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Family Moves Into New Home, Gets A Rude Awakening From Menacing Neighbors

“Use the right tool for the job”…

The wisdom in that saying is why it’s been said for centuries. After all, you wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, or a cat to a dogfight, would you? The point is, it’s not wise to do something yourself if you’re not qualified to handle the job. You want to use the right tool, or person, that the situation requires.

This brilliant 60 second commercial by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) delves into the process of buying a new home… and biker gangs. As to how the two relate, you’ll have watch to find out.

At the end, you’ll understand why Realtors are so important.

Via CREA | ACI
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If People Reacted Honestly to the Property Listing You Posted on Facebook

Everybody knows that real estate agents like to share property listings on Facebook from time to time. Feedback is always nice to receive, but what if people wrote what they’re really thinking when they comment? Here’s what it might look like…

property listing

Special thanks to a few friends (and contributors to the Lighter Side) who allowed me to use their photos for this parody post. They are:

Joe Kerouac: Joe Kerouac’s Real Estate Blog
Seth Williams: REtipster
Kenny K.: Sales Humor

Would YOU like to contribute to the Lighter Side? If so, get in touch!

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Wouldn’t It Be Nice to Know What Your Colleagues REALLY Think About You?

Ahh, good ol’ office politics — gotta love ‘em! There’s always that one person you strongly suspect neither likes nor respects you. Whether you work in real estate, the mortgage industry, or any other profession… that person does exist.

But how interesting would it be around the office if people cut through the all the niceties and said what’s really on their mind? Talk about social awkwardness! BuzzFeed Yellow paints the picture for us in this hilarious parody. Enjoy!

Source: BuzzFeed Yellow

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You Gotta See How this Nashville REALTOR® Won Over the Internet after Snowmageddon 2015

When Adam Helton, a Nashville REALTOR®, and his family were snowed into their home, they decided to make the most of their winter wonderland situation. After Day 1, “making the most of it” quickly went from having fun, to creatively stretching their resources and patience to a whole new level. What a way to prove that with a loving family (and a good sense of humor), you can truly weather any storm.

Via Realty LLC: Adam Helton

Here are some of Adam’s real estate video marketing tips:

  • Video titles: Make sure your video title is exciting enough to make someone want to watch the video. Using keywords like “Nashville Realtor” in the title will really help with SEO.
  • Using Facebook Video uploader AND YouTube: Facebook’s algorithms favor video and will show videos to more people in your feed if you use the Facebook Video uploader. This however, will limit your distribution in other places. So, make sure you have it also uploaded to YouTube. YouTube is great for generating SEO for realtors.
  • Ask for people to share the video when you post to social media.
  • You don’t need fancy equipment or technical expertise. I shoot my videos on my iPhone and edit them with the iMovie app.
  • Don’t be too serious. It seems to be most effective when you can come across as approachable and genuine.

Browse his YouTube page here.

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Top 10 Reasons You Should Date or Marry a Real Estate Agent

Having a real estate agent as your significant other definitely comes with perks. So if one asks you out on a date, or for your hand in marriage, you should definitely say yes!

Here are the top 10 reasons why:

  1. You can ditch your shrink and save the money. There’s no better therapist than a real estate agent.
  2. Tax deductible dinners. No need to feel guilty about ordering that bottle (or 3) of Screaming Eagle Cab. Write-offs are an agent’s best friend.
  3. Real estate agents are tough. They don’t give up easily. When the “honeymoon stage” fades, they’re not likely to scram.
  4. Since there’s no such thing as a “sure thing” in real estate, an agent’s hopes are tempered by realism. They take nothing for granted, and they’re practically immune to let downs.
  5. Real estate agents are great negotiators. If you want to vacation at the beach, and he or she prefers the mountains, guess what… yep, go pack your flannels. Which is better anyway — you’ve been to the beach too many times already.
  6. Real estate agents work with multiple vendors, so they’re great coordinators. Think: parties, weddings, reunions, etc. This will lighten your load down the road. You’ll thank me later.
  7. Real estate agents know beauty is more than skin deep. On that note, if one ever tells you that you have “good bones”, it doesn’t mean what you think it does.
  8. Real estate agents are easy to reach at a moment’s notice. They keep their phones on them at all times. Their livelihood depends on it.
  9. Never worry about awkward social situations. Real estate agents are dripping with charm and can relate to all walks of people.
  10. They’re skilled at breaking down complicated stuff into simple terms (ever read a sales contract?!). So when it comes time to talk about feelings and emotions, you’ll know exactly where they stand.

 

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Everyone Else Has To Wait For Realtor.com’s New Commercials, But You Get A Sneak Peek Right Now

This week, Realtor.com® unveiled a new logo, a redesigned News & Advice section, and the largest national marketing campaign they’ve ever embarked upon.

To accomplish this, they had to bring in some “big guns.” Their new ad campaign features Elizabeth Banks, the Emmy-nominated actress, producer, and director. You’ve probably seen her in movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Pitch Perfect,” and “The Hunger Games.”

Here’s the Realtor.com team and new logo!

Courtesy of Suzanne Roy

The main thing Realtor.com® keeps pushing is that real estate is a common denominator for all of us. Even the celebrities have the same challenges we do. Sometimes, it helps to have a celebrity point that out. Even better is when they can point it out in the lighthearted fashion that we at the Lighter Side hold in such high regard. Turns out, Banks does exactly that!

That’s why she said it made so much sense to become the new face of Realtor.com®.

“I’m a little house obsessed and looking for a new home right now, which made the opportunity to work on the new realtor.com® ad campaign a great fit,” she said. “I love the accessibility of realtor.com. My husband and I email each other photos of houses to look at and the other person can pull them right up—no matter where they are.”

Their new campaign, called “Real Estate in Real Time,” includes some sweet 15-second and 30-second commercials as well as longer web episodes. (You’ll find everything on Realtor.com® as it comes out.)

In one of the first ads, called “Jim,” Banks is characterized as a real estate fanatic who is awe-inspired by “Jim” who’s using Realtor.com®’s website to find their dreams. See below why Realtor.com® users have game!

Via RealtorDotCom

This is just the beginning of the uplifting episodes you’ll see from Banks (and Realtor®.com) over the coming months. We recommend watching the commercial during the final episode of the “Late Show with David Letterman” on May 20, and watch for it on other networks, including HGTV, Bravo, TBS, Comedy Central, and Spike. The Web videos featuring Banks will break later.

Via RealtorDotCom

It’s also worth mentioning that TV spots and Web videos were directed by Fred Savage, A.K.A Kevin Arnold from “The Wonder Years.” He’s been directing episodes of TV favorites, like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “That’s So Raven.” They did say they were bringing in the big guns!

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10 Hard-Learned Lessons They Don’t Teach In Real Estate School

Staging your home properly can not only get it sold more quickly, but it can also help you net money when it sells. The best part? You don’t have to break the bank in the process. Follow this infographic by Moshells to help showcase your home’s best features.

moshell-homestaging

The five golden rules are:

De-personalize

While your family photos are beautiful and your kids’ drawings on the fridge are adorable, buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the house. That means putting away your photos, clearing your closets from unnecessary clutter, and using matching hangers to give your closet more visual impact.

Maximize

Declutter and maximize the area in your home. Stuffed closets make your closet space look insufficient, so consider storing excess belongings offsite. You can also quickly improve your bedroom’s appearance by using gender neutral colors when accessorizing so that the color scheme appeals to more people. A headboard, a cohesive color scheme, and a few decorative items also improve the look of a bedroom, while removing extra clutter (office furniture, power strips, televisions, etc) will make the room feel more relaxing.

Sanitize

No one wants to move into a dirty home, so clean your home to make it much more appealing to prospective buyers. Clear your countertops to make the space look larger, and enhance the open feel with white bath and hand towels on display. Clean dirty shower doors with a solution of one part muriatic acid and ten parts water. Bathrooms and kitchens are the two essential areas of the home, and they can make or break a deal.

Modernize

A dated-looking home means a lower offer, so modernize your home wherever possible. Small changes, like replacing gold fixtures or brass and wooden cabinet hardware with nickel, chrome, brushed silver, or stainless steel, will go a long way towards updating your home. You can quickly update the look of flat appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators by using stainless steel stick-on coverings or specialty appliance paints. While you’re in the kitchen, go ahead and declutter your cabinets, drawers, and oven- buyers will look inside every nook and cranny. Also, you can make your kitchen space look larger by removing rugs.

Neutralize

Keeping a neutral color scheme can help your buyers envision themselves in your home, especially in a statement-making area like the dining room. Set the table simply to create visual interest, and add a vase with fresh flowers for a beautiful focal point. Add lighting and emphasize any natural light your home gets using a mirror and subtle lamps. Don’t forget to adjust your window treatments to maximize your staging. Keep your curtains neutral or choose ones with subtle designs; sheer curtains also let in more light so that your home looks more appealing. Set the rods as high as possible and use thin rods to maximize the space.

A few simple tweaks can increase your home’s selling price by hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. Use these guidelines to stage your home effectively so that you get the best possible price on your house.

Credit: Moshells

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If Realtors Rewrote The Dictionary: 25 Definitions That Needed An Update!

Webster probably invented the dictionary. Then along came Merriam and these two companies have provided us the standard book of word definitions forever. Sometime within the 20th century, the Urban Dictionary was born and added some color to our already-complicated, multi-faceted language which includes slang, ebonics, profanity, and a whole lot of made-up words that people think are real words.

Oddly enough, none of these resources accurately describe a few important words pertaining to real estate. Words, mind you, that Realtors use on a daily basis. Therefore, some tweakage is definitely necessary (btw, “tweakage”is verified by Urban Dictionary as a real word!). I present to you: THE REALTOR’S DICTIONARY.


APPRAISAL

The act of an appraiser revealing what the home is worth. This person, in less than one hour, can make or break the sale of the home for clients that you’ve invested countless months of time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears on. Waiting for an appraisal report is the longest and most stressful time in a real estate transaction. Copious amounts of alcohol may be consumed during this timeframe.

BROKER

Person who owns the brokerage, or office, in which you hang your real estate license. The Broker is not to be confused with a boss since Realtors are self-employed. However, the Broker mimics the role of a boss by implementing office policies and procedures. The Broker is who cuts a Realtor’s paycheck, so I guess they technically are the boss.

BUYER

Person who wants to buy a house. This is pretty much everyone, so Realtors must classify them into categories such as; Unqualified, Lookie-Loo, or Ready-Willing-Able. See individual definitions below.

CLIENT

Person who signs an agreement with a Realtor to represent them as a “Buyers Agent” or “Seller’s Agent”. Once the agreement is signed, Clients tend to become emotional, impatient, excited, nervous, ecstatic and a bit mentally unstable for the duration of time in which the sale is commenced. This is completely normal.

CLOSING

The day the sale of a home becomes official. This is the day when the months of hard-work, sleepless nights, and endless streams of communication end (for this particular client). This is the day the Realtor gets their long-awaited and much deserved paycheck, which is then stripped of its dignity when broker fees are deducted, and MLS fees, marketing costs, state and federal taxes are subtracted. Sometimes a Realtor’s paycheck equates to that of a part-time cashier at Walmart.

COMMISSION

The non-negotiable amount of money, which may vary from Realtor to Realtor, that he/she will earn on a sale. Anyone trying to lower this should expect very bad things to happen to them, so don’t even think about it. Would you try to negotiate payment with the brain surgeon about to remove the mass in your head that’s making you think such ridiculousness? Uhh, no. To be clear, commissions are never fixed at a certain rate within a market (that’s a big no-no, and illegal), but again, what a Realtor charges you is generally non-negotiable.

COMPS

Short for “comparables” and what Realtors rely on to accurately price a home for sale. An appraiser also uses comps to verify the home is priced right, and notoriously uses the lowest selling comp on the street in their appraisal report.

CON-ED

Short for Continuing Education and is a state requirement that all Realtors obtain a mandatory amount of training. Saying “Con-Ed” is what the cool Realtors call it, and no one really enjoys going to Con-Ed, but we love to brag about how much we learned.

CO-OP AGENT

The other agent involved in the real estate transaction, and often times, is a good-for-nothing, rude, mean, uncooperative waste of space (this of course excludes any agents who follow the Lighter Side of Real Estate!).

FSBO (Pronounced, “Fizzbo”)

The acronym of “For Sale By Owner” and is a Realtor’s arch nemesis. Any person trying to FSBO is claiming they can do the same job as a Realtor, even when they aren’t a Realtor, and they have no clue of the dozens of things Realtors do for a living. Most times a FSBO will over-price their home, feel overwhelmed with all the calls, emails, and showing requests they may receive, and become a miserable person wishing they hired a Realtor in the first place. Most FSBO’s are too cheap, and assume it costs them a lot of money to hire a Realtor, when in actuality, hiring one will save them money and time!

HOME-OWNERSHIP

The greatest thing on earth.

LENDER

The financial institution that lends money to a buyer to purchase a home. Some lenders have no credibility and don’t take the time to verify the buyer’s assets and income and issue bogus “pre-qualification” letters, which lead to weeks of wasted time, headaches, and broken hearts when the buyers find out they can’t buy their dream home after all. An experienced Realtor can help guide buyers to a legit lender, and refer them to a hard-working loan officer who will do their job right.

LOOKIE-LOO

A buyer who has nothing better to do than waste a Realtor’s time to go look at houses they aren’t going to buy. This is what the internet is for. And open houses.

PINTEREST

The website that allows for virtual hoarding, idea-collecting and sharing. Everyone with a Pinterest account has a board devoted to their dream house, so the website is very real estate related and a great resource for getting ideas and posting links about all things real estate. Also, for the world’s greatest cheesecake recipe, 1001 things to make with wine corks and wood palettes, and how to lose 20 lbs. while eating cheesecake and drinking wine.

PRE-APPROVAL

The glorious document issued from a loan officer of a credible lender that gives a buyer the permission to start home shopping. Without the pre-approval, there is no point showing homes to these buyers, as it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Do not confuse this with a “Pre-Qualification”, as that document means nothing and is basically all the lies the buyer told the loan officer about his credit and income, and nothing was verified.

OPEN HOUSE

An event where a Realtor will allow showings on one of their listings and keep it open to the public for an allocated amount of time. Most open houses welcome in nosey neighbors, competing neighbors wanting to list their homes for sale (but see yours first), lots of lookie-loos and people with nothing better to do. Open houses are often a waste of time and will rarely sell the house, but they can generate buyer leads to the Realtor hosting it.

READY-WILLING-ABLE

A buyer who’s received their pre-approval letter and has been promoted to first priority on a Realtor’s radar.

REALTOR

See “Super Hero”

SCHEDULE

Subject to change, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Basically, a Realtor doesn’t have a schedule and is a multi-taking maniac with super-human time-management skills. Realtors eat schedules for breakfast.


RELATED: Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Realtor?


SELLER

Person who wants to sell their home. Often times, this person feels their home is worth millions of dollars and doesn’t care that neighborhood comps have sold for less. Sellers often hold an inaccurate, inflated sense of their home’s value because of its updated kitchen knobs, newly painted bathroom, or freshly planted pansies. Sellers also believe everything they see or hear on HGTV and think their $50,000 kitchen remodel will result in them making double of what they paid.

SHORT SALE

Anything but short. See also; pain in the ass, headache, not worth my time.

SHOWING

When an agent requests to see a home you have for sale, and schedules an allocated time frame in which they will arrive at the home with their buyers. Many times, they are late, early, or don’t show up at all.

SUPER HERO

See “Realtor”

VACATION

Error — definition not found. Realtors don’t participate in whatever this is.

ZILLOW

The website loathed by many Realtors because of inaccurate “zestimates” and outdated property data. Realtors spend lots of time explaining to their clients why this website is not a valid source of information, constantly ripping it apart or making jokes about it… then will ask them for a good recommendation to add to their Zillow profile once a home closes.

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3 Tips From A Real Estate Agent On How To Avoid Disasters When Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

What bugs me most about so many of these types of articles is that the advice is all well and good…

if you’re Martha Stewart, have tons of time on your hands, and/or dough to blow.

They paint calm pictures of hosting.

Admirable? Yes.

Achievable? Not likely.

While researching for this piece, I came across articles with some ludicrous “tips”.

One suggested switching out a mere ceiling mounted light fixture in your guestroom to a ceiling fan / light combo. This is so your overnight guest can control their own comfort. Seriously!?

Fact is, many people are tight on time and money. So I wanted to get into some tips that are equally ludicrous, but are things you can actually achieve, in less time, with less money, and can be applied by the most frugal, as well as the wealthiest of the bunch.

So let’s start with the easiest way to avoid a hosting disaster altogether…

Buy a house without a dining room

One article suggested buying a bigger house with a bigger dining room. Riiiiight. It’s that simple.

When you are hunting for houses, and you are working with a low budget, don’t bemoan the fact that every house is too small and doesn’t have a proper dining room. Rejoice.

No dining room? House is too small? You can’t host holiday dinners. Therefore, you cannot logically have a holiday hosting disaster. Crisis averted.

And for those of you with tons of money, you don’t have to spend every dime you have on a house. Buy a smaller house. Use said savings to rent nice hotel rooms not far from the relatives who host you at every holiday since your place is too small for you to play host. But make sure to bring an extra nice bottle of wine, a side dish, and a dessert. Otherwise you are a cheapskate…rather than financially strategic.

Turn the TV on

Don’t bother installing a sound system and pipe music throughout the house like some articles suggest. Impractical. Not gonna happen.

And even if you were inclined to, and had the money and time to get it installed, you would be forcing your guests to have conversation. Conversations lead to arguments.You can’t watch music.

Nothing helps people deal with small talk quite like the TV.

Guests can literally drink themselves into a stupor and zone out if they want to, or have “conversation” in short snippets about whatever comes onto the screen in front of them.

NOTE: Do NOT put on any real estate related shows. Given the number of licensed real estate agents in the country, you’re bound to have at least three in the house at even the smallest gathering. These reality shows aggravate real estate agents due to their lack of reality. Voiding these shows will help to avoid any nervous breakdowns or rants.

Just don’t invite Uncle “Fred”

One of the articles had a tip that recommended that you should stock your powder room with an array of candles, matches, scented sprays, a plunger, and a whole basket-full of toilet paper. “Just in case…”, they wrote.

Every one of you reading this is picturing whoever he (or she) is in your family that would create that “just in case” moment.

Whoever he (or she!) is in your family…that dude (or dudette) doesn’t respect the term powder room.

If it’s unavoidable and you absolutely have to invite “Fred”, consider renting a porta-potty. Make a small sign on the powder room door that says, “Out Of Order. Please use restroom in front yard.”

Have a great Thanksgiving!

And the minute you get all stressed out over this, that, or another thing…remember, there’s almost always a fun or funny angle to anything you have to deal with.

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An Open Letter To Rude, Condescending, And Elitist Real Estate Agents

I was inspired to write this after seeing a post on The Lighter Side of Real Estate, which asked the question:

If you could change one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be?

I was particularly fond of Sophia Sboukis’ response, which you can read below.

I wanted to expound, and below you’ll see I’ve done just that.

The Problem

As agents and Realtors, we have a long list of responsibilities. Some can be very frustrating and downright stressful. At any given time we have to deal with picky buyers, stubborn sellers, or a dry market (sometimes all 3, and more)—but that’s just part of the job description, and the good ones handle it with grace.

The sad reality is that most stress for a Realtor usually comes from the co/op Realtor who is supposed to be working WITH us. See, I’ve talked to (and worked with) many Realtors, and I’ve observed an imbalance within the industry. And it’s quite a nagging problem…

Two Camps of Realtors

On one hand, some Realtors are like extended family: they’re the first to join forces with other Realtors and join associations with them, support them, congratulate them on a sale, and even go to Happy Hour together. There is great camaraderie amongst these Realtors, and we feel like a part of a club where we can vent about our woes and it’s understood.

On the other hand, some Realtors will sometimes turn bi-polar when working with other agents and it’s like working with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I’ve had many transactions with seemingly successful Realtors who were friendly and nice to me in the beginning when the offer was accepted, and then turned into a raving lunatic who bullishly tried to divert blame at every opportunity.

These Realtors don’t typically get along too well with others in the industry, and they don’t realize that their reputation is in jeopardy.

Too many Realtors brag about how many homes they’ve sold, or how much money they’ve made or let their success get to their head. I wish that some of that money could buy common sense though, because I find that some of the most “top-producing agents” are the busiest, and therefore are the ones that fall way behind on simple tasks like returning my phone call or a quick email.

After I call or email again and days go by and I have to reach out yet another time, they tend to get very snippy and use their “I’m super busy because I’m the most successful rock-star agent on the planet” excuse.

I don’t care about any of that. I care about OUR transaction, and if I am waiting on a document or answer to a question, it should be a priority to you as well because you have a client in this too, Mr. Rockstar.

This article isn’t entirely a rant, though, because I’ve had wonderful transactions with other Realtors who were communicative and handled themselves professionally. When an issue arose, we were able to work it out and leave personal feelings aside and focus on the ONLY important task: Getting the home sold.

Those are Realtors that I would LOVE to work with again, so you bet I will bend over backwards to show their homes to my prospective buyers.

I Get It, Though

I understand the disparity of personality types in this business. Not only are we humans inherently unique (obviously), but Realtors are particularly territorial creatures. We’re very protective of our clients, as well as our own credentials (as we should be). We know our own work ethic and amount of time and dedication we put forth, and we expect the same from our co/op agent.

Because we’re self-employed, we’re not bound by traditional office rules or hours. Every Realtor operates his/her business differently, so rarely do our expectations get met.

Sure, it’s easy to judge and complain about them, but we need to treat others the way we want to be treated, bite our tongues, respect one another and work together until the deal gets done.

Which brings me to this…

The Bottom Line (And A Call To Action)

To all the rude, condescending, and elitist real estate agents out there:

Look, we’re meant to work together. There is a Listing Agent and a Buyer’s Agent role for a reason. One represents the seller and one represents the buyer, but they need to work together to make sure the home sells and both parties are represented equally. Too often, Realtors take on a Defense Attorney and Prosecutor role and lose sight of the big picture.

We are allies and not enemies. I hope that more Realtors learn to play nice with one another because this industry is stressful enough as it is without the schoolyard drama and immaturity. We get that from our clients or Zillow reps hunting us down…

…so can’t we all just get along?