushy. There is a defined line of what to do and not to do with someone else’s customers – it’s not a fine line, it’s not questionable, it’s just RUDE.

    If you offend the buyer’s agent? what are the chances those people will buy that listing? What are the chances that agent will keep showing your listings? If you behave like that at a showing, I wonder how you will behave during the transaction…..I personally don’t want to find out.

  3. Charleston real estate blog

    February 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Ines, who really likes pushy? And no one that I know likes rude. There is too much desperation that leads to this kind of behavior. Think about this, did you get dozens of emails every day showcasing listings a couple of years ago. As if we can’t search the MLS for exactly what our clients might be looking for without a “reminder” about this or that listing.

    Pull don’t push might be far more effective.

  4. Ines

    February 7, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Howard – I think we’re preaching to the choir here. I do think some people may not like pushy but assume pushy means more aggressive when it comes to negotiating. There are some agents in my local market that keep listings on the market after they have closed so that when you call their office to make an appointment they can say “that one is no longer available, but I can fax you 3 others that are similar”………it’s just WRONG!

  5. Charleston real estate blog

    February 8, 2008 at 5:35 am

    It’s the difference between aggressive and assertive. You don’t have to use a sledgehammer to negotiate. Oh well, they’ll always be out there in this and other fields.

  6. Missy Caulk

    February 8, 2008 at 6:06 am

    I think it is a backhanded way to say, “your Realtor may not be doing their job, so here are some more properties to consider”. Rude is a better word than pushy.

  7. monika

    February 8, 2008 at 6:17 am

    I know an agent who got fired by her seller for doing something similar. She stood in the kitchen of her listing and started promoting one of her other listings. Unbeknownst to her the seller was next door with a baby monitor and heard every word she said.

  8. Ines

    February 8, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Missy – I totally agree, and my customers saw right through it.

    Monika – It is similar to those doctors that have to see patients in quantity now because of the insurance problems – it becomes a meat market and the personal touch is lost as well as business ethics.

  9. Greg Cremia

    February 8, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    This agent’s desperation is proof that this type of sales is not working anymore. I hope that he and his kind never figure it out.

  10. Ines

    February 8, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I’m with you Greg!

  11. Chris Lengquist

    February 8, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    “listing agent must accompany”

    I don’t think I’d survive long in your market. Mine would say “don’t bother me unless you have a question concerning the writing of a contract.”

    I mean, I’m not trying to be rude, but what a Colossal waste of my time. Of any listing agent’s time.

    Sorry for my comments. I just didn’t think anyone did this anymore. 🙁

  12. Ines

    February 8, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Chris – it’s a huge issue, but we get used to it here. A lot of agents are so irresponsible that home owners cannot trust their property to a lock box. We just had a vacant property on lock box and showed up to find the master bedroom ceiling light had been stolen.

    Then proper etiquette becomes what the “listing agent’s role” is in the showing – I personally open the door, tell the cooperating agent what the main features of the property are and get out of the way.

  13. Charleston real estate blog

    February 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Chris, if it were a very high end property, then, a listing agent who meets and opens the property for a buyers agent is very understandable and generally speaking, they are very professional and simply answer a question if asked. They are “protecting” the property rather than using a lockbox for showings.

    In the situation I was describing, the parents were looking at buying a condo for their child in college rather than on campus living or renting an apartment. The price range was certainly not luxury, the seller must be a nervous wreck to not allow a lockbox. The agent probably was the only one in town who would agree to those showing terms and what you get is what you get.

  14. ines

    February 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    You get the same nut jobs here for Luxury properties – the ones that have to point out “here’s the kitchen” – but I’m not complaining am I?

  15. Mary Shelsby

    February 13, 2008 at 8:56 am

    We had an agent that did this in Rochester. In fact, not only did he hand out literature on his listings but also all other property in the area, with his business card clipped on top. He’d hand it right to my clients! About a year ago he opened his own shop and has been doing a ton of recruiting but no one has joined his operation. I keep waiting for a “going out of business” sign to appear.

  16. Ines

    February 13, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Mary – I wonder what these people think when they do this or are they so socially inept that they don’t realize it’s rude? Imagine having that guy for a broker?

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Opinion Editorials

Freelance is the Future? I call bull malarky

(EDITORIAL) Some have predicted that due to company needs and employees’ desire for flexibility, and even COVID, freelance is the future of work. But I have reservations.



Freelance desk

Long gone are the days of punching a clock in Corporate America to be in your seat at your desk for an exact period of 8 hours on a day x 5 = 40 hours per week. If you work in an office setting now, usually you are expected to manage your time and finish your projects but companies have adjusted their strict butt in seat polices so that you can come in late after a doctor appointment or even leave a little early for Susie’s soccer tournament.

The truth is, with the advancement of technology and connected devices, many of us can work from anywhere (as long as there’s Wi-Fi or we have our hotspot). So, as long as your work gets done, there’s a little bit of room for “flexibility”.

When a company pitches this as flexibility, it’s really just a way of re-wording that you will work a lot so they will cut you some slack here and there considering most of us work well over our 40 hours a week. We can check email first thing in the morning, forward documents from the plane and even be on conference calls while in a line or in an Uber. You may work late on a Tuesday due to Wednesday deliverables which allows you to take off on Friday at 3pm when usually your projects are in a good place. There are also times where you will work on the weekend.

The opportunity to work anywhere has led to some considering that freelance is the future? I just don’t buy it. And this might be an unpopular opinion. I think that’s like turning the Titanic around. People rely on companies to offer a feeling of stability (or so we think) so that you know there’s a paycheck coming in every other week and you definitely have your fair share of projects (oh yeah, plus healthcare benefits).

If we all moved in to freelancing, we’d have a wide variety of clients, customers, teammates and paychecks that could be difficult to keep up with. We’d be forced to be the CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, CMOs, CFOs, oh, forget it, the entire C-suite of our own careers. It’s really difficult to generate new clients in the future while you’re working on a current project.

However, it’s equally difficult to have a lull so you have to be constantly engaged and pitching business (at the same time you have your current work). You have to be on your A-game at all times and out pitching yourself and your brand. You have to be creating content on all the social channels and be invited to participate in fancy conferences and meetings. This unfortunately is the life of freelance.

Does it seem like more people will do freelance? Yes. There’s lots of opportunity now thanks to the world wide web. But I predict they will do this in addition to their regular jobs. Is it possible that we may move to a gig economy? We are already there. You’ve heard of Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Fiverr and Upwork…It seems like that most people that have 2-3 gigs to make them whole are typically looking for full-time opportunities or would love to find something that can replace the others with more consistent work and not all the hustle. Are Small Businesses on the rise? Absolutely.

It seems that it depends on your desire for either slightly more predictable work and paychecks or if you’re a throw caution to the wind person and live that freelancer life. Also, if your skill sets are the ones employers are looking for on an ad hoc basis. No doubt many people live a freelancer life and love it. But I just don’t see it being the masses – I think it takes a special kind of dedication to rely on freelance and/or starting your own business. Plus, you’re off your parents’ healthcare at age 26. That’s when real the “real job” starts to sound really appealing.

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Opinion Editorials

Ways to socialize safely during quarantine

(EDITORIAL) Months of isolation due to quarantine is causing loneliness for many, but joining virtual social groups from home may help fill the need for interaction.




Quarantining, sheltering in place, staying home. We’re tired of hearing it; we’re tired of doing it. Yet, it’s what we still need to be doing to stay safe for a while longer. All of this can be lonesome. As the days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the alone time is getting to even the most introverted among us.

Solitary confinement is considered one of the most psychologically damaging punishments a human can endure. The New Yorker reported on this in a 1992 study of prisoners in detention camps in the former Yugoslavia, as well as Vietnam veterans who experienced isolation. These studies showed that prisoners who had experienced solitary confinement demonstrated similar brain activity to those who’d suffered a severe head injury, noting that “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.”

We aren’t meant to be solitary creatures. Your “pandemic brain” is real. That fogginess, the lack of productivity, can be attributed to many things, including anxiety, but being kept apart from other humans is a big part of it too. Be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and join others virtually. Be it an app, a class, a Facebook group, a chat room, or a livestream, someone somewhere is out there waiting to connect with you too.

The good news? We are lucky enough to live in an era of near limitless ways to interact socially online. Sure, it is different, but it is something. It’s important. The best thing about this type of social interaction is being able to hone in on your specific interests, though I’d caution you against getting caught in an online echo chamber. Diversity of interests, personality, and opinion make for a richer experience, with opportunities for connecting and expanding your worldview.

Here are a few suggestions on ways to socialize while staying home and staying safe. Communicating with other humans is good for you, physically and mentally.

Interactive Livestreams on Twitch:

Twitch is best known as a streaming service for video game fans, but it offers multiple streams appealing to different interests. This is more than passive watching (although that is an option, too) as Twitch livestream channels also have chat rooms. Twitch is fun for people who like multi-tasking because the chat rooms for popular livestream channels can get busy with chatter.

While people watch the Twitch hosts play a video game, film a live podcast, make music or art, mix cocktails, or dance, they can comment on what they’re watching, make suggestions, ask questions, crack jokes, and get to know each other (by Twitch handle, so it is still as anonymous as you want it to be) in the chat room. The best hosts take time every so often to interact directly with the chat room questions and comments.

Many Twitch channels develop loyal followers who get to know each other, thus forming communities. I have participated in the Alamo Drafthouse Master Pancake movie mocks a few times because they are fun and local to Austin, where I live. Plus, in my non-quarantine life, I would go to Master Pancake shows live sometimes. The chat room feels familiar in a nice way. While watching online is free, you can (and totally should) tip them.

Online trivia in real time:

There are some good options for real-time online trivia, but I’m impressed with the NYC Trivia League’s model. They have trivia games online on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The NYC Trivia League seems to have figured out a good way to run the game live while keeping answers private from the other teams. They run games on Instagram Live with a live video of the host, and participants answer via the question feature. Clever!

Online book club:

First I have to shout out my Austin local independent bookstore, BookPeople, because they are fantastic. They run book clubs throughout the year, along with readings, book signings, and all things book-related. BookPeople hosts several online book clubs during these lockdown days, and most people will find something that appeals to them.

I’m also impressed with this list from Hugo House, a writer’s resource based out of Seattle. This list includes Instagram and Goodread book clubs, book clubs for Black women, rebels, and poetry lovers. The Financial Diet recommends the Reddit book club, if you are comfortable with the Reddit format. Please note that it’s a busy place, but if you like Reddit, you already know this.

Cooking class or virtual tasting:

This is doubly satisfying because you can follow these chefs in real time, and you end up with a meal. There are a couple on Instagram Live, such as The Culinistas or Chef Massimo Bottura.

You can also participate in virtual tastings for wine, whiskey, or chocolate, though you will have to buy the product to participate in the classes (usually held over Zoom or Facebook Live). If you are in Austin, Dallas, or Houston, I recommend BeenThere Locals. The cost of the course includes the wine, spirits, or cooking kit in most cases, and all of the money goes to the business and expert hosting the class.

Look for your favorite wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate makers, and chefs that are local to you to find a similar experience. Most either prepare the class kit for pickup or delivery within a local area.

Quarantine chat:

To interact with another quarantined person seeking social interaction, there’s Quarantine Chat. Quarantine chat is one of the ways to connect through the Dialup app, available on iOS and Android devices. Sign up to make and receive calls when you want to speak with someone. The Dialup app pairs you randomly with another person for a phone conversation, at a scheduled time, either with anyone or with someone with shared interests.

Quarantine chat takes it a step further with calls at random times. When your quarantine chat caller calls, you will not see their number (or they yours), only the “Quarantine Chat” caller ID. If you are unable to pick up when they call, they will be connected with someone else, so there is no pressure to answer. It’s nice to hear someone else’s voice, merely to talk about what you’ve been cooking or what hilarious thing your pet is doing.

Play Uno:

Uno Freak lets people set up games and play Uno online with friends or strangers. Players do not need to register or download anything to play. Uno Freak is web-based.

Talk to mental health professionals:

If your state of loneliness starts sliding toward depression, call someone you can speak to right away to talk over your concerns. When in doubt, call a trained professional! Here are a few resources:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET, 800-950-NAMI (6264) or
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to this text line 24/7 for someone to text with who will also be able to refer you to other resources: U.S. and Canada: 74174, U.K. 85258, Ireland: 50808.
  • Psych Central has put together this comprehensive list of crisis intervention specialists and ways to contact them immediately.

There are many ways to connect even though we are physically apart. These are just a few real time ways to interact with others online. If you want something a little more flesh and blood, take a walk around the block or even sit in a chair in front of where you live.

Wave at people from afar, and remember that we have lots of brilliant doctors and scientists working on a way out of this. Hang in there, buddy. I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for all of us.

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Opinion Editorials

Working remotely: Will we ever go back? (Probably not)

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Now that the pandemic has opened the door on working remotely, there’s no way we’ll put the genie back in the bottle. But, here’s some ways you can adapt.



Woman working remotely on her couch with a laptop on her lap.

When it comes to working remotely, will the toothpaste ever go back in the tube?

Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale…” By 2030, Zuckerberg anticipates that over half of Facebook’s workforce will be remote. Many other companies are jumping on the work from home bandwagon. Working remotely has helped many businesses manage the pandemic crisis, but it’s unsure what form remote working will take over the next 10 years.

We know that employees are responding positively to WFH, as reported in this article – Employers: Lacking remote work options may cause you to lose employees. As offices transition to a post-COVID normal, here are some things to consider about your office and remote work.

What does your business gain from allowing workers to WFH?
The future of remote work depends on a conscious application of WFH. It’s not just as easy as moving employees out of the office to home. You have to set up a system to manage workers, wherever they are working. The companies with good WFH cultures have set up rules and metrics to know whether it’s working for their business. You’ll need to have technology and resources that let your teams work remotely.

Can your business achieve its goals through remote work?
The pandemic may have proved the WFH model, but is this model sustainable? There are dozens of benefits to remote work. You can hire a more diverse workforce. You may save money on office space. Employees respond well to remote work. You reduce your carbon emissions.

But that can’t be your only measure of whether remote work fits into your vision for your organization. You should be looking at how employees will work remotely, but you need to consider why employees work remotely.

The work paradigm is shifting – how will you adapt?
The work environment has shifted over the past century. Remote work is here to stay, but how it fits into your company should be based on more than what employees want. You will have to work closely with managers and HR to build the WFH infrastructure that grows with your organization to support your teams.

We don’t know exactly how remote work will change over the next decade, but we do know that the workplace is being reinvented. Don’t just jump in because everyone is doing it. Make an investment in developing your WFH plan.

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