Category Archives: Uncategorized

REALTOR.com’s “Find It First” advantage; will it last?

Once a fat, dated company that rested on its laurels (and a sweetheart deal with NAR), REALTOR.comĀ® has recently reinvented themselves; they had to. Despite key competitive disadvantages, Zillow and Trulia passed RDC in unique visitors and are poised to widen the gap. Still, RDC has a lot going for it. They have the operational rights to use www.realtor.com, institutional relationships will nearly every MLS, and an awesome development team that has proved they can create user experiences that are every bit as good as the mobile and web offerings from Trulia and Zillow. To highlight some of these advantages, RDC has launched a new campaign called, “Find It First.”

I like the concept. For now, RDC’s access to the majority of MLS sourced listings can be viewed as a competitive advantage over Zillow and Trulia. They have the technology to pull a feed from most MLSs as often as every 15 minutes. In addition, RDC’s agreements with most MLSs are of the opt-out variety by default. Meaning if a broker does nothing, their listings go to RDC. The broker has the option to opt-out of syndication, but very few do. Because of these two factors, they get most MLS listings and they get them fast.

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REFOCUS your business model at RETSO next week

Next week, outside of Atlanta, professionals from around the country will gather together to refocus on their personal strategy for success in the real estate business. If you’re ready to transform your business in 2013, get yourself to RETSO.

register

I’ve attended RETSO since 2009. It’s a conference experience like no other. The conference takes place in a quiet suburb of Atlanta, there are less distractions. Less temptations to go siteseeing, or go get lunch; less reasons to leave the conference. This leads to much more “hallway interaction” than the average conference. In addition, RETSO has worked very hard to deliver content from speakers that rises above the vendor-pitches that are so often found at other conferences.

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There are no superstars in blogging.

First off, let me say that Amy Chorew will make a fine addition to an already outstanding blog. This post is not intended to be derogatory to her in any way. I wrote most of this post in my head while I was out tonight, not even knowing who Agent Genius’ new contributor was.

Earlier tonight, Lani Anglin, the new media director for agentgenius.com promoted this new contributor on twitter stating,

announcing a SUPERSTAR writer on AG in 1.5 hours“.

Lani motivated me to finally write a post that’s been sitting in the back of my head for weeks.

There are no superstars in blogging. Not anyone writing for AG. Not Greg Swann. Not Brad Inman, or Dustin Luther, or me. Not even if Gary Keller started blogging. Not even outside of real estate. Not Robert Scoble, or Guy Kawasaki.

I was told recently by a very good friend of mine, that before she met me, she thought I was a bit of a snob. Part of the RE.net elite. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that I intimidate people. Something I guess I need to work on. But I’d be very surprised if anyone thought that after meeting me in person. The truth of the matter though is that I’ve met almost everyone that a new real estate blogger might consider elite, and trust me, there is no secret hand shake. These are all just people with the same brilliant idea to blog as you now have, it’s just that they started a few months before you did.

The idea of no superstars is what I like best about blogging. The day of the super-influencers is dying. Most every decent blogger has something to bring to the table. Before REBlogWorld, who had any idea that Mariana Wagner and Kelley Koehler would be knocking people over with a feather in their sessions? OK, I knew, but that’s only because I took in interest in the way they do businesses through this blog, long ago.

That’s been the beauty of this blog all along. Even if I was the only person to read it, it would still be worth it to me. I have as much to learn from a blogger three months in, as I do from the folks you might consider elite. After a long hiatus, and a funny name change, I finally have time to fire up this blog again. Over the weekend, I’ll be reaching out to more bloggers for interviews. But if you think you have something to add, please don’t be shy. Some of the best interviews I’ve done are from folks I hardly know. Give me a shout at todd@bizomi.com.

Today, Rob Hahn asked what the official anthem for RE.net should be. Here’s my take. We have a lot to learn from each other people, this whole web 2.0 thing is still brand spankin’ new. Let’s talk.

Blogger Spotlight: Chris Johnson

Can a someone by ubiquitous, relevant, and transparent, all at the same time? Chris Johnson seems to be giving it his best effort. Chis is a contributor Lenderama, The Mortgage Cicerone, Blood Hound Blog, and authors Ten Day Team and Genuine Chris. Yet, he’ll be the first to tell you blogging is not for everyone.

Hi Chris, what made you decide to start a blog?

Well, I was blogging on Live Journal all the way back in 2001, mostly about my goals and dreams. The odd thing was is that I picked up transactions by being part of communities. I was 25 at the time, so a lot of the stuff I saw I absolutely cringed at, so when RE blogging took off I decided it was a great channel to reach out to people and to make myself available.

When the market turned in late 2005, I thought it would be a good time to start really advocating good business practices. You told me that people that blog to advocate last.

On the Ten Day Team blog, you recently wrote about finding you niche in blogging. What advice do you have for real estate agents as to just how focused their blogs should be?

Lenders and Real Estate Agents should create a ridiculously compelling reason for someone from the outside to contact them, or they should simply not blog. It doesn’t have to be hyper-focused, but it does have to have a reason to come back. Some breathtaking content. It’s hard to achieve, but once you find something you believe in, you’ll know right away. In this business it STILL doesn’t take a lot of transactions to make a great living, so instead of focusing on subscribers, I’d focus on providing quality, organic and authentic content.

The great thing is–that you and others have proven–is that there’s no limit to what can get accomplished by blogging correctly.

I was kind of blown away at something on your other blog, Genuine Chris. You’ve actually listed your personal goals, AND exactly where you stand in meeting them. I know the blog is an, “Experiment in Personal Online Transparency”, but where does one draw a line between public and private with regard to their blog.

I did that–and I’ll do it again–to help me “walk the walk.” Google docs and other programs help us to do that quickly, and if I’m going to hold myself out as someone that knows how to survive the loan industry, then it’s helpful to show that I’m actually following the plan that I preach.

I don’t know where the line is drawn–because I love accountability. I don’t want to go off the deep end, but if I voluntarily expose wide swaths of my life, then I will live better in those areas. If I know people (and some people that dislike me) are watching, chances are that I will live beyond reporach. Am I there yet? Hell no, but it’s the direction I am going..

Your blogs are all about helping other people get better at their jobs. There’s ways to monetize this, but with everyone and their brother racing to share their knowledge on the blogosphere, do you see a day when the asset of knowledge will have no value?

Not really. I am combining knowledge with accountability in the projects that I have coming out. Personal trainers make a great living not by helping people do proper exercises, but by creating a control that ensures that people do it. We’re not being paid so much for the information itself as being a trusted filter. Brian Brady made the comment that he learned nothing new from my book, but still found it a great value.

The models and info is out there, but what I’ve done is distilled it. Did David Allen’s GTD teach us anything new? No, not really. But what it did do was gave us some of what he calls ‘enlightened common sense.’ A trusted filter will be viable for decades into the future.

I never ask when I’m recruiting people to join, but I’m always curious as to other’s motives. Why do you contribute to Lenderama?

It was the best Lender blog around. The people you’ve collected are all outstanding and solid examples. I wanted to have to create content that was as good as the stuff that was coming their way. I had had a good experience on Blown Mortgage when Morgan was experimenting with being multi author, and I wanted to help originators in any way that I also wanted to kick it up a notch or two, as far as quality goes, and I was new at making a name for myself on the internet.

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Instead of listing the ones that everyone knows, I’ll try and get some of the ‘unusual’ suspects.

Bliss Point Blog, Confident Writing, I like the Art of Manliness, JustDugUp is fantastic. I like the Xbroker and BawldGuy because they let their guard down and aren’t afraid to call out the BS that is in the market.

What advice do you have for prospective bloggers who are sitting on the fence.?

Get started on your own blogging, leave comments, don’t be afraid to disagree. You have to be both remarkable and good if you’re going to do this long term, so learn from people. Also, subscribe to the Long List on Bloodhound, and poke around Rembex a good bit. Then when you engage, listen first and talk second. I am honored to get to be on Lenderama and to get to be on Bloodhound and to get to be on the Cicerone. There is some work creating original content for 4-5 places, but it’s really rewarding.

I’d also say that it’s possible to be relevant WITHOUT blogging, and if you don’t see it as a “get to” vs. a “have to,” it’s 100% OK to skip doing it.

Chris Johnson is a loan officer, and author of the Loan Officer Survival Guide. You can buy his book at losurvialguide.com.