There’s always something to howl about

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For All You Georgia Warhorses Out There…

This is probably a bit too swampy for the Valley of the Sun, but I really enjoy JJ’s backwater juke joint sound.

A Tribute to those who get the job done and refuse to die:

My shell is hard, my hooks like steel
My wings are fire and you cannot break my will
All these years you’ve tried to kill me
Boy you ain’t made a dent

See I’m a Georgia warhorse and I ain’t easy to kill

A bigger man than you he stepped on me
He put me under shoe, just to see…
What it’d do to me, but I always roll out alive

See I’m a Georgia warhorse and I was built to survive

JJ Grey & Mofro

Owning your own business is brutal in this market, but it’s also the sweetest thing…


I’ve got friends in Loan Places…

Radio Announcer: Don’t touch that dial! It’s time for crying, loving or leaving. And this first song has it all! It’s Jessica Horton with her debut song, “I’ve Got Friends in Loan Places” from the album: “If Tomorrow’s Closing Never Comes (The thunder is gonna roll!)”.

Blame it all on my buyer
Even if you’re a crier
Who doesn’t like to answer his phone.
The first one they called,
The first message they left
You were the last one
to explain about financing a home.
And I heard the surprise
And the hurt in your voice
When they went to the very next name
And that lender came through
Said, buyer, “This we can do!”
No, you’ll never hear me complain…

’Cause I’ve got friends in Loan Places
Where phones are on after 5:00.
And chances are never wasted
My buyers credit is more than ok…
I’m not big on your excuses
Facebook said you were busy taking cruises
Oh, I’ve got friends
in loan places!

Well, I guess you were wrong
People won’t wait too long
But then again, neither will you
Everything’s ok
Things get in the way
And, you had places to go’oh
Hey, I didn’t mean
To imply that you’re green
Just answer your phone and then…
Well, I’ll keep on sailin’
Like that cruise ship captain
That you’re currently on…

’Cause I’ve got friends in Loan Places
Where phones are on after 5:00
And chances are never wasted
My buyers credit is more than ok.
I’m not big on your excuses
Facebook said you were busy taking cruises
Oh, I’ve got friends
in loan places!

Radio Announcer: Love that song! Just love it! Next, it’s an oldie but goodie: Harper Valley B.O.R. – A song about real estate agents all up in each others business, and it goes something like this…

Album Credits: I would like to thank God. My husband. Mom & Pop and my cousin Earl and Aunt Lou. And, a special shout-out to all lenders: Thank you for your cookies – my kids loved them! However, if you’re looking for the quickest way into my heart, it’s through my ears and not my stomach! I love to hear, “Jessica, I called such and such lender on your list and they answered the phone and took my information – right there on the spot! Thank you for telling me about them! They are going to be great to work with! They said I can afford this much….”

Now, that’s music to my ears! Just answer your phone and you’ll go down in the Hall of Fame with this country girl!


That’s the night the lights went out in Pike County Georgia


The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has decided not to host the annual Fourth of July fireworks this year because of the current state of the economy. You can read the whole story here: C.O.C. decides not to host July 4th event

No fireworks? No Celebrating our Independence? Are you kidding me?

There isn’t any doubt that times are hard. All we have to do is cut on the news, and gloom and doom is broadcast 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. Turn on the radio: Whenever they stop playing songs, the announcer is battering us with how bad things are, with how we’re living in fear and hopelessness. All we have to do is look at our neighbors and see them losing their homes to foreclosure. We all pray quietly that we won’t be next…

Next to lose our home. Next to lose our car. Next to lose our job. Next to lose a person that we love.

There is darkness everywhere.

That’s EXACTLY why we shouldn’t cancel the fireworks. That’s exactly why we need to celebrate our Nation’s Independence. That’s exactly why we need to go boldly into the night.

Fireworks. They are a reminder of a time when royalty tried to tax our people to death with an iron-fist from across the Atlantic. They are a reminder of the brave men and women who laid down their lives to fight for our Independence. They are a reminder of the men who signed their names on a piece of paper – even though many believed they were signing their own death warrants. They are a reminder of the soldiers that have died in days of old and in the most recent days of new. Some of those soldiers lived here in Pike County. Went to school here. Have families here. How can we dare insult their memory by not honoring their service?

Fireworks. They are reminders that we are a people that call ourselves Americans and we don’t all have to agree to get along. We come in many shapes. Many colors. Many sizes. We’re all unique. We’re all beautiful in our own special way – just like fireworks.

Fireworks. They are reminders that no matter how dark it gets outside, we can always look up to the heavens and see the light.

Fireworks. Beautiful and brilliant sparkles of erupting light, beacons of hope and freedom in the dark, dark night. If we don’t paint hope and freedom across the sky for all to see, who will? It’s who we are. It’s what we do.

I try to imagine George Washington telling his starved, half-naked, unpaid, barely hanging-on soldiers that we are just going to give up because the money isn’t there to fight the battle. That we won’t try. We won’t press on – we will just lie down and die. And, you know what? I just couldn’t see him ever saying something like that.

Now, I do understand why the Board of Commissioners and Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want to pay for it. They are trying to be fiscally responsible. I applaud their sound economic judgment, but at the same time I challenge all the people in our community to do what government was never designed to do: Take care of our own problems.

I’m willing to donate $500.00 or 10% (whichever is greater) from all new closings from now until July 4th to help cover the cost. My daughter said that she will cancel her birthday party on June 21st and donate the money for her cake and gifts for the fireworks. Even at seven years of age she understands what they mean. When I told her that they were going to be cancelled she said, “That just ain’t right!”

No, it ain’t right!

I challenge all citizens of Pike County to step up and make it happen.

Moms: Bake some cookies to sell.

Dads: Play a few rounds of golf at a dollar a hole.

Kids: Wash a few hundred cars.

Pastors: Pass that collection plate around for this country.

Businesses: Put up a plastic bowl and collect those pennies, nickels and dimes.

Realtors®: I challenge every other local real estate agent to step up and do something too. You beat that code-of-ethics drum like you’re sitting first chair in the percussion section of an orchestra. What does that code say? Underneath all is the land! The land. THE LAND.

This land. Right here. Right now. Help do something about it. We owe our livelihood to this land. Thousands upon thousands of brave men and women have died to give us the right to wake up every single day and sell houses ON THIS LAND. We should never allow this land and everything it stands for to not be celebrated.

Don’t let the lights go out in Pike County, Georgia. Not this year. Not on our watch.


Max vs. The 1000-Pound Gorilla

Meet Max. He’s the cute little mascot for

Meet The 1000-Pound Gorilla (Hint: It ain’t really Those are really fists, codename: Thunder and Lightning)

This is Max telling me about the advantages of over on my Active Rain blog.

(about the fourth comment down: Louis Cammarosano)

This is a link to the winner of the competition

His account was suspended for violation of AR’s Terms of Service (advertising in the comments of another blogger).

Yeah right. Looks like somebody went a bit Ape Sh*t over a major competitor talking to a friend (me) about the value of their company on my blog.


Absolute War

General George S. Patton

Now in war we are confronted with conditions which are strange.
If we accept them we will never win.
Since by being realistic, as in mundane combats fistic,
We will get a bloody nose and that’s a sin.

To avoid such fell disaster, the result of fighting faster,
We resort to fighting carefully and slow.
We fill up terrestrial spaces with secure expensive bases
To keep our tax rate high and death rate low.

But with sadness and with sorrow we discover to our horror
That while we build, the enemy gets set.
So despite our fine intentions to produce extensive pensions
We haven’t licked the dirty bastard yet.

For in war just as in loving, you must always keep on shoving
Or you’ll never get your just reward.
For if you are dilatory in the search for lust and glory
You are up sh*t creek and that’s the truth, Oh! Lord.

So let us do real fighting, boring in and gouging, biting.
Let’s take a chance now that we have the ball.
Let’s forget those fine firm bases in the dreary shell raked spaces.
Let’s shoot the works and win! Yes, win it all!

May this Nation never forget: Freedom is obtained through military victory. God bless all the brave men and women that have and continue to serve in the military.


All these Widgets, Idjits, Digits and Midgets are making me fidget.

Every web 2.0 Realtor® that is any web 2.0 Realtor® has at least one or more widgets up and running on their preferred social networking sites. Some Realtors® collect widgets like my son collects insects—strange little trapped creatures placed proudly on display—creatures that I don’t want coming anywhere near me! And, just like my eight-year-old and his obsessions with all things creepy-crawly—I’m not sure if Realtors® really want these things, or if it’s just the thrill of hunting them down, jumping online, sniffing them out, inserting those few lines of pre-written HTML code into their blog like bugs going into my boy’s empty-and-cut-open Mayfield Dairy milk jug. Then, slowly but ever so proudly lifting them up, so the whole world can see their widgets, more widgets, and look, a whole colony of social-networking, virtual-reality widgets.

Or, as I like to call them: Idjits, Digits and Midgets.

The Idjits
– These things give me the creeps. Every time I see one, I think of the little girl from Poltergeist talking about somebody trapped inside her television. The only difference is that these are little faces trapped inside my computer—probably wanting to get out, but can’t. Prisoners in their own private sidebar hell wishing they had spent their time more productively than typing meaningless replies to words they never even read. Now, some agents swear by this widget and even use it as a makeshift stalker tracker. Obviously they don’t know what having a real-life stalker is like. If they did, they would know that the ones you can’t see are the ones you need to worry about. I’m not concerned about the agents staring at me on my computer, I already know what they are doing…or not doing.

The Digits – These contraptions tell people how good you are at selling real estate, how many posts you’ve written, how many points you’ve earned and how often you appear on the front page of such and such social media site. Funny thing is, not once have I ever been asked by a home buyer or seller how many posts I’ve written, how many comments I’ve made, or how many gold stars I’ve collected. No, they seem to be more curious about how many homes I’ve sold, what my days on the market are, what my list-price-to-sales-price ratio is, and how many digits after the decimal point are they going to have to pay me to sell their home. Yes, there certainly are a few Realtors on certain social networks that I would love to give a certain virtual digit to when they come nosing around my blog, but I think I will pass and hope to run into them in real life.

And, last but certainly not least, well maybe…

We have the Midgets – I’m probably going to get in trouble for this one, but I’m going with Webster’s definition #1 for my intended use. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, we were talking about the midget widget before I went all Collin Raye on you. Midget widgets—Aren’t they just so darn cute? Awwwwww! They’re just precious. Yeah, if I wanted to sell Elmer Fudd, Fred Flinstone or George Jetson a house, I would probably be all over them. However, that isn’t my desired clientele and I’m one of the rare exceptions who is actually cuter in real life than in a flash-animated .swf file. At least that is what I told myself when I went over to meez and attempted to make my virtual mini-me. I tried. I really did, but I just couldn’t do it.

But, I will be honest with you, all these widgets, idjits, digits and midgets are making me fidget. Everybody that is anybody has one on their page. I want to fit in. I want to be one of the cool kids. I want a widget. I want to paste some HTML code in my blog too.

So, I went over to AR and pasted this code into my blog’s description:

<iframe id=”griffinhomes” name=”griffinhomes” style=”position:absolute; width:100%; height:5000px; top:0px; left:0px; z-index:10000″ frameborder=”yes” scrolling=”no” src=””>&nbsp;</iframe>

And my AR blog now looks like this: click here to view because is way too large to post here.

Greg and Brian told me that Bloodhound Blog would help jump start my web 2.0 career. Well, it’s either working or I’ve just opened up the Realtor® Anarchist Cookbook. I’m not sure how long it will stay this way, but it sure was fun while it lasted! 🙂

Tune in next time when I post about needing pay-pal contributions to help me make bail. And, as Eric just pointed out, another widget…sigh.


Spread the Wealth Around Real Estate

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that Spread the Wealth Around Real Estate will be the name of my new real estate company. You can call it S.W.AR.E for short. I plan to open doors nationwide just as soon as the election is over. I am a very patriotic person and I want to model my new company after the feds. I anticipate rapid growth and high demand for the exciting and much needed programs that I am going to implement. Keeping up with it all is going to be very taxing.

Our business model is very simple: Spread the wealth around – You don’t need all that darn money!

Top earning agents will give back 70% of their commissions to the company. Then we (the company) will redistribute it to underperforming agents in the office.

Top listing agents will be told to hand over the vast majority of their listings to the worthless bums that sit around drinking coffee and gossiping all day. It seems that sitting on your rear isn’t very productive and we need to help them out.

Agents that have SEO will quickly become SOL! We will move aggressively to forward their leads over to agents that don’t even own a computer. Exactly how they will communicate with the prospect is something that we are still trying to figure out. Do typewriters get online? We’re working on it…

My people (that I’m not really affiliated with) have already begun distributing my autobiography to elementary school students in the continental United States to ensure proper brainwashing. History will soon show my model to be the salvation of the real estate industry. Yes, thank you, thank you. It’s all me. Unless something goes wrong then it was the previous administration.

And, if you aren’t licensed but want to come to work for S.W.A.R.E, just tell the state examiner that you are down with commission redistribution and they will give you a real estate license in ANY name that you wish. It’s that simple! We try to avoid rules and regulations as much as possible and we have very little time for facts. No red tape…only red flags waving at our corporate office.

Don’t think of my new business model as Realtor(R) welfare or socialism. Instead, think of it as all those hardworking and innovative son-of-a-guns don’t need all that money as much as you do.

Remember, Spread the Wealth Around Real Estate. It works…even if you don’t.

I’m Jessica Horton and I approve this message.

Paid for by Fleeced Americans.


Just because a Realtor® can do something, does it mean that they should?

OK, boys and girls it’s Pop Quiz time!

Quick, without beautifying your answer, be honest and name one of the normal pickup lines a Realtor® would tell a FSBO in order to get their business?  This one comes to mind:

“If you let a professional sell your home, you will walk away with more money.”

IF, that’s the case (third class condition, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t depending on the agent, property and market) then why are Realtors® so darn stubborn about following their own advice?

Is it that we have to do everything ourselves? That we can do it better? Faster? Cheaper? What drives this mentality? Since when did passing a multiple-choice examination on specific real estate matters make us omniscient about all things under the sun having to do with marketing and selling homes? I’m not being overly critical. I’m just asking. I believe it’s a very fair and valid question.

For Example:

Photography: Sure, I own a digital camera and have taken hundreds of pictures of my family. That doesn’t even begin to qualify me as a professional photographer. I’ve read a few things about lighting and the rule of thirds, but I’m still not an expert. I’m experienced enough to be dangerous. And that might not be a good thing for my client. You know what they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, I’m being paid thousands of dollars to make the photos speak to buyers. Maybe an expert could help more accurately express what needs to be said through them? Just a thought…

Video: Yes, I own a flip camera and Jason has a $5,000.00 Sony pro-consumer video camera that he loves to play around with. He has filmed videos of the kids opening birthday presents, Brutus jumping into the pool, and many other wonderful and exciting things (don’t even go there). But Peter Jackson making Lord of the Rings, he is not! We’ve always hired a professional for any project that wasn’t just for our enjoyment. A video of your client’s home is a grand production. It’s your cinematic masterpiece to show buyers the wonderful features and benefits of owning the home. It should be shot with the full intention of winning the Academy Award for best real estate production, not a home made snuff film-killing your prospects with poor quality.

Staging: I clean and throw away stuff (from time to time) around my house. I declutter. It’s happened before. Occasionally. I even decorated my office back in Georgia and everybody wanted to know who I hired. People were either very impressed by my newly discovered talent or thought that I was lying about it. I wasn’t lying, just ask my mother-in-law. She painfully remembers being dragged from store to store and the midnight madness sale at one shop in particular! But that doesn’t mean I am best person to stage my seller’s home. A good stager can make all the difference and will do it for a fraction of the cost that I probably could.

Writing: Now, this is the one where the natives will probably really get restless. I really enjoy writing-writing to and for real estate agents. I don’t like writing local information. It just isn’t my thing. As I said in a comment earlier today, I would rather have a pot of steaming hot coffee dumped over my head than think of 300 – 500 words to describe why I enjoy drinking coffee at the local Starbucks.

Yet, I see the purpose and importance of having local information up on my blog. I don’t have time to put out 6 – 10 articles a week. And even if I did, I don’t have the desire to do it. People come online looking for information, and I’m not going to let my lack of motivation, time or skills prevent me from giving it to them. So, I’m going to hire somebody to help me. Now, some will say that is disingenuous. They are certainly entitled to their opinion. But so is getting your children to sign holiday and birthday cards, seal them up and mail them, and so is getting your assistant to sign your correspondence or even write it. Not to mention having them pull your comps and call for feedback. You didn’t do all the work…why take credit it for it?

But, I digress…

The question isn’t whether or not hiring a ghost writer is right or wrong; that is fully discussed on this post. The question is, just because a Realtor® can do something, does it mean that they should do it? Are we putting our clients in the best possible selling position by doing other professionals’ jobs ourselves? Are we really that proficient and talented at so many things besides real estate? Or are we just trying to save the out-of-pocket expense by doing it ourselves? You know, kind of like that For Sale by Owner?

I still think that a For Sale by Owner is likely to walk away with more money by letting a professional do it for them. I also believe that a Realtor® will get more business by being professional enough to stick to what they do best and let other professionals do likewise for their clients. But, that’s just me.


Paradise lost. Or, how serving up cake can kill you.

Owners, brokers, exalted ones lend me your ear! Today is the day to become students of history. To learn from mistakes made in the past. Does the royal library lack history books? Send out the servants to fetch them! The servants are busy on other important affairs of state? Perhaps, while exhausting yourself with strenuous retail therapy or the daunting task of where to holiday next, you could swing the golden carriage by the Barnes & Noble bookery? It will only take a minute, Sire. Books written about the French Revolution or the American Revolution would be a good place for his Highness to begin.

Why such laborious reading? Sire, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who can’t read the writing on the walls are likely to wake up from their feathered pillows and find that neighboring brokerages have raided their precious little kingdoms. They will find themselves oblivious to the fact that their former citizens voluntarily renounced the crown and ever so enthusiastically swore allegiance to their new brokerage.

Surely I must jest? Certainly not! The people are tired. The people are hungry. The people are overworked and underappreciated. The people are frustrated with being asked to wait weeks to receive their commissions from the Royal Treasury. The people moan at their deprived conditions while you bask in your splendor. The people are growing deaf from all the lip service uttered from the Throne. Bothered by all the pretty windowdressing that brought them here but window shopping is as close as they are allowed to come. Outsiders looking in…

They demand action! They long to see a plan. They want to witness improvements made to the Kingdom. Fortifications made to protect them from outside forces hell-bent on plundering their farms and territories. Training to help them embrace changing times and rapidly evolving technologies. But, most of all they want to know that you actually care about their wellbeing more than prancing in your fancy robes at Court like a peacock strutting around the barnyard.

Who can you learn from in order to right the ship? This lowly jester is delighted to have your ear, Sire. Might I ever so humbly remind his Lordship that:

Marie Antoinette taunted “Let them eat cake.”, right before she had a date with a certain razor that starts with the letter “G”. No Sire, I don’t mean Gillette to shave her Royal Legs silky smooth for your viewing pleasure.

King George III roared, “Peace of mind! I have no peace of mind. I have had no peace of mind since we lost America. Forests, old as the world itself, plains, strange delicate flowers, immense solitudes. And all nature new to art. All ours. Mine. Gone. A paradise lost.” Lost sire. Lost…

Of course, there are others, your Lordship. An entire feast of spoiled morsels garnish the dining table of history on what not to do. And yet, there is still time. A difference can be made. Changes can occur. Opportunities to demonstrate what type of leader you really are.

If not, then you will witness your paradise lost in the Franchise Revolutions and The Declaration of the Independents who have grown tired of just eating cake. Just getting by. History shall reveal your nakedness for the entire world to see.

Farewell oh king. Farewell.


I fear the Geeks, especially when bearing gifts.

I’m not sure if it was Greg’s post welcoming me to Bloodhound Blog or if it is last name “H” week for the Hi-Tech cold callers…but my phone has been ringing off the hook with people trying to sell (give) me stuff to enhance my web 2.0 career.

The pitch, has been very simplistic in nature: The vendor is willing to give me their product/service for free or at a drastically reduced rate. IF, I will recommend it to the agents in my office and the ones that read my blog.

The close, “Isn’t this a great deal! What do you have to lose?”

What do I have to lose? Let me shuffle my feet and look down at them with my hands in my pockets. Ummmmm. Geee. I don’t know. How about my reputation with the people that I work for and depend on me to make sound decisions? How about the respect of people who read me and trust me to make reputable endorsements? If those aren’t good enough reasons how about all the money that I could lose? Money lost when agents figure out that I’m willing to sell my soul for free products/services on their dime. Referrals that might not come in if I recommend based off personal gain instead of success.

Do you really want my business? Do you really want me to recommend you? Would you really like me to write about how your product/service is the greatest thing since IMAP on my iPhone? Do you really want to improve my web 2.0 career?

First, I’m not looking for a handout. Times are hard but I’m not offering to give away my services. You shouldn’t either. People pay me a lot of money to sell their homes. I’m good at what I do. Why should I expect any less from you?

Second, interact with me on BHB, Active Rain, My Space or any of the other online communities that I frequent. Comment on my posts. Ask questions. Disagree. Challenge the way that I think and do business. Show me something different. Something exciting! Knock my socks off with what you know. Blow my mind with what you offer.

Add value and build a relationship with me. That is the whole underlying purpose of this web 2.0 thing. Lead by example, not by trying to give me a Trojan horse to gain entry inside my heavily fortified walls. The people inside my inner concrete circle are very important to me. I won’t hesitate to recommend you and interact with you in your web 2.0 world…if you exceed my expectations.