Do YOU have a durable power of attorney?

So, I haven’t been on RCG for a while because I am gone from Seattle to Wichita, KS where I and my siblings are on hospital watch. My parents were hit by a drunk driver on Monday night and so I caught a flight here immediately since both of them were in the hospital with injuries. My dad has a brain injury and has been unconscious for several days now. For anyone that is interested in reading my blogs about the experience feel free to do so at this link:
When I’m working with clients there are always situations that come up where we have to deal with difficult circumstances. My partner, Michael, and I frequently ask our clients if they have a durable power of attorney. Typically we make it for a specific property based on the transaction and usually the title company has to approve the POA to insure the purchase. Sometimes the POA is put in place under in the context of just making sure we are able to get signatures if there is a spouse or partner that travels a lot or an out of country trip is planned that would make it difficult to get notices or addendums signed. I’ve used these when I have siblings in multiple states as well who are buying or selling property.

Thankfully my parents did put together POA’s about 4 years ago. My mother is a REALTOR(R) in Wichita and my dad works with her as a licensed agent. They also own several rental properties and they had just received mutual acceptance on an offer for one the day they got in the accident.  My mother is conscious, although on pain medication for her broken bones, and she is aware enough that she knows what is going on and can sign things for herself. However, while I am my dad’s medical POA one of my siblings is his financial POA.  I’ll likely have my sister sign for my dad just so there is no question about mental faculties with my mom when the additional paperwork for this transaction is turned in.

It’s been a relief for me (and I think my mom too) to be able to come in and help out with her business while she and dad are in the hospital. I can’t practice real estate agency in Kansas but I have contacted some other agents that know my mom (she’s been an agent 20 years) and they’ll help with any items that require licensing and I’ll be a knowledgeable “gopher”. This also relieves stress from my siblings who may not know what they should do for her contracts and listings. I hadn’t really considered I’d have to help out in this way, but I sure am glad that I can.  It helps to also give me something else to think about rather than my dad in ICU.

My comments to all that read RCG is that if you don’t have a durable power of attorney for your personal affairs you really should do it and the sooner the better. You never know when a truck will slam into you and render you unconscious and you’ll need help with your medical and personal affairs such as paying bills. We stress this kind of long term planning to pretty much all of our clients and we host a client event every year that covers things like this to prevent more cases like Terry Schiavo. I hope you’ll consider it and go do it soon yourself.

The "BIGGER" news on

[photopress:boycott.gif,thumb,alignright]I was intrigued by Kevin Boer’s comment on Galen’s post predicting that the Major Brokerage Houses would be jumping in en masse and posting their listings on Kevin predicts that it will be “the little guy” who will hold out. I predict it will actually be the other way around, with the bigger players finding an excuse NOT to post their listings on Time will tell.

In my link post to all of the blog articles on Zillow’s overnight make-over, I found this obscure post which says what others are not saying:

“RED ALERT” Zillow Wants Our Listings. Before anyone posts their listings on Zillow-let’s get a consensus. I don’t want to aid these people at all, and by posting your listings, you are doing the legwork for them and I think it is a comakazie move. Before agents gang bang the free listing, maybe we can vote on this as a whole. What do you think? They’re not Realtor’s, so this is not an anti-trust violation, is it?”

Joanne Brown of Keller Williams, who wrote this blog article, tread on the thin ice others knew not to step on. But that’s the beauty of blogs. Every once in a while, someone just “let’s it all hang out” there in the blogosphere.

NARdi Gras Blogging

[photopress:nardi_gras_eventlogo.gif,full,alignright]The folks over at the Center for REALTOR Technology have made it a bit too tempting, so I’ve decided I’m going to blog the NARdi Gras!

Please join me over on the new blog platform on as I take over the site with a Mardi Gras theme for the next week. 🙂

By the way, if you are attending the convention and plan to blog, let me know! I plan to keep an extensive list of bloggers covering the event!

Also, I’d love to keep track of all the real estate technology products that are going to be announced at the event, so if you’re releasing something, let me know. I already mentioned my first product announcement yesterday (when I said that Top Producer recently unleashed a blogging tool available to any of their clients for FREE!!!), and I’m sure there will be many more to come over the next few days!

A tribute to one who tried

[photopress:forlorn.jpg,thumb,alignright]I happened upon this story by accident.  It is one of the very best stories I have ever seen about a “former realtor” and his experience.  We hear from agents all the time…the ones who stayed in the business.  We hear that 80% leave and it’s a revolving door of new agents year after year. 

But we rarely hear from those who left the business.

Here is a heart wrenching, well written, slice of life piece that will tear you up.  It touched me deeply.  Hope you enjoy reading it.

More Bed Hopping with the Competition

  1. Matt Goyer, of Urbnlivn fame, just accepted a position at Redfin. I wonder if he’ll keep up urbnlivn, or quit in favor of the Redfin blog like Rob. Just reading that article about Rob reminds me how much things have changed in the past six months…
  2. Anthony Allan put together a nice post on five steps to Realtor nirvana.
  3. Tim shows the Seattle Bubble is more popular than Rain City Guide! And wants a front-page link from RCG in the same post! I like Merv’s approach to giving site stats better (i.e. keep me out of it!) 🙂
  4. Meanwhile, the classic over-achiever (who happens to be a damn good writer) follows Tim’s lead today and shows me up by taking my idea (list of 10) and doing it better
  5. Niki let me know about the massive updates that he just unrolled at HomeThinking. He’s got a pretty comprehensive database of sold listings and my understanding is that he is attempting to get people to review agents for as many transactions as possible. It might sound unintuitive for agents to support a site that allows users to comment on them, but Nike (and Mike of Altos Research) seem convinced. Niki also mentioned a bunch of interesting features including a GeoRSS feed of his data so that it can be syndicated far and wide.
  6. I also noticed that HomeThinking is syndicating Real Time Pricing Trends from Altos Research in selected markets. Here’s their chart for Seattle:
  7. Prices for SEATTLE

  8. Osman writes about an interesting “green” development in Aurora, CO that would “encompass nearly 3,000 housing units, 1.7 million SQFT of retail, and 2.8 million SQFT of office space” if fully built out!
  9. Remembering Katrina.
  10. Google now allows you to download and print out old books that they’ve scanned from some of the nations largest libraries. Very cool. Not only that, but they recently introduced a news archive search that has scanned 200 years worth of news. Wow!
  11. Not only is Noah is off enjoying a trip in Europe at this moment, but he should be officially mawwied by now. Congratulations!

How much for the bathroom?

  1. [photopress:WWCG_logo_JPG.JPG,full,alignright]Frances Flynn Thorsen is raising 100K with the Web Women Giving Circle for CARE — a humanitarian organization that works with women to fight global poverty.
  2. There is no good follow up item because everything else is void of the meaning in comparison. I recommend (1) following the links in the first point, (2) donate some money and/or time and (3) repeating the process until it creates an infinite loop of giving.
  3. NAR has whole pages on the social benefits of homeownership. “Homeownership also provides many benefits to the family, children and the community, such as increased education for children, lower teen-age pregnancy rate and a higher lifetime annual income for children, as discussed in the following articles and studies.” Does anyone really believe homeownership causes these things? I don’t doubt that there is a correlation, but causality?
  4. Joshua Dorkin decides to one-up (make that 22-up) Cheryl, and lists his top 35 real estate blogs!
  5. Fliperati is searching for good investment blogs… (I am too!)
  6. How much is a bathroom worth? depends on how bad you gotta go…
  7. Today’s seemingly random plug for a decent person: Seattle Agent Ann Bergstrom.
  8. I noticed some traffic coming from a MarketWatch article on the value of agents despite the web. Looks like RCG is featured in the sidepanel as an area to keep up with real estate trends. Very cool!
  9. Tom has a different take than MarketWatch his comments on how the web is helping agents compete.. He quotes an article I found most interesting because people like Brad Inman and Greg Sterling comment on the type of real estate companies that will survive a soft housing market.
  10. Dean is asking what I (and you) think of 50-year mortgages? Personally, I despise acting desperate in anything I do, and 50-year mortgages reek of desperation.

The Super Agent

It seems to me that the agents who post and comment on RCG are ‘mom and pop’ agents whose business is limited to their ability to work with clients directly throughout the real estate transaction. I’ve not heard from any of the ‘Walmart’ agents who have built organizations allowing them no upper limit on their ability to service clients. In fact, many comments and posts have implied that the latter approach is bad for the consumer. Is Walmart bad for the consumer? We all may hate how Walmart shuts down mom and pop stores that can’t compete with the scale and volume pricing of Walmart, but does this have anything to do with the end consumer? Macroeconomically and politically, absolutely; however, consumers have voted with their wallets that the Walmart model makes sense.

When an entrepreneurial agent builds a business, hiring a licensed assistance, then listing specialists, then buying specialists, then a business manager, then a lead manager, why do the lone agents seem to have little respect for the organization they have built? Given the state of the industry today, as others have defined it, where new agents get little training and modeling by experienced agents, wouldn’t such a scaled organization be welcomed? Think of the licensed assistant? It seems to me that by working with an agent so successful and productive, this assistant would be exposed to every type of transaction, and grow up to be a better agent.

To me, it’s the scaled super agent business organization that would be the best place for a new agent to learn the ropes. As many have written here on RCG, the traditional brokerages have little motivation to spend a lot of time growing an individual; however, a good super agent aligns incentives so that the training and modeling he/she provides others within his/her organization contributes to the organization’s bottom line, and such an investment pays off as productivity grows.

Do consumers suffer with these super agent organizations? The mom and pops would claim they do, for in their paradigm, the real estate transaction can only be truly successful if the agent is hands-on throughout. Do the consumers feel slighted, unsatisfied? My guess is no, for the most part. No matter big or small, an agent needs a bedrock of referrals to succeed long term. Clearly, these super agents excel in lead generation and marketing, but a happy client is a happy client, and they’ll refer their friends.

As a new agent, and as an investor, I would love to be in a position where I could lead an organization and model it for success, and get paid handsomely for it. If any super agents are out there reading RCG, I’d love to see your perspective represented here on these pages.

Polarized Activity and the Real Estate Industry

[photopress:Cavegirl.jpg,thumb,alignright]I started butting heads on industry changes long before I started “blogging”. Below are two “posts” I made to an internal agent real estate forum about a year ago. They have been “picked up” on the internet, and so are now “publicly available” on the internet. I thought I would take them out, dust them off, and look at them again and see if my views have changed at all in the last year.

From September 2005: The challenge of this industry is to find the correct resolution to “What’s wrong with this picture?”

From the DOJ and the consumer standpoint, what’s RIGHT with this picture is the opportunity for Joe Public to pay less than the rate Realtor’s dictate is correct and appropriate. What resolution resolves the issue for both Realtors and the public’s right to competition in the marketplace with regard to cost of service?Secondly, if you insert the EBA model into the above excerpt with all facts the same except “Why would you want to call the “Seller’s Broker” when you can have separate and full representation at the same price?” you have another question to answer. What “boycotts” the discounter also “boycotts” the EBA, as they both use other Broker’s listings to promote a model that urges you not to use the company who listed the property. Is there an answer that is fair to the listing company/agent, provides an open marketplace with regard to commissions charged consumers, and allows the Exclusive Buyer Agent to promote the benefits of separate representation?

Is your response part of the solution or simply an attempt to keep your finger in the hole in the dike for as long as you can.
Ardell DellaLoggia

To date, the Realtor organization has considered it a courtesy or “by permission of” the listing company for one to advertise oneself by using another company’s listings. Those outside of the Realtor organization have not considered this internal courtesy arrangement, and so are confused by the Realtor argument against anyone using listing info as they choose without approval. Even within the industry there are discrepancies as listing “agents” give permission when, in fact, the Broker should be, and usually is not consulted.

The house of cards is toppling. We created a system that supported the traditional business model and frankly, “set” fees nationally. The DOJ is not incorrect in seeing a problem with the system from the consumers’ perspective. It is incumbent upon the movers and shakers of this industry to promote a solution that is fair to all.

To date, our systems have only supported the full service, traditional, full fee business model. I once suggested to Early (maybe twice 😉 that he not be a Realtor as his business model does not “fit” with the Realtor organization’s objectives. I put my money where my mouth is in that I have followed my own advice. I set my fees on a case by case basis and I am very cognizant of the consumers’ right to choose their form of representation among the various options available to them. I am not a “discounter” or “single agency shop” by definition, I simply allow the possibility for the consumer to choose from all options. That is really all the public wants and deserves.


Back to the present, sometimes it takes a “Cavegirl” who has been around the block a few times, and carries a big club, to beat the issues into submission from both sides of the fence. I’m going a bit inward here and re-examining my own words and thoughts from a year ago. Are we any closer to the true solution? NAR is not. The DOJ is not. I’ll have to read over my own words a couple of times and see where we are…

You Have to Wonder….

And some ask why the government is so fixated on organized real estate. It is because of this mindset and the audacity to shout it out to the world…

I tactfully tell my sellers if I reduce my commission to 4 percent or 5 percent, the buyer’s agents will show my listings last only after showing the full-commission listings. Whether it’s ethical or not, that’s what happens.

Full article on Inman (subscription required after a day)


Free Bloginar in L.A. for 200 Agents!

Russ Cofano and I are giving our 2nd Bloginar for agents next week on how to use blogs to effectively generate leads. Interestingly, the sponsor of the event, Coldwell Banker, decided to open up our seminar to all southern california real estate agents and not just Coldwell Banker agents (WOW!)… Not only that, but they decided to make the even free (Double WOW!).

The catch is that the facility can only hold 200 people and they’ve decided to offer seats on a first-come, first-serve basis! The only place to register is on this fancy flash page they created for the event! (A little bird has told me that there are already over 50 people 70 people 80 people 100 people registered for the event, and the organizers are expecting a full house!)

The event is scheduled to start promptly at 9:30am and last until 12:30 on July 19 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Brentwood.

Last time, we ended up rushing things (and skipping one of two planned breaks) because we really have four hours worth of material we’re trying to condense into three hours. I’ve attempted to filter things a little more this time, but with the inevitable (and valuable) questions that real estate blogging encourages from the audience, I’m sure we’ll be rushing to cover everything in the end this time as well!

Some of the reviews we had from our first bloginar were very encouraging…

Dale Crockatt:

Dustin and Russ, your first bloginar class was awesome! I have not been so excited about a new idea in years. We have been searching for an idea for the fourth generation of our website and I am convinced this is it! I was surprised you were not selling something at the end of the “show