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What Buyers Learn Before Escrow, They Forgive; What They Learn After Escrow, They Sue

June 27th, 2007 · 4 Comments

I wonder if I may be making history here as the first person to ever be live-blogging a real estate legal update seminar.

Twice a year my broker, Alain Pinel Realtors, runs attendance-mandatory legal update seminars hosted by Bill Jansen of Broker Risk Management.  Most of us look at these events akin to a trip to the dentist:  painful, but necessary and perhaps even good for us.  Fortunately the company provides a breakfast to get us all there on time — a fairly reliable ruse in the case of Realtors.

Bill does his best to liven up his talks with anecdotes, pithy lines, and the occasional joke.  Some of his best lines today were on disclosure obligations:

1) Seller:  “Do I have to disclose–”

Agent (interrupting):  “Yes.”

The point?  If there’s any doubt about whether something should be disclosed, the answer is “yes”.  In legalese, everything material has to be disclosed, which is of course a subjective standard.  Since the likely plaintiff in any lawsuit is a buyer, their interpretation of material could come back to bite you.

Disclose, disclose, disclose.

2) “What buyers learn before escrow, they forgive.  What they learn after escrow, they sue.”  Buyers hate surprises, especially expensive ones.  Attorneys, on the other hand, simply luv ‘em!


Disclaimer:  I am not an attorney, so don’t make any decisions or take any actions based on what I’ve written above.  Consult your own attorney for advice related to your particular situation.

Tags: , , Legal,

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Tags: Alain Pinel Realtors · Disclosures · Legal · Real estate

Introducing The World’s Most Internet-Marketed Property: Come Along for the Ride!

April 9th, 2007 · 6 Comments

I've been waiting for the right opportunity to really push the envelope of online real estate marketing, and, well, it's here!

I'm working on a listing in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood that fits perfectly into this new online marketing world:  it's slick, chic, and contemporary, will likely attract a younger and web-savvy crowd of buyers, and the sellers simply love the idea of creating a buzz online.

We're passing on the normal full-color ads in traditional local media like the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, and we'll be spending that money online instead.  To hedge our bets, we will be placing open house display ads in print media.

I'll be collaborating with several real estate online marketing companies to promote this property.  They'll be showing me — and, by extension, my readers — how to get the full benefit of their products.  I intend to chronicle our adventures here and invite you to follow along.  If you have some ideas, feel free to join in!

I'll announce the first collaborator tomorrow.

In the meantime, as part of our adventures, let's see how high this site currently ranks for the search, "San Francisco Potrero Hill Real Estate" — I suspect it won't be that good, since I've never written about Potrero Hill before!

Sure enough, on Google, Yahoo, and MSN, I'm nowhere to be found, not even in the top 100.  :(


3Oceans doesn't rank at all in a Google search for



3Oceans doesn't rank at all in a Yahoo search for



3Oceans doesn't rank at all in an MSN search for

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Tags: Advertising · Buyer and seller tips · Disclosures · For sellers · Google · MSN · Media · Newspapers · Online advertising · Potrero Hill · Preparing a home · Real estate · San Francisco · San Francisco Chronicle · San Jose Mercury · Yahoo

Scribd: Youtube for Real Estate Disclosures

April 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Monday morning geekage:

Hat tip to the White African for alerting me to Scribd, which is essentially Youtube for documents.

The premise is that just as people love sharing video, they might love to share documents they’ve created: school papers, poems, academic treatises, scholarly research studies…

I was skeptical at first about any potential real estate application, but then it hit me: This might be the perfect platform for sharing real estate disclosures.

Currently, at least here in the Bay Area peninsula, about 70% of listings have the (formidable) disclosure documents hosted online, almost invariably by a title and escrow company. Getting these docs online is usually as simple as handing them over to your rep, who gets them scanned in and uploaded.

Downloading them, however, ranges from the frustrating to the incredibly frustrating. Some of the sites take forever, while others are just really slow. Most of the sites have incredibly bad interfaces.

With Scribd, you could simply upload the documents, mark them as private (so they’re not searchable on the site, nor crawlable by Google), then simply embed them in the appropriate part of your web site. Several advantages come to mind:

  • The downloads take place at Scribd, so they don’t count against your hosting provider’s bandwidth limits.
  • The Scribd flash-based reader is way cool, with zoom in and out, view full screen, print, and download options. Prospective buyers can read the documents before deciding if they actually want to download them.
  • It just looks cool!

One cool feature that may not have much in the way of real estate usefulness is the ability to get the documents read back to you in that rather annoying female monotone computer voice to which we’ve become accustomed. If you think disclosure documents are boring to read, try listening to them!

I’ll give Scribd a try on an upcoming listing and report back.

Geek out…

Tags: , , , Scribd

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Tags: Disclosures · Industry · Real estate · Scribd