Friday, July 18, 2008

e-PRO for REALTORS--Hip or Hype?

I just came back from a 90 minute presentation that was suppose to be all about e-PRO, a certification endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS. I actually went to an e-PRO course when it first came about about 5 or 6 years ago at our National Convention.

First understand that I am all about technology and want to absorb everything web 2.0 that is out there. When I first went to the presentation 5 years ago, I was not impressed. They could not explain what it was or what you would really learn for that matter. What I was told was, it will give you more certifications behind your name and that will impress people with your knowledge. I could not believe my ears.

Today however, I was going to give it another chance. I am an education junkie who can't get enough about this real estate business. But what I got was about 10 minutes explanation of e-PRO which still did not explain anything other than it does not to appear to have been updated in the last 5 Years and once you are certified you are certified for life! Please! That means those who have an email account are on top of technology? If this is the image we are giving to our customers, I think I will pass. For almost $400, I would expect the latest information out there, not how to do social networking....oops! Social networking is not covered in e-PRO; but may be one day in e-PRO 2 according to today's presenter.

One very telling thing about this program is that for a intense online course, no one can seem to explain how it will benefit me and make me more productive as a REALTOR. I would think that for such an "intense" course, one could easily talk about the benefits for 90 minutes or longer. Instead, I heard about things that are not even offered in the course (which was good information, just not relevant).

I would love to tell you that e-PRO would be great for beginner's and expert users alike as was stated, but since I am still unsure of what the darn thing is I think I will use the $400 to buy more great books on CS3, fill my SUV full of gas, and continue learning about web 2.0 & 3.0 via the old fashioned way....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It is changing again?






More Ice.

Just downright cold.

75 degrees.

How can one city experience all of these climate changes in one month?   With all the weather changes people wonder why I get cranky?  Ok, the fact is I just love the later on the list.   The rest, well, not so much.   But when you live in Missouri (which really is great state) it constantly changes.   Thus, we Missourians probably have the biggest mood swings of anyone. Just look who we have endorsed as our Presidential candidate(s) on both sides of the tickets.   When we did our primary it was cold so our votes were cold; today if the vote was taken our chosen candidates would be different.  Why, because it was sunny and we were happier today.  Besides, we constantly change our minds, I believe, because of how the weather affects us.   

So while I ramble with these strange and odd thoughts, just hope it doesn't snow tomorrow or there is no telling what I will write.  

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Are you Entitled?

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people that I come in contact with that really and truly believe that they are "entitled" to something. You know the person, because they are alive and breathing they deserve to have this or that. I recently had a tenant that had just moved out of the home she was renting from us and wanted her security deposit back. I am one of those landlords that absolutley want to give every dime back to a tenant because that would mean they left the home in a clean undamaged condition and thus, I would not have to do anything to it.

But in this case, the woman had damaged the vinyl floor in the kitchen. She had dragged something across it and created a cut in the floor about 10" long. It was right in the middle of the kitchen floor and the vinyl was new when she moved in. I hated to do it but I had to charge he for the cost to repair the floor. Now that sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

She looked and me and said, "You have more than I do so you should not charge me for this!"
This is wrong on so many levels. What happened to responsibility? She was not denying that she caused the damage or that she caused the rip in the floor. But because her perception was that I had more, therefore she was "entitled" not to pay.

Life seems to be this way more now than ever before. Everyone wants to do what they want to do without having to pay for it. And to sum it all up, a tenant yesterday stated to me "I know the pet fee was non-refundable, but my pets didn't do anything and therefore I want it back."

Paul Dizmang

Monday, January 14, 2008

Treaspassers Will Be Violated

As I approached the front door I knew something was not quite right. I could just sense it. I knocked. Not a sound could be heard. I made the decision to enter the home since the tenant had not paid rent and it would appear that he had moved. No big deal I have done this many times before. It was then I noticed the hand written sign beside the door, "Trespassers will be Violated." I laughed. Did he mean to say it that way?

I put the key in the deadbolt lock, gently turned the key and began to open the door. BOOM! The entire steel door fell backwards flat on the floor. Now ordinarily, these kinds of things don't bother me much. But I was so caught off guard by this that I screamed like a little girl. Then I laughed. Laughed a lot. Ok, it's just a door. But as always, I was in a hurry and now I have to deal with this broken door not to mention the mess inside. The tenant busted out the entire door jam and left. Looks like another $300 because someone just didn't care.

Although I can never explain why some people live the way they do, like in this case, but I suppose it does give guys like me employment. Another day, another mess to clean up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tenants Getting Screwed

Hard to believe that I, as a landlord, think that tenants are getting screwed. Usually a landlord gets a bad rap as the "slumlord" for not taking care of a property when in fact the tenants have destroyed the home. Like the lady who was complaining of mold in her home when in fact she never reported the toilet leaking and also never and I mean never, cleaned the bathroom in over a year. What does one expect?

But this time, in this one event, tenants are getting the shaft. Investors that thought real estate was the best get quick scheme out there, many flocked to the market buying homes and then renting the properties to make huge profits. Then the unthinkable has happened. The market went down.

So many so called "investors" got stuck with poor investments from their own bad choices and thus here comes the bad guys taking the homes back; those nasty lenders. Since the would-be-investors couldn't make the payments, the tenants get screwed finding out they have to move out with virtually no notice. Shame on them.

It is one thing when notice is given to a tenant to move, but when a foreclosure happens the tenants could be out on the street even though they had paid their payments on time. In this ever changing environment, it is becoming possible for tenants wanting information about the landlord/owner and their financial position. It has always been assumed that the landlord owned the home and as long as the tenants took care of the property and paid the rent on time all was fine. But with this new breed of investors out there, tenants need to be cautious who they rent from or they possibly could be out on the street with no fault of their own.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Grease is Normal Wear and Tear

As a landlord, I am constantly hearing tenants tell me what is "normal wear and tear". It is so funny what people come up with when they are desperate. Here are a few recent tenant statements when they had just moved out about their final walkthru:

1. "Burn holes in the carpet since it is ok to smoke in the home."

2. "I had to move the fridge and just because there is a 2 foot tear in the vinyl, you should not charge me because it is normal wear and tear."

3. "Those grease hand prints on the wall are totally normal wear and tear."

4. "Doesn't everybody park in the front yard?" (killed the grass and major ruts)

5. "You were going to clean the carpets anyway, right?"

6. "That hole in the wall was an accident. You can't charge me for accidents."

7. "The wind just blew the storm door right off the home."

8. "Those were not my fleas. They must have come in right after I left"

9. "It was that way (damaged items, many) when we moved in" (it was a brand new home)

10. And my favorite, "If you won't charge me now, I will come back and clean it next week"

There are thousands more, and each time it keeps getting better. I don't understand why people won't take responsibility for their own actions. That's why we document everything.

I have no doubt there will be more to come!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Change is hard.

Everyday things change. The weather, the tire pressure in my truck that for some reason keeps going down, my grass which is finally starting to come back, and of course our business. It is amazing to me how the real estate business has changed in the last several years; months for that matter.

I was teaching a class this morning to real estate agents about how to use our MLS computer system. Questions were being asked just like normal, until one woman wanted to know more about how to "sell" real estate. It was interesting because of the fact that when you get right down to it, we sell homes just the way we always have thru personal relationships. With all of the internet technology and Web 2.0 which gives us ways to make ourselves more exposed, it is still a relationship business. I love the internet and the new emerging technology that is out there which constantly changes. It is difficult if not impossible to keep up with it all, but it sure is fun trying.

But when it comes to the actual selling of real estate do we need all of this technology? Absolutely. We need it because our clients demand it and quite frankly, they deserve it. The old way of just putting a sign up in a yard, running a newspaper ad (which never really worked anyway), and putting it in the multi-list system is just not enough.

Many agents out there struggle because they don't embrace the "changed" way of doing business. A super duper great friend of mine said, "it is all in video," and she is right. Video is the way to go because it makes it personal for buyers to see what they are buying and see everything they are buying, not just a few still photos taken at strategic angles.

Change. A hard thing for all of us, well, maybe not so hard. Or at least it doesn't have to be. We as agents just need to embrace change and look at it as a great opportunity rather than a curve ball.