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Wish I Said That!

Hilarious comments overheard in real estate.

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Some of you may remember a blog I wrote a few months ago called  Un-Real Estate – Shutta Yo Mouth, which quoted some ridiculous comments made by buyers. Well now it’s time to buck up and admit that, as agents, we have often said some things that could have been better stated. And sellers have contributed some classic lines themselves. So here are examples of comments made by agents and sellers…followed by the words we maybe SHOULD have said:

Bite My Tongue

We can’t go any lower. (Unless you’re the governor of South Carolina)

All offers are welcome (Although we may burn them and then stick needles in a doll that looks just like you.)

Maybe the sellers will give a credit. (Oops, there goes a chunk of my commission)

That’s just mildew. (Would you like to borrow my inhaler?)

It’s a great neighborhood. (Why is that guy driving off in my Beemer?)

The elementary school is not much of a problem. (As long as you’re Marlee Matlin.)

The high school is not much of a problem either. (As long as you are Marlee Matlin and you’re unconscious.)

You need a credit cleaner? (No, your uncle Tony the Terminator in Jersey does not factor in to your FICO scores.)

No, I don’t think your bankruptcy is a problem. (But the sheriff’s car coming up the driveway does not bode well.)

True, the bright colors you painted the house sure are “fun.” (Do you have any Dramamine handy?)

Sure, we can sell this for more than any other home in the area. (And I can fly upside down in a cow paddy rain storm while doing the Macarena.)

The Truth Often Bites Back

How clever – a cement yard that only needs a quick wash. (Your wife needs a quick shave, and she’ll still be ugly, too.)

Yes, I think you should disclose the leaky pipe in the basement. (Let’s make it bubble and call it a spa.)

You probably should have gotten a permit. (The sky needle on your house is interesting, but the sparks off the high wires may discourage potential buyers.)

Yes, odors are objective. (Although the corn processing plant down the street smells like infected feet and brings back fond memories of Uncle Herb, you may want to disclose it.)

No, I do not consider $150k less than list price a low ball offer. (Do you consider a slap upside the head assault and battery?)

Sure, we can call the shed a third bedroom. (And we can call your husband a gentleman if he gets his hand out of his pants.)

Yes, your collection needs to be put away before the open house.  (I know you were a porn star, but I was the pogo stick champion of Elm Street, and I don’t carry my equipment with me.)

The duct tape on the window is not a problem. (But the finger print dust may be a deal breaker.)

A shopping center nearby is always a good feature. (But the Bail Bonds Emporium around the corner is best left unmentioned.)

Yes, a septic tank is common in this area. (Perhaps we can call the odiferous brown marsh in your back yard a wild life habitat.)

Don’t Push Your Luck, Dude

Of course you can back out if you get cold feet. (However, I will hobble you so you will never use those cold feet again.)

I agree, the church bells are lovely. (But I think the music from the pub across the street may be your lottery ticket.)

We’ve had no offers in six months, so we need to lower the price. (It will be hard to move this puppy with an agent hanging from a noose in your living room.)

And overheard at a July 4th open house: “The graffiti in the back alley is just the way kids nowadays express themselves.” (The chalk outline on the front walk is just the LAPD being cute.)

For more Un-Real Estate Commentaries, please visit Sherlock of Homes.blogspot.com.

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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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    July 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

    “Infected Feet?” Good Googley Moogley Gwen!!

    I think you ought to write one about what agents say about their clients to other agents – in violation of all Ethics and Fiduciary Duty.

    Had one yesterday call me – he and his buyers are late to the closing table, and I’m sitting there with the attorney. He calls, I have to hold the phone away from my ear because he’s so loud – and the attorney can hear him clearly talking about the 30 IQ his buyers must have because they got lost coming to closing and he has to go find them. Goes on to tell me how he never wants to see them again after closing and the husband is the biggest *@#hole in the world and blah, blah, blah.

    The attorney – a good friend of mine and a retired Navy F-14 pilot – looks at me dead-pan and asked if I was trying to recruit the agent to Keller Williams. I told him he and I would be smoking crack on the mooon before THAT happened.

    Thanks for another great post !

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Gwen Banta

    July 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    That’s a GENIUS idea, Joe. I think I’ll do a survey in the office. It’s also a reminder to “zip it” when frustrated with our clients. I once had another agent tell me she was so fed up with her client that she planned to divorce him. Now THAT was unique!

  3. Kim Curran

    July 10, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Always enjoy your posts Gwen.

  4. Gwen Banta

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks, Kim – Considering some of the comments I heard just TODAY, WE won’t run out of laughter for awhile. I heard an agent tell his client that he thought FICO stood for Federal International Credit Office. HUH???

  5. Robert Zuniga

    July 12, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    It’s a fascinating world! Love the Truths you share!

  6. tomferry

    July 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Gwen- this was great!! Thank you for making me laugh OUT LOUD AND LOUD the whole way through! Hey, and if we can’t have a little fun once in a while …!!! thk

    TF

  7. Gwen Banta

    July 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks, Robert – The truth is so funny, who needs fiction?

  8. Gwen Banta

    July 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I am so glad you had a good laugh, Tom – that’s great for the heart AND the soul!

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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 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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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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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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