Inman has Gone Blog Wild

and it is a good thing!

Looks like they just published the first of a 4-part series on real estate blogging (only by subscription after today!). Lots of good stuff from some of today’s heavy hitters!

It was great to see Todd of Lenderama get some exposure for his (very cool) REMBEX search tool.

Also want to say thanks to Greg… I think he’s running one of the best real estate sites on the web, so it means a lot to me when he gives credit to RCG for some of his inspiration.

While I’m talking about Inman, I thought I’d mention that, like many other real estate bloggers, I’ve been invited to participate in their Blogger’s Connect at the very end of July. I’m definitely looking forward to it as I had a lot of fun last year in San Francisco… From the overview:

The content, speakers and workshops are being designed in the blogosphere. We have invited 20 leading real estate bloggers to use their blogs to reach out to their readers to invent the program.
Imagine the first “user-generated program” including panels, topics and sessions. Could be silly, could be interesting — certain to be fun.

Bloggers Connect will begin on Tuesday, July 31 with a party and then all-day sessions on August 1. Fun and crazy events are being built into the program including the Dive Bar Tour, the Haight Asbury experience and the blogging romp.

2nd Day @ Inman

For many, “Pressing the Flesh” (talking with potential clients/competitors/vendors/media/etc) is the most valuable part of any conference, and for better or worse, the most valuable part of my day yesterday was spent connecting up with others.

I can’t say that any of the presentations I attended yesterday were particularly interesting (i.e. worth blogging about) including the one that I participated on as a panelist. Then again, I was really the wrong person to be speaking on a lead conversion panel as my contribution to the 2-hour discussion was about 5 minutes where I stated my experience was that blogging provides leads that are easier to convert than typical internet leads because you’ve already built up a relationship with the person when the contact you. Beyond that, I couldn’t offer much to the discussion, so the two hours were dominated by the panel’s sponsor discussing their (very cool) product. All things considered, I’ve met tons of people from Top Producer who would have done a much better job than me speaking about the ways that agents are using internet tools to convert leads. It’s too bad none of them were asked to be on the panel (especially since their top marketer product was nominated for an Innovation Award).

I’m always interested in controversy and being relatively new to the industry, I’ve found it interesting the extent to which major industry players boycott these conferences because of the way that Brad Inman has been known to push his own agenda. While pressing the flesh at the conference has been very interesting (and almost definitely a valuable long-term experience), I’m left with the strange feeling that I’m taking part in a massive dance orchestrated by Brad.

Most Innovative Blog Nomination Dinner

[photopress:Innovator_finalist.jpg,full,alignright]Inman’s Most Innovator Awards will be announced at a the SF Connect conference on Wednesday (7/26) between 5PM and 6PM… I’ve had more than a few requests to have dinner/lunch over the two days I’ll be at Inman, so what I’d like to do is organize a dinner at one of my favorite restaurant in SF, House of Nanking, with anyone and everyone being invited. It is not a fancy place (and their service is definitely nothing to write a blog entry about), but the food is soooo good.

For those not familiar with San Francisco, House of Nanking is a long walk (or a short taxi ride!) from the Palace Hotel. It is on the border of Chinatown and North Beach (the Italian district) in a micro-neighborhood I’ll always associate with the Beat Generation. There’s Vesuvio, Caffe Trieste (warning: music!), and, of course, City Lights Bookstore, all of which are still operating and will always thrive within the writings of Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and many others from the Beat Generation.

To summarize, if you’re reading this blog post, then you’ve been invited to join a group of us as we descend on North Beach on Wednesday evening (I plan to be at House of Nanking around 7:30 or so). Also, I’m covering the first round at Vesuvio’s for any and all real estate bloggers who were nominated by Inman! ūüėČ

Inman’s Innovation Awards!

Congrats goes out to all the contributors on Rain City Guide! We were nominated as a finalist for the “Most Innovative Blog Award” by Inman News. In my world, contributors are not only the people with their photo up on the sidepanel, but also those of you who return to give your comments on a regular basis. This site thrives off of your continued involvement!

The winners in each category will be announced in SF at the Inman Connect Conference. I’m definitely going to be there (I’m speaking on a panel on lead conversion)… Additionally, I would really enjoy organizing a meet-up of bloggers one evening. If you’re interested in joining us, then leave a comment below and I’ll send details as things get closer!

[photopress:Luther_engineering.jpg,thumb,alignright]In the meantime, I’m not proud to say that I didn’t know many of the non-blog nominations so I spent some time this evening on google researching the other companies nominated. Here are some notes (or at least links) I took while scanning the other nominees.

Most Innovative Brokerage

I wish Inman provided some more context so that I could know why they picked these particular real estate brokers. If anyone can let me know what sets these firms apart, please share!

Most Innovative Web Service

[photopress:Luther_engineering_2.jpg,thumb,alignright]Most Innovative New Business Model

Most Innovative Real Estate Blog

Most Innovative Real Estate Data Site

[photopress:Luther_engineering_3.jpg,thumb,alignright]Most Innovative Technology

Most Innovative Mortgage Company or Service

Most Innovative Media Site

Most Innovative Rental/ New Home Online Service

Want to live in the Golden State? Bring lots of Evergreen State money.

[photopress:180px_California_state_seal.png,thumb,alignright]I recently returned from my¬†almost annual¬†vacation in beautiful California¬†to visit my family and a few famous real estate bloggers (Dustin & Andy). And it was interesting to note¬†what I learned about real estate¬†in the Golden State during my two weeks down there…

Non surprises 

Bay Area real estate is still expensive. That wasn’t surprising at all. It’s been that way as far back I can remember. During my coffee talk w/ Andy, we discussed how the San Francisco side of bubble bay has popped,¬†and the Oakland side is peaking.¬†

LA traffic is still awful.

Small Surprises

Santa Barbara is even more expensive than Silicon Valley.

Camp Pendleton is the only thing separting San Diego from Los Angeles & Orange County. I hope for San Diego’s sake, the Marines stay put.

RedFin has finally invaded the Bay Area. I wonder who’s next? ūüėČ

Bay Area traffic is catching up to LA.

Big Surprises 

Home values in Southern Ventura county¬†(home to Dustin’s new employer) are on the¬†ridiculous side of expensive. In fact, it’s Silicon Valley expensive. I wasn’t expecting cheap prices (after all, I did grow up in California), but I wasn’t expecting this!?

I didn’t expect Santa Ynez to be as expensive as it is. Maybe Wacko Jacko’s Neverland ranch has done to Santa Ynez’s property values, what Bill Gate’s house has done to Medina’s? My parent’s home town (Santa Maria) is comparitively inexpensive, but it’s about as pricely as the Seattle Eastside is (median price ~$450K).

San Diego County is downright cheap in comparission to it’s neighbors to the north. In fact, prices there are less than 10% more expensive than Bellevue! Maybe being next to the Mexican border is keeping prices low, but I would’ve expected San Diego to be¬†second only to Santa Barbara and the Bay Area.¬†

So what other markets in the country (or the rest of planet earth¬†for that matter) have¬†surprising prices (both more expensive and less expensive than you might expect)? I’ve heard from more than one local realtor, that many out of state real estate consumers have sticker shock when they first come to King County. And I’m still surprised that¬†Portland is so cheap compared to it’s nothern & southern big city neighbors.