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Using other listings for leverage

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real estate leverage


One of our listings was used as leverage by another agent. I know we all have our techniques for selling real estate, but do you push your own listings to buyer customers by showing them other listings in worse condition?

The agent made an appointment to show a house we have listed that is in poor condition and does not show well at all. The sellers have refused to clean up or make it presentable and I have not even been able to take descent photos of the place. The agent showed his listing to his customers first and then went to ours. While showing the house, he kept referring to the other property, “If you add this room it could look like this but in better condition, if you open up this wall, it could have this feel but for less money”.

I know selling real estate is about comparing properties, but to do it openly in front of the seller and to make it obvious that he was not showing this property to actually sell it, but to sell his own was a bit out of line. I think a couple of lessons can be learned from this: Please wait until you leave the property to have those discussions, unless you want to burn bridges with fellow colleagues; and make sure you make your home presentable if you are selling.

Benn made a comment that I really appreciate on a post that describes this same property ( Why isn’t your Miami home selling?).

“This home says to me – Chaos. I hope your sellers listen, I wouldn’t even take a listing that looked like this. There’s no showroom shine about it.”

Rick and I take disastrous looking listings all the time because I help our customers stage and give them very particular instructions on how to make those properties look better. When the sellers don’t cooperate, they are placed in a situation like this, where their property is used as leverage to sell others.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Chad Hallberg

    February 21, 2008 at 10:48 am

    How much is it worth to you to have these “chaos” houses that sellers won’t fix? Simply by saying, “Oh, the sellers wouldn’t fix this; but, this house isn’t representative of my whole inventory” won’t do. Having a major sore thumb stand out like this speaks volumes to me as a client. What’s your solution to these “chaos” houses that make your whole inventory look bad?

  2. KC Investments

    February 21, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I think this goes on all the time. But let me ask you a question, aren’t you the market where the seller’s agent is always present?

    Out here it goes on but you are generally speaking in privacy. If someone is hiring me for my thoughts, I think they should hear them. Be they positive or negative.

  3. Mariana

    February 21, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I do this all the time: compare listings … but NEVER in the presence of listing agent or the Seller. That is completely unprofessional.

  4. Sarasota

    February 21, 2008 at 11:32 am

    You’d think this was common sense, it’s unfortunate that some Realtors don’t get it.

  5. Mark Harrison

    February 21, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I’m not so sure this can’t play to your favour.

    Presumably you want the sellers to sort out the problems with their property, so that you have a better chance of selling it for a decent price?

    Isn’t it worth going back to them now and saying “Look, I’m really sorry that guy’s been a *&£@ – he shouldn’t have said those things… but that’s what buyers are looking for – is there any chance you could sort out X and Y… then it would be YOUR house that was being talked up!”

    I’m an investor rather than a real estate agent (I was briefly an “estate agent” as we call them here in the UK many years ago but turned to the dark side) – I _love_ those types of properties, because I’m prepared to sort out the work to get my portfolio in top shape … that’s how I make my profit 🙂

  6. Ines

    February 21, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Chad – let me first make clear that the house pictured is NOT the listing in question, it was a negatively staged property for a marketing piece. As for how to solve the chaos, we do many things: hire a stager, make recommendations and go out of our way to get the property in “selling condition”.

    If the sellers don’t cooperate, depending on pricing and type of property, we may choose to cancell the listing. The Realtor is not always the one that gets fired.

    KC Investments- you are right about the seller’s agent being present, but I think it has to do more with protecting the property. Sometimes the seller is there as well, and as much as I like and encourage feedback, there are some things that you keep private unless of course you are ready to get an ear-full from the selling agent.

    Mariana- and you better believe I will not be as accomodating to that agent anymore.

    Sarasota- I think it goes back to “respect” but a lot of people don’t agree

    Mark- we must think alike because that’s exactly what we did…btw I hear horror stories about estate agents in the UK. Looks to me like a good opportunity!

  7. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    February 21, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Mark is right on- if your sellers see what they’re up against, they *may* be more willing to scrub up.

    Ines, I do think it’s poor form to do it publicly though- those conversations are what we call “coffee talk” where you go to Starbucks after you’ve shown houses and talk about the good/bad of each. You would think that people who invest THEIR time in real estate would not openly insult the time of others.

    But, it’s business, so c’est la vie, right? Some people don’t even have buyers or listings, Ines- so you’re ahead of the game 😉

  8. Ines

    February 21, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Lani – since AG is technically an agent blog – the intent here is to see what we do right or wrong that may burn bridges.

    This agent had absolutely no intention of selling my listing, he was using it for his gain….and granted, he has plenty of his own non-staged homes to make the comparison.

    I thank him for blatantly showing me that he had no intentions of selling my listing, because I can now know what type of a business person he is and it will give me an advantage if I ever have to work with him as a cooperating agent.

  9. Thomas Johnson

    February 21, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    1. Why was the seller in the house? All my sellers are schooled to leave the house during showings. If your listing is a dump, it should be priced accordingly and it will be gone. The truth shouldn’t hurt. My question is: Why did you take an ugly listing that has price competition? The other agent would have had an offer on your desk in a nanosecond if his listing was not the better value of the two.

    2. What does having a dump for a listing say about you to other coop agents? Let’s see what Ines has nearby, we can always use that to get this dog sold. The flip side: Ines’s listings are always impeccable and worth the higher price because they glow!

    3. This is not the market where we can afford to coddle sellers who are uncooperative. Our time is all we have, and time spent on an unsellable deal is money down the drain. Think of something you really like to do, such as reading, movies, time with your family. Now choose between the aforementioned activites and keeping this listing. THEY BOTH PAY THE SAME!

  10. Ines

    February 21, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Thomas – good discussion and here are the answers.

    The listing is not a dump, it’s full of stuff. It is definitely priced accordingly and anyone that knows us and the way we do business, knows we don’t don’t play the overpriced game.

    I guess it’s good to have a challenging listing once in a while, and that’s what’s happening here. Our sellers are instructed to leave and they all do, but that day it was pouring outside and the agent that was showing was late – so he arrived at the same time as the seller and the seller insisted that he see the house.

    The other listing was a short sale – and in my opinion overpriced when you compare apples to apples and price per square foot. The other agent used his customers’ inability to see beyond a mess to try to sell an inferior property.

    I think I explained before that when we take a listing, we go in depth with our clients about what needs to be done and how quickly. My architecture background is a big plus when dealing with staging and having the house in the best showing condition.

    Thanks for your humor at the end. That’s exactly where this may end up. These sellers agreed to cooperate and now are not doing their part. I refuse to spin my wheels and will not continue marketing the property if they don’t do their part, it’s plain and simple.

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Opinion Editorials

Sci-fi alert: Building cities on quantum networks becoming reality

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) The University of Bristol’s Quantum Engineering Tech Lab has created quantum networks that demonstrate the possibilities for future cities.

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Quantum network connections in theoretical city at night time.

The University of Bristol is home to the largest quantum entanglement-based computer network in the world. Its Quantum Engineering Technology Lab, led by Dr. Siddarth Joshi, has been spearheading the development of a method of encryption called Quantum Key Distribution that may soon revolutionize information security.

First, what is quantum computing, exactly? (Giving a concise answer to that question is sort of like nailing jelly to a wall, but here goes…)

Much like a light switch, a conventional computer circuit can only be in one of two states at a time: On (1) or off (0). That’s basically how binary code works – by representing information as a series of discrete on and off signals, or high and low energy states.

Quantum computing makes use of a third kind of state that exists between those two.

Think about it this way: If classical, binary computing models rely on energy states of “yes” and “no” to communicate data, quantum computing introduces a state of “maybe.” This is because at the quantum level, the photons that make up the information in a quantum computer can exist in multiple places (or energy states, if you prefer) at once – a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”

Entangled photons cannot be observed or measured (i.e., tampered with) without changing their state and destroying the information they contain. That means quantum computer networks are virtually hack proof compared to traditional networks.

This is where Dr. Joshi’s team is changing the game. While previous attempts to build a secure quantum computer network have been limited to just two machines, the QET Lab has been able to establish a quantum encrypted network between eight machines over a distance of nearly eleven miles.

As Dr. Joshi puts it, “until now, building a quantum network has entailed huge cost, time, and resource, as well as often compromising on its security which defeats the whole purpose. […] By contrast, the QET Lab’s vision is scalable, relatively cheap and, most important of all, impregnable.”

If it can be successfully scaled up further, quantum encryption has countless potential civic applications, such as providing security for voting machines, WiFi networks, remote banking services, credit card transactions, and more.

In order for an entire population to be able to utilize a quantum network, fiber optic infrastructure must first be made accessible and affordable for everyone to have in their homes. In that sense, quantum cities are still roughly two decades away, posits Dr. Joshi. The technology behind it is very nearly mature, though. A simpler application of quantum encryption is practically right around the corner – think quantum ATMs in as few as five years.

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Opinion Editorials

5 ways to grow your entrepreneur business without shaming others

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) We all need support as business owners. Let’s talk ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur that do not include shaming your competition.

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Entrepreneur women all talking around a meeting table.

The year 2020 has forced everyone to re-assess their priorities and given us the most uncertain set of circumstances we have lived through. For businesses and entrepreneurs, they were faced with having to confront new business scenarios quickly. Maybe your entrepreneur business was set to thrive as behaviors changed (maybe you already offered contactless products and services). Or, you were forced to add virtual components or find new revenue streams – immediately. This has been tough.

Every single person is having a hard time with the adjustments and most likely at different stages than others. We’re at the 6-month mark, and each of our timelines are going to look different. Our emotions have greeted us differently too, whether we have felt relief, grief, excitement, fear, hope, determination, or just plain exhaustion.

Now that we are participating in life a bit more virtually than in 2019, this is a good time to re-visit the pros and cons of the influence of technology and marketing outreach online. It’s also a great time to throw old entrepreneur rules out the window and create a better sense of community where you can.

Here’s an alluring article, “Now Is Not the Time for ‘Mom Shaming’”, that gives an example from about a decade ago of how the popularity of mommy bloggers grew by women sharing their parenting “hacks”, tips, or even recipes and crafting ideas via online posts and blogs. As the blog entries grew, so did other moms comparing themselves and/or feeling inadequate. Some of the responses were natural and some may have been coming from a place of defensiveness. Moms are not alone in looking for resources, articles, materials, and friends to tell us we’re doing ok. We just need to be told “You are doing fine.”

Luckily, some moms in Connecticut decided to declare an end to “Mom Wars” and created a photo shoot that shared examples of how each mom had a right to their choices in parenting. It seemed to reinforce the message of, “You are doing fine.” I don’t know about you, but my recent google searches of “Is it ok to have my 3-year old go to bed with the iPad” are pretty much destined to get me in trouble with her pediatrician. I’m hoping that during a global pandemic, “I am doing fine.”

Comparing this scenario to the entrepreneur world, often times your business is your baby. You have worn many hats to keep it alive. You have built the concept and ideas, nurtured the products and services with sweat, tears, and maybe some laughs. You have spent countless hours researching, experimenting, and trying processes and marketing tactics that work for you. You have been asked to “pivot” this year like so many others (sick of that word? Me too).

Here are some ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur (or at least, ideas worth considering if you haven’t already):

  1. It’s about the questions you ask yourself. How does your product or service help or serve others (vs. solely asking how do I get more customers?) This may lead to new ideas or income streams.
  2. Consider a collaboration or a partnership – even if they seem like the competition. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
  3. Stop inadvertently shaming the competition by critiquing what they do. It’s really obvious on your Instagram. Try changing the narrative to how you help others.
  4. Revisit the poem All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and re-visit it often. “And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”
  5. Join a community, celebrate others’ success, and try to share some positivity without being asked to do so. Ideas include: Likes/endorsements, recommendations on LinkedIn for your vendor contacts, positive Google or Yelp reviews for fellow small business owners.

It seems like we really could use more kindness and empathy right now. So what if we look for the help and support of others in our entrepreneurial universe versus comparing and defending our different way of doing things?

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Opinion Editorials

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.

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Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as your customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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