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MLS Fail Shots – Do You Remember Your First?

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Once upon a time a beautiful baby boy was born.   He knew he had to crawl before he could walk, walk before he could run, run before he could become the real estate rock star we all know and love today.   He was special and destined for greatness.  Some day he knew he would be notorious famous.  Maybe today is that day.

What this little boy didn’t know is that after he grew up  his inner child would turn on him and send the photos to his very first listing ever to me.

Warning:  If there are children, pregnant women, daisies, elderly people, puppies, ill folks or frail people have them leave the room right now.

Ladies and gentlemen of Agent Genius readership I give you the best of the worst of Matt Stigliano.

The Back 40

Selling feature rusty gas meter

Nothing says “upgrades and features” like a rusty meter clinging to life on the side of home.  What Matt didn’t hear is that as he walked away the meter whispered in that Haley Joel Osment *I see dead people* voice, “Take me with you.  Save me.”

You Just Know A “Rock of Love” Contestant Lived Here

CIMG0284

The stagers delight.  Left to right, starting at the pharmapseudicals, follow the white cable, past the “curtains” up and over TV #1, past the blushing bride, then follow the black cord down to the strip fest that happened in the “magic room” about a half an hour before Matt showed up to take that picture.  I called it TV #1 for two reasons:  First so you can double back and look at that curtain rope rod and also so you can start counting.

Robin’s Egg Gone Wrong

Did sasquatch hang these pictures

Have a seat and help yourself to some of those tasty grapes on the table.  You know you want some.  (don’t look at the grime around the door knob, it’s really nothing)  Did sasquatch live in this house?  Why are all of the photos touching the ceiling and why is there a little tiny cowboy boot hanging from a string in the middle of the room?   Yee, haw!  Oh, before you leave, inventory TV #2 and TV#3.

Not Enough Room To Change Your Mind

Just one more bed

Sponge Bob isn’t the only hostage here.  He’s trapped on a shelf with a dozen others.  All they want to do is get off the shelf and watch TV #4 or maybe even TV #5.  Maybe they’d get down and stretch their legs if there was an inch of space … somewhere.

This Probably Isn’t The Only Raid That Happened Here

Maple Syrup or Raid anyone

Check it!  A listing contract on the kitchen table so smokin’ hot it’s red!  Good thing there’s oven mitts nearby.  Take the tour of condiments on the kitchen counter from left to right:  Genuine Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup, Raid!, Salt, Oil.  I think there’s a bottle of rubbing alcohol on the kitchen table by the plant, even.  Matt, what did this house smell like and what they hell were they cooking?

Alright, everyone give Matt a round of applause for having the guts to share the photos of his first listing.  Do you have the guts to show photos of your first listing?

Thanks, Matt.  You’re a great sport.  You’ve obviously paid your dues.  We all hope that *everything* about your real estate career got better after this listing.

Written by Chris Griffith, a Realtor Associate at Keller Williams Elite Realty in Bonita Springs, Florida. Chris is the author of Real Life and Real Estate In Bonita Springs, and a real estate columnist at Naples Daily News. Chris is active in social media and can be found on social networking site Twitter as Twitterzilla.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    June 2, 2009 at 6:30 am

    I can see the MLS remarks – “Televisions Convey”

    Is that a FISH BOWL over the vent hood in the kitchen?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Chris Griffith

    June 2, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Nice catch, I missed that. For *whatever* reason it’s over there, I think it is the light bulb cover for the bare bulb over the kitchen sink … or a fish bowl.

  3. Paula Henry

    June 2, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Chris – you weave a great story 🙂 In all fairness to Matt, this is one of those homes which probably deserved less pictures – how do you tell your clients their home will get more showings without pictures?

    I don’t think I still have pictures of my first listing, but it was a mess most of the time and lots of room for improvement. Luckily for me and my clients – back then, in California, you didn’t need pictures to sell a home.

  4. Chris Griffith

    June 2, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Paula I agree with you about that house. I’m not sure I can get photos of my first listing. They would probably be pretty crappy. I remember it was a white on white house, floor walls, cabinets, counters. We’ve changed MLS systems so many times it could be lost.

  5. Ken Montville - The MD Suburbs of DC

    June 2, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Love the same ceramic (?) tile throughout the house. They must’ve gotten a deal.

    Actually, this is mildly encouraging to know that I’m not the only one who gets listings like this and have to figure out a way to market it and make it sound really special. At least there aren’t any beer cans or Jack Daniels bottles in sight.

  6. Chris Griffith

    June 2, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Ken, the room with TV’s 4 & 5 has a tube of something and a jar of something on the dresser. It’s a kids room, I think. It looks like a pair of panties on the bed, too. I left that one alone.

    :: gulp ::

  7. Matt Stigliano

    June 2, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Well, what do I say?

    I sent Chris these photos knowing full well she wouldn’t hold back on me. They certainly aren’t the best photos of a house. It was my first listing and my first referral as well. I was thrilled, excited, and hoping for the best. It was also my first experience working with Spanish speaking clients whose English was rough around the edges at time – I did learn patience from that experience (and how to save the number on speed dial of an agent I know who speaks fluent Spanish).

    I tried to explain the “clean up” aspect of the photo process, but somehow my Spanish/English skills seemed to fail. I was desperate though and did what I could with the listing. The sellers wound up never selling the home, they canceled the agreement when it finally sunk in that they weren’t going to have enough money to buy the house they wanted to buy after selling this one – even at a premium price (which it was bound to fetch with these photos).

    To answer Chris’ question, the house smelled…well clean. Too clean in fact. It seems the sellers’ idea of “cleaning up” involved several gallons of bleach in a mop bucket run through the house. I don’t like the smell of bleach and I was literally dizzy after my appointment. I don’t even think the bleach was diluted – just straight out of the bottle. Whew.

    For the record, there was one more TV in the house, in the other bedroom. The can of Raid? Well, I completely missed that, even when I sent the photos to Chris and added some notes of what to look for. Nothing says “welcome home” like bug spray. The doors were all pretty dirty especially at the bottom – interestingly enough, there were no dogs or cats (who often cause that sort of dirt on doors and windows). The child’s bed did indeed have a pair of kids underwear on it and there is no way I’m going to jail because a seller thought I was touching their kids underwear. Try explaining that one to your cell mate.

    Maybe next time I’ll share my first experience with a “professional” photographer. The $40 down the drain because the photos made the home look horrible and both the seller and I agreed that we could do better making pencil sketches of the house (and neither of us went to The Art Institute).

    I’ll stop back in and see who else wants to bash me…haha.

  8. Matt Stigliano

    June 2, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Oh, I forgot to add…some of the photos are strategic. They were covering random holes in the wall.

    We also never had a showing. Well we had one scheduled, but the agent canceled it when he arrived. I wonder why.

  9. Chris Griffith

    June 2, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Bash you? We *love* you. In a tough love, you’re like family so you have to put up with it, kind of way.

  10. Louise Scoggins

    June 2, 2009 at 10:16 am

    The MLS Fail shots is my absolute favorite post to read!! One of these days I am actually going to send in some on the pics I find on my MLS. My first listing was my sister’s house and luckily I was on a team them and had some help with the pics (plus, her house was…well, much better than this one). Yay Matt for putting yourself out there for a tease!!! Hilarious, as always.

  11. Diane Schubach

    June 2, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    It’s not just new agents posting these types of pictures! I see them all the time from veterans.

  12. Lani Rosales

    June 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    OMG AWESOME LMAO- how much lipstick CAN you cram onto a pig’s face? wow. LOL… Matt, you’re so brave!

  13. Chris Griffith

    June 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you, Louise.

    Diane, I agree whole heartedly.

    Lani, I can’t come to the phone right now … I am currently in therapy crying about my childhood.

  14. Benn Rosales

    June 3, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Matt, I’m sure you’ve learned by now that if the listing is worth listing, then waiting until the home is ready is the best course of action/medicine for the client. It costs money to list a property, and you only get ‘one’ just listed which is what I say to every seller, and we don’t want it out there until it’s perfect. It’s very difficult when dealing with financials of a seller that just cannot afford to do anymore, move furniture to storage, etc, a true to life family that needs every bed, it can be very tough situation- I think what your photos bring to mind most are those challenges in that even though the photos are worth a 1000 words, they don’t always tell the whole story, meaning, it’s easy to make fun of the agent, but sometimes, the agent gets little choice- not every home is a supermodel to everyone, but I bet to someone, this home is/was. Thanks for letting us read the whole story!

  15. Missy Caulk

    June 4, 2009 at 6:41 am

    I think my first photos are long gone, many computers later. But, it was sure fun to see Matt’s.

  16. Matt Stigliano

    June 7, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Chris – That “you’re like family” way can be the hardest some times. It’s easier to take criticism from strangers. Haha.

    Louise – I encourage everyone to submit their worst. It’s actually kind of refreshing to have the monkey off my back now. “Ok, I admit, they weren’t the best.” – Just makes me feel like I finally got it off my chest and I am free of the photo-demons that once haunted me.

    Diane – I have a lot of thoughts on the concept of new vs. experienced. Although I know I can learn a lot from the experienced agents out there (and do), I also know there’s a lot of experienced agents out there, who for lack of a better word…suck.

    Lani – You and Benn brought me on board to show the honest picture of what life as a new agent is like. I thought it only fair that I keep to that pattern. Plus, Chris is hysterical and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of comments she’d have for me. She even asked me if I wanted to remain anonymous, but I knew that by doing that I would be breaking most of what I stood for.

    Chris – I can’t come to the phone either, I’m in therapy for agreeing to do this.

    Benn – On a serious note, theses photos are a lot of fun, but they did help whip me into shape quickly. I was shaking when I signed the listing agreement, my mouth was dry, and I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and brag about my new listing. The lesson of “if it’s worth listing, it’s worth waiting to get it right the first time” is a good one that everyone should learn quickly. One of the big obstacles I have encountered in listing property is that there is so much to tell a seller and you want to get it all in there, but you also don’t want to bore them to tears either. Trying to balance those two has been one of my tougher challenges at times, especially since each time, you’re dealing with a different seller with a different personality. Learning how to handle that can be the difference between getting a listing and frustrating a seller to the point that they wouldn’t list with you just because they don’t want to be trapped in a room with you for five seconds.

    One of my big frustrations as both an agent and a normal every day guy is the idea that “you need to spend money to make money” (there’s a million ways to phrase it). It is true, but the fact is not everyone can. Some sellers can’t afford to spend a dime, much like some agents can’t. I often find the people that tout the theory the most are the one’s sitting on the largest pile of cash. Much like when we’re being offered the latest product, technique, or gadget in real estate – we’re told we can’t afford to live without it and we need to invest in ourselves. Being realistic is more important than investment into yourself if you ask me. There are plenty of great investments an agent can make, but if you make them all with $0 in your pocket and they don’t pay off quick enough, you may have just dug your own grave.

  17. Jennifer Rathbun

    June 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Matt, I’m just wondering what you would do different now? Would you have had them move things around while you were there? Would you have not taken the listing? Would you have pulled out a box of Magic Erasers? We all get listings that we’re not sure how to photo. But this is a great opportunity to discuss what you would have done differnently. I can’t wait to hear!

  18. Matt Stigliano

    June 8, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Jennifer – First of all, I wouldn’t have taken the listing. They had just bought it two years ago and had little equity. There was little room to play with the numbers and the only reason they wanted to sell was that they wanted to move up because they had heard so much talk of foreclosures and the bargains that could be had. It was overpriced in a neighborhood I knew little about and don’t really focus on. I would have also referred it to my Spanish speaking friend as the translation left too much room for mistakes to occur (how could I be sure the translator was saying what I said?). Plus it made it really hard to request things be done for the photos.

    As for the photos, I would have went room to room and at least cleaned up the clothes on the bed, tucked the TV wires behind something (or out of frame), and asked them to move the dishes on the stove and sink. I let too much slide because I was too excited. I knew better than this as I had been reading photo articles since I can remember on AgentGenius and elsewhere. I have learned to accept that some homes can’t be photographed perfectly, but they can at least be made to look a little better. In all fairness to me, the gas meter shot wasn’t used in the MLS.

    I would have (as I do know) prepared them for my visit – asking them to make sure certain things were done because I was taking photos that day. My most recent listing didn’t have photos for 5 days, because the seller and I took time to discuss what she needed and wanted to do to make the house look its best. She had some painting projects to finish, some mirrors to hang, etc. We had a plan and it took a few extra days, but it was well worth the wait.

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Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?

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Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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One easy way to organize your influencers inbox, get paid for fan DMs

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Superpage is a contact page for influencers that also allows users with a fanbase to charge fans money for guaranteed attention on their message.

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Demo page of Superpage, a contact page for influencers that lets you filter DMs across social media platforms.

At times, our inboxes can get out of control. Besides email from our family and friends, marketing and spam emails wind up in there, too. While for some of us, it isn’t too bad to handle. Some people might find it a little harder to manage because of the great influx of messages they receive. And, some of those people are influencers.

Well, that is one company’s target – if you have a fanbase, you have an influence. Superpage is a “contact page for influencers.” According to the company’s website, their product will help influencers declutter their inboxes and offer them a better communication setup.

“DMs & e-mails were built for generic human communication. With huge follower-base & more people seeking their time, influencers need a slightly different communication setup – designed just for them. That’s what we’re building at Superpage – a communication system uniquely crafted for influencers,” wrote Superpage Founder Srivatsa Mudumby.

Who can get Superpage?
Superpage is meant for influencers, creators, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and just about anyone with a social media presence.

What does it do?
The platform allows fans to directly connect with influencers by letting them send a message through the influencer’s Superpage. So, instead of hoping to receive a reply from the DM they sent on Instagram or TikTok, Superpage guarantees a reply, as long as it isn’t illicit or spammy of course.

But, while Superpage lets fans communicate with their idol, it doesn’t do so for free. Fans “pay what they want” to send a message. However, the website doesn’t make it clear whether what you pay makes a difference. If someone pays more, will their message get prioritized? I doubt a $10 ticket gave anyone the chance to choose between general admission or VIP.

How does it work?
You sign up and set up your personalized page by adding a bio, display picture, cover photo, topics you’d like to discuss, etc. Once you link your bank account to your Superpage account, you can share your page on social media, website, or blog post. Through your unique “Superpage link” anyone can send you “Super texts” (messages).

In your Dashboard, you can view, manage, and reply to your messages. Superpage uses “restricted messaging”, which means each sender receives a limited number of messages to follow-up. Once you’re finished replying, the conversation will automatically close.

Fees and Payments
There is no monthly fee to use Superpage. The company makes money by charging a 5% commission plus credit card fees. And, it uses Stripe to process payments directly to the influencer’s bank account.

“People want to talk to influencers of the world but because of huge volume of messages & poor incentivization, influencers can never respond to everyone mindfully. We spoke to a ton of influencers and almost everyone complained “my inboxes are spammed,” wrote Mudumby.

Superpage does provide a new way for fans to reach out to their idols, but is it more like a way for them to charge for office hours? One thing is for sure, it’s a way for influencers to reach out to fans, but make money in the process, too. It’s up to you to decide if it’s something you’d put your money into.

As for a decluttered inbox, it does seem like all those emails and messages might not end up in your messy inbox. Instead, they will live on the platform’s dashboard in a, hopefully, more organized manner.

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If you’re not on Clubhouse, you’re missing out – here’s why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) What exactly is Clubhouse, and why is it the quarantine app sensation? There’s a few reasons you should definitely be checking out right now!

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Clubhouse member hanging out on the app, on a couch with mask on their face.

The new exclusive app Clubhouse is challenging what social media can be – and it might possibly be the best thing to blow up during quarantine.

Developed by ex-Google employee Rohan Seth and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison, Clubhouse has only been gaining in popularity since lockdown. Here’s why you need to join immediately:

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is like if subreddit pages were live podcasts. Or maybe if niche, topic-centric Zoom chatrooms could connect you with people from all over the world. But it’s ONLY audio, making it perfect for this period of lockdown where no one truly looks their best.

From networking events to heated debates about arts and culture to book clubs, you can truly find anything you want on Clubhouse. And if you don’t see a room that peaks your interest, you can make one yourself.

Why is it special?

Here’s my hot take: Clubhouse is democratizing the podcast process. When you enter a room for women entrepreneurs in [insert your industry], you not only hear from the established experts, but you’ll also have a chance to listen to up-and-coming users with great questions. And, if you want, you can request to speak as well.

If you click anyone’s icon, you can see their bio and links to their Instagram, Twitter, etc. For professionals looking to network in a deeper way, Clubhouse is making it easier to find up and coming creatives.

If you’re not necessarily looking to network, there’s still so much niche material to discover on the app. Recently, I spent an hour on Clubhouse listening to users discuss the differences in American and British street fashion. It got heated, but I learned A LOT.

The celebrities!

Did I mention there’s a TON of celebrities on the app? Tiffany Haddish, Virgil Abloh, and Lakeith Stanfield are regulars in rooms – and often host scheduled events. The proximity to all kinds of people, including the famous, is definitely a huge draw.

How do you get on?

Anyone with an iPhone can make an account, but as of now you need to be “nominated” by someone in your contacts who is already on the app. Think Google+ but cooler.

With lockdown giving us so much free time that our podcasts and shows can’t keep up with the demand, Clubhouse is a self-sustaining content mecca. Rooms often go on for days, as users in later time zones will pick up where others left off when they need to get some sleep. And the cycle continues.

Though I’m still wrapping my brain around it, I can say with fair certainty that Clubhouse is very, very exciting. If you have an hour (or 24) to spare, try it out for yourself – I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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