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“Smell” this house! – more MLS laughs



leaning shed

This week’s MLS was a whole bag ‘o crazy. Seriously, there should be a movie. I doubt if even Tina Fey could write anything funnier. Imagine it in 3D – with “fully stocked bras” and “large panty off kitchen.” Special thanks to Greg Cooper and Patrick Martin and Fred Glick for their contributions:

Stinkin’ and Drinkin’

“Garage and paddyo leans – needs support.” (So does my Irish Uncle Paddyo after 4 pints of Guinness.

“This House will smell fast.” (It seems the realtor stinks, also.)

“House has conservatorium” (A crematorium for Republicans, perhaps?)

“Hammered clobber tub” (I’ll tell you who’s hammered…)

“Everything on porch sways” (Tell Uncle Paddyo to get off the porch.)

And I Thought I had Heard It All…

“Converted church w/ original ball tower.” (Geez – men need a monument for everything!)

“Extra Room in Attica” ( So much for prison overcrowding…)

“Laura Ashley pints in bedroom.” (Uncle Paddyo passed out on bed.)

“Lazy Susan in kitch won’t twist” (Put a dollar in her G String and see what happens)

“Antique fixtures made of bras.” (Yes, old ones are hard to hold up.)

Gripes With the Pipes

“Chiten beans and rice served.” (Someone will be chiten later for sure!)

“Water in master can’t be moved.” (Has he tried diuretics?)

“Soft palate on walls” (Seller in hospital with hole in mouth.)

“Brand new shitt rock” (No shitt Sherlock!)

“Flora just planted” (My condolences to Flora’s husband”

Best of the Week:

“Possible new school playground. Ask about active movements.”

(No comment – I can’t stop laughing long enough to type.)

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. Ken Montville

    April 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    OMG! I can’t believe this stuff goes on and on and on. That ball tower may have been where the priests, well, you know. And the kitch? Is that the Lazy Susan or the room it was in? Oh. that;s kitsch.

  2. Gwen Banta

    April 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Ken, your mind works just like mine! (Sadly enough for you 🙂 A ball tower is a very bizarre visual!

  3. Erica Ramus

    April 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Here’s my favorite one for today, a new listing has me wondering about more than one of these run-on statements:

    Lower level finished w/bar, Fireplace, half bath, laundry room & storage room, also includes wine celar. built in garage used for storage. Shed has parking for 4.

  4. Doug Francis

    April 23, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Hey, I wrote that!


  5. Gwen Banta

    April 23, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Erica, some folks just never take time to breed…I mean “breath”!

  6. Gwen Banta

    April 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Doug, I’m keeping my eye on you!

  7. Matt Stigliano

    April 24, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Gwen – Every time I read these I want to write all new descriptions for my listings and see how bad I can make them. Of course, I wind up telling myself no, because humor at the expense of “smelling” these houses just isn’t a good marketing plan.

    Maybe you should start a RE conference. It’s at a bar, we travel from far off lands, and bring stacks of our favorite listings. Then we trade them like playing cards and discuss them through the night. It would combine your two types of posts and you’d never run out of material!

  8. Erica Ramus

    April 24, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    So the built in garage is used for storage, and we park the cars in the shed?????

  9. Gwen Banta

    April 24, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Oh how I LOVE this idea! You’re a genius, Matt. Now I just have to get our AG friends to tell me some of their favorite bloopers or send me their favorite listings so I can put them in the hands of the crew at the “Redhead Lounge.” You have to be there for sure, Matt.


  10. Gwen Banta

    April 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Sure, Erica – It’s called a “You floor it, we store it.” 🙂 The listing remarks you sent in are a perfect example of how not only typos, spelling and grammar, but punctuation can affect the meaning.This one was in a R.E. magazine here last year: “Wine storige in. seller leeking caused damage & mold iddues.” (I think whoever wrote that was an id-du-it. )

  11. Jeremy

    April 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Don’t sneeze too hard. It may fall down!

  12. Gwen Banta

    April 24, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Jeremy, a good flipper could turn this place around in two months and sell it as “a romantic and cozy writer’s hideaway!” (…that smells 🙂

  13. roydevoll

    April 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    lol, I have to start paying more attention so I can find a few of these for you!

  14. Gwen Banta

    April 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Yes Roy – I welcome all contributions. I get them from all over the U.S., and even Canada.

  15. Gwen Banta

    April 29, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for the reference, Referrals Inc. – I’m glad you enjoyed the bloopers.

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Business Marketing

Snapchat’s study reveals our growing reliance on video

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Snapchat released a report that shows some useful insights for future video content creation.



Snapchat's video

Snapchat is taking a break from restoring people’s streaks to publish a report on mobile video access; according to Social Media Today, the report holds potentially vital information about how customers use their mobile devices to view content.

And–surprise, surprise–it turns out we’re using our phones to consume a lot more media than we did six years ago.

The obvious takeaways from this study are listed all over the place, and not even necessarily courtesy of Snapchat. People are using their phones substantially more often than they have in the past five years, and with everyone staying home, it’s reasonable to expect more engagement and more overall screen time.

However, there are a couple of insights that stand out from Snapchat’s study.

Firstly, the “Stories” feature that you see just about everywhere now is considered one of the most popular–and, thus, most lucrative–forms of video content. 82 percent of Snapchat users in the study said that they watched at least one Snapchat Story every day, with the majority of stories being under ten minutes.

This is a stark contrast to the 52 percent of those polled who said they watched a TV show each day and the 49 percent who said they consumed some “premium” style of short-form video (e.g., YouTube). You’ll notice that this flies in the face of some schools of thought regarding content creation on larger platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Equally as important is Snapchat’s “personal” factor, which is the intimate, one-on-one-ish atmosphere cultivated by Snapchat features. Per Snapchat’s report, this is the prime component in helping an engaging video achieve the other two pillars of success: making it relatable and worthy of sharing.

Those three pillars–being personal, relatable, and share-worthy–are the components of any successful “short-form” video, Snapchat says.

Snapchat also reported that of the users polled, the majority claimed Snapchat made them feel more connected to their fellow users than comparable social media sites (e.g., Instagram or Facebook). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next-closest social media platform vis-a-vis interpersonal connection was TikTok–something for which you can probably see the nexus to Snapchat.

We know phone use is increasing, and we know that distanced forms of social expression were popular even before a pandemic floored the world; however, this report demonstrates a paradigm shift in content creation that you’d have to be nuts not to check out for yourself.

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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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