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Words to Avoid in Real Estate

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electric-chair

YIKES!

This post in UnReal Estate was inspired by a recent conversation with an agent who told me that the house on the hill above was slipping, “but only a little.” I live in earthquake territory, folks. There’s no such thing as “slipping a little.” That’s like being “partially pregnant.” Thus, I asked around and gathered some contributions to the Words to Avoid list. Please enjoy:

First, the Absurd…

“Oh, heck, we all grew up with black mold.” (Is that why your eyes roll inward and your tongue hangs out?)

“They had a pot-bellied pig that ruined the carpet.” (I had a pot-bellied husband that ruined the couch.)

“The old lady next door is crazy but nice.” (So I should ignore the face in the window?)

“The place was busted because the owner’s father had a brewery in the basement.” (No problem – my grandmother had a meth lab in the bathroom.)

“The heating lamp in the bathroom needs attention.” (No wonder your hair is on fire.)

“This was used as a grow house.” (No wonder I have the munchies.)

“The four dogs next door seldom ever bark.” (Then I will “seldom” ever use my tranquilizer darts.)

“The lights flicker and dim sometimes, but it’s nothing to worry about.” (Sell that to the guys on Death Row.)

“It may be showing some wear and tear, but it’s obviously not going anywhere.” (That’s what they said about the Titanic.)

And now, the Sublime…

“A little baking soda will get rid of the smell.” (But will it get rid of their bad taste?)

“The lime in the crawl space is to absorb moisture.” (So what’s with the hatchet and the duct tape?)

“The odor was from something that got trapped in the crawl space.” (Has anyone found the agent?)

“Although it’s filthy, they never had vermin.” (Oh yeah…that explains the 14 morbidly obese cats.)

“The house isn’t bolted, but it’s very secure.” (No problem -The buyer is with Indymac – they’re very secure.)

“His score is low…but he’s working on it.” (My patience is low…so get outta my face.)

“That’s a pine cone in the pool.” (And I suppose that’s lemonade in the toilet.)

“The cracks in the foundation are small.” (So is our offer.)

“You should see the garden when it’s lit.” (You should see my uncle when he’s lit…)

“Can I still get zero per cent financing?” (Let me explain the signs of mercury poisoning and its effects on the brain…)

“The soggy area above the septic tank is from the sprinklers” (You’re full of crap.)

“All those steps will keep you in shape.” (So why are you carrying that defibrillator?)

“The pool leaks.” (So does Aunt Bea when she sneezes.)

“The lawn sprinklers don’t work.” (Then call Aunt Bea.)

And Those Words We Hear Most Often:

“Can you reduce the size of your commission?” (About as easily as I can reduce the size of my butt.)

“It’s been sitting for months with no activity!” (So has Aunt Bea, but she doesn’t complain.)

“I think we’re backing out of escrow.” (Fine. Now grab this frayed wire and touch your tongue to this metal pole and…)

Thanks to my colleagues at Sotheby’s International Realty and my friends at Coldwell Banker and Keller Williams for all your funny stories.

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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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    May 29, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Gwen,

    Thanks for ruining my monitor this morning – had to plug the spare in after shorting out the other with my coffee snort after reading this post!

    Not as funny, but here’s couple I’ve experienced:

    If the offer’s right, they’ll get rid of the cars (all 14 of the derelicts in the back yard – where are the owners?)

    The homes shares a septic field with the next door neighbor (what the hell’s a septic FIELD?!?)

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Ken Brand

    May 29, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Nice. What others say if funny. What you’re thinking in ( )s is beyond funny. Don’t you wish there was one day a week when it was perfectly acceptable to reply to “dumb ass” with equal or greater “smart ass smack”.

    What fun that would be. I nominate your “pine cone/lemonade” retort #1.

    rock on

  3. Lani Rosales

    May 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    size of my butt… LOL!!!

  4. Gwen Banta

    May 29, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Your description made ME snort coffee, Joe – you are very funny!

  5. Gwen Banta

    May 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Yes, Ken – I am constantly replying with smart ass smack, but I usually have to keep it silent. My blog allows me to rant and rave with impunity. Incidently, the pine cone comment actually happened to me. The really hysterical thing was that the pool was surrounded by palm trees. I have no idea what the floater really was, but it wasn’t a pine cone, and it wasn’t a Baby Ruth!

  6. Gwen Banta

    May 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Hey Lani, My butt has always been a source of humor. I’m thinking of taking it on the road and working the club circuit. I’ll bill myself as Buns ‘o Fun. See you in Austin!

  7. Joe Loomer

    May 29, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I’ll be in Austin for MegaCamp at the end of August, Gwen.

    I’ll bring my snorter, you bring those Buns o’ Fun. I may even explain what a “Shart” is….

    I’m with Ken on the pine cone/lemonade vote as #1…..

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  8. Joe Loomer

    May 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Good googley moogley – just read your 15 May entry, and proceeded to shart myself…..

    This is now going to be required reading for the Agent Leadership Council at our Market Center.

    Navy Chief, Navy oh what the hell, I’m still laughing too hard…..

  9. Lani Rosales

    May 29, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Gwen, I think you should tour at real estate conferences and just have bar shows after the expo closes and charge a cover, why not??? I’d totally go!!!

    Can’t wait for you to visit us here in the awesomest city ever 🙂

  10. Gwen Banta

    May 29, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Yay – I’ll be looking for you in the audience, Joe and Lani. I can’t wait to see Austin. I’ll call my tour “Real Estate Road Kill, starring Buns ‘o Fun.” I’ll drag my weary, buzzard-pecked carcass up onto the stage and tell the world what we agents really have to go through to sell a house without losing the remaining morsels of our sanity. It may look easy, but Escrow Street is paved with broken Pradas, crumpled listing sheets, and smashed Blackberries adorned with tread marks. For my Road Kill Tour, my theme song will be TAPS. Maybe then the public will realize that we actually DO work for our money! (Of course, everyone in the audience must be pre-approved…I ain’t as dumb as I look.)

  11. Joe Loomer

    May 29, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Just call me buzzard 😉

  12. Gwen Banta

    May 29, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    LOL!!!!!

  13. Allison Crow Flanigin

    May 29, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I’m so late in on this conversation…actually standing outside and laughing hysterically over what I’m hearing. I SO????

  14. Allison Crow Flanigin

    May 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  15. Allison Crow Flanigin

    May 29, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Those were not my comments…. I was saying that I was SO in need of FUNNY REALTOR today…thanks for the laugh.

    Allison.

    Don’t know where the heck all the ?s came from.

  16. Gwen Banta

    May 29, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I’m really glad to hear from you, Allison. Actually, all the question marks are so very appropriate, even if unintended. They serve as punctuation commentary for those head scratching remarks I referred to in the post. I think it’s great that we can all laugh together at this wacky world we work in.

  17. Lisa Foster

    May 31, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    In an add for a Russian River, CA area home “Never flooded above first floor!” Always loved that.

  18. Matt Stigliano

    May 31, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Gwen – Wait, did I hear real estate related comedy tour? Where do I get my ticket?

  19. Gwen Banta

    May 31, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    That’s great, Lisa. I saw one recently that said, no washer/dryer, but hooker in garage.” This business is not for the faint of heart!

  20. Gwen Banta

    May 31, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Matt – Tickets are free, but there’s a 10 drink minimum. I figure all agents deserve a night to get completely toasted. And because I love your posts so much, only YOU will receive a souvenir glass that says, “If I can survive the Road Kill Tour, I can survive any Escow – so bring it!”

  21. Matt Stigliano

    June 1, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Gwen – You call that a minimum? Haha. I like the idea of my souvenir glass, beats one from the Hard Rock any day.

  22. Paula Henry

    June 2, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Once you’re completed the tour, you should put it all in a book and use it for training new agents. If they laugh and have a sense of humor, they get to stay and have a wonderful career. Otherwise, they get the boot, cuz, they won’t make it anyway.

    Another Classic!

  23. Louise Scoggins

    June 2, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Very funny post!! I have had my share of laughs in the past 30 minutes cruising around AG. You guys are funny!!!

    I get this one all the time (adding to the “Words we hear most often” category), “I’m already working with an agent but she’s out of town. Can you show me this house?”

    Or,

    “The last agent I spoke to said we could list it for (insert inflated unrealistic list price)”

  24. Gwen Banta

    June 2, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks, Paula. I think laughter is the antidote to insanity!

  25. Gwen Banta

    June 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I’ve heard those same comments, Louise. My favorite was, “If the other agent said she can sell it for (inflated price), then why can’t you?” to which I silently responded, “I could…if you jack up this piece of c__p and put another house under it!”

  26. Louise Scoggins

    June 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I guess at this point we should all be glad we have a filter between what we think and what we actually say!! Lol

  27. Gwen Banta

    June 2, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    You give me too much credit, Louise. I think my filter is due for replacement!

  28. Gwen Banta

    April 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks, for the mention, Memphis!

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Business Marketing

Who’s teaching Gen Z to adapt to working with other generations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Gen Z patch 1.1: How to work with other generations. The newest tech savy generation might need an update to work well with others

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We know the current work force is made up of a multitude of generations which is the first time so many have been working at the same time in history and this is should be absolutely fascinating to dig in to the research and how this drastically affects businesses.

To think how we each have our work ethic and style influenced by so many factors on how and when (and where) we were raised, plus what generation our parents were in and what was passed down to them from the generation before. Millennials received a lot of attention for being entitled and lazy. Gen X receive constant jokes that they are the forgotten generation. And let’s not forget the cringe-worthy “OK Boomer” meme theme recently.

Now we have moved on to Gen Z (b. ~ 1997-2012) in the work force and many are currently attending college. There were other considerations for their name: Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Plurals, and Zoomers. If you google about them, there are many books to read about this generation that has never NOT known technology.

They are used to being seconds away to finding an answer on Google, sending their current status to friends via a fun picture or video and learning anything they want to learn via their laptop (for example on YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Google online courses, Udemy, Teachable, among others). They are no strangers to businesses evolving to continue to be consumer-minded and have an app for that when it comes to convenience like: ordering your coffee before you get there, order a ride from no matter where you are, order your groceries online and pick them up outside the grocery store or (gasp!) even have them delivered to you via some other third-party app. And let’s not forget, there better be Wi-Fi on the plane.

There are a lot of wonderful things about every generation and maybe some things we all contribute to regarding stereotypes. No matter age, experience or style, it’s key to learn about the people you are working with (peers, supervisors, leadership teams) or if you are an entrepreneur and business owner: your customers and any differences needed for them (should you be on Tik Tok? Is Instagram still where it’s at? How do you add online appointments to your site? Do you need an app for that?).

In this world of instant gratification, we have all adapted to the conveniences of technology so why would this new generation be any different. There’s been research shared with how they shop and even how they learn. Is anyone teaching them about those that came before them when they enter the work force or look to gain professional experience working with entrepreneurs, startups or small business owners?

I’d like to recommend taking a look at Lindsey Pollak’s research, read or listen (thank you, Audible) to her latest book, The Remix, How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace and even her new podcast, The Work Remix, for any limited on time or attention span. It is really powerful how she is able to easily translate lots of research in to actionable items (let’s bring back apprenticeships! Skip the ping pong table for more time in nature!). She is kind and provides refreshing ideas on how to adapt our work styles to others as well as what is important in the workforce. She is also really against generational shaming. ALL OF IT. And that’s beautiful.

So, before we roll our eyes and throw a generational comment at someone, can we get to know each other better and be flexible and adaptable in how we find and work toward our common goals? For one, I’m excited working with iGen and am always asking myself (as a loud and proud Gen Xer) how I can adapt or meet their learning styles. All in fun, I do wish they would read my emails but I might have to let that go and get more used to text.

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Business Marketing

Malomo helps online retailers keep up with retail giants

(BUSINESS MARKETING) With giant companies like amazon able to offer free shipping, and super fast arrival times, how can a smaller company keep up?

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When Amazon is out here offering two-day shipping on all kinds of products from televisions to toothbrushes, ordering something from a smaller online retailer can have an almost humbling effect.

When faced with a basic UPS tracking number and shipping email, you realize how accustomed you’ve gotten to receiving play-by-play shipping information and a little photograph of your package when it arrives at your front step.

People have come to expect a lot from their online shopping experience. Huge online retailers, like Amazon, are crafting these expectations as another strategy to edge out competition. It’s all by design. So, how are smaller companies supposed to keep up with this demand?

Online retailers need tools that allow them to compete with the big boys and Malomo is here to help. Malomo is a shipment tracking platform designed for ecommerce marketers who want to level up their customer experience. Their mission is to help brands build authentic relationships with customers. Their platform allows online retailers to keep their customers up-to-date with shipping information using a beautiful branded platform.

Malomo could be a game changer for online retailers looking to build a more faithful customer base. Malomo’s platform can do so much more than send tracking information. The platform adds another layer to the customer journey by letting you create a digital space where your business can continue to build that customer brand connection.

Online retailers can use the platform to inform customers if there are any issues with their order such as a late shipment or a problem with an item. The platform can also be used to advertise other products, educate customers about the brand, or send targeted coupons.

In addition to offering a beautiful platform, Malomo provides online retailers with valuable analytics on customer behavior such as click-through rates on tracking information. Malomo integrates with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify making it a smooth addition to your overall strategy.

By integrating these ecommerce tools online retailers can harness the power of data to improve their customer experience, drive future sales, and keep up with customer demands for a world-class shipping experience.

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Business Marketing

Is Easy Advocacy the tool your business needs for ad campaign reach?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Product claims to make employee advocacy easier than ever with a tool that’s designed to enlist employees to share campaign content online.

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Ever wished you could get all of your employees in on your campaigns, enlisting them all to help make your digital content go “viral”?

No? To be honest, me either – at least not until I learned about a new program called Easy Advocacy, created by a company called Agora Pulse.

Easy Advocacy is a productivity and marketing tool geared towards harnessing the power of larger internal groups (employees) in order to make content sharing (campaigns, social media posts, etc.) as easy as possible. The product is listed on Product Hunt, which is essentially a tech geek’s paradise for new and interesting technology. This week, on February 19th, Easy Advocacy was listed as the #1 product of the day.

The website boasts features like:

• Quick campaign setups
• Making content easier to share
• Knowing the reach of your shares

In addition to making it easier for employers to have their employees share content, the platform also offers basic analytics pertaining to things like number of shares and website visits. Employers can also identify their top advocates through a leaderboard.

Their website’s description of the toolset says that the tool “dispels the hassle of the usual employee advocacy complaints and makes the process of sharing content with employees, who then share on their social channels, easy peasy.”
One way it does this is by emailing your employees the exact instructions and copy the company would like them to share, making it somewhat automated.

Now, while this all seems great, my biggest concern is who their market truly is. Are they going after small teams? Probably not as having a team of only 5 people sharing a campaign would be nearly fruitless – unless you happen to have a major social media influencer under your employment.

If they go after larger companies, like Apple, for example, I can see this tool being helpful. However, it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Larger companies typically are beyond the point of needing word-of-mouth campaigns. Let’s use Apple as an example here, too. They’ve been around for years, and according to Statista, 45.3% of smart phone owners in the U.S. go with Apple iPhones. Given this, and the fact that everyone already knows what an iPhone is (unless you live under a rock…), I really can’t see much need for a tool like Easy Advocacy for such a large company.

So, where does that leave the company? Only time will tell. My first bit of advice to the company is that the name definitely needs work. The name “Easy Advocacy” implies that there’s some kind of advocacy happening for employees, when in reality, this platform is meant to help employers. But given my points above, I think they need to think about their model some more and maybe make this tool something that’s more robust that companies of all sizes can use.

Full disclosure, this does not mean it’s not worth trying out. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

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