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Category Archive: ‘Realtor Training’

Realtor vs. Robot


Who do you think will implement robots first – NAR or Zillow?

What will be more helpful to a home buyer when trying to select a house? A seasoned real estate broker or a computerized residential real estate robotic algorithm?

According to a recent test in Denver, the robot beat the humans in providing more homes preferred by the buyer.

The test was conducted by QValue, a Denver automated valuation model for the real estate industry created by Creed Smith and publicized in Inman News.

During the test last month, the recommendations of three Denver real estate professional brokers were compared with the homes recommended by the computerized algorithm. The recommendations were then ranked by the “buyer,” (who in this case was played by John Rebchook, formerly the real estate editor of the Rocky Mountain News who now runs the site).

The robot beat the humans in the test, according to Smith.

“The algorithm’s recommendations consistently placed two homes within the top three buyer choices each day, and placed as the buyer’s number one favorite home every time all three days. This tells me the algorithm can indeed suggest homes based on emotionally triggering qualities buyers desire (qualitative criteria),” Smith said in a statement.

The test didn’t factor in other myriad other responsibilities offered by real estate brokers, such as drawing up real estate contracts and other duties.

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training | 1 comment

Agent Population is Growing

more agents

Are you thinking of becoming a realtor? California has added 20,000+ new agents in each of the last two years. Here are the stats, and some tips:

An excerpt:

Glass said he became an agent because he wanted to work for himself.

“I had been doing valet for eight years, getting beat up, running to get cars,” said Glass. “I wanted to do something more with my life than get people’s cars.”

Tom Render, 74, a retired business owner, is another recent recruit.

“When you get to be my age, you have to be careful not to sit too long in front of the TV,” said Render, one year into his latest career. “I just needed a challenge.”

Young and old, Californians long have been attracted to home selling, a business with few barriers and the promise of lucrative returns.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training | 3 comments

Selling Real Estate – Then & Now

2016-04-22 06.00.25

I stopped by to see Doug Harwood’s new listing on Neptune on Wednesday.  Doug had his Fuji Instax camera, which is like the old Polaroid cameras that produce the photo right there so you can hand it off.

It made us ponder how the real estate selling game has changed over the years.

Much of the selling process is the same, and realtors like it like that.

Things that haven’t changed much:

  1. Open houses.
  2. The back-and-forth negotiations.
  3.  Listing agents trying to hustle up their own buyers for their new listings.

The Differences:

  1. We both sang the praises of Docusign, the electronic-signature process.  This used to be a real night job, where I’d be spending hours at people’s homes writing up listings and offers in person.  But now virtually all signing is done electronically.
  2. No more fax machines. In the beginning, we wrote and signed contracts in person, and then hand-delivered them to the other agent – and sometimes got to present them to their clients. too.  Then the fax machine came out – and much like Docusign – everyone wondered if it was a legitimate contract if it was ‘faxed’.
  3.  It used to take a few days to get photos ‘developed’, and then distributed for flyers and MLS use. Now the digital photos are instantly sent.
  4.  We used to have trouble with photo quality. Now with Photoshop, they are overly-enhanced!
  5.  Newspaper advertising used to be a big deal – and agents used to complain about their company’s ads not being big enough.
  6.  I used to carry a briefcase of real estate forms in my trunk – and when I ran out, I was out of business. I’ve written two contracts in person in the last eight years.
  7.  Remember the Montblanc pens?  I don’t even carry pens any more.
  8.  Up until recently, we collected a personal check from buyers for their good-faith deposit, and had to keep a hand-written record of trust funds. Now we don’t touch money.
  9.  On closing day, the escrow companies hand-delivered the commission checks to the brokerages (some still do). Then I would feel a sense of accomplishment by walking my check into the bank.  But now all money is wired – I haven’t been inside a bank in years.
  10.  We used to have a problem with storing all the files and documentation.  Now the old filing cabinets are just used to collect magnets. 2016-04-22 06.59.53
  11.  The camaraderie between agents played an important role in getting deals done.  But now there are so many agents and companies spread out that we are forced to create instant relationships.
  12.  There is complete dependence on the mobile devices – email and text are more common than actually calling the other agent.  In fact, we have closed sales without ever actually speaking to the other agent.

It’s not as personal as it used to be, but much more efficient!

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Doug Harwood, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop | 3 comments

MLS Jeopardy

Agents have been receiving dire warnings about our MLS, with taglines that make it sound like the end is near, and no real solutions in sight:

There are people at SDAR who are playing a perverse game of chicken with our livelihoods.  The worst part is that they are choosing to battle it out in court, which will take months or years.

What will happen in the meantime?

Agents will stop using the MLS.

The existing MLS is already a dinosaur, and now that it’s running like an old Ford full of sludge, its usefulness will be compromised.

We are probably seeing the results already – today in the MLS, there are only 37 NSDCC active listings under $800,000?  With the slower MLS, won’t listing agents be even more tempted to skip the input and just stick a sign in the yard?

The lower-end market is so hot, does it even need the MLS?  The pocket-listing shenanigans will have a new rallying cry – “we found a buyer faster than we could input the listing!”

It appears that SDAR wants to create their own MLS, and that’s fine – they are creating a perfect disruption, and the opportunity for anyone to build a new mouse-trap.  But the existing system is going to grind to a halt, mostly because there is no leadership in finding a prompt solution.

The only short-term alternative?

Brokers can join the CRMLS – it is a much better platform, they have a quality public-facing website, and it’s run by adults.  Sandicor and the CRMLS have a data-share agreement, but that is only for us to read their data, not to input listings.  Brokers and agents will have to spend the usual few hundred dollars per year to join the Orange County or Temecula associations.

The merger negotiations between CRMLS and Sandicor won’t go too far with SDAR objecting to everything these days, so the only choice is for brokers and agents to break away on their own.  Will they do that?  Probably not until it is too late.

Do you think it is tough today putting a value on a property with the limited comps we have today?  How about with no comps!!

The big problem with jumping to CRMLS is that we won’t have the data history, which means no comps until all agents are at CRMLS and building a new database.  In the meantime, we will have to use Zillow and other outsiders for data…..gggrreat….

What else can we do?  There is no call to action or any solution mentioned by the powers that be.  Agents – prepare to fend for yourself!

More background here:

Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training | 0 comments

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