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Category Archive: ‘Realtor Training’

Avoiding the Inspector Blues

I mentioned here that it would be a prudent business practice to provide buyers with a home inspection prior to making an offer:

Sellers and listing agents don’t want to mess around with repair requests, and it says right in the contract that the house is sold ‘as-is’.  Yet the common practice today is for the buyers to conduct their own home inspection AFTER they have an accepted offer, which means the unknown facts about the house are rarely priced into the deal – and, as a result, buyers want some giveback.  They might endure some inequity in a frenzy, but as the market balances out, the tendency will be to cancel the deal if they aren’t happy.

But here’s another reason for providing a home inspection – to avoid having the buyers hiring an inspector who could put your deal in jeopardy.  You can’t stop them from doing their own second inspection, but at least you’ll have another opinion available if they hire one of these.

The three inspectors everyone wants to avoid:

  1. The bumbling, incompetent inspector who raises more concern.
  2. The CYA inspector, who creates more alarm by insisting that a licensed contractor needs to be consulted for an adequate opinion of the stupid stuff.
  3. The inspector who tells you in person that it’s a great house, and then sends a report loaded with surprises.

The seller-provided inspection is a counter-balance for all three categories!




Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Market Conditions, Realtor Training, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Seminar Results

laker lion

I was in Las Vegas doing what I could to help Laker great Lamar Odom, and happened to swing by the Z-Group event for their premier agents.

The big wigs rolled out a couple of new features, Stan did his presentation, and then they had breakout sessions that included speaker panels with agents who are devoted customers.

No one could blame them for inviting their most successful agents on stage – it’s what you would expect.  But the numbers they discussed were staggering.

Robert Slack was just a single agent for a couple of decades.

In 2014, he had four agents working for him.  Now he employs 34 agents – and expects that number to be up to 40 agents by the end of 2015.

Zillow sells ‘impressions’ on a listing page, based on zip codes – he has bought exposure in 92 zip codes in Florida!

His team closed 42 sales last month. He wants to close 1,000 sales in 2016!

Robert works in central Florida, and serves Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Sarasota and Venice. He sells houses priced mostly from $100,000 to $400,000 – which is a very affordable price range.  There was another agent from Missouri who had similar success – but his sales were at the same price point.

This team approach built around Zillow buyer leads can be very effective.  The team leaders can build the machine and check out too – the Missouri guy said he spent all summer at the beach.

Could realtors in higher-end areas use Zillow advertising to achieve dominance? It’s so competitive already that it would take a major investment for years, but it is possible.  Such an effort would really clear out the individual buyer agents.

Posted by on Oct 18, 2015 in Market Conditions, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop, Seminars, Speaker Panel, Special Events, The Future | 0 comments

Access to Tax Rolls


You have probably heard of CarFax, the historical report you can get on a car?

Now there is HouseFax:

Warning – if you sign up for the free report, they will pepper your cell phone with solicitations.

The last bastion of protected real estate information is the tax rolls.  They are included on the MLS, but only realtors or appraisers can join that club.

Now for only $19, the public can see everything realtors see, and more – property descriptions, building permits, mortgage history, insurance claims, natural hazards – even cell-phone reception!

The $19 cost is probably the right amount – the public will only spend the money on homes that really interest them, without it being exorbitant.  But it does break down the only remaining barrier of protected information.

If a company like Housefax can devise a realtor-access package for a reasonable amount, it would just about make the MLS extinct.

Kayla has already found that using Zillow is much more effective than the MLS.  The Zillow mobile app is far superior; it shows recent sales nearby, the assigned schools, and an estimate of value – the MLS doesn’t include any of those.

With more agents uploading their listings to Zillow a few days before MLS input, it has become the go-to source.  Zillow is also making portals like and Redfin extinct too, because those rely on MLS data only.

With the tax rolls out in the open, we don’t need the MLS – at least not the old clunky MLS we have now.  But you sure don’t hear about any upgrading being planned to bring the MLS into the modern era!

Posted by on Oct 18, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, The Future | 2 comments

Realtors Shouldn’t Vape


Thanks to bode for sending in this story:


A woman questioned by the FBI after an Allegiant Air Las Vegas – Honolulu flight says a flight attendant having a bad day and ‘taking it out on’ her is the cause of her exposing herself and refusing to put out an e-cigarette inflight.

Passengers on the flight told authorities that Sharp exposed her breasts, swore at the attendant and also threw a crumpled can with soda still in it at him.

But she explained: ‘I didn’t mean to throw it at him. I was trying to hit the trash can that was next to him.’

After putting out her e-cigarette, she allegedly went to the lavatory to continue to vape. Before things got worse though, she apparently “passed out for the duration of the journey.”

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Realtor, Realtor Training | 0 comments

Sandicor Sanctions

This was included in the NSDCAR weekly update today:

MLS Rule Sanctions are on the Rise – Avoid Being Sanctioned by Sandicor
Below are just a few of the most common rules that MLS subscribers are sited with.
  • People and For Sale signs are not allowed to be shown in pictures
  • Photos should be from the subject property.
  • Cancelled or withdrawn listings must wait 30 days before entering as new.
  • Avoid disclaimers in the remarks section, such as “buyer to verify all information” or sold as is

But how many times have we heard that realtors adhere to a strict code of ethics?  Not just a code of ethics, but a STRICT code of ethics?

Why would you need to warn agents about breaking the rules?

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training | 0 comments

Realtor Population

The recent N.A.R-commissioned DangerReport surveyed thousands throughout the industry, and found that the #1 threat to agents was…….fellow agents.

In particular, the inexperienced and incompetent agents that threaten the credibility of others, and the industry as a whole.  Several other obvious threats were mentioned, but none polled higher. A recent Inman survey found the same result too.

Yet, the agent population in California has been rising.

agent growth

What can be done?

The big brokerages feast off the new and inexperienced by giving them the worst commission splits.  It’s a fine line about training up the agents too, because once they get their chops up, they are prone to leave.

An answer?

Have include the sales counts of each agent on their website.

They are the portal that has direct access to all the MLS systems, and are looking for an edge to exploit in their race with the Zillow Group.

The agent sales on Zillow are manually inputted by each agent, who also has to promise that they are truthful.  If culled the sales themselves, they could tout that they were untouched by agents’ hands.

There would be the same complaints as last time, but if held their ground knowing that the stats were accurate, the rest of the industry would have no other choice but to embrace the results.

It would help to expedite the evolution of realtors, which we can see below isn’t happening too fast on its own:

agents dropping out

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop, The Future | 0 comments

Realtor Transparency


I am a fan of transparency.

The two best attempts of creating an agent-ranking website got shot down by realtors themselves.  But outside entrepreneurs keep plugging away, and one of them could find the right mix and hit the jackpot some day.

One website called has agent data. To see what they presented, I looked up my own name.  They don’t go into details of where they found this data, or how to interpret this data.  No time periods are given either:

Jim the Realtor stats

Realtors complained about accuracy, but this is what we get instead – outsiders who are running an agent-referral business and using our names and numbers for eyeball bait.  They hope you’ll inquire about an agent, submit your contact info, and then they will send you two other agents who are paying them a referral fee of 25% to 30%.

I don’t know where this company gets their data.  I’ve sold around 32 homes within the city limits of San Diego, but did they get that straight from the MLS? A title company?

The average days-on-market should only be for listings sold – unless a longer average means the agent’s buyers are waiting out the sellers more effectively. On the MLS, my average days-on-market with sellers is 29 days, and buyer sales average 50 days so I don’t know where they got the 64.

Who knows about the 177.  I have more than that on my Zillow count but they may have taken their number from a few years ago?  BTW, Zillow finally corrected their sales counts.  Each agent has their sales tally on their Zillow page, but Zillow’s 12-month timer must have broke because recently they had displayed my count for the last 17-18 months.  I doubt any agents complained!  It is back to the 12-month count now.

Two broker-generated listing portals are being developed currently, and they should include agent statistics right off their MLS.  They will have the accurate data at their fingertips, so let’s create a depository of identical stats on each agent so the public can educate themselves.

Would it favor the old veterans who have more stats?

It might impress the analytical people who crave data, but consumers should be willing to consider the whole package. If photos and video were included in each agent page, any realtor could create a compelling case on why people should use them.

If agents don’t develop our own website, others like Zillow will keep doing it for us.  Or we’ll leave it the way it is now, with agents being able to say whatever they want about themselves because there’s no public way to verify.

Recently an agent mailed out a fancy brochure about being a rural-property specialist.  But a simple MLS search of her sales revealed that she had never sold a rural property. She said she had 15 years experience, but she got her license four years ago.  I guess she could have been an assistant, or sold in another state, but if you haven’t sold one here yourself in the last four years, then you aren’t a specialist.  Yet many agents get away with it because there’s no transparency.

Let’s provide a simple and identical set of data on every agent, and give explanations on how to interpret them.

These are my 16 listings sold over the last 12 months:

JtR stats

Possible interpretations by consumers:

1.  He only sold 16 listings in the last 12 months?

The blog drove a lot of buyers my way during the downturn, and I’ve been scrambling to generate organic listings since the REO listings dried up.

2. He sells them too fast.

Sellers who think it should take months to sell a house will think I’m giving them away.  But it is more a reflection of pricing accuracy and a hot market.

3. He doesn’t work my price range.

4. He doesn’t work my area.

5. He doesn’t sell my size of house.

6. He’s too busy. (I’ve sold twice this many)

7. He’s not busy enough.

8. He only works with sellers (I closed 17 buyer sales).

If each agent inputted their own explanations, they could add texture to their stats, and make their case why they should be hired.  Include a video presentation too (Zillow does).

Consumers would be making educated decisions, and we as agents should not only applaud that, we should insist on it.  Agents would have to get better at selling themselves, and those that do would get the business, regardless of experience or sales history.

I am uncomfortable displaying my stats – people are prone to poke holes and find faults.  It’s why realtors don’t want data released!  But we should all get used to our sales histories being public, because one way or another it is happening – with or without us. Let’s make the best of it!

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Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Jim's Buyer Representation, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Market Buzz, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop, The Future, Why You Should List With Jim | 5 comments

1031 Exchange

Image result for 1031 exchange

I appreciate the analytical, business-like aspect of the 1031 exchange, and try to do a couple every year just to keep my chops up.  I’d love to do more exchanges because sellers of investment properties have to re-invest to avoid capital-gain taxes.  But it’s rare that you can find new properties locally that are a good enough buy to make it worth the trade.

But for those who can – here is a good article on the basics of the 1031 tax-deferred exchange, plus three extra points worth noting:

LINK to 1031 exchange article

The excerpt:

While you will always want professional guidance when doing this kind of swap, there are three things to have in mind from the start:

  • Be aware of “passive liability.” In other words, if you have a $1 million mortgage, do a swap and acquire a property with a mortgage of $900,000, you have “gained” $100,000 in the eyes of the taxman. If you are buying and selling large investment properties, these gains can add up quickly.
  • To “exchange” a vacation or second home, that home must be an investment property. If you are planning to swap a vacation home, you need to make the case that it is an active investment. Usually that means being able to show paying tenants for at least a year. To ensure that you do not swap an investment property for a primary residence, a 2008 IRS ruling created a “safe harbor” for dwellings in a 1031 exchange. To meet the safe harbor rule, in each of two years immediately following the exchange, the home must be rented to another person for 14 days or more, and you may not use the home for more than 14 days (or 10 percent of the total number of days the home is rented in a 12-month period).
  • An exchanged vacation home cannot become a primary residence for purposes of taking advantage of the principle residence exclusion. Property acquired in a 1031 exchange is subject to a five-year-period of exclusion from the principal residence capital gains tax benefit.

Link to full article

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, Realtor Training | 0 comments

Home Inspections 2

Some buyers get moving too fast and blow out, and others make offers willy-nilly and cancel for little or no reason.  Those happen – but the deals that cancel because of repairs can almost always be saved in the moment if the buyer’s agent says the right things, the right way, at the right time:

Besides, we live in a desert!

Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor Training, Repairs/Improvements, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments