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The internet and blogging are just tools … not the answers



Thanks to each of you (both Agent Genius contributors and readers) who have made this point before… the internet and blogging are just TOOLS, not the answers to all things real estate.

How True! I bring this up because I had this conversation (among many others) with Lani and Benn the other day … and it was NOT via email, NOT via phone and NOT via comments on a blog.

It was face to face.

I went to Austin, Texas and actually sat down, at the same table with Lani and Benn. I got to look them both in the eyes and have intelligent and meaningful conversations with them.

Please note: I did not use the word “mature” J (… and for those of you wondering what the rest of the elusive Benn looks like, I cannot tell you. He actually conducts all business and social interactions with a cup (or phone) in front of his face. I mean it.)

Yes. The internet – blogging in particular – is what introduced Lani and Benn to me. (Yay for that!) But it was the evening I spent with them in Austin that “took it to the next level” making me really understand, appreciate and love WHO they are. (Although I cannot vouch for their opinion of me, as I was the only one in the rainbow stripey knee socks riding a small canon like a pony at the Austin capital building in the middle of the night… Long story.)

I think that too many people hide behind the computer – the technology – the web 2.0 instead of going out and doing some major hand-shaking, hugging and all around don’t-be-afraid-to-embarrass-yourself personal interaction.

The internet is a GREAT tool. I LOVE it. It exposes both us and our businesses to the world – in a medium that no other medium can. But once that introduction is made, it is the HUMAN interaction that really concretes who we are to our clients and other business professionals. Continually hiding behind a cup, er, I mean the internet will only take our businesses so far.

So, when you are building your business plan and figuring out all the cool ways to integrate the internet into your business, make sure you add as much (if not more) HUMAN interaction, as well. The internet may create clients, but it is your human interaction that creates clients for life … and friends.

Thank you Lani and Benn for making my short trip to Austin completely memorable. You guys ROCK!

Article originally published January 18, 2008.

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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  1. Lani Rosales

    January 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Mariana, I think you nailed it by noting that the Intenet is a great tool but the personal face time cements that pre-existing relationship online media creates.

    We really really really enjoyed having you in Austin- you’re way TOO funny (or is that from all the sharpies?)!!! I won’t tell everyone about your making our waiter nervous or the trespassing on the capitol grounds, or the cuss words we yelled at people at bus stops (or other things I just made up). 🙂

    ***btw- dang I look cute in that picture of us! haha

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 18, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    My feelings for having met you are equal and we really enjoyed watching you ride the cannon in your striped socks. Thanks for visiting us during your Austin trip, and hurry back with your Husband.

  3. Benjamin Bach

    January 18, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Y’all are some OG AGs

  4. Mariana

    January 19, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Benn – It was awesome! Derek can’t wait to meet you. Maybe we can all eat at the grirr next time we are in Austin.

    Lani – You DO look pretty dang cute! (A bit better than the one where Benn is sporting a halo…)

    Benjamin – May I ask what an “OG” is? Or should I not …

  5. Lani Rosales

    January 20, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Mariana- OG means “original gangsta.” Benjamin Bach and I are OGAGs (original gangsta agent geniuses) in our off time, most notably on Facebook.

    Ines- oh don’t be jealous, we filled her full of beans and Starbucks and sent her to sit in a cramped room with other people who ate beans and probably had Starbucks. 🙂

    When will you be coming to Austin? There are a million reasons….

  6. Lani Rosales

    January 20, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    HA HA HA HA HA HA, no I can’t believe it!!!

  7. ines

    January 20, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    I’m jealous! REALY, REALLY Jealous!

  8. Ines

    January 20, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I’ll skip the beans – but I will HAVE to come up with a reason to visit Austin.

    (can you believe I entered the wrong sum?)

  9. Mariana

    January 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Ines! (the sums DO get tough if they are over 10 …LOL!) I can’t wait to meet YOU someday in person! Since I make it to Austin semi-regualarly so I can met you there too! 🙂

    Lani – OH! I thought it was some reference to OG Readmore:

  10. Ines

    January 20, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    are the beans the reason Mariana was on the canon?

  11. Mariana

    January 20, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Yeah … I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it may intimidate me … or imitate me … or incriminate me … or something.

  12. Ines

    January 20, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    OK – I promise not to make any jokes about how powerful the canon’s explosion might have been if it worked.

  13. Ken Brand

    August 25, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    There is much to be thankful for. That’s what your sharing makes me think, and feel. Thanks.

  14. stephanie crawford

    August 26, 2010 at 1:26 am

    BUSTED! I do that, I “hide behind the computer”.
    I use it to respond to as much as possible. I’ve often thought that I could convert more if I added a Buyer’s Rep, but I’m just not ready to let go yet.

  15. Alex Cortez

    August 26, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Good article, Mariana. I can say that in my market many Top Producers have little (if any) online presence. The fundamentals and old way of doing things still hold immeasurable value in order to succeed.

  16. Doug Francis

    August 26, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Plan a post or two a week… then spend the rest of the time with your peeps!

    I had to convince my 12 year-old to call his friend on the phone, rather than checking to see if he was logged onto X-Box Live. Folks, we live in a social world and HUMAN Interaction is essential!

  17. Stacie Wells

    August 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    The timing on this was perfect. I just had the opportunity to cement some online relationships with face to face time at REBCORL. Met several people in person who I chat with and see online all the time. In person definitely takes it to a new level. Now, if I can just get some face time with Mariana, Lani, and Benn…. 😉 (Maybe for a sock competition?)

  18. Rob McCance

    August 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Canon rides are cool.

  19. Teresa boardman

    August 30, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I like my computers more than I like most people.

    • Mariana Wagner

      August 30, 2010 at 11:20 am

      For as much as I agree with you, Teresa, … Being able to hug someone is infinitely better than “poking” them. Usually.

      • Alex Cortez

        August 30, 2010 at 11:48 am

        Mariana, maybe you are not ‘poking’ them the right ways. 😉

  20. Ines

    August 30, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I don’t know Mariana…..when it comes to T…I’m thinking poking is better 🙂 (she has matches, you know)

  21. Alex Cortez

    August 30, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Mariana, maybe you are not ‘poking’ the right way. 😉

  22. Lisa Archer

    August 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I am looking forward to some IRL facetime with Lani, Benn, Benjamin and Mariana when I am in Austin in a couple weeks.

  23. Teresa boardman

    August 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    That is true Mizzle but I don’t have the resources to fly to Colorado to hug you so you will have to settle for a poke.

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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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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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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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