Dozens and dozens of really good submissions, and cutting it down to eleven (I snuck two into #4) took lots of careful reading, weighing, and brutal decision making. But the work is done, and here are my favorite posts from the real estate blogosphere in the last week:
1. THE big topic of this week and many others in the real estate blogosphere is what kind of future, if any, there is for real estate professionals. Kevin Boer from Three Oceans Real Estate has the most intelligent post on that topic that I have seen in a while. Absolutely, he argues, the internet is having a massive effect. And certainly, there will be big changes (and I would argue, a shakeout). But real estate professionals are not going away, because, he writes, "…the real estate business is not really about homes, and transactions, and escrows, and mortgages. It’s not about negotiation, and home inspections, and contracts, and deadlines. It is, instead, primarily a business of relationships." I wholeheartedly agree that those who build and value relationships in our industry will be around for a long time… the capacity in which we serve our clients will continue to change dramatically and at lightning speed. Those who resist change will die a pretty quick death, which may be some happy news for the realtor haters. But we’re certainly not all going away.
2. On that note, Greg from BlueRoof touches on one of the big keys in figuring out who will succeed in this brave new world of real estate, and who will not. He writes that reputation is all we have, and I totally agree: "There are agents that I know are liars and will say and do almost anything to get business and I know that working with them means a transaction full of deception and non-disclosed items and problems. There are agents that I know do not care about their clients at all, but instead care only about their own gain. And there are many agents that I know who are very good people and care very much about their clients and also care about each transaction being a win for everyone."
3. One of the smartest real estate bloggers out there, Jonathan Miller, has an excellent piece on sellers, saying they "are creating havoc by their unwillingness to realign with current market conditions."
4. Conferences! Mike Simonsen at Altos Research drops by an invite-only conference and learns, essentially, that every real estate professional ought to have a blog: "You are much more likely to do business with a friend than you are with a total stranger," he writes. "If business comes from online, then make friends online." (Speaking as someone who has just read a whole bunch of real estate blog entries, I only hope that all those future real estate bloggers get the point that it’s pointless and even a little insulting to use your blog to trot out mindless and tired "rah, rah, real estate/mortgages/me/whatever I’m selling" sales copy.) Realty Thoughts compares and contrasts NAR and Inman conferences: "When you go to a panel on ‘Top money making strategies in online marketing’ at NAR there is no one sitting on the panel that was born after 1970. When you go to a similar session at Inman you rarely find a person on the panel born before 1970."
5. The Digerati Life tells us that before buying the cheapest property on a great block, consider that a recent study found "low income people in a sea of rich folks ended up dying earlier than their peers living in lower income areas."
6. WebHomeUSABlog has helpful perspective about why the websites with MLS searches–like the NAR, Realtor.com and Move.com–are vulnerable to upstarts: "NAR, Move.com and Realtor.com give home searchers MLS-Friendly Search. What home searchers want is home searcher User-Friendly Search."
7. Andrew Maury spot checks some online estimating services and finds "of the 13 values that I was able to find, only 3 were within 5%. Overall, the sites were off by an average of 12.2%."
8. Dean Bundschu of InTheNumbers writes: "…a lot of gurus and websites that advocate foreclosure investing act like every foreclosure property is a good investment. This is simply not true." Correct! He explains that after you research the state of each individual mortgage, most foreclosures are not worth bidding on. Even when there is value there, I have seen auction property sell above market value…
9. Searchlight Crusade clearly explains something that might be a little surprising: "Yes, lenders can legally stop loan funding after signing."
10. They say when a referee is doing her job properly, you barely notice she’s there. The Real Estate Zebra says being a good real estate professional is much like being a referee: "A well-handled transaction that goes smoothly for all parties involved is something that may not garner a whole lot of talk, but it is always noticed and remembered. I want to help my clients in such a way that they never even really notice that they are buying or selling a home, or at least never have to think about it."