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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

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).

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In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.

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Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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