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There’s always something to howl about

Want to increase business? Answer your phone

Do you want to sell your listing faster and for more money?  Answer your phone

Do you want to work with more buyers?  Answer your phone

Lenders, do you want more loan business from agents?  Answer your phone

I know this sounds simplistic but more sales are made on the phone then are made via text or email.  This year, I made a conscious effort to ANSWER every phone call which come in.  I even bought a contraption which charges my phone and puts the calls on the car speakers.  The connection sucks but it allows me to acknowlege whomever called and to “triage” why they are calling.  If it’s a “money” call, I tell them that I will pull off the freeway and call them in a matter of minutes.  If it’s something to do with something other than work, I ask them to send me a text so I can call them later.

It doesn’t always work.  Sometimes, I’m a in a meeting and can’t answer the phone but by changing my mindset to believing that every single phone call represents a five-figure check, I am conditioned to sell.

Most importantly, our high tech culture has made incoming phone calls a “nuisance’ to many people.  if you are on the dialing end of the phone call, a voicemail or text, instead of an answer, tells you that you just might be bothering someone.  If you call me, I try to make you the most important person in the world.

You ARE the most important person in the world because you are the one paying my bills.  So call me at 858-777-9751

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Real Estate Auctions: Not Just For Foreclosures Anymore

Two years ago, I started paying MLS, NAR, CA, and SDAR dues.  Since my wife Debra was taking on more of the lending responsibilities, I spent the bulk of my time working with the real estate agents.  Having MLS access allowed me to hold broker opens for my agents, hold open houses for their listings, and act as a de facto “buyer’s agent” for them when they were out of town.

I had a few “orphan” clients and, in the past 30 months,  I represented about a dozen buyers and listed and sold two properties as a real estate agent.  It’s not something I love but understanding the brokerage side of the business enhanced our knowledge as lenders.  We understand contracts, deadlines, contingencies, and conversations with our agent clients better.  Throwing mom and dad in the station wagon, showing homes, writing offers, meeting property inspectors, negotiating repairs, and closing deals has made us better lenders so I’m grateful for the experience.

Eight years ago, a local hedge fund type started an online real estate auction site.  I wrote about it here and was tangentially involved but it never really took off.  I think it was more because of the online component and less of the auction component.  Generally speaking, when tech types and hedge fund guys try to disinternediate the local brokerage, they lose.  Greg wrote about the next flop yesterday.

I have always been intrigued with auctions so it shouldn’t surprise you that I have followed Harcourts, the New Zealand real estate brokerage’s entry into the Southern California market.  Harcourts has been holding non-distressed auctions for two years now with tepid results.  I had a few thoughts about why its results are mediocre so I started to form a new firm; California House Auctions.

We are a vendor.  We have an exclusive agreement with one of the top auctioneers in California.  He’s held over 600 auctions in the past thirty years and is well known in the community.  We’ll be helping ANY real estate brokerage to sell their (non-distressed) listing through a live auction.  We’ll charge a fee for each successful auction (paid at close of escrow to a licensed real estate brokerage).

I am still slogging through some legal and licensing stuff but we should hold our first auction later this month.

That’s my latest scheme and I hope to get your input as we progress.  We think this could be a great way to sell non-distressed properties and we think the live auction on the front lawn will help our brokerage clients earn more listings from the neighbors.

I’m thrilled we kickstarted RE.net2.0 and can’t wait to see what all of you have been doing these past five years

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My ideal closing date is always yesterday: The perfect real estate listing in the reckless teenage years of the new millenium.

On Facebook of late I’ve written about the idea of the perfect offer – the sum total purchase contract package most likely to win the de facto auction I am holding for my real estate listing.

We’ll talk about this in some detail, in due course, but for now the decision matrix for the ideal offer is obvious:

Highest safest soonest closable net return.

The price is the price, and you can lose me fast by dicking around. List or better? I like cash now, financed fast and FHA almost never. We’ll discount your offer for the time-value-of-money, obviously, but also for the closing-risk entailed by every new dawning day. My ideal closing date is always yesterday.

The corollary of the perfect offer is the perfect listing, and that’s an elusive prey. What we want is a marketing presentation – home, listing, photos, collateral – that cannot not elicit avid offers.

I list almost never lately, mostly repeats and referrals, which for me means a lot of investors. My sellers can be tight with a buck, but they’re rational. That matters, because a perfect listing wants a near-perfect house.

How near-perfect? FHA/VA-able, obviously, but I want more than that: Turn-key livable from Day One, with upgrades and spruce-ups as needed, cleaned to mother-in-law perfection and staged to charm. I want to be indubitably appraisal- and inspection-prepped, but more than that I want to be better than my competition – by a lot.

I don’t have to be luxurious or dramatic, just two or three cuts above everything else my potential buyers are seeing. For the same money or a little more, my house is your new home – and everything else is a work-in-progress.

We list just after midnight on Friday morning, this to maximize the marketing benefit of the Days on Market tally but also to maximize buyer frenzy: We offer up the scratch when we know buyers will be itching. My listing should be referenced in many, many “We must see this Saturday” emails.

The listing price? My best guess of the full appraisal value on the day of listing – no discounts, no testing-the-market, just what the home is actually worth in fair-market-value terms. Every good agent will know I’m right – and accordingly will know not to dick around.

But then what’s the point of being FHA/VA-able, since closing-costs offers are likely to fail? To drive up the numbers on the all-cash and conventional offers, for one thing. And who knows? Maybe the appraiser will find the number he’s looking for, should we end up taking an offer with costs coming back.

My baseline assumption is that a listing like this should produce multiple full-price-or-better offers within the first ten days on market, ideally within the first three days. I’m not always right, but when I am, I’m a market-maker: My all-cash deals make nearby financed purchases more appraisable.

There’s nothing like a seller’s market, I know only too well. But even when it’s easy to make deals, going the extra mile goes miles and miles in extra money for the seller.

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Who’s afraid of the big, bad bot? Real estate “AI” is a cargo cult – of trivia.

I’ll talk more about this as we go forward: I am listing almost never, but I am listing as close to perfectly as I can. I have made myself into a killer real estate listing agent by way of behavior modeling: Double-thinking appraisers and experienced agents to get to the unassailable price, then selling to absolutely everyone in the process. That includes writing rebuttal language in private MLS fields for agents to deploy on their buyers – selling by attenuation.

That doesn’t end. Under Contract is a dance of magnets, a war of attrition among mutual repulsions. This is where closing skills really matter – and that’s why I am selling my client’s interests all the time, to everyone, all the way to the close.

My point? Come and get me, robot. I don’t give a rat’s ass where the nearest Starbucks is, but I know how to get to the closing table. You don’t.

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What is Position Zero on Google? All sales fundamentally start as questions….

One of the easiest things to understand in sales is that everything starts with a question. How much home can I afford? How do I deal with foreclosure? Who is the best REALTOR? Where is the best neighborhood for my family? There are literally millions of questions starting an equally impressive number of sales out there.

And the wild part is that REALTORS get asked those questions every day. The REALTORS that utilize those questions to start conversations (google Cluetrain Manifesto) and who turn those conversations into relationships and action generate stellar incomes. Those who find themselves incapable of that, well, notsomuch.

The trick is to find the right questions, the trending questions. The ones that are being asked. The ones that answers in the form of content provided on a site will result in Google putting you up there for the world to see. The ones that are WORTH blogging about.

How do you find them? Google it. I am not being a smart aleck. Check out what Google provides currently when you Google “How to Sell My Home”:

They show you both alternative questions to blog about and the FORM that you should use with the answer. (more on that later) Conform your answers to their style whether table, paragraph, list, or etc and watch what happens. Geotarget your answers gently for some extra fun and results.

Additional note: Want to expand the number of questions that Google displays and build yourself a month or more of blogging subjects? Click on each of the current questions in the Google search and Google will provide similar stuff. In a matter of seconds your list can look similar to this, but longer:

Position zero on Google (that’s the one above Zillow, kids…the one with the picture and a list). That’s the one reserved for the boys and girls with authority who a) pick the right questions b) answer them in the form that google wants and c) uses correct formatting…etc but whether you get Position zero or not, you WILL be answering questions that are being asked and you WILL be starting those conversations that lead to sales.

Have at it, y’all. Have some fun with it.

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RE.net 2.0

Here’s a preview of what I have in my mind :

1- Facebook ads (as an agent)
2- Value-added services for real estate agents (as a lender)
3- Non-distressed auctions for real estate brokerages (as a vendor)

I have posted a few things since the content slow down on Bloodhound Blog but a lot has happened since 2012-ish.  The market has recovered nicely and most of the contributors are probably too busy listing, showing or financing property to write.  Bloodhound Blog was on the cutting edge of the RE.net:  provocative, hard-hitting, curious, and innovative.

Let’s start howling again

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“Make a sound. It might make you feel right at home.”

Who’s got something to howl about? Could it be you?

I always have real estate news, just not a hell of a lot of it. I’m a lot less about marketing and a lot more about fundmanentals, these days, but I’m listing more as game theory than as a job, anyway.

Too weird for words, right? Wrong. Nothing is in my world.

The boys say they want to play, and I’m game even if I might not be all that verbose. I do have ideas on marketing – that is, the fundamentals. And I have a Zillow pot-boiler aboiling. And there are meta-issues out there, so far successfully ignored.

But: At the same time: Even at this very moment I am not writing a Willie story that could easily be a movie but could also be a one-set play on its way to proving that it could be a movie but which has to be finished, first, before it can be anything else.

So: Dudes, we’re open for business. Decade-old PHP still works the way I wrote it, and I’ve upgraded WordPress and the plug-ins. We might do some housekeeping later, but for now it’s nice for me to see that big dog’s nose.

Have at it.

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Four Tips To Supercharge Your Real Estate Brokerage Business

Most real estate agents want two things:  more money and more time off.  The challenge is that they are doing things that (a) are not dollar productive and (b) are time consuming.  Add in more regulatory burdens, market shifts, and industry participants which are staffed by people who are incompetent, lazy, and/or stupid and it makes an agent’s goals harder and harder to reach.

Don’t let this gloomy scenario bring you down.  Here are four action-oriented things, agents can do right away, which have built empires, created wealth, and sparked business revolutions.

1-  Own everything about your business.  You are responsible for EVERYTHING even if it’s “not your job”.  We live in a world where any question can be answered by a smart phone and still I hear agents get confused about where to find answers.  Your broker isn’t calling you back with an answer to that question?  Ask Siri the question and read a few of the thousands of answers offered, by other brokers, on Trulia, Google, and Zillow.  The lender seems stuck?  Call a well-rated lender and get another opinion.

Stop bitching about problems you can’t control and fix them anyway.

You are the captain of your ship.  If the crew screws up and the ship runs aground, the captain is fired.  Your client doesn’t care about the lender, your broker, your transaction coordinator or the seller/buyer.  They want action and they hired you to get it for them.  Own everything.

2- Surround yourself with congruent rather than competent people.  It’s not enough to have a great lender, proficient escrow officer, and proactive transaction coordinator.  You must have people working with you who are on board with your goals.  If your goals is to make more money and save more time, you need to focus on dollar productive activities so you want affiliates who have suggested solutions to problems when they call with problems.  A lender should call you and say “we ran into a problem but this is how I will fix it”.   The escrow officer should be thinking about chasing down your client for signatures rather than emailing you.  The TC should call your client before calling you.  Competent brokers, TCs, lenders, and escrow companies are basically fungible.  Congruent affiliates are something special.  Find and keep them.

3- Make marketing your number one priority.  I need to repeat this one because it’s the most important one; make marketing your number one priority.  The single most important function, to a well-oiled, profit producing brokerage practice is lead generation.

Lead generation has to be the first thing you do in the morning.  If you have nothing going on. pick a listing from the MLS and try to sell it to your contacts.  For example, find a home in a hot market in your town (in my market, that would be Cardiff-by-the-Sea).  Pick one which is fairly new to market.  Start by calling people you have sold to in that zip code then work your way out to clients who have bought within 10 miles of that zip code.  After that, call everyone you know who lives or works in that zip code then work your way out to people who live and work within ten miles of that zip code.  Call them and ask one question:

“Do you know anyone looking to buy a home in XXX?  I found a great deal for them if they are.”

Make 25 calls tomorrow and ask that question 15 times and I think you’ll find 1-2 prospective clients.  Sure, the home will probably be sold out from under you but you will generate a list of potential buyers for the NEXT hot listing which appears in that zip code.  Your contacts won’t hate you for that call because they know that XXX is a “hot market” (especially if they live there).  They will probably think that you are an agent who closes deals.

4. Sell smarter and you won’t be selling.  It’s not enough to get a name and number from your IDX website– you need so much more information and advantage when you call a potential client.  When I receive a referral, or lead, or just a name and phone number from a website, I spend more time researching them than I do on the phone with them.  When I finally DO call that name, I usually know what they do for work, where they live, and who our mutual friends are.  I research them.  Let me give you an example by using fellow Bloodhound (whom I really don’t know):

Assume a San Diego agent called me and said he was going to represent this Bloodhound in a purchase of a Carlsbad home–all I have is a name and phone number.  The first thing I do is find the prospect on LinkedIn.  Here, I learn where he graduated college and that he served as an Army officer so I’ll be talking about why he should use his VA benefit…. even if he THINKS it isn’t for him.   I am going to have a financing comparison ready for him so I can show him the math behind my recommendations.   If the prospect knows the PROCESS I use, he is going to trust my recommendations.  If I find the prospect on Facebook, I will know that we don’t share the same taste in football teams, probably share the same politics, and do share the same affection for Tarantino movies.

My initial call is going to start like this:  “Hi, this is Brian Brady and (agent name) asked me to call you about a loan for a home in Carlsbad.  He didn’t tell me that you are VA-eligible, you were in the Army?”  As we talk, I’m going to ask him if his commissioning source was ROTC (he will tell me about his college days and I’ll talk NCAA hoops with him).  If all goes as I think it will, I’ll tell him about my involvement in San Diego politics and invite him to meet his new Congressman when he moves here.  I will close by telling him to open the financing comparison I created for him and review why I like VA better than conventional for a jumbo loan.

I imagine the perfect introductory call, prepare for it, and make my time on the phone with the prospective client count.  Preparation = higher closing ratios.

Let’s review these four ideas in reverse:  (1) Be prepared for every opportunity to gain a new client so that the call is “perfect” every single time  (2) spend most of your time generating new business  (3) make sure your affiliates are not only competent but congruent with your goals. and (4) be responsible for your own success.

The market may shift soon and business will SEEM tougher.   If you implement these four practices today, 2018 won’t seem as difficult as it is for the other agents in your market.

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Is it me or have underwriting…

My wife and I downsized earlier this year, to save money, reduce debt, and put money into the beginning of a rental empire we hope to build.  We have good cash flow, income, and excellent credit.  And yet, maybe because we earn money as a small business – read: law firm – the underwriting process was hellish.

This wasn’t our first time on the rodeo.  We have bought and sold – having moved a number of times, once from Phoenix to North Carolina, and several times in each state.  But it seems as thought these last two mortgages were the most difficult to get, even though we are in the best spot financially we’ve ever been in.

My wife, who did most of the legwork in tracking down last-minute documents requested by the bank, remarked that if they made it this difficult on us to close, imagine how difficult it must be for an average buyer.

I suppose part of the problem is that we are self-employed, and so there is quite a bit of (understandable) concern about the stability of our income.  But, having filed and reported above-average incomes for 5 years straight, you’d think a mortgage company would take those seriously – after all, we aren’t exactly excited about paying high taxes to Uncle Sam, and it would be stupid just to do that in order to show good “income” to a future mortgagor.

Any thoughts?

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My Pettiest SM Peeves

I’m a Chicago real estate blogger  who resides in a glass house (okay, an MCM high rise) so throw ’em if you got ’em.  A little collateral stone breakage comes with the territory in this Midwest cranny. Regardless, here are a handful of Social Media miens that tick  me off on a daily basis. In no great order:

1) Stock Photo Images On A Realtor’s Blog
My take: If you’re going to offer up something to the SM gods that even faintly smells literary, have the decency (imagination?) to snap your own accompanying picture. (Unless of course, its a really cool shot of a vintage car or dog.)

2) Blogs In A Box
My take: Come on fellow ‘bloggers,’ we all know you don’t write that crappy content about real estate minutiae that you plaster on LinkedIn and Facebook every other day. (“6 Factors Homeowners Should Consider Blah Blah Blah.” ??? Yeah right. I saw three different Realtors with their names on some re-tweaked version of that one the other day.) It’s pretty obvious you’re paying some vendor $1.26 per copy to re-brand these thinly-veiled press releases, ‘newsletters,’ and USA Today column fillers. Grow a brain, please.

3) Proprietary Use Of The Word ‘Professional’
My take: At least once a month I get dissed because my shaved headed, sun shaded profile picture is ‘unprofessional.’  It’s all in the POV, folks.  See, to me it looks like everybody else on LinkedIn appears to have gotten the Glamor Shots Jos. A. Bank Funeral Director Discount. If you think your shizz is so self- important then try this: unsubscribe from the SM platform for a couple days and see how much the rest of the buttoned-down world doesn’t notice.

4) Facebook Profile With Your Name But Your Child/Grandchild’s Face

My take: Someone please explain???

5) Facebook Pages Of Dead Dudes Acting Like They’re Not

My take: Keith Moon and George Carlin immediately come to mind. No shit, Keith even wished everybody a ‘Happy Friday’ last week and he kicked it back in 1978. Look it up.

6) Bully Commentors, Distressed Diplomats From Angola In Possession Of My $20 Million (US),  & All Other Web Crawling Spamsters
My take: Bite me.

G.

 

 

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Getting a San Diego Condo VA-Approved Adds Value To Service Members

Debra Brady and I are experts at VA-financing.  One of the things we do very well is secure a VA condo complex approval for condominiums which aren’t agency approved.  Some comments from a recent YELP review:

I started the home buying process while still on deployment, and Brian graciously worked with me across 13 time zones to begin explaining the ins and outs of home buying.

This is actually kind of fun for me.  With technology, deployed service members can communicate with me well in advance of buying.  Many times, when deployed,  they have free time with little to do.  They use Gchat, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and email to communicate with me.  Sometimes it makes for some weird hours but I enjoy finally meeting them when they return to the States.

I googled VA home approval, and his was the first name to pop up.  Brian is an absolute master at working with the VA.

That’s what I love to hear–that we come up first on Google Search for this topic.

Brian took my wife and I out for cocktails to explain in person the different loan rates and explain the decision making process for each of them, and Debra worked like a fiend to make sure thinks were done WELL ahead of time.

This is how Debra and I work.  I spend most of my time “selling” real estate agents and educating clients and Debra gets the loan done.  When we’re clicking properly, I am “Mr. Outside” and she is “Mrs. Inside”.  Clients know that she is in the office, every day from 8AM until 230PM each day and available on the telephone.  This frees me up to: (a) find more business for us and (b) properly educate home buyers about the process.  We pride ourselves on “no surprises” during the loan process.

To any Servicemembers who are interested in using their VA loan option, look no further than Brian, he is THE expert who will get you into the place you want.

That’s what I hope to hear on every VA loan we close.  It doesn’t ALWAYS happen but, I’m proud to say, it does happen more often than not.

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How Not to Message

Taking this moment to give this brief lesson on how not to message:

Neil Siegel, a former special counsel to Joe Biden and supporter of ObamaCare/Affordable Care Act, was on WUNC’s The State of Things on Wednesday discussing recent appellate litigation involving the subsidies authorized by the Act. The DC Circuit ruled Monday that subsidies are illegal in states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. North Carolina is one of those states. The Fourth Circuit, in which North Carolina is located, found otherwise.

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Passed my Check Ride

Back in January, I wrote here about taking private pilot lessons. My post was inspired by one Greg wrote in December about mastering something difficult this year. Earlier this month I took an oral exam and then check ride with an designated examiner for the FAA, and I passed!

The next day, I piled my wife and a little bit of luggage into my Piper Cherokee, and took off for the coast. An hour and 15 minutes later, I was down at Ocracoke, part of the Outer Banks that would ordinarily take someone 6 hours or so to get to by car from Raleigh.

My wife and I got a lift to the local pub – really, the only one worth considering on Ocracoke – where I ordered a non-alcohol beverage and we got some shrimp and burgers, before flying south/southeast along the coast to Beaufort, North Carolina.

It was a ton of fun.

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The Real Housewives of Redfin

“Couldn’t you, just once, tell somebody what they really want to hear?” my wife asked, almost immediately after I got off the phone with the Redfin recruiter.

“Is that a rhetorical question? You just asked me a rhetorical question!” I snapped. Ever since I turned fifty-five I get snappy when someone I love questions my intentions, especially when I’m hungry.

She didn’t answer but instead, continued her Words With Friends game on her iPad. I walked into the kitchen.

“They’ll call me back,” I said after a few moments of silence, my fat head deep into the refrigerator looking for just one thing to shove into my mouth that didn’t have soy as its main ingredient; something with a little gluten, perhaps. Is this too much to ask?

“No they won’t,” she countered from the other room. “You just used the F word during a job interview.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did. I heard you.”

I walked over to the sofa with some type of pickled vegetable wrapped in a grape leaf. My wife did not look up from her backlit screen.

“Does Xerox really have two x’s in it? Is that even a real word?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, now a little stunned by what might have just happened on the phone; not sure of anything at that moment. Appetite quickly waning.

“Two x’s? I don’t think so. Well, maybe…And it wasn’t really a job interview. It was only an initial phone call. Introductory.”  No longer hungry at all, I tossed the unsavory snack into the waiting mouth of our slobbering dog who, in turn, spit it immediately onto the floor.

“Hmm,” my wife said to nothing in particular, or perhaps, to everything in general.

——

That was six months ago, and although the names and details are a bit blurry now, the gist of the episode remains clear.

It all began with a conversation I had earlier that same week with a fellow Realtor—-an old-schooler, like me. We were seated at our favorite Starbucks window bar nursing triple espressos when he mentioned a new type of Redfin partnership program that offered leads to selected non-Redfin Chicago brokers.  You just had to pay a referral fee at closing with no other upfront costs. He pointed out two young women with strollers who were enjoying mommy-time with their toddlers out on the patio.

“Both of them are Redfin partners who work part-time in my office,” he said. “Pretty sure one of them doesn’t even know how to spell condominium and she already has three deals this month. I think the other skinnier one is a yoga instructor for her real job.”

“A yoga instructor?”

“I think so,” he said. “She’s always wearing yoga pants. At the very least that makes her a housewife. Either way, they both drive nicer cars than me.”

“If this Redfin thing is such a good deal, why don’t you sign up for it?” I asked.

“I hate this business too much already,” he said. “What I don’t need is a flock of twenty-somethings texting me every time they log on to Trulia and get a real estate stiffy.”

While my buddy, clearly, was too jaded for the job, I somehow felt that I wasn’t. With fifteen years experience, I figured I was a slam dunk partnership candidate; just what the Redfin folks might be looking for—a full-time, condo slinging, non-yoga instructing, ass-kicking, downtown Chicago real estate professional. And besides, business was slow and I could use a little boost. A slow drip of fresh blood would blend nicely into my current marketing mix; a few extra ‘my watch cost more than your car‘ condo buyers here, a couple ‘coffee is for closers’ listing appointments there. A steady stream of new prospects could keep me in the real estate game until retirement. All I needed were the good leads. The Glengarry leads. You know, the ones Mitch and Murray send in from downtown…

So I Googled Redfin, found the program, applied on-line, did the tutorial, attended the interactive webinar (even kept my mouth shut), and scheduled my initial phone interview which, true to form, I forgot to enter into my calendar and promptly forgot about.

A couple days later, my phone rang at an inopportune time–as it always does, the screen flashing a familiar Seattle area code. I was certain it was that Dave character from Zillow’s advertising department who had been calling every month  for three years trying to get me to pay him for posting my listings on his real estate site. Go figure. Anyway, when I answered the call I was ready to let poor Dave from Seattle have it, right between the zillows.

“Hi GG! Sky from Redfin here! Can you talk?!”

“Who?”

“Sky (or maybe it was Sea) from Redfin! We have your interview scheduled for 2 p.m. Pacific!”

“Oh yes Sky. Of course (??)”

“Cool. GG. Let’s do this! What made you want to become a Realtor?!?!?”

“…”

It was such a stupid question I honestly don’t remember what I told him. Truth is, seven years ago I wouldn’t have even considered such an arrangement. Everybody and his gardener had a real estate license back then but we were all stacking paper. My biggest professional worry in those days was which Rolex to buy next and how to keep the nicks and parallel parking scratches off the bumpers of my big body Benz.

“What are your best qualities as a Realtor, GG? What makes you outstanding?”

Or something along those lines. And to be fair, there was an echo on the phone connection so maybe I was imagining the GG part. Maybe I was just in one of my snappy ‘Meano Geno’ moods that day. (Another Realtor actually called me that once, right before hanging up on me. “Meano Geno!” Click.) Anyway, like I said, this all went down six months ago. And I’m getting old.

“What I’m really good at, Sky, is negotiation. I’m really good at getting the other side to cave-in, thus procuring the best possible deal for my client.”

“Cave in?”

“Yeah. Cave in. You know, win,” I said.

“Win/Win, you mean?” he asked.

“Yeah, I guess. Win/Win. Sure. Why not.”

“Okay, cool,” he said. “Now, what do you think makes you exceptional as a real estate agent?”

“I don’t know, Sky. I suppose the fact that I’ve negotiated over three hundred deals and more than a hundred million in transactions in my career. Something along those lines. What do you think?”

Coool. And how do you envision the Redfin Partner Program fitting into your current business model?”

“Come on man. What kind of questions are these? You send me the leads. I get them to buy something they like.  Get them a good deal. Everybody’s happy. It’s pretty simple. Just keep me on the North Side. No foreclosures. No suburbs. No ghettos.”

Okaayyy…..What was the biggest obstacle you’ve ever had to overcome as a Realtor?” he asked.

“You’re f*king kidding me, right Sky?” I replied…

Anyway, it was about two seconds after that when my wife asked me the rhetorical question.  A week later I received the following email:

To: Geno Petro
Subject: Redfin’s Partner Program

Hello G,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider you for the Redfin Partner Program and taking the time to speak with us. While we are impressed with your success as an agent, after careful consideration we have decided to pursue other candidates in your market at this time. We will maintain your application in our active files and contact you if there is an opportunity for a future partnership.

We do wish you continued success in your real estate business. Thank you again for your time!

——

To be honest, I forgot all about this nonsense until a Redfin ‘Partner’ called on one of my listings last week, requesting a 7 p.m. showing on a Friday night. After bitching about the time (and weather) for thirty seconds, I finally agreed. And even though I’m apparently not qualified to have her job (but am somehow qualified to show her one of my properties on a Friday night in the middle of a week-long ice storm), she sounded very nice. Like someone’s wife.

So she shows up thirty minutes late with her three-year old daughter and a 2014 Infiniti QX60 full of Millennials. Everyone was holding Starbucks cups and wearing North Face and UGGS.

“Sorry we’re late. Traffic sucks,” she says.

“Yes it does,” I tell her. “That’s why I left my yoga class thirty minutes early. To arrive here on time.”

“You practice yoga?” she asks me.

“No,” I reply, as I watch them slosh, one by one, across the family room carpet, “I just like wearing the pants.”

 

23 comments

Hey, @Zillow: Why are you calling the Realtors and lenders you prey upon #racist?

And why on earth do they continue to do business with you?

9 comments

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