Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Might Be An Amateur Real Estate Agent If You...


By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, July 8, 2012
  • Calculate your commissions before you close
  • Use another agent’s photos for a new listing
  • Use another agent’s square footage calculations (or not) on your new listing
  • Find “busy” work and call it “working your ass off”
  • Envy the achievements of other agents
  • Do not have a personally created self-improvement training program
  • Fail to have goals for your business, your life, your health, your family, your finances and your spiritual growth
  • Fail to fill in all spaces on all forms
  • Fail to read the REALTOR® Code of Ethics at least annually
  • Fail to read the State’s Real Estate Commission’s Rules & Regulations, at least annually
  • Talk about others, especially when they are not present
  • Talk about others WHEN they are present and the talk serves no purpose but to hurt
  • Form quick opinions about buyers, sellers, cooperative agents and your team members
  • Fail to start and end the day with something positive
  • Have no goal sheet
  • Have no Daily To Do Sheet
  • Complain
  • Find yourself starting a lot of sentences, “Did you hear…..”
  • Fail to maintain contact with customers who have bought and sold using your talents (or not)
  • Fail to believe you are worth what you “want” to charge (as compared to actually charge)
  • Arrive at meetings late
  • Leave ongoing meetings
  • Leave meeting early
  • Answer and talk on the telephone while you are talking with someone face-to-face
We all know characteristics and traits of others that we find annoying these are certainly not things you do but we all know you-know-who that does.  The real question to ask is do you talk about these things with others.

 If these are the traits and characteristics of the AMATEUR REAL ESTATE AGENT, what are the traits and characteristics of the PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE AGENT?  Thought you would never ask.  You might want to start with the 80/20 Principle where 20 percent of the people do 80% of the work; 20 percent of your work results in 80% of your accomplishments.  The same principle applies with determining who are the “REAL” Real Estate Professionals in our business.  You can automatically eliminate about 80% of those in the business.  The question then becomes when you line up 10 real estate agents, and you are one of them; look to your right and then to your left, ONLY ONE OTHER WOULD BE CONSIDERED A TRUE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL.  Any Aha’s here?  The REAL Real Estate Professional may be an endangered species but not need be. 

Let’s count the ways you can identify the other REAL Real Estate PROFESSIONALS in the business:

  • NEVER calculates a commissions before it closes.  If you are in the business solely for the money, this attitude will come across in your words, deeds and body language.
  • NEVER uses another agent’s photos for a new listing.  Way too easy, why take more and more current photos when someone else has already done it.  First because it is illegal and secondly because the photos may not be the best and therefore not in your customer’s best interest.  Imagine that.
  • NEVER uses another agent’s square footage calculations on your new listing; If it is not your calculations or calculations you paid for using a REAL professional, how can you be certain they are correct and represent the best interests of your customers.
  • Focuses on the most important tasks FIRST!  NEVER engages in “busy” work and then call it “working their ass off”.  If you are not lead generating at least 3 hours a day and let nothing deter you from doing so, you are engaged in “busy work”.
  • Applauds the achievements of other agents.  Personal pet peeve of mine occurs when people envy the sales achievements/awards of others.  These same achievements/awards and MORE are available to everyone who attacks their profession as a PROFESSIONAL.
  • Has created a self-improvement training program and then works the program.  In most cases, agents do not have a self-improvement plan.  They take the required CE and that is about it.  Why on earth would anyone ever take a course because it might make them money?  If you are not improving, you are not even standing still, you are moving backwards! 
  • Has WRITTEN GOALS for business, life, health, family, finances and spiritual growth.  If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.  And if you don’t know where you are going or want to do, how will you know when you get there?  Just asking…..
  • Fills in ALL spaces on ALL forms.  How much simpler can that be?  DAH?
  • Reads the REALTOR® Code of Ethics at least annually.  Some have not read it since they were first licensed.  Takes about 30 minutes; go figure.
  • Reads the State’s Real Estate Commission’s Rules & Regulations, at least annually.  If the non-professional fails to read the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, it is very doubtful that same agent would ever revisit the State’s Rules and Regulations and yes it takes a bit longer but this is your business is it not?  Again, just asking….
  • Does NOT talk about others.  PERIOD!  EVER!
  • Does NOT talk about others even when they are present.  EVER! And especially when such talk serves no constructive purpose.
  • Does NOT form quick opinions about buyers, sellers, cooperative agents and your team members.  Again, if such opinions serve no useful purpose why take up your mental memory space with needless thoughts about others?
  • Starts and ends EVERY day with something positive.  While others wake up and retire complaining and watching the horrors of the news, the PROFESSIONAL uses such time to start and end the day reading, listening or watching something that helps them to grow nothing but positive thoughts in both the heart and mind.
  • Have WRITTEN GOALS.  If you don’t write your goals down ON PAPER, they are nothing more than dreams.  Written goals tend to come true OR you discover you set your goals far too low which is usually the case.
  • Work from a Daily To Do Sheet.  Do you know what you want to do TODAY?  Do you know what tasks are the MOST important to complete?  The LEAST important?   Tasks that can be DELEGATED?  Tasks that can be TRASHED?  PROFESSIONALS DO; imagine that.  Professionals ask Joe Tye’s Direction-Deflection-Question (DDQ):  Is what I am about to say or do consistent with completing the most important task of the day that when completed will lead me to completing the most important goals of my life?
  • NEVER Complains.  EVER!  Instead of complaining about something, the PROFESSIONAL finds solutions!
  • NEVER starts a sentence with: “Did you hear…..”  EVER!
  • ALWAYS maintains contact with customers who have bought and sold using your talents.  WITHOUT FAIL!
  • ABSOLUTELY BELIEVES they are worth.  They charge for their OUTSTANDING services!
  • Arrives at meetings BEFORE THEY START.  Need more be said?
  • Remains attentive for the entirety of meetings. Even boring meetings because there is always meet being made available; leave and lose – always!
  • NEVER leaves a meeting early.  Besides being just RUDE, when you leave, you may miss something of a critical nature; you will never know.
A REAL REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL is a team player.  An AMATEUR is all about the individual. 

A REAL REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL is always looking for ways to make his or her own business more profitable and in turn makes the company more profitable. 

A REAL REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL strives to always be ethical even when being ethical is tough and may cost a commission. 

A REAL REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL fails forward.  No one is beyond experiencing failures but instead of moaning and groaning about what happened, the PROFESSIONAL looks for ways to learn from those failures.  The Amateur?   

A REAL REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL looks for way to help the “new agent” and in so doing improves both the real estate professional and the quality of the company.  Many of these activities go totally un-noticed and that is understood by the PROFESSIONAL; while many others are looking for recognition. 

When you take a serious look at the real estate profession, the 80/20 Rule may be a bit optimistic, 90/10 might be more realistic?  Look around, judge for yourself!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th Of July Message, may surprise you


First  -  The Star Spangled Banner…

The Star-Spangled Banner

—Francis Scott Key, 1814

Gymbeaux Note:  I embolden and underlined certain words for a reason that you will see)

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington, DC. The release was secured, but Key was detained on ship overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry, one of the forts defending Baltimore. In the morning, he was so delighted to see the American flag still flying over the fort that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion. First published under the title “Defense of Fort M'Henry,” the poem soon attained wide popularity as sung to the tune “To Anacreon in Heaven.” The origin of this tune is obscure, but it may have been written by John Stafford Smith, a British composer born in 1750. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially made the national anthem by Congress in 1931, although it already had been adopted as such by the army and the navy.

The following is from:

www.HistoryBuff.com July 2008 Newsletter

(Could have been entitled)

 “Now For The Rest Of The Story”

The Story Behind the Star-Spangled Banner

(Gymbeaux Note:  For as many years as I can remember, the story of the Star Spangled Banner always seemed to stop at Francis Scott Key writing the words to the song.  Here is a side of the story you may (probably) did not hear or was ever taught.)

For most American’s, all we know about the Star Spangled Banner is that Francis Scott Key wrote it as a result of seeing Fort McHenry being bombarded through the night. There is more information that makes it even more remarkable.

Guarding the entrance to Baltimore harbor via the Patapsco River during the War of 1812, Fort McHenry faced almost certain attack by British forces. Major George Armistead, the stronghold's commander, was ready to defend the fort, but he wanted a flag that would identify his position, and one whose size would be visible to the enemy from a distance. Determined to supply such a flag, a committee of high-ranking officers called on Mary Young Pickersgill, a Baltimore widow who had had experience making ship flags, and explained that they wanted a United States flag that measured 30 feet by 42 feet. She agreed to the job.

With the help of her 13-year-old daughter, Caroline, Mrs. Pickersgill spent several weeks measuring, cutting, and sewing the 15 stars and stripes. When the time came to sew the elements of the flag together, they realized that their house was not large enough. Mrs. Pickersgill thus asked the owner of nearby Claggett's Brewery for permission to assemble the flag on the building's floor during evening hours. He agreed, and the women worked by candlelight to finish it. Once completed, the flag was delivered to the committee, and Mrs. Pickersgill was paid $405.90. In August 1813, it was presented to Major Armistead, but, as things turned out, more than a year would pass before hostile forces threatened Baltimore.

After capturing Washington, D.C., and burning some of its public buildings, the British headed for Baltimore.

Francis Scott Key, a Baltimore lawyer at the time, visited the enemy's fleet the day prior to the bombardment of Fort McHenry. He went aboard the ship to attempt to secure the release of a Maryland doctor, who had been abducted by the British after they left Washington. The lawyer was able to get the commander to agree to release the prisoner Dr. Beanes, but not until the next day and they both had to remain on board their ship until then. The commander also told them that they would be bombarding Fort McHenry that night. The fort commander was sent word to the Fort McHenry Commander, that whenever they wanted to surrender, all they had to do was lower the United States flag. As long as the flag was flying, the bombardment would continue. However, once they lowered the flag, it meant total surrender and the British would win the war.

An eerie silence fell across the early morning darkness and the young Baltimore attorney breathed a sigh of relief. It was after 1 A.M. on the morning of September 14, 1814 and it was the first time in more than 18 hours that things had been quiet. Since 7 A.M. of the previous day more than 1,800 bombs, cannonballs, and the new Congreve rockets had lit the sky and shattered the peaceful harbor. From the deck of his sloop behind the enemy fleet, the young Baltimore attorney breathed a sigh of relief. The flag was still there!

READ THIS PARAGRAPH SEVERAL TIMES. IT SHOWS JUST HOW MUCH FREEDOM MEANT TO THESE SOLDIERS! Upon discussing the previous night with survivors of the great battle, he learned just how much keeping the flag flying had meant to the soldiers.

The flag itself was hit many times and had holes in it. In addition, several times through the night a cannon ball had hit the flag pole. It was hit enough times that the pole was actually leaning and in danger of toppling over. Brave men rushed to the pole to help prop it up with their bodies and arms. When one man holding the flagpole up was shot, another was ready to take his place. This is how they kept the flag flying all night!  (Gymbeaux Note:  Remember, if the flag was lowered, it mean surrender.)  Thrilled by the sight of the flag and the knowledge that the fort had not fallen, Key took a letter from his pocket, and began to write some verses on the back of it. Later, after the British fleet had withdrawn, Key checked into a Baltimore hotel, and completed his poem on the defense of Fort McHenry. He then sent it to a printer for duplication on handbills, and within a few days the poem was put to the music of an old English song. Both the new song and the flag became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

For his leadership in defending the fort, Armistead was promoted to brevet Lieutenant Colonel and acquired the garrison flag sometime before his death in 1818. A few weeks after the battle, he had granted the wishes of a soldier's widow for a piece of the flag to bury with her husband. In succeeding years, he cut off additional pieces to gratify the similar wishes of others; the flag itself was seen only on rare occasions.

When Commodore George H. Preble, U.S. Navy, was preparing a history of the American flag, he borrowed the Star-Spangled Banner from a descendant of Colonel Armistead, and, in 1873, photographed it for the first time. In preparation for that event, a canvas backing was attached to it; soon thereafter, it was put in storage until the Smithsonian borrowed it and placed it on exhibit in 1907.

The flag had become a popular attraction; in 1912, the owner, Eben Appleton, of New York, believing that the flag should be kept in the National Museum, donated it to the Smithsonian on the condition that it would remain there forever. Once in its possession, the Smithsonian hired an expert flag restorer to remove the old backing and sew on a new one to prevent damage during display.

The Star-Spangled Banner remained in the Arts and Industries Building (the old National Museum) as the new National Museum was constructed across the Mall. In 1964, when the Museum of American History opened, the flag was moved to a prominent place inside the museum's Mall entrance, an awe-inspiring testament to our nation's independence.

Though Francis Scott Key wrote additional poetry in the years following the battle at Fort McHenry, none ever came close to the popularity or literary acclaim of his Star Spangled Banner. He never knew that his poem was our National Anthem. It was not officially recognized as such until 1931.

(Gymbeaux Note:  What was not said in the above article was that that flag was also supported by the bodies of dead, dying and/or wounded soldiers throughout the night.  Get a mental picture of that and you understand what “home of the brave” truly means and how important the flag is and has been to our country.  Now compare that to the people who are trying to ban the use of flags on tombstones in cemeteries throughout our country.  So many people have never studied our history; pity.)