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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.

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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

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.

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As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your 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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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

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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