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Wish I Said That!

Hilarious comments overheard in real estate.

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chalk outline

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

Coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

These tools customize your Zoom calls with your company’s branding

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Zoom appears to be here to stay. Here are the tools you need to add or update your Zoom background to a more professional – or even branded – background.

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Zoom call on computer, but there's more options to customize.

If you haven’t had to deal with Zoom in 2021, you may be an essential worker or retired altogether. For the rest of us, Zoom became the go-to online chat platform around mid-March. For several reasons, and despite several security concerns, Zoom quickly pushed past all online video chat competitors in the early COVID-19 lockdown days.

Whether for boozy virtual happy hours, online classes for school or enrichment, business meetings, trivia nights, book clubs, or professional conferences, odds are if you are working or in school, you have been on a Zoom call recently. Many of us have been on weekly, if not daily, Zoom calls.

If you are the techy type, you’ve likely set up a cool Zoom background of a local landmark or a popular spot, a library, or a tropical beach. Comic-con types and movie buffs created appropriate backgrounds to flex their awesome nerdiness and technical smarts.

Many people have held off creating such an individualized background for our virtual meetings for one of any number of reasons. Perhaps it never occurred to them, or maybe they aren’t super comfortable with all things techy. Many people have been holding out hope of returning to their offices, thus seeing no need to rock the boat. I’m here to tell you, though, it’s time. While I, too, hope that we get the pandemic under control, I am realistic enough to see that working or studying from home will continue to be a reality for many people for some time.

Two cool, free tools we’ve found that can help you make your personal Zoom screen look super professional and even branded for business or personal affairs are Canva and HiHello. While each platform has a paid component, creating a Zoom background screen for either application is fairly simple and free.

Here’s how:

Canva is the online design website that made would-be graphic designers out of so many people, especially social media types. It’s fairly user-friendly with lots of tutorials and templates, and the extremely useful capabilities of uploading your own logo and saving your brand colors.

Using Canva, first create your free account with your email. It functions better if you create an account, although you can play around with some of the tools without signing up. The fastest way from Point A to Point B here is to use the search box and search for “Zoom backgrounds.” You now can choose any one of their Zoom background templates, from galaxy to rainbows and unicorn to library books or conference rooms. Choose an inspirational quote if you’d like (but really, please don’t). Download the .jpg or .png, save it, and you can upload it to Zoom.

To create a branded Zoom background in Canva, it will take slightly more work. It was a pain in the butt for me, because I had this vision of a backdrop with my logo repeated, like you see as a backdrop at, you know, SXSW or the Grammys or something. Reach for the stars, right?

OK, the issue with this was that I had to individually add, resize, and place each of the 9 logos I ended up with. I figured out the best way to size them uniformly (I resized one and copied/pasted, instead of adding the original size each time (maybe you’re thinking “Duh,” but it took me a few failed experiments to figure out that was the fastest way to do it).

Once you have your 9 loaded in the middle of the page, start moving them around to place them. I chose 9, because the guiding lines in Canva allow me to ensure I have placed them correctly, in the top left corner, middle left against the margin that pops up, and bottom left. Same scenario for the center row.

Magical guide lines pop up when you have the logo centered perfectly, so I did top, middle, and bottom like that, and repeated for the right hand margin. Then I flipped them, because they were showing up in my view on Zoom as backward. That may mean they are now backward to people on my call; I will need to test that out! Basically, Canva is easy to use, but perhaps my design aspirations made it tricky to figure out.

Good luck and God bless if you choose more than 9 logos to organize. Oh, and if you are REALLY smart, you will add one logo to a solid color or an austere, professionally appropriate photo background and call it a day, for the love of Mary. That would look cool and be easy.

HiHello is an app you can download to scan and keep business cards and create your own, free, handy dandy digital business card. It comes in the form of a scannable QR code you can share with anyone. Plus, you can make a Zoom background with it, which is super cool! It takes about five minutes to set up, truly! It works great!

The Zoom background has your name, the company name, and your position on one side and the QR code on the other. The QR code pulls up a photo, your name, title, phone number, and email address. It’s so nifty! And the process was super easy and intuitive. Now, If I took my logo page from Canva and made that the background for my HiHello virtual Zoom screen, I would be branded out the wazoo.

Remember there are technical requirements if you want to use HiHello on a Mac. For example, if you have a mac with a dual core processor, it requires a QUAD. However, on a PC, it was really simple.

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Business Marketing

Finally: A smart card that manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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