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Opinion Editorials

Real Estate For the Dazed & Confused

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ozzy

There was another rash of typos in the MLS and property ads this week that I collected for your entertainment. These descriptions can provide hours of fun. We Realtors are such a saucy group – I think we should take this show on the road. We can open for Ozzy Osbourne. He can hardly talk, and we can hardly spell. We’ll bill ourselves as “Dazed and Confused.” Who’s on board?

Let The Show Begin:

Lushs back yard (Did you hear that, Uncle Timothy?)

House in movement condition (It’s enough to scare the crap out of you.)

Great Shit Pay Opp. (Another house in “movement” condition.)

Dog pack nearby (A new form of Neighborhood Watch.)

Vertical blonds (Horizontal after a few drinks.)

HOA covers water, trash, pest and pubic areas. (Just not pests in the pubic area.)

Pottery kild in shed (Psycho hiding in attic.)

New styptic (Because the purchase will bleed you dry.)

New draimage needs inspection. (Brain draimage is likely diagnosis.)

Bask in the hot sin by the pool. (An age-old Hollywood tradition.)

Lakefront with swim area marked by boubys. (Yeah, a good set sure can float.)

Act Two – Dazed and Confused

Fished tankd above bar (Uncle Timothy tanked under bar.)

New House on Large woodie lot (Recently erected, I presume.)

Low HO dues (Do they now have a club?)

Seller’s equipment not for sale (She didn’t pay her HO dues.)

Serving food and drunks (Uncle Timothy, did you get that address?)

Amazing view from top of hell (I think I’ve seen that view.)

Wet bra in rec room. (Rack bra in lingerie drawer.)

Owner decreased (Death by steam roller)

Bath with 2 heads in shower (Agent with 2 feet in mouth.)

The Show Continues in Spite of the Hecklers:

Near Manhattan Chatter School (A training ground for ladies of The View.)

House sits on large pot (So does Uncle Timothy after a bender.)

Drip into the sparkling pool. (Tetracycline anyone?)

Gardener with new drip line (Keep him away from the pool.)

Minutes to Pork and Ride (Is that a strip club…on a large woodie lot?)

Large Guest hose (Nope, not going there.)

Secure, privates & in a convent location. (Yep – Nuns demand those privates stay corralled.)

Great neighborhood – check out the cops. (Should I also do a “drive-by”?)

Long hellway separates kids from master (At last, a well planned house!)

And Now, the Curtain Call:

Move in by summer and enjoy the lick. (I bet this house sells fast.)

Thanks to all who contributed from all over the country.  Special thanks to my colleagues and friends at Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker, and Nelson Shelton, as well as to the, LA Times and the MLS for their unwitting contributions. For more fun and frolic, please visit www.SherlockofHomes.com

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    June 19, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Thank the Lord I saw “Gwen Banta” and put my coffee 10 feet away before I started reading. No new monitor for once!

    Caught these beauties on our MLS:

    Fux marble counters (another Hollywood tradition?)

    Jack and Jill bathe up (after being in that woodie lot, I would too)

    Thanks for getting me up laughing again, Gwen!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride!

  2. Gwen Banta

    June 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Joe, I’m going to have to consult with you on my next post. I love your twisted wit!

  3. Gwen Banta

    June 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Hey Benn – I am so green at this that I don’t even know what a tinyurl is. Is that a small guy named Url? (I dated a guy named Hurl.) Or a guy named Url with a small…

  4. Matt Stigliano

    June 20, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Gwen – Every time I read one of these, I wonder who these agents are. I want to know what they’re like, what they do when they’re not writing poorly spelled descriptions, how well they do as agents, who buys their homes…so many things I just sit and imagine. Then my head starts to hurt and I need to run away.

    One of my L.A. agents could barely put a sentence together she was so quiet and meek. That was a great pick there, Stigliano. Needless to say she didn’t last. My next one, well let’s just say we didn’t air freshener for weeks after she did an open house. I don’t know if that perfume was expensive, but I sure hope it was – would have at least justified the mountain of cash I handed her after doing most of the work myself (is it common for sellers in L.A. to have to call the escrow company to get information instead of their agent?…didn’t think so).

    You live in the weirdest place on earth. I guess I shouldn’t mock you for it. I spent 8 years in weirdness there and without a real job either (music is not a real job no matter how successful you are). I miss it some days, but coming here reading your article gives me a little taste of what I loved about living on Yucca and Wilcox.

  5. Paula Henry

    June 20, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Gwen – you never disappoint! who ever thought the MLS could replace the funnies section of the newspaper 🙂

  6. Gwen Banta

    June 20, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Yeah, it’s pretty weird here, Matt. However, as much as I love the sport of dissing L.A. (and there’s SOOOO much material), it’s still a great place to be. And a lot of my material has been submitted from elsewhere in the country. I guess the base line is that there are good and bad agents everywhere.

    I have learned a lot from some of the best in the business here, and I’ve experienced side-splitting laughter from a few of the rest. My first agent here (before I was licensed) drove me into a tree while applying her lipstick. Another male agent I know calls everyone “sport” every 10 seconds and reeks of Listerine. And one of my faves is the guy at a competing brokerage who always has a sweaty upper lip. Hmmmm…

    I have a lot of friends in the music industry, and that’s a strange world indeed. (Yucca and Wilcox – wow – I go by there almost every day.) One of my friends in that business is in a huge band. He told me that life flips upside down when a guy like him (he’s got great values) goes “from trying to get girls into bed to trying to get them out of your bed.”

    I don’t have his problem in the real estate business. But it does remind me that I live in Oz. I just try to remember to keep my mouth closed when some client’s kid says “Why don’t you have a private jet, like Mommy?” But one of these days I will reply, “I work with my clothes on, you little monster. Now shut up and finish your martini.”

  7. Gwen Banta

    June 20, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Hi Paula – The more I look, the more I find. Read the ads in your local paper sometime when you’re bored. It’s like “Where’s Waldo” for me now as I try to spot the bloopers. I have actually found a few I cannot even post because they are sooooo wrong!

  8. Dennis Pease

    June 20, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Now that I’ve lifted myself up from the floor and wiped away the tears I’m able to say, that is the most hilarious piece I’ve read in a while. I’m going to have to start saving those from the MLS when I see them now.

  9. Gwen Banta

    June 20, 2009 at 3:38 am

    Send me anything you find, Dennis. We need to share the love.

  10. Dennis Pease

    June 20, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I certainly will Gwen…. Off to the MLS. 🙂

  11. Gwen Banta

    June 20, 2009 at 3:57 am

    Incidentally, I’m thinking of using Ozzy’s photo as my own from now on. He’s too confused to notice, and I think his look serves as a brilliant editorial comment on my chosen career…

  12. Matt Stigliano

    June 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I work with my clothes on, you little monster. Now shut up and finish your martini.

    This gets my vote for “best humorous quote in AG comments for 2009”. Yes, I know 2009 is not over, but if someone can beat it, they have some time to wrack their brains.

  13. Kim Curran

    June 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Love your posts Gwen.

  14. Diane Guercio

    June 21, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Absolutely hysterical! Saw a serious comment in one MLS posting once: PLEASE- show this dog! I was tempted to preview it just to say I did (pass that Tetracycline, please).

  15. Gwen Banta

    June 21, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Thanks, Matt. I think I used the same line on my ex-husband.

  16. Gwen Banta

    June 21, 2009 at 3:41 am

    Thanks, Kim. Next week’s post is really twisted, so stick around 🙂

  17. Gwen Banta

    June 21, 2009 at 3:46 am

    That’s hysterical, Diane. I once read an Agent’s Remarks that said, “House doesn’t look good, but it’s good under the walls” (a line I intend to use often now that I am aging). I wonder if that optimistic agent ever got any showings…

  18. Cameron Novak

    June 21, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Well done Gwen. Great commentary.

    I work with a brokerage by the name of: The Homefinding Center

    I recently noticed that I sent a client an email and missed the letter M.

    It said,
    “The Hoefinding Center”
    Corona Real Estate

  19. Gwen Banta

    June 21, 2009 at 5:06 am

    Now that is refreshing – an agent who actually admits making typos! When other agents tell me about them, they somehow always credit them to some other poor sap. I am as guilty as the next guy. Once I did not notice that Autofill filled in my name so that it read, “Green Banana.” So much for proofreading.

  20. Matt Stigliano

    June 21, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Green Banana – I like it. If you think next’s week’s post will be “really twisted” you can be assured I’ll be coming back. Hopefully I can remain out of your posts, but then again, I thought I could stay out of Chris Griffith’s too.

  21. Gwen Banta

    June 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    You can run, Stigliano, but you can’t hide…

  22. Louise Scoggins

    June 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Gwen, you write the funniest posts!! I love reading them! I type very fast but I am notorious for typos so I constantly have to read and re-read things. I don’t want to end up on someone’s blog!! I can’t wait to read next week’s twisted post…LOL

  23. Gwen Banta

    June 24, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Oh please don’t proofread TOO much, Louise. Where will I get my material? Besides, I am the world’s worst typissed 🙂

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Opinion Editorials

Shady salary transparency is running rampant: What to look out for

(EDITORIAL) Employees currently have the upper hand in the market. Employers, you must be upfront about salary and approach it correctly.

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Man holding money in the dark representing false salary transparency.

It’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to job applications. Job descriptions often misrepresent remote work opportunities. Applicants have a difficult time telling job scams from real jobs. Job applicants get ghosted by employers, even after a long application process. Following the Great Resignation, many employers are scrambling for workers. Employees have the upper hand in the hiring process, and they’re no longer settling for interviews with employers that aren’t transparent, especially about salary.

Don’t be this employer

User ninetytwoturtles shared a post on Reddit in r/recruitinghell in which the employer listed the salary as $0 to $1,000,000 per year. Go through many listings on most job boards and you’ll find the same kind of tactics – no salary listed or too large of a wide range. In some places, it’s required to post salary information. In 2021, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act went into effect in Colorado. Colorado employers must list salary and benefits to give new hires more information about fair pay. Listing a broad salary range skirts the issue. It’s unfair to applicants, and in today’s climate, employers are going to get called out on it. Your brand will take a hit.

Don’t obfuscate wage information

Every employer likes to think that their employees work because they enjoy the job, but let’s face it, money is the biggest motivator. During the interview process, many a job has been lost over salary negotiations. Bringing up wages too early in the application process can be bad for a job applicant. On the other hand, avoiding the question can lead to disappointment when a job is offered, not to mention wasted time. In the past, employers held all the cards. Currently, it’s a worker’s market. If you want productive, quality workers, your business needs to be honest and transparent about wages.

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Opinion Editorials

3 reasons to motivate yourself to declutter your workspace (and mind)

(EDITORIAL) Making time to declutter saves time and money – all while reducing stress. Need a little boost to start? We all need motivation sometimes.

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Clean work desk representing the need to declutter.

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few years. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob, an un-alphabetized bookshelf, or that we’ve put off ‘declutter’ on our to-do list for too long.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, taking time to declutter can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those 3 things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization

(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?

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Women in a meeting around table, inclusion as a part of stopping gender discrimination representing invisible work.

Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.

Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.

Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.”  Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.

There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.

What we want to do:

  1. Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
  2. Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
  3. Distribute the work equitably.

Here is a simple example:

Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.

Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.

Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.

Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.

Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.

You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs.  According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.

*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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