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Watching The Real Estate Revolution is Like Watching Grass Grow

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… watching real estate vc vultures fight over scraps is where the action reallyis, oh, and let’s not forget the subprime mini-series. 

In my opinion it all started with HGTV, TLC, and others that brought about shows like Property Ladder and others where do it yourselfers get themselves vulture.jpginto knots over whether they’ll actually make out like bandits.  Interestingly, they do sometimes succeed and other times,great tv is made when they fail miserably. But if you think back even further, late at night you see the idiots telling folks to send them $200 bucks and they’ll teach them how to buy and sell real estate and make millions by tomorrow morning- I’ve never met anyone who would admit to ever buying one of those kits which tells me that more often than not, folks either fail to follow through, or they realize it’s more of a pain in the rear than the lamer on tv made it out to be.

What I see in the subprime market is going to make even better tv if you ask me- Will there be a show called Short Sale? With the finger pointing getting under way, they should follow that show up with one called Get A Rope.  Today, I saw that Hillary pointed at the brokers and bankers, and the pundits on Fox basically split hairs over whether it was the broker/bankers fault – or hey, maybe its the eager beaver buyer who dove in head first into the deep end with only his head as a floating device (heads don’t really float).  Will anyone remember to point back at the VC vultures? Probably not.  They’ll continue to cash in while others drown on a new show called “Suckers.”

If you think this subprime drama is bad- if you think market prices slidding backwards in many states is bad- just you wait, it will only get worse.  As more and more vc vultures preach the do-it-yourself way, more and more fingers will be pointing in more than five different directions when they’re in the foreclosure line. 

I met a guy today who is a do-it-yourselfer who is trying to dump three properties.  His quote still rings in my head nine hours later- “they make this stuff look so easy on tv”

Well, duh. There really isn’t such thing as the overnight millionaire in real estate- it’s a long haul proposition.  As folks see values slide, they’ll panic.  The perception will be (in their minds) that their home isn’t worth the mortgage payment, and they’ll drown rather than remembering that real estate is worth what someone will pay for it- you were dumb enough to buy it, eventually someone else will be too; it might just take a few years or ten.

It’s all great tv and I’m going to keep tuning in. Soon, the blame will be on Iraq and everyone will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

When looking to place blame for your failures, one must look no further than your own reflection.  You knew better- nothing in this world is free, easy, or without risk.  You who chose to do it alone can face the burden alone- not bailing you out is not mean, it’s tough love.  Realtors eventually will take the heat on all of the problems in the industry right along side the mortgage industry, but you can’t forget the idiots who say a rebate is better than equity rather than creating a solution that is forward thinking for a buyer.  There is nothing wrong with subprime lending, but there is something wrong with those who believe that they know it all and who cares about caution- research that I say.  Give transparency to the fact that it’s not that you didn’t want a realtor, it had more to do with you not wanting anyone from stopping you from doing what you damn well pleased without the all of the facts.  The fact is you can do it alone, you can buy and sell without anyone to help you, but remember what I said- the blame falls on you and only you.

When an agent speaks of risk it is never just about our employment from minute to minute, it’s also about the clients who put their lives in our hands, their trust in our word- once someone said to me screw ethics, what in the hell do ethics have to do with real estate- well the answer my friend is ask the guy who let a lender talk him into a junk loan, ask the single mom who bought a home and thought a ten grand rebate was better than ten grand in equity when she can’t make her mortgage payment or sell her home because shes upside down- just so you could make a lousy buck off of a payment and rebate buyer. 

Why am I really ranting?  Because over the past two weeks I have received tons of emails from folks trying to sell me short sale leads- are you kidding me?  The vultures circle over head posing as a service to the misfortunate while behind their back you say to me you want 25%?  I’m about fed up with posers and techs playing real estate pros.  Websites that offer a turnaround lead sale rather than a true service make me sick.  Realtors aren’t the middle men, the dot com posers are and cast members are figuring it out, one by one- in a show called Foreclosure Line…

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. john harper

    August 9, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Once again, your rant is pure genius.

    I differ with you on one point – the group responsible for all the world’s ills is the engineers. If they would get off their lazy butts and perfect those replicators shown on Star Trek, we could all get away from currency based economies and on to more important things.

    Trying to hold people accountable for their decisions is harder than getting a spammer to remove you from their mailing list.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    August 9, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    I sat down with a young lady who admitted to paying a Utah Guru $10,000 for coaching regarding real estate investing. Ten freaking thousand dollars!

    Now she didn’t have any money to invest and was wanting me to help her with “subject tos”.

    For $10,000 I could have helped her find a house and then she’d be a real real estate investor. That’s not too bright. On the other hand, the Utah Guru is borderline criminal. If not legall, then ethically. (sp?)

    (Chris, I am not sure why, but your comment was lost in wp so I pulled it out of my email and reposted it- thanks!)

  3. B. R.

    August 9, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    John, I’m saving engineers for something special!

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints these writers work on are interface copy, emails, and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post. But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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Opinion Editorials

Have an in-person job interview? 7 tips to crush the competition

EDITORIAL) While we all know the usual interview schtick, take some time to really study for your next face-to-face job interview.

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Job interview between two women.

So, you’re all scheduled for an in-person interview for a job you’d kill for. It’s exciting that you’ve made it to this step, but the question is, are you ready? Especially with remote interviews being the new norm, your nerves may feel shaken up a bit to interview in person – but you’ve got this! And many of these tips can be applied no matter the interview setting.

We all know the basics of a job interview: dress nice, get there early, come prepared, firm handshake, yada, yada, yada… However, it’s good to really sit and think about all of the requirements of a successful interview.

There are seven steps for crushing a face-to-face interview. Do your homework upside down and inside out in order to walk into that room.

Which brings us to the first step: know everything you need to know backwards and forwards.

This can be done in two steps: getting to know the company and getting to know yourself. By doing website, social media, and LinkedIn research, you can get a feel of the company culture as well as the position you’re interviewing for.

By getting to know yourself, have a friend ask you some interview questions so you can practice. Also, take a look at your resume through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. Make sure everything is clear and can compete with other candidates.

The next step is to anticipate solving future problems. Have some insight on the department that you are interviewing for and come prepared with ideas of how to better this department. (i.e. if it’s marketing, give examples of campaigns you’ve done in the past that have proven to have been successful.)

Step number three requires you to go back to the research board and get some information on the employer. Find out who you’re meeting with (head of HR, head of the department, etc.) and make your self-presentation appropriate for the given person.

Next, work on making the interview conversation a meaningful one. This can be done by asking questions as people like to see you take an interest in them. Also, be sure to never answer the questions as if it’s your regular spiel. Treat each job interview as if this is the first time you’re presenting your employability information.

With this, your next step is to have stories prepared for the job interview. Anecdotes and examples of previous jobs or volunteer/organization experiences can help bring life to an otherwise run-of-the-mill resume.

After this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re showing enthusiasm for the position you’re interviewing for. Don’t jump on the couch in the lobby like you’re Tom Cruise on Oprah, but definitely portray that you’re excited and up for the challenge.

Lastly, make a good impression by being impressive. Be professional and in control of your body language. Put yourself in the mindset of whatever position you’re interviewing for and show them that you have what it takes.

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Opinion Editorials

The benefits of remote work are just too good to overlook

(EDITORIAL) Employees scream it from the rooftops and businesses don’t want to admit it: Remote work is just too beneficial to pass up- and here’s why.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

Less happily, many people lost their job during the pandemic, but they ended up having more time to put toward their passions or were compelled to get creative with their remote business ideas to ensure a consistent stream of income.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they work from home full time. There are benefits to having your employees work in an office part of the time – say, two or three days – and working from home, in more familiar surroundings, the rest of the week.

In this way, your workers enjoy some freedom and independence while retaining the ability to interact face-to-face with their peers. That provides human interaction, which can play a substantial role in terms of improved mental health for your staff.

Happy employees means healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

Whether you are a small business owner or have crafted your work to tailor toward a life of remote labor, this is an opportunity for someone who has dreamed of being a digital nomad. You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

When you’re a business owner, this can be incredibly useful when you outsource tasks to save money. You can find a higher quality of performance by searching for contractors anywhere in the world and it doesn’t limit you to workers who live near to your office.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

 In the end, remote work typically saves money for every person and entity involved. Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

According to FlexJobs, employees or remote business owners may save around $4,000 on average every year for expenses such as car maintenance, transportation, professional clothing in the office, or even money spent dining out for lunch with coworkers. Eventually, the costs add up, which means extra money in your pocket to take that much-needed vacation or save up for a down payment on your first home.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

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