There are many great people in, and around, the real estate industry. Some lead by example, some inspire with their words, and others lead with their ideas. There are great companies and people all around the industry right now and as a whole (partly because of these people and these companies) the industry has grown more in the last three years than in the previous twenty.
Here are ten of the great thinkers, leaders and of the industry right now;
Dustin Luther has not only pulled blogging into the mainstream for real estate agents and pioneered the first great collaborative real estate blog, but he has done something even more incredible- he has given people an enthusiasm for blogging by his constant thinking, creating and now by his training.
Jim Cronin creates beautiful blog sites and teaches agents how to use them effectively. Neither of these feats are small. Great design is only easy for those who have a talent for it, and Jim obviously has in it spades.
Joe Ferrara at Sellsius gives us a fun, interesting blog for sure, but there are many of those. Sellsius was a great blog before Rudy left for Trulia, but instead of pack up and move on, Joe decided to re-invigorate the blog with a fresh new life. And who else could give us “Real Estate Porn” and at the same time, the “Top Ten Women Bloggers”?
Dougan Jones has been the owner, president, and/or broker for many large real estate companies. And in each company he has brought something that cannot be bought or taught… he has brought culture. I believe the way you can tell a great leader is by how many leaders they develop and by this account, Dougan is among the very best. There are dozens of real estate managers and leaders, including myself who trained under Dougan in Utah, Colorado and Michigan. He is also one of the most charismatic and incredible people I have ever had the privledge to meet. Dougan completely energizes people around him and people are naturally drawn to him because of his magnanimous charm and wisdom.
Active Rain has given real estate agents a platform to leap beyond themselves in a sense. Most Realtors who blog on Active Rain would not be doing so without Matt and Jonathon starting the joint. I don’t know if it’s profitable, but they are keeping it relevant by hosting parties at conventions and continuing to grow their brand organically.
Marc Davison is leading by another means. Marc leads by showing. Showing other leaders how to think differently, how to be creative, and why that matters right now. Marc and I don’t always share the same opinions or ideas, but we always share the same motives.
Greg Swann is a brilliant, brash, and blazing writer who, love him or hate him, gets people to stand up for (or against) things. And that is not easy or unimportant. He has built one of the most formidable blogs in the industry by inspiring people to write their guts out and not hold back. If you’re in the mood for some opinions, occasional music videos and lots and lots of words, he’s got you covered.
Inman Connect has brought technology and real estate together during the past few years unlike anything else. And although it is becoming too political, it still attracts a lineup of great speakers and innovators and if it can pull back the reins on the money-grabbing it just might be able to use it’s clout and momentum to lead the industry in more ways than its conventions.
Rudy Bachraty is now the mascot voice social director or “guru” for Trulia and has become a sort of bridge for many agents to find and meet other agents. Sure he has his day job and he is one of the best at utilizing social media and gaining an audience, but what sets Rudy apart is what he does at the conventions and shows. He acts as a social director for the whole industry. Want to know where the parties are? Call Rudy. Want to know who is speaking about what? Call Rudy. Want to get a drink with a really great guy? Call Rudy.
Great Agents with Technology are the most powerful force in the business today. Being a great agent means having a deep knowledge of your market, extensive experience with contracts and the escrow process, and a true desire to help your clients and put them first. When these agents really utilize technology they can offer better service and a better experience for their clients. Powerful custom websites that get their message across and back-end systems that give greater transparency to the transaction for their clients will propel these agents while others fail in the coming years.
I’m proud to call many of these people friends. But more than friendship, I, along with many others, enjoy learning from them and watching as they continue to grow and help shape our industry.
Almost daily I am again reminded at how ridiculous the business of selling crap (services and ideas) to Realtors has become. The real estate industry has enough problems right now- we don’t need people trying to screw us over and so many idiots preaching about stuff they don’t know anything about.
Here I name ten of the worst offenders. From people preaching to agents about the business to companies that are screwing you over, I’m going to spell it out.
10. Inman News and Rismedia charging hundreds of dollars/year to become a “member” so you can read their articles or watch videos or read the “breaking news”. It’s not enough to slap as many ads as possible in every possible place on their site, with some, like the first big-ass ad on Inman as you go to the site, are the most annoying ads EVER. No, they also need to charge just to read stuff. Reminds of me the old (failed) business model newspapers used when they first went on-line.
9. Bloggers that think if you whine and bitch about how bad things are than it proves you are trustworthy. Many bloggers, and “bubble” bloggers especially, think that because they constantly preach about how prices are crumbling and everyone will lose all their money that somehow that makes them trustworthy, like, “See I’m telling you bad news so you can trust me.”
8. Realtor.com– One of the biggest, lamest business models ever. To be a Realtor, one must subscribe (and pay $100’s/year) to their local, state and national Realtor Associations. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) collects millions every year from memberships from agents who go out and actually do the work of selling property. Realtor.com is the “official” website of NAR and, because it is the official website has access to all the listing data that its members provide. But instead of using that data for the benefit of it’s members, it sells listing placement, promotions and ads to its members, effectively selling leads back to it’s members by using the data that those members have provided it. And the members don’t have a choice- either pay your membership dues (and give your listing data to Realtor.com) or you cannot be a Realtor.
7. MLS’s– I could go on for hours about how much MLS’s screw over agents. Not only as a Realtor, broker and owner of real estate companies, but having websites and now owning a company that develops custom websites for agents and brokers, I have seen a lot of ugliness in the MLS systems. They regulate and fine and give out ridiculous fees to their members, then if you want to use that data for your own website you have to pay the MLS’s for that right. Some MLS’s are so pompous and self righteous (Denver’s Metrolist and Bostons MLS) it could make you sick. And some charge so much money (Utah’s Wasatch Front MLS and Phoenix’s charges $12,000/year!!) to use their data for your website that it should be criminal.
6. Template website providers– most of these templates are so ridiculous that I’m surprised anyone buys them. Many don’t include MLS searches, many have very little customization, and most are completely worthless as a source of getting new business (their primary objective) or in improving service for clients. Some of these, like Number #1 Expert charge thousands of dollars to sign up , plus hundreds of dollars/month and sell you on being part of their “network” of suckers agents.
5. Advanced Access– I think I’ve covered why they suck…
4. Point2 Agent– These guys give you a website for nothing. And that’s what it’s worth! They will give you a crappy template site and then charge you for any upgrade they can and refer you to their business partners “preferred partners” for anything else. Instead of an MLS search, they give you an “Agent Handshake” listing feed. So you can display listings from agents who are members of their service and who have agreed to allow you to display their listings. That’s right- why show web visitors all the homes for sale when you can show a very small percentage?
3. Diverse Solutions– Because they copied BlueRoof’s sliders (except made them much worse and slapped them on a bad map-search) a long time ago when I wouldn’t partner with them and now actually tell people they had something do with the design of BlueRoof . Yeah- right!
2. Craig Proctor– This is an agent who sells websites that are the most painful things to look at ever. Try reading one of these things, they are basically just thousands of keywords and hundreds of forms to fill out, which are ways to try and get people’s information so you can then spam email them until they die or just give up and throw their hands in the air with surrender and buy something just so you’ll leave them alone. Ironically, they will get even more emails because Proctor’s system now identifies them as a complete sucker. It’s not just the system I don’t like- it’s those painful, ridiculous websites!
1. SEO Companies that guarantee placement. If an SEO company tells you that they can guarantee your website will be on the first page in Google search results, you should invite that person to meet you in person, and then when you meet them, SLAP them! It is a hoax, a fraud, a sham! Nobody can guarantee placement on Google- not even Google.
There are a lot of good leaders, speakers, consultants, and people in the industry. People like Ed Kraftchow, Marc Davison, Dustin Luther, Dougan Jones, and Gretchen Pearson. There are good agents doing good work and there are many good products, brands, and services. I’ll write about them later- right now I’m heading off to the NAR convention to meet up with some of these good people. Hope to see you there…
MSN published a report today naming the best and worst states in the nation based on unemployemnt rates. Some of the areas may surprise you. Just as real estate markets are local, so are economies. Some areas have better run governments, different zoning and business licensing laws, better access to resources, or events that happen (military base closing, new company moving in, major employer cutting back or hiring, etc) which cause job demand to fluxuate.
Eight of the worst cities are in California, while three of the top cities are in Utah.
According to the article, here are the top 15 cities for jobs based on unemployment rates;
1. Bismarck, N.D.– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.5
2. Casper, Wyo.– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.5
3. Logan, Utah– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.5
4. Sioux Falls, S.D. – September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.5
5. Morgantown, W. Va.– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.6
6. Ames, Iowa– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.7
7. Fargo, N.D.– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.8
8. Iowa City, Iowa– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.8
9. Rapid City, S.D.– September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 2.9
10. Lincoln, Neb. – September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 3.0
11. Provo-Orem, Utah – September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 3.0
12. Billings, Mont. – September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 3.1
13. Charleston, W. Va. – September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 3.2
14. Midland, Texas – September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 3.2
15. Salt Lake City, Utah – September 2008 Unemployment Rate: 3.2
And the 15 Worst Cities are;
1. El Centro, Calif. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 24.5
2. Yuma, Ariz. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 20.5
3. Yuba City, Calif. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 11.2
4. Merced, Calif. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 10.9
5. Flint, Mich. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 10.8
6. Visalia-Porterville, Calif. –September 2008 Unemployment Number: 10.6
7. Modesto, Calif. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 10.5
8. Palm Coast, Fla. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 10.3
9. Stockton, Calif. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 10.2
10. Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla.– September 2008 Unemployment Number: 10.1
11. Fresno, Calif. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 9.6
12. Rocky Mount, N.C. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 9.6
13. Monroe, Mich. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 9.5
14. Punta Gorda, Fla. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 9.5
15. Redding, Calif. – September 2008 Unemployment Number: 9.5
For a more complete list and more information visit MSN.