Monthly Archives: February 2016

Zillow Sucks and Other Real Estate Truths!


Most Real Estate brokers would love for their clients to do a “Ride Along” with them one day to see how hard the business can be.  Similar to driving around with a police officer, you cannot appreciate the demands placed on Real Estate agents until you have seen them in action doing what they do, day in and day out.

Imagine how most people view the typical Real Estate agent’s day;  They wake at 8:30 on their country estate surrounded by chirping birds and the glorious smell of another new day.  After a full breakfast of eggs Benedict, English muffins, and expensive coffee they leave the house at 10:30 after a long hot shower.  They stroll out to the 3 car garage to get into the work car, a brand new silver Mercedes parked next to the weekend car,  a restored convertible classic Mustang.  Off to the country club for a quick round of golf with their other real estate buddies.  Around 1:00 after a long lunch including just a few adult beverages they saunter into the office to make 2 phone calls and check to make sure all of those commission checks, that just show up in the mail, are piled on their desk.  Answer a couple of emails from adoring clients then off to home to brush off the cares of the day.  At home they figure out how to invest the gross amounts of money they made that day.  Wow condo’s in Dubai sure look cheap!

Now the reality:  Mr. or Ms.  agent stumbles out of bed at 5:00 and grabs a quick cup of coffee as they head out for a quick 45 minute workout to start the day.  Real Estate is stressful and hurried.  If you don’t do something early in the day to relieve stress and take care of yourself it will never get done.  You roll back into the house to a cell phone and a quick bowl of oatmeal and another cup of coffee.  You look at your 286 emails and scan for ones that are important.  Mr. Bob Seller is telling you that his wife has decided she wants to keep the drapes in the house.  You need to contact the Buyer’s agent and get that handled right now.  Even though you told them 3 times that the drapes were considered part of the house they want you to fix it NOW!  Closing is tomorrow and gosh darn it they are not going to sell the house if they cannot keep the drapes!  Another email contains a threat of a lawsuit.  “I bought my house 2 years ago and you were the sellers agent.  I see my house is still listed on ZILLOW as for sale and you need to have that removed by 12:00 today or you will be getting a call from my attorney!  Do you know who I am?”.  Great…You call Zillow and push “4” when the message says “If you are an agent press 4.”.  Followed shortly by another message “Thank you for contacting Zillow.  As a real estate professional we value your input and business.  Due to high call volume the expected wait time is 6 days, 9 hours and 47 minutes.  Please continue to hold.”  What the heck!!  You email them again.  You  know exactly how to do that because 3-4 times a week you try and contact Trulia or Zillow to correct inaccurate info.  You know it is a waste of time and they will never fix it because they do not care.  The dirty secret of Real Estate is that all Zillow and Trulia are is advertisers. They are selling your phone number and emails address to 20 agents every time you contact anyone about a property.  Great…

Around 8:30 you have gone through all the emails including the one from your best friend in High School saying “Hey man just bought a house down the street from you!  I know you are in real estate but figured we’d just work with the agent that listed the house!  Cool huh!”  Great…By then your phone is blowing up.  You have planned 2 hours of calling past clients to stay in touch with them.  Now you are a fireman!  Trying to put out fires faster than they pop up!  “This form is missing from the contract.”  “What is the $12.00 charge on my closing statement for?”  “I don’t like the color of the grass in my house photo!”  “Zillow still shows my house as 3 bedroooms and it is 4!  That is why it’s not selling!  Not because we overpriced it by $50,000!”   It is overwhelming and exhausting.   After 3 hours of that you can’t take it anymore and run out for a quick lunch.  While you are at lunch you get 8 texts and 3 voice messages.  You do your best to ignore them, so you can eat in peace and recover a little.  One of them is an agent demanding to know if they can show your new listing in 30 minutes even though it clearly says on MLS “6 hours notice for showings”.  After 6 texts from the agent, with each one getting more and more rude, you text her to let her know that it’s 6 hours notice.   Then she calls you 5 times in a row without leaving a message.  You wolf down a sandwich in 5 minutes and then head back to the office.  You call the agent on the way to the office and she says “we were just driving by and my clients wanted to see it.  Now we are headed back into Austin.  They decided they are going to live in Georgia”.  Wow good thing you jumped on that one!  Great…

Then in the afternoon you get a call from a client whose house is closing tomorrow.  She is moved out and the cleaners just left.  She’s checking in with you to see if there is anything else she needs to do.  You give her last minute instructions about the closing and right before she hangs up she says “Thank you so much for making this smooth and easy Steve!  You and your team went far beyond anything we ever expected when deciding who to use to sell our house.  I want you to know how happy we are.”  Hallelujah!  Now you remember why you do this!  At the closing the next day your client hugs you and says “I’m going to tell all my friends about you!” You feel like you just threw the winning touchdown in the Superbowl!  It’s all worth it when you have those clients that understand the job and how hard it can be to do right.

All of the long hours, the nasty emails and texts, the people taking bad days out on their agent, and the deals that blow up for no reason, are all worth it when you have one client that sees and understands how hard you work for them.

The average Real Estate agent in the US makes $44,489 per year.  Most work an average of 50 hours a week to get that.  Contrary to what most people think there is nothing glamorous about Real Estate.  It’s hard work and to make a decent living you need to 4-5 deals going at a time.  That takes lots of effort and persistence.  80% of new agents never make it past the second year!   Still, most of us love what we do and would never dream of another career choice.  We’d love it even more if Zillow didn’t suck though…


Steve Mallett has been a licensed since 2003.  He is a Real Estate Broker in the SW Austin and Dripping Springs area.  Call him at (512) 627-7018.

NIMBYism in Drippin’

It always amuses me  when a person moves into Dripping Springs and buys their little plot of land or home in Belterra, Sunset Canyon or Highpointe and then starts complaining about traffic and congestion or pollution and how we need to stop all the new development.  What never seems to dawn on them is that there were people in Drippin’ and Southwest Austin 10, 20, heck 50 years ago that said the same thing.  NIMBYism is NOT IN MY BACK YARD.  Or another way to say it is “I got mine now just go away.”

We are seeing unprecedented development in Dripping Springs.  Caliterra, Harrison Ranch, Poundhouse Hills and Founder’s Ridge are all online and Headwaters, Arrowhead Ranch and the Meritage Homes neighborhood (behind RBFCU) are all well on the way to seeing homes on the ground.  This is going to bring traffic and congestion but it also will bring retail, school jobs, commercial businesses that have available housing for employees and road improvements.  Sure the town will change but is it really only going to be for the worse?

1608 High Lonesome

Did these same people complain when HEB came?  Or Home Depot?  Probably not.

I have never been scared of change.  Shaking things up can be difficult, and sometimes overwhelming, but many times the outcome can be great.  I think we are seeing that in our sleepy little town.  Like a teenager going through a growth spurt we are going to have challenges as we outgrow our shoes and pants.  We need to be smart about growth and be polite to people with differing views as we engage each other through the process though.

Let’s keep the small town feel that makes Drippin’ home.  Embrace the new folks…accept them as neighbors and invite them to the Barbershop for a beer or to your house for some home smoked BBQ.  We are growing but there is no reason we can’t stay Drippin’.

Steve Mallett has been a Real Estate Broker in Dripping Springs and the SW Austin area since 2003.  Offices in Austin and Drippin’