Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Grrrrrrrreat!

Garry_Moore_Tony_the_Tiger_1955

Beautiful, Wonderful and Great: Also known as the three weariest adjectives in Realtorland.

Of these, “great” is the most worn out because it fits so conveniently in so many places. When in doubt, throw the word “great” into your copy.

Note, for example, the Brief Property Report I printed from Multiple Listing Service (MLS) yesterday. My intent was to refer to it during a meeting with buyers. But it works nicely as a random sampling of Realtors’ MLS comments for my investigation of the over-exploitation of the word “great.”

Here’s what it revealed:

  • Property #1 is listed at a “great price”
  • Property #2 is a “great property for the first- time homebuyer”
  • Property #3 is a “great value”
  • Property #4 skips the word ‘great’ (as well as ‘beautiful’ and ‘wonderful’), so extra points for the agent for Property #4
  • Property #5 uses great twice, as in “great light” and “great room,” the latter describing the type of room not the quality of the room
  • Property #6 has no comments at all (aside to agent for Property #6: Come on, you can do better than that!)
  • Property #7 points to the “great weather” in the neighborhood

Okay, so you’re asking, “What’s the big deal? Who cares whether an agent uses the word ‘great’ one time, fourteen times or not at all?”

And I’m answering. Or I’m starting to answer and then shutting my mouth. I’m thinking. What IS the big deal? Who DOES care? Why AM I railing about the verbiage in MLS comments?

It has only to do with my interest in words and writing. It has nothing to do with real estate or selling real estate. I can use the word “great” as much as I want, but in the end no buyers are going to take my word for it. They’re going to see the property themselves and decide if it rates a “great.”

Meanwhile, it’s another great day in San Francisco. What a great place to live. What a great place to work. What a great place to sell real estate.

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com. This post originally appeared at McGuire.com a few years ago.

Throwback Thursday: The Realtor/Stripper Connection

Sally Rand, striptease artist

This post from August 2012 when the market was really starting to heat up.

I was the most popular gal in San Francisco on a recent Sunday afternoon. (Not counting the hard-working women employed at the Gold Club, of course.)

That’s because I had a hot new listing that everybody wanted. It was in fantastic shape, freshly remodeled and beautifully staged. It smelled divine. It was totally available and it was really cheap (relatively speaking).

As a result, everybody who came to the open house loved the place and, in an attempt to butter me up, loved me too.

If you’re ever feeling down about yourself, just get a California Real Estate License, procure a well-priced listing in our fair city, hold an open house and stand in the foyer handing out flyers. You can be as repellant as Donald Trump and people will still find something to compliment you about. They will dig deep to sweet-talk you.

“That smiley-face tie is so arty!”

“Your purple cell phone is the nicest one I’ve ever seen!”

“These chocolate chip cookies are fantastically tasty! Did you buy them at Safeway yourself?”

Generally speaking, agents are even more shameless than the general public. They flatter you about how skinny you’ve gotten; how you’re so darn tiny all of a sudden?! (Always amusing, since on the morning of my open house, I’d torn my bathroom apart in search of a safety pin to let my pants out an inch or two.)

Anyway, I counted 100-plus visitors to that open house; pretty heady stuff. It’s like having the ultimate my-parents-are-out-of-town party of your dreams—everybody wants in! People can’t move from the front to the back because the hallway is so crowded. Yet, unlike the guests at an impromptu high school bacchanal, your open house visitors are polite and respectful. Nobody is raiding the liquor cabinet or throwing up in the hydrangeas.

With an attractive San Francisco listing to show, a REALTOR®—at least for two hours every weekend—can be the most popular person in an entire neighborhood. No wonder we agents plaster our photos all over the place.

Think about it. In what other profession do practitioners affix their photos to every communication or marketing vehicle? Not doctors, lawyers or Indian chiefs. Not tinkers, tailors or internet wunderkinds.

You guessed it: Strippers. It’s what strippers do! Maybe that’s why so many successful REALTORS® have what sound like successful stripper names.

Remember the trick about how to discover your stripper name? You combine the name of your first pet with the name of the street you lived on as a kid. Using this technique, my alter ego’s handle is Blue Laurel.

Just for fun, I tried creating stripper names using a new method. I mixed up the first and last names of Bay Area real estate agents (to be fair, I threw both my real names into the pot). Here are some of the results: Missy Cummins, Francesca Holmes, Eva Wood, Adam Upjohn, Mona Cherry, Candace Merryman, Max Shine, Luba Hand, Cynthia Ho.

I bet you can come up with some better ones yourself; just go to any real estate website and start mixing.

Blue Laurel. Not bad for the stage. But not great either. I think I’ll stick with my day job.

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com.

 

Throwback Thursday: 7 Ways Buyers Sabotage Themselves

Aesop's Fable 133: The Dog and Its Reflection
Aesop’s Fable 133: The Dog and Its Reflection

This post from February 2012. (Perhaps you, too, are tired of silly lists like “10 Ways to Do Such n’ Such” or “5 Top Reasons for This n’ That” but I’m told numeric list-making is supposed to catch readers’ attentions. Well….did it? Catch yours? Let me know.)

This week I heard of several first-time buyers’ plans to shoot themselves in the proverbial feet, so I thought I’d offer just a smidgen of advice. Here are seven things that make it hard for a so-called buyer to actually buy.

1.) “All my agent cares about is making a sale.” It’s possible that you are indeed working with an agent who only wants to make a sale (see #3 and #4). However, the smart agent knows that ensuring a client’s happiness is the key to continued success. A satisfied buyer brings return and referral business to the agent who cares.

2.) “I’m going to work with a family friend.” There’s a teeny chance the family friend is qualified to represent you, but more likely he/she is either: a.) Part-time b.) Semi-retired c.) Completely unfamiliar with SF inventory, contracts, customs, or pricing d.) Responding to the wishes of the buyer’s family, not the buyer themselves. Saving money is usually the true (unstated) motivation for this choice, but the kickback of commission seldom compensates for poor service and bad advice.

3.) “I don’t need an agent, I’ll just look on my own and have the listing agent help me.” Typically, the seller has already contractually agreed to pay buyer’s agent’s commission. Why wouldn’t you avail yourself of free expertise from a professional whose sole purpose is to please you? (Also see #2 and #4)

4.) “I’ll have the listing agent write my offer.” You think the person who has a fiduciary obligation to get the very best result for the seller is going to serve the buyer best as well? Buyer can buy anything currently listed for sale in his/her price range. The listing agent has a vested interest in selling this one property. Ever read Aesop’s fables? I’m sure there’s one that applies to this scenario.

5.) “I’m in no hurry, I don’t have to buy now.” Then why are you searching the internet, going to open houses, getting preapproved for financing, asking for disclosure packages, contemplating writing an offer, writing an offer, writing a counter offer? We know you don’t have to buy now. We can’t and won’t wrestle you to the ground and force you to pay cash for a place you don’t want at a price you can’t abide. Why, then, are you going on about how you don’t have to buy now? Do you think that inspires us to pull out all the proverbial stops? What’s really on your mind?

6.) “I’m going to work with a high-profile agent, not a rookie.” It’s true that most high-profile agents are hardworking and devoted to their clients. That’s how they achieved their current status and success. However, despite their best intentions, Top Producers may not have a whole lot of time to offer first-time buyers. A hungry, relatively new agent may be a better bet.

7.) “My agent wants me to pay more so they’ll earn a higher commission.” First, revisit #1 above. Second, consider that the individual agent’s take-home commission is going to be somewhere in the vicinity of 2% of the purchase price. On a $1,000 price increase that’s $20 (before taxes) more for the agent. Yet, that same $1,000 could determine whether or not the seller accepts your offer. You do the math.

To conclude, if you’re a real buyer and you’re not a liar (as the crude saying goes), start acting like a real buyer. Find your agent, get your financial ducks in a row, and buy something.

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com.

Throwback Thursday: Grrrrrrreat!


This post from April 2012.

Beautiful, wonderful, great—also known as the three weariest adjectives in Realtorland…

Of these, “great” is the most worn out because it fits so conveniently in so many places. When in doubt, throw the word “great” into your copy.

Note, for example, the Brief Property Report I printed from Multiple Listing Service (MLS) yesterday. My intent was to refer to it during a meeting with buyers. But it works nicely as a random sampling of Realtors’ MLS comments for my investigation of the over-exploitation of the word “great.”

Here’s what it revealed:

  • Property #1 is listed at a “great price”
  • Property #2 is a “great property for the first-time homebuyer”
  • Property #3 is a “great value”
  • Property #4 skips the word ‘great’ (as well as ‘beautiful’ and ‘wonderful’), so extra points for the agent for Property #4
  • Property #5 uses great twice, as in “great light” and “great room,” the latter describing the type of room not the quality of the room
  • Property #6 has no comments at all (aside to agent for Property #6: Come on, you can do better than that!)
  • Property #7 points to the “great weather” in the neighborhood

Okay, so you’re asking, “What’s the big deal? Who cares whether an agent uses the word ‘great’ one time, fourteen times or not at all?”

And I’m answering. Or I’m starting to answer and then shutting my mouth. I’m thinking. What IS the big deal? Who DOES care? Why AM I railing about the verbiage in MLS comments?

It has only to do with my interest in words and writing. It has nothing to do with real estate or selling real estate. I can use the word “great” as much as I want, but in the end no buyers are going to take my word for it. They’re going to see the property themselves and decide if it rates a “great.”

Meanwhile, it’s another great day in San Francisco. What a great place to live. What a great place to work. What a great place to sell real estate.

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com.