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Real Estate is About MEA CULPA

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It’s my Fault

(With a nod to a well know blogger who has a propensity for using latin, I would explain to those readers who are not familiar to the phrase that "Mea Culpa is latin for “my fault”)

Over the years, I find that people handle problems and successes differently. There are people who take responsibility for their success and their failures equally. These people are in my experience usually pretty confident and successful. They have found a balance in life. Too often people accept responsibility for their success but avoid responsibility for their failures. These people can also be successful, but I think they lack the balance that would allow them to really enjoy the success they achieve, and probably limits that success.

And then there is a third category of people that are modest about whatever success they have individually (though they may brag like anyone about their company or their achievements), but will take responsibility for things that may even have been out of their control – mainly because they feel they should have anticipated the problem or known that there was a wild card element that might need ot be addressed.

I Worry all the Time

Even when things go well, I tend to worry. I want to know that I have not only done everything I could to reach my intended result, if I don’t reach it, I want to learn why so I have a better result next time.

I don’t worry about making a mistake (If its noon and I haven’t made at least two mistakes I figure I wasn’t working or I didn’t get up yet) I just don’t want to make the same mistakes again and again. And I am not uncomfortable admitting that I made a mistake. That may be because I am confident that I can correct the problem, or at least that I am not defined by the mistakes I make.

I tend to trust people too much. According to one of my partners, I am literally “loyal to a fault” – but that’s a fault I am willing to own. But most importantly I don’t blame other people for the problems affecting me, and I look to myself for the solution

Last year Benn Rosales wrote a post about minimum standards and the Right to Practice. I agree with much of what was said in that post, and was interested in his suggestions for mandating minimum standards. But the real problem is that we as brokers (or managing brokers depending on your state) often don’t take responsibility for our agents because its too tough, or we want the licensing authority to do it, or our trade association, or someone else to mandate it so that we’re not the hard nosed bad guys. Maybe we don’t want to impose our standards on others even though we want other people will live up to our standards.

Everyone doesn’t do things the way I do – and they don’t have to. When I blog, it takes me a while because I don’t want to say something that I can’t back up factually. And I get nuts when someone else does that. I hate rhetoric without facts to back it up. I hate when people talk about what they think instead of what they know and I hate it when they speak in generalities instead of specifics. We can work on specifics, we can’t fix generalities.

If Its Your Problem, You can Fix it

If you aren’t accountable for something, you can’t fix it. If you give up the power of the problem, you give yp the power to solve the problem. Let’s take that aggravating listing you took 5 months ago and see how this theory plays.

You aren’t getting much activity through the listing, even though you’re advertising it and holding open houses. Its just that the market is so bad. There aren’t any serious buyers. The sellers arent cooperatvie. The house doesn’t show well. So obviously its not your fault that the home didn’t sell. Right? Wrong!

None of those things are your fault, but it is your fault that you took a listing that isn’t selling.

If buyers aren’t going through the property, then perhaps it isn’t priced properly?

If the property is being shown, but there are no offers, you need to re-examine the price and determine if there are issues with the physical condition of the home that need to be addressed. If the phyical issues with the property cant be addressed, then perhaps we need to.. you guessed it, review the price again.

If there are inquiries about the property but you aren’t able to show the home when you need to perhaps you need to get a key to show the property or install a lock box.

I could go on and on, but when you review the activity on a property, the home itself, and the terms you are offering , you can usually find the answer to the problem – and the key to that is being responsible for the problem, and therefore having the power to find a solution to the problem. And if you have a seller who will not cooperate, then the solution may be to solve the problem by firing the unreasonable seller ad moving on to a seller who wants to listen to your advice and get their home sold.

In any event, taking control of your life by being accountable for your problems should empower you in a manner that I’m sure you will find envigorating and enlightening. Now that you own your problems – go forth and solve them!

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Bill is an unusual blend of Old & New - The CEO Century 21 Advantage Gold (Philadelphia's Largest Century 21 company and BuzzBuilderz (a Social Media Marketing Company), He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe. You can follow him on twitter @Billlublin or Facebook or LinkedIn.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Robin Taylor Roth

    May 6, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the post, Bill.

    Taking ownership of the situation is important. Only then, can you fix whatever problems there might be.

    One of my former bosses used to say, “Don’t be a victim!” By that, he meant that we should not blame others for things going wrong or not happening – don’t just stand there and “wring our hands.” Rather, we should take responsibility for ensuring the outcomes we want actually happen.

  2. Louise Scoggins

    May 7, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Hi, Bill, interesting read on your post! I’m a worry wart as well 🙂 I think when things go awry and you are wrong, admit that you’re wrong — people will repsect you more for being man (or woman) enough to admit that. You have to own the problem before you can do anything about it. But Robin hit the nail on the head that it’s important to take the steps necessary to ensure the RIGHT outcome.

  3. Mark Eckenrode

    May 7, 2009 at 10:44 am

    you had me at the photo, bill. i had a judo coach that would always say “all your body”. despite his poor english the weight of the words carried. to be successful you have to commit with everything you’ve got. ain’t no way you’re throwing a man unless you commit everything to the act. similarly, if you’re having a problem and “can’t” fix it, it’s usually because you’re holding back somewhere.

  4. teresa boardman

    May 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I fit in a category where it is my fault if I fail but it is luck if I succeed. You make a lot of good points in this. maybe too many for my small mind to absorb. So I will just absorb the part about taking responsibility.

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Business Marketing

The most spectacular streets of L.A.

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$wimming Pools, Movie $tars…and $treets of Gold!

Hey  friends – instead of  a humorous look at the MLS this week, I wanted to share something personal – my wonderful city of Los Angeles.  If you’d like to know where and what the most desirable streets in L.A. are, check out this great report in the L.A. Times by Lauren Beale:

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hot-streets27-2010mar27,0,6734165.story

I drive down these streets all the time, but I never take them for granted. I am still as star struck as the hordes of folks who come through here daily hoping for a glimpse of a movie star. The only difference is that we Angelenos want a glimpse, and then we want them to move the hell out of the way or risk getting run over (proceed or bleed!). After all, we all have somewhere to go, and that’s a monumental task in L.A.  The star dust on these streets is knee high…but there is an exhorbitant price for “$pectacular”!

Now you know why I love my job so much. See you next week with more MLS super-bloopers!

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Housing News

HUGE News From Twitter – Trending LOCAL Topics

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Twitter announced yesterday the roll out of Local Trending Topics.(We knew they would be putting to good use their purchase of GeoAPI last month).  This is a big event for the real estate industry and for real estate bloggers especially.  “Who cares what I ate for lunch yesterday?” you ask…. it’s not that, it is the ability to have your finger on the pulse of your local community in real time like never before (and leveraging that power)…

Think about it… you see a big news topic trending on Twitter and write a blog about it. When someone Googles the topic, you have a good chance of coming up high on Google, pulling people to your blog and positioning you as the go-to blog for hot local info, often scooping those asleep at the switch.

OR a news reporter shoots out a request for comments on the hot trending topic and you answer them (this happens OFTEN!) and you end up as a quoted source. Great! (This technique landed us on top of the 6 PM news when Obama announced the Help for Homeowners Plan, can you say priceless?)  You will become friends with local news reporters and be possible future sources as well.

Twitter Trending Topics

At a minimum, you will become a highly knowledgeable source on your most current local news.  Twitter is FASTER than local papers, TV and other sources due to the real time nature.  People post video clips and other live media (Ustream).  What if you were capturing those links on your own site?

Right now there are only a select few cities, but plans to roll out more are in the works.

If you couldn’t think of a way to use Twitter specifically for real estate before, with this new Super Local capacity, you might just think differently now….

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Economic News

The Homeowner Rescue Bill Rescues Fannie and Freddie Investors.

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The Homeowner Rescue Bill Rescues Fannie and Freddie Investors. I don’t see any other groups being rescued.

Normally I don’t find it difficult to disagree with President George W. Bush about pretty much everything (save the curvature of the earth and that humans should breathe oxygen). This time it is different. Bush had to have been ashamed to have signed it. Just look at how it is buried on this page. Arizona Senator John Kyl was one of the 13 dissenting votes. Kyl even called a close Realtor friend of mine here in Arizona to explain why he could not vote for it – that it was simply an awful piece of legislation. It is supposed to help save 400,000 people from going into foreclosure. If that was really the purpose, considering how much it will cost (800 billion dollars), It would have been a lot cheaper to have a lottery and simply select the 400,000 supposed lucky ones and just buy their home for them.

But that really isn’t the purpose at all. It is the Fannie Mae – Freddie Mac Bail Out Bill. That is why Bush signed it. He accepted all that other crap so he could do what he had to do to keep Fannie & Freddie afloat. What I don’t understand is why (in the final form it passed in) the NAR backed it. Unless we are to assume that anything that gives any Realtor anything is “good” – no matter the cost, this one just makes no sense.

My office already has had sellers who need to do a short sale either take their home off the market or fail to let agents and buyers show their house. No need. The government is here to help them. If foreclosures are estimated to be in the range of 5.5 million between now and the end of 2010 how does “fixing it” for 400,000 solve anything? And don’t be surprised if there aren’t 400k people (not counting FNMA and FRE stockholders) who get helped at all. I predict less than half of the estimated 400,000 will have anything other than foreclosure or a short sale occur.

The change that will hurt the Phoenix market the most is the complete elimination of the AmeriDream and Nehemiah programs. Effective, October 1st – they are gone. Currently, those seller-funded down payment assistance home sales account for about half of all the homes being sold here. If it had to go away, now of all times? Homeowner Rescue Bill, my ass.

Loads of other stuff. Thanks for nothing, Barney.

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