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“When the Going Gets Tough… it’s Just Plain Tough!”

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“I’d rather be Crabbin’ than be Crabby!”

Maybe it’s the high price of gasoline. Perhaps it’s all the political uncertainties with the pending presidential election. Or dissatisfaction with our current involvement over in Iraq.

Whatever it is, people are on edge. Have you noticed?

It’s like the scene from the movie “Ghostbusters II” where there’s this huge river of evil slime flowing under New York City, and it’s causing everyone to be upset and angry.

Well, the oozy slime seems to be seeping into the real estate market too. I have several deals in escrow right now, all in various stages of going upside down or ‘sideways.’ I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like lately, every deal is a struggle. I mean, seriously, I rather have my wisdom teeth pulled…without novacaine!

A fellow RE blogger shared a similar sentiment in a recent email:

“No, it’s been a living hell. We only wish biz was that good. Two particular escrows have been like a medieval siege.”

Is this just Murphy’s Law of Real Estate? Do we all enjoy a certain ‘season’ of smooth transactions, and then, suddenly, our number is up, and we have to willingly accept our fair share of difficult/challenging deals?

<sigh>

I suppose such moments should make us truly appreciate those ‘smooth’ transactions when they happen. Either that, or maybe I just need a dose of good ‘positive’ slime and some classic Jackie Mason…

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109 Comments

109 Comments

  1. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Rich I believe it all depends upon where you’re placing your “crab pots”.

    You want a smooth transaction…start dealing and trolling for investors. We close, have no mortgage worries and WANT to close fast. Up in your neck of the woods there may not be as much occasion but in most areas, if an agent does their JOB and prices the property right, the deal will move and close fast. So tired of hearing agents lament about deals not closing and then at the same time doing nothing to ENSURE that their deals do close.

    There should be no escrow problems if you have th right buyer. The great NW did not seem to have the same issues the rest of the Country has ahd but if those in other areas want there deals to close and want to become real estate agents who blog instead of bloggers who occasionally sell real estate they may want to drop their crab pots in the right areas.

  2. Genuine Chris Johnson

    June 9, 2008 at 7:42 am

    COME ON. THERE IS BUSINESS OUT THERE.

    Seriously. You can make this business whatever you want. Do what Dr. Stephen covey said 20 years ago. Expand your circle of influence.

    How?

    1.) Pick a non stupid mortgage lender that is 100% surviving in this market. Don’t work with someone that’s only doing 2 closings a month.

    2.) Stop bitching. SERIOSULY. You beget what you create or whatever.

    3.) GO PROSPECT MORE. If it’s moneyblogging, fine, do SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE that gets you newd deals.

    4.) Track your numbers.

    5.) Get a survival buddy to have daily accountability.

    6.) Apartment complex marketing.

    7.) What barry said, investor marketing.

    8.) Join LoanOfficerSurvivalTraining.com and get my 16 ways of getting NEW business.

    or rather,

    QUIT.

  3. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Chris if you were nearby I’d buy you lunch. Since you are’nt let me say my sentiments EXACTLY. If it isn’t working DO SOMETHING ELSE! But the time and agin lamenting is really..really..getting old and the consumers we have spoken to read that kind of stuff and find it all quite amusing.

    It’s really simple. Who do you want to be around? Winners or Losers? The consumer wants to be involved with an agent who has his or her sh#t together and reading about how bad it is ..in my opinion, does not convey strength and confidence. Both attributes I have found the consumer wants in an agent.

    Ever hear the term in sports…”he’s fighting through a slump”? Operative word being “fighting”.

  4. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Barry & Chris: I do everything consistently through systems I’ve set up. Over 90% of my clients are by referral. I use some the best, most qualified mortgage lenders out there. But unfortunately, there are always elements outside my ability to control. Such is the Russian roulette of our business. We can work as smart and diligently as we want, but there will always be aspects to the transaction that we cannot influence. Trust me, I am not complaining here. My attitude is always one of unending optimism, right up to closing, and beyond. Remind me from now on, not to share anything of a negative nature with you guys, but to simply sugarcoat my experiences. That way I can divert the feeding frenzy.

    Barry: actually, I have used your analogy of crab pots before along the same lines. You can have all the right equipment, use the most attractive bait, set the pots in approximately the same depth, but when you come back, one pot will be full of keepers, and another will be filled with small rock crabs or a starfish. Sometimes just the luck of being in the right place at the right time. But getting skunked doesn’t keep your trying again, or lessen your love for the sport!

  5. Genuine Chris Johnson

    June 9, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Let’s think about this a minute, Rich…

    If you have the best systems, why are you having issues? Hint: you only THINK you have the best systems. Good systems produce low hassle closings.

    EVEN IN THIS MARKET. ESPECIALLY IN THIS MARKET.

    I can close 90% of conventional loans in ten days (hence the name https://tendayteam.com, and no I’m not taking clients anymore).

    There are FEW elements outside of your control if you properly screen, qualify your cients. Many agents and lenders that work on a referral basis (as I do) don’t screen their clients because they were from ‘referrals.’

    It’s EASY AS HELL to fool ourselves. I’ve done it myself.

    If your mortgage lenders are screwing up, they’re not “new market ready,” and you need to get new ones or hold the existing ones to “new market standards.” Delays are 100% unacceptable, and should happen less than once in 100 closings, or your lender has had their skills get atrophied. THE MARKET IS 100% understandable.

    This is toxic whimpering, and it shouldn’t be allowed to leave your lips; get it out of your head. Reconsider EVERYTHING. This market demands it.

  6. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Rich with all due respect I have to agree with Chris 100%..maybe 150%. There is NOTHING in a transaction outslide of your control. You may simply be ALLOWING it to be out of your control. We close transactions around the Country without ever seeing the property. It’s not that systems don’t work..it is Your system that is failing you.

    One of my problems was I kept accepting from mortgage brokers and title companies that it it took 45 days or so to close. I accepted it and that was that. Then I found out that the REAL reason things took so long to close is that the title company was slow and was pushing things off their desk and going by the contract date. Hence if the contract had a 30-60 day close, they would not even schedule work on the file for a couple of weeks. Then the same with the mortgage lender. he would have conditions back in 24-48 hours and simple items were taking WEEKS to obtain.

    We stepped in and placed a transaction coordinator in the mix. She made sure that we received title searches, liens searches and title commitments in 24 -48 hours. Our mortgage brokers were made aware that they had 72 hours to provide us with conditions from the lender and a pre-approval.

    Then we have a meeting within 96 hours (via web conference) and set the tasks to bring the deal to close and close most transactions within 10-15 days. Hard money deals even quicker.

    30-45 day closes are for chumps! The Web 2.0 world does not stop at blogging!

    Most real estate agents unforutnately are NOT agent geniuses and really have no idea as to how to manage a transaction. They get lazy and cheap and sit around waiting for thr proverbail 45-60 day close and then when it falls apart it is truly as Chris says..whimpering. Not at all saying that about you but those who are not well rounded in managing their BUSINESS and taking advantage of the WEB 2.0 world and the transaparency therein on ALL aspects of the transaction are truly doing a disservice to their clients and missing out on a lot of paydays.

    Are real estate agents really still thinking it takes 30-60 days to close a deal? Wow…like I have said in many previous comments and posts…dinosaurs waiting for the comet!

  7. Frank Jewett

    June 9, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Don’t worry Rich, you can always fall back on your job with ActiveRain.

    On second thought, better listen to Chris and Barry. 😉

  8. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Barry & Chris: If you guys never hit a snag or have a bump in the transaction road, then I applaud you both. I suppose you both tread water without effort? To say that that there is nothing is outside of your control in a real estate transaction is simply naive at best. This is not toxic whimpering. It’s simply an observation from a day in the life. The ying & yang of the real estate roller coaster. Please preach to another choir 🙂

  9. Paula Henry

    June 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    We can work smart, efficiently and surround ourselves with the best and still, sometimes, it happens, the unexpected.

    Just this week, we are facing “one” that may not close. Great agent, solid contract, great lender, efficient title company – but not much one can do about Mother Nature. A flooded home has less appeal to a buyer. This particular one also affects the seller as a buyer and so forth – three transactions in all.

    Last year, when the new tax bills came out – we had buyers who no longer qualified with higher tax bills – had nothing to do with any of the players. For the most part, we close them, sometimes- though – there are exceptions.

  10. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Paula: Absolutely. For the most part, the majority of my transactions go very smooth. I’ve been most fortunate. And much of that has to do with attention to detail and good communication between all parties. Unfortunately, at times, there are simply those situations where the deal goes south, and no manner of collective effort can revive it.

  11. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Hey Rich…other than an act of God, and even in those instances there can still be a profit..I gotta call BS! You’re supposed to be the professional. You mention things being out of your control…other than the aforementioned acts of God what exactly is out of your control in a transaction? I for one would love to know.

    Never, EVER experienced an deal that we could not control and we have closed some doozies…even going to the state pen to get documents signed by a seller who committed double murder and was on death row….even having to have a closing in another city and having to take flights all around the country in one day t get the deal closed.

    Preaching to the choir..hardly..seems like you are by trying to intimate that things occur that you can’t control.

    Act of God excepted, what are the things that have happened to delay your transactions that an experienced, competent and resourceful agent can not control? How about spelling that out and let’s see.

    I can admit being wrong. Please explain what you can’t control in a transaction.

    By the way..I live by the ocean, I have a pool, and I don’t swim so I don’t tread water…I make sure I don’t hve to.

  12. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 9, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I think that a lot of persons are feeling the strain with everything – and are looking to take it out to vent their frustrations. Which means, our job just becomes more important to remain professional. For most persons, buying or selling a home is an emotional experience. Being able to talk them down off the ledge is just one skill of many that real estate professionals need to have at their disposal.

  13. Elaine Reese

    June 9, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Well, Rich, I get your drift and have been wondering the same thing – and I’m NOT going to criticize you. My issue has been with the inspections and Remedy Requests. In the past, sellers or buyers were “reasonable” for the most part in working out a mutual agreement. Today they’re much more “testy” and harder to console. The agents are OK to work with but all of us are having trouble with the clients. Sellers don’t want to fix … buyers want everything fixed! Getting into contract is fairly easy compared to staying in contract through the inspection phase.

    And I don’t think we have any control over what is going to show up on an inspection.

  14. Christopher Zabka

    June 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Rich, random question, but is that a Relient K t-shirt?

  15. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Elaine..yes you do..it’s your JOB to know. You’re supposed to be the professional…agents simply do not for the most part know how to protect their deals from the outset. This is ridiculous…you should have known any inspections BEFORE going to contract. Here’s a free tidbit of advice..we often write into our listings that the buyer needs to perform all inspections to their satisfaction BEFORE submitting an offer. Then hat is written into the contract.

    Next deal killing issue please!

  16. Larry Yatkowsky

    June 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Laurie Manny posted a deep breath a couple of days ago.

    https://www.longbeachrealestatehome.com/long-beach-real-estate-market-everybody-hurts

    just a thought………

  17. Bill Lublin

    June 9, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    @Rich; I see your point and agree with you 100% Yes, I think that this type of market for the working agent is a challenge because I believe that the warm the economy, the uncertainty of the election, and $5 a gallon gas on the horizon has many members the public that we deal with on edge. And who can blame them?

    @Jennifer- We agree We agree 😉

    @Chris; While I agree that having good systems is an important part of the mix, there are some things that are out of our control,(like the actions of 3rd parties) and when those things occur, we need to (in the unofficial mantra of the US Marines) Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome. Actually, it is because of those uncontrolled occurences that our systems grow and improve.

    And in that military vein – Systems are great but remember;

    “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. — Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke

    The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer with a map

    And most importantly when people are edgy and stuff is stressful , my last little tidbit

    Never reinforce failure. Failure reinforces itself

  18. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Barry: Just exactly which planet do you practice real estate on? Seriously. In the first place, my primary point here was that people, in general, are on edge. And you seem to prove that point PERFECTLY!… I cannot always control what my clients are going to do, no matter how well I may counsel them. They’re human. They can make bad error of judgment. I don’t control what the agent on the other side of the transaction does. As much as I wish all agents were competent professionals, that’s not always the case. I can’t control what an inspector may find, or call out, especially when it comes to VA transactions. It’s a crap shoot. One of the most valuable skills we can possess as a real estate professional is the ability to calm a potential storm, or to effectively mediate between parties through challenging issues. But what is ‘ridiculous’ is to claim that somehow you’re so amazingly good, that there is never, ever any issues or problem with any of your deals.

  19. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Christopher: Yes, Relient K. Our family has been huge fans for a long time. We even had the band over to the house a few years ago for a crab feed BBQ.

  20. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Barry: Go take a bath in some ‘positive’ slime and play the video! 🙂

  21. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Rich, thanks for a very educational and infomative comment and post. I will look forward in great anticipation to the next. I am sure you will continue to be successful in all of your endeavors and undoubtedly your ability to inform and educate all of us is a credit to your stature in the business.

    I will bow out now and let the others who need to drink from the fountain of your knowledge to freely discuss real estate matters with you. Thanks for an engaging and worthwhile discussion.

  22. Kristal Kraft

    June 9, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Rich ~ It is common knowledge we are dealing with a very low consumer confidence now. The toughest part of our transactions are dealing with 3rd party emotions. One day they are up the next day they are down and worried they are making a mistake. I don’t care how much hand-holding you do, there are bound to be times when deals just aren’t going to work.

    We have also gotten ourselves into some crazy notions that homes have to transfer “absolutely perfect”. Twenty year old homes must have zero defects. Yeah sure only in a perfect world.

    The best thing you can do is keep your head on straight and lead by example. Getting ahead of a problem before it happens works. Sometimes we have to out think everyone else and have more than one plan. Asking folks what’s their Plan b when they get shaky sometimes brings them back to reality.

    Our company has been tracking the month-to-month sales fallout rate. This past month it was a staggering 25.82%, double than what it was same time last year. Last August or September it was in the 40% range! Obviously this was after the lending institutions met their waterloo.

    Our current fallout relates to all the things you have mentioned, in a nutshell a lack of consumer confidence.

    There is no doubt this sort of fallout creates considerable strain on the consumers, Realtors, lenders, and the entire resale service industry.

    We need to bring confidence back to our country. Instead of sniping and casting blame, we need personal responsibility and common sense.

    Hang in there, this too shall pass!

  23. Vicki Moore

    June 9, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Absolutely. I’ve noticed it as well. There are a lot of people having a tough time right now. Several friends have lost their businesses, their homes – in some cases both. It’s not always easy to keep a “stiff upper lip.” I blast the music in between calls. 🙂

  24. Broker Bryant

    June 9, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Rich, Are you pissing folks off in here? If it helps I’m on your side. I could honestly say that if I were working for buyers all of my deals would close unless it was in my buyers best interest to not close i.e. inspection issues, title issues etc…

    Working for sellers it’s certainly a little more difficult. We don’t have control over the buyers and unfortunately have to take their lenders at face valie for a lot of stuff. And I don’t like it one bit. In my market most buyers are marginal to say the least. I can make all the right calls and take all the right steps to make sure they are qualified BUT I’m not the one looking at their credit and financials. I wish I were but I’m not. If their lender is lying to me I’m screwed.

    Now as Barry mentioned working with Investors is a whole different ball game. Assuming they are qualified and experienced investors their deals should be smoother and should close. Even though they are notorious for 11th hour negotiating.

    In my market, right now, it’s a fact that if you are a listing broker and don’t have REO listings you are dead in the water. Not much I can do about that except solicit for REO listings. That takes time when you are a one man office. Short sales are a pretty good niche on the listing side but those can certainly be frustrating. Bu that’s OK I don’t mind frustration to a point. My average seller doesn’t have a chance of selling in this market. Even if they bought 8 years ago and put 20% down they are still over financed today. They can’t compete with the bank.

    So…what I’m doing is spending this year working ON by business. I’m changing directions completely. I’m in the process of going virtual and hiring agents. This is something I’ve never done. I’ve also been spending time working on my Internet presense. I actually own Google for my market area. I’m basically getting ready for next year and beyond and just doing what I can for this year. And….I’m getting a great tan!!!!

  25. Linda Davis

    June 9, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    You are so right Active Rich! This is my 4th down market (yes I’m that old) – late 70’s, late 80’s, late 90’s and now. The best, like you, will survive. When things go badly, I always ask myself the question, “What could I have done differently to prevent this from happening?”. In many cases, the answer is absolutely nothing.

    I only list property – I have no control of a co-broke buyer who gets cold feet or a buyers mortgage company that goes out of business 3 days before closing. Or a military officer who’s orders change a week before closing.

    …..Or (happened to me yesterday) a cobroke buyer investor who decided to break into my bank foreclose and start to rewire it prior to closing….although I guess I could have shot him for tresspassing.

  26. Teresa Boardman

    June 9, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Real estate transactions can fall apart through no fault of the agents. We don’t control everything, if we did you can bet every transaction would work out because we are so very fond of being paid.

  27. Susan Hilton - Texas Aggie Realtor

    June 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    We see it over and over. When it starts to go bad GO ON VACATION because you just have to break the cycle.

  28. Genuine Chris Johnson

    June 9, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Sorry. Back to this.

    Here’s the deal. You can’t control an individual transaction.

    But you can control weather or not you have them…

  29. Susan

    June 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Rich, I agree that brining the real estate transactions to closing is more challenging. Sellers are still hanging onto yesteryear and buyers are hitting hard. There are definitely factors out of our control, but I’m always working on ways to eliminate most of them short of buying the house myself….and some realtors even offer that!

  30. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Genuine Chris: You can control the ‘weather?’….man, you ARE good!!!

  31. Elaine Reese

    June 9, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Thank you Rich for asking which planet Barry is on. I don’t know where he works but here our ordinary residential buyers certainly don’t shell out hard earned money to have inspections until they are in contract on a home.

    Seems like his attitude is a good example of the point of your post.

  32. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    You know..I try to be cordial and bow out but you guys think it’s ok to take shots without regard. Elaine, there is no other worldly place. It’s right ehre. In literally hundreds of transactions in the last 7 years, closer to 800 actually I have had 2..just two deals blow up on me. Every single one..every single one has closed.

    Were there problems along the way, of course, but we knew where the problems were and knew how to overcome them.

    My attitude is not shaky ..I ABSOLUTELY love this market and truly wish it would stay like this for quite a while. It’s like Christmas every day!

    The actual point of the matter lies in your statement wherein you say “ordinary residential buyers certainly don’t shell out hard earned money to have inspections until they are in contract on a home”…maybe some of you guys need to expand your horizons and actually try things BEFORE you discount them.

    Most of my deals close and I am paid before the contract even is dry. We have cultivated a stable of buyers who tell us in advance what they are looking for. We either go to contract and quickly assign, effect a true wet-wet double closing, or hold and sell thereafter.

    Every single contract I have ever written, bar none, whether to investors or end buyers has had this clause in it:

    Buyer warrants that all inspections have been made to Buyer’s satisfaction and Buyer agrees to accept the property in As-Is condition and shall be responsible to close regardless of any future inspection issues raised by the Buyer’s lender or any other 3rd party.

    If I go to contract I EXPECT to be paid. I make sure going in that I know whaere the bones are in the deal. If there is an encroachment, we have already read the survey, if there are permit issues we have already spoken to the city and had them pulled from microfilm, useful life expiration on roofs, hvac and etc…we know it before we go into contract…the workup we do on a property prepares us to make sure we have everything covered.

    We have a 30 page booklet that we fill out before we even go to contract ..it makes it very easy for us when we pull the trigger. Therefore when we sell, there are NO surprises.

    When we sell we also require the buyer to either provide a solid pre-approval that we verify and have our mortgage people make sure the Buyer’s mortgage people know what they are doing.

    We have title prepared an by Contract reuire the Buyer to use our title company.

    There is so much more but I am not sure why you guys don’t get it. We are so thorough that people often say it’s the easiest closing they have ever seen.

    I am not sure why you and Rich can’t see that you ABSOLUTELY be prepared for any issues and sometimes that includes an Act of God clause. (remember we live in Hurricaneville).

    I understand that Rich was reduced to anger and some have found it quite unbelievable and even you think it’s from another planet but we do it. I have outlined just SOME of what we do in each and every transaction. I asked Rich what hiccups he has so I could address them and I got told to go away..so I did until you maliciously wrote this comment.

    I have read some of the excuses from people above and point blank…that would never happen. It’s not a fabrication it’s jsut the way we do things. I’m sorry if you don’t believe it but unless you have done all that we do, then you can’t really say that there are things beyond your control.

    One lady mentioned above that there’s nothing you can do about a Buyer who gets “cold feet”….sure you can. I love those, they are the easiest money out there. However it does not happen all that often and what some look at as a problem I look at as a profit center.

    Elaine and Rich, it’s a matter of perspective. I was trained by a mentor who has been buying and selling real estate for 30 years. He’s a fixture here in South Florida and is known as the Godfather of Real Estate.

    I was fortunate to meet this man nearly 20 years ago and he has continued to teach more than most can ever imagine. One of the things he taught me over a decade ago was to not leave anything to chance in your deal. Deal management is a honed skill.

    While many may not have it and may never have it, you can’t denigrate and think crazy those who have spent years and years perfecting it.

    We pride on getting our deals closed and like I said, until you walk into a prison with attorney’s to see a convicted double murderer who could not attend closing for obvious reasons…you have not truly learned how to wholly manage a transaction.

    That deal netted me over $50,000 in about 3 weeks simply becasue we knew and were able to get the deal closed. Nobody else could or would spend the time and money to get it done.

    Do you have any idea what it takes to get a deal done with a convicted murderer serving two life sentences? Now I do.

    That’s what we do. Others would have said it wasn’t doable. We found a way to make it happen and now we have the requisite knowledge to handle similar situations in the future and now people come to us because they know we can get those kind of deals done.

    Someone getting cold feet, a mortgage broker flaking out…that’s small potatoes. Every deal I get involved in I expect to close and will do what ever is necessary to ensure that it does.

    Am I crazy..dunno..it most assuredly works for us.

  33. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Sorry for the typos in my last comment…it’s 1AM and I am exhausted. I can spell fine..just a little blurry looking at the keyboard.

  34. Mariana

    June 9, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    If you can survive in this market, you will THRIVE when the pendulum swings back. Doing what needs to be done and remaining focused will pull anyone with enough dedication through this… What is really important is that we all have eachother to lean on when we want to pull out our hair.

  35. Jay Thompson

    June 9, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Barry – haven’t I read that your are not a licensed real estate agent? Or am I confusing you with someone else?

  36. Rich Jacobson

    June 9, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Jay: Are you kidding me?

    Barry: Please know that I was not, nor have I ever been, ‘angry’….I have a lot thicker skin than that. I guess I was just a bit surprised at how ‘contentious’ you were right out of the gate, especially since this post was simply a brief snapshot observation of current market dynamics lately. When I represent my Buyer’s best interests, I always recommend a full home inspection, and make it a contingency of the sales agreement. The inspection is normally performed with 10 days of mutual acceptance. There are some instances when a home is marketed “As-Is” and we know, going in, that the Sellers are not willing to make any improvements or repairs. Different story there. I applaud you if you’re capable of closing so many deals without any issues or problems. But to accuse me of not doing my job, or that I should consider another career, just because some of my transactions are having some problems outside of my control?

  37. Brian Brady

    June 10, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Let me shed throw my two cents in.

    Chris, no system will eliminated the problems third party vendors provide. Appraisals come in low, buyers get cold feet, inspectors overanalyze, sellers won’t make repairs, and title companies take time to issue commitments without crazy exceptions. In a declining market, everybody adopts a CYA attitude which causes more work for agents and originators.

    Barry, you’ve got to be kidding. Investors are NOT easy. They go through agents like water, double app loans, and treat relationships like a lone stud at an all-women college.

    Gentlemen, I appreciate the textbook advice but it ain’t practical in the world of resales.

    Oh, I am accepting new clients. I guarantee it won’t be easy. Your clients will buy furniture 4 days before final loan approval, the loan guidelines will change, the gift money won’t come through, and the buyer will quit their job right after they go under contract. It’s going to be rough but I’ll do what I’ve been doing for 14 years- get through it, persevere, and fund your deals so you get paid.

  38. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 4:11 am

    @Rich I think you show remarkable self-restraint

    @Barry – I know you love to “stir it up” but you’re way too bright to think that your small part of the market is indicative of the real estate market outside your small sphere – and yes, I mean small –

    Investors as a whole have always been a small minority (yes that is grammatically correct – minorities can come in different sizes) of the entire real estate marketplace. And when the smaller investor (people who buy one or two or even 10 or 20 houses) are taken out of the picture, the minority shrinks even further. So to go off the point of the discussion and then act as if that experience is really relevant to the vast majority of real estate professionals or real estate consumers is just plain silly.

    You’re correct when you say Elaine and Rich, it’s a matter of perspective. But you ignore the fact that they speak from the perspective of the majority of the participants in the real estate marketplace. Close to 800 deals in seven years? Very nice for you, and not to get into a spitting match, I won’t compare my own purchases in that time, but I would point out that a medium size real estate company does that in less then 6 months, and a large one does that many deals in less then a month – so when you talk about the real estate experience, try to measure the sum total of your experiences against that perspective –

  39. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Bill…Rich has shown much restraint…why is that? Can one not have a reasonable discussion without going off on a tirade and getting angry? Can one not have a dissenting opinion without it being called “stirring it up”? To me, and others, that is truly small thinking.

    Bill I am sure there ar some who have had more success, and I am positive that there are some who have had far less. But let me clarify something you may be overlooking.

    When you say “medium size real estate company does that in less then 6 months, and a large one does that many deals in less then a month “…that is not at all indicative of my experience. I am not even sure of what you are talking about. The production I wrote about is my PERSONAL production. No company..just me. My name on each deed in and each deed out as the case may be. Also, I was the principal in each transaction as well.

    No crew of agents, no staff of assistants and lackeys…so I am flattered that you would even think to compare my personal production to that of an entire office. By the way, since YOUR NAR says that most agents only do 1-2 deals per year…and only average a measly $45k or so per year in revenue, where are these offices that you are talking about? I know the biggies do that on a national scale..but surely you aren’t intimating that you were talking about a national office.

    I understand that Investors are only a small part of the market. That is a given, the point of this thread was that Rich said he has problems with deals blowing up. What I have been saying here and elsewhere, is that in this Buyer’s market, with an abundance of REO properties and distressed sale opportunities, it is this “small” market that a lot of agents could find a lot more success.

    When I buy and sell a property it’s seriously no hassle. I deal with a segment of buyers who agressively want to get deals done.

    Right now in Broward County, there are 17,000+ single family homes on the market and we have an absorbtion rate of nearly 3+ years. Why in the world any agent would be continuing to list homes in this market is beyond me.

    At the same time, there are so many REO and foreclosure properties that the banks are bending over backward to make deals happen.

    Who do you think are the active buyers in this market? Hey, I’m all for playing in the game with the most odds of winning. Most of the time it’s a retail market. In this instance it’s not. Therefore the prudent agent would market and cater to those transactions with the highest probability of success…and least hassle.

    I don’t know, wanting to get paid multiple times per month without a hassle in what is considered a down market is appealing to me. I guess you are right, I must be in the minority. But it’s a happy, smiling, Christmas every day, enjoying minority!

  40. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Jay, you are correct sir, I am NOT a licensed agent.

    Mariana, you are the type of person I like to work with. You seem to be a “see it from all sides” type of person. Agents like you in this market do quite well down here and have a bunch of business from the money making minority!

    Rich, you may want to scroll up. It was Chris who said for you to quit.

    Brian..love the line..”treat relationships like a lone stud at an all-women college”…yeah..that’s true. I can’t deny that one 🙂 But you have to admit when we run into agents and mortgage brokers who give us what we want we end up staying with the one who brought ya. Wouldn’t jump horses if I was making money. But I admit that some investors can resemble mercenaries.

    I can admit that if you can admit that most agents can’t provide investors with information that they need and that a lot of agents are flat out intimidated by investors becasue they are used to dealing with buyers who don’t know the questions to ask.

    Sometimes it’s not profitable going the “easy” route. Sometimes you have to as an agent EARN your keep. IMO

  41. Maureen Francis

    June 10, 2008 at 6:48 am

    After 7 years, I am still waiting for my first “easy deal.” It ain’t happening.

    That said, I am busier than ever. But I want to write a list of requirements for the agent’s I work with and their clients.

    1. Agent must have, carry and answer a cell phone.
    2. Agent must check email at least 3 times a day.
    3. Client must call their agent to see the house.
    4. Agent: Fax machines are so 1999. Get a scanner and learn to love it.

    I am going to stop there before this turns into a rant of my own.

    It’s a couple of small things, but they would all make my life soooo much easier.

  42. Broker Bryant

    June 10, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Barry, In all fairness you have to admit that what you do and what we do is different. You are in a better position to control the entire transaction because you are a principle to the transaction. You are comparing apples to oranges. I wear 2 hats, one as a REALTOR(R) and one as an Investor(albeit small time). Depending on what hat I am wearing my duties are completely different and the transaction process is different. I have way more control as a buyer than I do as a REALTOR(R). That’s the way it is.

    It also becomes more complicated if I wanted to “wholesale” properties. It can certainly be done but as a REALTOR(R) and a licensee it’s not as easy. I always have to protect my license. So for me, I choose to NOT get involved in “wholesaling”. It’s difficult for me to place a property under contract and then flip in to one of my Investors when I could do the same thing by just listing it and taking a commission even though in most cases the commission will be far less.

    Look at this way, if you had a REALTOR(R) you were working with and then found out you were competing with them (they were only passing down properties they didn’t want themselves) would you continue to use their services? I doubt it. That’s why it’s so difficult to wear both hats.

    So in this market, or my market to be specific, right now, I have to decide whether to get into the buying and selling business OR continue to realign my brokerage that I’ve had for 10 years. My decision is to realign my brokerage.

    Barry, what you do and what we do are completely different. Can’t you see that?

  43. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Barry; Once again you mis-quote and mis-state. I’m not sure if you do it intentionally or if you are just in such a rush to write that you don’t read.

    YOU SAID – “I understand that Rich was reduced to anger”

    I SAID – @Rich I think you show remarkable self-restraint

    YOU SAID -“Bill…Rich has shown much restraint…why is that? Can one not have a reasonable discussion without going off on a tirade and getting angry?”

    Yes Barry one can have a reasonable discussion. However you make large and sweeping statements which are not consistent with the thread of the conversation. In addition, you speak as though you have some great authority – and its an authority that I don;t recognize. That can be quite frustrating, and I felt that Rich responded in an appropriate manner so I commented on that, .

    YOU SAID -“In literally hundreds of transactions in the last 7 years, closer to 800 actually I have had 2..just two deals blow up on me. ”

    TO WHICH I RESPONDED “A medium size real estate company does that in less then 6 months, and a large one does that many deals in less then a month “

    The purpose of that response was to point out that in a Universe of almost 800 deals having 2 fall out is no big deal, but the rest of us are working in a much larger Universe, and therefore statistically the chances of a problem are greater. In addition, you are the principal in all of those transactions, so you only really dealt with (at most) 400 other principals (discounting partnerships etc)- an even smaller sampling

    THEN YOU SAID “that is not at all indicative of my experience. I am not even sure of what you are talking about.”

    I understand that it is not indicative of your experience, and that actually goes right to the point I was making. There is a lot you don’t know about the real estate industry because you work in a specific niche, though I am sure that there is a lot you do know about being a consumer and real estate investor. With all due respect to the NAR statistics that you quote, the largest brokerage in my area sold over 500 houses a week last year. And our firm, substantially smaller, sold about 120 units per month – a little under your “almost 800” in just 6 months. obviously we in the industry are dealing with a lot more people and a lot more mortgage companies, and were therefore exposed to a larger universe of issues.

    YOU SAID – “The production I wrote about is my PERSONAL production. No company..just me. My name on each deed in and each deed out as the case may be. Also, I was the principal in each transaction as well.
    No crew of agents, no staff of assistants and lackeys…so I am flattered that you would even think to compare my personal production to that of an entire office.”

    I was not comparing your personal production to a company (see, you don’t read carefully) and in fact, I specifically pointed out that I was not discussing the number of properties I had bought as an investor (which is where a comparison would more properly be drawn and are not numbers that are included in our company’s sales figures) – What I was pointing out was that almost 800 properties 800 properties is not a huge universe to draw inferences from.

    So the point I was making was (to paraphrase the Bard) “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio Barry,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy experience to date.

  44. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 8:41 am

    BB..you are somewhat correct. What we do is a BIT different. Not much but a bit.

    Bil…let me ask you a question. What “broad sweeping statements” are you referring to? This conversation was posed as an industry wide assessment. So how is speaking in terms of the industry a bad thing.

    Secondly, was Rich being restrained when he said above.. “Go take a bath in some ‘positive’ slime and play the video”…was that the restraint you saw?

    I don’t presume to be an authority but I do have experience and I’m not a dunce.

    You said “but the rest of us are working in a much larger Universe, and therefore statistically the chances of a problem are greater. In addition, you are the principal in all of those transactions, so you only really dealt with (at most) 400 other principals (discounting partnerships etc)- an even smaller sampling”

    Well what universe would that be and why do you presume to be in another universe. You are in Philadelphia and I am in South Florida…it’s not like I am in Idaho. What makes your “Universe” bigger and more substantial then mine? I think one of the AG contributors (Ines) would think otherwise as well. What in the world does that possibly mean?

    And you may want to double check your math, but it’s not all that important as not much of what you respond with has an substance. The whole bigger Universe thing has thrown me and quite a few who have read this into wondering what in the world was in your coffee this morning.

    C’mon Bill…your statement of “There is a lot you don’t know about the real estate industry because you work in a specific niche, though I am sure that there is a lot you do know about being a consumer and real estate investor”….you’re kididng right? I mean you want to challenge my knowledge of the real estate business…are you SURE you want to enter into that realm? I don’t think you do…matter of fact I know you don’t.

    Are you intimating that a week of class and a couple of hundred bucks is a pre-requisite for knowing the business? Wow..that’s one pompous attitude there. I CHOOSE not to be licensed.

    I don’t have to be. I get ALL of the benefits of being a licensee without dealing with ANY of the BS.

    I have read many of your comments and posts and that is probably the single biggest faux pas I have read of yours to think that because I am not licensed that I can’t stand toe-to-toe with any agent, including yourself, in regards to knowledge of the business and transactional management. That’s just one preposterous allegation meant to get a rise out of me but it takes a lot more than that. That statement you made was absurd. However if it makes you and others sleep well at night thinking that their positions are loftier because of the piece of paper on the wall…so be it.

  45. Bob

    June 10, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I get ALL of the benefits of being a licensee without dealing with ANY of the BS.

    That “BS” would include agency and fiduciary.

  46. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Bob, If that works for you then I won’t debate you. Like I said, if it makes you sleep better then have at it. Maybe Broker Bryant can tell you about being a Transactional Broker.

  47. Jeremy Hart

    June 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I don’t know, perhaps it’s self-involved but I don’t care who’s producing how much and how quickly. All I care about is making sure that I’m doing the things I need to do, each and every day, to bring my clients through the transaction as unscathed as I possibly can. There will always be hiccups and problems, but how we deal with them – whether they were anticipated or not – can make all the difference.

    If we can shine in today’s market, then we’ll be on top of tomorrow’s market. Keep chipping away at the things that you can control … my Team has surpassed last year’s total already, and last year was a record year for us. I mention that simply because by keeping our heads down and doing what we need to do on a daily basis, we CAN survive. It’s not easy – we had one deal blow up over a $150.00 salary discrepancy – that was an unexpected problem, but after some reworking we were able to get it through. Anything’s possible, but not every problem is foreseeable.

    I appreciate Rich’s honesty – I’ve been wrestling with this myself, wondering why so much of what we were working on seemed to have issues. One of the reasons I like sites like AG is because it makes me realize that there are a lot of people in the industry who are like me – doing what they need to do every day, good market or bad. Their problems may be new to me, or they may sound all too familiar, but we all go through them at some point.

    Now back to work …

  48. Broker Bryant

    June 10, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Barry, I took my first licensing class back in 1982. At the time I was a waiter but was also investing in real estate. I took the class but never went for licensing because I did not want to be encumbered with a license. So I certainly understand where you are coming from. My license is restrictive when it comes to investing, in my opinion. It doesn’t mean I can’t still invest I just have to be more careful with how I treat the public. Just the fact that I’m licensed and have to disclose this, keeps me from being able to be completely “arms length”.

    For example, I work in a pretty small very niche market area. My reputation is everything. If I started buying and flipping or “wholesaling” properties my potential sellers would be concerned that they were competing with may an my personal properties. Buyer’s would feel the same way. It would basically be shooting myself in the foot. I chose to be a Broker. It’s different and more than a BIT. Let’s go with quite a bit:)

  49. Bob

    June 10, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Maybe Broker Bryant can tell you about being a Transactional Broker.

    Many states don’t have transactional brokers. Regardless, in some states that do, the agent would likely cross the line and create an agency relationship if they handled the transaction as you do.

    You tend to paint everything with the same brush. it isn’t about the licensing, it’s about the job description.

  50. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 11:03 am

    BB..Okay I can concede a bit in your direction. Thanks for coming back with substantive conversation. What about when I act as the Selelr and list one of the properties that I have purchased through an agent. Are we not then working pretty much the same from that point?

    Bill…like I said, you’re not adding much to the discussion. Nothing is being painted with the “same brush (by the way do a lot of you guys go to like blog jargon class?)

    We buy and we sell and often times sell via agency and list and market and do what it takes to move a property and make sure it closes. This business isn’t brain surgery (obviously)…you assume too much I am, often on both sides of the coin and when the need arises to list and market and sell and do those things we need to do within the realm of a licensee we do. When we don’t we don’t. That simple.

    I didn’t ask for your opinion on what is or is not an agency relationship. We’ve got that handled. That’s why we pay the guys in the suits in the big towers downtown, so we don’t have to take your opinion. Or rely upon blog conjecture.

    Thanks anyways.

  51. Broker Bryant

    June 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Barry, I think the only difference would be that we are still dependant on our Sellers be honest with us. Most all but some do try to hide things no matter how firm we are with them about full disclosure. And some truly just don;t know. For example many sellers don’t realize that their HELOCs are liens on the property. Or they don’t realize they have a prepayment penalty. I’m not sure how they couldn’t know these things but some don’t. Because of that we have to really spend time making sure they understand everything. If I have any doubts I order a preliminary title search. BUT…..even doing that can miss stuff. Let’s say a search is done and comes back clear and then a week later a tax lien is slapped on the property. Chances are it wouldn’t come up until after we are under contract. It’s little things like this that you as a principle would know because you have experience.

    I have to say though that as a listing broker I rarely have issues on the seller side. It’s the incompetency of the other side that causes me problems.

  52. Broker Bryant

    June 10, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I sure wish we could edit comments after posting. I run a spell check but still miss things. Then it’s too late. How about it Benn? Editing capabilities? Please.

  53. Russell Shaw

    June 10, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Taking into consideration many thousands of deals, over the years – being primarily on the seller side (I’m a lister) – our fall out rate for escrows is about 10%, same as the title companies. When the subprime lenders were running wild (my average price was then about 300k, now it is about 250k) our fall out hit 20%. Again, same as the title companies that were located in those price point areas.

    I believe the total *number* of deals I close is totally up to me. Which ones close is an entirely different matter.

  54. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Russell as I know what you say really matters I thank you for bringing your view to the discussion

  55. Russell Shaw

    June 10, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Welcome, sir.

  56. Dan Connolly

    June 10, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Barry, I think you are missing a vital point. The only person you are concerned about in a transaction is yourself. From that prospective everything you say makes sense. Congratulations on your success, it sounds hard won and I have no problems with it. What you are missing is that the Realtor who takes the fiduciary promise we make to the Sellers and Buyers seriously, knows full well what the advantage of being a transaction broker is, and chooses to help protect the Sellers and Buyers from the perils of the transaction anyway.

    You might not understand a world where profit isn’t the only motivator. There have been many times when I could have bought a house for what the Seller wanted to list it for and turned right around and sold it for a profit. But I let the seller know that they were under the market and rather than making $50,000 profit for myself I made 3% of that or $1,500.00 for being honest. Maybe it’s crazy but it’s a choice I make freely with my eyes open.

    What’s in it for me? I have a steady stream of referrals who beat a path to my door. I don’t prospect, farm, cold call, chase FSBOs or expireds, I don’t even solicit my SOI. I sleep well and don’t have to look over my shoulder. I have never been sued and I like it. It’s about morals for me, nothing else.

    Over the years I have had many deals fall apart. I have had reputable mortgage companies go under the day before closing. I have had about 6 buyers or sellers die before closing, people get fired, get cancer, get divorced and even arrested. The buyer who gets arrested really can’t get his mortgage from jail! The trick is to have enough business that you can afford to lose one occasionally and to inform the client what the risks are.

    In answer to Rich’s original question, I think the stresses of the current economy do make it much harder to have a smooth transaction. I try to avoid the doom and gloom news reports, and keep a positive attitude. The diplomacy needed to keep people on track is the real skill set we all need to polish to make it through this downturn.

  57. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Dan, I sleep fine as well and I have no qualms about being a capitalist in a capitalist society. In BUSINESS..and let me qualify that again..in BUSINESS I am all about maximizing my profit to the fullest extent possible otherwise I would not be in BUSINESS. As an individual, humanity is very important and I know that because of BUSINESS success I can help many others including my family.

    I have a question though…why would you engage in a BUSINESS wherein the generation of income and the retention of profit was not a priority? Would you invest in a company that did not have the profit center as it’s priority? I keep hearing this Susan B. Anthony call to arms from Realtors about it not being about money…makes me wonder sometimes why those such agents are in BUSINESS. Perhaps it’s as the NAR says and most agents are on a second or third career and it’s more of a hobby at that stage in life than a business. Unfortunately the business model affords that to an individual and in my opinion often retards BUSINESS growth.

  58. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Barry: You really don’t read what I say – even when I cut and paste the relevant points of the conversation out for your review. Let’s try it again

    YOU SAID – Bil…let me ask you a question. What “broad sweeping statements” are you referring to? This conversation was posed as an industry wide assessment. So how is speaking in terms of the industry a bad thing.

    WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT- Was the fact that you make statements in a broad and sweeping manner without factual or empirical data NOT about the scope of the subject

    YOU SAID –Secondly, was Rich being restrained when he said above.. “Go take a bath in some ‘positive’ slime and play the video”…was that the restraint you saw?

    Yes

    YOU SAID – “I don’t presume to be an authority but I do have experience and I’m not a dunce.”

    I beg to differ. When a speaker makes a point without backing it up with data, it is inferred that the speaker is speaking with a voice of authority. Otherwise there would be data to back it up or a statement of limitation.

    I SAID – “but the rest of us are working in a much larger Universe, and therefore statistically the chances of a problem are greater. In addition, you are the principal in all of those transactions, so you only really dealt with (at most) 400 other principals (discounting partnerships etc)- an even smaller sampling”

    YOU RESPONDED – Well what universe would that be and why do you presume to be in another universe. You are in Philadelphia and I am in South Florida…it’s not like I am in Idaho. What makes your “Universe” bigger and more substantial then mine?

    MY RESPONSE – The Universe I was speaking about was the Universe of transactions defined by your experience and the Universe defined as the sum total of all transactions facilitated by the real estate agents who are the real estate Industry. Ines (for whom I have a great deal of respect) for example works for a very large company whose transactions alone would constitute a larger Universe then the one you draw your inferences from (your almost 800 experiences as a buyer/seller)

    YOU SAID – And you may want to double check your math but it’s not all that important as not much of what you respond with has an substance. The whole bigger Universe thing has thrown me and quite a few who have read this into wondering what in the world was in your coffee this morning.

    MY RESPONSE – The only math error I could have made was if the “almost 800 “transactions were “almost 800 properties” In our business, a transaction is either a purchase or a sale, and property has 2 transactions when it is transferred usually. I was merely responding to your language using an industry standard, assuming you were also. Even if not, the premise of your limited experience not reflecting the larger Universe of real estate transactions still stands. And for your information, I had a whole grapefruit, sectioned this morning. I don’t drink coffee.

    YOU SAID – C’mon Bill…your statement of “There is a lot you don’t know about the real estate industry because you work in a specific niche, though I am sure that there is a lot you do know about being a consumer and real estate investor”….you’re kididng right? I mean you want to challenge my knowledge of the real estate business…are you SURE you want to enter into that realm? I don’t think you do…matter of fact I know you don’t.

    MY RESPONSE – Barry I gave you credit for your experience as an investor and a consumer. You have indicated that you have never walked in the shoes of a real estate agent or broker, so that means to me that you don’t know what their experiences are like. I know that you have never participated in any National real estate organization, so you wouldn’t know what that was like. And the list could go on and on. So yes, I’ll stand by my statement. And as far as challenging your knowledge of the real estate business I didn’t do that, but frankly I wouldn’t be so sure that you know what might concern me. So please don’t assume that you have any clue what I would or would not want to do. Your aggression doesn’t provide any substitute for the experience you don’t have.

    YOU SAID – Are you intimating that a week of class and a couple of hundred bucks is a pre-requisite for knowing the business? Wow..that’s one pompous attitude there. I CHOOSE not to be licensed.
    I don’t have to be. I get ALL of the benefits of being a licensee without dealing with ANY of the BS.

    MY RESPONSE – I neither stated nor intimated that “a week of class and a couple of hundred bucks is a pre-requisite for knowing the business” , Where did that assumption come from? However, your complete disdain for the real estate practitioner is painfully evident. To take a position of unwarranted superiority because you feel that you’re in some manner better then the real estate professionals who comprise much of this community is just plain rude.

    YOU SAID – I have read many of your comments and posts and that is probably the single biggest faux pas I have read of yours to think that because I am not licensed that I can’t stand toe-to-toe with any agent, including yourself, in regards to knowledge of the business and transactional management. That’s just one preposterous allegation meant to get a rise out of me but it takes a lot more than that. That statement you made was absurd. However if it makes you and others sleep well at night thinking that their positions are loftier because of the piece of paper on the wall…so be it.

    MY RESPONSE – Never said that, And it was not a faux pas (defined as a social blunder) I said earlier, and I reiterate “I am sure that there is a lot you do know about being a consumer and real estate investor.” I am sure that there are many licensees in the country that are less informed then you are, and many that are as informed as you are, and many that are more informed then you are. I see nothing absurd, insulting or preposterous in any of those statements.

    In a later response – #51

    YOU SAID – Bill…like I said, you’re not adding much to the discussion. Nothing is being painted with the “same brush (by the way do a lot of you guys go to like blog jargon class?)

    MY RESPONSE- That was Bob, not me – Like I keep saying, I don’t think you’re reading very carefully. Talk about being painted by the same brush – or maybe we just all look alike? And who gives you the authority to determine who adds what to the conversation?

    YOU SAID – (TO BOB) – We buy and we sell and often times sell via agency and list and market and do what it takes to move a property and make sure it closes. This business isn’t brain surgery (obviously)…you assume too much I am, often on both sides of the coin and when the need arises to list and market and sell and do those things we need to do within the realm of a licensee we do. When we don’t we don’t. That simple.

    MY RESPONSE – Barry are you indicating in this statement that you practice real estate without a license in the states you do business in?

    YOU SAID –(TO BOB) – I didn’t ask for your opinion on what is or is not an agency relationship. We’ve got that handled. That’s why we pay the guys in the suits in the big towers downtown, so we don’t have to take your opinion. Or rely upon blog conjecture.
    Thanks anyways.

    MY RESPONSE – Tres Arrogant Mon Ami. If you don’t have to respect Bob’s opinion, why should he or anyone else respect yours? (And for clarity – if you read this part) – I think both opinions have the right to be heard and weighed by every reader – so don’t impute any other position to me. And if you don’t think blogs are a good source of information why do you spend so much time participating?

    Finally, the phrase would be Thanks Anway (there is no plural)

  59. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Bill, have a great day and I wish you well in all of your endeavors. Not going to do this it’s boring me…horribly. I am on the air right now..much more pertinent activity. Have fun!

  60. Brian Brady

    June 10, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    “I can admit that if you can admit that most agents can’t provide investors with information that they need and that a lot of agents are flat out intimidated by investors becasue they are used to dealing with buyers who don’t know the questions to ask.”

    Stipulated. Mortgage originators as well.

  61. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Barry; Does that mean you won’t be answering any of the questions?
    Have a great show. Hope you have fun.

  62. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Bill here’s the deal…this is a nowhere discussion. You, as I have said before, are a staunch NAR supporter and an Agent defender. I am not debating you. You are steadfast in your beliefs and no way to teach an old dog new tricks. And I don’t have the time and inclination to do so.

    The reach that we have with investors and agents who truly want to see another way, not necessarily better in your eyes, but I would rather spend my time working with those who are open to doing things a new way and understand that there is most assuredly a different way.

    I will answer one question though…you asked why I comment here. Well you would be amazed how many agents email me and call me about helping them achieve so much more than what is being offered them. They want real world knowledge and are’nt afraid to embrace new ideas.

    No…I don’t charge a fee just brainstorming and letting them see that there is another way. In fact…someone from here has contacted me as well who wanted some help.

    Another reason is I occasionally see something I like. Mariana’s neighborhood post recently was quite interesting.

    I just don’t have the desire to engage with you…and I don’t have the time. And like I said..it’s boring.

  63. Dan Connolly

    June 10, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Barry, You asked why I would engage in a BUSINESS that doesn’t have profit as it’s priority. There is considerable profit in real estate sales for me. The top agents in my company make in excess of $500K per year in commissions.

    Here is a simple analogy: A doctor meets with a patient and there are two methods of dealing with the illness. One is medication and the other is surgery. If the doctor prescribes medication he can bill for a office visit and tests and that is it. If he convinces them to take the surgery, he can bill for thousands of dollars more. Over the course of the year if he convinces all his patients to take the surgery, he can make many times more money. Your position is that as long as he makes more money everything is great, right? Well no… there is that oath (that I won’t try to spell) that the doctor took when he got his license.

    Realtors are in the same boat (and please don’t bore me with a rant about Realtors that don’t honor the code of ethics). We market ourselves as being trustworthy consultants. We make very large checks for doing just that. We are not stupid, we know we can do what you do, but I, for one, do not want to. I am happy with a business that offers great profit AND a knowledge that I haven’t take advantage of anyone’s misfortune in the process.

    The truth is that I don’t have any problem with what you do, really. Not that you need or asked for my blessing, but I am sure that many of the people you buy from or sell to are undoubtedly very happy with your business model. I just think you ought to understand that it is not the only way to have a great Real Estate business.

  64. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Hey Dan..glad to hear it..hope it works out for you! I wish you success. You can be very trustworthy and still be a blatant unashamed capitalist. I too like the ability to make a substantial profit without ever taking advantage of anyone’s misfortune either. I guesss I was somewhat wrong. We are so much alike it’s scary. We run our business in much the same way. We’re in the same universe after all.

    Glad we had this moment of clarity!

  65. Bob

    June 10, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    I too like the ability to make a substantial profit without ever taking advantage of anyone’s misfortune either.

    That made me laugh.

  66. Bob

    June 10, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Please excuse my last post as it doesn’t add to the conversation.

  67. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Bob..glad you found it amusing. I have no idea but if it put a smile on your face then I am happy it did. Surely you aren’t implying otherwise are you?

  68. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    YOU SAID – Bill here’s the deal…this is a nowhere discussion. You, as I have said before, are a staunch NAR supporter and an Agent defender. I am not debating you. You are steadfast in your beliefs and no way to teach an old dog new tricks. And I don’t have the time and inclination to do so.

    MY RESPONSE Barry- It’s a nowhere discussion because you refuse to be accountable for any position you take. You keep employing empty rhetoric to fill the page instead of responding to the issues being discussed. For example, there is nothing in the discussion to date regarding NAR, and my position was not taken to defend agents until you started attacking them (I abhor Bullies). I am refusing to allow you to denigrate the people in our industry who work so hard to serve their clients, improve their industry and make a living to support themselves and their families, but I don’t see how that’s cogent. If you hadn’t started attacking them I wouldn’t have needed to defend them You make condescending statements and when you’re asked to support them with facts you go off on a different tangent. I am clear on my position in a discussion (as I think everyone should be) but am always willing to listen to an opposing view when it is made in an articulate and compelling manner and supported with facts. You haven’t done that so far.

    As far as learning new tricks, I learn everyday from a variety of people. Jay Thompson, Benn & Lani, Teresa Boardman, Nick Bostic, Rich Jacobson, Matt Rathbun, and Russell Shaw, have all taught me new tricks. So far there has been nothing of substance in your comments for me to learn from, your time and inclinations notwithstanding. That is not to indicate that you don’t have something to teach (I wouldn’t make that comment because I don’t know if you do or not) , just that you have not done so.

    YOU SAID – The reach that we have with investors and agents who truly want to see another way, not necessarily better in your eyes, but I would rather spend my time working with those who are open to doing things a new way and understand that there is most assuredly a different way.

    MY RESPONSE Another sentence with no content. What is your reach? Another way of doing what? Investing in real estate? And how do you presume to know what is better in my eyes? The sentences don’t make any sense except to make empty boasts about some “secret sauce” that you claim you have. Barry I’m sure you’re very successful as an investor. You’ve certainly said so time and time again, but as you pointed out earlier in the comments. “This isn’t brain surgery”

    YOU SAID – I will answer one question though…you asked why I comment here. Well you would be amazed how many agents email me and call me about helping them achieve so much more than what is being offered them. They want real world knowledge and are’nt afraid to embrace new ideas.
    No…I don’t charge a fee just brainstorming and letting them see that there is another way. In fact…someone from here has contacted me as well who wanted some help.

    MY RESPONSE Believe me Barry I wouldn’t be amazed. Lots of people are looking for “secret sauce”. Thanks to Benn and Lani, and the other Geniuses, this site has a tremendous readership, and if it benefits you to expose yourself here, so be it. That still doesn’t allow you to make sweeping statements with no substance like They want real world knowledge and are’nt afraid to embrace new ideas Don’t you think the rest of us have real world knowledge? What qualifies you to ascertain that any of us are afraid of new ideas? And what new ideas are you talking about that you think might generate some fear in this group? Just throw out some new ideas – show me something of substance – I’ll bet you can’t scare any of us.

    YOU SAID – Another reason is I occasionally see something I like. Mariana’s neighborhood post recently was quite interesting.

    MY RESPONSE Yeah, I liked that one too. OMG We agreed on something!

    YOU SAID – I just don’t have the desire to engage with you…and I don’t have the time. And like I said..it’s boring.

    MY RESPONSE Barry so far you really haven’t engaged so nothing changes here- I guess this means that the next time you write a response there still won’t be any answers to my questions-

  69. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Bill..maybe you should buy a puppy..or take up chess..seriously. Yawn!

  70. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Barry ; Thanks for the suggestion – I have a great black lab named Cisco – and I play a pretty good game of chess. Seems like Mate 😉

  71. Jay Thompson

    June 10, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Classy response Barry. (said with the utmost sarcasm)

  72. Barry Cunningham

    June 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Jay it’s midnight, I have had a long day, have a busy day tomorrow and it’s not worth my time. Certain people feel theri way and I feel mine. The mental tug of war at midnight just isn’t in the cards. If you read above, classy left the building hours ago.

    I know you’re out west, but this cowboy’s going to bed out here on the east.

    Ciao!

  73. Bill Lublin

    June 11, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Barry – Another question that may go unaswered
    When you say If you read above, classy left the building hours ago. Are you referring to something I said, something someone else said , or something you said? And please, if you finally respond to one of these questions, please be specific.

  74. Bob

    June 11, 2008 at 9:04 am

    We have title prepared an by Contract require the Buyer to use our title company.

    If the buyer is getting a conforming loan, your requirement of buyer to use your title company is a RESPA violation. In other words, that is illegal.

  75. Barry Cunningham

    June 11, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I don’t recall saying the buyer is getting a conforming loan. I believe that most of what I was referring to was working with the pool of most aggressive and viable buyers in today’s market and that would be investors.

    Additionally what I said is I leave the opinion and decisions of legality to the guys who have passed bar exams and get paid the big bucks.

    I have NEVER accepted the opinion of legality from from a real estate agent. Mainly becasue they are not lawyers and sceondly they would be practicing law without a license.

    So we actually retain attorneys..and use attorneys to close our deals.

    Thanks Bob.

  76. Rich Jacobson

    June 11, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Can I have a ‘Do-Over?” Is there such a thing as a Blog Mulligan? Life is much too short. My firstborn son, Ben, is getting married this weekend, so I’ll be slightly distracted. But Barry and Bill, feel free to carry on the discussion. Have fun!

  77. Bob

    June 11, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Barry, I call BS. On one hand you deride agents while spouting off about what you know, then hide behind trite statements when confronted with anything that requires an answer or defense. Then of course there is your fall back position have passing off everything to your attorneys.

    You stated that you included that phrase on EVERY contract. No loans subject to RESPA, ever? I find that hard to believe.

    Perhaps you don’t know what RESPA covers. Here you go:

    RESPA in general

    RESPA covers loans secured with a mortgage placed on a one-to-four family residential property. These include most purchase loans, assumptions, refinances, property improvement loans, and equity lines of credit. HUD’s Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales is responsible for enforcing RESPA.

    I assume your attorneys charge a few bucks. So in an attempt to bring value to this conversation, the following link should allow you to get to the point quickly when discussing with your legal guys RESPA and the legality of the clause you think everyone should use. BTW, aren’t the tips about what to include in a contract practicing law under your definition?

    From HUD – Section 9: Seller required title insurance

    Section 9 of RESPA prohibits a seller from requiring the home buyer to use a particular title insurance company, either directly or indirectly, as a condition of sale. Buyers may sue a seller who violates this provision for an amount equal to three times all charges made for the title insurance.

  78. Jay Thompson

    June 11, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    And Bob can safely say, “checkmate”.

  79. Bill Lublin

    June 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    @Rich I was done when Barry couldn;t answer any of the questions I asked. Bob is going through a similar process with Barry right now. I’m working today. IMHO You don’t need a Mulligan – The conversation you started was to the point and interesting. You can’t be responsible for what fills your net (to use a fishing/crabbing sort of analogy)
    But now for more important stuff then any of this –
    CONGRATULATIONS
    My son got married last October – What a wonderful thing to participate in as a family!
    Best Wishes to You and your family.
    I wish all the happiness that I wished for my own son to him and his lovely bride (I hope that like me, he married over his head!) Enjoy yourself!

  80. Barry Cunningham

    June 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Bob you wrote …..”I find that hard to believe.” That’s up you you. That’s totally your choice. Jay…Bob..whoever…Rich is right…life is too short.

    You do business how yo see fit, and I will conduct mine in the manner that has worked and continues to work for me. Your minds are set, the choir is seated and it’s not worth responding to. Slap high fives, do some blog fist pounds and cheer amongst yourselves if it makes you happy.

    The 30-50 emails I received as a result of this thread and the calls we have received are enough to make me comfortable…that and the confidence we have in the manner in which we do business.

    The checks are fun to cash as well.

  81. Barry Cunningham

    June 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Bill and Bob…listen up, I was asked to back off and you guys keep poking…it appears to people reading this that you are getting over on me like you are making me back down when in reality I am respecting and adhering to the wishes of those here who asked me not to engage aggressively.

    Don’t for an instance think you are taking it to me. I prefer to do what I agreed I would do and that’s what I am doing.

    So check mate??? Hardly…let’s say the game got called on account of rain…trust me, I would LOVE to take the gloves off…but I was asked to back down. So there’s your answer.

  82. Jay Thompson

    June 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Barry –

    I had a lengthy comment typed, but you know what? It’s not worth the bandwidth.

    I’m glad you are successful however you chose to define that. It’s just sad that you have to knock virtually everyone else to show it.

    Good luck to you, hope you continue to be successful.

  83. Benn Rosales

    June 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Barry, go ahead, take your gloves off, at this point, this post is beyond off the point and subject and it has been since your first comment. So go ahead, knock yourself out, answer the questions.

  84. Bob

    June 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Rich and Bill,

    I’m done. My last comment was to demonstrate that the emperor has no clothes. A bully that can’t take a punch.

    This entire discussion has been somewhat cathartic. After 19 years in this business, I’m fighting serious burnout. I’m tired of dealing with people that can and will say or do anything to get a deal. My respect for the industry had dropped to levels lower than Bush’s approval ratings. I had gotten to the point where I felt like Barry does about most agents.

    Rich’s post was something I could relate to. I have a few blog posts about short sales with more comments from folks “on edge” who have run into tough times than you can imagine. It got to the point that I quit responding a month ago because it was just too depressing.

    I suffer from a Don Quixote complex, and when people ask for help, I want to solve the problem. Unlike Barry, i don’t see profit in every situation. I cancelled one deal this week because the seller was able to get an incredible loan mod. My compensation on this deal is knowing that a decorated Marine vet, who’s job is so much more difficult than mine, gets to keep his top secret security clearance and thus his career. A foreclosure or short sale would have put that in jeopardy. Barry’s approach to the same deal would have been catastrophic for the Marine, but profitable for Barry.

    This post and others has allowed Barry to serve a useful purpose – to highlight the pros in this business that understand what Barry will never grasp – why many of us do what we do.

    The respect I have developed for many here is motivating. It is good to know that while the snakes in this business seem to overshadow at times, as this market has progressed, I have seen more and more of my colleagues come forth who truly do want what is best for the consumer.

    That is a good thing, regardless of whether or not it always results in bank deposit.

  85. Benn Rosales

    June 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Bob, I’ve always admired you, and today, you solidified it.

  86. Barry Cunningham

    June 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Okay……..that’s the defining comment. I have been called a snake, taking advantage of other’s people’s misfortune, I see you blaming Bush…downtalking capitalism…hearing rah..rah..from the choir..

    Sorry I can’t keep this small talk going..we’re elevating the conversation. On air right now with Kwame Jackson.

    A little bit more important.

  87. Benn Rosales

    June 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    c’est la vie

  88. Bill Lublin

    June 11, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    @Bob; I feel that you, and Benn Edmund Burhe said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I hope that we get the opportunity to meet face to face sometime.
    @Jay , Always a pleasure being in the mix with you ! 😉
    @Benn 😉

  89. Mariana Wagner

    June 11, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    “Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

  90. Bob

    June 12, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Barry, I didn’t blame Bush. I referenced his approval ratings. FTR, I voted for him – twice. I didn’t bash capitalism either, but I do think it’s important to see the human side of things. Ever see “Pretty Woman” where Edward Lewis, the epitome of capitalism, decides to not gut the company he is acquiring? He still makes money, but not as much and not at the expense of the people who built it.

    I also didn’t call you a snake and I apologize if it came across that way. I don’t believe that you are. I was referring to the slithering licensees that abound in our business.

    You and I do business where real estate is the product, but that is about the extent of our similarities. I provide a service whereas you are more of a commodities dealer. By definition, our models are apples and oranges. I greatly respect your ability to recognize a deal and see it through to fruition. I listen when you talk about the perspective of a sophisticated investor. Clearly your knowledge and skill in your niche is extensive. However, I take great offense at your one-sided view of what myself and many other agents bring to the table. I think that is in part because it is a different table. You give us little credit for our knowledge, skillsets and experience. Unless it is Russ Shaw, you tend to dismiss out of hand what anyone else has to say.

    This post is a perfect example. Rich was commenting on something we deal with all the time. Unlike the bottom line, does it pencil out investor, we deal first hand with the roller coaster emotions and life events of the consumer. I think you miss much of that because by the time you enter the equation, the consumer has already run the gamut of emotions. In my biz, that is the equivalent to being the 3rd agent to list the property – the seller is now more bottom line and emotions no longer come into play.

    One last thing. Brad Inman once said that the Internet would spell the end of the agent. That didn’t happen as he expected. The industry adapted. His response – start HomeGain. He sold and made a bundle, then brought forth Inman Connect where IAC’s Barry Diller told us he would put us out of business. That didn’t happen either. Instead, realestate.com became a broker. Their agents now show my listings just like other agents. You think we are dinosaurs oblivious to the oncoming comet. I think you will be proven wrong, as were the others. We are smarter and more resourceful than you give us credit for being. The irony is that your radio show demonstrates that on a daily basis.

  91. Bill Lublin

    June 12, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Bob;
    I just saw your comment and noticed that my comment from yesterday had been truncated, and Edmund Burke became Edmund Burhe – I apologize – We had a storm and lost our internet connection I thought I was safely posted but I see I was not.

    I just wanted to thank you for bringing such an articulate and reasoned voice to the comments. I’m glad we’re in the same business. Hope we get to meet face to face one day.

  92. Barry Cunningham

    June 12, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Bob the issue is the industry as a whole. I would expect that the participants here would not look at themselves as being representative of what is truly going on.

    I have NEVER encountered a group who take things so personally. When i speak as some say in broad sweeping manner, I am talking about the majority. Not the very small minority of stellar performers like yourself, Bill..etc..

    I ask you to step outside of your collective boxes. I don’t have to smoke a cigarette to understand what smoking does. The comet will indeed hit and many..many…dinosaurs will become extinct.

    That statement applies to those who fall under its categorization. Can you, or anybody else disagree that there is a large chunk of the real estate agent population that will be rendered obsolete.

    With the changes happening daily, much faster than Inman and Diller thought possible, is there any doubt that those agents who do not keep abreast of technology will be turned into dust?

    I call upon listing after listing..place offer after offer…70% of the time or more, even with different agents calling upon the buyer’s behalf, there is no communication with the agent. They don’t even answer their phone. We had an interview with David Knox, the preeminent real estate trainer and even he remarked how much more business there would be if agents simply answered their phones.

    Sure, many agents will survive. I am not calling a full extinction. But a major cleansing. Cal me passsionate but I thought this site and some like it were about helping agents survive the threat of obsolesence.

    We get visitors to our site, which is growing in leaps and bounds, who want HARD concrete applicable info on how to be better.

    Rich mentioned he had a problem. Did I hit hard..yeah..maybe a bit too hard…but what he described to me was the need for intense transactional management.

    People commneted and I could tell from their comments that they have never been trained in guerilla transactional management.

    My livelihood is derived from the fact that when I pull the trigger it MUST hit the target. In that vein we have a system that TRULY is bulletproof. When we go to contract IT MUST CLOSE and IT DOES CLOSE and we don’t have transactional management problems.

    I asked Rich to explain what those problems were and I can guarantee they most likely would not occur in one of our deals.

    As for your Marine analogy, that was a cheap shot, you have no idea how many homeowners we have saved from foreclosure and what we have done to protect them from other sharks.

    I have a tough skin, I can easily take the heat from people here, but I don’t want the heat after I leave here so I aspire to do the right thing.

    No, all agents don’t suck! I have said it.

    I just wish more was done to call out the ones that do..maybe that’s my main issue.

  93. Bob

    June 12, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    No cheap shot intended, Barry. You have stated numerous times that you expect to get paid on every deal and every deal closes. I can only assume then that pro bono is not something you have done. If that was incorrect, then I’m glad. However, you may want to refrain from making such absolute statements in the future. They are easily misunderstood.

    I just wish more was done to call out the ones that do..maybe that’s my main issue.

    Mine too. And it’s this common ground from which to move forward. My perspective is slanted, as is yours. Share some of your experiences as an investor and how you think they could have been handled differently by the agents involved and we all learn. By the same token, it may be helpful for you to understand some of the roadblocks we face (VA appraisers forced to be inspectors come to mind). RESPA is another. When I was with Prudential, I was required to sign a document stating that if I violated RESPA and the company incurred any fines as a result, I accepted full financial responsibility. This was a result of a Pru franchise paying a $400k fine for a RESPA violation committed by an agent.

    I think we have come full circle. Time to move forward with workable solutions. That’s the point of this place.

  94. Bill Lublin

    June 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    OK, I have the marshmellows – Where’s the Bonfire of the Vanities? Koombaya Koombaya
    @Barry – Thank you for a reasoned response and your kind comment – Bob and Russell are stellar and your gentlemanly re-entry to the conversation is a welcome change. Thank you. Now if you have some deals for me to look at let’s do some business! 😉
    @Bob- We put – I owe you at least a hot fudge sundae when we meet! 😀
    @Benn- You can put the fire hoses away, we’re coming in peacefully!
    @Queen of All Social Media How did the cookies come out?

  95. Bill Lublin

    June 12, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    BTW , Rich , Do we get ActiveRain Points for any of this? We must have set some sort of record –
    ;-D

  96. Jay Thompson

    June 12, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    #99

  97. Jay Thompson

    June 12, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Sorry for adding absolutely nothing with that last comment (or this one). I just wanted to be teh first person to put a 100th comment on an AG post.

  98. Barry Cunningham

    June 12, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Jay that weasn’t fair at all! 🙂

  99. Jay Thompson

    June 12, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Timing Barry. It’s all about timing. 😉 Well, that and some weird competitive streak I have.

    Like being the first to make a 100th comment really matters….

  100. Bill Lublin

    June 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Jay – You read my mind – I was so tempted to do the 99 and 100, but I thought it would be just silly – But you achieved what I perceived!
    That’s what happens when you have friends that are focused on appropriate goals! And why your plan for world domination will succeed! I can’t even imagine the post that will lead to 200 comments
    😉

  101. Russell Shaw

    June 12, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    >>I can’t even imagine the post that will lead to 200 comments

    Another one like this with just a bit more disagreement and I think we’re there.

  102. Jay Thompson

    June 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    @Bill – it WAS just silly! Not the first, nor the last time I’ll do something just plain silly…

  103. Bill Lublin

    June 12, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    @Russell – And the post itself was so harmless. Just an observation -Go figure! Whoulda thunk it?

    @Jay – 100 was magnificent and that’s why you are my hero! And why @KTGEEK thinks you’re younger then you really are! 😉

  104. Gordon Baker

    June 28, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Hey,
    Doesn’t anyone remember life back in corporate america where you couldn’t stand your boss, and the office politics were too much to take, you were accountable for things beyond your control, and coworkers were annoying. The randomness and statistical variation says every transaction will not be easy. Besides, some things have to be difficult to provide a weeding out of the thousands of agents out there! (Can you tell I was working on my six sigma green belt?)

  105. Susan

    June 28, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I remember corporate america and didn’t like it at all. Too much politics which I am not good at because evidently you’re not supposed to always tell the truth. Real estate is definitely tough at times, but I’d much rather be selling real estate than sitting in a cubical. Plus, with real estate, you’re in control.

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Opinion Editorials

Finances in my 20s: What I wish I knew then that I know now

(EDITORIAL) They say money makes the world go round. So, let’s discuss how to be smart with finances before it’s too late.

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finances

Being in my early twenties, something I’m still getting used to is the fact that I’m making my own money. This is not to be confused with the babysitting money I was making 10 years ago. Twice a month is the same routine: I get my paycheck and think, “Wooo! We goin’ out tonight!” but then I snap back to reality and think about what that money needs to be put towards. The smallest part of it going towards fun. It’s been tricky to really start learning the ins and outs of finances. So, I do what I usually do in any type of learning process? I ask for advice. I used to be fixated on asking those more advanced in age than I what they wish they knew when they were my age. Now that I’m determined to learn about finances, that question has been altered.

I reached out to a few professionals I know and trust and they gave me solid feedback to keep in mind about building my finances, about what they wish they had known in their 20s. However, I don’t think this only applies to those just starting out, and may be helpful for all of us.

“It’s important to simply know the value of money,” says human resource expert, Nicole Clark. “I think once you start earning your own money and are responsible for your housing, food, etc. you realize how valuable money is and how important it is to budget appropriately and make sure you’re watching your spending.”

Law firm executive director, Michael John, agrees with Clark’s sentiments. “I wish I had kept the value of saving in mind when I was younger,” explains John. “But, still remembering to balance savings while rewarding yourself and enjoying what your efforts produce.”

There are so many aspects of finance to keep in mind – saving, investing, budgeting, retirement plans, and so on and so forth.

In addition to suggesting to spend less than you make and to pay off your credit card in full each month, Kentucky-based attorney, Christopher Groeschen, explained the importance of a 401k.

“Every employee in America should be contributing everything they can into a 401k every year, up to the current $18,000 maximum per person,” suggests Groeschen.

“401ks present an opportunity for young investors to 1) learn about investing and 2) enter the market through a relatively low-risk vehicle (depending on your allocations),” he observes.

“An additional benefit is that 401ks also allow employees to earn FREE MONEY through employer matches,” he continues. “At the very least, every employee should contribute the amount necessary to earn the employer match (usually up to 4%) otherwise, you are giving up the opportunity to earn FREE MONEY. Earning FREE MONEY from your employer that is TAX FREE is much more important than having an extra Starbucks latte every day.”

Whether we like it or not, money is a core aspect of our daily lives. It should never be the most important thing, but we cannot deny that it is, in fact, an important thing. It’s tricky to learn, but investing in my future has become a priority.

This editorial was first published in May 2018.

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Opinion Editorials

Dopamine detox to rewire your brain from internet addiction (it’s common!)

(EDITORIAL) So, you’re addicted to the internet. Whether your drug of choice is scrolling, posting, or interacting – it’s time for a dopamine detox.

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Upside down photo of man holding iphone case saying "social media seriously harms your mental health" representing dopamine.

Ah, smartphones. The best friend we can carry around in our pockets. This small device that’s nearly glued to our hands gives us instant access to many worlds.

It’s exciting to see what’s up on Instagram, take up to six stabs at Wordle, and scroll recipes you’ll never make on Pinterest. It’s also a place where we can share the highlights of our life and, in return, get validation through likes.

With that validation comes a small rush of dopamine, something we’ve all become accustomed – and some of us addicted – to.

While I’m not addicted to posting, I would say I have an addiction to scrolling. I can’t make it through a 50-minute episode of “Dexter” without picking up my phone to check an app or two.

And there is that dopamine rush with it, where you feel like you’re the most up-to-date you’ve ever been. But what about when this becomes too much and we’re overloaded with information and feel bogged down by the constant updates?

First, we need to understand what dopamine is.

It’s a neurotransmitter that works in two spots in the brain: first, its production helps us begin movement and speech. Second, we feel it when we receive or expect a reward. It even creates a kind of “high” similar to what’s found in nicotine and cocaine.

So, if we expect these dopamine hits from social media and we don’t get those results, the dopamine crashes to the ground creating burnout.

Well, this can cause burnout. And, while tempting, the solution isn’t as easy as just deleting all of your social media and walking away clean. Additionally, “take a break” features are too easy to swipe away.

So what can you do?

Mana Ionescu at Lightspan Digital recommends a Dopamine Detox.

While breaking an addiction takes longer than a day, Ionescu recommends starting there and tailoring it to your needs.

Here is what she describes is necessary for a detox:

  1. Turn off all notifications on your phone. ALL of them. You will be looking at your phone every 10 minutes as it is. You won’t miss anything. We lose endless hours of productivity because of those pings.
  2. Tell people to call you if it’s urgent. And teach them the difference between urgent and important. So do keep call notifications on.
  3. Stop over-messaging. The more you message, the more you’ll get responses.
  4. Shed the pressure to respond right away to messages that don’t need a response right away.
  5. Take detox days. Nothing but calls, confirming meetings, and using the GPS is allowed on those days.
  6. Put your phone on sleep mode at night. You can, at least on iPhone, set permissions so that certain phone numbers can get through, in case you’re worried about mom.
  7. If you’re dating, remember that texting is for laughing, flirting, and confirming plans. Please pick up the phone and talk to that person to get to know them. I will not take you seriously if you just keep texting.
  8. And yes, we all know the game, whoever looks at their phone first over dinner picks up the bill.

This won’t be easy, but your brain will likely thank you in the long run. And, when you’re back online, hit up the comments and let us know how the detox went!

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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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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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