There’s always something to howl about

Archive for October, 2011

The Greatest Listing Single-Site Ever Created!

…is what people might say once we are all done here.

After following Robert Worthington’s post: Videos are in My Arsenal and the terrific advice he got, I decided it’s my turn to spend some time in the barrel. Not for videos (despite the abundant potential I see in videos, I’m not there yet) but rather single sites: I am dialing in my individal listing web site model. Well… at least I think I am.

Heck, just last week I bragged in a Comment on Eric Blackwell’s NAR, IDX, Franchisors post “I know I can put together a single site that blows away most other agents and ALL other aggregator / franchisor lead generator thing-a-ma-bobs.”  Later that night, however, as I lay down to go to sleep, all I could hear, over and over in my head, was Robert Duvall saying to John Wayne in the movie True Grit: “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed, fat man!”  I realized that such a brag, based on only one person’s review (don’t kid yourself, though, my mom can be a tough critic) leaves room for improvement.

Real Estate, despite all the talking we do with others, is essentially a lonely business. (We do still talk to lots of people in order to generate business, don’t we? I mean… I didn’t miss some new App that does that for us, right?) When we create marketing pieces, and even entire marketing campaigns, we are often working in the bubble of our own minds. I have borrowed, swiped and learned as much as I can from what’s found on BHB, and so I can ask no better group to take a look at the direction I’m going and provide criticism. This single site, Wellesley La Mesa, is the first one utilizing my new layout and over-all look/feel, so it’s not too late to make wholesale changes if I’m missing something or just plain on the wrong path.

One note: the web site itself (The UnRealty Group), is about 30% finished, with lots of articles and content missing, so if you link over there, keep that in mind before tearin’ into me… I mean passin’ on your constructive criticisms.  Thanks!


Why do Liberals and Progressives in America deny their beliefs?

While reading Jeff’s post asking about how people can justify theft from others in the name of government, I was most stricken by the absolute denial from those who defended more and more taxation have over their own beliefs.  Even though they clearly support socialism, and can put forward tales of great woe over why they believe socialism is needed, nowhere would they agree that what they espouse is socialism.

Sure, socialism has been demonized by conservatives over the years.  But does that surprise you?  Socialism is the opposite of what many conservatives profess to be.  Yet, socialists, most of whom prefer to be called liberals, just can’t admit that they support theft by government force.  None of the liberals who commented would admit they believed “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  They just don’t go there.

People are full of these contradictions.  Warren Buffet was mentioned as an example in the comments of Jeff’s post, about his supposed concern about paying less in taxes than his secretary.  Yet, this same Warren Buffet has been fighting against paying taxes he legally owes for years!  What is that all about if he supports more taxation so much?

In the video above, Bill Maher, calls out Americans on what he calls their secret love of socialism.  In the video Bill Maher says “It’s time to stop fighting it and just come out of the closet, and the group I’m talking about is the American public and the love they’re denying is their love of socialism. Now I know that there are few words in America more toxic than socialist, and these days big government spending is about as popular as Casey Anthony at a Chucky Cheese. Yes, Americans say they hate socialism but when it comes to Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, corporate welfare, bailouts, and farm subsidies, what we really say to socialism is I can’t quit you.”

He goes on from there.  In this case, I agree with Bill Maher.

Certainly there is a disconnect between what many Americans say versus what they actually support.  Liberals seem happy to point out that they want to use money confiscated through taxes to pay to take care of the poor, the elderly and for education.  They are happy to point out that these socialistic programs pay for medical care, environmental regulation, and protection to make sure consumers have protections from their own decisions.  So, if these socialist programs are so great, why can’t folks just admit, what they support is socialism?  It should be a badge of pride if you believe it is really morally correct to confiscate money from some for the benefit of others.  The story is really Robin Hood, right?  The difference is the people that the money is being stolen from may not be evil rulers, they just might be your hardworking neighbors.  But what difference does that really make?  Liberals, including those who now prefer to be called progressives, are really just socialists, so why can’t they just admit it?


Happy Halloween!

The photo was taken by a client and friend, photographer Chet Provorse (Chet on Facebook.) The yellow Lab is Buddy.

Comments are off for this post

What a wonderful thing it is to live indoors…

The deck at my father’s house in Connecticut this fine morning. I don’t care where you live, if you’re in real estate, snow is a great closer…


Attention Takers: Why, In Plain English, Are YOU Entitled To The Fruits Of MY Hard Work?

Regardless of protestations to the contrary, all of us make decisions. At least most of ’em by way of what our core beliefs dictate. In fact, the use of that phrase — core beliefs — virtually never causes problems on either side of any political/ideological debate. Oh, but do what I just did, use the ‘I’ word — ideology — and those who don’t blink an eye at core beliefs, begin dissembling like a one-legged man in a butt kickin’ contest. They don’t wanna go down Ideology Blvd.

Know why?

Ideology requires a rationally thought out path — a system of beliefs. For instance, ask the guy just arrested for the armed robbery of the local convenience store to explain how his ideological beliefs allow him to rob others of their belongings while threatening their lives with lethal force. You’ll get one of two responses. Silence — Or — Convoluted nonsense — Or — unfiltered rage.

Ask a dad why he punishes his seven year old son when caught stealing from his sister. You’ll get plain English from him. It’ll relate directly to his ideological beliefs. His core beliefs the foundation of his belief ‘system’. Is this news to anyone? No? Then why do those from the take-my-fish side of the isle bristle so visibly when those with a clearly defined ideology not only speak up, but spell their beliefs out in — that scary phrase again — Plain English.

The 10% Crowd

To be in the top 10% of American income earners in 2011, I’m gonna borrow from the IRS’s 2010 stats. We’ll use the same numbers this year as last since this year’s numbers are partial in nature. If you make $380,354 or more, congrats! Your group, the top 1%, makes about 20% of the personal income produced in the United States. That’s the good news. The bad news?

You and your buddies pay 20% 38% of all personal income taxes. Did Mom ever split the candy bar that way between you and your brother or sister? No? Her idea of what’s fair must’ve been skewed, right?

If you earn $113,799 or more you’re in the 10% group. The good news is your group makes a tick under 46% of all personal income. The bad news is you also pay just under 46% 70% of all personal income taxes.

See a trend here?

Let’s take a look at the other end of the income spectrum, shall we?

Caveat: Get ready for great gnashing of teeth and self-righteous pontificating about fairness. Also, count on some creative use of the language. It won’t be Plain English, but it’ll be solid comic relief. And no, entitled fish-takers, when I used empirically historic numbers, I’m not pontificating. I’m reporting documented facts, not spewing wishful thinking or vitriolic rhetoric designed to disguise a vacuous position.

The bottom 50% of wage earners in America earn a bit under 13% of the income. They pay less than 3% of all personal income taxes. So while just over half (the now famous 53%) of us are paying literally over 97% of all income taxes, a large minority of the bottom half loudly proclaim the ‘fact’ that a sizable portion of the upper half aren’t payin’ their ‘fair’ share.

The universally accepted number of American wage earners who don’t pay income taxes is about 47%. Again, a sizable and vociferous portion of those non-taxpayers claim that much of the other 53% — you know, the ones actually payin’ the bills — aren’t payin’ enough. Never mind they’re paying ALL the taxes. They’re STILL not payin’ their fair share.

We call these folks the ‘entitled’ ones.

I, for one, would respectfully ask them a simple question, phrased in what many of them fear most, Plain English.

Why are YOU entitled to the fruits of MY hard work?

To make this a civil discussion, I suggest the following rules.

1. You cannot make your case for taking my money for your use by asking me or my fellow Pay-the-Bills group a question. You must answer the question as it has been asked — in Plain English.

2. No personal attacks. If you can’t make your case using your own core beliefs which obviously must form your own ideological system (and yes, you have one), please stay on the sidelines and observe those who can.

Frankly, I’m sick ‘n tired of being treated, even if only metaphorically, as the convenience store owner mentioned earlier. In fact, that brings up an excellent irony. The armed thief will go to jail if convicted. Yet, any taxpayer consistently failing to pay their taxes faces prison as a real option.

What the hell has happened to us? What the hell has happened to the Plain English with which we all grew up? When half of us are payin’ the freight for the other half, we’re on the edge of the abyss.


Real estate licensing laws are a criminal conspiracy against the consumer created by and for the benefit of a cartel.

This is me writing in June of 2007. Someone linked to it from Twitter yesterday, and I read it for the first time in years. The argument holds up — there has never been any attempt at rigorous refutation — but it’s even more interesting now that America has discovered what Sarah Palin and others are calling “crony capitalism” — the pandemic affliction I call Rotarian Socialism or simply rent-seeking.

When I wrote this, I was sure that the real estate licensing laws had nothing to fear. Things have changed. For a first thing, when state governments have to choose between marginal departments and continuing to provide a food dole to reliable voters, the state department of real estate could see huge budget cuts. But even better, sooner or later it will dawn on people that the only way to push “businesspeople” like the NAR off the taxpayer’s tit is to repeal all commercial regulation.

That’s a game-changer. If you’re good at actually delivering value to your clients, so much the better for you. The free market rewards virtue. And if you’ve been depending on the NAR and all those huge stacks of rent-seeking legislation for your income — good luck at your next job… –GSS

Real estate licensing laws are a criminal conspiracy against the consumer created by and for the benefit of a cartel

When I walk into a supermarket, the first thing I look at are the floors. If they aren’t buffed to a blinding glow, I walk right back out. Why? Because if the manager isn’t staying on top of the floor maintenance, he isn’t staying on top of anything else, either. Without doubt, I am “protected” by vast armies of federal, state and local food cops, but it turns out that they are not willing to get food poisoning in my place. If I fail to guard my own self-interest, the courts might make me (or my heirs) whole — after-the-fact. But nothing can protect me if I won’t protect myself.

Surely you effect many similar sorts of “consumer protection” in your own behalf, possibly believing in your heart that the laws can protect you, yet exercising caution to protect yourself even so. But consider this: If, when selecting electrical equipment, you had to choose between oversight by government functionaries or the Underwriters Laboratories — but not both — which one would you choose?

If you said government, you can stop reading now. You’re hopeless. For those still with us, what we’re doing is exploring the implications of doing away with real estate licensing laws. And if that idea makes you shiver, you can settle down: No matter what I say, the real estate laws are not going to be repealed any time soon.

But imagine for a moment that your neighbor’s mother introduced an old friend to the FSBO seller up the street. This is brokerage, introducing buyer to seller. The principals are unrepresented, but they can do everything they need to do — in Arizona, at least — at the offices of a title company. Nothing unlawful has occurred — until grandma takes a finder’s fee from either the seller or the buyer.

At that point she is in violation of real estate licensing laws. She can connect buyers with sellers all day, every day — provided she does not get paid for doing so. The purpose of the real estate licensing laws is not to protect buyers and sellers from chatty grandmas, who may or may not know anything about real estate. Instead, those laws exist to limit artificially who can be compensated for introducing buyers and sellers.

Before the advent of licensing laws, chatty grandmas and underemployed barbers, among other people, brokered real estate on the side. In the name of “protecting” consumers, the NAR got state legislatures to pass laws putting those innocent souls out of the real estate business. These are the actions of a cartel. Even now, the NAR is trying to pass federal legislation forbidding banks from brokering real estate.

This is important. We’ve already established that laws and regulations will not protect you in the marketplace if you are unwilling to protect yourself. Moreover, we’ve agreed that — as with the Underwriters Laboratories — where free-market oversight systems are in place, they are preferable in your own opinion to government laws and regulations. Finally, with respect to real estate licensing laws, we have demonstrated that the purpose of the laws is not to protect the consumer, but, rather, to protect licensees from the brokerage efforts of chatty grandmas and underemployed barbers — and banks — and anyone else who might introduce buyers and sellers for less money than licensed brokers want for them to have been charged.

From where I sit, there is no cogent rationale left to defenders of real estate licensing. We know from first-hand experience that self-protection buttressed by free-market oversight actually works at achieving true consumer protection. We also know that government laws and regulations do not work at achieving consumer protection. And we know that the real estate licensing laws are the result of a conspiracy against alternative vendors, with the far greater population of secondary victims being buyers and sellers of real estate. If you wish to defend these laws, I say you have nothing left to defend.

I am in league with the Greeks. I believe in questioning absolutely everything, and I am not afraid to risk being wrong on the path to discovering what is right. It is far beyond pellucid to me that real estate licensing laws are an abomination. If I could effect only one of my desired real estate reforms, I would divorce the commissions, but it remains that the real estate licensing laws — and occupational licensing laws in general — are by far the greater crime.

So, while you’re here, let’s consider some other ideas in the neighborhood. This is email I had from a Phoenix-area Realtor:

I read your article in the Arizona Republic about licensing laws. I totally agree.

I also wanted to ask you what your feelings are regarding part-time agents. I feel that there should be a disclosure requirement for agents with other employment. We all know that it can hurt our clients if we are not able to assist them in a timely manor.

It needs to be disclosed that employment with someone else could delay an agent’s ability to service the client properly.

Ethics and fiduciary is talked about all of the time but isn’t it unethical not disclosing an agents status?

I think this is a fine idea, except by now we’re talking about torts — civil court cases — not statute law or regulations.

If the real estate licensing laws were repealed, I think buyers and sellers would — as they should now — exercise much greater care in choosing whom to employ. Without the shield of the state-issued license to cover their asses, I would expect managers of real estate brokerages to exercise much greater care in choosing whom to hire. And I would expect the Errors and Omissions underwriters to step up their oversight in a big way.

There’s more: The NAR — or a more-honest competitor — would have a far greater incentive to vet the ethics of its membership, as would the MLS system or whatever might replace it. As with the Underwriters Laboratories, these “professional” organizations might become something more than dues-devouring paper tigers at setting and enforcing standards of care.

It might turn out that you could not employ a chatty grandma or underemployed barber even if you wanted to. The state license does nothing to prevent the lowest common denominators — intellectually and ethically — from becoming real estate “professionals.” But the free-market entities that arise to replace — and actually undertake — the oversight function could prove to be far more exacting than anything we can imagine in the current context.

In a comment to my column from Friday’s Arizona Republic, Athol Kay asks three questions:

If the laws’ purpose is to limit entry, why are brokerages packed wall to wall?

Because the barrier to entry is still very low. The real estate licensing laws put the barbers — particularly — out of business, and they forbade people with a casual or isolated interest in real estate brokerage from collecting compensation for their efforts. But, unlike other occupational licenses, almost anyone who wants a license can get one.

Wouldn’t that excess supply of agents drive prices down?

It tends to keep the median income for licensees very, very low.

Why didn’t NAR require/suggest licensing being a high hurdle instead of a low one?

For the reasons discussed in the article commented on: Because the broker-level license is a license to steal. A steady supply of gross incompetents with stars in their eyes is the main profit center in many brokerages. The real estate licensing laws were hugely unpopular when they were first passed, so their scope was very limited. But where salespeople may or may not have clients, a broker’s clients are salespeople — and there is plenty of money to be had out of them before all but the smallest few of them fail. The NAR and the MLS are in on this game, too.

Athol continues in a post at his own weblog:

If you’re complaining about haphazard training, wouldn’t the more obvious solution be higher standards for licensure?

No, for all of the above reasons: The license cannot substitute either for due diligence on the part of consumers or for free-market oversight entities. Moreover, further limiting the supply of providers of a function any reasonably intelligent barber can do is simply a more egregious form of the current conspiracy. If market forces demand greater training — as our own E&O underwriter does — that is the right way to effect it.

There’s more: The license, no matter what training it requires, is fundamentally anti-intelligence, anti-experience, anti-due diligence. The license not only deludes consumers into thinking that all agents are the same, it permits newly-minted licensees plausibly to make that very stupid claim. Where vendors compete for reputation, experience matters. Moreover, in a market where reputation and long-standing successful practice matter, new entrants would have to align themselves with established firms to get the traction necessary to go out on their own. This allows for the training that mostly doesn’t happen now, along with a weeding-out that doesn’t happen at all. You can hang your new real estate license practically anywhere, since you’re all profit to your broker. If licensing laws were repealed, managers of successful brokerages would be very careful not to hire — and to terminate with dispatch — people who might destroy their reputations.


No licensing means there would be no more agents. The legal construct of “a real estate agent” would vanish. With that change the entire category of Agency Law would be null and void.

Not to be mean, but this is dumb. The law of agency is ancient, at least as old as the Greeks. If anything, the trend in statute law is to weaken the duties imposed by the common law of agency. To be frank, I would happily bid farewell to the entire category of laws designated as malum prohibitum — wrong because forbidden by statute law, with the civil courts handling the tortious claims now designated as malum in se — wrong in itself. In any case, where a party is injured in a real estate transaction, the case is handled in civil court, and this would not change if the real estate licensing laws were to be repealed.

One more:

Why would NAR seek to limit the number of Realtors anyway?

It doesn’t. The NAR’s interest is in limiting the number of non-Realtors.

Put a fork in this one. It’s done. The real estate licensing laws are not going to be repealed, more’s the pity, but I don’t think there is any rational defense to be made for them. They are a conspiracy arrayed directly against alternative vendors, and indirectly against all consumers, created by and for the benefit of a cartel. They do not protect consumers. They serve instead to induce consumers to be careless about their own interests, even as they encourage licensees to misrepresent their knowledge and experience. Moreover, they prevent the spontaneous creation of truly-viable free-market alternatives to licensing. They not only do not protect consumers, they effectively prohibit the means by which the interests of consumers could be protected.

If you can dispute any of this, make your case in cold, clear reason. And if you cannot dispute this argument, a gracious concession would be an unexpected delight.


NAR, IDX, Franchisors.. It’s complicated.

“It’s complicated” is my FAVORITE relationship status on Facebook.

It describes perfectly the indescribable complexities that arise in life. And on this newfangled thing we call the internet that NAR seems to be trying to lasso. Such is the relationship with NAR, franchisors, and IDX . In Anaheim, the real fun will be had at BHB Unchained (goes without saying)…but the interesting side show may be best described in Rob Hahn’s latest post. (Well worth reading BTW) R.O.B. is on my short list of people that when he writes, I read for a reason.

I will probably tick off both sides of this argument in the next couple of posts I write on I am going to attempt to articulate both sides’ positions better than they have…truth is I think I have a better solution, but one that would never be agreed to. (see below)

One of the solid points that ROB makes at the end of his analysis is this:

Consider that the franchisor is not a member of NAR. Nor is it a participant in the MLS. NAR has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the franchisor.

And yet, the way that the original, now-repealed language of the IDX policy read, it purported to bind the franchisor to a variety of MLS rules. Look at the conditions numbered 3, 4, 5, and 6 above. Those rules bound the franchisor, by threatening sanction against the participant franchisee.

Now that the whole thing has been struck down, what binds the franchisor to any limitation?

Why couldn’t a franchisor now modify or manipulate the IDX information, or retain it permanently? Sure, a MLS could bring a lawsuit under some copyright infringement theory, but the Kelly v. Arriba case seems to lean heavily towards the franchisors. If anything, manipulating and modifying the IDX information would likely be seen as being even more transformative.

As long as there was some sort of a Franchise IDX policy, the franchisors voluntarily submitted to the authority of NAR and of the MLS to dictate what they could and could not do on their websites. Now that the whole thing has gone poof, I wonder what now makes the franchisors submit to anything at all.

There are literally dozens of ways that I can see a franchisor attempting to get around this… up to an including becoming a syndicator. If syndicators can become brokers (and I think that may be more and more likely as they have to generate return for overvalued shares **cough**Zillow**cough**. Then why can’t it work the other way around.

Why couldn’t Dave or Gary (for example) buy a small national syndicator site that is getting feeds and just push it to their domains? Again, I am not taking sides, I am just asking… is this not possible?

Oh…my solution? 😉 Glad you asked. I think that NAR trying to control who gets their data now that almost any website that wants it CAN get it via syndication if they are willing to pay a bit…is pretty ridiculous. I think that it is not unlike Congress trying to legislate control over the internet. They are trying to control where they have no jurisdiction.

I am more of a fix it from within kind of guy (I KNOW there will be others who will comment with other opinions on this and that is totally fine.) And the fix from within is to say Opt In – and your listings go EVERYWHERE online. Opt Out – They Go NOWHERE online. Don’t like it? Tough noogies.

Seriously. Tough noogies. Have your high priced lawyers write THAT in, NAR. T-O-U-G-H (space) N-O-O-G-I-E-S…And then fire them and pass the savings on to the REALTORS.

BTW- In all of this, I am neither for nor against. I simply am watching the futility of an “it’s complicated” relationship. Like most of those relationships, it does not have to be.

It is MUCH easier to explain to the consumer “We put your listing EVERYWHERE”, than it is to say..”It’s complicated”. I think that consumers deserve some simplicity there…

I am willing to change my mind on this. Someone convince me to…please?


Buy a McMansion, get a free McVisa. And, if you act right now, we’ll give you two McVisas for every McMansion you buy. (Just pay separate shipping and handling.)

I could say I wish it were a joke, but the entire United States government is becoming a joke: Senator Charles Schumer (D-Hades) wants to give free visas to foreign nationals who buy luxury real estate:

Foreigners have accounted for a growing share of home purchases in South Florida, Southern California, Arizona and other hard-hit markets. Chinese and Canadian buyers, among others, are taking advantage not only of big declines in U.S. home prices and reduced competition from Americans but also of favorable foreign exchange rates.

To fuel this demand, the proposed measure would offer visas to any foreigner making a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential real-estate—a single-family house, condo or townhouse. Applicants can spend the entire amount on one house or spend as little as $250,000 on a residence and invest the rest in other residential real estate, which can be rented out.

The measure would complement existing visa programs that allow foreigners to enter the U.S. if they invest in new businesses that create jobs. Backers believe the initiative would help soak up an excess supply of inventory when many would-be American home buyers are holding back because they’re concerned about their jobs or because they would have to take a big loss to sell their current house.

“This is a way to create more demand without costing the federal government a nickel,” Sen. Schumer said in an interview.

I love this on so many levels:

First, it’s more Rotarian Socialism: Subsidize the rich, since it’s their over-built, over-priced houses that aren’t selling.

Second, the proposal makes plain that U.S. immigration policy is just more Rotarian Socialism claptrap: It’s not about securing borders but securing pocketbooks.

But third, who wants to come here now? Not only is our economy crushed under the weight of a century of Rotarian Socialist kleptocracy, but there are actual proto-cannibal savages congregating in the public parks, goading each other into a homicidal rage. Any sane millionaire would have to say, “I left São Paolo for this?”

As always, Matt and Trey have the best answer to cant: “Vamos, Mantequilla!”


BHB Unchained – Five smooth stones.

I for one, am looking forward to getting together with Greg and Brian and the rest of the gang in Anaheim. It has been too long. But BHB wouldn’t be Unchained if I did not contribute some of the stuff I have been working on in the last couple of years since we got together.

So here’s my contribution.

I will bring 5 smooth stones to the event. That is what David picked up to slay Goliath. It only took one. And that is all you will likely need to bring down a Philistine or two and make some money. But I am going to bring five of the best SEO, Search Engine Marketing ideas that a real estate professional can use to generate opportunities to get belly to belly with potential clients. Five of the most effective strategies that a REALTORs have deployed in the last year. I promise you that they will be attention getters and conversation starters (which is what that Scenius stuff that Greg talks about is ALL about). It is where the fun begins and people start sharing ideas.

Sometimes the best ideas are so simple that people don’t take action on them. My purpose in life is to help businesses harness online marketing to bring people to where you can start a conversation…and you can use the skills you already have to start skinning cats and hanging them on the wall. I can not and will not do it for you, but if you want some ideas and where to start, I can offer you five smooth stones to fill your sling with. You must have the courage to take action.

I look forward to meeting a lot of new friends as well as reconnecting with a lot of old ones!


The $99 Secret to Doubling Your Real Estate Business That THEY Don’t Want You To Know

That title is an attention getter isn’t it?  Too bad it’s not accurate… but hey, if I had said “The Secret to Tripling or even Quadrupling Your Real Estate Business” you probably would have written it off as so much hype, right?  So I dumbed it down… hope you don’t mind.

This started as a comment to a recent post here about the MLS, the mafia and NAR goons… a provocative subject matter, yes? Maybe too provocative for some, and more’s the pity because what lies behind it is nothing less than a beacon – a lighthouse in a stormy sea – that you probably don’t even know you need.  I know I didn’t…  But if you really want to double (or triple or quadruple) your business in 2012, you won’t get there sailing the same old boat around the safety of the same old harbor (the definition of insanity and all that).   You’ll have to get out there in the great unknown: you’ll have to get a little lost; and you’ll have to be willing to trust that far away beam of light from that far away lighthouse that you never noticed on the horizon before.

This lighthouse has a little plaque over the door.  It reads: BLOODHOUND UNCHAINED.  It should probably read: Omnes relinquite spes, o vos intrantes.  For those unfamiliar with Dante and/or Latin, this will make sense by the end of the article. (Much like the title, that’s a teaser that I hope will keep you reading… the career you save might be your own.)

In the post linked above, the author said: “The leap is the risk of losing your religion.”

That statement is more powerful than most can imagine. I was fortunate enough to be at Unchained in Orlando, and again in Phoenix.  I came in with pre-conceived ideas about what I would learn, and maybe what I could share. I left with a new left arm… not literally, of course, but for how dramatic the change (and the challenge) can be, it might as well have been.

The problem, of course, is that this isn’t a chance to learn in a “classroom” sort of way (though you will most definitely leave with ready-to-implement techniques), it’s a chance to grow… to become… to BE.  And that’s a pretty damn difficult thing to accept.  Oh, I know, we all talk a good game about growing and learning and being open to change; but the truth is change – real, core change – requires letting go of the rock we desperately cling to for fear of being swept away by a current we can’t control.  And if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you cling to a lot of rocks in this business.  “It’s always been done this way” is a rock.  “That’s how I was taught” is another.  Then there are the less obvious, but much bigger rocks we cling to:

“If I do that, someone might reject me.”
“If I make a mistake, others will realize I’m a fake.”
“I better just do what everyone else is doing, otherwise I might fail.”
“I can’t…”

Letting go of these rocks, these beliefs, takes all the courage you can muster.  Whether it be a belief in how the NAR operates, or how one can/should practice real estate, or what it means to be successful, or just who we really are – as evidenced by our actions, not our self-serving rationalizations – it’s a terrific leap.  Are you willing to take that leap?  Are you willing to work without a net?  In other words: are you willing to take the responsibility of being you?  Because here’s the big secret: that current you’re so afraid of is your career and your happiness and your success and your life; and clinging to these silly rocks only means you’ll miss most of it… just like the people before you who showed you these rocks; and just like the people around you who remind you it’s always been done this way.

If you’re willing to let go… if you’re willing to set your sights beyond just becoming a better real estate agent… if there’s something inside you – some little voice – telling you there’s more… then click that button below.  I can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim come November 11th.   I’ll be the guy sitting next to you, pointing out the sign over the door that says: Omnes relinquite spes, o vos intrantes – “All hope abandon, ye who enter in.”  Because Hope is not a plan, it’s a safe harbor in which to hide.  Why settle for safe, when you can have splendor.

BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Anaheim
Friday, November 11, 2011
12 Noon to 10 pm
Cortona Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort
2029 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Make the Scene: $99


Why can’t the MLS or the mafia innovate? And what should you do instead of being an NAR goon?

Today, CEO Glenn Kelman warns us that we may be “outsourcing our brains” because MLS systems are so stupid:

I worry about whether the fundamental choice we made five years ago was the right choice, that if we played by the rules and used MLS data that we would be able to build a better Web site or a worse Web site. And, I think, the jury is still out there. But, I promise you, if brokers aren’t building the best Web sites for real estate consumers, we are headed for pain. Pain for the customer, pain for the broker.

For weeks now I’ve been sitting on a post by FBS CEO Michael Wurzer summarizing half-a-dozen non-starter ideas for MLS innovation. I’ve been waiting, so far in vain, for someone to post a comment stating the obvious:

Why can’t the MLS innovate? For the same reasons the mafia and the government can’t innovate: Criminals steal so they won’t have to produce wealth.

When BloodhoundBlog Unchained comes to Anaheim, we’ll be covering lots of nuts and bolts tactics for the hard-working grunts on the ground — as you would expect. But we’ll also be talking about very big ideas, most notably how to run our business like a business and not a crime syndicate.

I know Realtors don’t like to hear the truth about how the National Association of Realtors has behaved over the past 100 years, but just as with the leviathan state, the time we have left for childish stupidity is running out.

I can’t cause the congenital Rotarian Socialists of the NAR to discover, honor and live up to their humanity. But I can show you how to build a lasting business you can be proud of — by behaving like an honest trader and not like a predator.

I am not anti-NAR. I am not anti-MLS. I am not even anti-socialist or anti-graft or anti-sleaze. What I am is pro-values. If you will give me a few minutes of your time, I will show you how working with integrity in the real estate business is as simple as pursuing your own values — exclusively.

If you can’t stand being told that the NAR way is the life of a parasite, don’t come, at least not for my part of the show. You are at war with your own mind, and you will learn nothing new while you indulge that sulky, absurd obsession.

But that’s just more “anti” idiocy, anyway. If you lend me your attention, and if you ruminate on the techniques I will be teaching, I can help you find a completely different way of living — a better, cleaner, more fulfilling life in business, but a finer, more-rapturous life overall. Call it “The Splendor of Real Estate Sales and Marketing.” And then reflect that I’m just the tenth part of your C-note: “Ten bucks for a brand new you!”

Your mind is supple and the world is young. Come dancing with me in Anaheim, with me and with the other dogs who will be there, and with our guests. I promise to challenge everything you’ve ever thought, and I pray you will do me the same favor. What comes of that will be a Scenius, and we will all become smarter, happier, more productive people.

That’s funny, isn’t it? The hurdle to be leapt isn’t the money — the whole ten hour show will be a smokin’ deal for ninety-nine bucks. The leap is the risk of losing your religion, as it were. I have no answer for that. I never say anything I’m not prepared to defend, and I hope I never fail to yield to a better argument. But: If you can bear up to hearing the NAR’s predatory faith challenged, at a minimum you will find yourself in the company of a roomful of equally strong minds.

In the end what I’m promising you is Stone Soup: I’m bringing the stone. Brian Brady is bringing the kettle. Y’all are bringing everything else. But all of us will feast together on a meal none of us could make alone. Is that something you can afford to miss?

BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Anaheim
Friday, November 11, 2011
12 Noon to 10 pm
Cortona Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort
2029 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Make the Scene: $99


Gates rents home near my hood – that’s all for now

Recently Mr. Bill Gates and his wife have found a nice retreat in Wellington, Florida to relax for the winter months. The couple will be staying from January till May 2012. Gates is not far from my home in Boynton Beach Florida. What surprises me is the home that he settled on is located in Wellington, Florida. Wellington is known as the polo capital of the world. People from around the world migrate to Wellington 3 months out of the year to live in horsey Heaven.

Mr. Gates and his wife liked the property so much they were willing to pay and agreed to pay $600,000 rent for the 5 months they will be in town. As a local broker in the area, Mr Gates and his wife must love Wellington’s small town feel and must love the polo scene. Wellington has a nice mall, but it’s certainly nothing to brag about. Either way, Bill has the money and he can easily do whatever he please. I just wonder why he didn’t go after an ocean side penthouse or a cottage on the Intracoastal for a 20th of the price.

I wish Bill and his wife a great 2012 winter season in Wellington, Florida! Maybe I’ll see him around and get a picture of us next to each other.

1 comment

Got termites?


Why do consumers need expert representation? Because that stuff on the garage floor looks like dirt to you.


Bocephus wants y’all to know: A country boy can survive.

Just that quick:

The song is not new. If he were truly net.wise, Hank could have had this done the same day he quit/got fired. Even so, he’s close enough in time for the response to resonate.

I’m not taking sides in any of this; the man was a fool to go off message when we was making a PR run at a dipshit talk-show. But: The whole episode is fun to watch.

Jump now and you can download the recording for free.


Brian Brady makes it happen: BloodhoundBlog Unchained is on for Anaheim, Friday, November 11, 2011.

Brian Brady got us a room, may the gods whisper his name in awe. We’re working on sponsorship, and I’ll have speaker announcements in the coming days. Here’s the big picture:

BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Anaheim
Friday, November 11, 2011
12 Noon to 10 pm
Cortona Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort
2029 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

We’re going split the day between formal presentations and Scenius scenes. No one can predict where lightning will strike, but we have delivered transformative experiences before. If you go to the NAR sessions that day, you can look forward to being upsold on crap. Come see us and we could change your life forever.

That’s sounds like a value proposition to me.

I’ll have more to say soon, but right now I want to give people who are paying attention a chance to jump. We have a very limited number of seats, so if being there matters to you, get your credit card out now.

Make the Scene: $99


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