Carnival of Real Estate

The Carnival of Real Estate (CoRE) is over at the North Fulton County Real Estate Blog this week!!! If you want to read the best and brightest RE bloggers' work, head on over! You'll see bloggers such as Kris Berg on this week's list of what I like to call the "Most Awesome Blogs!"

In five short months, Realtorwives.com will be host of our first CoRE... yippee!


The Zilence was Zapped!

Thanks, David G (Zillow) for stepping up to bat! Whether or not we (or other Realtor Genius readers) agree, we thank you for answering the call!

David, I know you don't read Realtor Wives, so you can untag me now if you'd like :) HA HA!



Making Memories

Today, the kiddos had their last day of school and Memorial Day Weekend begins- hooray! Realtor Wives will be "closed" this weekend (as if there is such a thing in the blogosphere). Don't be fooled if you see me on your Blog Log, I can't help myself.

However, tomorrow we will be going (1) swimming, (2) to the library and (3) beginning a family scrapbook. That's just tomorrow, so thank you for understanding the need to MAKE MEMORIES this weekend.

Be safe and remember those who have given their lives for us. Celebrate this weekend and make your OWN memories!


Smell Staging

Any professional stager or an experienced Realtor can guide sellers how to set up their home to maximize the visual worth. Endless blogs discuss how to anchor furniture, what colors promote which feelings, how to perform minor repairs, who to hire to fix major issues and even how to make your bed to invite buyer's to make an offer. These particular blogs are interesting to me and I eat them up! They are so useful to sellers, but staging must occur to please ALL senses, and often SMELL is forgotten.

Sure, I read the "bake cookies on open house day" and "scrub and paint walls if smoking occurred in the home," but I think there MUST be a list that covers other faux pax that are sure to offend the nose.

If a homeowner has already signed a listing agreement, the following must be minded:

1. From the moment anyone even THINKS they might sell their home, they must stop cooking any of the following foods: curry, fried foods (chicken, steak, fries, anything in oil which permeates the air and lingers), any seafood products, any microwaveable tofu products, and menudo. You get the idea- anything that you can smell after the table has been cleared and the dishes done must be avoided until you are in your new home. This is a great time to eat out, diet or stick to the less fragrant meals.

2. Smoking smell can be repaired before opening a home to touring, but continuing smoking (cigarettes, drugs or pipe tobacco) is ludacris! Smoking MUST be done outside, no matter how hot, cold or rainy- do not smoke in any part of the home. This should be common sense, but people sneak into the garage or a guest bathroom- there is no hiding smoke, it infiltrates the entire home.

3. Pets. This could be an entire article, but I will summarize. If you have a cat (or cats), regardless of previous habits, you must clean the litter box in the morning and the evening. If your animal has soiled the carpets or floors, there are remedies, but the goal of this article is to discuss how to avoid stinky problems from the moment a listing agreement is signed. If Fido or Fluffy Cat has somewhere else it can go until you sell your home, that is great (Grandma or a kennel might do). Talk to your Realtor about options. IF no option presents itself, keep pee pee animals outside or corralled in a single room until the movers get to your house. I can tell you that cat urine has caused deals to fall through here, it can happen to you!

4. Everyone loves their personal products, but if you shower in Old Spice instead of water, or you use White Diamonds instead of hairspray, you should take it down a notch for the duration of your home's sale. Proper etiquette is one small spritz on the wrist and one on the neck (despite what my 16 year old says). People are often allergic to perfumes/colognes, so don't give people allergy attacks just for peeking inside your home!

5. Not running the fans or the air conditioning/heater will cause the home to be still. If you don't use your AC, at least keep the air moving with fans or the "fan on" feature of your centralized system. Still homes don't exactly stink, they're just stuffy and smells are magnified in this environment. Use Glade plug-ins (Lennar, DR Horton and I use the hawaiian smell) in 2-3 locations on each floor.

6. If you have septic tank issues or any backup of sewage, you really should get this repaired. If something backs up while a tour is in progress, the deal will die faster than a mosquito in a bug light. If you know of this issue, don't hide it from your Realtor- talk to them about it so that everything is disclosed.

7. Garbage should be removed from the kitchen daily if any food is deposited in the waste. Softer foods should be disposed of in the sink's disposal and it should be run after every use. Limes/lemons chopped up and ice thrown into the disposal together can help with the more putrid smells. Dishwashers can be a source of stink also- run an empty cycle with a 1/4 cup of bleach after cleaning the dispose-all. No one likes that "eww, 2 day old ground beef" smell.

These should be common sense, but some of these items are missed. Glade, cookies and carpet powder are great remedies and others are readily found online. Remember- if a home doesn't smell great, dollars are literally flushed down the drain; offers will suffer. Don't forget to stage your furniture AND perform smell staging!
What's the worst smell YOU'VE experienced in a home for sale?


What's Up With The Zilence?

David G. at Zillow gave a great speech defending his product (which was not named in Realtor Genius' article) via a comment, but has become silent at the simple question "is your model in the end a national consumer driven listing service?"

We at Realtor Wives think he should answer so others don't do it for him...

Check out the conversation here and encourage David to follow up!

Going Green

In honor of Mother Earth and the "Keep Austin Weird" slogan, I have decided to make our home a little more environmentally friendly. As resident OCD wife/mother, it is my mission to keep our home model-clean at all times, but in honor of hugging trees, I will do the following and hope you will do the same:

1. Save electricity by using the powerful Ubervac less frequently- it really sucks up the watts!

2. Save water by doing less dishes. For example, I should drain pasta through my fingers instead of dirtying a dish- who needs finger skin? It'll be good for the planet!

3. I will dust less frequently because Dust Bunnies are creatures of the Earth and it is cruel to murder them and not allow their repopulation.

4. The lawn will no longer be mowed, weeded and edged twice a week because of the use of gasoline and power. Honey, I'm sure you're sad about this one...

5. No laundry will be tossed in the dryer- it will be hung to dry and I will use one of those 1890's flat iron insted of my Super Steamer Iron. Plus, the wrinkled look is in, so now we'll be super chic.

This all may sound lazy but it really is for Mother Earth. In all seriousness, Yahoo has launched a "Be A Better Planet Campaign," Check it out here, don't forget to point your clients toward energy saving methods, and DO NOT take Austin Realtor's Wife's advice listed above!


Blogs Overlooked

The following blogs have not had nearly the amount of comments I believe they deserve; check them out and get the ball rolling:

These are my top three for this week- my comments don't count, so HEAD OVER and make sure the conversation doesn't die, these are great articles!!!


The Bloodhound Blog Runs With a French Bulldog!

Not that I like French stuff, but I relate to French Bulldogs. I'm little and silly, but I'm great at learning new tricks! Odysseus seemed to need some company over at the ol' BHB, so I've been invited to be a contributor.

I have to admit on this site that I was terrified when Greg approached me. I feel like I'm about to go into the review on my senior thesis again. Now, I'll have to learn Latin, remember Spanish, and most importantly, remember how to speak (uh, write) English properly. How can I possibly run with the big dogs? I'm a two month old French bulldog- in the blogosphere, I weigh only 3.21 lbs.

After my initial shock, I became elated- what an awesome opportunity! I am not selling anything, so my voice is different than most people in our blogworld... I opine because I want to, not because I need to. Being buddies with Odysseus will be a blast! I CAN run with the big dogs- I'm fit, I have great stamina, and I can bite an Achille's heel better than anyone at this vantage point! So watch out world, this little pup is up for the work out!!!


There's a New Genius in Town

Since Crayolas are not a sufficient blogging tool, Realtor Genius was born!

The kickoff article is a blast, check it out and jump in on the conversation!!
RealtorGenius.com is a MUST for your feedreader! Your reviews are welcome either there or here... feedback is good for growing the brain!

Blogging with Crayolas

Imagine this article in the voice of Stewie Griffin (and imagine Rusty Lindquist is Peter "turning a blind eye" to the issues)- I think he is the most suitable narrator for this article.

Last week, Jay wrote about a la mode's Rusty Lindquist's comments about a la mode's vision of blogging, noting the sole function is to capture leads. Ol' Rusty opines that if you blog for any reason other than lead generation, you must suck. Well my mature response is "no, Rusty- you and a la mode suck," and here's why:

I have first hand experience with a la mode; my husband's firm uses a la mode for their website. They are normally quite innovative and their back end is incomparable, but they released this blog tool (like a year or two late) and their philosophy of lead generation is disgustingly obvious. Although you can subscribe to the blog, the tools are so lacking it makes you question if it is even an actual blog tool. On a la mode's blog platform, the following is missing:

There are:
*no trackbacks,
*no RSS feed,
*no ability to have live content (maps, live rate charts, buttons such as Blogflux),
*no ability to add a blogroll,
*you can't add contributors or have multiple authors (it all goes under one single name),
*thus no contributor archiving ability,
*no tagging (SERIOUSLY),
*no word verification option which forces moderation,
*and no blog linking ability (well, unless you are linking to another a la mode site).
My husband noted on Jay's site that the a la mode tool is the equivalent of being "in timeout blogging with Crayolas so [he] can “capture leads” per Lindquist’s envisioned blogosphere." The transparent Real Estate practices that we all work so hard to promote are squashed by a la mode's premature release of their blog platform.

Admittedly, a la mode is normally responsive and offers great customer service- that is unless your call has anything to do with their blog tool where suggestions seem to evaporate. Let's say you're like my husband and you want to take action... each time you note a missing tool (or if you notice you don't even have tools inside your shiny red toolbox), you call a la mode and make a request. First of all, it's ridiculous that ANYONE should have to call a tech company to make a freakin' tech suggestion. The response is always that they will pass your suggestion along to the tech department. "Can I speak directly with the tech department?" No, they'll pass your suggestion along. To date, no suggestion has been taken seriously- he's still blogging with Crayolas. When asked how long it will take, they provide a canned response quoting policy about promising dates- so you don't know if/when you can load a simple RSS feed, but you'll pass it along? I imagine a 19 year old call center operator reading from a script, writing down a message for the boss and handing it to him with a pile, noting "this one isn't important."

So if you've wondered why you don't have my husband on your feed reader, it's because a la mode believes a blog is exclusively for lead generating- you're just out of luck if you don't want to subscribe to an email drip. If a la mode can't produce results in a timely manner, Wordpress is becoming a sexy alternative. For the amount of money a la mode asks users to blow, they shouldn't force Realtors to have an off-site blog simply because their beliefs are antiquated (and ignorant, stupid and selfish). All Ol' Rusty has to do is (1) give the tools to his clients and let them decide which THEY need so that any philosophy regarding lead generation can be used (for or against), or (2) simply affirm clients that the tools are being developed OR that they are not and will not be developed- "I'll pass it along" never comforts a client.

Everyone will know when the site is not a-la-mode-suckey or when it's been put on Wordpress- I promise, there will be a parade, a press release and we're working on talking Goldblum into putting it into soundbite form for us. For now, a la mode blows- they are ignorant, they play dumb and they aren't listening to their clients... they are in danger of losing some of their biggest clients. For how excellent SOME of their functions are, it would be sad to watch them crumble.


From SHARK to Perch in 60 Minutes

What a dud. After all the spin and after all the hype, the phones still rang this week in the office. There was hustle and bustle, people in and out, and it was business as usual. I watched the traffic in and out, listened intently for signs of blow back, and still, nothing. There were happy conversations with buyers and sellers eager about their business of buying and selling and agents facilitating. What a great week it has been. Even online there were 10 or 15 blogs on the subject of the huge dump CBS took on your living room floor and a whole lot of commenting, but honestly, it was not the doom and gloom I think some had hoped for.

It got me to thinking about some of the things I had written about earlier in the week- my main point was that NAR is not a business model as some would like to portray. It is still 1.3 million agents all around the country that all do business in thousands of ways. Some would like to think that the idea of a discount is a new thing, but alas, the reality is still true- Realtors invented the discount brokerage over 20 years ago. Some practice it, others do not, but the truth to those who want to hear it is still loud and clear- real estate as we know it will adapt day in and day out (you thought I was going to say something else) as it always has, and so will the 1.3 million agents who practice it.

When the phone was invented, did the world as we knew it stop? Did the candle business cease at the advent of electricity? Did Bell keel over when cell phones were born? Did the desktop or laptop computer get pushed out the window to the awesome technology of the PDA? No. Most even suspected the end of American Airlines when Southwest Airlines popped onto the scene, but it just did not happen. Those businesses adapted and pushed forward, and so will we.

I personally am not worried about the fin I see in the water, I have come to the conclusion that Most in the Know have come to, and that is when you throw everything in the air- the hype, spin, blame, accusations, ill comments and everything else possible you see this cloud of smoke and haze, and beneath it all, you see a client and their Realtor. It will be on the ground, face to face with our clients that the air will be cleared. All the spin in the world cannot stop the one-on-one relationship a client has with his agent. Think about it… from their desk with their dual monitors and snappy headsets, it is hard to relate to the buyer or seller the way we do. On the phone, a client can hang up if he or she gets annoyed, but the service agent has the advantage of being there. That is where Real Estate is practiced- on the ground, face to face. That is precisely our advantage- the ability to do whatever it takes to make a buyer or seller happy. You just can’t do that from a call center. In time, even at a discount, the discounters will be held up to light about their commissions due to this inadequacy. What’s next? In order to become more profitable, the online discounter ships the jobs overseas to India? “Press one for English”

By no means do I advocate ignoring the issue- you should debate it in your office, in your mirror, or even with your clients as I have this week. Sharpen yourself and your business, and keep your eye on the ball. Negativity breeds negativity and that is their game.

Turns out it’s just a perch after all.



Be Careful What You Ask For- the Flip Side of the Redfin Argument

GUEST ARTICLE by That Real Estate Guy

It should be noted and stated loudly that the same folks who would bring down the NAR or redefine the industry as they put it are the same people who hate and want to bring down Wal-Mart. Not sure what I mean? I’ll explain…


Before Wal-Mart, the streets were lined with mom and pop shops- from the corner drugstore to the large department stores that had been family owned and operated for years in their communities. When Wal-Mart came along, the nation rejoiced and flocked to the big discount store to buy many of the same products they were getting at the stores I just described, but they were obviously lower quality, lower quantity; you name it, it was lower than just the price. Little by little, the old mom and pops fell off one by one. This phenomenon has been noted on popular shows and your local news. You’ve seen it for yourself when you visit your old hometown only to see the old fashioned drug store sitting vacant on the corner. The reality was explained away on major news networks as capitalism at its best, and the way of the world much the way CBS has done.

NAR is much the same as the mom and pops as the National Association of Realtors is made up of 1.3 million independent contractors (every day average people, mostly sole-proprietors) who already work to the advantage of their individual clients. Realtors assess the situations of all clients and are generally reasonable with them in their listing or buyer commissions. Realtors negotiate their price and sometimes settle with a reduced commission to build a stronger trust with the client because the clients’ needs were put first.

Mom and pops of yesteryear were much the same way. They knew their clients personally and by name most of the time, and knew when the O’Brians needed a helping hand and let them pick up a few essentials on credit until next month. The O’Brians would be grateful and would remain customers for life.

Somehow today, the same folks that would redefine our industry are the same folks who hate what Wal-Mart has done to the landscape of downtown main street- they’ve basically rendered them useless as the independent owner could not compete at volume discount pricing. The Anti-Wal-Mart lobby jeers at the idea of “one more Wal-Mart” while the Capitalists applaud. Slowly over time, the competition has faded away and we really aren’t sure if we’re getting every day low prices at the Wal-Mart because we really have nothing to compare it to. We simply have to pay for quality.

But again, the Anti-Wal-Mart Klan would have you believe that tearing down the network of 1.3 million independent contractors of the Real Estate Industry would fix what may or may not be wrong with it. I would argue that the industry is fine. There is room for argument about real estate practices (such as the argument of dual agency), but fundamentally, the industry could not be more diverse in its current state. Another example of this phenomenon is the oil industry. I remember when independent gas stations were competitive and abundant, creating the kind of competition that kept prices in line. Today, we have roughly five major suppliers around our cities basically deciding what we pay. Let’s face it, tearing down the independents of our country is fast becoming the way of the land; and to be honest, it is scary. Last I checked, there are no discount gas stations opening up, nor an outrage over the fact that real gouging is taking place on a daily basis. Are we going to continue this vicious cycle? I pray not.


I would say to online vendors such as Redfin, pay your dues- your Realtor dues. Be a member of the Board and agree to the CODE OF ETHICS and we’ll work with and trust you; join the list of the already competitive 1.3 MILLION independents in the industry. Work within the guidelines that have already proven to work countless times a day when Buyers and Sellers shop their list of local professionals and make their choice based on their needs. The bottom line of what this is all about is that companies like Redfin want to practice real estate without paying to be a Realtor and following the Code of Ethics. I noticed this was omitted.

The title of the 60 Minutes Story says it all about the spin that the media has already begun to spew- (“Chipping Away at The Realtors’ 6%”). The last time I checked, I only charge 3% of the transaction, and the buyer’s side (the other Realtor) charges 3%. So you aren’t chipping away at 6%, you’re simply chipping away at my little old 3% that I earned by being married to my client for 30, 45, 60, or 120 days or more. You’re chipping away at my ability to earn the trust of my individual clients (the O’Brians) by giving them back what I see is needed to make a sale work. When bringing a buyer to the table, many listing agents already discount the buyer’s side anyway, so the Redfin argument is moot on the so-called 6%.

CBS was also bias in the fact that it brought one couple from the discount side, versus clients from the 1.3 Million agents around the country to say exactly the same, only at least 1.3 millions times over. Another telling moment of the interview was: "Redfin very proudly says that they returned in rebates $3 million last year to its buyers," Stahl remarks. "You can't boast of anything like that." "Absolutely not," Arends acknowledges. "I don't know how to answer that one." I have the answer to this question- ONE POINT THREE MILLION INDEPENDENT AGENTS can boast a hell of a lot more than 3 Million dollars saved- we save it in equity at purchase, we save it in profit at sale, and you know what? We save it in rebates too. I’ll need a bigger calculator for that one….

Redfin is a tic tac in scale to 1.3 million Realtors in the United States, who are all independent voices and advocates for their clients- and Redfin aims to “redefine” 1.3 Million small businesses, 1.3 Million opinions, 1.3 Million consumer advocates that proudly stand up for their clients daily! Are you kidding me? We don’t need to defend ourselves. The DOJ needs to buck up and get the fact that 1.3 Million voters/agents/human beings make up NAR and those 1.3 Million voices know a little more about “the O’Brians” than a faceless machine that is designed to spend even less focus on consumer advocacy- the small fraction of those complaining or having problems with Realtors are guarded by the local Boards and Real Estate Commissions, we are already held to a higher standard than those that are not members of the Board and believe me, we are held to account!

Commission levels of 3% (standard in Texas) per agent were set to protect consumers from gouging. In the past, that number has remained the standard regardless of the market or home prices. With the home prices spiking, protecting the seller’s equity has become even trickier and even more needed. Realtors have never been MORE needed, yet all we hear is how they need to reduce agent income. If your profit margin on your home is $80 grand, then why are we debating over $2,400- how is that a price gouge? If I had $80k to net on my home, the last thing I would be doing is attempting to go it Wal-Mart style.

REFORM: Redfins needs reform to be able to compete with 1.3 Million agents that make up NAR

Redfin does not scare me nearly as much as this so-called reform many say this industry needs. Why does it need to be reformed? The reality is, the MLS is a product of NAR- not an open source code for any and all to access, much like Zillow’s product offered. Let them build and develop their product the way NAR has done.

Imagine a world with five different NARs and you have the world as envisioned by Redfin. Are you telling me that Redfin is going to allow the other four Redfin-type companies to list on their version of the MLS? Consumers are not best served by this business model that forces home buyers to search four, five, maybe six online listing systems. It’s like the BCS- the MLS may not be the best system in the entire world, but it does work!


NAR represents 1.3 million diverse independent contractors that practice real estate under one code of ethics and one common application of fair Real Estate practices that safe guards consumers. The alternative is to “redefine” ourselves into a corner where we go back to having numerous Listing Services, a lack of industry standards and an overall discord in Real Estate. The alternative is not even viable.

I would suggest that all Realtors throw away the talking points and simply say that all 1.3 Million of us already guard your interest, less than 100 say otherwise.

NAR is not something you just change without affecting the 1.3 Million Mom and Pop voices (who only average $47,700 per year) within it; you don’t just do that because a tic tac says so.

Be careful what you ask for!
That Austin Real Estate Guy


The Skyhook Theory

Larry wrote about the Skyhook Theory this week and for those of you who don't regularly read his articles, you really should add him to your feeder! The Skyhook Theory is simply the belief in something bigger (than you, your career, or your commission)... something bigger (the sky) that grounds you (the hook). Larry writes that he learned about it from a professor and asserts that it could have been a religious belief, but he maintains that the Skyhook transcends any religion.

Although I had previously been calling it believing in God (I'm not licensed so I can talk about religion if I want), the Skyhook Theory is precisely why I believe my husband has done well for himself. Many times over the years, someone needed a rebate or they needed that extra time spent discussing their loan at 10pm instead of us spending time watching CSI. All too often, clients are seen as "leads," "pieces of traffic," or "closings," and the industry tends to forget that underneath those jargon terms are people who are asking you to guide them through the biggest purchase they will make.

As a Catholic, I believe that it's not my money anyhow (thus I believe in something bigger than me or money... thus I believe in the Skyhook Theory) and since that's my "hook," it makes it easier to give up. "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" -1Corinthians 13. That is MY hook that makes each person more human, easier to serve, easier to sacrifice for and be generous with. I love the "skyhook" term because as a Christian, I am called to be a fisher of men- how perfect!

I believe that our industry needs more faith in each of our personal Skyhooks. What is YOUR hook?


555- fake phone number or a new tattoo sign?

Just kidding- 555 is neither. 5 just seems to be pertinent of late. The Bible mentions 3 and 7, but here at Realtor Wives, 5 rules the day!

After three separate emails suggesting I do so, I have entered yesterday's blog into ProBlogger's Group Writing Project. 5 is pertinent because after I wrote this article, I took the time to catch up on my feed reader and read Greg's article on the "Top 5 List" Project- how convenient, I had just completed a "Top 5" of my own!

OH, and I got 5 green lights on the way into the office (out of 7- that ain't bad), stood in line behind 5 people at Starbuck's today (normally it's 2, but so what), missed 5 calls while inside Starbuck's and I now have 5 fingers crossed that I win the lottery (or at least the Group Writing Contest)!

555 ooooh!


The Rule of The FIVE

My husband bases his entire Real Estate philosophy on the advice given to him from a busy, sophisticated mother of six- “I never give my kids more than two options for dinner.” No buyer should be equated to a toddler, but the advice still rings true- never overwhelm your client. If your kids opt for chicken, God forbid you serve trout- confusion will abound, dishes will break, and tears will fall.

When someone calls looking to buy, a good Realtor should be able to listen and understand the complicated nuances of subjective wants vs. needs. While discussing a buyer’s future home, the Realtor should already have 5 MLS numbers in mind and be checking availability from his laptop (with a Sprint wireless card if he’s not in the office). By the end of the conversation, the Realtor should know the area the buyer desires (probing questions may reveal that they said they wanted North but they didn’t know the Tollway opened, so now they are open to the more affordable options in the West), have 5 homes in mind to tour, know 5 things the buyer wants in those homes by asking questions regarding subjects even THEY haven’t thought of (you have a baby coming? Perhaps you could use a study instead of an additional bedroom- that will open up some options. You want red brick? You’ll love this red brick with limestone accents featured by a prominent local builder. You say you want to landscape? Oh, you mean you want a 2’x4’ space for your hydrangeas!). After all, knowing 5 things they want is good because, as my husband says, “you can’t argue with your own data.”

If you (as a buyer OR Realtor) find yourself in home number six and are getting closer to a selection, the Realtor should discuss with the buyers their original 5 wants/needs and address how these have changed. Regrouping is pertinent at this point because buyers CAN change their minds midstream. If the Realtor isn't even close to the mark, the connection might not have been made and the relationship should be optional beyond that point.

Too many Realtors simply have fun playing around in vacant houses and forget that the buyer’s time is precious too! Everyone loves dreaming about replacing floors and what color the valances will be, but shopping should be the easiest, smoothest, and often the shortest part of the home buying transaction. After the home is selected, most Realtors consider their job done and suddenly stop answering calls. This is pathetic- the best Realtors know to hold a buyer’s hand through the lending process, to follow up with title, to go to all inspections, help coordinate insurance and warranty, be at the closing table and be there to open the front door with the buyers. This is an incubation period which is often neglected in the Real Estate industry, but is CRUCIAL to the buying process. No wonder builders are experiencing so many cancellations!

Look, my husband has a 99% closing ratio because his background in PR and marketing has given him the unique advantage of being able to listen effectively and narrow down people’s comments into 5 desires or needs (and being able to distinguish the difference between the two), and in most cases being able to show buyers the home they will buy in the first shot (but will show 2, 3, or 4 more to ease the “what if” questions buyers may have). He tells buyers up front that they will look at up to 5 homes, they will not be stalked (and can walk away if it is not a good fit), and they will have someone on their side watching over the entire process. Most times, they will take their chosen home off the market the same day he shows them. He loathes the long term buyer’s agreement and doesn’t feel the need to subject a client to 120 days of his “service”- if a Realtor hasn’t gotten close within the first 5 homes, maybe they just don’t get it and all parties should part. After all, he wants to be at the house warming party and he will be the Realtor to sell that same house in the future!

To summarize- when your buyer calls and is prequalified, you need to
(1) ask questions, listen, and assess their wants versus their needs into 5 specific targets
(2) don't beat around the bush, show them the house they described first (often this can rule out your other four homes, but show them the next best thing anyhow).
(3) If you've realized that you missed the mark, don't waste their time- reschedule and research with new current data in hand.
(4) For home number three, with your new data, show them the home most closely matching their new description- since this is post-reassessment, you should be spot-on. And here you are at home number 3 or 4 as opposed to 33 or 34.
(5) Now that you've saved time shopping, you can spend more time with the closing process and should be able to give more (aka better) service to the buyer!

I see this work every day- it should be the norm in the industry, not the exception to the rule!


Not Everyone Has Bragging Rights

My husband and I traveled to Oklahoma City this weekend for my future sister-in-law's bridal shower. We drove all around the city to a few select areas that used to be nice- SoCo type places to live, and my husband was trying to explain to the children that this ghost town feel on the north side was disappointing and upsetting. He could point out where they used to hang out, where fancy homes used to be, and where upscale furniture boutiques were- but alas, they were no more. We felt called to redevelop areas of the city that used to be the "it places"- if only I had an extra few million sitting around (that's the 10 year plan). Perhaps just a few houses and buildings at a time...

My husband explained to the kids that the closing of GM, AOL jumping ship, and a future potential for Tinker AFB's closing was detrimental to Oklahoma, while in Austin it would barely be a blip the news. We have become so used to being in a thriving area that it is saddening to spend time in an area that isn't flourishing quite like ours. We have become spoiled by new tollways opening, constant commercial developments breaking ground, and it seems like a new home subdivision opens every week! We have become spoiled ROTTEN by being in a city that attracts Barney's NY, Louis Vuitton, Saks, Tiffany's and the like. We love our Starbuck's on every corner living happily across the street from the ecclectic local coffee bars- both thriving equally. It reminded us that we have several friends across the country in the Real Estate Industry that are surely struggling, and we tip our hats to them.

We are spoiled and we know it, but we take pause today to pray for those in our field who don't have the same annoying bragging rights that we do.


Pirate Tactic

In the pee contest that is blogging about Zillow, I learned a new blogging tactic... Pay close attention; you should try this out:

If someone posts a well written thesis on a topic you have addressed (especially a comment complimentary to the material in your article), you should definitely moderate that comment (and by moderate, I mean opt not to publish it at any point in time) because it is such a gold mine of a comment.

THEN, you should write a blog that very same day that mirrors what I had noted on your site just hours before. Oh, and never go back and post that comment because you could look like a pirate. And by pirate I mean idiot. An idiot pirate (the picture notes how I feel about the "Comment Pirate").

Remember, when people comment on your site, you should pirate that material as your own. And to the originator of this "Pirate Tactic," I know you read this blog, and I thank you for pioneering a new idea- getting your material from great comments that you opt not to publish. IT'S PURE GENIUS!

Please feel free to talk about the "Comment Pirate," founder of the "Pirate Tactic" on your own blog!



Posh'D is the internet's Miss America for Real Estate Websites! I went to nominate my husband's site, but it was already there- SWEET!

I love the POSH'D website- it is a fresh concept that I hope catches on. Out of the millions of crappy Real Estate websites, Shaun has taken the time out to promote the very few elite sites that deserve showcasing. Good job, Shaun!


Congress Pressured to Allow Non-Employer Groups to Offer Health Insurance

Kudos to NAR for urging Congress to allow non-Employer Groups (aka the Self Employed) to offer Health Insurance. If we could get a bulk rate for our optional insurance (just as Dell, Archstone-Smith, Best Buy, and thousands of other companies) through NAR, there wouldn't be such a disparity between the Realtors that are insured and those who are not. Moreover, with 1.3 MILLION "employees," NAR represents a gigantic work force. I hope they continue to squeeze Congress on this issue- WE DESERVE IT!

The problem with the current spectacle made of Health Insurance Coverage for the self employed (ahem... that would be the entire Real Estate Industry) is basically a State's Right to Govern vs. Fedral Goverment's Right to Govern (forgive all of the caps, I just feel like using them).

So, Mr. State A says, "insurance carriers must provide X, Y, & Z for all those insured, and they may not cover X, Y & Z." Then Mr. State B says, "insurance carriers must provice A, B, & C for all those insured, and they may not cover A, B, C." Already, you see the problem. If State A and State B can't play nicely with each other in the sandbox, they go to separate corners of the sandbox and play alone. Imagine what would happen if State A and State B tried to find common ground- what giant, beautiful sandcastles they could build together instead of their little dumpy independent sandcastles.

Listen, I am NOT a proponent for more governmental control of ANYTHING- in fact I think insurance should have nothing at all to do with what W or Kay Bailey Hutchison (huge fan of theirs, by the way) find necessary to legislate, and I think they would agree that it should be a non-governmental issue. While hospitals are being overrun by people with paper cuts that need bandages that have no intention of paying their bill, the nation is left to pay.

So, how does this apply to Real Estate, crazy ranting Realtor Wife? When too many cooks are in the kitchen, you will inevitably end up with crappy, burnt food. The real issue should be health care REFORM, not who can be insured. I believe that we should be financially responsible for our own insurance costs, but I should not be penalized because I no longer work for a Fortune 500 company. If paper cut victims remain responsible for their health care, there would be no reason for health care providers to be nervous to the point of gouging prices for others. If State A and State B could get together and unify their regulations, Insurance Providers would be able to offer a nationally recognized plan that is available for all (despite what price they choose to charge... I DO believe in capitalism), but as it stands, Insurance for the Self Employed is needlessly, RIDICULOUSLY HIGH!!!

Many Realtors have to rely on their spouse working somewhere for insurance coverage, but that is a terrible reason for selecting your workplace! NAR, please please please continue using Realtor fees for these types of GOOD causes!!!