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Friday, January 31, 2014

Mi Casa Su Casa and all that other B S

I was going to post something sweet today.  I REALLY was!  I even told one of my clients, that I would write about all of the truly wonderful clients I have and have had.

Sadly, I can't make myself do it.  I am just too P.O.-ed as my mother would have said.  PISSED OFF!

My BLOG today concerns the low life, dirtbag, no good, sneaky, lying real estate agent that doesn't have to abide by the same rules/laws as everyone else.  They cross markets, and they tend to cluster.  Like kind, like mind, a true cluster know what of F-TARDS.  Typically they all work in the same office and are inter-related on some/many levels.

Here's the deal.  Certain real estate agents (not REALTORS), and I get all the Restraint of Trade stuff... don't have to, and DON"T, abide by the ethical requirements of REALTORS.  EVER.  By law we have to work with them anyway...they have a right to make a living and all that good stuff.

TOP SECRET key cabinet!
John Q. Public doesn't give a squat.  They probably roll their eyes when I start on this sort of thing. The REALTORS I have been talking to the last couple of days don't even care. Let me give you a clue, cause you ain't got one.

When it's your home that is being accessed by one of these 'buyer agents' you better give a squat.  Cause they will do exactly as they please and ethical REALTORS are forced by their company policy to abide by the Restraint of Trade, bend over and say, have at it.

The most prolific practice concerns keys to our listings.  These 'agents' have no super key (cause they belong to no MLS), belong to no REALTOR Associations and are entities unto themselves.  So, when they want to show your listings they come and get a key (required per office policy to be made available i.e. Restraint of Trade).  Our office keeps our keys safely locked away, behind a lockbox to record all access...sign out sheet to report who the keys are given to.  AWESOME JOB.  Except we don't need to protect our keys from ourselves!  Once they have it in their grubby little hands (freely given and documented that WE gave it to them) there is no further way to monitor that key!  Got it?  No way. AND VIRTUALLY NO CONSEQUENCE FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR!

Mr. Dirtbag collected a key last Friday for one of my listings.  Today is Friday of the following week.   I have called, texted (which I know he does cause he had no trouble texting and calling my cell all weekend) emailed, and called his office.  No response.  Six days later.  No return of key.

I called his office a moment ago and started right in when I was told she could 'get him a message'...'Tell him if he enters the home without an appointment I am charging him with trespass.  And the key better be returned by 5 pm today!'  click click click went her keys...supposedly documenting my every word.  (I am not a moron, she is making like it doesn't happen ALL THE TIME in her office).  His sister did the same thing three weeks ago to another agent.  Kept the key 2 weeks to a listing...coming and going at will, without consequence.

I'm not quite sure what it is that makes them special.  My broker in charge can't tell me.  I just went in to rant at her and ask could we fine them?  Her response was let me talk to our attorney.  (I won't hold my breath on that one).

I'm Italian.  I don't need an attorney.  I'll handle this the Italian way.  See how little ole' Southern boy acts when I jack him up by the short hairs.

The property in question is vacant.  Obviously, he knows this.  He called from the home.  Said his buyer was interested.  No further appointments have been made to see the home by him (so why keep the key?) No offers on said property forthcoming.

ALL listings must have an appointment , regardless of whether they are vacant or not.  Our MLS has a $200 fine for unauthorized use of the super key to enter a home. (ahhh but he is not a member of our MLS).  The key is to be returned the same day...sadly, who enforces that?  No one.  We have NO recourse, but THEY have every right.  Our sellers are all for letting them in when they first start in...'We will work with ANYONE!!'

uh huh

Give it a day or two and they do a quick about face on that one.  They ask for feedback, I have none.  I can't get the agent to respond on any level.  I no longer have the extra key for other agents to show the property.  Do we disclose this to the seller?  Someone has a key to your home and won't return it.  I know how I would respond if I were the owner.

I've BLOGGED about crime stats and vandalism before.  This is a small community.  If you haven't read up on the 6 Degrees of Separation I would urge you to do so.  It's really, really cool and I suspect has
It's only a key!
validity here.  Somebody in the real estate business has a connection to these vandals,an agent?  Maybe, maybe not.  I know agents have given their buyers keys to vacant homes and let them go on their own.  Who goes with them?  Are they even real buyers?  I know agents that don't verify the buyers ability.  Just put it all out there 'in case' it turns real.     It isn't a victimless crime.  Those stats have a direct impact on our community and our lack of interest in WHAT and HOW these are occurring is shameful.

I asked a police officer friend what could be done.  I was told it is a civil matter.  uh huh

I'm just curious, at what point does it become a criminal matter?   When copper goes missing?  Wiring?  A few more windows get smashed out or another agent walks in on a meth head or is robbed waiting in the vacant property for a delayed buyer?  Not that important, I get that.  Loud and clear.  

No email, no text, no phone call, no key.  

It just dawned on me!!!!   Mr. Dirtbag could be dead in the house!  And no one reported him missing...

If he isn't dead, I may just have to make an example of him.  Provide a pair of cement shoes, keep him from treading where he isn't authorized to go.   Just kidding, but you get my point?

At some time, I will show this home.  I will  enter a boarded up, pre-vandalized property knowing that there is a key floating around out there in someones hands.

Thanks so much for not giving a squat. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Call Me A Romper Room Reject

I feel the need to clear something up here.

This BLOG, is about ME!  What I think, how I feel, where I go, what I do, what I want, what I like, what I don't.  ME.  It's what's going on in MY LIFE at any given moment ,over any whim in the world of real estate.  I appreciate that my friends and followers get excited and all that, but inevitably, someone tells me what I should write about next.


Write your own BLOG.  Right or wrong, good, bad or ugly, I get to write MY thoughts, feelings and opinions, and I get to pick the topic.  It's about ME. You ain't gotta read it if you don't want to.  But at some point in MY LIFE, I get to have MY say.

And today I am gonna have my say about getting dumped.  My client dumped me.  And I am NOT pleased.  Work is a good thing, and helping my clients any way I can is a pleasure.  Believe it or not, I spend a good bit of money out of my own pocket marketing my listings.  I do it with a goal, to get paid.  I don't embark on this listing period on a whim and a prayer.  I don't list so I can just be your do-BEE-itch.  I gave up Romper Room a long time ago.

Listings expire. That is the nature of the business.  They elect to list with another agent.  I get that.  Whatever the reason, it's all good.  It is what it is, we don't like it, but we move on.  Believe it or not, sometimes, we are actually GLAD to see those listings go. We really are not that desperate for a place to hang our name rider. At least, I'm not.

But to get DUMPED?  Seriously?  Girlfriend ain't gonna let this one slide.  I will BLOG about it, as recommended by a loved one, but I am not 'getting over it'.  I will move on, but I will NOT forget.  Lesson learned.

So, here is the background.  This listing is/was overpriced.  Did I tell them?  Oh yes, I most certainly did. They had an appraisal from an appraiser (of FARMLAND), a friend, of course. No amount of comparable properties supplied by myself or feed back from some (12 buyers) would elicit a lower price.  Have them 'make an offer' was their strategy.  Buyers rejected that marketing ploy (they really aren't that stupid), they were embarrassed to come in so low, never mind it was grossly overpriced, they refused.  I had THREE clients walk away rather than face the frustration of having to deal with an unreasonable seller.  Why waste the time and effort it would require?  The buyers were motivated, the seller was not.

Some properties in our market have gone 12 mos without a single showing.  Not so with this property.   Given the state of the property - original condition, vintage 1930's with a minimum of $85k required to add HVAC, wiring, plumbing, appliances, roof, kitchen (exactly a sink and one cabinet in place) I think I have done a pretty good job in getting it marketed and pulling in some interest.  Not just 'snoopers' either.  Three times I met with $ERIOU$ buyers AND their contractors to see how they could make sense of the purchase price and work needed to make the property liveable. One of those buyers was even represented by an out of market agent who didn't want to drive 2 hours to represent her client.  Asked me to show it for her, oh, AND find them a contractor,  (NO, she would not pay me) I was doing it for my SELLERS!  She would write the offer for them if they decided to buy. Hence three hours on a Saturday, with her clients - my contractor running around measuring and making notes for them.  Thanks so much, we really appreciate it!

uh huh.

So sorry, too much  work and too high a list price.  Again.

Oops, I believe I forgot to mention the 'vintage' automobiles left by the sellers in the yard- half covered with tarps, weeds over grown around them.  I averaged at least 3 calls a week from John Q. Public on those. Seller of course was happy to have me screen those for him. Though he never would tell me HOW MUCH he wanted for them. I was to describe the cars, get their info and forward it to the sellers.  After a letter from the City to clean up the lot, there came a frantic call for Tina to SELL the cars-quickly, or better yet find a CHEAP place to store them somewhere between here and Charleston.  Seriously?  So, yes, they got sold.  I never heard which lead bought them or for how much, they were just gone one day.  Not so much as a 'thank you' from the sellers.

After receiving yet another threatening letter from the City regarding the yard, Tina ran and got someone on that.  'No, no need to put it on a maintenance plan', they said. They were going to do it themselves (they all lived at least 90 miles away).  Another frantic call, a letter  from the City, again,  possible fines. It's my problem, again.  Hurry Tina, hurry.

Ya'all must'a watched that show Romper Room here in the South too?  Remember  Do-Bee?  Well guess what Sugar?  This is business, and as such, one would expect a professional relationship with professional
REALTORS are not UNPAID Do-Bee's
expectations to be extended from BOTH sides of the relationship.  I perform my duties as your REALTOR with the roles on both sides clearly defined in the paperwork YOU SIGNED!   Somewhere  along the way, it appears that the role has transformed the listing agents role into a Do-Bee for the seller.  I will own that myself.  Take full responsibility for allowing it to happen.

So, seller called last night responding to my listing extension request.    I got the equivalent of the 'Let's Be Friend's' call.  I kid you not!  He literally said 'I know we have had your hands tied on the price... (there's a name for men who like to tie you up) but...we are listing with our friend who lives next door.'  'We are going to lower the price so now YOU can bring a buyer'.  Seriously?  He went further to say 'I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate everything you have done for us...'  Really?  I didn't wait to hear what else he said.  I hung up on him.  Appreciation is fulfilling your side of a contractual relationship so the other party can fulfill theirs.

Let's make sure we are clear on this.  The seller KNOWS and ADMITS that I couldn't sell the house because he refused to lower the price (and I mean by like 1/2), but now he will do so for his friend?  BUT!  How awesome! He will allow TINA to sell it.  uh huh  Hold your breath Sweetheart.

Tina can un-sell a house faster than she can sell one, I assure you.

One of my dear ones had a boyfriend break up with her after four years.  He told her the very same thing...'I appreciate everything you have done for me...'.  Who says that?  My reaction then is the same one I am feeling now.  It's 'KISS MY BIG FAT ITALIAN A( y )

There's a lesson to be learned here aside from the obvious 'YOU WERE USED' lesson.

No amount of service will sell an overpriced listing.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Monkey See, Monkey Do. Which monkey R U?

Pick or Choose Survey Monkey
Christmas is over, New Years Day is past. My final meeting acting as President of the Association was in November.  The new President begins their duties in December.

Throughout the year the membership murmured they would like to have more personal interaction socially (organized) with each other. The remember whens started.  Remember when we used to have a REAL Christmas Party?  Remember when we had cook-outs and wine & cheese mixers?  There was even mention of serving alcohol at our general membership meetings...GASP!  I found members lingering over coffee at the end of meetings, reluctant to wind down.  Actually enjoying each others company!  It had become common practice to wolf down their food while the speaker was doing their thing and rush out in under an hour while we are allotted a full two hours with our reservation!

I took it as a good sign.

In July I shared what I was hearing with my Board of Directors.  We were long overdue for a real PARRTAAAY!  The economy, unemployment, foreclosures and short sales had been beating on us for so long I didn't think we remembered HOW to have a good time anymore.

No one looked around.  They didn't meet my eyes.  So, I said it again.  OUR membership (those we represent) are asking for more social interaction.  Our budget doesn't allow for much beyond what we are
Nay sayers are sooo much fun!
doing but how about we have a real Christmas Party in lieu of our December luncheon meeting?  An evening event rather than our 'quick as a flash' Christmas Social luncheon!  It caught on...some smiles and chatter.  Of course there were a few nay sayers.  I never listen to nay sayers.

I was OFF and running.  Such excitement.  Such JOY!  We were going to end the year with a BASH!  Out went a survey (don't you just LOVE Survey Monkey).  68% were interested in an evening event and willing to PAY out of their own pockets. Given that we have right about that number attending the REALTOR Membership meetings we were going to be solid.

Then came the actual planning.  The hospitality committee coordinates the actual event, but we could not get ONE person to speak up when asked for feedback and input as to what/when/where.  The nay sayers were busy at work behind the scenes.

I never listen to nay sayers.

The hospitality committee consisted of exactly one person.  A man.  He insists he never signed up for the position.  I have the paperwork.  I know him too well.  He didn't pay attention to what he was checking off. But, we had it.  There was his name.  He gamely stepped up and organized the entire event.

Mr. Hospitality asked what he should do?  I told him, 'Do whatever YOU want!'  Since there were no suggestions from the membership - it's YOUR PARTY BABY!  We talked a little about it, would this restaurant work?  How about that for the menu?  But I pretty much left it up to him.  If no one else has interest, the willing gets to think for them.  I had ONE requirement.  A tacky sweater contest.  Typically the Christmas Social required the offices to donate a wrapped gift to be given away as door prizes.  Mr. Hospitality and I thought we would try something a little different. We asked those attending to bring a wrapped item to be auctioned.  Minimum value $10.  The proceeds would go to Meals on Wheels.  Since he was the only one planning, Mr. Hospitality got to select the charity and I thought it was the most worthy of causes.

We waited for reservations to be made.  And waited.  And waited.

I heard whispers in my office of 'No one is going, I'm not going.'  My own company announced their sign up for a Christmas Luncheon with Dirty Santa gift grab (minimum $20 value).  Everyone signed up!  YIPEE! The holidays are extremely busy, for everyone.  We have to pick and choose our parties.  I get that.

And we waited.

People began to say they weren't going if only a handful went. Some made excuses, most didn't, they simply avoided Mr. Hospitality (he is also in my office).  I began to hear Mr. Hospitality making phone calls to other offices.  He would come around the corner smiling with every YES!  They came in one, two at a time.  Many were affiliate members, none were from our office.  We had a point to prove then.  And I was starting to get pissed. Okay, obviously, I am still pissed.

Mr. Hospitality!
We reached a really nice attendance. They rallied, put on silly sweaters and opened their wallets for the elderly in our community.  The broker in charge, a brand new agent,  Mr. Hospitality and I were the only ones from our company (the largest company in the market).  The smaller franchisees, independent companies and affiliate partners once again proved their commitment to our local REALTOR Association.  And I was both exalted and humbled by their support.  Above all by Mr. Hospitality, who I know, organized the entire PARRTAAAY because it was important to me.

There were a few rough spots, can't be helped.  Like the obnoxious agent (dressed in everyday clothes) who
And the winner is...!
lined up with the tacky Christmas sweater contestants.  Was he drunk?  Probably.  I avoid him like the plague since I had to block his number when he would not take NO I WILL NOT NOW NOT EVER go to dinner with you for an answer.  We gave him a prize and just sat his backside down.  What can you do?

Mr. Hospitality has enjoyed reporting on the attendance, fundraising and positive reactions from the Christmas PARRTAAAY!  More than one asked why we didn't do this more often. (uh huh) and I am quite certain they will expect nothing less in 2014!

Our choices define us.  I wonder if they get that?

They love their REALTOR Association
John 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, Feed my sheep.