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Opinion Editorials

Watching The Real Estate Revolution is Like Watching Grass Grow



… 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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  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

Why soft skills are even more essential in online era

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Since many of us aren’t seeing our co-workers in person these days, our soft skills are even more important in the online working space.



Skype video chat with person writing in notebook. Soft skills are critical online.

When did we start thinking of “soft” as bad? I mean, we’ve got soft serve (excellent), softball (good exercise), fabric soft-ener (another industry I’m enjoying killing as a millennial). And we’ve got soft skills.

Or at least… I hope we do.

The shift to non-optional remote working has been difficult for a lot of us, especially for everyone who forgets to press mute before making sure the kids behave. But it’ll take more than being hot-mic savvy to make it through the foreseeable future. Brush up on these soft skills while we’re waiting on a vaccine, and it’ll make the coming months (years?) much easier.

1. Tone mastery

Do you know the difference between “Hey, Brenda, can we have a 1:1 at 12:30pm to go over the laser-equipped yoga pants presentation details?” and “Brenda, we need to talk…”?

If not, you might not have a great grasp on how to say with your typey-words what you can no longer say with your facial expressions. You don’t need to throw an emoji or exclamation point into every sentence to get your points across, but you do have the power to keep your coworkers’ heart rates in a safe range by explaining what exactly you need from them in your initial messages.

Use that power wisely.

2. Checking in

There’s no water cooler talk if there’s no water cooler, right?

Making and maintaining connections is more important now than ever, natural introversion be damned. You wanna be a star, don’tcha? Keep up relationships with public shoutouts, inquiries, and reaction images, and you’ll keep up morale while maintaining and boosting your potential for growth in the company.

Even if you’re not a small-talk kind of person, just a drop in for updates, meeting minutes, or sharing a relevant article via appropriate chatrooms and DMs can help hone your soft skills.

“Karen, this MLM article reminded me of your anti-Scentsy tangent you forgot we could all hear, maybe send this to your pushy ex-friend.”

“Hey, Ravindra, how’s the new laptop working out? All good? No ‘Kill all Humans’ protocols like the last one?”

Simple blips like this can add up like couch change. If you’re an admin, make a general chats section, and work in enough time in meetings to allow everyone to have a bit of a chat before getting down to business.

3. Make yourself available

This was important before the pandemic, honestly, but it bears repeating now, especially for everyone in a leadership position. If you’re not making time for check-ins, constantly cancelling meetings, or just generally enjoying being gone when people need you…figure out a way to not. Delegate what you can, bring on a VA, shorten that vacation, whatever you have to do. Everyone’s struggling, and being captain means your crew is looking to you. Don’t let the general air of desperation lull you into thinking a metaphorical keelhauling is out of the question—that extra power still comes with extra responsibility.

Keep yourself from double-bookings, cancellations, and absences as much as possible, and things will continue to improve internally… Even if they don’t in the outside world.

Aesop had a fable about an oak tree and a little river reed. When a storm came, the hardened oak tree fell and died, while the flexible reed bent with the wind and lived. We’re in the storm now, and everyone’s doing their best not to break. Keep yourself rooted friends, but the moral here is to soften up.

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Opinion Editorials

Before you quit your job, ask yourself these 5 questions

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Frustrated at work? Here are 5 ideas utilizing design thinking and exploration tactics to assess if you really are ready to quit your job.



Man reclining on beanbag with laptop, thoughtful. Considering tactics before you quit your job.

We have all been there. We are in a job that just doesn’t feel right for us. Maybe we strongly dislike our manager or even our day to day work responsibilities. We find it easy to blame everyone else for everything we dislike. We question life and ask “Is this what life is all about? Shouldn’t I be spending my time doing something I am more passionate about?” But, we probably like the regular paycheck… Thus, we stay there and possibly become more miserable by the day. Some of us may even start to feel physical symptoms of headaches, stomach aches, and possibly depression. We also may go to the internet like this person seeking answers and hoping someone else can tell us what to do:

“I feel conflicted but I want to quit my job. What should I do?

I was thinking of quitting my job because I dislike what I do, and I feel I am underpaid.

However last week my colleague tendered her resignation too. Needless to say, if I leave too, my whole department will fall into a larger mess and that causes some feelings of conflict within me.

Should my colleague quitting affect when I want to leave too? How do I go about quitting now?”

We can definitely empathize with this – it’s really uncomfortable, sometimes sad, and hard to be in a position where we feel we are underpaid and we aren’t happy.

So, how can you navigate a situation like this? How do you figure out if you should just quit your job? How can you be an adult about this?

Here are some exploratory questions, ideas, and some design thinking activities to help you answer this question for yourself.

  • Before you up and quit, assuming you don’t yet have your next opportunity lined up, have you considered asking for a raise – or better yet, figure out how you add value to the organization? Would your supervisor be willing to move you in to a new role or offer additional compensation?
  • If you don’t have a job lined up, do you have the recommended AT LEAST six months of living expenses in your savings account? Some would recommend that you have even more during a global pandemic where unemployment is at an all-time high – it may take longer to find a new position.
  • Do you have a safety net of family or friends that are willing and able to help you with your bills if you don’t have your regular paycheck? Would you be willing to put that burden on them so you can quit your job?
  • Why aren’t you job searching if you are unhappy? Is it because the task seems daunting and the idea of interviewing right now makes you want to puke?
  • What would your ideal job be and what would it take for you to go for it?

Many people claim they don’t like their job but they don’t know what to do next or even worse, don’t know what they WANT to do. To offer a little bit of tough love here: Well, then, that’s your job to figure it out. You can go on Reddit all you want, but no one else can tell you what is right for you.

Here are some ways to explore what may be an exciting career move for you or help you identify some areas that you need to learn more about in order to figure out where work will align with your skills, interests, and passions.

  1. Consider ordering the Design Your Life Workbook that provides writing prompts to help you figure out what it is that you are looking for in a job/career. You may also like the book Designing Your Work Life which is about “How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work”.
  2. Utilize design thinking to answer some of your questions. Make a diamond shape and in each of the four corners, write out the “Who” you want to be working with, “What” you’d like to be doing, “Where” you’d like to be, and “Why” you want to be there or doing that kind of work.
  3. Conduct informational interviews with people doing work that you think you might be interested in. Usually these conversations give you lots of interesting insights and either a green light to pursue something or validation that maybe that role isn’t right for you either.
  4. Get your resume updated. Sometimes just dusting off your resume, updating it, and making it ready gives you a feeling of relief that if you did really want to pursue a new job, you are almost ready. Consider updating your LinkedIn profile as well.
  5. Explore what you can do differently. A lot of what we can be frustrated about can be related to things out of our control. Consider exploring ways to work better with your team or how to grow to become invaluable. Tune in to Lindsey Pollak’s podcast, The Work Remix, where she gives great ideas on how to navigate working in current times where there are five generations in the workplace. There may be ways you need to adjust your communication style or tune in to emotional intelligence on how to better work with your supervisor or employees. Again, focus on what is within your control.

You may decide that you need to quit your job to be able to focus your energy on finding a better fit for you. But at the same time, be realistic. Most of us have to work to live. Everyone has bills, so you may continue working while you sort out some of the other factors to help you find a more exciting prospect. Either way, wishing you all the best on this journey, and the time and patience to allow you to figure it out.

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Opinion Editorials

Your goals are more complicated than generalized platitudes, and that’s okay

(OPINION / EDITORIALS) When the tough times get going, “one size fits all” advice just won’t cut it. Your goals are more specific than the cookie cutter platitudes.



Split paths in the forest like goals - general advice just doesn't fit.


“Vulgar, uneducated wisdom based in superstition”, according to the good volunteer compilers at Wikipedia. See also: ‘aphorism’, ‘platitude’, and ‘entrepreneurial advice’.

I’m not saying there’s no good advice for anyone anymore, that’s plain not true. SMART Goals are still relevant, there’s a plethora of cheaper, freeer, more easily accessible tutorials online, and consensus in April-ville is that Made to Stick is STILL a very helpful book.

But when I hear the same ‘pat on the head’ kind of counsel that I got as a kid presented by a serious institution and/or someone intending on being taken seriously by someone who isn’t their grade school-aged nephew, I roll my eyes. A lot.

“Each failure is an opportunity!” “Never give up!” “It’s not how many times you fall!”, yeah, okay, that’s all lovely. And it IS all very true. My issue is… These sunshiney saws? They’re not very specific. And just like a newspaper horoscope, they’re not meant to be (not that I’ll stop reading them).

Example. You’ve been jiggling the rabbit ears of your SEO for months, to no avail. No one’s visiting your site, there’ve been no calls, and the angel investor cash is starting to dip closer to falling from heaven with each passing day.

Does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you use your last bit of cash to take on an expert?

Or does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you go back to R&D and find out that no one actually WANTED your corncob scented perfume to begin with; algorithm tweaking and Demeter Fragrances be damned?

This is the thing about both your goals you make and the guidance you take—they have to be specific. I’m not saying your parents can put a sock in it or anything. I’m thrilled that I’m part of a family that’ll tell me to keep on keeping on. But as far as serious, practical input goes… One size fits all just leaves too much room for interpretation.

When you’re stuck, behind, or otherwise at odds with your growth, are you asking the right questions? Are you sure of what the problem actually is? Do you know whether it’s time to give up a failure of a business and ‘keep pushing’ in the sense of starting another one, or whether you’ve got a good thing on hand that needs you to ‘never say die’ in the sense of giving it more tweaking and time?

No one should have stagnant goals. A pool of gross sitting water is only attractive to mosquitoes and mold. ‘I wanna be rich’ as your business’s raison d’être is a setup for a story about the horrors of literal-minded genies, not an intention you can actually move upon. But that doesn’t mean you need to go hard the other way and get lost in a nebulous fog of easily-published aphorisms.

To be fair, it’s not as if saying ‘Ask the right questions’ is exponentially more helpful than your average feel-good refreshment article, since… This editorial column doesn’t know you or what pies you have your fingers in. But if I can at least steer you away from always running towards the overly general and into an attempt at narrowing down what your real problems are, I’ll consider this a job well done.

Save saws for building community tables.

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