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What Say You? Is this Good Advertising?

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This morning I was reading some of my favorite blogs. (Not real estate related.) I glanced over on the side column and what did my eyes see?

An ad by NAR.

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It was a rotating ad, and this came up next…

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I don’t know if it is being advertised by NAR anywhere else because I was on GretaWire.com and it led me to a story here.

When you click it takes you to the data that NAR compiled in a survey of 50,000 NAR members of which 4% or 2035 members responded. The survey was conducted between Aug 5th and Aug 14, 2009.

From my chatter around the water cooler, I know most agents are in favor of the extension.  We received a letter this week from NAR asking us to contact our Senators and Congressmen to ask them to extend the First Time Home-buyer Credit. I did not because I am not in favor of anything that is causing more debt for my children and grandchildren. I did not because the Cash for Clunkers worked for a month and now the automotive dealers are dead.

On Monday I did a status update on Facebook and asked if Realtors were going to be contacting their Senators and Congressmen to ask them to extend the credit.  27 folks commented their thoughts.

My question here is to get the opinion from you on this: is this ad an appropriate use for our NAR dues?

I suspect some of my more liberal blogging friends would not like to see this ad on Fox News. I am not sure I would like to see it anywhere.

What say you?

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    October 8, 2009 at 9:28 am

    What not keep spending till every last one of us is bankrupt! Too bad the government cant just wash the slate clean for all of us and themselves. A “Do Over” for everyone is what we need.

  2. Erion Shehaj

    October 8, 2009 at 11:48 am

    There’s no doubt that there are political implications to the extension of the tax credit — As there are with anything that involves the expenditure of tax dollars. And based on your political inclination, you may view that as a great or terrible idea. But from the perspective of a trade organization like NAR, their very purpose for existence is to make the landscape favorable for their members. And as far as that goes, the ad in question is appropriate because I don’t think anyone could argue against the fact that the members in this trade organization would be better off with an extended credit.

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 8, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Erion, I agree it is probably best for MY income. But…you knew there would be a but.
    When does putting the future of our children and grandchildren come first. The money is not FREE, we are paying for it.

    Is it right for my and Realtors own job’s to borrow against our childrens future ?

    I do we as a nation continue to borrow our way out of debt. I heard the debt today was 3.something trillion. I can’t even conceive of that…and most of the stimulus money is not spent, nor Cap and Tax nor anything for Health Care Reform.

  4. Erion Shehaj

    October 8, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    My question here is to get the opinion from you on this: is this ad an appropriate use for our NAR dues?

    My comment was in reference to your question above. If the question is: “Should tax dollars be spent for homebuying credit?” that’s an entirely different question. If it is true that the tax credit has accounted for most of whatever little wind has been blown in the sales of the housing market this year, eliminating it this early into “recovery” would be a mistake. I’m not too thrilled at the prospect of spending even more money to basically place a stool under a somewhat crippled market, but in much similar fashion to Afghanistan, the alternative would be much worse and the effects wouldn’t be limited to housing market either.

    In all fairness, I didn’t hear the same kinds of concern over national deficits when we went from a surplus to a 1 trillion dollar deficit in 8 years, over tax cuts. The definition of “fiscally responsible” should not change based on who’s occupying the White House.

    Just sayin’…

  5. Erion Shehaj

    October 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I believe the verbatim phrase from Dick Cheney was: “Reagan proved than deficits don’t matter” …

  6. Bob

    October 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I want a utility credit for power and water, a cable credit so I can watch The Pres on the tube, a grocery credit so I can help the traditional grocery stores fend off those capitalist pigs at Wal Mart so they cant continue to show the world how to make a profit, and a gasoline credit to be used to show homes to buyers with the tax credits.

    No more tax credit.

  7. Bob

    October 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    To answer the question about the ad, I think Erion nailed it:

    “But from the perspective of a trade organization like NAR, their very purpose for existence is to make the landscape favorable for their members. And as far as that goes, the ad in question is appropriate because I don’t think anyone could argue against the fact that the members in this trade organization would be better off with an extended credit.”

    Do I like the tax credit? No. But NAR is actually acting like a trade org here.

  8. Portland Real Estate

    October 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Probably not worth our money. NAR seems to be a little mis managed these days.

    -Tyler

  9. Missy Caulk

    October 8, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Bob, appreciate your thoughts. Just seemed weird to see an Ad on Fox News from NAR. Would be interesting to see how many responded.

    Also would be good to see how many first time home buyers bought because of the credit that would NOT have bought otherwise. Since the first time home buyer always dominates the market.

  10. Joe Spake

    October 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Good points about NAR acting as a trade organization – as they were with the “Now is a Great Time to Buy campaign” running as the world watched the US real estate market tank. NAR has acted as a trade organization with other such ads over the last few years, with Mr. Yun’s sunny forecasts, and now the current push for extension of the tax credit.
    NAR’s advocating for Realtors has strengthened the public’s perception that we are willing to bend the truth a little, or do most anything else to make a sale. IMO, a trade organization’s first priority should be upholding the standards of membership and honestly enhancing the public’s perception of the members, not spin doctoring.
    I, too, would love to see the numbers on how much the tax credit has stimulated the market. I really think my clients who took advantage of it would have bought anyway.
    For the record, I don’t appreciate my dues $ being spent on the ad [I didn’t support the Rose Bowl Parade float, either], and I do not support an extension.

  11. SteveBeam

    October 9, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I’m not for the tax credit or the ad. I too have seen NAR ads in crazy places. I think they feel like the government. Throw money at it and it will get better. I guess at least they are trying but not good enough in my opinion. i certainly don’t feel like I receive much for my dues.

  12. Ken Brand

    October 9, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I’m ok with AD. At least it’s a Call To Action, tied to urgency.

    I’m not ok with the general, “Now’s a great time to buy, for no particular reason.”

  13. Susie Blackmon

    October 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I’m not for the extension of the tax credit, or the ad.

  14. Paula Henry

    October 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I can certainly see the call of urgency if a first time home buyer is “on the fence”, but, I for one, do not want to see the first time tax credit extended. Still, I don’t like the ads; they speak of desperation.

    If it really takes a credit for a home buyer to buy, where will it stop. When will we know the market has normalized. We can not continue to throw money at the problem. When the money runs out and it will, then what?

  15. Missy Caulk

    October 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    We have just had so many first time home buyers who were HAPPY to get the credit but not buying TO GET the credit…maybe it is just Ann Arbor. We get tons of Residents and grad students who move in.

    Paula, I just can’t imagine a consumer clicking on that ad. Weird to me.

  16. Mike Pennington

    October 10, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Missy: Just read your last comment. I agree. Maybe though we need a tax credit for any buyer. Or maybe one big credit for those who sell and buy a more expensive home.

    In my area, there is low inventory of affordable homes. There is way to much inventory for the expensive stuff.

  17. Bob in San Diego

    October 12, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Is it good advertising? Who were they advertising too? It reminds me of the Drug company ads for some drug you have never heard about.

  18. Jay Myers

    October 12, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Let’s not forget the Tax Credit was put into place to stimulate banks just as much as to stimulate buyers to get out into the market.

    I have not signed NAR’s petition to “extend or Expand” the tax credit because of how it is written. I am in favor of an extension, but only till Spring of 2010. We need to keep lenders lending, since this will most likely be a slow year for retailers. keeping money changing hands is a good thing for the American economy, and if a short extension can do that I am in favor.

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Opinion Editorials

Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) In the COVID-19 crisis, some leaders fumbled through it, while others quietly safeguarded their company’s future.

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strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how strong leaders can see their teams, their companies, and their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always but is amplified when a crisis occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve their teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything was disrupted and people are adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when leaders game plan, strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

7 sure-fire ways to carve out alone time when you’re working from home

(EDITORIAL) It can be easy to forget about self-care when you’re working from home, but it’s critical for your mental health, and your work quality.

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Woman in hijab sitting on couch, working from home on a laptop

We are all familiar with the syndrome, getting caught up in work, chores, taking care of others, and neglecting to take care of ourselves in the meantime. This has always been the case, but now, with more people working from home and a seemingly endless lineup of chores, thanks to the pandemic. There is simply so much to do.

The line is thinly drawn between personal and professional time already, with emails, cell phones, and devices relentlessly reaching out around the clock, pulling at us like zombie arms reaching up from the grave. Working from home makes this tendency to always be “on” worse, as living and working take place in such close proximity. We have to turn it off, though.

Our brains and bodies need downtime, me-time, and self-care. Carving out this time is one of the kindest and most important things you can do for yourself. If we can begin to honor ourselves like this, the outcome with not only our mental and physical health but also our productivity at work will be beneficial. When we make the time to do things we love, our mind’s gears slow down that constant grinding. Burnout behooves nobody.

Our work will also benefit. Healthier, happier, more well-rested, and well-treated minds and bodies can work wonders! Our immune systems also need this, and we need our immune systems to be at their peak performance this intense season.

I wanted to write this article because I have such a struggle with this in my own life. I need to print it out and put it in my workspace. Last week, I posted something on my social media pages that so many people shared. It is clear we all need these reminders, so I am paying it forward here. The graphic was a quote from Devyn W.

“If you are reading this, release your shoulders away from your ears, unclench your jaw, and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.”

There now, isn’t that remarkable? It is a great first step. Let go of the tension in your body, and check out these ways to make yourself some healing me-time while working from home.

  1. Set aside strict no-work times. This could be any time of day, but set the times and adhere to them strictly. This may look like taking a full hour for lunch, not checking email after a certain hour, or committing to spending that time outdoors, reading, exercising, or enjoying the company of your loved ones. Make this a daily routine, because we need these boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
  2. Remember not to apologize to anyone for taking this me-time. Mentally and physically you need this, and everyone will be better off if you do. It is nothing to apologize for! Building these work-free hours into your daily schedule will feel more normal as time goes on. This giving of time and space to your joy, health, and even basic human needs is what should be the norm, not the other way around.
  3. Give yourself a device-free hour or two every day, especially before bedtime. The pinging, dinging, and blinging keep us on edge. Restful sleep is one of the wonderful ways our bodies and brains heal and putting devices away before bedtime is one of the quick tips for getting better sleep.
  4. Of course, make time for the things you absolutely love. If this is a hot bath, getting a massage, reading books, working out, cooking or eating an extravagant meal, or talking and laughing with a loved one, you have to find a way to get this serotonin boost!
  5. Use the sunshine shortcut. It isn’t a cure-all, but sunlight and Vitamin D are mood boosters. At least when it’s not 107 degrees, like in a Texas summer. But as a general rule, taking in at least a good 10-15 minutes of that sweet, sweet Vitamin D provided by the sun is good for us.
  6. Spend time with animals! Walk your dog, shake that feathery thing at your cat, or snuggle either one. Whatever animals make you smile, spend time with them. If you don’t have pets of your own, you could volunteer to walk them at a local shelter or even watch a cute animal video online. They are shown to reduce stress. Best case scenario is in person if you are able, but thankfully the internet is bursting with adorable animal videos, as a backup.
  7. Give in to a bit of planning or daydreaming about a big future trip. Spending time looking at all the places you will go in the future and even plotting out an itinerary are usually excellent mood-boosters.

I hope we can all improve our lives while working from home by making time for regenerating, healing, and having fun! Gotta run—the sun is out, and my dog is begging for a walk.

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Opinion Editorials

The one easy job interview question that often trips up applicants

(EDITORIAL) The easiest interview questions can be the hardest to answer, don’t let this one trip you up – come prepared!

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Women sitting nervously representing waiting for a remote job interview.

A job interview is tough, and preparing for them can seem impossible. There are some questions you can expect: what is your experience in this position? How would you handle this situation? And so on.

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But what about this question: what makes you happy? Though it may seem straightforward, getting to the right answer is not such an easy path.

Work engagement

According to research, less and less employees feel like they are truly engaged at work. Some blame the work environment but truth be told, it is not a company’s responsibility to make you happy.

Without a passion for what you are doing, you will never enjoy the job.

It is the best case for everyone. More engaged workers are more productive in addition to feeling like they serve a purpose.

Do your due diligence

So before finding yourself in an interview where you have to take an awkward pause before answering this question, the best thing is to do some research. It all starts with the job search.

When looking for a job it is easy to get caught up in high profile company names and perks.

For instance, although “Social Media Coordinator” may not be your thing, the position is open at the cool advertising agency downtown. Or perhaps the company offers flexible hours and free lunch Fridays. The problem is that these perks aren’t worth it in the long run. Working for a cool company can be exciting at first, but it is not sustainable without passion for the position.

It’s important to pay attention to is the position you are applying for.

Is this work that you are passionate about? Take a look at the job responsibilities and functions. Besides figuring out if those are things that you can do, ask yourself if they are things that you want to do. Is this an opportunity that will match your strengths and give you purpose?

Let your passion protrude

With all things considered, when asked “what makes you happy” at the next interview, you will be able to answer honestly. Your passion will be apparent without having to put on an act.

Even if they don’t ask that question, there is no downside to knowing what makes you happy.

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