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REALTOR Indentity Crisis

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NAR Complete Evolution 4.6

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has an official logo that was created in 1973. The official use of the logo and trandmark rules are here:
https://www.nar.realtor/logos-and-trademark-rules

On April 9, 2018, NAR release a new logo. In part NAR released the new logo because, "the existing logo had limitations that have never been addressed..."

Those words and phrasing are rather suprising for many reasons.

That set aside, in short, they wanted to change the font because the old font is hard to read on small devices such as the iPhone. They also gave the logo a 3d update.

Members hated it.

On April 11, 2018, NAR paused the new logo's implementation because of the backlash of its members:
https://www.nar.realtor/brand

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Tale of 2 Clients

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2 clients are going after the same market.

Client one is on an older platform. We do not manage the site. The content is stale.

Client two is on a newer platform. We manage the site. The content is fresh. The site is optimized.

What client has better SEO results for the terms? Client one.

Client one is in the 5 spot and client two is in the 13 spot. On the second page. I usually find that as long as we can get the client on the first page, they are happy.

Now the burning question... why?

Good question. There can be many reasons why but I believe, in this case, the answer is dynamic alt tags. The older site has them. The newer site does not.

In other words, the older site has "$search-term pic of $item-name" and the new site has "$search-term pic."

I'll change the client 2 and see what happens.

Thanks for Using Our Service... Here's an Extra 10 Days on Us!

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Recently, while demonstrating a service, upon login of the service, I got a message, "Thanks for using our service! Here's an extra 10 days on us. Just fill in your phone number here...."

Ohhhh.... I like that! Talk about leading down a path to further engagement. Talk about baiting a hook.

The service allowed to sign up for free. Then an extended time is traded for further information.

Once you provide the additional information, you get:

"Congratulations! You now have 10 extra days for free access to:

  • feature 1
  • feature 2
  • feature 3
  • feature 4"

Public Speaking -

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Throughout the years I've been able to speak publically in many occassions. Couple that along with a college degree in communications and I tend to find myself evaluating other public speakers. Many are way better than I will ever be in my lifetime. Others, along with myself, have room for improvement.

While I was recently evaluating a public speaker, I was disappointed. I like the individual. He held a position of local promenience. I was cheering for him.

But it wasn't happening. The speech was bland. I was dosing off. And I think most of the audience was happy when it was all over.

Still, here's my question. Why? Why was it disappointing? If I could change something in the talk, what would it have been?

I decided to start somewhere and focus on three items I would change rather than make everthing 10 star. Here are the three items I came up with:

-entertaining. The speech has to be entertaining. That's unfair but it's true. I could go on and one about what makes it entertaining but usually it's storytelling. I'm a bad story teller. Hmmm...

-connect with audience. The speaker has to connect with the audience. There are way to do this but it's outside the scope of this article.

-life changing. The speech has to be life changing. If it isn't chaning my life, then what's the purpose of listening to begin with. I could stare at a picture of the ocean.

So those three items are in broad terms where to begin. If you are public speaking in the near future, ask yourself these questions.

Is it entertianing? If not, add some stories or illustrations.

Does it connect? If not, try re-orgaining the content in a manner that adds impact at the beginning and at the end.

Is it life-changing? Don't just try to educate. That's boring. Try to change lives. After all, that's why we are here.

48 Ways to Speed a House Sale Checklist

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Doing. That what makes the difference. There's an old saying, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

FloridaRealtors.org published in July 2015 edition of it's FloridaRealtor magazine an awesome checklist to help you prepare your home for sale.

My suggestion? Print out this list and do what it says. Checkmark each one as you go through.

Evaluate

  1. Having either your REALTOR® and/or a home decorator walk the home and make suggestions on items that need to be repaired, replaced or removed.

Repair

  1. Patch damaged walls.
  2. Replace cracked floor tiles.
  3. Oil squeaky doors.
  4. Fix sticky windows.
  5. Fix leaky faucets and toilets.
  6. Re-caulk tubs and sinks.
  7. Replace broken windows and screens.

Update

  1. Replace cabinet knobs and pulls.
  2. Update lighting fixtures, after evaluate.
  3. Update blinds, after evaluate.

Paint

  1. Paint the interior in neutral colors.
  2. Paint exterior doors and window trim.
  3. Paint shutters.
  4. Repaint exterior, if needed.

Brighten

  1. Take down heavy window treatments that block light.
  2. Wash all windows.
  3. Increase the wattage of light bulbs.
  4. Replace dark lamp shades.

Depersonalize

  1. Remove family photos.
  2. Store knickknacks.

De-Clutter

  1. Thin out the books on your shelves.
  2. Empty kitchen counters.
  3. Place out-of-season clothing in storage.
  4. Rent a storage unit to store unneeded items.

Organize

  1. Organize pantry.
  2. Organize closets.
  3. Organize basement.
  4. Organize garage and shed.

Clean

  1. Clean all interior surfaces
  2. Wash windows and doors.
  3. Air out and clean in cabinets and under sinks.
  4. Power wash exterior of house and sidewalks.
  5. Clean outdoor furniture.
  6. Clean porch lights of cobwebs and debris.

Hide Signs Of Pets

  1. Remove pet smells.
  2. Hide pet food and bowls.
  3. Take pets for a walk during showings or send them to day care during open houses.

Stage Inside

  1. Reduce the amount of furniture in each room.
  2. Organize furniture to create seating areas and give each part of the home a purpose.
  3. Place cut flowers around home during showings.

Prune and Landscape

  1. Remove dead plants.
  2. Prunce or replace overgrown shrubs.
  3. Fill open spots with seasonal flowers.
  4. Add fresh mulch to beds.

Stage Outside

  1. Make sure front porch/entryway is clean and inviting.
  2. Use outdoor furniture to create inviting spaces.
Original publication: FloridaRealtors.org

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 August 2015

Login to Your Realtor.com Account

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LOGIN TO YOUR REALTOR.COM ACCOUNT EASILY
-go to: http://solutioncenter.realtor.com/Default.aspx
-PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS NOT THE REALTOR.COM HOMEPAGE.
-select ACCOUNT TYPE: AGENT
-select YOUR-MLS (MARTINCOUNTY, NAPLES, PALMBEACHFL, INDIANRIVERCOUNTY, WESTPALMBEACH)
-type YOUR-MLS-ID for MLS ID (for example: 20001234)
-type YOUR-MLS-ID for PASSWORD (for example: 20001234)

If you forgot your password, click FORGOT PASSWORD.

Bold Leadership

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Bold leadership is clarity around and unreasonable commitment to what could be and what should be.

An example of this is a middle-school aged girl pursuing and new iphone. They will ask Dad, then they ask Mom, then they barter, negotiate, maybe ask grandparents, ask for Christmas, ask for birthdays, ask for any reason that they could think of. This is bold leadership.

Bold Leadership Caveat

Consequently, bold-leadership does not allow the question of "How?" to kill an idea. If you ask the question "How?" too early, then the idea gets killed too early.

If someone on your team or your family comes in with a crazy idea in which the results are good, come back with "Wow!" instead of "How?" Talk about what should and could be rather than talking about how something is possible. There is a time and place for the "How?" but at the beginning, it's more important to focus on the "Wow!"

Two questions that can be used to help with this are separated into two different categories; a head question and a heart question.

Head Question

Joel Barker's "Future Edge" or "Paradigms" has the first question, the head question. "What do I believe is impossible to do in my field but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business?"

The reason this is important is because you or someone on your team may actually solve this. Another reason is that you will become more sensitive to the people who are trying to solve this.

In many companies, this comes down to the idea that two items are needed; great leadership and great communicators. A great leader doesn't always have the capacity to be able to hold a crowd's attention for more than 10 minutes without putting them to sleep. Conversely, a great communicator doesn't always have the leadership skills required so the organization is poorly lead.

In a growing company, the point person is often a great leader and great communicator. The problem becomes that the organization is limited by that person. As the person goes, so does the company.

If you could solve how to have great communication and great leadership then the problem of growth for most companies would be solved. If the branch manager or remote office manager is a great leader, they don't have to be relied upon for great communication. That layer can be handled by the main office communication.

Example of Head Question

An example of this is Steve Jobs re-entry into Apple. His focus upon return wasn't how to make it faster, it was how to make it easier. He solved the problem for many people in the world who had a difficult time using computers.

Heart Question

The heart question is this, "What breaks your heart?" Most non-profits began with a broken-hearted leader but also for-profits can gain from this as well.

For example, Toms shoe company gives away a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes bought.

Another way to ask this question is to ask, "What would you like people to thank you for at the end of your life?"

Conclusion

Again bold leadership is clarity about and unreasonable commitment to what could be and what should be.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015

Great Leaders Ask Great Questions

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Great leaders ask great questions. Personal. Organizational. So on and so forth.

What Do Great Questions Do?

These questions do three items:

  • reveal values
  • reinforce values (along with stories)
  • reinforce behavior

You see, your questions are revaling what's important to you. It communicates to the person what's important to you.

Repeated questions are related to repeated behaviors.

What Questions to Ask?

Questions like:

"What am I doing personally to make it better?"

"What would a great leader do?" (Even if you don't consider yourself a great leader do.)

What Does it Accomplish?

It raises the standard of our leadership.

It weeds through the fog of emotion.

Reveals motive and shows personal agendas.

It reveals weakness.

Aspire you to reach beyond your limits.

Conclusion

Great questions help you get beyond your comfort zone do what the situation requires. It gives a glimpse of what could be and what should be in your life and in your organization.

In the end, ask the question. Ask the question even if you are going to follow through or not. This way at least you know what the answer is.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 22 May 2015

What is a Leader?

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A leader is a person that creates culture.

Leadership is Listening

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Leadership is responsible for making the correct decisions. To make correct decisions, the leader needs to be able to listen. The issue becomes that leaders increasingly don't have time to listen. Also they don't have the capacity to listen.

To become better leaders means to become better listeners. This isn't the listening that you typically perform. Typically, you listen to someone speak, nod your head and give them your full undivided attention. In the type of leadership listening that makes us better, we are trying to hear what people are afraid to tell us.

People are afraid of losing their jobs. So they just go along with it; whatever it is. But what we are after is active participation of team members who are emotionally involved and rewarded for correct decisions. Most people will eventually care and keep their mouth shut.

Consequently, how do you get the information you need to make good decisions? How can we allow ourselves to have access to the people we need to listen to and allow those people to have access to us?

Information gets filtered. Some people claim this isn't intentional. I disagree. I've seen first hand that information is most definitely filtered. This happens because no one wants to take the blame. Or because people, by their nature, are crabs in a barrel. They will always pull down the crab trying to climb higher.

This, of course, happens because people are so short sighted. They make decisions based on the context of their immediate surrounding and don't incorporate the greater marketplace. I remember people at Gateway Computers trying to get a position in the company all the while failing to recognize that the company itself was about to go out of business.

So how does a leader establish a system of listening? How do leaders avoid insulation from reality? Even though there is insulation built into the organization, how does a leader know when to reach beyond that insulation?

Leaders are tired of hearing bad news. How can we set ourselves up for knowing what to listen to those items that we don't want to hear?

Gather the Right People

The first step in listening is to gather the right people. These people will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. Good leaders know that they are not the smartest people in the room. Since we are not the smartest people in the room, we need to listen to the smartest people in the room.

Listen to Them

The second step is to listen to them. Leaders are attracted to environments where their ideas and values are heard. Ergo, leaders attract leaders. If you were in an environment where people didn't listen to your ideas, how long would you stay apart of that environment? Not very long. Why? Because no one is listening to me.

Well, hello? You are on the opposite end of that. You need to listen even when the ideas are bumping up against your own values. This attracts people to you.

The converse of this is that leaders who don't listen will eventually end up with people who have nothing helpful to say.

How to Create Listening Systems

The way to create listening systems is to get the most brightest and most strategically-minded people around the table. We need to have the flexibility to have pull in the right people to get the right information as it pertains to a specific issue.

Now there are a couple of rules with this. When this happens, always try inform the direct report that this is happening. It would sound like this, "Hi Division Head. I'm trying to make a decision about Project XYZ and I've invited Worker ABC to join in on the meeting."

Secondly, pick people who are where the action is. If something is happening in a particular office, ask the person at the front desk or people in the office where the action is happening. Don't ask the office manager. Make sure you tell the office manager that the meeting is happening and that there are no secrets go on but the meeting is with the front desk person.

3 Month and 1 Year evaluation questionnaire could be a great way to gather information as well. New people don't know any better. So when they are asked questions about their experience after being there for 3 months, they simply tell you. This allows you to view what people are thinking and it gives permission to people to speak their minds.

Then 4 times a year, have a meeting with front-line people that are willing to speak their minds. It's a listening event rather than a information sharing event.

Conclusion

What we want to hear least is what we need to hear most. To be able to hear, you have to build in listening systems into your organization to make the best decision.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2015

Regional MLS Makes Data Shift to Allow for Sold Data

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Connections to the MLS can happen in only one way these days. Looking back it's fun to see the progression through time since the beginning via FTP and SECURELINK.

After a connection is made, there are different theories on how to download the data. This can happen in a few ways.

One way that we connect monitors the data relatively closely. It keeps track of a multitude of items concerning the data. These items would be considered METADATA since it's data about the data.

Recently, on 03-03-15, the METADATA for the BEACHES-MLS/SOUTH-FLORIDA-MLS/REGIONAL-MLS (they are all the same data-wise), changed. Significantly.

In researching why, it was discovered that FLEXMLS, the company that provides the database for the REGIONAL MLS, changed to allow MLS's across the country to provide SOLD DATA to their partners. This is demonstrated by their announcement here:
http://www.flexmls.com/blog/announcing-sold-listings-settings-flexmls-system/

So even though FLEXMLS provides the database for the BOARDS and their members, FLEXMLS does not make all data available to the BOARDS and their members. The change is allowing access to some of the information that previously was inaccessible.

While the article claims that "Consumers get a real-time view of what’s happening in the marketplace and, can make their decisions based on fresh, reliable data from their local Broker and Agent," the reality is much different.

The truth is that the data is only as good as the people that maintain it; the agents and (ultimately) the brokers.

While you won't find any hard documentation, it's been reportedly-known that agents do not mark a property SOLD in the MLS until forced to, despite MLS policy. This force could be by tax records or by broker policy or by a forceful hand from another agent/broker.

The idea is simple. Having a listing as ACTIVE or PENDING or CONTINGENT is free advertising for the agent and pads their number of listings to be higher than it actually is.

For example, if a property is actually SOLD in real life and is marked as PENDING in MLS, two items are happening. The first item is that it shows that the listing agent has an extra property for sale. So while the agent may have 4 listings for sale, on MLS it will show that they have 5.

Secondly, it is both possible and probable that an inquiry could be made on the property. If the interested party is not working with a real estate professional, the following magical words may come from the listing agent's mouth, "I'm sorry that property is unavailable but I have another one just like it."

Ahhh... the magic of real estate.

What's inevitable is that this SOLD data will eventually wind it's way into the wrong hands of which the data is not intended. It's intended for agents and brokers. It reportedly will end up in the hands of Zillow and similar companies who will use it to re-sell back the agents and brokers.


 

UPDATE: Well that didn't take long. Zillow is moving to get direct access to MLS data. This article from FLEXMLS sums it up:
http://www.flexmls.com/blog/death-by-thousands-of-feeds/

I concur with their attitude towards the move. It is a move that will result in, "no one really knowing where or who is using it [the property data] or for what purpose."

Pretty much game over.

I can hear it now in someone's head, "Why would I get my data directly from MLS when I can get all data from all zombie MLS's from ZILLOW? I'll just combine it with the MLS source when I can and use the ZILLOW source when I can't. No one will ever know. Will they?"

You are correct. No, no one will ever know.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 March 2015

ACTIVE-CONTINGENT status is renamed to just CONTINGENT

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It's been a wild ride over the course of the past few years with the local MLS data-wise. They system is in a constant state of flux. What's funny is that it's fluxing back to its original state.

In the latest change, MLS status of ACTIVE-CONTINGENT is being renamed to just CONTINGENT. Which is the way it was years ago. But it's taking the long way around to get there.

While this isn't that big of deal on the outside, on the inside this is a totally different status code. So originally with MLXCHANGE/FIRST-AMERICAN, the status was just CTG. Then with FLXMLS/FBS, it changed to something incoherent like AWC_15429SGZYQIT but would show as ACTIVE-CONTINGENT. I suppose the AWC was supposed to be Active-With-Contingencies.

Now with the recent change, it is changed to move all the AWC to PENDING. So now it shows as something like PWC_15429SGZYQIT. I suppose, it is supposed to be Pending-With-Contingencies.

Then later on this month of NOV 2014, AWC will be renamed as CTG. I'm sure another status code will be created.

The issue with using something incoherent is that it is incoherent. What's the point of structured-communication, like English, if you're not going to use it?

Here's an idea. Use what was originally intact:

  • ACT
  • BOM
  • CTG
  • PND
  • SLD
  • CAN

Most people won't even need a reference guide to figure it out.

Google No Longer Shows Author Picture or Google+ Circle Number

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You know how if you would do a Google search and sometimes the Author would show up? And you know how sometimes besides the Author's name there would be a picture of the Author and possible the amount of Google+ circles?

Well, Google is no longer showing the picture of the author or the amount of Google+ circles. The only item that remains is the Author's name.

Schema SingleFamilyResidence

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https://schema.org/SingleFamilyResidence

  • Thing > Place > Residence > SingleFamilyResidence

Compare this to:

  • Thing > CreativeWork > Movie
  • Thing > Event
  • Thing > Product

Hmmm... Interesting

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 August 2014

5 Questions to Ask Internally

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Often times, an organization is fluid. It grows, it shrinks depending on many factors. Systems that are in place do not follow with that liquidity. For example, as an organization grows, the systems need to change to fit that growth. And vice versa.

The problem becomes we are too close to the situation to be able to recognize that this is taking place. When a family falls apart, there are signals but often people don't recognize them until it's too late.

Here are five questions to ask internally, in an informal way, that can reveal when change is happening but you are not aware of it.

1: What are you excited about right now?

People want to talk about what they are passionate about and they will work harder when they are working on something that they passionate about. Have someone that is passionate about social media, work on social media.

2: What do you wish you could spend more time on?

People often get bogged down with the daily routine. They want to see growth or change but they can't because they are too caught up in the squeaky wheel.

3: What's most challenging?

This has to do with resources. How can someone do what they want to do unless they have the resources to do so? The people don't want to complain or create waves so they gloss over this. A person's performance is evaluated but often all the factors are not part of the discussion. The problem is often the system; not the people.

4: Anything bugging you?

This is a great question that reveals anything that isn't systems-related but it's personal. It might be something at home, it might be something with a personality in the office. This gives permission for the person to talk about something without sounding like they are complaining. Again, people complain but smart people learn not to complain so there's a group of people who won't reveal their thoughts.

5: What can I do to help?

This allows the person to recognize they you are there for them. Do not try to fix the problem just allow them to vent. You want them to vent like a heat vent; upwards.

So do these questions in private not in mixed company. You want them to share your experience because their experience is not your experience. And experiences are just that; experiences. And experiences aren't wrong. They are just experiences.

This gives permission to not allow people complain and feel like they are complaining but allows them to voice their concerns. Remember people are just that people. You can't expect them to not be people.

Good luck this week!

 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014

Customer, "Do You Care About Me?"

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From the customer's point of view, there's one question that will drive customer satisfaction.

I remember overhearing a conversation at a restaurant many years ago. The customer was upset that the fish that they ordered wasn't as fresh as usual. The manager in return started to explain his experience in the restaurant industry and how difficult it is to get fresh fish. He further offered to take the item off the bill.

The problem was, he did it all in a monotone voice.

When he walked away, the party at the table started to complain. "I can't believe it!" "How dare he take that attitude!" "This is the last time I'm coming here!"

Now here's the question... why? Why did the customer complain? Why was the customer upset? Didn't the company remove the item from the bill? What else could they have done?

So while the right action was to take the item off the bill, the question in the customer's mind is this, "Do you care about me?" And that is the key question, "Do you care about me?"

Unfortunately, answering in a monotone voice doesn't communicate "I care about you." It communicates "I couldn't care less about you."

I understand. It's difficult. The daily grind. The day in and day out schedule. You already know what's going to happen. Especially if you are in any type of leadership role as the complaints all fall back to you. After many years, it becomes routine. A certain number of customers are going to complain. It's the facts. That's just the way it is. If you're involved in any type of wealthy industry, like a country club, all the members will complain. Seemingly.

Remind yourself today that you should care about your client and communicate that. One way to communicate that it to listen empathetically. Always agree with them. And go up and above the call.

In the scenario above, what if the manager was listening empathetically. What if he said, "Oh my gosh! I can't believe it! This is not our standard. I don't know what happened." The whole time shaking his head with his hands.

And then what if the manager went up and above the call. What if he said, "I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to take this item off the bill and I'm going to give you a coupon for a free item for you next visit."

What would be the complaint then? What could the customer complain about?

You see if you are caring about the customer, the customer not only can't complain, the customer can only talk about you caring about them.

Here's the best part. You can actually orchestrate that you care about your customer. How is up to you. It might be personal written letter in the mail. It might be a personal phone call. Maybe it's something else. But it's personal.

If you show you care about your customer, the satisfaction level goes through the roof. Imagine what it would be like to have raving fans who knew that you cared about them. What kind of referrals would they give?

Is going above the call costly? Yes it is. But so is not going above the call. As one of my collegues used to say, "The most money you'll lose is the money you'll never make." Meaning that you'll lose the opportunity for future happenings.

So get out there and communicate to your customers that you care about them.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Top 10 Places Real Estate Agents Should Setup Their Digital Profiles

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Real Estate agents are learning to dominate the digital landscape. When I talk to agents one on one, it amazes me how many of them have not setup their social media profiles.

But I understand. The world is a confusing place. There are clients to serve and lives to live. This leads to the fact that agents do not know where to start in the first place.

So to make it easy and to get everyone started in the right direction, here is a list of the top 10 places that agents should setup their digital profiles (in no particular order).

  1. Facebook-Page (Not personal profile).
  2. Twitter
  3. Realtor.com
  4. Zillow
  5. Trulia
  6. YouTube
  7. LinkedIn
  8. Pintrest
  9. Google+
  10. ActiveRain

If you do not have your social profiles setup yet, spend some time this week to do so. After all, what's better than being in the first spot in Google when someone searches your name? Being in the first 10 spots.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 June 2014

Inbound Links

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After a year on posting about the First Page of Google, I still am being asked this question on a weekly basis.

From a real estate agent's perspective, they want to show up first. Showing up first in their searches means everything to them. It's like the company who wants to increase the LIKES on their FACEBOOK page but ignores sales. This strange to me but seems to be people's mindset nowadays.

What's even stranger is their strong desire to accomplish this. They are willing to spend almost any amount of budget to make this happen.

They feel that if they in the first position in google, that their sales will increase as well.

I, on the other hand, find very little truth to this. Some of the web sites our company pushes out are quickly the dominate position for google searches. The number of times this position leads to actual sales is little in comparision to what real life interaction does.

And I very well could be wrong.

Nonetheless, with the strong desire to become number one position, I'm finding most agents in the first position (not our clients mind you) are using INBOUND LINKS to help.

INBOUND LINKS are links from other web sites linking to your web site. So if Yahoo News does a report about us and posts a link to our web site, that is an inbound link. Get it? Good.

Two important factors come into play when discussing inbound links; the TITLE of the link and the NUBMER of links.

TITLE OF LINKS

The title of the link is simply something like JUPITER FL REAL ESTATE. The idea is that if you have the right words in the title of the link, it helps. So reference the JCPENNY article in the NYTIMES here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13search.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

NUMBER OF LINKS

One trick seems to be getting as many inbound links as possible. But you might ask where would these inbound links come from? Good question.

That is where social media comes into play. Basically any other web site that can refer to your web site is what we want.

Here is a quick list I came up with researching for a few moments from other agent's web sites:

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • pintrest
  • wordpress
  • activerain
  • zillow
  • trulia
  • other private web sites
  • vimeo
  • youtube
  • google+
  • google-adwords
  • own-blog
  • ezinearticles
  • articlebase

THE PROBLEM

The problem very naturally becomes that this takes time. And lots of it. If you know anything about real estate agents, most of them want the results but are not willing to put in the time to achieve the results. Maybe it goes back to their commission mindset.

In any event, they want the first spot but are not willing to put in the time to even post on their own web site let alone some else's web site. And doing it 15 times over is out of the question.

I posted the places here so I could keep track of what I see others doing. At some point, I may offer a service that does this but it will have to be pretty pricey to as the amount of time that is involved.

Until then, I have the list and I will play around with one web site to see if I can't get it to pop in a competitive google search to see if it works.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Realtor.com Lead Generation Systems

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Here is a good article from Realtor.com that talks about lead generation systems:

http://www.realtor.com/advice/4-secrets-to-success-how-to-manage-high-volume-leads/?cid=EML301472

Basically it comes down to:

  • collect the leads (tigerleads/pay-for-leads-via-realtor.com)
  • respond fast (fivestreet).
  • track the communication (yesware).
  • pull in accurate info from other public sources (rapportive).
  • distribute the leads to others and cherry pick the good leads (good-old-greedy-capitalism).

Welcome to the new world of real estate.

The Post PC Era in Your Business

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Here is my reply to a new manager who thinks items should be sent to a company of 550 agents in a POWERPOINT format:


 

It is a link but I believe that it misses the mark. If it were 2003 and everyone used WINDOWS XP and everyone had OFFICE 2003 with POWERPOINT then it would be great.

But it isn't 2003. It's 2013 heading into 2014. The issue lies is in the stats of your presenation. Half of traffic to realtor.com is mobile. Dell is coming off the stock market. The newest versions of OFFICE as well as PHOTOSHOP is to pay per computer per month.

The signals are there. It's the post pc era. We need to conform to the pattern of our culture's digital society.

Think about it like this. In 2003, for me to send a video to you, I had to upload a video to a web site. You had to download the video and pray that you would be able to open it. Most of the time you couldn't. You might not have the software on your computer to view it. Maybe there was a versioning issue and your version of a video player was different. Maybe you didn't have the codecs to be able to view the video.

Then YOUTUBE came out. It removed all those types of obsacles. I simply uploaded the video to YOUTUBE and gave you the link. You could watch it. Amazing. That technology is only 6 years old.

In short, the presentation needs to be able to be VIEWED without any additional requirements or effort on the person viewing it. Ask yourself the question, "If I give this to someone, can they just click on it and view it?" If the answer is no or if the answer is yes but it needs... then you have to re-work it so the answer becomes yes.

Google Custom URL Builder

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So we started an external ad campaign to one of our web sites. An external ad campaign is an advertising campaign that isn't sourced from Google AdWords. It's sourced from another web site like a media/news outlet.

Eventually the question is going to become, "Is the advertising working?"

Good question. The only way to see this is with Analytics. While there are many analytic tools out there, Google Analytics is what we run into most. Probably because the price tag of free and the backing of Google's brand name makes it an obvious choice.

Like our other posts about Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics is powerful. It will tell you all sorts of items about the traffic that is coming to your web site.

So if you want to know if traffic is coming from an external ad campaign, it will show that right?

Yes and No. It will show traffic from the external ad campaign but it won't show it out of the box. You have to do some work.

Create a custom URL

The first step is to create a custom URL also known as a custom link. You can do that with the Google Custom URL Builder here:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867

Basically, you're taking your web site name and you are adding nonsense at the end. This nonsense, technically called parameters, doesn't do anything other than track a few items.

It tracks the following:

  1. source: where the traffic came from.
  2. medium: what did the traffic come from (banner, newsletter, etc).
  3. campaign: what campaign, the one in September or the one in October.
  4. term: what terms were we trying to shoot for.
  5. content: a drill down of what was clicked.

Link it to your advertising

It should be pretty obvious but after you create a custom URL, you have to link it to your advertising. This way when someone clicks on the ad, the link will redirect to your site with the parameters. With those parameters in place, Google Analytics will pick up and track that it was traffic from the external ad campaign.

If you would like to see more about Traffic, you can do so here:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1006930?hl=en&ref_topic=1631856


RIS Media

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One of the aspects I really dislike about RIS MEDIA is that they only do stories on companies that advertise with them.

That's all. I was going to comment on one of their articles how they bash broker web sites and syndicate web sites at the same time but what's the point. They are simply promoting one of their advertisers who can solve brokers' problems by pulling out of syndicate sites like zillow.com and trulia.com and enforcing their technology on the broker's web site.

It would really awesome to see an actual news outlet that covered real estate industry news in a way that wasn't biased towards accounts receivable.

How to Approach Problems

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One of the interesting parts of growing into a leadership role is that I have to be official representative for the organization. This means I meet with people who represent a vendor not because we have anything to discuss really but because the organization I represent has signed some high dollar per year contract and just servicing the contract isn't enough.

The vendor wants to meet face to face throughout the year to prove that they are servicing the contract and try to show value.

It has really become one of my least favorite parts about growing up corporately. These meetings create so much noise and skews the way you think about problems that sometimes it's hard to even realize if the original problem is even being solved at all.

I have a VP friend who goes about solving problems in a very interesting way to me. When she has a need or a problem, her first instinct is to survey the marketplace and create some type of graph that ranks the features of the options. The resulting graph is marred with check marks and x's for the few that make the short list. Little bubble notes and exclamation points sprinkle the page like ornaments on a Christmas Tree.

The issue with going about fixing a problem this way is simple; it doesn't necessarily address your particular problem. So the problem is either half solved or the solution is mearly a band aid to the real problem. In either case, gaps are left and problem continues on.

You may go about solving problems this way too. For example, you need a mass email marketing solution, so you survey the market and rank their features. After finally selecting one, you give it your best go at it. The solution doesn't work as expected. Why?

It's all about approach

It's all about how you approach the problem. If you want to solve, and I mean really solve, your problems, you're going to have to change the way you approach the problem. By resisting your initial gut reaction to find a solution right away will save you in both time and resources.

Define the problem

A problem is nothing more than pain. This pain is because something isn't working right or there's a void in the landscape that makes up the company or your life. At this point, do your best to emulate the fictional Sherlock Holmes and figuratively sit in a dark room and think about the problem. I actually pace back and forth, back and forth in a dimly light room by natural light but you get the idea. Ask yourself questions or better yet, if you have a friend to help you through the process ask them for an hour of their time.

Why is this happening? What is source cause of this, really? What action or event took place that brought this to my attention?

Often times, you'll find out that what you thought was the problem isn't really the problem at all but rather a symptom to the core issue.

So going back to our example, the original problem was a need for a mass email solution. After you go through defining the problem, you may find out the event that caused pain was that your clients told you that they never hear from you and as a result chose another agent. So the problem isn't needing a mass email solution, the problem is keeping in contact with your customers and email is only one way in which they communicate.

Find the opposite positive

If you asking these questions, it may come up that problem is a negative. For example, our clients are saying they never hear from us. That's only one way to look at it. Everything has an opposite and usually that opposite is a positive. Instead of focusing on what you don't want, state the positive of what you want. In our example, the positive of what you want is that you want your clients to hear from you on a regular basis.

Get a vision

The next step is so often overlooked I really believe that it's what separates the leaders from the managers. Here it is... get a vision of what you want. In other words, if the scenario could be anything where time, money and resources didn't matter, tell me what a solution would look like? How would it feel like? You need to catch a vision of the larger picture because all of our problems aren't in a vacuum, they are part of a larger portrait. Trying to solve the problem without taking account of the larger picture will often cause disruption in the larger picture.

List your features

List out on paper what you want. Take the vision from the previous step and try to solidify that to something tangible. So instead of looking at the features of the solutions, first you define the features you want.

I want the solution to be automatic. I want the solution to be regularly scheduled. I want everyone to be on their own schedule rather than putting everyone on the same schedule.

Putting it all together

See where this is different? If you go directly to the features of the option, it might be a good feature as in you like it but it isn't a feature you're looking for. It simply becomes noise. When you first define your features, you have a litmus test to measure the options by and it pulls you out of the feature race and it becomes easy to disqualify options that you thought were good or it allows you to consider options that normally you wouldn't.

So from our example, we're not looking for a mass email partner to fill a void, we're looking for a customer relationship management application in which mass emailing everyone is a feature.

Through this small example, I tried to show you how to approach and solve problems by defining the problem, finding the positive, catching a vision, listing your features and finally putting it all together.

When you do this, you'll be able to see a little clearer and people from the outside will recognize that you've really taken many factors into consideration. They'll appreciate the thought process and hopefully find the beauty in the solution.


Can A Realtor Be In Trouble For Content In An IDX Listing

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Can a Realtor be in trouble for content in an IDX listing? In a recent law suit in Tampa, FL, an agent was named as a defendant because of an IDX listing on his web site. The listing contained information in the "public remarks" field which was allegedly discriminatory against age, violating fair housing laws.

Once the plaintiff performed due diligence research and discovered that the agent involved in the case was not the listing agent, they dropped the charged against the agent.

Still, NAR suggests to remove the "public remarks" field for listings showing on web sites as a precaution. In fact, following their own advice, NAR doesn't show this field on their web site, realtor.com.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking below.

Submit Your Content to Google

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Ugh, even after writing about it, searching challenges my original position. You can submit your content to Google here: http://www.google.com/submityourcontent/

You just don't have to submit your content to Google. It isn't required. In fact, I'm not sure if this really does anything other than some type of placebo effect.

Google Reconsideration

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Here's something that I find odd. If your site is over maximized and gets thunked by Google or they drop you in rankings in a noticeable way, you can have your site reconsidered.

I find it odd because even though it's a part of Google Webmaster Tools but it doesn't show in Google Webmaster Tools.

Just for reference, it's here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reconsideration


First Page of Google

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"The first page of Google" is a phrase that sickens me. For more than 10 years, I've been bombarded with so-called experts who promise this forbidden phrase as actual results in exchange for exorbitant payments. What's really crazy is that potential clients actually listen to them.

What we are talking about here is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. The idea is simple, an outside company will perform some type of service on your, as in your possession, web site and you'll suddenly be the first result for the keywords you are targeting.

It's amazing how you can take someone and feed them such little information that they become so lost that they will listen to anyone who proposes a solution to them. One expert had the audacity to quote 250K to a real estate agent I used to work with. Their service was to do a bunch of amateur videos and post them on YouTube and embed them in the web site. I always said that if people really go for this, then I'm in the wrong business.

Another expert I came in contact with charged large sums of money on a monthly basis. Their service was nothing more than creating public profiles on every known source possible; Facebook, Twitter, Google+, FourSquare, LinkedIn, etc.

It isn't that these are bad actions. It's that the actions they are taking are something that anyone could do and they are price gouging for their services all the while spreading disinformation.

There is no First Page of Google

So in light of spreading accurate information, let's come to terms. First of all, there is no first page of Google. Google doesn't have pages the way a book or a magazine does. It's simply a search engine. You can liken it to a librarian at a massive library. You are asking the librarian for information on XYZ and she is bringing back results.

How the results get there

So how do the results get there? Well, for starters, there is no submission to Google per se. It isn't a matter of you submitting your web site to Google on a regular basis or else your site falls off the results, as I hear repeated incorrectly so many times on so many levels including professional levels.

The results get there because that what Google does. It searches the web. The name for this is "crawling" like a spider. In fact, they call them spider robots or spider bots or bots just for short.

There is no submission to Google. There is no formal document. There is no payment necessary. Google will do the work all by itself, without your help.

Showing up in the results

Showing up in the results isn't difficult. Let's say someone is searching for XYZ. In short, as long as you have a web site name that closely matches XYZ and the content on the web site is talking about XYZ, then the site should show up in the results somewhere.

The order of results

It's the order of the results that the librarian brings back that is important. This is probably what is meant by, "the first page of Google." So let's look at the order of results.

Google algorithm

The order of the results are determined by an algorithm or a fancy mathematical code. This algorithm is not a simple equation that you may have had in algebra class in high school. It has many parts to it, thousands of parts and is only known in full to a few people in the world and is locked up tightly. No one knows what the actual algorithm is but through history and through logic, people have been able to determine a few items that Google thinks is important.

Algorithm changes

Just when you think you have it nailed down, Google makes changes. How many? On average, about a change a day. So even if you were to conquer the Google algorithm in your own world, it wouldn't last very long. The brainiacs at Google make changes without warning, at their own will and sometimes the changes have significant impact on results.

Known factors

I could go on to list out the items that are known to make a significant impact but this blog is geared towards the average real estate agent and broker. The best way to do SEO is to not try and do SEO. Over the long run, this seems to be the best advice for the average agent. This advice is giving by people who used to work at Google and by industry experts.

In other words, they are trying to calculate something through mathmatics that can only be done by person, judging a web site for what it is. If you focus on creating a web site and making it useful, you will not have to focus on making sure your site is used.

You can focus on making your site usable by following Google's official guidelines here.


Jonathan's Landing Properties

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One of my original clients was Jonathan's Landing Realty. Jonathan's Landing is a high-end gated community in Jupiter, FL, highlighted by the Intracoastal Waterway with 3 championship golf courses, tennis, yachting, and a full service marina, all just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and Palm Beach County's finest amenities.

In part, Jonathan's Landing Realty was the original sales team when Jonathan's Landing was being built by the developer. When the time came, the sales team was purchased by Illustrated Properties and kept a location at the main club house. This arrangement was in place for more than decade.

Having the web site, Jonathan's Landing Realty quickly gained first page position for the keywords Jonathan's Landing.

Because of business dealings, the Jonthan's Landing Realty team was moved out of the club house. When the moved, they were no longer able to keep the name Jonathan's Landing Realty and had to change names to Jonathan's Landing Properties and the original web site had to be shut down.

A new site was brought back up which was a rebrand of the original web site under a new web site name. What's strange is that no matter what I try, the web site will not show in Google SERPs. This means if I search "Jonathans Landing," jonathanslandingproperties.com doesn't show at all. I really don't know why.

Even stranger is that the original web site, which is blank, is still showing in Google SERP's. It's been more than 6 months and a web site with zero content is showing in Google SERP's. Again, I really don't know why.

[And what's down right bizarre is that some web site about wrestlers and bulges show in the SERP's.]

I know that the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates were put in place but this is my first hand experience of being a little ridiculous.

For a short period of time, another web company had the web site. Their pages are still showing in the SERPs although they haven't been active in more than 8 weeks.

Here's what I've done:

  • added the site to Google Webmaster Tools.
  • verified the site shows no critical issue in Google Webmaster Tools.
  • adversited the web site through Google AdWords.

My next step is ask for a reconsideration via  Google.

 


 

UPDATE:

I did ask to be reconsidered in Dec 2012. Here was Google's official response in the same month:

"We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team."

In other words, there's nothing affecting the web site in a negative way. The site is healthy. So it's all new SEO algorithms. Humph... Something's rotten in Denmark.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014

You - The Star - The Brand

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A brand is formed by the entire experience of a customer's interaction with you. In other words, you are the star. Go forth, star. Perform. Be the brand.

Propopoly Bust

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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LRECOTW) who used to be known as RELO or the relocation network, is a network independent companies across the USA and world that refers clients to each other. So if someone from Branson, MO wants to move to Palm Beach Gardens, FL the person in Branson would typically list their house to sell it. The listing agent would find out about the client moving to Palm Beach Gardens and the agent would contact the LRECOTW member in Palm Beach Gardens to help the client find a house. Get it?

Mobile Apps for Real Estate Agents Release

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Today I'll release our mobile app product that works the same on iPhones (all versions), iPads (all versions) and Android devices (all versions) which is totally branded to the real estate agent. As I gear up for the Jupiter-Tequesta-Hobe Sound (JTHS) Realtors Trade Show at the Frenchmen's Reserve, I'm listening to one of my leadership podcasts that I tend to listen to in the morning time.

It asks 8 questions that all leaders should ask. Here they are:

  1. What happened to make you feel like you are successful?
  2. Who needs to be sitting at the decision making table?
  3. Where are we manufacturing enegry or what are we not really excited about?
  4. Where do I make the greatest contribution to the group?
  5. Who (or what) isn't keeping up?
  6. What have we become attached to is no longer the best way to anymore?
  7. If we got kicked out and a new leader was hired, what would that new leader do?
  8. What would a great leader do?

I think the new app integration applies to real estate agents who ask these questions to themselves. It will make you feel successful. You'll be excited about it (I know we are). You can make a great contribution to your clients. It is cutting edge technology. It is a new way to thinking about your business. And I think a great leader would do this. So should you! Shameless promotion.

If you want to come by and check it out, we'll have a demonstration running.

 


Author Tags on IDX Data

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Once upon a time in a land far, far away, the world was a simple place. Web content was easily searchable and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was easily dominated by putting your mind to it. Bliss ensued.

Where Were You On That Fateful Morning?

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Where were you on that fateful morning?

This is the question that gets asked this time of year. With such a big event in our generation that affected everyone you'll ever meet, it's something that we all remember. I can imagine it's similar to our grandparents generation when speaking about D-Day.

I was beginning my first day of school at ITT Technical Institute in Monroeville, PA. My Atlanta advertising career didn't turn out the way I imagined after the dot-com bubble burst and I found myself in the doldrums of life.

So I moved back home with my parents. My only goal at that time in life was to wait for my girlfriend to finish her master's degree at West Virginia University, a mere 1:15 minute drive away. This left time to pursue the career field of my father, computer science.

After my first class, a teacher burst in the room and informed the professor of the tragic event. By second class, school was cancelled. Confusion ensued.

With no cell phone at the time, I got to the nearest pay phone in Monroeville Mall and tried reaching my future wife.

"I'm sorry. All lines are busy and we cannot complete your call." the recorded telephone lady said. The only time I ever remember that happening. Trying successfully the second time, we had a brief "love you" conversation before the mall cops started to shut down the place.

I jumped in my car, drove to a nearby parking lot, listened to the radio and ate my brown bag lunch. A warm turkey sandwich with cheese and some strawberry yogurt.

That was 11 years ago.

That was 11 years ago. Times have changed since then. My grandmother passed away while I was living at home (and I'm so thankful I was there to spend that time with my mother), I moved to Florida, finished school for a second time in Ft Lauderdale, got married, got a dog, ended my career at Gateway Computers and started my professional real estate technology career.

I gained a two sister-in-laws who married in and effortlessly provided endless entertainment with two neices and one nephew. I gain another two sister-in-laws and one brother-in-law, two parents-in-law and about 30 extended in-law family members (yes, seriously) when I got married.

More recently, I've lost my father after holding his unconscious hand in intensive care unit at Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, PA as the doctors struggled to figure out what was happening. I've lost a friend with terminal cancer after holding his unconscious hand in hospice Gardens Medical Center, as doctors only action was to ease the pain with a morphine drip cocktail.

I've gained a few pounds as my wife teaches me about enjoying life and her family teaches me that every half-way event is a celebration that requires preparation, appetizers, main course, side dishes and, of course, dessert.

I've started to use an iPhone after an assortment of defunct smartphone projects. Texting is the new form of preferred communication. Laptops were in, desktops are out. Tablets are in, laptops are out. Macs are in, Windows are out. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google are all in. MySpace, Palm, Blockbuster, Kodak and Yahoo are all out.

I'm sure items in your life have changed as well and you might be able to relate to some of the events above. Your family situation has probably changed and your technology situation has definitely changed. It has for all of us.

How about your real estate situation?

How about your real estate situation? What's amazing to me it that I can watch a new born grow, learn to talk, learn to walk and go off to school with her peers faster than I can watch a real estate agent change the way they do business. I'm not sure why that is. It's probably the break neck speed of technology.

Take some time today to evaluate where you were that fateful morning. Think through all that has changed since that time. Then think through how you do real estate business. You may easily convince yourself that you need a change as well.

You may be able to learn something new. You might be able to add a portion to your marketing efforts that wasn't there in the past. You might be able to get a new polished web site or maybe an app to offer your clients in the AppStore. You may start blogging. Or become socially engaged through technology.

Take the evaluation today. Realize how much has changed over the past 11 years. Make a change for better. Who knows, 11 years from now you might look back and say that today was the day that everything changed.


How Not to do Social Media

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Real estate agents sometimes get excited about social media opportunities or web site opportunities. It usually happens when there's a low understanding of how technology works. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't understand how many things work. I just like the idea that they do.

After talking to a few of these agents and asking the tough questions, I've discovered the underlying cause of this. The general fallacy goes something like this:

  • I'm going to sign up for a web site.
  • Millions of people are going to find it, see it and read it.
  • I'm going to get tons of business because of this web site or social media.
  • I can do all of this without leaving my home office.
  • social media can be a substitute for social interaction.
  • I'm going to be very rich.

After all, that's what most people want. Right?

Well the reality is much different. Social Media and web sites are a supplement to your business NOT a substitute for your business. You cannot fake your way into a relationship with someone. You can try. But just like people who meet in chat rooms, those relationships don't last.

It's because there's a vulnerability that happens online that doesn't occur face-to-face. The vice-versa is true as well. There's a protection that happen in face-to-face conversations and relations that is missing online.

The biggest part of social media is to get involved in your community and your clients. There is no substitute for that.

What Kind of Items are Likely to Get re-posted or ReTweeted?

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We've been in an educational series discussing how both new real estate agents and existing real estate agents can use technology to reach their clients.

We've said that the majority of business is going to come from referrals.

Because of that, it's vitally important to keep in touch with your customer base. We've said that to keep in touch with your customers, you have to be where they are getting information.

We've said that people are getting information in different ways than they have in the past. People are using technology to get information (web sites, Google searches, asking on Facebook, etc).

We've listed out a few items that agents can post.

But agents want to know, "What really works?" In other words, cut to the chase. Give me what I need to do.

What items are likely to get re-posted or re-tweeted?

Here's a list that I shared with the class:

  • topical articles.
  • how-to articles.
  • informative blog posts.
  • interesting press releases.
  • top-10 articles.
  • local events.
  • opinion blogs.
  • content related to popular trends.

This list is ever so slightly different than the last list. The last list was items you could post. These are the items that really work.

Final warning though. Just as I stated in class. The problem isn't that this is difficult to comprehend and understand. No needs to get dressed up and come to one of my classes to learn this. The biggest challenge in all of this is similar to the biggest challenge in dieting and exercise. We, as a group (not as individuals), just don't do it.

So What Kind of Items Do I Post on Social Media?

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I attended a half day seminar given by author and New York local radio personality who has a show about real estate investing (name purposely left out). It was slightly informative but he had a moment where he talked about social media.

He stated how he had 30K+ followers on Twitter. Then he paused and he said, "The problem with social media is no one knows what to say."

All I could think of was "Ahhhhh.....". Thirty thousand followers and nothing to say. I immediately tweeted to him what I recently discovered. When you don't know what to say, say the obvious. The reason is this... just because it's obvious to you doesn't mean it's obvious to everyone else.

In our last post, we said that people have changed the way they get information. We went onto say that they are going to look for information, possibly about you and they are going to find information. It's either going to be information that happens-to-be-there or it's going to be information you want them to see.

So what kind of items do I post about and share? That's a common question and something my recent class asked. Here's a quick list that I mentioned in class:

  • links to interesting news stories.
  • post educational content.
  • promote others.
  • link to your blog.
  • link to others blog.
  • promote your clients.
  • link to press releases.
  • give away tips and tricks.
  • ask questions.
  • answer questions.
  • give referrals.
  • introduce others.

These are pretty obvious to me and should be self explanatory. If I wanted to boost my Google juice I would explain each in detail and give examples. Maybe later, this time that should be enough.

 

How Do I Connect To My Clients?

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Last week we asked the important question where do leads come from? We determined that the majority of leads come from referrals or sphere of influence.

This means that it's vitally important to keep in touch with your customers and clients. So I then asked the class the next all important question.

In what ways can you keep in touch with your clients?

This time the blank stare pause shrunk significantly and the class responded:

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest
  • blog
  • web site
  • email
  • texting
  • actively involved
  • google+
  • linked in

Right... now we are getting somewhere. They way people get information has changed dramatically over the past decade. In the past, people would get information by newspaper, magazine and cable news.

Those options are still available (at least sometimes) but their effectiveness is dwindling. Readership of newspapers are down 30% year over year. Many mangazines, including my favorite Fortune Small Business, has ceased printing. Cable news seem to be nothing more than outlets for PR companies and others who can pony up the cash to have the "news company" do a story on them in exchange for advertising, a modern day payola.

When people want information they do one of two items. Either they look it up themselves, usually on Google or another search engine. Or they ask someone they know. Asking can be done in person, through Facebook or through Twitter.

The point is, if someone is looking for information about you, you need to have information there for them to see. Either they are going to see what happens to be there or they are going to see the information you want them to see.

Are they going to see information of your past weekend dinner spots? Recent partys? Recent vacations? Or are they going to see information about real estate?

Where Do Legitmate Leads Come From?

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Where do legitimate leads come from?

This is the question I asked a class of new real estate agents I had. Besides a bunch of blank stares for a few moments, they started to call out answers. Here are their answers:

  • Internet Leads
  • Web Sites
  • For Sale By Owners (FSBO's)
  • Advertising
  • Sphere of Influence
  • Referrals
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

We discussed these opportunities for about 30 minutes or so listing out a few pro's and con's. Then I added in my experience and mentioned that in more than a decade of watching the real estate industry the majority of leads that convert always comes from referrals and sphere of influence.

This is a fancy way of saying from people who know you or people who know someone that knows about you.

This isn't to say the other means of leads aren't valid. It's to say the best bang for you buck is always from referrals.

In some cases, this is easily seen when a child of a well established agent enters the business. The child, usually in their 20's out of college or possibly in their 30's if they had a few false starts or after sowing their wild oats, does well because their parent (or uncle or aunt, etc) refers a good portion to them.

If that mentor wasn't there to feed business, that individual would probably end up failing like most new agents.

I have witnessed this in a similar way as well. One time an elderly well-established agent was working with a middle-aged less-established agent. The well-established agent passed away and suddenly the less-established agent's business skyrocketed.

For the same reason as the first example. The mentor post-humously feed all the business to the living agent by way of telephone forwarding.

No advertising. No web site. No lead capture. No beating the streets. No FSBO's. No calling on expireds.

Pure and simple networking.

CallClarity IDX Survey Results

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According to Real Trends;

Half of all brokerage firm leaders oppose permitting the display of listings on certain social media sites while the other half doesn't think it is a problem. Should such a policy be approved, however, almost 9 out of 10 (88%) agree that the name of the brokerage firm supplying listings to any social media sites should be clearly identified for compliance purposes. And nearly 9 out of 10 (85%) favored an “opt-out” provision for display on non-participant sites.

This means that 50% of real estate companies are against listings being shown on certain social media web sites. When the listings are shown 88% of real estate companies believe the supplying company's name should be clearly identified.

It's simple really. In pre-internet era, any real estate company who listed a property for sale had exclusive right to advertise the property anyway he or she chose. The listing agent/broker could put an ad in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical. When the property was advertised, the property must clearly show the listing real estate company. Advertising another agent's listing was strictly prohibited by rules in most cases.

In the digital era, while the mode of transportation of information has changed to such physical items as laptops, tablets and smartphones, the principle of  showing a listing hasn't changed at all. When a property for sale is displayed, the listing company and listing agent want their information displayed.

The Broker Handcuffs on Internet Display

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The Property Call

I just got off the phone with an upset seller who expired her listing in Dec 2010. The listing still showed on Zillow.com.

For about an hour or so, I listened, along with an official company representative, how the company was responsible for all property display and advertising. She further went on to say that the agent is licensed underneath the company and that restitution needs to be paid for damages done since this has been an ongoing issue for nearly a year.

The Property Seller Call

"Well, what do you think?" she asked.

"I think your correct in a lot of ways." I responded.

And I think she has a point. The real estate company does have the responsibility to make sure that the property data is correct.

What's interesting is that most of the internet display is now automatic. Once the property is out of MLS, it removes itself from third party web sites within 24 hours. Monitoring this on a daily basis with thousands of listings across multiple web sites isn't realistic.

The Property Situation

"Don't you have computer systems that know when the contract expired?"

Well, yes. Again, she has a point. So how does the property show on Zillow.com? The property was showing on Zillow.com through a third party advertiser. The agent advertised through a third party luxury web site and the that web site also sent the property to Zillow.com. Since the advertising on the luxury web site was I guess for a year, the advertiser still had the property information and was still sending it to Zillow.com

I guess the agent was supposed to cancel the advertising to make sure it was removed but that apparently didn't happen. Or it did and through a glitch on the luxury web site, the listing still showed and sent to Zillow.com.

In my eyes... hey, it happens. No big deal. We'll pass the info along to the agent and have the agent discontinue the advertising.

In the seller's eyes, she wanted restitution and revenge. She wanted someone to pay!

Broker's Internet Property Display Point

And that's the point. At the end of the day, third party web sites and companies who don't have licenses and who post incorrect information, get to skate away scott free. But the agent and the company has to answer for misinformation in a legal manner.

Doesn't seem fair especially since the third parties are the ones profiting off of information that they don't gather themselves.

It's real world experience issues like this that I was chosen for a nation-wide study of IDX information. Part of what they will be looking into is whether or not property display on social media should be allowed. And if so, at what level and terms.

I'd say after this situation, I have one more example fresh in my mind.

See Your Web Site Like Search Engines See It

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Click the link below to see how search engines, like google, see your web site. This shows how they see hidden content and how they can't see pictures like you and I.

http://www.seo-browser.com

Here's another site that will show additional info like INTERNAL LINKS and EXTERNAL LINKS and give an SEO score:

http://www.domaintools.com/

Lastly here another site that will give in-depth details about page structure:

http://www.browseo.net

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014

Click Thru Rates In Recent History

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http://searchengineland.com/organic-click-thru-rates-tumbling-study-97338

Click the above for click through rates in recent history.

10 Points About Comments Made From NAR Repeals Franchisor IDX Display

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Here is the original article from Inman about the NAR repealing franchisor IDX display:

http://www.inman.com/news/2011/11/14/nar-repeals-franchisor-idx-display

There are many comments on the article, most from agents and brokers from around the country who are upset at the decision and are sounding off their displeasure.

A couple of notes are as follows:

01.Like most comments on stories that pertain to real estate IDX information, there's a lot of bad info included. In other words, some of the info listed is flat out inaccurate. This is really concerning especially because most of the comments were brokers and industry insiders that should know better.

02.Most, if not all, weren't involved in the process. In other words, they are so concerned about the topic that they decided to stayed silent the entire time, put no effort into process and then complain when it didn't turn out the way they wanted it. I think every developer/programmer, especially open source, can relate to that. In addition, the griping doesn't offer any solutions or directions. It's simply two-year-old's stomping feet. Grumph.

Jay Thompson, who I disagree with most of the time about web techniques, made a comment that if the complainers are so upset, they should try and influence the outcome by joining a committee. This time I say: Hear! Hear!

03.MLS's are independent, similar to States of the Union. They are suppose to follow the guidelines/rules/processes/procedures set by the National level but have freedom to include their own set of standards. This means that options are not uniform across all MLS's and will change from MLS to MLS. For example, the Regional MLS has only one option for IDX which is listed out as PUBLIC INTERNET and the options are YES or NO. Martin MLS has several options for IDX which can be any combination of the following; IDX, REALTOR.COM, FL PROPERTIES, NONE.

04.I thought "ossified" meant open-source-software-ified... LOL. I had to look that one up. It actually means stagnant or cease developing. Kinda ironic, don't you think?

05.There are many references to ZILLOW and TRULIA but none to REALTOR.COM. Hmmm...

06.There was a point of "what would the clients want"? Good point. I haven't really seen any numbers or a recent survey on this. In my limited experience, most new agents I talk to don't know what ZILLOW or TRULIA are.

07.Another pointed that the decision was based off of fear from HOMES SERVICES OF AMERICA and that the Warren Buffett owned company pressured the outcome.

08.Agent Rene Plante made what I thought was a very insightful comment mentioning that the agent does all the work and takes all the responsibility for a property but gets none of the credit when the property is listed through IDX. I think he has a point. Possibly IDX should be seen as advertising. Currently, it isn't and they are separate items.

09.There was some talk of the franchises joining the ranks of ZILLOW and TRULIA and becoming syndication sites. Apparently this will happen in the first part of 2012. I didn't know that. The claim from Victor Lund is that this is the same as the franchises getting the entire IDX from the MLS's. I disagree. I see a big difference.

I'm curious to see if this would solve anything. I don't know why brokers would want to give their listings to a national franchise site and make the franchise stronger but maybe I'm wrong. I have been before. I suppose this will be the real test for the issue if brokers/agents/sellers really want as much exposure as possible.

I know that in one of my recent dealings a $32 million listing client only wanted the property advertised on certain sites. In that particular case, they were in charge and not the broker or agent. I had to help remove the listing from syndicated web sites. In that case and many others I suppose, the MLS rules weren't "pesky" as Lund claims they are.

10.Steve Barbey's comment is one of the comments that is flat-out incorrect. While it starts out good noting that franchises are not real estate agencies, Barbey in continuation claims that the franchises will gain access to the same IDX info through syndication. The comment is similar to Lund's comment. The difference here is that originally the franchises would take the IDX information directly from the MLS's. With syndication, they must receive the info directly from other brokers. I see a big difference in taking the info without consent from originating agents/brokers/sellers and in receiving the info with their consent.

This is similar to Zillow/Trulia and Realtor.com issue which I discussed awhile back here: http://regionalidx.com/blog/24-blog/61-real-estate-web-site-roundup Except I believe the quality of info will be worse.

In my opinion, this is not the same information. I suppose the horrendous quality of the information that will gather on their sites will be proof enough whether this is true or not.

It's also important to note that licensed agents and brokers are required by law for accurate advertising and property display. While the Zillow's and Trulia's of the world are able to skate away scott free without penalty, if an agent or broker lists property info incorrectly, and people make decisions based on that info, there are serious consequences.

Backend Of Web Site Finally Available

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The backend of Regional IDX web sites are finally available. With the back end or the administrator section of the web site real estate agents can control what is on the web site.

They can control the text or the wording of the web site. And they can control the pictures that show on the web site.

Listings are still unavailable to change or edit as this would violate MLS rules.


Google Lets the Wave Project Fizzle

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It's amazing that with nearly unlimited budgets, the brightest brains in the industry and foresight only found in science fiction movies, Google could fail at a product. But this is exactly what happened today when the company let their Wave project (http://wave.google.com/about.html) fizzle out.


"Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don't plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product," Google Senior Vice President of Operations Urs Hölzle said.And the moment developers stop supporting a project, the project is dead that very moment. Sure it will carry on for awhile but it will eventually fizzle out.I guess the tide never turned in their Wave.Google violated some rules of marketing. Here are a few reasons Google Wave didn't carry web surfers for a wild ride:

Rule of Marketing: Be number one or number two in a market. If not... get out.

Google wasn't number one or two. Both Twitter and Facebook already had those spots. Where could go they go? Coke, Pepsi and ....??? Exactly.

Rule of Marketing: Be the first to release a product in a market.

They weren't first. They were a distant third. Twitter already had a hold on developers and early adopters. Facebook already had the home and consumer market.

Rule of Marketing: Be understandably different.

Wave wasn't.

Rule of Marketing: Slowly release new ideas.

The masses move slowly. The public can't handle ideas too radical as they can't make the jump. Trying to get them to jump from step one to step five is impossible. You have to lead people down a path by taking them from step one to step two to step three and so on.

Rule of Marketing: Rebrand in different arenas.

This is very difficult for companies to grasp. Every time I suggest this in board meetings, I get the same response that the team wants to use the existing product to launch a related product.

Google is a search engine product. Trying to slap the word Google on everything isn't going to work in the long run. It didn't work for Coke, it didn't work for Sun slapping Java on everything and it won't work for Google.

Toyota did it right. When Toyota launched a luxury line they didn't call it TLL, Toyota Luxury Line, they called it Lexus. And it worked. People associate one to one, not one to many. There are more but that's all I have. Wife's calling...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Real Estate Standards -Finally

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The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) approved real estate property standard names for MLS's to use as a roadmap how they should structure their data. This new standard simplies real estate data sharing on multiple listing services (MLS's). The standard names were introduced by the MLS Cooperative Venture (COVE) in March during RESO’s General Assembly conference.

RESO oversees RETS, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR's) Transaction Standard, which defined an approach for exchanging listings with multiple listing services.

The upcoming release of version 1.8 of RETS will include the approved standard names, which will benefit Realtors® and the clients they serve, MLS operators, and the vendors who supply MLS technology. Standard names simplify the installation and operation of data feeds, a crucial part of conducting business for both brokers and agents. MLS technology vendors will also now be able to use a common vocabulary with the addition of standard names.

Definitions

NAR: National Association of Realtors. The collective group of Realtors® across the nation.

MLS: Multiple Listing Service. The private local web site real estate agents use. Around here in South Florida, it's Regional MLS (Greater Palm Beach County), Martin MLS (Martin County), Palm Beach MLS (Palm Beach only, darling), Fort Lauderdale MLS and Sunshine MLS (Naples).

COVE: Cooperative Venture. An unofficial group of local MLS's joined together. What happens when a company needs to connect to more than one MLS? Problems because each MLS connects in a different way. This group of MLS's sit at the "same table" and have friendly conversation.

RESO: Real Estate Standard Organization. The official organization that that determines what is what. They oversee RETS. They try to get everyone on the same page across the nation.

RETS: Real Estate Transaction Standard. The actual standard by which third parties connect to the MLS. For example, items like passwords needing six digits long and all the other stuff we hate as users but is so important.

First American sues eight firms for AVM

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First American CoreLogic has filed a federal lawsuit against eight rivals, including the real estate Web site Zillow.com and mortgage service provider Lender Processing Services. Santa Ana, California-based CoreLogic says it has a 1994 patent on the automated valuation model (AVM) the companies are using to assess property values for clients.

The other firms named as defendants include: Fiserv, IntelliReal, Interthinx, Precision Appraisal Services, Real Data, and RealEC Technologies.

CoreLogic says all of the eight companies continue, "to willfully, wantonly and deliberately engage in acts of infringement." None of the defendants have released statements in response to the suit.  According to the complaint, First American CoreLogic is demanding a trial by jury. The company is seeking an injunction against the eight competitors and asking for triple damages to cover lost profits, as well as compensation for attorneys' fees.

AVM is basically giving people an automatic value of their home. Zillow.com, back by more than $70 million, is the largest player in this arena. Among the real estate community, Zillow.com is notorious for giving completely inaccurate values making the job of real estate agents a tad more difficult.

First American, a large holding company that provides the technology for the Regional MLS, Martin MLS and others across the nation, is claiming that they hold a patent on this technology.

Source: DSNews.com, Carrie Bay, (05/05/2010)

The Listing Race

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Listing syndication is all thre rage right now. Trying to get as much exposure as possible, brokers or real estate companies, freely send their properties for sale to third party web sites. The well known sites are sites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Yahoo.com, Google.com and Frontdoor.com (Missing any? Let me know by commenting below).

The Scene

These third party web sites entice real estate agents, real estate brokers and the general public to give up their properties for sale in exchange slick web page layouts, nifty web features, the promise of millions of eyeballs and PR statements convincing the general population that their site is an authority on real estate (which in most cases, it isn't).

The Trade-Off

In return for real estate companies freely sending their information, these third party sites charge brokers for upgrade like showing the broker's logo on their listings and featuring their properties. They charge agents in a similar fashion for banner ads and sidebar ads. In addition, they charge outside companies like Home Depot and Bank of America who may want to advertise on their web site.

example_adI call this type of web site model a realtor.com model as they were the web site first to invent it for real estate. Other web sites quickly followed suit. The difference though is that Realtor.com automatically TAKES all the listing information whereas other web sites rely on the real estate companies to GIVE the infromatiion.

You can find more about this in our previous article Real Estate Web Site RoundUp here.

For Example

So, for example, Great Fake FL Real Estate Co. has 100 properties listed for sale. Great Fake FL Real Estate Co. collects all the information about these 100 properties and they send them to a web site like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Yahoo.com, Google.com and Frontdoor.com (Missing any? Let me know by commenting below).

Among the information being sent, like number of bathrooms and number of bedrooms and listing price, the information usually also contains a link back to the source of original information.

view_detailsSo if the information is coming from the real estate company, a link like VIEW MORE DETAILS will link back to the real estate company's web site.

If the information is coming from a third party advertising source, say like HOMES AND LAND, the link will direct vistors back to the HOMES AND LAND web site. And if the agent takes the engery and effort to manually retype all the information into the SYNDICATION SITE, the link will direct visotrs back to the web site of their choosing, usually the agent's personal web site. Make sense?

[CAUTION: once a third party site gains enough visiting power, the site will likely cease to send vistors back to the original listing source. This is the case of http://realestate.yahoo.com recently. But they have since changed. ]

The Great Listing Race Question

Now if these third party sites rely on informatation given to them, what happens when both the broker sends information about a property for sale, the agent sends information about a property for sale and a third party advertising outlet sends infromation about a property for sale? Who wins? Who's site will get redirected to? Who will be listed as the "Source of information"? If they have conflicting information, which of the three will show?

That's great question. I've had this happen recently. I've discovered that in these cases, each web site is going to react differently. While the web in general can change as fast as I write this, I'd thought I'd share the options that I've witnessed recently.

The Broker Wins

broker_winsThe first option, and the most common, that occurs is that the broker wins despite other information avenues. This probably happens for good reason in the sense that by legal standing, the listings or properties for sale are owned by the broker or the real estate company. So if an agent has 10 properties for sale and decides to leave the company, the properties usually stay with the real estate company and don't follow the agent. So with this thinking, information coming from the broker wins as they are the rightful owner. In addition, information coming from the broker is usually fed automatically rather than manually inputted. So it may be that automatic feeds take precedence over manual information.
EXAMPLE: Zillow.com & Trulia.com

The Agent Wins

agent_winsThis is an option that is witnessed on a web site like Trulia.com. The process goes something like this. The information is sent by the broker and property shows. The agent can manually create an account and CLAIM the listing as their own. Once they do this they have the option of 'enhancing' the property usually by adding more photos, etc. But the agent cannot change infomation fed to the web site as this is against law (you can't advertise a property for $1 million on one site and $1.2 million on another). Part of 'enhancing' the property usually includes changing the web site that the listing backlinks to. In most cases, the agent's web site.
EXAMPLE: Zillow.com & Trulia.com, only if agent claims the listing.

The Most Information Wins

info_winsI first saw this on Yahoo's real estate web site. The information source with the most information is the winner and gets listed as the source. The driving (and sneaky) item here is that is encourages sources to provide as much information as possible to out-inform their counter parts. So if an advertising outlet like a virtual tour company sends more info than the broker itself, the Virtual tour company is listed as the source of info.
EXAMPLE: Yahoo.com

The Most Recent Information Wins

While this is common, it can also lead to an information ping pong match. The process is something like this. A real estate company sends information on Monday morning. That information shows on the third party site. If the agent sends it in the afternoon through the course of their work day, it changes to the agents info. As normal practice the real estate company sends the info every morning, so the information is sent again on Tuesday morning and consequently changed back to the real estate company infomation.

All Sources Win

both_winI've witnessed this at Google.com. If Google, or more accurately Google Maps, recieves information from various sources, the web site will display the listing once in the results but it will display full information from each source when viewing the details and give each credit for the information.

I've also wintessed this at Frontdoor.com. If Frontdoor recieves information from various sources, the web site will display the listing twice, once from each source. In this case, it leads to confusion among the web site visitors. Why would one property be listed twice in the first place? Makes sense to me but then again I do this a living. But it doesn't make sense to Joe Visitor.
EXAMPLE: Google.com & Frontdoor.comboth_win_frontdoor

Conclusion

Hopefully I've given you some insightful information to think about. The listing race heated up starting in 2009 and continues to rage in 2010 and will continue to do so in the future.

Until then, agents can become furious over the fact that their information or their hired virtual tour information is beat out by the broker information.

Brokers play information parade as they freely toss-out property information like pieces of candy from high above their parade floats down to grovelling web sites that secretly do back-ally techniques like black market merchants.

Home buyers are confused as to why real estate information is spread throughout the web in such a hodge podge manner. Why some properties show once and other show twice.

Home sellers are confused as to why sometimes their property for sale is linked back to their broker site and sometime they link back a completely different site.

This beautiful mess is the current real estate web landscape. We'll let you know if we find something different.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Moving to Florida, Still Highly Desireable

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Florida is ranked second in the 2009 top ten list of states where people are moving to, according to report published by U-Haul International Inc. It's easy to see why. With great weather, a strong economy and an incredible cost of living, Florida continues to grow.

The report, titled "2009 Top 10 U.S. Growth States," indicates that for states with more than 20,000 families moving, Florida had the second highest percentage of growth, with 3.79 percent more families moving into the state than out.

The 2009 Top 10 U.S. Growth States Report was compiled from more than 1 million U-Haul one-way truck transactions occurring during a recent 12 month period.

1. Kentucky
2. Florida
3. Georgia
4. Oklahoma
5. Illinois
6. Alabama
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Louisiana
9. South Carolina
10. Arizona

Source: U-Haul

Dog For Sale $135K

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R3098294 15

I laughed out loud when I saw this one. Yes, as always, this is an actual picture originating from the Regional MLS. This picture attached to a Juno Beach house for sale. Apparently the dog comes with the house. Why else would there be a picture of a dog?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Attempt for .MLS

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A newly formed association comprised of fifteen MLS's across the country is trying to pass a Top Level Domain (TLD) of ".mls".

A TLD is the group of letters after the DOT in a domain name or web site name. So in www.regionalidx.com the TLD is ".com" whereas the TLD of www.daknetworks.net the TLD is ".net".

The association claims that having a ".mls" will assist in real estate activities by having a dedicated location for MLS's and their authorized partners.

“The Association looks forward to inviting all MLSs to join,” said Brian Larson, President of Larson/Sobotka Business Advisors, a consulting firm engaged by the founding MLSs to create the business plan for the Association and to guide it through its early operations. “For the next few weeks,” he said, “the current leaders will be working on policies relating to membership, domain registration, and dispute resolution that the Association needs to sort out before opening the doors wide.”

A TLD of ".xxx" was tried a few years ago from locally based ICM Registy of Jupiter, Florida headed up by British dot com entrepreneur Stuart Lawley. The idea was to force all x-rated material to the ".xxx" suffix but it was squashed by opponents for various reasons.

Lawley put his Jupiter house up for auction in 2008 and sold for $4.65 million through Illustrated Properties due to a divorce. He originally purchased in 2001 for $5.9 million.

South Florida Makes National List

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The greater West Palm Beach area recently made national news when Money Magazine published a list of the top home price appreciation areas and projected declines in the next 12 months. Here's the lists:

Where prices will rise:

  • Santa Rosa, Calif., 6.0 percent
  • Cheyenne, Wyo., 4.7 percent
  • Kennewick, Wash., 4.6 percent
  • Merced, Calif., 4.4 percent
  • Bremerton, Wash., 4.2 percent
  • Fairbanks, Alaska, 4.2 percent
  • Corvallis, Ore., 4.1 percent
  • Tacoma, Wash., 3.9 percent
  • Anchorage, Alaska, 3.8 percent
  • Bend, Ore., 3.3 percent

Where prices will decline:

  • Hanford, Calif., -25.9 percent
  • Miami, Fla., -22.5 percent
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla., -21.3 percent
  • West Palm Beach, Fla., -18.5 percent
  • Phoenix, -18.5 percent
  • Las Vegas, -15.4 percent
  • Tampa, -13.8 percent
  • Pensacola, Fla., -13.6 percent
  • Gainesville, Fla., -13.4 percent
  • Suffolk, N.Y., -13.4 percent
  • New York City, -12.9 percent

Money Magazine (03/20/2010)

Regional MLS adds "Allow Address"

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Regional MLS, who serves the greater Palm Beach county, has added recently added 3 public fields to IDX for web sites. They are as follows:

  • Allow Address Display = allows the address to be publicly displayed
  • Allow Value = allows a value of the property to be publicly generated
  • Allow Comments = allows comments to be publicly added
REGIONAL MLS RECENTLY ADDED 3 FIELDS
These fields are added to address issues arising from listings from the Regional MLS showing on public web sites such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com.

The Regional MLS (and other MLS's across the country) have a terrible habit of changing items without notifying their constituents. This causes issues with web sites that use IDX, or direct feeds from the MLS. These changes caught us off-guard and caused a few hiccups with our IDX web sites.

Since there is no forewarning of changes happening, the issue becomes that we don't know there is a change until it actually happens. In our experience, Regional MLS usually has issues implementing these changes causing a disconnect between MLS and the IDX. The Regional MLS RETS server becomes unavailable for various reasons. It usually takes Regional MLS a few days to hammer out these types of additions.

In this case, the IDX went offline sometime on Wednesday, June 10 at night/early morning due to incorrect metadata (there was an error in the XML file). The RETS server came back online Friday, June 12 around noon.


Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014

Duplicate MLS numbers -Jan 2010

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There were an instance at the beginning of this week where a duplicate MLS numbers was coming through the Regional MLS system of West Palm Beach, FL. On the surface, this doesn't seem too big of an issue but it can cause havoc on web sites that run on Regional IDX.

MLS numbers are unique numbers identifying properties from one another. Obviously, if there are two numbers exactly the same, this is going to cause an issue. Regional IDX corrected the issue on all hosted web sites and notified Regional MLS personnel of the issue.

It doesn't happen very often, just a few times a year, but it does happen. No suprise that it's happening at the beginning of the new year since most technology companies implement changes during this time.

All is well now!

Regional MLS adds "Status Change Date"

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Regional MLS, who serves the greater Palm Beach County, has added recently released 1 public fields to IDX for web sites. It is as follows:

  • Status Change Date = the date the status was changed on the listing.
REGIONAL MLS RECENTLY ADDED 1 FIELD
I'm not certain why this field was added to be made publicly available.

The Regional MLS (and other MLS's across the country) have a terrible habit of changing items without notifying their constituents. This causes issues with web sites that use IDX, or direct feeds from the MLS. These changes caught us off-guard and caused a few hiccups with our IDX web sites.

Since there is no forewarning of changes happening, the issue becomes that we don't know there is a change until it actually happens. In our experience, Regional MLS usually has issues implementing these changes causing a disconnect between MLS and the IDX. The Regional MLS RETS server becomes unavailable for various reasons. It usually takes Regional MLS a few days to hammer out these types of additions.

In this case, the there was no downtime.

One V Many

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one_v_manyJim Collins analyzed a broad range of companies when he authored a book called From Good to Great. He was searching to see what made a group of people, not just good at what they do, but great. One chapter focused on what is called a hedgehog concept. A team should ask the following:

 

1. What you can be the best in the world?
And as equally important, what you cannot be the best in the world. The idea revolves around a single idea that people can easily grasp.

2. What drives your economic engine?
How to effectively generate profitability. In particular, a single denominator - profit per x - that had the greatest impact on their business.

3. What you are deeply passionate about?
Focus on those activities that ignite their passion. The idea here is to discover what makes you passionate.

Applied To Real Estate Industry

As I apply these to real estate groups around the country, I see real estate companies add many services and departments to be a "one stop shop" rather than choosing one single aspect of real estate and being really good at it. I see MLS's expand their services by continuously adding many items rather than selecting the one aspect of maintaining property data and being really good at it. I see real estate agents saying they'll do anything and many areas rather than holding onto a single area that they can dominate.

This is probably happening for many reasons. Wanting a piece of every action in a down market, studies showing that's what customers want and justifying fees that they currently charge or fees that they are increasing are just some aspects that come to mind.

Whether good or bad isn't the point. The point is, this is what I see. It would be interesting to see otherwise. It would be interesting to see a group of agents who only do residential real estate in narrow price range and turn away rentals and commercial.

One Versus Many Example -Google

Let me give a large non-real estate example as to not offend everyone (geez, people can be sensitive). Google. Everyone in the civilized world has heard of them. They were clicking along just grand and then something happened. They became a public company. Overnight they went from a thoughtful company asking piercing questions into a mindless zombie in search of increasing profits.

They did what anyone of us would naturally do realizing that there's a profit cap on their main product- the search engine product. They increase their divisions. They continuous add areas and products they know nothing about. They pull away from their main mission which is "To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." (What does Google Checkout have anything to do with the world's information?) They go against their core values of keeping their home page simple and begin advertising their own products like the Nexus One phone released yesterday on January 6, 2010.

The whole time this is happening, they are devaluing their own core product. Advertising is filling up the search engine results page. The top ads are moving closer to the results beginning to skew what's real results and what's paid for. Their real-time search efforts into Facebook and Twitter are mediocre at best and sometime just incorrect.

When this dissolution of core focus occurs, time is ripe for another group to overtake the core competency. In this case, if another group created a search engine product that got rid of advertising and did a better job of real time searches, they could begin to gain search engine market share. Already I can see people nodding their heads craving a better search product.

Apply To Your Real Estate

Now apply this idea to real estate. At beginning of this new year, ask yourself these questions and apply them to your real estate activities.

1. What you can be the best in the world or real estate? Is there an untapped market that no one services? Are you trying to fight a battle that is overrun with veteran agents?

2. What drives your real estate economic engine? Buying and selling is obvious but look past that. Saying "I want to profit $100 per buying side" and sticking to it, turning away deals that don't measure up is more helpful in the long run than saying "I'll take anything that comes my way."

3. What you are deeply passionate about in real estate? If your passion is first-time homebuyers and you're helping baby boomers, you need to re-align.

Apply To Real Estate Web Sites

These questions can also be applied to Real Estate Web Sites. Does your Real Estate Web Site try to be many items for everybody? Or does it focus on one single item and service a single group? Does your Real Estate Web Site drive your economic engine? Or does it have rote information coming off the boiler plate press? Does your Real Estate Web Site show what you are deeply passionate about? Or does it just brochure your possible abilities of buying or selling?

I often say to our clients that a web site is an extension of your over all marketing plan. We can't tell you what the real estate web site should be like until you tell us what you're trying to do with your marketing. The issue we run into is that the majority of real estate agents have no idea what their marketing plan is.

At beginning of this new year, ask yourself these questions and apply them to your real estate activities.

 


Boston College Stops Mandatory Email Accounts

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bc-logo-600The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that in a recent move Boston College has stopped offering incoming students mandatory email accounts. The move was due to the fact that many incoming students already have an email account elsewhere. So instead, BC will offer an email forwarding service.

If incoming student John Doe already has an email address at GMAIL, the forwarding service will pass along the email to the student's private account. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it will forward to jdoe@example.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Instead of putting everyone on the same system, they are diffusing that system across multiple email systems. So instead of a class of 3 being: astudent@bc.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , bstudent@bc.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , cstudent@bc.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; they now become astudent@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , bstudent@hotmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , cstudent@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

According to the Chronicle, the move will allow students to choose their email service provider that they are familiar with.

Hmmmm.... That sounds a lot like a real estate company. A group of individuals with a common membership, instead of forcing them to be part of a system, they're allowing them to choose what system the members want to utilize.

With the offices that we've worked with, agents and brokers tend to like this... when it works. While on the surface this is great, in the long run, this is impractical if not nearly impossible. I'm not trying to be a mind reader here but this will last maybe a few weeks before they switch back.

Reliability and Guaranteed Delivery

The issue becomes reliability and guaranteed delivery. The University can not guarantee that students will ever receive the email.

They'll eventually get complaints about not receiving email messages. For example, "OK, class, submit your homework which I emailed to you."

"I never received the email!" cries out a student. Now what? Do you place the blame on the student, University or one of the email systems? This simply leads to lost productivity.

Multiply this a couple of thousand times a week and this will lead to a decline in productivity (in this case, grades). Eventually they'll review the policy and change it something like, "Official business will be handled through the University's email system." In other words, they will only guarantee email delivery to the student's real inbox and not to their forwarding email address.

A Few Items To Consider

Here's a few items for companies that are doing this need to consider:

Are they going to simply redirect all email to the private account? Or are they going to filter the account first?

If they simply redirect all email to the private account, the system will be blocked by many systems across the world simply because there's too much spam going around. Only about 25% of messages going through our systems are actual email that gets sent. The rest get filtered by one of the hoops that we have the email jump through. So instead of delivering 1 million emails, we only deliver 250,000 messages. Delivering the rest would certainly tip off the receiving company, like GMAIL, that BC was a source of spam. After all, they're sending 750,000 junk mail messages.

If they filter it first, now there's too many places to check. Is the message in my BC junkmail folder? My GMAIL inbox? Or my GMAIL junkmail folder? Or my OUTLOOK junkmail folder? Or my NORTON junkmail folder (which is on OUTLOOK)?

What happens when an email provider blocks email from BC? Say GMAIL blacklists BC.edu? Do you think that a BC tech rep is going to call GMAIL and get it sorted out quickly? Not likely.

Everyone On The Same System

The only way to guarantee communication is by putting everyone on the same system. This is the strength behind FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter... everyone is on the same system. It simplifies communication. Even Ebay only guarantees communication through their "message center." I can only imagine that through the years, they've learned the hard way the same idea.

As a company with employees, this is sometimes easier. Companies will have the added burden of training their employees but they'll eventually get it. With real estate brokers this can be complicated as you can't force agents to do anything. They simply won't.

It would be my dream that all real estate agents would be "on the same system." Agents would get all their messages, clients wouldn't have to wait unnecessarily and system admins would have to explain how to check junkmail in multiple places. The world would be a better place.

Final Advice

So to all the incoming freshmen at BC (and all real estate companies), I wish you well and hand you some advice... stick with the real BC.edu email account they give you. Oh, and check it too.


Yahoo Real Estate Email Blast

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incoming yahoo

Here's a screenshot of a qpsmtpd processes on one of the servers. It was actually a few weeks ago but didn't get around to posting it until now. It looks like all the Yahoo contacting servers went out of control for a couple of hours on that morning.

This screenshot shows that Yahoo was contacting one of our servers more than 20 times at this particular moment. You'd see this in the past, but now servers that act this way are usually blocked or blacklisted because it's doubtful that the sending servers have anything worth while to say and is most certainly spam. Accordingly, I never found out as the message never reached anyone's inbox. I suppose the spam filters were doing their job.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Pizza for $299,111 Anyone?

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340719I couldn't help but post this to the MLS 52 pics. I just happen to come across it. Yes, a real listing (it's a commercial listing to be exact). This is actually from the Martin IDX but made an exception to post it on Regional IDX as an example. Apparently, this pizza is for sale for $299,111. But I can get you a similar one for $9.99 and if you order on a Tuesday, it's only $6.99.

This is the lead picture on the listing, meaning it's the first picture shown. Actually it's the only picture shown. No other pictures are to be found.

The lesson behind this is simple. Take quality photos of what you're selling. If you're not selling pizza, don't show it.

From the buyer's perspective it sounds something like this, "I want what I see."

I Want What I See, I Want What I See

There's a story of a young mother and her daughter. Around the holiday season, the mother took the daughter shopping promising her that she can have a treat when they got there. When they arrived in the food court, the daughter saw a larger-than-life picture of a chocolate sundae.

You know the kind of picture that I'm talking about. The soft ice cream was dripping with hot fudge, and gobs of hot fudge were swimming around the rim of the enormous dish. The cool afternoon refreshment had cloud fluffy whip cream that seemed to be piled a mile high. It was sprinkled with all the candy colors of the rainbow. And on the top of this whipped mountain was a perfect-stemmed cherry that left its tasty red mark which was on a slow journey down the side of the whipping to meet the fudge in a perfect union of happiness and joy.

The mother quickly ordered the ice cream sundae for the daughter who could hardly hold her excitement. The staff handed the young child her treat.

The child winced. A single puny pile of half melted ice cream sat on its soggy side with flat whipping scrapped on one side of the cup balanced by a spoonful of flat fudge on the other. Not a cherry in sight. She quickly looked at her mother and exclaimed, "Mom! You ordered the wrong thing! I want what I see... there!" And pointed to the picture on the wall.

Final Advice

I love that story. What's so obvious to a young child is sometimes forgotten in realm of professional real estate marketing and photography. If you ever have to question whether to use a photo in a real estate marketing plan, just use this story as a litmous test and remember these words, "I want what I see!"


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Recent Comments

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"...your blog is interesting you seem to be in tune with issues affecting the industry..." -Matt Carter, Inman News

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Regional MLS adds "Street"

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Regional MLS, who serves the greater Palm Beach County, has added recently released 5 public fields to IDX for web sites. They are as follows:

  • Street Number = allows the Street Number to be publicly displayed
  • Street Name = allows the Street Name of the property to be publicly displayed
  • Street Directional = allows the Street directional (N, S, E, W) to be publicly displayed
  • Street Suffix = allows the Street Suffix (ST, AVE, DR, LN, TERR) to be publicly displayed
  • Total Baths =allows the total number of Baths to be displayed.
REGIONAL MLS RECENTLY ADDED 5 FIELDS
These fields are added to attain greater accuracy with the Address. Previously, the there was just one address field. Now there are 4 fields that create the whole address. For example:
Address = 100 N Main St
now becomes
Street Number = 100
Street Directional = N
Street Name = Main
Street Suffix = St

In addition, the TOTAL BATHS field was added. Before it was just FULL BATHS & HALF BATHS.

The Regional MLS (and other MLS's across the country) have a terrible habit of changing items without notifying their constituents. This causes issues with web sites that use IDX, or direct feeds from the MLS. These changes caught us off-guard and caused a few hiccups with our IDX web sites.

Since there is no forewarning of changes happening, the issue becomes that we don't know there is a change until it actually happens. In our experience, Regional MLS usually has issues implementing these changes causing a disconnect between MLS and the IDX. The Regional MLS RETS server becomes unavailable for various reasons. It usually takes Regional MLS a few days to hammer out these types of additions.

In this case, the there was no downtime.

Public Regional MLS?

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thumb_hometofloridaIn a recent issue of the Regional MLS publication, Regional RE-Views, an article concerning their public website, hometoflorida.com, states that the official sponsored site "includes ALL of your listings in MLXChange..." This isn't accurate.

 

All of the MLXchange listings are not on hometoflorda.com, only the public IDX info is available. There is a difference between the private information in Regional MLS that is only available to state-licensed real estate agents who are members of the Regional MLS and the public information that is available to the general public, the IDX.

There Is A Difference

Properties in the MLS that are made available to the general public is the IDX data, whereas property listings that stay in the MLS is only available to licensed agents who are members in good standing.

Just because a property listing is in the MLS (referred to as MLXChange in the article) does not mean it shows on the officially sponsored website of the Regional MLS.

Private Listing Situations

While it is noted that the majority of listings in MLS are in IDX, it is important to note that not all of listings flow to the Regional IDX. There are cases where sellers don't want to publicly advertise that they are selling their home. The reasons vary. In some situations, the sellers may not want the general public to know, they may not want their neighbors to know or they simply may not want to show the inside of their home to the general public.

MLS's Need To Remain Intact

If the whole MLS becomes public, the MLS loses meaning as anyone could build a system to add other property listings whether those properties are entered by a licensed real estate agent or not.

Being licensed is a critical point because agents who display a lack of character lose their license and can no longer be a member to the Regional MLS and can no longer have access to the information.

All properties are of great value and great importance. Mistakes in property exchange can be very costly both in time and in dollars. Everyone is well aware that in today's current global climate, there are individual who are less than honest. Giving private information to those individuals is asking for trouble and opens the floodgates for private information to flow to the general public which is a security concern for physical, material and financial reasons.

Final Thoughts

Regional IDX Recognizes the importance of a private MLS system that contains private information that is only accessible by licensed real estate agents. Further, Regional IDX is also committed to character and building character in the real estate industry.

To this end, all of the Regional MLS listings are not on hometoflorda.com, only the public IDX info is available.


Regional MLS adds fields

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Regional MLS, who serves the greater Palm Beach county, has added recently added 3 public fields to IDX for web sites. They are as follows:

  • Allow Address Display = allows the address to be publically displayed
  • Allow Value = allows a value of the property to be publically generated
  • Allow Comments = allows comments to be publically added

These fields are added to address issues arising from listings from the Regional MLS showing on public web sites such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com.

The Regional MLS (and other MLS's across the country) have a terrible habit of changing items without notifying their constituents. This causes issues with web sites that use IDX, or direct feeds from the MLS. These changes caught us off-guard and caused a few hiccups with our IDX web sites.

Since there is no prewarning of changes happening, the issue becomes that we don't know there is a change until it actually happens. In our experience, Regional MLS usually has issues implementing these changes causing a disconnect between MLS and the IDX. The Regional MLS RETS server becomes unavailable for various reasons. It usually takes Regional MLS a few days to hammer out these types of additions.

In this case, the IDX went offline sometime on Wednesday, June 10 at night/early morning due to incorrect metadata (there was an error in the XML file). The RETS server came back online Friday, June 12 around noon.

Real Estate Web Site RoundUp

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I was out to dinner with some friends recently. They have busy lives of family, children, business and travel. So when the topic of searching for real estate on web sites came around they listened closely because felt like they were talking to an expert concerning real estate web sites.

I never realized so many don't understand real estate web sites. Appearantly, many general people have a hard time understanding the differences of real estate web sites. So here it is in plain terms. Real Estate web sites are popping up all the time. This article helps to sort out everything.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

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PB Post Florida Home

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The Palm Beach Post, which covers Palm Beach and the greater West Palm Beach area, released their new version of their real estate section this week. It's kept at: http://floridahome.palmbeachpost.com We'll look at the web site a little and point out the good and the bad.

floridahome

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

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Broker IDX Issues

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Besides developing real estate web sites for real estate agents who are members of the West Palm Beach Regional MLS, we also consult with real estate brokers in the West Palm Beach Regional MLS who deal with national IDX companies (whereas regionalidx.com specializes in the Regional IDX from the Regional MLS).

Recently, we had a situation where a local broker member of the Regional MLS hired a national IDX company (let's call them national IDX company A) to provide services to their web site. The national IDX company A apparently was going through some changes and "borrowed" photos from another national IDX company (let's call them national IDX company B).

National IDX company B called the broker to complain. Focusing on real estate, and not on web sites, the broker knows nothing of the situation and asks us to step in and handle the situation.

After contacting national IDX company B, they explain to us that the broker site is taking photos from them without authorization -that's a big no-no. But obviously the broker has no knowledge this is happening since they pay national IDX company A to handle it for them.

We contacted national IDX company A and had them fix the issue for the broker.

What surprised us was that national IDX company A even did this in the first place. Regional IDX, who specializes in IDX from the Regional MLS, building custom solutions for real estate agents and dedicated servers for brokers, has never taken photos from another national IDX company, so why should they?

Regional IDX has a set of dedicated servers that securely house all current Regional IDX information including pictures and data.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Regional MLS serves notice

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The Regional MLS has served Regional IDX a notice to cease and desist use of RMLSFL content through one of their security teams named, Privacy Solutions, Inc. We fell the notice is in error and Regional IDX is working with the proper individuals to settle the issue as quickly as possible.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2009

SMTP Naughty List

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We hate spam. We spend countless hours trying to minimize spam and do everything we can to prevent it. We prevent it by forcing mail to jump through a number of hoops that we have setup. Here's a diagram to the left. 

As you can see there are many hoops we force the mail through.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

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MLS Pic 3

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Similar to last week, and we won't post any more in this category, this pic is from a outside the country. Do people really search for properties in West Palm Beach Regional IDX that are outside the country?

Let's rephrase for a specific, if you wanted to buy a property in Utah, would you say "Let me check Regional MLS"? No? We don't think so either.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

West Palm Beach Listed as Top 10 Riskiest Markets

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RealTrends, an industry leading e-news magazine, recently listed West Palm Beach, FL as being one of the riskiest markets in America. Coming in at number 5 on the list West Palm Beach is behind Fort Lauderdale who came in at number 3. Here's how the list comes in:

Riskiest Markets

   1. Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
   2. Miami-Miami Beach
   3. Fort Lauderdale
   4. Los Angeles
   5. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton
   6. Las Vegas-Paradise
   7. Tampa-St. Petersburg
   8. Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.
   9. Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine
  10. Jacksonville

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

American Express Site Goes Offline

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AmericanExpress.com web site has a major outage today. Outages happen to large companies and small companies alike for various reasons.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

MLS Pic 2

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I'm sorry... what!!! Yes, this is an actual picture from the Regional MLS. It is from an increasing number of listings outside of the country. Apparently a subway system is for sale.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Regional MLS ends DisplayKey support

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On January 16th, Regional MLS is ending support for the Supra DisplayKEY. All electronic lockboxes from Supra must be upgraded to either:

  • the new ActiveKEY
  • or the eKey

The eKey can be added to the PALM or to the BLACKBERRY. Support for the IPHONE is not available.

Microsoft Web Site Goes Offline

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A large part of the Microsoft web site, www.microsoft.com, went offline today. We happen to catch it here. I suppose it happens to everyone.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

MLS Pic 1

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MLS Pic 1 of the week is dedicated to the frustration of agents and clients who are looking for a home originating from Regional MLS and are unable to see any pics at all. If buyers can't see any pics, they'll simply move onto the next property. A sure way to rob a listing of any value at all.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Regional MLS starts advertising on site

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Regional MLS, www.rmlsfl.com, starting advertising to it's customers in late 2008. The ads, provided by Adify, www.adify.com, adds additional revenue to Regional MLS along with advertising from it's newsletter, professional services and membership dues.

From experience, the ads are mostly credit score ads and class mate ads with advertisers such as classmates.com and freescore.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 January 2009

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An Open Reply to 1000Watt Top Ten Real Estate Brokerage Web sites in America

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INTRODUCTION

1000Watt recently released a report where they select the Top Ten Real Estate Brokerage Web sites in America. Naturally I read the read the report as I watch closely what happens across the country when it comes to Real Estate and Web sites.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

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NAR settles with DOJ

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National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) finally settled, ending a four-year argument about NAR's policy regarding the display of listings from the MLS on brokers' web sites.

Regional MLS rules require action by no later than February 15, 2009. The actions by Regional MLS are required by the settlement of U.S. v. NAR, the case brought by the DOJ challenging NAR’s previous VOW policy including the IDX policy.

Here's a reprint of the Judgment against NAR.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

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48 hours

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We won't sugar-coat it, our servers were offline for a 48 hour period recently, which was a first in our five years in service. Like all disasters, it wasn't one item in particular but a many factors that lead to the outage.

Regional IDX is committed to providing the best service in real estate web sites and real estate web hosting. We thank you for your patience and understanding while we worked to get this resolved.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2009

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New Regional MLS Rules Add Strength to Regional IDX

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Recently, according to Regional MLS, rmlsfl.com states:

    Beginning Monday, December 15th, 2008, the following new rules are in effect for photos:

       1. Photos must be added to a listing within five (5) days of entry into MLXchange.
       2. At least one photo must be of the front exterior of the property.
       3. Rental listings are now required to have a photo and follow all the photo rules.

 This is great because it adds strength to the Regional MLS of greater West Palm Beach. Currently, there are many available properties for sale in the Regional MLS without photos.

 Listings without photos weaken the Regional MLS and consequently, Regional IDX. When, according to NAR, more than 80% use the internet to buy their home, it's imperative that they find the information they seek.

Remember that any photo added to Regional MLS automatically shows on your web site within 24 hours, if you're a Regional IDX member. That's right, your web site is working even when you're sleeping.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

eKEY for BlackBerry

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Agents will eventually be able to combine both their blue key FOB & their Supra LockBox keys into Blackberry devices.

According to gesecurity.com, "By the end of 2008, Supra eKEY software will be available for the BlackBerry Pearl, BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Pearl Flip, BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry 8800 series smartphones. BlackBerry devotees will soon join thousands of real estate professionals already enjoying the timesaving benefits of eKEY service on their Palm and Windows."

Eventually, this gives real estate agents in the Regional MLS area (covering greater West Palm Beach, FL) more options when it comes to handling the blue key FOB and the Supra LockBox key.

It has yet to be determined if and when Regional MLS will allow this ability.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Regional MLS kills FAR data feed

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Brokers & agents of REGIONAL MLS (West Palm Beach, FL) used to be able to download data from the FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, also known as FAR.

A recent notice sent out by REGIONAL MLS data department states that  "... As of Tuesday November 11th the FAR feed will no longer be available.  If you have made the appropriate change, thank you and please disregard this email."

This leaves many agents out in the cold when it comes to listing information for their web sites.

FAR is only one source to receive the information.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Regional MLS removes fields

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Regional MLS, who serves the greater Palm Beach county area, recently removed 2 public fields from the IDX for web sites.

  • CDOM (Cumulative Days On Market) = used to allow to show the total number of days the property has been on the market.
  • Market Time DOM = used to allow to show the recent number of days the property has been on the market.
REGIONAL MLS RECENTLY REMOVED 3 FIELDS
We can only guess these fields are removed to address security issues arising from outside parties contacting the listing agent, the listing broker or the owner with various concerns. These concerns could be anything from sales product pitches or relisting with a different agent, brokers, etc.

The Regional MLS (and other MLS's across the country) have a terrible habit of changing items without notifying their constituents. This causes issues with web sites that use IDX, or direct feeds from the MLS. These changes caught us off-guard and caused a few hiccups with our IDX web sites.

Since there is no prewarning of changes happening, the issue becomes that we don't know there is a change until it actually happens. In our experience, Regional MLS usually has issues implementing these changes causing a disconnect between MLS and the IDX.

In this case, as far as we know, the Regional MLS RETS server had no issues during the removal of these fields.

However, at one point the LIST DATE was removed. Then it was later re-added. List Date = used to allow to show when the property has been put on the market. This could also be used to show the days on market.


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