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Opinion Editorials

It’s Not the Market Stupid, It’s You




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

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  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

AT&T hit with age discrimination lawsuit over using the word “tenured”

(EDITORIAL) 78% of workers are victims of age discrimination. As awareness arises, lawsuits show what may constitute discrimination, including verbiage.



Older man at cafe representing age discrimination

According to the AARP, 78% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. As awareness of ageism increases, lawsuits that allege age bias can help employers understand what constitutes discrimination. A recent case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Smith v. AT&T Mobility Services, L.L.C., No. 21-20366 (5th Cir. May 17, 2022), should give employers pause about using other words that could potentially be a euphemism for “older worker.”

What the lawsuit was about

Smith, a customer service representative at AT&T, alleged that he was denied a promotion because of his age. His manager told him that she was not going to hire any tenured employees. The manager wanted innovative employees in the management positions. Smith took this to mean that he was being denied the promotion because of his age. He sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Texas law.

The district court found that Smith failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to one claim and failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination as to the other two claims. Smith appealed. The Appellate court affirmed the district court’s decision, but they did say it was “close.” AT&T did not discriminate against Smith by using the word tenured, because there were other employees of the same age as Smith who were promoted to customer service management positions.

Be aware of the verbiage used to speak to employees

This case is another example of how careful employers need to be about age discrimination, not only in job postings. It’s imperative to train managers about the vagaries of ageism in the workplace to avoid a costly lawsuit. Even though AT&T prevailed, the company still had a pretty hefty legal tab. Don’t try to get around the ADEA by using terminology that could screen out older workers, such as “digital native,” or “recent college grad.” Remind employees and managers about ageism. Document everything. Pay attention to other cases about age discrimination, such as the iTutor case or this case about retirement-driven talk. You may not be able to prevent an employee from feeling discriminated against, but you can certainly protect your business by doing what you can to avoid ageism.

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Opinion Editorials

Writing with pen and paper may mean your smarter than your digital peers

(EDITORIAL) Can writing old fashioned make you smarter? Once considered and art form, handwriting is becoming a thing of the past, but should it be?



Writing on paper job titles.

When I was in college, in 2002, laptops weren’t really commonplace yet. Most students took notes by writing with pen and paper. Today, most students take notes with laptops, tablets, cell phones, or other electronic devices. The days of pen and paper seem to be fading. Some students even wait until the end of class and use their cell phones to take a picture of the whiteboard, so in effect, they are not absorbing any of the information because they “can just take a picture of it and look at it later.”

Is it easier to take notes on an electronic device? I think that largely depends on preference. I type faster than I write, but I still prefer to take notes on paper.

According to researchers at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, students who take handwritten notes generally outperform students who typed them.

Writing notes help students learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.

While most students can type faster than they write, this advantage is short-term. As the WSJ points out, “after just 24 hours, the computer note takers typically forgot material they’ve transcribed, several studies said. Nor were their copious notes much help in refreshing their memory because they were so superficial.” So while it may take a bit longer to capture the notes by hand, more likely than not, you will retain the information longer if you put pen to paper.

As I teach English Composition at the University of Oklahoma, I would also like to say that while I find this to be true for myself, every student has a different learning style. Typed notes are much better than no notes at all. Some students detest writing by hand and I understand that. Everything in our world has gone digital from phones to cable television so it makes sense, even if I don’t like it, that students gravitate more towards electronic note taking than pen and paper.

While I would like to see more students take notes by hand, I certainly won’t require it. Some students are navigating learning disabilities, anxieties, and other impediments that make taking notes digitally more advantageous.

I imagine the same is true for other areas as well: instead of typing meeting notes, what would happen if you wrote them by hand? Would you retain the information longer? Perhaps, and perhaps not; again, I think this depends on your individual learning style.

I would like to suggest that if you are one of the more “electronically-minded” writers, use a flashcard app, or other studying tool to help you review your classroom notes or meeting notes to make them “stick” a bit better. While I find this type of research intriguing, if you enjoy taking your notes electronically, I wouldn’t change my method based on this.

If it’s working for you, keep doing it. Don’t mind me, I’ll be over here, writing everything down with pen and paper.

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Opinion Editorials

5 reasons using a VPN is more important now than ever

(EDITORIAL) Virtual private networks (VPN), have always been valuable, but now, more than ever, entrepreneurs and businesses really should have them.




Virtual private networks (VPN), have always been valuable, but some recent developments in technology, laws, and politics are making them even more important for entrepreneurs and businesses.

A VPN serves as an intermediary layer of anonymity and security between your computer and your internet connection. Your Wi-Fi signal is a radio wave that can ordinarily be intercepted, so any data you transmit back and forth could be taken and abused by interested parties. VPNs act as a kind of middleman, encrypting the data you transmit and protecting you from those prying eyes. offers a selection of some of the best-reviewed VPN services on the market; there you can see the different approaches to security and anonymity that different brands take, and get a feel for the price points that are available. But why is it that VPNs are becoming even more important for business owners and entrepreneurs?

These are just five of the emerging influencers in the increasing importance of VPNs:

1. The rise of IoT. The Internet of Things (IoT) is already taking off, with a predicted 8.4 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the end of the year. All those extra connections mean extra points of vulnerability; hackers are skilled at finding tiny entry points, so every new channel you open up on your Wi-Fi connection is another opportunity they could potentially exploit. Using a VPN won’t make your network completely hack-proof—user errors, like giving your password away in a phishing scam, are still a potential threat—but VPNs will make your network more secure than it was before.

2. The popularity of ransomware. Ransomware is growing in popularity, seizing control of devices, sometimes for weeks or months before activating, then holding the device “hostage,” and demanding payment in exchange for releasing the files that are stored on it. These attacks are fast and efficient, making them ideal for hackers to use against small businesses. Again, using a VPN won’t make you immune from these types of attacks, but they will make you harder to target—and hackers tend to opt for the path of least resistance.

3. The escalation of attacks on small businesses. Speaking of small businesses, they happen to be some of the most frequent targets of cybercriminals. About 43 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses, in part because they have fewer technological defenses but still have valuable assets. Protecting yourself from cyberattacks is a must if you want your business to survive.

4. Political attacks on net neutrality. Politicians have recently attempted to attack and eliminate net neutrality, which is the long-standing guarantee that internet providers can’t violate user privacy by collecting and/or reporting on certain types of data, and can’t create “slow lanes” that throttle certain types of traffic. If net neutrality is abolished, you could face slower internet traffic and decreased privacy on the web. A VPN could, in theory, protect you from these effects. First, your web traffic would be anonymized, so internet providers couldn’t gather as much data on you as other customers. Second, you’ll be routed through a private VPN server, which could help you get around some of the speed throttling you might otherwise see. It’s uncertain whether net neutrality will ultimately fall, but if it does, you’ll want a VPN in place to protect you.

5. The affordability and diversity of VPNs available. Finally, it’s worth considering that VPNs are more affordable and more available than ever before. There are specific VPNs for all manner of businesses and individuals, and they’re all reasonably affordable. Inexpensive options can be yours for as little as a few dollars per month, and more robust, secure options are still affordable, even for frugal businesses. If you try a VPN provider you don’t like, you can always cancel and switch to another provider. This availability makes it easier to find exactly what you need.

If you’ve never used a VPN before and you’re confused, try not to be intimidated. VPNs sound complex, but connecting to one is a simple login process you can use on practically any device. The hardest part is choosing a reliable provider that suits your business’s need. With the influx of coming changes, it’s a good idea to get your VPN in place sooner rather than later.

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