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Where's Waldo? - 01/31/12 04:44 PM
Photo-journalists were kept at a distance as this ultra secretive photo shoot began.
Why all the secrecy? Well, in a middle-eastern country, like Israel, with it's ultra-orthodox and highly religious factions, taking photos of 1,000 naked Israeli's might turn into a bit of a, shall we say, hub-bub. Spencer Turnick, at artist who's posed naked human volunteers all over world landscapes, including Australia, Austria, the U.S. Brazil, France, Holland, England, Spain, and Switzerland has been trying to bring attention to different causes since 1992. His largest work, thus far, was in Mexico City in 2007, posing 18,000 naked volunteers. (Gee, (29 comments)
If they could only use those computer superpowers for "good". - 01/29/12 04:16 PM
My first clue was a text message from my daughter, this morning saying: "Hi pops, it seems like you got a virus on your AOL email"... I asked if she'd been spammed, and sure enough she had... but from my account. So I logged onto my account from my phone and there were "hundreds" of bounced-back e-mails... now, hundreds of e-mails that didn't make it... how many DID? Geeze, I hope none of ya'll opened those e-mails to the Canadian Pharmacy where you can buy Viagra in bulk. So, I waited 'till I got to the office, so I could delete (30 comments)
A private word with the first lady. - 01/28/12 02:40 PM
I heard a story today, that even if it turns out to be urban legend, was just so clever and cute, I had to share it. On one of their recent visits to Chicago, President Obama and his family visited one of the restaurants that they used to frequent when they still lived on the south side of Chicago. It was a casual restaurant... nothing too fancy, and the secret service escorted them in... cleared a perimeter around them, and guarded them while they dined. The manager of the restaurant approached the secret service and asked if he could have a (40 comments)
We're "all-in" at $425,000 - 01/28/12 01:28 PM
"We're 'all-in' at $425,000... we can't take any less than that for our house" was the comment that the sellers made (through their agent) to my client's market-value offer of $350,000. My clients have (with my help) thoroughly researched the market. And while we like your house, we recognize that your listing price of $450,000 is highly overpriced. We knew it was overpriced when we viewed it, but didn't realize just how overpriced it was until we decided that we wanted to write an offer, and did our CMA. So while we're empathetic to your situation... our offer of $350,000 is (23 comments)
It's an acquired taste, I needn't acquire. - 01/27/12 12:14 PM
My father was an avid cigar smoker. He really enjoyed a good cigar. For his birthday, one year, I decided to send him a box of his favourite cigars... Arturo Fuentes. You don't realize quite how pricey a cigar is, until you've bought a box of twenty-four of them. But my father was worth it, so I got a co-signer and paid for the box, and shipped them to sunny Florida. I enjoyed an occasional cigar as well, but could never bring myself to pay the kind of money it cost for these expensive stogies, only to take them home and (34 comments)
Is that an unauthorized skylight, or are you just happy to rent me? - 01/26/12 01:38 PM
We aren't always lucky enough to obtain the most glorious listings. Some of them are lovely, and others are shacks. I was glancing through some new listings that have come onto our MLS, this one is a rental, and, well, I'll let you decide. This is the image of the front of the building. It's the left half of the duplex shown. It's currently available to rent for $1,550 per month and they're targeting Section 8 tenants, as they've published "Section 8 Welcome!". From the outside, it's a lovely image. Forget, for the moment, that it's a shot of the property (32 comments)
'Scuse me, while I kiss the sky.... er, I mean while I take this call. - 01/24/12 11:39 AM
There's been a lively discussion going on at Jon Eliason's recent featured-post entitled "I answered my phone", where he takes great pride in pointing out that while sitting with two customers (note customers, not clients) and going through some properties on the computer, a couple of phone calls came in, and he excused himself, took those brief phone calls and returned to the customer. The wife commented that she liked the fact that he picked up his phone, because too many agents allow the call to go to voicemail, and she doesn't know if/when they'll hear the message and/or return her (90 comments)
Gung Hai Fat Choy! - 01/23/12 10:28 AM
This morning we were greeted by a few of our own (Left to right: Mike Stern, Steve Molitor, Steven Sims and Greg Schneider) making omelettes made to order for a good start to Chinese new years. Gung Hai Fat Choy This is the year of the dragon. People who are born in the year of the dragon share certain characteristics according to Chinese tradition. They are considered innovative, and enterprising. Somewhat flexible yet, self-assured and brave. Passionate, and a bit conceited and tactless. Scrutinizing and a little quick-tempered. In addition to being the year of the dragon, this particular year (2012) (24 comments)
My First Home - 01/22/12 02:09 PM
I just watched a program called "My First Home" on HGTV, where this adorable young couple decides they want to purchase a home without a Realtor. They've found a house they want that's for sale FSBO, and the owner won't compensate a Realtor, so they feel the need to work without a Realtor. Besides, they say, how hard can it be? They do some research on comps, get a contract from the local stationery store.... and off they go. They make the offer, and can't manage to negotiate to an acceptable price, so they move on. They move on to the (39 comments)
I'm on track to do $17,330,333 in business this year! - 01/21/12 08:40 PM
I'm on track to sell $17,330,333.00 worth of property this year. Which should bring in a pretty penny in commissions. I should oughta be able to buy a new car this year, dontcha think? That's right, for those of you who are decimal-point-impaired, I said Seventeen million, three hundred and thirty thousand dollars in business during 2012. Now, you might wonder how I come at that. Well, it's simply extrapolation. I have sold, thus far, in 2012, almost exactly $1,000,000 worth of property thus far. And it's only the third week of the year. That's $333,333.33 dollars in sales per week, (34 comments)
Accidental Blog Post my aunt Fanny! - 01/21/12 11:20 AM
Liz & Bill Spear, that 1/2 and 1/2 of a whole feature-blogging machine has suggested in their recently "featured" (d'uh) blog post that many of our post are accidental... nay, incidental... neigh, brought about by contact with a wayward horsie. How exactly do they mean? It makes it sound as though I was driving southbound on Doheny, and this guy in a souped up Gremlin darted out of Pico coming west, and broadsided me. And as the windshield went through my brain (or t'other way around), suddenly I had this great idea for a blog post. I didn't see my life (57 comments)
Should Alan get paid? - 01/20/12 04:07 PM
AN ARBITRATION SCENARIO (based on the Code of Ethics) Listing Broker, I.M. Abigshot listed his new short sale in the local MLS offering 3% co-op commission. The MLS does not mandate disclosure of short sales. In the MLS, however, there is a check-box that says "short-sale... yes or no" which the listing agent did not check either yes or no. Buyer's agent Alan May brought a contract that was successfully negotiated with the seller, and I.M. forwarded the contract to the bank for approval. During the approval process, the bank informed I.M. that the compensation was going to be reduced from (43 comments)
Ripples in the rain - 01/19/12 01:21 PM
As a member of the grievance committee for our local board, we hear some very interesting complaints. Some are for arbitration of financial issues (often concerns about procuring cause).... and others are ethics issues, (someone poached my client, talked directly to my seller, said nasty things about me, didn't give notice of agency... all sorts of fun). Most ethics complaints are filed by an agent, against another agent, but every now and then we see a complaint from a member of the public about a Realtor that they feel has done them wrong in some way. Today we reviewed a complaint (37 comments)
How to sell real estate at 80-90 miles per gallon. - 01/18/12 03:18 PM
Times are tough, and Realtors across the nation are looking for ways to economize and drive more business into their coffers. Many are endorsing lead generation... (I wonder where you can find MarketLeader?).. as a method to get more business... others are holding more Public Open Houses in the hopes of attracting more buyers... some are embracing more print ads, websites and other advertising resources. I've decided to go a different direction.... What's my biggest expense? Well, that would probably be gasoline, this year... so think it's time to economize the automobile... the gas guzzler... the rolling canoe... the portable air (31 comments)
It's raining, it's snowing... the inspector is going... - 01/17/12 02:45 PM
It's an ugly, rainy, snowy day here in greater Chicagoland. It's cold, damp... even with the Snain (my own word... snow and rain), there are still a few inches of snow stubbornly adhering to the ground. And I've got an inspection scheduled for later in the day. Snain, Snain, go away. I'm not looking forward to walking the outside of the house, through the rain, the snow and the slush... but what a great day to make sure that the roof, and basement aren't leaking. - 3 (16 comments)
Be afraid. Be very afraid... my next offer could be on one of your properties! - 01/15/12 07:50 PM
Back in 2002 I had a client who wanted to buy this nice remodeled ranch. It was a gut-rehab, and had been bought by a guy whose plan was to "flip" the house. We wrote a low offer, and were very firm on our offer, and the seller reluctantly accepted our offer... it was a contentious negotiation, and the listing agent really earned her commission. We did our inspection and there were lots and lots of issues. In fact there were so many issues that our inspector, who arrived about 15 minutes before my clients and I, had already filled an (116 comments)
Oh, what a colourful tapestry we weave... - 01/14/12 05:19 PM
I have heard, here, and on other online social websites, our posts and the resulting comment stream referred to as "threads". How is it, and why is it, that we call them threads? Well, for me, it's largely because they all weave together into one large colourful tapestry... If you tug on one of the threads in the tapestry, it may impact another section of the tapestry. If you add a thread, it may add a dramatic colour to a different section of the tapestry. Just like an impressionist painting... each thread, might not appear that interesting up close, but when (46 comments)
Six things you need to START doing! That's right... get it in gear! - 01/13/12 12:08 PM
Recently, I wrote a post telling y'all about six things that you needed to stop doing. I realize that telling you to knock it off is a rather insensitive and negative way to approach things. So I thought I would turn it around, here, and tell you what things you should be doing. So here we are, Six things that you need to start doing! 1. Start blogging consistently. You don't have to be a madman, and blog like I do. Blogging hourly, in fact, is frowned upon. But you do need to blog fairly predictably, so that you can build (86 comments)
They're not just talking heads! - 01/13/12 10:17 AM
The news anchors at our local station, WGN-channel 9, have been together for years! You may wonder what they do during those long commercial breaks. Well, as your source for everything inane, I'm here to answer that question. Here are anchors Robert Jordan, and Jackie Bange with a routine that has clearly developed over many years. You can feel that they're very comfortable with each other, and in complete sync with one-another. Well, almost, complete sync. And yes, it's safe for viewing at the office. (25 comments)
Bo Derrick, where are you? - 01/13/12 10:09 AM
After a week full of Active Rain Guidelines, and What not to Wear... I mean What not to Do... A week with warm weather that turned into eight inches of the white stuff that needed shoveling this morning...I needed something a little more uplifting to post this morning. Fortunately, Mrs. Elvis to the rescue. A colleague of hers sent her this youtube video of a Copenhagen Flash Mob that just showed up at the Copenhagen Central Train Station. It's not your typical flash mob, with the synchronized dancing and all... (well, it is synchronized)... enjoy, and have a wonderful uplifting (12 comments)
What DOES it mean to be an Active Rain Ambassador? - 01/11/12 10:54 PM
I received this email from Active Rain yesterday. I, of course, responded right away that I was committed and wanted to continue with the Ambassador program. And today, Nikesh posted "What does it mean to be an Ambassador of Active Rain". And it started me thinking... what DOES it mean? Or at least, how does it impact me? I, of course, love having that little Ambassador banner under my photo. I look so good in orange, after all. Well, in fairness, I look good in all colours... it's the tie. Kerrie tells us that we should be logging in and commenting (50 comments)
Bezow Doo-Doo ZoppityBop Bop Bop! - 01/10/12 06:41 PM
You know, I think that common sense should come into play. The people down at the county courthouse, where you can get your name legally changed should have the ability to veto some of these names. This is from the Jimmy Kimmel show. Turn up your speakers, and yes, it's safe to watch in the office, but be prepared that you're going to have others gathering around to see what you're watching, as you begin to laugh. - 3 (24 comments)
Nothing but Crysanthemums and Butterflies, from now on! - 01/09/12 01:47 PM
I just returned to the office from our Monday-morning-Caravan. What's a "Monday-morning-Caravan", you ask? Well, on Monday mornings we have an office staff meeting, where we talk to the office about the new listings we've taken, and then, in Caravan-style... (car after car after car full of Realtors)... viewing our new listings. We run in and out in a matter of minutes, just trying to put our new listings into our mental inventory. So.. back to the story. We viewed a dozen or so of our new listings, and what gob-smacked me was that all of them, without exception, were priced (19 comments)
8 Reasons why your house won't sell! - 01/05/12 11:38 AM
Karl Hess was good enough to remind me that it's been more than a year since I published my perennial favourite blog. So I'm republishing, and updating it now... and thus far, each year I've been able to add a reason. Back in August of 2009, I published a post called 6 Reasons why your house won't sell. It garnered an unbelievable (at least unbelievable for ME) 192 comments, after being viewed 8667 times, and having 7,934 people "click" on it. That means that 2.4% of the people who viewed the post, were moved enough to leave a comment behind. (152 comments)
One man's ceiling... - 01/03/12 01:05 PM
As the new year approached my interest in blogging waned. So I found myself on New Year's Eve day, sitting in front of the computer with nothing to say, nothing to write. I know, I know... many of you find that difficult to believe... "What!? Alan speechless, that just can't happen!!" Well, ordinarily you're right. I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I found myself unmotivated to do anything but prepare for New Year's Eve... you know, the normal preparations... buy some booze, take a nap, line my stomach with a pat of butter... (what? y'all don't prep like that (19 comments)
... and so it's day two.. - 01/02/12 10:48 AM
It's day two of the new year. Does it feel any different yet? Two thousand and twelve. Them's a lot of years, a lot of water under the bridge so-to-speak. Has this year begun any differently for you, does it feel any different. I awoke to a dusting of snow on the ground... alright maybe a touch more than a dusting...about 1/2 inch on the ground. Enough to cover the sidewalks too. But it doesn't feel any different. Our office is closed today (woo hoo), and I'll go back to work tomorrow, and get a better sense, but thus far... it (25 comments)
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