BlueRoof at Inman Connect NYC

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One of the best parts of attending a convention is the networking that takes place. Getting your story out, building those connections and relationships, and learning from others- these are all intregal pieces of growing a brand and a successful career in an ever-changing industry.

From the convention comes this write-up from Marc Davison, head of 1000Watt Consulting, who is helping to guide real estate brokerages into the future with consulting services.

This interview from brokerIPTV.com, who captured many of the speakers from the convention for private interviews.

With the launch of BlueRoof360, we are hoping to help change the industry for the better through guiding agents and helping them craft their own online presence and value proposition for consumers. Having fine companies spread the message about us is an enormous help, and I’m grateful for the generous publicity both of these companies are giving us.

Realtors are Just too Damn Old

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Ever been out with friends at the local bar filled with 20 and 30-something’s having a drink and you notice the old horny dude in the back just sitting, watching? He’s probably a nice guy and has a lot of great stories about the “good old days” when he actually belonged at this college hangout, but he doesn’t quite fit in with the vibe and environment.

Many Realtors are that old dude. Experience is good. Knowledge is good. Stories wrapped in nostalgia can be good. Being  outdated and unwilling to evolve and offer effective service because you’re too (old, lazy, experienced, busy, set in your ways, dumb, etc) whatever –  that is bad.

I’m not a fan of the blogging movement that seems to be happening where agents simply bitch and whine about everything just to gain some sort of credibility with consumers, as if to say, “See I’m complaining- I’m on your side, so give me business!”

I am not complaining to get business- I am complaining so that hopefully 100 of the old agents who read this will leave the business immediately. And by old I don’t necessarily mean age, it’s more the attitude and approach. But it usually does correlate to age. The average age of Realtors today in America is like 87 or 104 or something. It’s just really old.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this…

People enter into real estate at a much older age than other professions. They rarely gradute high school thinking they want a career in real estate and then immediately pursure that dream. There aren’t many kids running around dreaming about being a Realtor. Usually people enter real estate after years spent in some other career in some other field. They decide they want something easy different and give real estate a try. And then some make it, but most do not (90% of people who get a real estate license do not renew their license).

Older people know a lot of people. After ten years on the city bingo league and twelve years as soccer-mom and six years in the PTA and a lifetime going to church, some have a big sphere of friends and family and associates to beg network from. So some of these agents just hang around waiting for somebody to call them and don’t think about enhancing their service to attract new business.

Older people seem more trustworthy. Every generation seems to have this belief that people from past generations were better workers, more trustworthy, more wholesome, better dressers, better people, more dignified, more educated, more spiritual, and just plain better people. This is not true. Every generation is just as good as the last and just as bad as the last. Just because someone is older does not make them anything necessarily, except older.

Some older people have nothing better to do. There aren’t a lot of job opportunities for a 54 year old real estate agent who used to be the vice president of PaperDolls,inc. They don’t have anywhere else to go, so they stick around, passively. Without having a real drive, they don’t work to be the best or even be better. Many times they are content to just be there at all.

It’s tough to fire an older person. If 23 year-old Justin doesn’t cut it or learn the new stuff it’s easy to kick him out and tell him he needs to find another job. But good ole’ Betsy who’s got all the great stories and knits everyone sweaters and has no other job prospects, that’s tough. So noone kicks her out. She just hangs around doing nothing and not learning anything new and not giving her clients the best service and not making any money.

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I’m not saying that everyone older than me should leave the business. I’m saying about 85% of the people older than me should leave the business. There are 9000 agents in Salt lake and 8000 of them are older than me. If 85% of them (6800) left the business there would still be 2200 agents in Salt Lake, which would still be 1000 too many, but it would be a good start. It’s been no secret that I think there are way too many agents and it’s too easy to enter the real estate field.

Competition=good.

People unwilling to learn new things=bad.

I know,  I should respect my elders. And being young doesn’t make someone more tech savvy or have more energy or better. That is why I’m not saying everyone older should leave- only 85% of them. There are 15% who continue to learn and evolve and understand new trends and have enough energy to work more than 2 hours a day and actually return phone calls. And I agree that just being young does not make someone more tech-savvy, but younger people can be slapped-around and molded more easily. And if they don’t cut it nobody really cares about kicking them out of the business so there’s less guilt when they leave.

Like it or not, admit it or not- real estate is in a state of flux right now. The industry is being forced to evolve and those who lead the charge and accept the new protocol of constant change will be those who lead. Others will follow, and others will be pushed out of the way. This is not only acceptable, this is healthy. Evolution is all about making way for newer, and more evolved breeds.

Technology does not take the place of a relationship and it shouldn’t. Technology, when used properly,  should enhance it. I remember when I first got into the business they were just switching the MLS onto a computer. Previously it was just a big book. And I remember how much resistance there was to the change. They kept the book around for a while to help with the transition and I remember how most agents thought they book would always be around because nobody would want to drive to the office to look on a computer to find homes when they could just look in the book that they carried with them everywhere. This was only fourteen or fifteen years ago.

Tomorrow’s successful breed of Realtor will be heavily equipped with technology, a forward-thinking attitude, and a willingness to grow as they work diligently toward adding value for their clients. 85% of agents today do not want to grow and adapt and diligently work toward anything. 85% of agents today want to take their past or their extensive list of friends or their 40 hours of real estate schooling and sell enough homes in 2 hours/day to be successful. There are a lot of good people in the real estate business and hopefully those good people will evolve and stay in the business as it changes.

Prudential  Utah just made it mandatory for every listing to have a virtual tour because 60% of the agents weren’t taking photos of their listings or having any sort of photo tour posted. When I search for homes on the MLS many listings don’t have any photos other than the drive-by snapshot the MLS takes.

Consumer expectations are changing. There is more dicussion taking place between consumers and between consumers and agents. People demand value, and value is not the commission rate. Value is what someone gets in return for the price. It’s the whole experience. Consumer’s are moving online more and more every day and older techniques for marketing are becoming less effective. Those who want to be successful in this industry in ten years need to begin growing toward that today. Or move out of the way and watch as some of us lead the evolution.

Inman Connect NYC, 2008

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Most of the attendees to Inman Connect are owners, corporate people, or start-ups in the real estate industry- not many Realtors attend. It’s a fantastic way to teach, learn and network from those who are pushing the industry into the future.

And there are some great conversations floating around in the halls between sessions. With normal company or Board of Realtor Association conventions much of the conversation is, “How do you get your business?” or “What do you think of the market?” At the Connect event there are so many technology companies and owners of brokerages that the conversations have a bit more sophistication. Throw in a few beers and they get very interesting.

Some of the things I saw, realized, remembered, liked, and noticed from the convention;

There are a ton of start-ups launching in real estate right now

It is a blast meeting up with other bloggers at these conventions

Google offices have arcade games and a cool view

Dustin (dramatically) cut his hair

Joel always seemed to be on his way somewhere

NYC is a great place for a convention

Speaking at 9am has its advantages. I was a bit ambivalent about speaking in the first session of Connect. I didn’t know if kicking off the event was an honor or if it was like being the opening act for something better. Turns out, it was pretty great.

If you forget to pack your pants and have to wear jeans, just pretend you did it on purpose and noone will ever know the difference (until you blog about it)

Showing up at the very end of a party (because your flight was delayed) is still fun, but you’re left out of all the pictures and video

Craig never has much enthusiasm, but he’s always honest

I always forget my camera

Many large brokerages just don’t understand technology and how to utilize it efficiently. Even some who think they do- really don’t. Politics and corporate red tape make a company move too slow to keep up with technology.

Rudy and Joe are always cool to hang out with (and they always remember their cameras)

Brian Brady isn’t afraid to stay out all night.

Dustin has a list of things he learned as well.

MySpace Wants to be BlueRoof

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Or at least they want to take my blog, slap their branding on it, and put it on their new “News” section of the site. There are many ways to break into the news business, but simply taking other people’s content and branding it as your own is not the best way to do it.

It’s always nice to be recognized, especially to be considered newsworthy by a well-known source, but this goes a bit far. Nobody contacted me to ask if they could use my content. I suspect they have a spider or program that goes through each category and finds the sites with a certain level of traffic and then copy the content from those sites. There’s not much flattering about that.

MySpace has mastered the whole get-kids-to-make-silly-websites-and-post-naughty-pictures thing, now they might want to learn good business practices.

Google Search Secrets by Sellsius

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Sellsius gives us a fantastic list of Google Search Secrets that expose some really cool tools found inside our favorite search engine. A few of the secrets;

Find similar terms with the tilde (~): ~cheap homes. You get auctions, foreclosures, etc.

Use the wildcard star (*) if you don’t know the missing word: a man’s home is his *.

Get a list of definitions with “define:” define:foreclosure.

Use Google as a calculator (good for figuring a commission): 548,000 x 6%.

To search a term in a particular blog or website use “site:”. Useful if a website or blog doesn’t have a search box: site:blog.sellsiusrealestate.com zillow. (Dang, 960 Zillow posts. We must have a crush on Zillow.)

Type in the area code to find out the city: “646”.

Time & Weather. “Time Hong Kong” gives you the time in Hong Kong. “Weather Hong Kong” (or weather (zip code)) gives you the weather.

Local Movie times. Type the movie and your city or zip code: “I am Legend 10022”

Track FedEx, USPS & UPS packages: skip the log in and just type in the tracking number.

Flight information: “Delta flight 2446”

Comparisons: type in quotes: “better than___”, “worse than___”, or ” ___ sucks” (for bad reviews). “better than iPod”
Reverse lookup. Type in a phone number and Google gives you the address and/or identity of the owner.

Conversion tool for currency and weights and measures. “100 US dollars in British Punds”, “Square feet in an acre”, Ounces in 5 pounds” or even “days in 5 years”. 

Cry-Baby Board of Realtor Associations and MLS’s Continue Desperate Rule-Making

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The Northwestern Wisconsin Multiple Listing Service, operated by the Realtors Association of Northwestern Wisconsin, is realizing that it is a lame monopoly that is going extinct, in fact, an MLS system. And they have decided to take the same ridiculous position that the Regional MLS of Minnesota and the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois and Northwest MLS in Washington have taken…

They cry about it and demand that the term “MLS” is theirs and demand that people stop using it. Do they have a copyright or trademark on the term, you ask? Of course not, but that doesn’t matter to these cry-baby pissy-pant’s- what matters is they want to continue their monopoly of information.

Here’s how the MLS works:

Broker pays MLS a fee to become a member, Broker takes listing, Broker displays listing on MLS, Broker pays MLS more money to display MLS listings on website, MLS sets ridiculous rules that broker must follow or be completely cut off from using MLS information.

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And the Boards of Realtors are the ones handing down this new trend after the National Association of Realtors decided that it would continue being irrelevant give that authority to the local Boards.

MLS’s around the country are seeing the writing on the wall. They know they are a monolpoly and that they cannot continue to control everything like they want to. So, instead of evolving and becoming a solution and making things better, these absurd MLS’s are rolling around on the floor kicking and screaming.

These MLS’s don’t want agents to be able to use the term “MLS” to advertise their services to the public. Although the information for the home searches on the agent websites come directly from their MLS, they don’t want the agents to be able to say so.

This precisely shows why we need new systems and websites to replace the MLS’s- or we need some real leadership at NAR to help connect the dots for these guys. All these MLS’s doing damaging things and NAR is just watching the crash-up derby from their comfortable position at 10,000 feet and that does not help the industry.

Inman has better coverage.