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Dale Stinton addresses ReBarCamp attendees in Chicago

Dale Stinton addresses ReBarCamp attendees in Chicago

What’s the Story?

My Social Media career began when Jim Duncan and Liz Luby spoke in front of an NAR sub-committee about blogging. In their presentation, Jim had pointed out a number of sites where NAR was being lambasted by bloggers who felt that the organization was unresponsive, monolithic, and antiquated.

A light went on for me.  As someone who had been active in their local association, their  state association , and finally the  national association, I knew that one of the challenges faced by all of our leadership was finding out how to find out what the members wanted and needed. And Jim had just demonstrated that all we needed to do to connect with this small group was to start listening.

Since the story here is not about the journey I started on, suffice it to say I got very involved in a new world that has become an integral part of my life. But this paragraph begs the question… What is the story here?

NAR is the Story

Since that time, NAR, at the direction of our leadership, and with the assistance of an incredible and responsive staff, has begun to participate in the Re.Net or Blogosphere, or Blogiverse, or whatever you want to call the circle of social media venues populated by our members.

Some of those steps have been more tentative, and some more asured, but they have all led the organization towards more communication with and from its members. And all of these steps have been dissected, reviewed, and criticized (often without an understanding of all of the ramifications of the organizations thought process and structure). But none of that stopped the association from this forward thinking evolution.

Now the  Blogger’s Lounge is a place to be at Mid-Year and Annual Meetings. NAR has a social media marketing director. Social Media programs are held at NAR meetings, and our members are being assisted by the association in finding their way through this new form of consumer contact. Many of those people who were critical of the organization have been invited to speak at NAR events, serve on NAR committees, and provide feedback appropriate to their expertise.

And There’s More

So you might think that these are not matters of great note, and that the association doesn’t really value the input of their members. But not after last Monday.

On Monday June 15, 2009, a volunteer group held ReBarCamp Chicago, an event just like other BarCamps around the country, except this one was held in a venue donated by NAR. NAR did not sponsor the event, nor were they involved in the “unstructure” of this “unconference”. But they did demonstrate how much they valued the group of people that showed up.

During the day, a tour of the facility was offered so that people could see “where the magic happens”. And all day, people were invited to come into a room where their feedback on a possible redesign of was solicited.

At the end of the day, after the ReBarCamp, the CEO of NAR, Dale Stinton came down to talk to the people who remained. Now Dale didn’t need to do that – he’s a really busy man with a plate that is always full. But he came down to engage the people there. Not to pontificate or lecture, but to have a dialogue. And he was a gracious host, as the rest of the staff had been all day, even though this group was a minuscule representation of the total membership of the organization. All it took was for them to want to be heard.

So next time you think that NAR is some faceless monolith, come on back and check out my photo of Dale talking to his new social media acquaintances, at the end of a really busy work day, listening and engaging them on their terms, in an open and collegial manner – and be proud you’re part of an organization like that.

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  1. Benn Rosales

    June 17, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    @billlublin “So you might think that these are not matters of great note”

    Actually, I personally think they’re matters of greatness, and I think you get very little credit for demonstrating evolution, Bill.

    You are on the standards committee, and when issues of standards came up, you were there, keeping the committees intent, decisions, et al. on task. You make it look easy because you’re just being you.

    You’ve been a fantastic model for how I hope more and more committees will come out and join the conversation (I know they will and are).

    I’m am beyond impressed with Dale, he’s leaving his mark on this chapter of NAR’s history, and I have a feeling he’ll go down in the books as a guy who said “why not?” I applaud him on taking good risk.

  2. Bill Lublin

    June 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I wanted to say something clever, but all I can really say is “Thanks so much for your kind words”.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    June 17, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Bill – With the speed of the internet being what it is, I think we all can be guilty of saying “you don’t get it” to someone (or in this case, something – NAR) in the blink of an eye, when all they are doing is trying to catch up. I’ve had my words about NAR, but I have never lost hope. As a relative newcomer I look around and see the people I associate with, people like you – who are forward thinking and want to do things in new ways – whatever they may be – things never thought of before. As a kid I toyed with computers, but I never imagined what I see today (you being about 20 years younger than me, probably don’t understand my old man ramblings about the old days, but some day kiddo, you’ll understand – haha).

    I have been excited by some of the things I’ve seen NAR (and state and local as well) doing. I encourage it. I will always be a bit wary of it, hoping they get it right and don’t take too long in catching up. Of course, I’m one of those people that don’t understand all the inner workings, so that’s why I decided to try and get more involved. I can’t complain from the bench, if I don’t know what game is being played or how the plays unfold.

    As for Benn’s comment about your evolution, I only know you as @billlublin, but I imagine Bill Lublin was once in the dark too (you started your story with it, which by the way, I found as an interesting look into someone I know). I think this says it best:

    He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe.

    Your old school with the flavor of new school. (And no, I will not spell it “skool” no matter how much I should to get my point across.)

  4. Paula Henry

    June 18, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Bill – I have only recently seen the politics played out at NAR and while disappointed in the outcome, I still have hope. Not so much at my local level, but the engagement and people I met at the National level does give me reason to believe the NAR is looking at ways to connect with agents.

    I so wanted to go to Chicago, but business kept me here. I may make Columbus.

  5. Eric Stegemann

    June 18, 2009 at 4:13 am

    I will give Dale Stinton a lot of credit. I asked him probably the edgiest question there and he did a great job of proving that he and members of NAR leadership DO actually care.

    He took time out of his day to step up to the plate and explained some of the great things that NAR is working on.

  6. Joe Loomer

    June 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Someone had too much koolaid. No wonder they donated the space. Check under your bed for big green pod looking things, Bill – IF THAT IS YOUR REAL NAME NOW!

    Seriously though – organizations of this size who exist solely for the benefit of its members (or should) tend to be a lot better run than one expects. They are not the lumbering behemoth pushing down trees in the forest. I just wish there was a quicker resolution to Paula’s debacle.

    It is great to hear first-hand accounts of NAR’s “good” side and to hear people whose opinion I’ve grown to respect (Bill) pull us back to earth and remind us the NAR is certainly not our enemy and they ARE a force for good.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. Missy Caulk

    June 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Personally I loved being in the NAR building and I got some great shots. I missed his session at the end as I had to go take a phone call and ended up trying to fix a mess back home.

    I did get to give some imput on the make over. That was very nice too. I know they are working hard to make it more user friendly. I shared with them that I was doing a search on a topic a few weeks ago and had to give up there were too many articles to wade through to find what I needed.

    They know that the majority of agents only go there to find help on a topic and I do believe that they are working hard to make it easier.

    Your session was great…still been thinking about it in relationship to all the social networks I belong too, not RE related, not Twitter, or FB. Made me think what are my expectations and what is allowed into my computer. 🙂

  8. Brandie Young

    June 18, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Bill Lubin

    To echo Eric, I have to give a lot of credit to Dale. His addressing the group showed class, as did his matter-of-fact way of speaking (even when it didn’t seem to be what people wanted to hear).

    Eric did make some pretty pointed statements, and it’s great that people felt empowered to do so.

    I like to say “it’s never pretty to see how the sausage is made” … I’m sure NAR is no exception.

    Bill Lubin’s newest fan (muah!)

  9. Steve Volkers

    June 19, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Bill, Thanks for writing about this. I though this was one of the best parts of Re Bar camp.

  10. Bill Lublin

    June 19, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Matt; Thanks so much for the props – its no secret why you’re a rockstar- or why you functioned so well as the member of a band- where every voice and instrument needs to contribute to the whole – my biggest disappointment in San Antonio this year was that we didn’t get to see each other f2f when I was there- maybe we’ll fix that before the end of the year

    Paula: Your exposure to the porcess might be almost as importnant as the oucome. Your influence in the industry will help others be involved utilize the existing structure to effect change, and then the results might be something we prefer. At least we finally got to meet and hang out a little. That was at least a treat for me

    Eric; You know how much I enjoy that edginess – and how glad I was to see you get to have that conversation. As ayoung industry leader, your input is not only valued, it is imperative.

    Missy; Hanging with the Caulkettes is a treat at any time, and I was so happy to spend time with you and your daughters. Thanks for the props on the session. I’m thinking there might even be a book there- what do you think? 😉

    Joe: I never drink the koolaid – strictly a diet coke guy – and though I love the body snatchers reference ( loved the B&W verision best though) think of me more as one whjo borrows two of the seabee’s mottos “can do” and “The difficult we do immediately, but the impossible takes a little longer” (though I have seen that ascribed to the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII) – In any case, if we don’t try we don’t achieve. 🙂

    Brandie: From a devoted Brandie Young fan – you were a highlight of the #Rebcchi experience. Really enjoyed talking and learning from a font of marketing wisdom. Your comment about sausage is why I prefer authenticity to transparency and think its even more important to be genuine than it is to be transparent- I may not want to watch the sausage being made, I I do want to be sure that its all beef! (Muah right back atcha!)

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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