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When Your Buyers Hate You, Please Don’t Turn to a Life of Crime

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(Photo Credit: Flickr, Bedford Jail Cell – Gloomy50)

A real estate agent in Colorado Springs sent four children -two of them family friends — to exact her revenge on a client who passed on a lucrative contract nearly three years ago, police said. [This ReMax agent], is accused of supplying four 13-year-old boys with the vegetable oil and spray paint they used to cause $17,000 in damage to a home in Pine Creek, an upscale subdivision in … Colorado Springs.” Damage also included broken windows and vulgar gang-like signs spray painted on the home. (Read Full Story: Real Estate Agent Arrested in $17,000 in Damage)

Apparently, this real estate agent of 20 years was working with a couple back in 2005 who refused to sign a Buyer’ Agency and wound up buying a home with a different agent. Per the recent article, “Their business relationship ended … when [the agent] sent [the Buyers] a contract with language that other real estate agents called into question…” They didn’t trust her.

Mad that she “lost out” on about $27,000 in commissions, she (allegedly) lost her mind and turned to a life of crime … 3 years later!

She eventually turned herself into the Colorado Springs Police on May 2, 2008, after the neighbors of the vandalized home were being falsely accused for the damage.

The owners of the home now have a restraining order against this agent because, “If she is capable of doing this to our house three years later, then what else is she capable of?”

What is odd, besides the fact that she chose to do this 3 years later, is that this particular agent is not “starving” like a lot of other agents out there. She is rather successful. She has 17 active listings in highly desirable areas and does fairly well for herself … or so it appears. Now she will probably lose her license and face prison time for 2-Felony IV counts: Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor and Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Mischief.

I guess this is one way to weed out my local competition.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Maureen Francis

    May 3, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Well, at least she fessed up and did not let someone else take the fall. The rest is amazing.

  2. Mariana

    May 3, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Chris – It happens. A buyer jumps ship and all the time you spent with them can be “wasted” … but I mean, C’mon! Get over it …

    Maureen – I am glad that she turned herself in, but I am shocked that she even did it to begin with.

  3. Maureen Francis

    May 3, 2008 at 9:12 am

    She could have referred the buyer out after they told her they did not like the contract. Of course, slipping in a buyer’s agency contract after 8 months of working with a buyer is pretty ummmm … odd… to put it nicely.

  4. Bill Lublin

    May 3, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Mariana; I thought the days of the Wild West were long gone, but this is about as wild as it gets…
    What do you think was going through the hat rack she called a head when she planned this? That they would need to buy a new house instead of fixing up the old one and that she would have a second chance? I take it back this may not be a “Wild West” story – it must be “Fantasy” or “Horror”

  5. Missy Caulk

    May 3, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Oh my………….this is unbelievable, what was she thinking. Revenge is a terrible thing, you have to let things in RE go and move on. What a shame, a ruined career, hope she gets help in anger management.

  6. Chris Lengquist

    May 3, 2008 at 10:23 am

    LOL. If any business can make you snap this real estate business could. I’m gonna get a low stress job like air traffic controller, or something.

  7. Mariana

    May 3, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Maureen – I am sure there is more to the story than we see right now.

    Bill – Thriller… with a wierd twist.

    Missy – I refuse to hold grudges … and this is a perfect reason why. SNAP!

    Chris – Or Doctor … or a missionary in a 3rd world country.

  8. John Lauber

    May 3, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Maybe her dog told her to do it :). Too bad for her team.

    Like you said, Mariana. There has to be something more to this story. I hope.

  9. Irina Netchaev

    May 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Three years later AND to involve the kids. Wow… this woman has some mental issues. It’s a strange world we’re living in.

  10. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Why’d she have kids do the dirty work? Sure they’re free, but they’re tattle tales! 😉

    Don’t y’all have a mafia there or something? Maybe you should start the CSREM (Colorado Springs Real Estate Mafia) so it’s intimidation and strong arming people… sounds about as logical as Crazy Lady’s actions, eh?

  11. San Mateo Home Sellers in Trouble

    May 3, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    It’s kind of funny, and kind of sad. It makes Colorado seem like an unfriendly place.

  12. Mariana

    May 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    John – I don’t even know what to say about it all. Apparently, 2 of the kids had just gotten in trouble for vandalizing something else in the area. I wonder what *really* happened.

    Irina – People are strange …

    Lani – CSREM … LOL!

  13. Melina Tomson

    May 3, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    This has to be one of the saddest things I have read. A parent encouraging children to commit a crime. Just goes to show that when you think people are “successful” it goes to show that we need to redefine our definition of successful.

  14. Mariana

    May 3, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Melina – She was not a parent to any of the children – a friend of the family. Does not make it any better though.

  15. Susan

    May 3, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Whoa, this is really scary the act itself is very bad and the fact that it happened three years later compounds it in my mind. Its been eating at her all this time?!!! Was this the winning plan for revenge after many others that may have been put together and then tossed aside? Thats alot of wasted energy…she probably could’ve sold a few more houses.

  16. Mariana

    May 4, 2008 at 11:13 am

    In my opinion, it is a lot of wasted time to harbor such anger toward a person.

  17. Vicki Moore

    May 4, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I hope it was worth it. Good grief.

  18. BrokerBryant

    May 4, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Mariana…..that’s incredible!!! Talk about losing your mind. I guess the stress was just too much. Hard to believe it took 3 years to finally lose it. Assuming of course there weren’t other things that went unnoticed and she just didn’t get caught for them.

  19. Mariana

    May 4, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Vicki – I highly doubt it was …

    Blog Boy! Good point … I wonder if there WERE other things that happened that went unnoticed.

  20. Glenn fm Naples

    May 5, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Can’t believe that someone would do something like that especially after three years. And people wonder why our young people have distorted values!!!

  21. Mariana

    May 5, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Glenn – The whole thing is unbelievable.

  22. Mariana Wagner

    October 10, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Update: This agent just pleaded guilty to four felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief. … https://www.gazette.com/articles/haddad_41709___article.html/four_boys.html

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Business Marketing

The most spectacular streets of L.A.

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Dollar Sign

$wimming Pools, Movie $tars…and $treets of Gold!

Hey  friends – instead of  a humorous look at the MLS this week, I wanted to share something personal – my wonderful city of Los Angeles.  If you’d like to know where and what the most desirable streets in L.A. are, check out this great report in the L.A. Times by Lauren Beale:

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hot-streets27-2010mar27,0,6734165.story

I drive down these streets all the time, but I never take them for granted. I am still as star struck as the hordes of folks who come through here daily hoping for a glimpse of a movie star. The only difference is that we Angelenos want a glimpse, and then we want them to move the hell out of the way or risk getting run over (proceed or bleed!). After all, we all have somewhere to go, and that’s a monumental task in L.A.  The star dust on these streets is knee high…but there is an exhorbitant price for “$pectacular”!

Now you know why I love my job so much. See you next week with more MLS super-bloopers!

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Housing News

HUGE News From Twitter – Trending LOCAL Topics

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Twitter announced yesterday the roll out of Local Trending Topics.(We knew they would be putting to good use their purchase of GeoAPI last month).  This is a big event for the real estate industry and for real estate bloggers especially.  “Who cares what I ate for lunch yesterday?” you ask…. it’s not that, it is the ability to have your finger on the pulse of your local community in real time like never before (and leveraging that power)…

Think about it… you see a big news topic trending on Twitter and write a blog about it. When someone Googles the topic, you have a good chance of coming up high on Google, pulling people to your blog and positioning you as the go-to blog for hot local info, often scooping those asleep at the switch.

OR a news reporter shoots out a request for comments on the hot trending topic and you answer them (this happens OFTEN!) and you end up as a quoted source. Great! (This technique landed us on top of the 6 PM news when Obama announced the Help for Homeowners Plan, can you say priceless?)  You will become friends with local news reporters and be possible future sources as well.

Twitter Trending Topics

At a minimum, you will become a highly knowledgeable source on your most current local news.  Twitter is FASTER than local papers, TV and other sources due to the real time nature.  People post video clips and other live media (Ustream).  What if you were capturing those links on your own site?

Right now there are only a select few cities, but plans to roll out more are in the works.

If you couldn’t think of a way to use Twitter specifically for real estate before, with this new Super Local capacity, you might just think differently now….

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Media Coverage

Real Estate is About MEA CULPA

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It’s my Fault

(With a nod to a well know blogger who has a propensity for using latin, I would explain to those readers who are not familiar to the phrase that "Mea Culpa is latin for “my fault”)

Over the years, I find that people handle problems and successes differently. There are people who take responsibility for their success and their failures equally. These people are in my experience usually pretty confident and successful. They have found a balance in life. Too often people accept responsibility for their success but avoid responsibility for their failures. These people can also be successful, but I think they lack the balance that would allow them to really enjoy the success they achieve, and probably limits that success.

And then there is a third category of people that are modest about whatever success they have individually (though they may brag like anyone about their company or their achievements), but will take responsibility for things that may even have been out of their control – mainly because they feel they should have anticipated the problem or known that there was a wild card element that might need ot be addressed.

I Worry all the Time

Even when things go well, I tend to worry. I want to know that I have not only done everything I could to reach my intended result, if I don’t reach it, I want to learn why so I have a better result next time.

I don’t worry about making a mistake (If its noon and I haven’t made at least two mistakes I figure I wasn’t working or I didn’t get up yet) I just don’t want to make the same mistakes again and again. And I am not uncomfortable admitting that I made a mistake. That may be because I am confident that I can correct the problem, or at least that I am not defined by the mistakes I make.

I tend to trust people too much. According to one of my partners, I am literally “loyal to a fault” – but that’s a fault I am willing to own. But most importantly I don’t blame other people for the problems affecting me, and I look to myself for the solution

Last year Benn Rosales wrote a post about minimum standards and the Right to Practice. I agree with much of what was said in that post, and was interested in his suggestions for mandating minimum standards. But the real problem is that we as brokers (or managing brokers depending on your state) often don’t take responsibility for our agents because its too tough, or we want the licensing authority to do it, or our trade association, or someone else to mandate it so that we’re not the hard nosed bad guys. Maybe we don’t want to impose our standards on others even though we want other people will live up to our standards.

Everyone doesn’t do things the way I do – and they don’t have to. When I blog, it takes me a while because I don’t want to say something that I can’t back up factually. And I get nuts when someone else does that. I hate rhetoric without facts to back it up. I hate when people talk about what they think instead of what they know and I hate it when they speak in generalities instead of specifics. We can work on specifics, we can’t fix generalities.

If Its Your Problem, You can Fix it

If you aren’t accountable for something, you can’t fix it. If you give up the power of the problem, you give yp the power to solve the problem. Let’s take that aggravating listing you took 5 months ago and see how this theory plays.

You aren’t getting much activity through the listing, even though you’re advertising it and holding open houses. Its just that the market is so bad. There aren’t any serious buyers. The sellers arent cooperatvie. The house doesn’t show well. So obviously its not your fault that the home didn’t sell. Right? Wrong!

None of those things are your fault, but it is your fault that you took a listing that isn’t selling.

If buyers aren’t going through the property, then perhaps it isn’t priced properly?

If the property is being shown, but there are no offers, you need to re-examine the price and determine if there are issues with the physical condition of the home that need to be addressed. If the phyical issues with the property cant be addressed, then perhaps we need to.. you guessed it, review the price again.

If there are inquiries about the property but you aren’t able to show the home when you need to perhaps you need to get a key to show the property or install a lock box.

I could go on and on, but when you review the activity on a property, the home itself, and the terms you are offering , you can usually find the answer to the problem – and the key to that is being responsible for the problem, and therefore having the power to find a solution to the problem. And if you have a seller who will not cooperate, then the solution may be to solve the problem by firing the unreasonable seller ad moving on to a seller who wants to listen to your advice and get their home sold.

In any event, taking control of your life by being accountable for your problems should empower you in a manner that I’m sure you will find envigorating and enlightening. Now that you own your problems – go forth and solve them!

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