Archive Monthly Archives: February 2010

Realtors Who Speak in Rehearsed Scripts Instead of Thinking

Sylvia wrote an offer for one of our buyers last week. When the listing agent called to confirm receiving the offer, he immediately started in with rehearsed script-speak. For those of you unaware of “scripts”, they are exactly what you might imagine. Prefab spoken lines to use in certain situations.

Many Realtors and Real Estate Coaches swear by scripts and practice them daily.  Sylvia and I are very familiar with the concept of scripts, we’ve had training in scripts, and we’ve attended workshops at real estate conventions about using scripts. But we don’t employ scripts in a formal way. This blog article will explain why.

I only heard Sylvia’s side of the conversation with the script-driven listing agent, but she filled me in after hanging up saying, “man, everything that guy says is a script”.

It started with: “Got your offer. So … (pause)… your buyer is offering exactly ___% below list price for a listing that has been on the market only ___ days”.

To which Sylvia responded off the top of her head with with: “Well, the offer is based on the market analysis I did, which I sent with the offer. The list price is irrelevant. I determined the market value based on recent sales of similar homes and advised the buyer as to a fair offer price, and that’s what you have. Plus, we’ve sold over half a dozen homes in that neighborhood and we know what those houses are worth”.

Then, as skilled practitioners of script-speak do, whatever you say is ignored. Instead of having a conversation about the comparable sales that were used to justify the offer, the next rehearsed line is uttered, no matter what your response was to the first.

“I’m going to need your buyer to come up to a price my seller can agree to so we can make this deal work and so you and I can both get paid our commissions”.

To that, Sylvia said: “{Agent Name}, I’m not doing this for a commission. I’m helping my buyer find the best value I can for a home that meets his needs. He likes your listing, but it’s over-priced. You have a good clean offer, based on a proper market analysis, and I think the seller should seriously consider accepting the offer as-is”.

I thought it ended shortly thereafter, with the seller and agent not willing to budge from the list price. I was amazed a few days later to be told that the buyer and seller were in fact now under contract for an amount less than the seller’s price and a bit higher than either Sylvia or I felt was justified for our buyer. But the buyer is the one who makes the decision to accept a seller’s counter-offer or not. We just provide the data, our opinion and our advice. So we entered into the inspection period.

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Posted by Steve
6 years ago

Google Buzz – No Thanks. Leave my Gmail Inbox Alone

Google Buzz LogoI opened my Gmail account this morning to see a new Label called “Buzz” just under my Inbox label. Hmmm. I clicked it and read the “Welcome” letter, spent a few more minutes looking into it at the Google Buzz site, Read the Google Blog about Buzz, watched a video about it (see bottom of this post),  then I immediately removed it from my email interface by performing the following task:

Click: Settings -> Labels -> Hide (next to the Buzz Label). Now the “Buzz” label is not visible from my Gmail interface.

Sorry Google. My Gmail interface is a productivity tool. I have a lot of stuff to get done. I pay you an annual fee for the extra storage space I need. I don’t want a bunch of new crap inserted into my inbox which will no doubt slow me down, distract my thinking and reduce my productivity.

It is with great diligence that I put the Labels and Filtering options in Gmail to use in order to keep stuff out of my face that I don’t want or need to see immediately, or at all. I don’t need a new Google Buzz Box providing an endless stream of the social goings on and digital mussing of the people in my Gmail contact database, which is currently at 2700+ and growing daily. If I want to know what people are doing, and I have time to waste, I have other ways of accomplishing that, such as visiting Facebook or surfing blogs.

The advertised features of Google Buzz are:
No setup needed – Automatically follow the people you email and chat with the most in Gmail.
SC: Yeah, I noticed that, and turned it off immediately. No thanks.

Share publicly or privately – Publish your ideas to the world or just to your closest friends.
SC: I’m trying to catch up on email, not share my ideas with the world.

Inbox integration – Comments get sent right to your inbox so it’s easy to keep the conversation going.
SC: No! Leave my inbox alone. I work hard keeping it at “zero”.

See updates in real time – New posts and comments pop in as they happen. No refresh required.
SC: Oh Dear God No! Don’t you get it? I’m trying to work and get stuff done. Leave me alone.

Just the good stuff – Buzz recommends interesting posts and weeds out ones you’re likely to skip.
SC: No. Don’t recommend anything to me. Stop bothering me. Go away, I’m working.

Maybe this is a knee-jerk reaction and I’ll gradually become aware of ways that Google Buzz can be utilized while remaining segregated from the focus and attention I need to maintain when in my “Email Office”. I just don’t feel like I need more social networking stuff foisted upon me at this point in life. Enough already.

Email Efficiency – Not Letting Email Run Your Life
At present, I have a systematic and specific way that I deal with email. My routine is a result of reading about how others deal with high-volume email and adopting those various ideas and concepts. If you recognize some of these ideas, you’ll know they are not my inventions. I borrowed them all. If you constantly feel overwhelmed by email, and are guilty of letting things slip through the cracks because they fall off your radar, the following routine is what helps me stay on top of (or quickly dispense with) the 200-300 emails that come at me each day. Here’s what I do.
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Posted by Steve
6 years ago

Husbands, let your wife have the house she wants

Below is one of my favorite commercials from the Super Bowl, though I disagree with the premise. I do appreciate the humor though. The message to married men, perhaps not completely tongue-in-cheek, is “you’ve sacrificed a lot, but surely there is a limit to your chivalry. Drive the car you want to drive”.

The commercial aims to portray married men as whipped dogs suffering under the oppressive thumb of dominating wives who’ve stripped us of our manhood via forced compliance with petty etiquette, housekeeping and social demands. The only hope for retaining our last bit of manhood, according to the message, is to drive a manly gas guzzler with a throaty sounding exhaust system, chiseled lines and lots of horsepower. Thus the title of the piece, “Man’s Last Stand”. Let’s have a look.

OK, so I have something else to add to the list of statements that could have been included in this commercial:

“I will let you make the final decision on which house we buy”.

Should husbands defer and give the final decision of which house to buy to our wives? Absolutely. As a husband, I’ve never once regretted letting my wife have her way or over-ride me on decisions related to house, home or kids. I also pick up my laundry, try to remember to put down the toilet seat, say “yes” when I know it’s the only practical answer, keep my mouth shut when when no upside utterance exists. Luckily I’m not forced to watch vampire shows or walk a dog, but do any of these other things make me less of a man? No.

As a buyer agent, I’ve pulled more than one husband aside and delivered this exact “”As a husband, I’ve never once regretted …” script. I think every husband who wants to impose his house hunting requirements on a reluctant wife should consider what I have to say.
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Posted by Steve
6 years ago

Pre-Marketing a Listing Can Result in Quick Offers

When should a listing go “on the market”, and what constitutes being on the market? Often we’ll take a new listing with the understanding that it won’t be placed into the Austin MLS until the pre-sale checklist is complete. That checklist includes preparation that the seller needs to complete so that the home can be properly presented to the market from the first day in the MLS.

For some sellers, this involves just minor straightening up. For others, it’s major decluttering, repairs, painting, landscaping, etc. Once the home is prepared, we send the stager, photographer and virtual tour people. Once we have the virtual tour and the photos, the home is ready to be listed in the MLS.

Meanwhile, we often place a sign in the yard with a rider that says “Coming Soon”. We’ll also contact agents that work the area in which the listing is located and let them know we have a new one on the way. Sometimes, this results in a sale before we ever make it into the MLS. Such is the outcome with one of our current listings, which received multiple offers before it was officially “on the market”.

How does this happen?
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Posted by Steve
6 years ago

Can a Night Owl become an Early Bird?

I’ve always been a night owl. My first late night job was in high school, mopping up and taking out the trash part time at a restaurant after closing at 11PM. After high school, not taking well to college right away, I worked second shift 3:30PM to midnight at a factory in San Diego for 18 months. This resulted in countless all-nighters, though I did, unbelievably, maintain perfect attendance without one single late or sick day.

It was a Japanese-owned factory, and perfect attendance each month was rewarded with a $5 bonus and the designation of “Honor Employee”. I liked my $5 bonus the first of each month ($4.34 after taxes), and I liked the way my manager bowed in thanks when presenting the bonus check and saying to me in broken english “You are Honor Employee. We appreciate you”.

To this day, I can’t believe that a wild young, irresponsible, unreliable 18-19 year old like me could be tamed and made 100% punctual by the desire to receive that simple ritual affirmation and a few extra dollars each month. But if you’ve never been bowed to in ritual and honored by an oriental boss, and told you are appreciated in front of all your co-workers, it’s intoxicating. It’s addicting. And it made me feel entirely worthy and valued when everything else in my college-droppout-beer-drinking life indicated otherwise.

So I made sure I was on time every day and didn’t miss work. I think my lifelong work ethic can be attributed to the punctuality habits caused by that $5 bonus and the seemingly trivial yet potent acknowledgment of appreciation each month.
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Posted by Steve
6 years ago