The Day After

[photopress:Ardell_attica.jpg,thumb,alignright]Choosing some lofty goals. You don’t climb a mountain, simply because “it is there”. You climb a mountain to get the strength of conviction needed to move mountains “The Day After”.

Taking the necessary steps to make changes that benefit both consumers and the industry at large, so others have a working model to follow, is my lofty goal. Telling everyone how I really feel is not about telling everyone how I feel. It’s about targeting some of the ways I can improve the system, one step at a time.

Climbing a mountain (See Quote #19) is of no use whatsoever, if you don’t do something differently the day after, and the day after that, and the day after that. When you run out of steam, or feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, or simply lose the courage to proceed…you find another mountain to climb and start the process again and again. C’est la vie for those who choose for it to be so…or not.

1) Every buyer should know the cash amount they need to bring to closing before they make an offer to purchase and not “after the loan docs come in”. We can change that in 5 seconds. I am changing that today.

2) There should be a training class for agents, that is actually a training class for agents. I need 10 agents to volunteer as guinea pigs for the class, so I can structure the curriculum. I’m hoping Seattle Eric will be one of the ten to volunteer, but he is the only “new agent, used to be investor”, that will be permitted in the class of 10, for “balance” purposes. Eric, agents should never be caricatures…too many are.

3) I decided to run for Club President of my Toastmaster’s International Club at next election in 8-10 weeks.

4) I’m giving my second speech on “Three Simple Steps to Effectively Managing Your Life” tomorrow night, and will continue to give that same speech, until I perfect the handouts to the point where everyone in the room “gets it”.

I’d like to have eight “lofty” goals, and add one every time I accomplish one. So if anyone out there has any suggestions for Changing the World one step at a time, I’ll consider picking the next 4 from your suggestions.

I need 4 more by Monday, so your thoughts appreciated.

10 Great Conversations

Just for fun, I started recording notes on real estate conversations I enjoy following and I decided that when the list hit ten, I’d hit publish:

  1. David Smith has a great (no wining allowed) article about the housing bubble. I only wish David interacted with the real estate blogging community a little more because his stuff is great but easily missed…
  2. Continuing on the bubble topic, Dan Melson puts on a great effort describing why renting really is for suckers (and what yo do about it). For me, this is a great example of why real estate professionals should not write about the bubble (David Smith being the exception! 🙂 ) It reminds me of the “fool“ish investment advice so popular in 1999/2000 that said it didn’t matter what price you bought a stock at as long as the company was good, you would make money in the long-term. Here’s my problem with this argument… If rents are cheaper than the interest payment (i.e. both of these being the completely sunk costs) and home prices go down slightly in the near future (which doesn’t seem inconceivable for selected markets in the country), then no amount of number juggling will replace the fact that if a potential home owner would be best served waiting to buy until the prices bottom out. I realize there are more than a few “ifs” in my statement, but my goal is not to say that it is a bad time to buy, only that a blanket statement “it is always a good time to buy” falls on deaf ears.
  3. On a related note, it is timely that the NYTs notes that rents are rapidly rising across most of the US (with Seattle being a highlighted area!).
  4. Greg shows off his custom signs. I think these are brilliant marketing moves and every agent should look for ways to market themselves through their listings. Beautiful stuff…
  5. And talking of beautiful ideas, Claudia Wicks mentions a very simple marketing idea ($1.50 simple) that could go a long way… There’s a beauty in simplicity (and it reminds me of an idea that Anna and I were batting around a while back…)
  6. And if you really want beauty, Fraser Beach takes staging to a new level by hiring actors (beautiful ones!) to play house during an open house
  7. It takes a certain level of confidence to have fun with your previous mistakes. (Kris is clearly a confident agent and I like that!)
  8. ActiveRain is getting some hype from both the Real Estate Tomato and the Future of Real Estate Marketing. I definitely think that Matt Heaton is onto something interesting, and he doesn’t get particularly phased by either Greg or Joel, which I think is a great sign.
  9. Because I’ve been there
  10. Greg (Linden this time!) creates a list with (nearly) all the Seattle start-ups and their associated Alexa rankings. It is a list that is definitely worth checking out as you might be surprised at the massive activity within the Seattle start-up community! For those interested, the rank of the real estate sites were: Zillow (976), Homepages (21,720), Redfin (22,117). RCG was not included in his list, but we are ranked at 75,844. You might also be interested to know that despite the fact that we’re not ranked as high as some of the other sites, our reach is right up there with HomePages and Redfin. (not bad for a site with no paid staff and $120/year hosting fees!). And since I mentioned ActiveRain earlier (and they are based in Kirkland), I think it is interesting to note that they are seeing awesome growth in the number of pageviews that is blowing away all the local real estate sites save Zillow. Considering their Alexa ranking is only 108,655, they are obviously creating a sticky user experience.

This is a job for…SUPERGEEK!

[photopress:geek_logo.jpg,thumb,alignright]I would very much appreciate it, and I think agents would buy the software, if someone would write a program to fill this need.

I am setting up a home tour of nine homes for tomorrow. They are spread out from South Bothell to Upper Mill Creek. There will be so much going on in evaluating these homes that I often “mapquest” and print out the directions from one property to the next.

How about one of you setting up a “HomeTour.com” that we can subscribe to for a monthly fee, where we can type in all of the addresses at once and it will spit out the driving directions one to another. Would also come in handy for large offices that do weekly tours of new listings and for agents who are previewing a lot of Broker’s Opens all in a short two hour period. Would save a ton of time.

If someone knows of a program or online service that does this already, I would love to hear about it.

Just throwing it out there as I know many of you are looking for new products in the technology arena that agents would find useful. You may even be able to get HomeTour.com from whoever owns it but doesn’t seem to be using it.

Idea for Rain City Guide…

Maybe one of the highlights of being a blogger is that I get emails from people from all over the country (world!). The most common emails are from people who want me to let me (1) know about an interesting news item, (2) review a product or (3) add their site to my blogroll (hint: you can add yourself!).

Here are some of the conversations I had this week that I thought might interest RCG readers:

  • Magnus Svantegård asked me if I was going to the Realcomm conference in Houston this June. I’d never even heard of this conference, but I’m interested in learning more. After a few minutes on their website, it seems that this group is pretty focused on the commercial side of real estate. Have any readers been to this event in the past? (I added it to the real estate technology calendar 😉 )
  • Stephane Grenier (of the wonderful Follow Steph blog) offered up a free copy of LandlordMax to any Rain City Guide contributor who would write a review of the software. I definitely not the right person to write a review of a Property Management software package, but if a contributor is interested in testing this software out, let me know.
  • Max Chirkov let me know about one Google Trends (he wrote about it here). Steve Rubel appears to be having a lot of fun with this tool…
  • Joel Burslem wrote to let me know that he recently started a blog on real estate marketing. This is definitely a blog worth adding to your feed reader and assuming that he keep writing such interesting posts, it will definitely attain “must read” status.

UPDATE:

I can be bribed!!! If any investors out there are interested in purchasing apartment buildings in Southern California, check out Havan’s latest offering and let him know that Dustin send you! 🙂