Experiences that Transform
Every once in a great while, you encounter/experience something that revolutionizes/challenges your thinking, and transforms/changes the way in which you approach business/marketing. The REBarCamp is one such experience.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with these events, REBarCamp is derivative of BarCamp, an international network of user-generated conferences characterized by spontaneous, open, participatory workshops. It was first started by O’Reilly Media in 2005, the same folks who coined the term ‘Web 2.0.‘
The Curse of the Costly Conference
Over the course of my professional career, I’ve attended more conferences, workshops, expos, trade shows, and conventions than…(select one of the following):
1) McCain has friends 2) Obama has questionable friends
As such, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on what constitutes a successful event.
In today’s challenging market, real estate professionals around the country are hard-pressed to justify and cover the expenses of attending industry-related conferences.
For the upcoming NAR Conference in Orlando, the full 4-day event costs $430. Add to that your air fare, hotel accommodations, and meals, and you’re easily up over $2000. At the Inman Connect in New York this coming January, conference registration is almost twice the cost of NAR Orlando.
100% Absolutely FREE
REBarCamp, on the other hand, is FREE to those who attend. The costs for the event are shared evenly by sponsors who contribute a flat fee of $250 each. The monies provided through sponsorship help to underwrite the expenses of renting the meeting space, providing a nice lunch, and giving each attendee an REBarCamp T-shirt. REBarCamp events can be organized and held locally, eliminating costly travel and hotel expenses.
Enter at Your Own Risk
However, by its very premise, there is an inherent risk with the REBarCamp experience. Rather than having a predictable slate of scheduled speakers/presenters (hence the corresponding cost of the event), and their associated topics, the agenda for the REBarCamp isn’t necessarily known until the morning of the event. As people show up, those who want to present/teach a session can reserve a spot for the preferred time slot and classroom location up on the ad hoc schedule board, and promote their particular session/topic. So obviously, the nature and extent of your event topics/content will vary, depending on who shows up.
Lessons from the Trenches
Despite this risk, the compensating positive is that REBarCamp provides an open environment…
“where those who are passionate about what they know, can share their knowledge freely with those who are hungry to learn!”
The people who volunteer to teach or present the sessions at REBarCamp are typically those who not only know their subject matter intimately, but have practically implemented/applied it in the course of their everyday business. They’ve lived out what they know in the trenches and allow us to benefit from their experiences.
How many industry-related conferences or CE classes have you attended where you came away with very little, if any, practical or helpful information that directly impacted your business? Unfortunately, all too many times, either the information is not relevant to the issues we face, or the speakers seem out of touch with our reality.
Vendors in White Hats
We’re extremely fortunate in our industry to have so many valued supplier/vendor companies who actively invest and participate in events such as REBarCamp. These are companies that have a vision beyond simply selling/marketing their products and services. They possess genuine concern and passion for the real estate industry, and seek to provide value for those of us who derive our living from it. My personal thanks to our friends at Trulia, Zillow, Altos Research, MLBroadcast.com, and Real Estate Shows for your ongoing support!
Trailblazers in the Web 2.0 Frontier
Additional thanks and gratitude should be extended towards those from among our ranks who have effectively laid the groundwork for future events to take place. People like Todd Carpenter, Andy Kaufman, Brad Coy, and Mike Price, to name a few.
It All Begins with You!
Imagine the positive impact we could make in our industry if each of us helped to organize an REBarCamp event in our own local market? For more informaton on how to begin the process, access the REBarCamp Wiki, or contact Mike Price at MLBroadcast.com for further details.
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, SelfStorage.com 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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, Realtor.com, 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 Realtor.com’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
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