Why we need to listen to them.
by Neil Jenman
READING TIME: 9 mins apx
Although this happened a long time ago, the same would apply today.
It was the 1990s. My real estate office was busy. Every month we listed 30 or more homes. We had five salespeople, all males. Each Wednesday, after our early office meeting, we would all pile in a car – usually Sam’s big Fairlane – to inspect our new listings.
The first listing this week was in Guildford. It was a weatherboard home in fair condition. It had been occupied by a single male who’d recently died.
But the home had one astounding feature – or, more correctly, it lacked one feature.
It had no kitchen.
I am not joking; this home had no stove, no kitchen sink, nothing in utensils and nowhere to prepare meals. A fridge in the laundry and a kettle in the bathroom were the only signs of a life with sustenance.
As we stood outside, I said to my colleagues – Sam, Michael, Peter, and Matthew – “Okay boys, before we inspect this home, I need to warn you that there is something truly incredible about it. Let’s see if you can pick what’s so amazing about this home.”
A few minutes later, the five us were in the back garden. As we looked back at the house, I asked: “Well, did you pick it?”
“Pick what?” came the group reply.
I was flabbergasted. Not one of these [male] salespeople noticed that the home had no kitchen.
In response to my frustration, one salesman said the “ceilings were low”. Another said the floor was uneven. Laughing, he said: “I picked up speed as I walked down the hallway.”
None of these points were “unique”. Many homes had such features.
I leaned closer to them and shouted: “THERE’S NO KITCHEN!”
Suddenly, they all ran back inside. But no, they could not find a kitchen. There was no kitchen.
WHAT MEN AND WOMEN WANT IN A HOME.
Men seldom care about kitchens. Even though their bellies cry out for food each night, men are more interested in the garage. They look for car access to the backyard. If there’s a pool table or a bar, they get keen. Give them a media room and they’re in heaven.
To women, kitchens are paramount. So are bathrooms. These rooms usually add the most value to a home. Listen to women, boys. Make sure your home has the best kitchen possible; that will get you the best price possible when you sell.
Sure, men may want a double – or triple – garage. But if a home has a poor kitchen and a great garage it’s not going to sell as quickly – or for as much money – as a home with no garage and a great kitchen.
When it comes to buying a home, women usually have the final say. Sure, men may strut around ‘open-homes’ like peacocks; they may “manage the negotiation”; and they love having their egos stroked by agents.
But in at least 80 per cent of cases, women make the final decision with home-buying.
Women rarely buy a home they don’t like. And while the husband may appear to be the “boss”, don’t be fooled, men do what their female partners insist upon. This is why many agents struggle to ‘read the play’ when dealing with buyers. Most agents focus on the males. They are too stupid, or too chauvinistic to understand that women are not known as “home-makers” for no reason. It’s women who’ll be responsible for making most of the sales in an area.
So, if you want to sell your home for the best price, make it appeal to women. Create a gorgeous gourmet kitchen and a stunning bathroom – with a separate toilet. Of course, if you can also include ‘bloke-lures’, like that garage, a bar or, wait for it, a man-cave, you’ll get a sure sale.
WISE WOMEN DETECT BAD PEOPLE AND BAD INVESTMENTS
With investing, it’s mostly males who make the decisions – and, in thousands of cases, those decisions are catastrophic. So many times, when it comes to investing in real estate, women say they “just don’t feel right”. And yet, so many times, men brush aside a woman’s concerns with a dismissive “what-would-you-know” attitude.
But women’s feelings about real estate – especially investing – are so often uncannily accurate.
I see it many times. Couples caught in dud property investments due to decisions made by men, warned against by women and now, years later, having a catastrophic event on an entire family.
Many times, bad property investments put marriages on the rocks. Dig deeper, go back to the source of the investment and here’s what you’re likely to find: An over-eager male ignoring an anxious, worried female. When she starts asking questions, he accuses her of being negative.
Now, years later, he knows she was right.
If all men were required by law to listen to the advice of their female partners before investing in real estate, most investment losses would be avoided. Most investment scams – not marriages – would come to a near-end.
ARE WOMEN SMARTER THAN MEN?
According to scientists, men and women are equally as smart as each other.
Except when it comes to real estate.
In real estate, in many instances, women are far smarter than men. This claim is not made lightly. In decades in the real estate industry, I have seen hundreds of examples where men lament their real estate decisions, saying to themselves, with shame or embarrassment: “If only I had listened to my wife.”
Women certainly know more than they are often given credit for knowing.
When I was presenting real estate courses – especially on office management – one of the most common statements I heard from female partners of male agents, went like: “Mr Jenman, my husband has just paid ten thousand dollars to attend your five-day management course. He has returned with volumes of information. Without wanting to take anything from you, so much of what you recommend is exactly what I have been urging my husband to do for many years.”
Yes, male agents – and I had scores of examples – were forking out thousands of dollars to learn from me what their female partners had been giving them for free for years.
I used to disclose to my audiences – which, in those days (the 1990s), comprised 90 per cent men: “Much of what I am sharing with you is what I learned from wise women in my life.”
One of the most important sections was the ‘Hiring System’. There were 27 stages. I warned agents that skipping any stage was dangerous. I asked the [mostly male audience]: “Guys, in your real estate office, have you ever hired a person – especially for a sales position – that your wife didn’t like?”
Just about every man gave a rueful nod. I would ramp up the question: “How many times have you hired someone in defiance of the vehement protestations of your wives – and then, later, discovered your wife was right: You hired a dud?”
Countless times. Indeed, some men said that, in every case where they had made a bad hiring decision, their wives disliked the employee, right back to when they applied for the position.
There is something about many women – especially mature women with plenty of life experience – that enables them to detect unsavoury characters. From job applicants to investment experts, the instincts of wise women are so often correct.
One of the essential steps of the Jenman Hiring System was that all applicants had to “Meet a Mature Perceptive Woman”. The evidence is irrefutable. Women, especially those over fifty, are like human lie detectors.
I used to tell my audience that if they knew a mature woman – with a name like Betty or Doris or Ruth – all their job applicants should meet that woman. And then, if she doesn’t feel right, do not go ahead with the hiring decision.
Or the investment decision.
In my life, I never make a major decision without seeking the opinion of the wise women in my life, usually my wife, my sister, or my mother-in-law. Indeed, so important are women to me, that, in my study, I have a photo-wall upon which are smiling shots of around two dozen wise women in my life. I look at these women daily and often think what they would do.
TOO SOON OLD, TOO LATE SMART
Yes, it’s a true statement – you get smart by being hurt. Or not listening to wise people – often women – in your life.
No matter how many times I see people getting hurt in real estate, it still upsets me. I never lose my sense of anger – except, perhaps with myself. So often, people contact me after they have been badly hurt. They say they have been “following me for years”.
So why didn’t they contact me before they got into trouble? It makes me think I have not been strong enough in explaining what we do at Jenman Support. We protect real estate consumers, that’s what we do. Every person who contacts us, I believe, will be better off than if they had not contacted us. We do not hurt good people. Not ever.
So why do so many people not contact us – especially when they have heard about us?
Often, it’s the men whose egos (there it is again, that common fault that traps so many men) won’t allow them to ask for help. Maybe they place us in the same category as the women in their lives. We are “just going to be negative”. But if negative means warning you about danger, then sure, we will be negative. I can’t be positive about bad property investments.
I hear about bad real estate deals all the time. I can spot them a mile away. I can see all the signals, all the psychological con jobs.
As I get older, I want to get more outspoken. I am starting to ask people to face up to the real reason they got caught in a bad property investment.
Often, I am saying: If I rescue you, then you must allow me to tell your story. I can’t be one helping only one. If I help one, I want to use that person’s pain – and how they got caught – to share with thousands of others and prevent them getting caught.
One of the cases I am working on now, was caused by another man not listening to the advice of the woman in his life – his life partner, his wife.
Here is what I wrote to him:
“In my experience, in cases such as yours, it’s often the case where the husband (you) is the most keen on going ahead. But the wife (Angela) is extremely sceptical and is trying to warn you, her husband. Most men do not listen to their wise wives – and I note your comment, with sadness, about the negative impact on your marriage. I hope you can patch things up. I will do my best to help you. But you perhaps need to apologise to your wife – if what I am saying is close to being true.”
This was his courageous reply:
“You have nailed it, Neil. Totally true. I should have listened to Angela. My declining health was directly caused by this mental stress. I beat myself up about this daily. I think of my own gullibility, my stupidity, false trust and ignoring the woman in my life and not seeking advice from you. I’ve learnt the most bitter lesson of my life. It has now reverberated through my family and impacted our health and well-being.”
WOMEN ARE WISER IN REAL ESTATE.
Sure, in the normal world, there is no proof that women are smarter than men. But in real estate, there is plenty of proof when it comes to the wisdom of women knowing what’s right or wrong.
One fact that scientists agree upon is this: Men tend to overestimate their intelligence. With women, it’s the opposite. Their inbuilt tendency towards humility makes them conscious of their weakness. This leads to them being more cautious, to listening to their feelings more often.
This is what’s needed in the real estate world. Women are more prone to safety in real estate.
If only we all would spend more time listening to the feelings of wise women. Including the women themselves. Next time the man in your life wants to go-ahead with what you feel sure, in your instincts, is the wrong decision, be stronger.
Threaten to leave him or divorce him before he makes the bad decision. That should get his attention. And, if you do break up, at least your financial situation would not have been ruined along with your marriage.
Best of all, of course, do what every person who gets caught in real estate – be it short-selling a family home or being coerced into a dud investment property – wishes they had done before disaster struck. Contact Jenman Support. We fight to protect your interests. All day, every day.
Just ask the woman in your life to check us out. Listen to her advice and then act upon it.
Please be careful. It’s a bad world, the real estate world. With the right wisdom, guidance, and support, however, it can be a very good world.
The choice is yours. Take the time to get your real estate matters right. Never rush in. Always think it over.
Better to do nothing than to get ripped off and end up with nothing. Ask any wise woman and I’ll warrant one final fact.
She will agree with such cautious wisdom.