Monthly Archives: March 2010

Very Slow Live-Blog of #HARREIS

I’m going to try to do a bit of a stream-of-consciousness “live-blog” here at Houston Association of REALTORS Real Estate Investment Symposium.  I put that in quotes because (a) I’m distracted often, and (b) the bandwidth isn’t the best off my little MiFi device.

I’ve already missed a couple of the early presentations from Zillow, Google, and Move, but a couple of interesting things from this morning.

Sam Sebastian from Google suggests that the future of real estate broker is as an ‘information broker'; I asked if he could elaborate on that, since the experience of the past ten or so years is the opposite: information that used to be held by realtors is now all over the public via the Internet.  Isn’t the trend more and more towards realtors becoming customer service people rather than information brokers?

The answer — and it’s a good one — basically seems to be (at least interpreting Sam) that by “information broker” he meant something more like an analyst.  That the future of the realtor is as an interpreter of all of the information and data that’s all over the place on the Internet.

Interestingly, Google’s search on real estate terms is up 20% year over year, despite the terrible market.  Incidentally, I think that’s contradictory to the experience of the other big real estate websites (or at least used to be a few years back), but I haven’t seen recent stats.

[EDIT: This is getting very long, so it continues after the fold.  And forgive me for the ugliness of the post; it’s the nature of a “live-blog”.]

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I Don’t Pay Cowards and Assassins

I've uncovered a terrible secret... a conspiracy...

So earlier today, I get an interesting email from our form on

First Name: NAR
Last Name: Scandal
Email Address:
Comments: Breaking News!  New Scandal at the NAR

Exclusive from

A new scandal is brewing over at the National Association of Realtors and we at ( have the “exclusive story” along with quality in-depth reporting you can find no where else.

This scandal is a true living tale of real estate, the internet, technology, money, power & greed.

A must read for every member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as well as every citizen and homeowner within the United States and modernized world, as this one actually has the power to affect our future as well as future generations to follow, in so many ways.

Click here to read all of the latest details at ( ).


The Researchers & Writers

“The Next Generation of Real Estate Media”

Naturally, I am intrigued by the “Next Generation of Real Estate Media” that is talking about scandals and intrigues, power and greed, a shadowy powerful conspiracy with the power to affect future generations for years to come!  I’m sure there’s some sort of a DaVinci Code type of puzzle or three involved.  Tom Hanks and sexy French lady can’t be far behind!

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The Source of Confusion

I love this new post by Brian Boero over at 1000watt blog.  Go read it in its entirety, right now.  I’ll still be here.

Back?  Okay, I don’t have a lot of time today to do one of my traditional 9,000 word essay, but this post raises such a set of good points that I had to address them briefly.

Brian writes:

First, technology is – in the real estate broker’s world – thoroughly paradoxical. That which offers brokers a promise of liberation (from legacy systems, from antique business practices, from burdensome costs) often ensnares them in a Web of confusion, dependency and waste.

That’s too often true.  But then Brian continues:

These words are relevant for any broker trying to reclaim brand equity with consumers and deliver long-term value to agents.

If you can pull it off, though, and once you determine who your target customer is and what it is you know that is most likely to engage them, then – and only then – think about the technology you’ll need to make that happen. (Emphasis mine)

This is where Brian — and the brokers who are trying to get un-confused — need to take it one step further.  The primary source of strategic confusion in real estate comes from not knowing who your customer is.

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Do We Believe in the Millenials?

Image: Barack Obama, on Flickr

Starting a few years ago, I’ve been hearing a lot about how the Gen-Y or Millenials (people aged anywhere from 18 to 30 today) are going to change everything — but particularly in real estate.

A random sampling of opinions about how the Millenials will affect real estate, from a Google search I just ran, turned up these recent posts and articles:

MILLENNIALS – The New Face of Real Estate:

Text messaging, email, IPods, Facebook and being mobile as ever is a part of the new generation, the Millennial.  The Millennial are the young workers ranging in age between 21 to 29 years old.  They have the potential to create a lasting change in the real estate workplace because of the way they live, communicate and more importantly, the way they view their jobs.

80 Million Reasons to start changing your marketing….Millennials.

What do you think , will typical marketing work to attract someone that is buried in a laptop, ipod, FB, Twitter etc.. and values friendship more than work?

Hear Them Roar: Millennials make up almost a third of the U.S. population, and they will fundamentally change how you do business.

“Real estate agents may wonder why they should care about the Generation Y age group, ages 18 to 30,” Jessica Lautz, a senior research analyst at the National Association of Realtors, wrote on the organization’s website in 2008. “These unique home buyers are the youngest of the home buying segment and are the most likely to purchase a home in the next two years in comparison to any other age group.”

Sustainability, Urbanity, and You: How Millenials will Change the World (and Architecture)

Millennials grew up in suburbia; bland environments dependent on others for mobility. They are entering the adulthood seeking lifestyle: vitality, diversity, and community. But, Millennials are not the only ones who will be driving this sea change from suburban to high quality urban environments. Baby Boomers will soon be retiring by the boat load. Retirement communities in their current form resemble warehouses more than they do the most desirable of retirement “villages”—real communities where retirees can be independent and empowered, such as the Upper East Side and Key West.

And so on and so forth.  If you cared to, I’m sure you can find dozens, hundreds of other musings on the Millenials and how they force real estate professionals to be ever more online, ever more sensitive to these 80 million strong “Generation We” people who care more about walkability and lifestyle than large colonials on three acres, and so on.

The whole drive towards social media’s ascendancy in real estate was fueled in part by the insight — as is clear in the ActiveRain post above — that these Millenials are the FaceBook generation who are natives of the digital realm.

But a couple of recent articles make me wonder just how the Millenials will impact real estate; it may be rather different than what we imagine today.

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Real Entrepreneurship

There is a viral YouTube video going around right now, a “parody/spoof” of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys.  Here it is, in case you haven’t seen it:

I understand that the people behind the video, one Pantless Knights, were making a parody.  I hope to God that they’re ridiculing the people being held up as examples of successful entrepreneurs by the media.  The intro in the sidebar hints that may be the case:

This is a Pantless Knights tribute to our favorite entrepreneurs (who are all “new dorks”). It’s a spoof of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” from the guys behind (thank you!). We made it because there’s a new type of dork that is cooler than ever. Look at tech entrepreneurs, hipsters, Computer Science Barbie – they’re all super popular new dorks! Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe!

Trouble is, even if Pantless Knights were ridiculing the hipsters and Computer Science Barbies who flock to the latest get-rich-quick schemes that make up so much of the “Web 2.0/social media” world, there are entirely too many slackoisies in that industry making fools of themselves and cheapening the word “entrepreneur”.

Let me rage properly at these fools.

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