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The New Language of Un-Real Estate

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Welcome to the New World. Recently a colleague and I were discussing all the changes we have witnessed since entering the wacky world of real estate. Of course we laughed about inebriated clowns at open houses, giveaway psychic readings, tofu fantasies, pony rides on dyspeptic ponies, stripper poles in living rooms and talking toilets.  We also discussed how the language of real estate has changed. Just as “phat” is not fat, and “bad” can be good, the verbiage of our business has presented new challenges. Thus, here for your perusal you will find a few phrases that have new meaning:

Did You Get Your License At Clown College?

“The seller is motivated” (So was the guy who built the Taj Mahal)

“The buyer is solid” (Yeah, that was also the take on Mel Gibson…)

“20% down should suffice” (Unless it’s 2010. Oh, but wait…)

“This will go fast” (Cue the music for Jeopardy, please. Now repeat. And again. Zzzzz…)

“We can close in thirty days” (Yes, but which thirty days?)

“We can get a loan approval fast” (Yes, but your mom’s word doesn’t count)

“This is an ‘as is’ sale (Unless it’s a buyers’ market in 2010 when buyers are asking for your cajones. Oh, but wait…) 

Welcome to 2010 

“This is a quiet neighborhood” (Except for the gunshots…)

“You can always re-fi later” (HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa)

 “I see black stuff on the bathroom ceiling” (I see blood all over the contract)

“Real estate is a solid investment” (So was the Sony Walkman.)

“Home of former celebrity” (Location of former intervention)

“We expect multiples” (That’s what Sybil said.) 

Reality Has Left The Building 

“Friendly Dog in back” (Hungry pit bull on premises)

“Cooperative Seller” (Hungry pit bull on premises.)

“Experienced agent” (Hungry pit bull on premises.)

“I’ll speak with the short sale negotiator” (Oh, are you planning to conduct a séance?)

“Security will be present.” (They must be expecting the New Jersey Housewives.)

“Your home is your best protection” (Well, maybe if the house warming gift is nitroglycerin.)

“Designer Done Writers Retreat in Convenient Location”  (Tool shed with new paint near the freeway.)

“The bank will look out for you” (HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa) 

And For the Encore 

“We anticipate a quick response” (Thank you, British Petroleum,)

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, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    August 6, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Welcome back Gwen! We MISSED you!

    One of my favorites is the all-encompassing “buyer must be pre-qualified or provide proof of funds.” Yeah, everyone’s prequal’d these days, right.

    Oh, and the easiest way to NOT sell your listing category?
    “Listing Agent must accompany.” (Buyers agent must avoid you like the plague)

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Lani Rosales

    August 6, 2010 at 11:41 am

    “The bank will look out for you” omg, that’s a laugh! How could anyone say that with a straight face!?

  3. Alan Harris

    August 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks…That was a great laugh!

  4. KWC Property Buyers

    August 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Fantastic list! Sometimes the real estate market and world can get so stagnent. Your real world “translations” definitely put a smile on my face. Thanks!

  5. Gwen Banta

    August 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I also just saw this one: “celebrity neighborhood.” Really, does Alf count?

  6. loftninja

    August 6, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I find this particularly interesting considering the fact that you describe UNreal estate as “New”….i began blogging back in 2004 as an unreal estate agent in Brooklyn…you can see some of my archived “unreal estate art/ads” here if you’re up for some nonsensical-yet-humourously-entertaining “real estatemeants” here: justinyc.typepad.com/photos/reart/

    in fact, unreal estate (which i purposely defined as the opposite of what I built it to be) is what i battle, using unreal estate…example here: urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=UNreal%20Estate&defid=4183119

    the fact of the matter is, there is so much garbage put out there by real estate agents with real intentions that there has to be some sort of way to battle these guys on their own terms…i mean, if you’re gonna use the language of hiphop and even worse, attempt to include the jargon used by your kids in a real estate listing, you better be ready to battle. Art is the only way to put yourself out there as an unreal estate agent, if you plan to still be honest and informative about what you do as a professional. I absolutely loathe traditional forms of real estate advertising and hate even more the window of opportunity that it leaves for people to be down right liars and swindlers. If you’re gonna peddle bullshit, don’t try to disguise it as geniune-but rather, tell the truth and disguise it as bullshit…at least then you always know who you’re dealing with…someone with the capability of seeing something that is hidden..burn a hole in their mind and always tell the truth in a colorful manner. If you can’t see what it is that I am peddling, i’d rather you not call me anyway.
    Nevertheless, loftninja only helps artists and the underdog….I ain’t sellin houses…i like to think of unreal estate (if done properly) as the alternative to guessing whos full of shit.
    NOTICE: very few real estate people have the ability to pull this off…

  7. teralmc

    August 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    This is my third year in real estate and I entered this wacky world just in time to see the kaleidoscope spin.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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