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It’s Not the Market Stupid, It’s You

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I’ve been hearing a lot of stories lately, and I’ll tell you they aren’t very good.

“If I get one more low ball offer…”

“When will these ‘agents’ realize that they need to get serious with their offers.”

“Who do these people think they are? Trying to steal my seller’s house?”

Funny isn’t it how quickly we turn on each other in an attempt to make a buck? Well not funny – ha-ha, but funny, you know ironic.

When things were going well and we were tripping over the money – well other agents, I was still in that salaried job – things flowed like wine. Now the market is slow, and it is flowing like day-old concrete in the Texas sun. So what happened?

Is it really that the market slowed down?

I understand that making ends meet is harder than ever for real estate agents, but why is the first thing we abandon our ethics and morals? Unless of course we never had them to begin with.

“I refuse to change the way I operate,” an experienced and dear agent friend said to me this morning. “I’m not going to change me.”

Don’t think that means she isn’t doing well, in fact, she’s kicking some major butt in this market. Why? Because she’s true to herself and people respond to that.

So, keep in mind it might not be the market that’s so bad — it might just be you.

Photograph by Steve Woods and used via license of Stock.xchng

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    March 19, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Negativity breeds negativity.

  2. Toby Boyce

    March 19, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Amen Benn. You believe what you hear.

  3. Bill Lublin

    March 20, 2008 at 4:58 am

    Toby – Having been in the business through outher tough times I can only say you’re right on the money – and the most ironic part of this is that the good guys win over the long term – you don;t make more money doing the wrong thing, you make less over the long term – And people who have done this is tough times know that when you say you can’t do something you’re always right!
    Good Post!

  4. Daytona Beach Florida Rentals

    March 20, 2008 at 5:13 am

    Great Post and your right and this is what I like to call the seasoned realtor they know it’s part of the job ups and downs and have learned to do what it takes in any market to get the job done. People flock to them in any market because they are like the wise old owl for there wisdom.

  5. Real Estate Ponte Vedra

    March 20, 2008 at 6:24 am

    You have to believe in the ‘Law of Attraction’ and keep on going. Negativity breeds negativity and positivity breeds sales!

  6. Aria Schoenfelt

    March 20, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Well put. Times are indeed challenging, but I have a positive outlook on things because I really hope that those agents who are out to make a quick buck will move on to other ventures (leaving only the truly good, ethical agents in the business). Then the business has a chance to redeem itself with honest agents providing good services. However, only the ones willing to adapt to changing times will stay at the top (where they belong). I am realistic, and I know that some will never leave the business for fear of trying new things. But I do think that there is a dying class of agents in a technologically evolving industry.

  7. Adrian Salgado

    March 20, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Amen, Real Estate Ponte Vedra.

    The law of attraction is very real.

  8. Heath Coker

    March 20, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Agents need to relax and not feel guilty about values. There is no one reason for the economy – except maybe the press’ decision to only report the gloomiest and doomiest. Agents who know their market use numbers to indicate value, not emotions. If they are up they are up, or if they are down they are down. Offers by buyers that are lower than expected are only offers and can be accepted or not. They aren’t personla attacks. And when someone who is caught with less value than they owe, Americans have been taught that there is someONE to blame when it is soMANY that affected it.
    Agents can still be “tripping over the money,” but there isn’t as much in each transaction as there was, and the deals aren’t as “easy” to put together.

  9. houses for sale in Toronto

    March 20, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Sometimes real estate agents are hurry to sell more houses. I agree with posted comment #8. It is not easy to be successful in house selling. But if you work hard and effectively, you may become lucky home realtor. The success comes with many years of experience. Lucrative houses for sale in Toronto is easy to sell because there is nice place to live in Canada. But real estate agents do not offer just lucrative houses to rich people. I think, the key to increase sold houses is to make good deals with your clients.

  10. Toby Boyce

    March 21, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Heath – I’m a little confused by your “not to worry about values” comment. Are you talking about housing values or moral values?

  11. Thomas Johnson

    March 21, 2008 at 8:35 am

    There are always homes selling. People need to move for various reasons. If you select clients that need your services as opposed to the house daytraders, there is business to be had. We have no control over the ultimate offer price and we have no control over listing price-that is what the client chooses with our counsel.

    If a buyer’s agent brings an offer, that is what their client hired them to do. We just need to do our job-represent our client, abide by the Code of Ethics, and do what they hired us to do. If the buyer/seller client doesn’t like the price, they are allowed to say no. Every body shakes hands and moves on. Thank you for considering this listing/offer.

    This is how we add value to the transaction. As Russell Shaw so eloquently puts it, people don’t hire agents-they want to buy or sell a house.

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Opinion Editorials

The *actual* reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. So it is easy to see why they are so popular now

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startups meeting

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When an employee can find themself personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits of the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth, thus allowing them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters; instead, it’s a clue that work environments which facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

People saying “I love you” at work casually – yay or nay?

(EDITORIAL) Is saying “I love you” in the workplace acceptable in the current harassment and lawsuit climate? Let’s take a look at the factors.

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love shared

Anyone who works in “The Office” knows sometimes there is a failure to communicate. Per email conversation, context can get lost in translation.

So, why then, in the age of the Me Too Movement, are coworkers saying: I Love You?

I’m guessing it’s thanks to our digital lifestyle?

No, I’m not a Boomer. Thank you very much. That’s a different editorial. But, I’ve been working since way back in the day. A time when we wore tennis shoes with nylons. Wait, that’s still a thing?

Alas, I digress.

If we consider the culture of work, particularly in the case of some start-ups, it’s not uncommon for there to be beer in the workplace, casual dress – meaning you have clothes on – and possibly a more youthful expectation around communication.

So, f*ck yeah, dude, I love you!

With the use of workflow apps like Slack, where people can text you – while on the toilet, no less. I mean, who hasn’t told a colleague, “OMG! You are a f@cking ?” after dealing with a challenging situation/customer/boss/client and that colleague comes to the rescue.

Just me? Oops.

Maybe it started back with the I Love You Man commercial, which also became the title of a bromance.

If the bros can have their bromance, then why can’t we all say those three words in the workplace?

I’m not gonna spoil the party and say never. I’m just going to suggest some things are better left unsaid.

First, words are powerful.

Because this is the era of Me Too, it’s easy for there to be misinterpretation. What if a woman says it to a male colleague. A boss says to a much junior employee.

Can you say harassment?

One of my former managers didn’t even like me saying her name. I can’t imagine what she’d do if I said: “I love you.”

But, here’s a real reason. People are happy with us one day and not the next.

Keeping it chill and professional is important. For example, I once called my co-worker – and very good friend – a nasty Spanish word and it almost resulted in a knife fight. What I learned is one day you are joking around and your friend isn’t.

Second, a laissez-faire attitude toward communication can become second nature. You can’t be accidentally telling your client, you love them, now can you? I mean, beyond being authentic, those words mean a lot to some people, just tossing them about shows a real lack of judgment and can result in an extremely negative response.

Which leads me to my last point.

“Et, tu Cheryl”

One company I worked at hired Gallup to do a survey of staff. One of the questions was about having a work BFF, which is important in the workplace. Often we have our work husband or wife or sister, even. We all need someone we can lean on.

In the workplace, depending on the culture and environment, it may be a good place to keep it 100 or, if too toxic, a better place to fake it. Even people who seem to be on your side might be just waiting to pounce.

Get too close, say the wrong thing and Cheryl gets your office with the window and the red stapler too.

All I’m saying is keep it real, but maybe not too real.

Oh, and btw, I <3 U.

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Opinion Editorials

Audi paves the way for how to thoughtfully reduce a workforce

(BUSINESS NEWS) Audi has a new electric car plan that will eliminate 9,500 employees…but in a shocking twist, we’re not even mad. WATT’s going on here?

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Audi E-tron

12 billion motivational posters/yoga tops/specialty ziploc bags can’t all be wrong: Positive change always comes with loss.

For German Audi workers, the company shifting gears to focus on manufacturing electric vehicles will see employee losses to the tune of 7.5k people being Audi of a job there. In the next five years, another 2,000 jobs are expected to get the axe as well.

So they should be panicking, right? Audi workers should mask up and be out in the streets?

Well, considering the general state of the world, yes. But if we’re isolating to just this change, no!

See, Audi’s not actually shoving people out of the door to make room for younger, sexier, more fuel-efficient staff. The jobs they’re cutting are going to be cut due to employees leaving on their own for different pastures and retirement. As in, no one’s getting laid off through 2029.

Now there’s an electric slide I can get behind!

Audi’s top brass, in an Ohm-My-God twist (see what I did there), actually sat down with worker reps and talked this move out. This kinder, gentler, distinctly NON-assy arangement will save the company over 6.6 billion dollars over the next decade, and all of that cash is going to boogie-woogie-woogie into their ‘lightning car development’ piggy banks.

Yay for them!

And yay for us.

See, Germany has a (recent) history of not being horrible to their employees. It’s why Walmart’s attempt to claw its way into Deutschland went up in so much smoke. And that history is accompanied by a reputation for stunningly positive change for everyone from white tie to black apron.

With a brand as giant, trusted, and drooled over as Audi is managing to conduct massively profitable business without schwantzing anyone over, everyone here in the US has a shining example to point to and follow when making massive company moves.

Notably, Tesla, America’s favorite electric car company is almost cartoonishly anti-union, anti-worker, and anti-running dress rehearsals on expectation/glass shattering exhibitions. The prevailing thought is that it’s a necessity to be some kind of moustache twirling villain to get ahead because so many businesses insist upon it.

But that chestnut cracks here.

No more ‘Businesses exist to make money’ excuses. No more ‘You have to be ruthless to get ahead’ BS. Those selective-sociopathy inducing phrases never made any sense to begin with, but now, we’ve got a shining example of towering projected #GAINZ for a company doing right by its people without a single head rolling on the factory floors or a single decimal point moved left in the ledgers.

Ya done good, Audi.

Here’s hoping more businesses stateside follow in your tire tracks.

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