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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

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.

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It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob or an un-alphabetized bookshelf.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, decluttering can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those three things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer slowing you down? Does it make a simple job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment to improve your productivity.

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better equipment, better work

What is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes.

In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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Opinion Editorials

How to build a company culture while working remotely

(OPINION EDITORIAL) It seems that even a post COVID-19 world will involve remote work, so how can you build and maintain a strong work culture that ensures growth and satisfaction?

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culture remotely

New startups and existing companies are starting to transition to a fully remote (or nearly fully remote) model, but what does this mean for work culture? If you’re not careful, your work culture could easily become diminished as you transition to a remote environment, and if you’re building a company from the ground up, you may not have a strong culture to begin with.

Culture isn’t something you can afford to give up, so how can you build and maintain your company culture while working remotely?

The importance of a strong work culture

Maintaining a strong, consistent company culture is vital, even if your company is operating remotely. With a strong work culture, you’ll enjoy benefits like:

  • Better recruiting potential. A company with strong work culture will seem more attractive to talented candidates. The best people in the industry will want to work at a place with a great team and a great set of values.
  • Like-minded teammates. Establishing a consistent work culture allows you to selectively hire, then maintain employees who are like-minded. Employees with similar goals and mentalities, even if they come from different backgrounds, will be able to collaborate more efficiently.
  • Smoother communication. A strong foundational work culture that establishes goals, values, and beliefs within an organization can enable smoother, more efficient communication. Staff members will be on the same page with regard to high-level priorities, and will be able to exchange information in similar patterns.
  • Lower stress and less turnover. Better work cultures generally mean lower stress for employees, and accordingly, less employee turnover. Of course, this assumes you’re hiring good fits for the organization in the first place.
  • A better public reputation. Your work culture can also boost your public reputation—especially if you emphasize core values that are important to your target audience.

How to build company culture remotely

Traditionally, you can use in-person team-building sessions, regular meetings, and workplace rules to establish and maintain your company culture, but while working remotely, you’ll need to employ a different set of tactics, like:

  • Hiring the right candidates. Building a great culture starts with hiring. You have to find candidates who fit with your organization, and already share your core values. If someone doesn’t agree with your high-level approach, or if they don’t like your rules or workflows, they aren’t going to do their best work. These same considerations should be applied to your third party hires as well; agencies and freelancers should also fit into your values.
  • Hosting virtual team-building events. You can’t host in-person team-building events, but that doesn’t mean that team-building is inaccessible to you. Consider hosting a video conference to introduce your team members to each other, or bond over a shared event. You could also host virtual game nights, or provide team lunches to celebrate wins. Any excuse to engage with each other in a non-work context can help employees feel more connected and part of the team, and there are plenty of options to make it work virtually.
  • Streamlining communication. Good communication is both a constituent factor and a byproduct of effective company culture. If you want your culture to thrive, you have to set good standards for communication, and encourage your employees to communicate with each other consistently and openly. People need to feel heard when they speak, and feel comfortable voicing their opinions—even if they don’t agree with their superiors. There should also be easily accessible channels for communication at all levels. Over time, this foundation will help your employee communication improve.
  • Improving transparency. Workplace transparency is important for any employer, but it’s especially important for remote businesses trying to build or maintain a strong culture—and it’s challenging if you’re operating remotely. If you’re open and honest about your goals and how you operate, employees will feel more trusted and more engaged with their work. Strive to answer questions honestly and disclose your motivations.
  • Publishing and reiterating company core values. One of the biggest factors responsible for making a company culture unique is its set of core values. Spend some time developing and refining your list of core values. Once finished, publish them for all employees to read, and make time to reiterate them regularly so employees remember them.
  • Making employees feel valued. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make your employees feel valued. Take the time to show your appreciation however you can, whether it’s through a simple thank-you message or an occasional cash bonus, and be sure to listen to employee feedback when you get it.

Building a work culture in a remote environment is more challenging, and requires consideration of more variables, but it’s certainly possible with the right mentality. Spend time setting your priorities, and make sure you’re consistent in your execution.

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