A.I. Killed the Real Estate Star

All that’s left for you to do is move right in!

Geraldine sat back from her keyboard, grinning as she laced her fingers behind her head.

“You still go it,” she congratulated herself on another job well done, her smoker’s rasp yielding to a brief coughing fit. She fished the last cigarette out of the pack of Virginia Slims on the desk next to the old Toshiba laptop with an arthritic claw. Everything took longer these days, but that only added to the eventual satisfaction.

Lighting up, she proofed her ad copy for the fourth time through the cancerous haze. She chuckled at her favorite bits, like the proud parent of puns and witticisms that she was.

More upgrades than a Kardashian! More remodeling than a Jenner!

Don’t take these counter tops for granite!

Even the pronoun police agree that Mrs. Clean lives here!

Despite having written hundreds of property descriptions over the years, the one thing Geraldine prided herself on above all else was that no two were exactly the same. She agonized over every noun. Scrutinized every verb. Relished every adjective. While there may be only so many ways to describe a swimming pool, or a great room, by God she would find a new combination of words every time. Even if it just meant tweaking timeless cliches ever so slightly.

This was what she brought to the table. This was why her clients hired her. It was right there on her business card, after all:

“Geraldine Jurgenson – The House Poet

The cursor was still flashing on the screen, insistent. It drew her grey eye to the call to action just beneath her text:

Improve with AI

Geraldine scoffed, as she always had since artificial intelligence entered her profession in recent months. Not for the first time, she wondered what illiterate boob of an agent would outsource her very words to R2D2. The world had become a very strange place since Reagan left office.

And yet … she couldn’t deny the morbid curiosity that flooded her doubting mind.

What does a machine know about selling a house?

What computer code can tug at a home buyer’s emotions like my prose?

She saved what she had written, took a long swig of Diet Pepsi through a turtle-killing bendy plastic straw, and pressed the button allowing for artificial “enhancement” of her property description. This would be good for a laugh.

“Okay, Data, show me what you got,” she smirked, pleased with her reference.

No sooner had she finished her sentence did the lengthy paragraphs on the screen rearrange themselves into shorter blurbs. Despite herself, she had to admit that the new layout was more approachable and easier on the eye than her wall of text.

Parlor trick, she told herself. Of course a computer would structure everything just right. She did use spellcheck and grammarcheck, after all. She shouldn’t be surprised that maximum efficiency was a check in the robot’s column. A useful syntax tool, nothing more.

Fair play, Mr.Roboto, but now let’s see how you do with the actual art of writing.

She comforted herself with the certainty that the glorified Roomba’s words would have all the flow of her late husband’s prostate.

Her smile faded as she read through the opening lines, however. It disappeared entirely when she moved on to the second paragraph. By the time she read through the conclusion, she was physically shaking and near tears.

It was beautiful. Captivating even. The details. The descriptions. The robot’s version was so much more concise and impactful than hers, despite being confined to the same 1000 character limit.

She had never before seen a walk-in pantry described as ” a magical wardrobe to culinary Narnia.” Nor had she ever considered opening a line dedicated to a home’s hardwood flooring with, “Well, shiver me timbers!” Every nuanced phrase was as fresh and unique as her old rote was tired and hackneyed.

It made her want to buy the house. And she hated this house.

She could scarcely believe it. Just like that, the niche she had dedicated decades to carving out for herself had been filled in by the lifeless fever dream of some computer geek in Northern California.

If AI was the latest and greatest trend, Geraldine realized that she had become the handyman special, in need of a total makeover. With her osteoporosis, she couldn’t even make the claim to good bones anymore.

She had seen the future, and octogenarian agents like herself certainly weren’t it. All the selfie filters in the world couldn’t obscure that fact.

“Well, old gal,” she announced to the room as she powered off the laptop and stood. “There is always a market for a fixer-upper.”

She made a mental note to reduce her fee and order new business cards as she shuffled out of the cramped, smoke-filled room.

“Alexa, turn off the lights,” she croaked over her bony shoulder, plunging the old cottage into darkness. “The party’s over.”

Local Agent Decries Falling Commission Rates

Scottsdale, AZ –

Local Real Estate agent, “Big” Bob DuPree is fed up with his paycheck going down.

Originally licensed in 1982, DuPree has seen just about everything there is to see in the Scottsdale Real Estate market. From the double digit inflation of the late 80s to the Great Recession of 2008-2009, he has managed to carve out a comfortable living in an ever-shifting industry.

Until now, that is.

The steady rise in home prices over the past decade, coupled with the explosion in Real Estate licensees, has resulted in downward pressure on commission rates.

“I used to charge seven percent to list a home, and people didn’t bat an eye,” DuPree lamented. “I didn’t have to worry about my competitors undercutting my fee because we all charged the same amount. That was before all of these bottom feeding newbies started grabbing their ankles and listing houses for free.”

Asked whether he felt the public was better served by an industry of yesteryear that was steeped in anti-trust practices, price-fixing, and collusion, DuPree responded, “Hogwash.”

DuPree contends that the level of professionalism in the housing industry has diminished in direct correlation to its growth.

“You’d go to a cocktail party back in the day and be the only agent there. People would want to talk to you. Ask how much their home was worth. Gossip about their neighbor’s hideous remodeling. Now they treat me like a leper in a kissing booth. Everyone has a brother in law or cousin with a license as a side hustle. They charge a seller like five hundred bucks to list a house because it’s more money than they have ever seen in their Whataburger paycheck.”

DuPree holds the new online world in the same contempt.

“Everything is available to everyone twenty four seven now,” he said. “Everything. Times were a buyer had no idea what was for sale. The multiple listing service was a weekly pamphlet that only we agents received. John Q Public wanted to know what houses were for sale in Scottsdale? He couldn’t go to Twiddledy Doo dot com to find out. He had to call me.”

Asked to clarify whether he viewed his value more as a service provider or as a hoarder of secret information, DuPree answered, “Yes.”

While several competing agents who did not want to go on record for this piece indicated that the Internet has added value to their businesses and made it easier to reach prospective clients, DuPree argues that the readily available information of today actually makes his job harder. He contends that the additional time and energy spent educating a demographic that isn’t sold on his value in the first place is not worth the brain damage.

“They all want to play Realtor,” he noted. “Like their fifteen minutes looking at bogus data trumps my forty two years in the business. And then they want to say they only need me to open a door or write the offer so they can jam me down on commission. Cut my fee for the pleasure of working for a goddamn knowitall? I don’t think so, chief.”

The owner of two Bentleys and a vacation home in La Jolla, DuPree insists his cause is just and in defense of the little guy getting crushed in a high inflation world.

“All I’m saying is that you can’t make a living on two and a half percent per sales side,” DuPree added. “Hell, even three or three and a half is a stretch. Have you seen the price of milk? Gas? My paycheck keeps getting smaller while my bills keep getting bigger. Welcome to Joe Biden’s America.”

When this reporter pointed out that home prices had effectively doubled over the last five years, leading to larger total commissions despite the lower average percentages being charged, DuPree was succinct.

“Fuck you, socialist.”

– Daryl Eckshund, REBIZ NEWS

“I’m not saying they are flying low. I’m just saying the last one took about two inches off the top.”

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Would You Hire a Realtor to Cut Your Hair?

Would You Hire a Realtor to Cut Your Hair?

The year was 2005.  The market was hot. White hot.  Jump up and down, and yell I’m a pony! hot.  Everyone within the city limits of Scottsdale AZ had or was in the process of obtaining their Real Estate license.  By July, I had lost former clients to chiropractors, dentists, doctors, doctors’ spouses, doctors’ spouses’ doctors … I thought I had experienced it all.  Mind you, the prevailing thought at the time was that a chimpanzee with a business card could sell a house. And he probably could have with a Multiple Offer Addendum and a cell phone, but I digress.  One day while running my daily search of the new inventory in McCormick Ranch, I see a suspiciously familiar address.  I pull up the listing and do the whole Is that …? No, can’t be.  But it looks …? NOOOO!!! bit.

Sure enough, it was the lovely couple I had sold the home to a few years back and had only recently visited over the holidays.  My mind raced.

What did I do wrong? Are they upset with me? Did I fail to keep in touch? Did I keep in touch too much? Is it because I mangled their son’s name that time we ran into each other at the coffee shop?

After letting my stomach churn over the myriad ways I could have potentially brought this upon myself, I finally picked up the phone. After two rings, a familiar voice answered.  Mindful to make sure that I did not say anything that could be construed as tampering with another agent’s listing, I simply blurted out, “What happened?”

Long story short: The wife’s hairdresser had recently gotten her Real Estate license to use on the side.  Now, in my opinion, the words “hairdresser” and “Realtor” should never collide in the same sentence, but apparently not everyone agrees.  No one would ever in a million years sit down at a chair and let me go to town with a pair of clippers and #2 attachment, but my highly educated clients made the decision to help her out by listing a $500,000 asset for sale and purchasing a million dollar property with her.

Now, I will not pretend that I did not first take the news personally and selfishly. That is a big chunk of business to lose to a hobbyist, and it stung. The value proposition of hiring a full-time, active agent did not outweigh the desire to help a friend get started in the industry. That is not an easy pill to swallow. What’s worse and ultimately paramount, however, is the disservice such a choice can do to the consumer him or herself. When you don’t engage in the practice of selling Real Estate but once or twice a year, if it all, you put the people you represent at an immediate disadvantage. You simply don’t know what you don’t know.

And sadly, in this case, my former clients … ultimately got a bad haircut. 

It serves as a reminder that it doesn’t go without saying to the general public that all agents are not interchangeable. The effect of the misconception that we are can have a monumental effect on your bottom line and long-term satisfaction. As such, I try to use such experiences as teachable moments.

Remember, folks. We all want to help our friends and family members when and where we can, but think carefully before employing someone to guide you through a home sale or purchase if it is just their “side hustle.” This is not a profession that requires an advanced degree or special skill set over and above modest intelligence, tenacity, and a willingness to leverage your knowledge and experience for the benefit of your clients, but it does require practice. Experience. Repetition. Like any other human endeavor performed exceptionally, if never perfectly.

I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to make a little extra money in their spare time, but I firmly believe there is value to hiring someone who is working in their primary field of expertise. Hire your neighbor’s kid to pull your weeds. Hire your nephew’s girlfriend to walk your dog.

But when you have a major service need, I would advise the following:

  • Need roof work done? Hire a roofer.
  • Need your transmission serviced? Hire a mechanic.
  • Need a haircut? Hire a barber.
  • Need to buy or sell a home? Hire a Realtor.

And not a moonlighter. An active, full-time Real Estate professional who has been there, done that, and won the cheesy t-shirt in a home tour group raffle. 

After all, if you don’t want me fixing your fade after spending my evenings learning the craft via YouTube, you probably don’t want your hair stylist selling your house. 

Paul has been selling the greater Phoenix area as a full-time Realtor for over 20 years now. For all of your Scottsdale AZ Real Estate needs, please visit him at www.scottsdalepropertyshop.com

New in Old Town Scottsdale! 1301 N. 70th St

New in Old Town Scottsdale! 1301 N. 70th St

New in Old Town Scottsdale!

1301 N. 70th St

Do you love the vibrancy and convenience of living in Old Town Scottsdale, but not necessarily the older, outdated mid-century homes that come with it?

Do you love the sleek, modern feel of new construction, but don’t feel like commuting from the boonies where you can afford it?

South Scottsdale home buyers, I feel your pain! Fortunately, I am not here to commiserate, but to present a solution to your dilemma in the form of our new listing at 1301 N. 70th Street. Located in the Papago Parkway subdivision near McDowell and Scottsdale Rd, this home is ideally situated at the gateway to downtown Scottsdale. Not only is it convenient to all of the shops, restaurants, and nightlife of Old Town, but it is mere minutes from ASU, the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Gardens, and smack dab in the middle of re-development and new construction that is completely transforming the area into one of the most sought after locations in the valley.

Now, I know what you are thinking. You can’t afford to drop the $500-800k for the new homes that are being built just down the street, nor do you necessarily care for the mid-century ranches with popcorn ceilings, shoebox layouts, and kitty-cats-playing-with-balls-of-yarn wallpapering. If you could only find an older home with some character that didn’t feel quite so … old. Or break the bank.

Just when you thought you would never find such a unicorn, I bring to you this South Scottsdale marvel, saddled up and ready to ride!

From the moment you walk through the front door, you will be mesmerized by the wide open great room concept. The living room wall was removed and replaced with a beautiful, exposed wooden beam. Porcelain faux-wood plank flooring stretches throughout the main living areas, giving the home a warm feeling to compliment its easy care. If you are familiar with the old galley style kitchens that most of these homes originally came with, you will truly appreciate the new (2013) island kitchen that greets you beyond the great room. Featuring highly upgraded new cabinetry, slab granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances, this is a kitchen befitting a home several price ranges higher.

All new (2018) carpet in the three bedrooms. Remodeled bathrooms with new (2013) tile shower surrounds, vanities, and flooring. New, tall baseboards throughout. The roof was replaced in 2013.¬†ZERO popcorn ceilings remain in the home. The bonus room is a perfect space for a home office/den, play room, exercise room … you name it!

Last, but most certainly not least, is the incredible back yard. Located on a prime corner lot, the home sits on one of the largest lots in the entire neighborhood. Better yet, it is usable space on a rectangular lot that offers a covered patio, grass lawn, children’s play area, and bare gravel beyond the RV gate that is an ideal pad for parking your boat, trailer, cars, toys, etc.

I could drone on and on, but I know you are really here for the pictures. I’ve been teasing them out one at a time, but now for the big reveal. Feast your eyes on these pixels (click to enlarge), and contact me today for a showing or to learn more about all of the exciting things that are going on in the area!

Full Property Details: 1301 N. 70th St

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