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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

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

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Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

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A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

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That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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This smart card manages employee spending with ease

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

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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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