A Few Take-Aways From That Time My Email Was Down (Random Musings)

I could almost hear the mournful, whistling theme song – the one that plays in every Western movie right before the gunfight scene. I could almost see the tumbleweeds dancing playfully across the desolate badlands of my computer screen.

Life without email is a lonely existence.

For nearly twenty-four hours, we found ourselves without email. Twenty email boxes in all were affected. The first stage of the mourning process is panic, of course. I imagined the emails I had been missing. “I would like to sell my $4 bazillion home. If I don’t hear back from you in five minutes, I will be listing with someone else. And I will call you bad names on Yelp.”

Stage Two is where you become The Problem Solver. You spend two hours on hold with your mail server’s crack technical support team, a team whose only support is to provide you with an unending barrage of “support numbers” while your case is being “escalated,” during which time you are forced to listen to Pachalbel’s Cannon on an infinite loop until you are compelled to impale yourself on a two-hole punch, if only you still had one of those throwbacks to simpler times.

During the third stage of mourning, you (and “you” would be “me”) become very angry, at which point you start tweeting mean things about an unnamed mail host (Network Solutions), hoping to harness the power of social media to force some divine intervention. And you post mean things on Facebook, too, because you have a lot of free time on your hands.

Finally, comes acceptance. You accept that your husband is really tired of your whining and may actually make good on his threats to find “a replacement wife.” You accept that while you may in fact lose a couple of business opportunities, no one is going to die. And you remember that an unnamed mail host intent on ruining your life and livelihood (Network Solutions) can’t keep you down. You are better than that. You still have Internet.

A victim of circumstances, I spent a lot of time catching up on reading. Mostly, I read Facebook and Twitter – until my eyes glazed over and to the point where I now consider myself the world’s foremost expert on “trending topics.” Oh, and I also managed to avert my eyes from the little black box and get out to show a home or two. So, in the spirit of sharing, I now bring you:

A Few Take-Aways From That Time My Email Was Down

1.     “The effect that political signs in yards has on buyers’ evaluations of the neighborhood should not be under estimated.” This was tweeted by one of my friends and colleagues in Virginia. Cosign!!

You see, people have biases. They like people who are like them. Which is the same reason it is poor form to leave family photo galleries or religious artifacts on display when showing your home. And it is the reason all of those agents I see on Facebook espousing their political views are violating the first rule of business development: Don’t alienate half of your potential clients.

2. “We’re at the bottom, but it will be long and flat.” This was tweeted by my “BFF’s” at Zillow and is a quote from their chief economist, Stan Humphries. Actually, the concept is being tweeted by nearly everyone in the industry. And they are right.

Inventory is nearly non-existent in our market, and buyer demand is crazy-strong. Case in point: When I pulled myself away from my depths of email-less despair to show a new listing to client, one that was being held open (the listing, not the client), we thought we had mistakenly stumbled into an Apple store on Free iPhone Day.

3. “I’ve been stuck on a plane, and was too timid to pull an Alec Baldwin.” The point here is that my Twitter-prolific daughter is apparently flying somewhere. Good to know. If not for social media, I would have no clue where the girls are or what they are up to.

4. “If you are meeting someone for the first time, and you have no idea what they look like or what kind of car they drive, don’t make assumptions.”  That’s from me. At that same open house (see #2 above), I was meeting a new client for the first time. Did I mention that this open house was well attended? And let’s assume that I was meeting “Dave” at 1:00. So, at precisely 1:00, I stood in the driveway clutching my MLS printout and wearing my best, “happy to meet you” grin.

And as each car slowed in front of the home around 1:00, all seventy-two of them, I proceeded to wave them into the nearest parking spot, greet them at the driver’s side door, and enthusiastically pump their hand. “Hi, I’m Kris!” I said, seventy-two times. “Hi!” they replied, looking rather confused. “I’m William (or Suresh or Daniel or, well, just insert seventy-two names here that AREN’T Dave). When “Dave” did finally arrive (there were no parking spaces left), the home was full of people talking about some whack job out front who must be running for office or something.

5. “Welcome to Akin country. Webster Groves, Mo.” Ah! So that’s where she was going. My daughter-the-political-journalist is in Missouri. Again, good to know.

6. “How to See 20% More Listings, One Week Faster,” tweeted Refin. The link was to the Redfin Blog where they talked about a recent study they commissioned that found that (gasp!) the listing inventory on major national, third-party portals like Trulia and Zillow are fraught with errors, incomplete and lagging. I could have saved them the trouble of paying an outside consultant. 

I do have to give them kudos for the spin they put on the findings, however. “The study found that Redfin has 20% more agent-listing homes for sale, and gets new listings 7 – 9 days faster,” they wrote (emphasis theirs). Well, that is true. But, here is the other true part: The same holds true for all other broker, agent and MLS websites with a search-for-homes features – including OURS. It’s through the magic of a little thing called IDX (Internet Data Exchange), and Redfin doesn’t have a corner on the purest, most time-certain listing data; the entire brokerage community does. Just sayin’.

7.  And speaking of IPO’s (were we?), Realogy Corp. just had their own IPO. As reported by Inman News, Realogy, franchise giant behind brands including as Coldwell Banker, Century 21, and Better Homes and Gardens, “has said it will use proceeds from the IPO to pay down more than $7 billion in outstanding debt.”

Zillow, Trulia and now Realogy. I am starting to think that I should do one of those IPO thingies like all the cool kids. Sure, San Diego Castles Realty has no debt, but what the heck. Who couldn’t use a little cash infusion? Maybe I could buy myself a new toaster oven or something. I’ll have to chew on that one.

8. “All my dreams of never becoming First Horse are finally coming true,” wrote @RafalcaRomney. Trust me, I am not getting all political here. As we covered in #1 above, it would be foolish of me to tip my hand as to my own political leanings. It’s just that I find it hysterically funny that a fake Twitter account for a Presidential candidate’s horse has 8,897 followers, so I can’t help but “follow” him myself. (I find it equally funny that I have over 5,000 followers, but that is puzzle to be solved another time.) 

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