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We’re Being Invaded by Canada



Great Things Come in Pairs…

Today marks a great day in AG history- we are being invaded by Canadians! Although it is a myth that they are legally required to say “aboot” and it is also untrue that their heads detach at their mouths. There are two bloggers that you’ve been dying to read on AG, so let’s learn what IS true about them:

Norm Fisher

Norm Fisher of Royal Le Page in Sasketoon, SK was one of the first writers we invited to come on board at AG back when it was just a wee baby. At the time, Norm was busy conquering the world but now that Saskatoon is all his, he’s ready to take the AG bull by the horns!

My first impression of Norm was that he must be the most hilarious man alive (other than Benn of course) because of his headshot campaign. Here are some true things about Norm:

  • Norm has been Licensed as a real estate agent since 1993 and has been the sales manager for Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate since 2000 and Associate Broker since 2006.
  • He was the Director of the Saskatoon Real Estate Board from 1998-2002 and 2005 and President of the Saskatoon Real Estate Board in 2001.
  • Norm has served on the Professional Standards Committee and the Government Affairs Committee of the Saskatoon Real Estate Board as well as the Technology Committee of the Saskatchewan Real Estate Association and the Agency Advisory Committee for the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission.
  • He was the FIRST Saskatoon real estate agent to promote homes online.

Larry Yatkowsky

Larry Yatkowsky of Vancouver’s Yatter Matters blog has long been an active commentator at Agent Genius and has always been a part of the conversation, making it natural for his transition to writer. A little known fact about Larry is that he too has an English degree- the perfect weapon for any blogger! Here are true things about Larry:

  • Larry has been practicing Real Estate for 26 years and 6 months. He’s no newbie and his experience far outshines most blogging practitioners.
  • During his professional life as a Realtor, he worked at Viper Software where he marketed and developed MLS software based in America and Canada. His understanding of technology, especially MLS technologies is astounding.
  • Larry is a true social media marketer- just *try* getting on Twitter without Larry noticing. He has long shown the way for agents to adapt to new forms of media.


Give Larry and Norm a round of applause in the comments (with as few South Park references as possible, despite my bad example). We are very proud to have both of these amazing guys and look forward to their invasion!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Jennifer Wilson - Agent Solutions

    July 8, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Way to go Norm and Larry! It’s great to see a couple of fabulous Canadian contributors here on AG. I look forward to reading your posts and sparking some great conversation here.

    Congratulations to you both, and AG. You’ve made a perfect selection with these two.


  2. Jay Thompson

    July 8, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Now there are a couple of FABULOUS additions!

    I’ve had the honor of meeting Norm in person – In Saskatoon, in the dead of winter. He’s as nice a guy as he is wicked smart. His blog is brilliant. He may not realize it or acknowledge it, but he’s legend in Saskatoon. We have a client from Sask, and I asked them if they knew Norm. They said, “not personally, but we read his blog all the time. He is *the man* in Saskatoon”.

    I don’t “know” Larry personally, but I know Yatter Matters and I’ve seen his contributions here (and elsewhere).

    Welcome aboard Larry and Norm!!

  3. Paula Henry

    July 8, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Welcome Larry and Norm! I just recently had the oppotunity to read Larry at YattersMatters and was not kidding when I said I love him – It’s a long distance admiration.

    Looks like Norm already has a Canadian following and I’m sure you will both have a huge following here at AG.

  4. Paula Henry

    July 8, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Ooops, that’s YatterMatters! I need a redo key πŸ™‚

  5. Brad Nix

    July 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Welcome Larry and Norm. I am honored to be in such good company as the freshman class here at AG. Here are a few tips I have picked up my first week from hanging around the halls of AG:

    1. The Big Kids don’t like the Small Kids picking on them
    2. The teachers (writers) learn just as much as the students (commenters) do
    3. There are many BMOC’s (Jay, Russell, Teresa, Daniel)

    4. My mom doesn’t pack enough little debbie’s for me to share with everyone at lunch (but I may be able to sneak in you guys an extra one)

  6. Ben Bach

    July 8, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Glad to see some other Canadians here on AG – Welcome !

  7. Vicki Moore

    July 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Excellent. Way to go AG.

  8. The Harriman Team

    July 8, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Congrats to both and am looking forward to reading their astute words of wisdom, eh! (sorry, couldn’t help it!)

  9. Nickie Rothwell

    July 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Cool! Congratulations! The fun keeps growing!!

    What great additions!

  10. Bill Lublin

    July 8, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Welcome Larry & Norm – Visitors from the Great White North, Eh! Can’t wait to read you.

    Been following Larry on Twitter – looking forward to reading what he says after the first 140 characters πŸ˜‰

    Norm – Dying to know how you get Jay to Saskatoon in the WInter – He always seems so smart when he writes πŸ˜‰

    If Brad has trouble sneaking the Little Debbie’s I’ll try to get us some TastyKakes – (but the Little Debbies might be the move)

  11. Mike Farmer

    July 8, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Are you sure there are this many geniuses in real estate?

    πŸ™‚ Hey Norm

  12. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 8, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    listen up all youz geniususes,

    “it’s aboot time!” — “got a beer? ”

    “ok then —

    that’s that then eh! – Thanks” πŸ™‚

  13. Norm Fisher

    July 8, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. I’m really looking forward to challenging myself in a new way. I know I’ll learn a lot from the other contributors and the readers. Thanks for the opportunity.


    “wicked smart?” I need a calculator to comment on AG. Thank you for setting the bar so very high. Now I have to write something incredibly stupid to lower expectations. πŸ™‚


    You lost me on the “little debbies” but I appreciate the tips.


    “Dying to know how you get Jay to Saskatoon in the WInter”

    A top secret mission related to global warming and polar bears. That’s all I can say, because it’s top secret.

    πŸ™‚ Hey Mike


    Take off, eh?

  14. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm


    Bob and Doug appreciate the hat tip πŸ™‚

  15. ines

    July 8, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    OMG!! this is soooo awesome! when I said “let’s cross the borders” I didn’t think I was being taken seriously – what awesome news! Woooo Hooo to Norm and Larry!

  16. Rich Jacobson

    July 9, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Hey Der, Ho Der!…. Thanks for bringing some added perspective to our ranks.

    Do we have to tip our beer glass, and shout “Hey, Norm!” everytime Norm posts?

    Larry: Nice to have another voice from the Pacific Northwest. Maybe we could organize a TwitterFest in Bellingham?

    Welcome aboard, Guys! You’re in great company!

  17. Matthew Rathbun

    July 9, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Is this THE Norm Fisher!?!?! Hopefully he hasn’t forgotten that he gave me permission to do this, but I’ve been using Norms Virtual Tour of bad MLS photographs in my GRI and technology classes for the past year. It’s an amazing training tool and hopefully we can get you to write a post on real estate photography. I’m a big fan and look forward to reading from you in the future!

    Larry, I agree that your commenting experience will make a natural transition to author. I really look forward to reading what you have to share!

  18. Matthew Rathbun

    July 9, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Uh Brad…. No kid likes to be picked on, doesn’t matter if they are chubby or skinny πŸ™‚

  19. Norm Fisher

    July 9, 2008 at 6:41 am


    In my former life I was a broadcast sales guy. Occasionally, I’d make sales calls with my manager. Just imagine the smiles and chuckles we got when I said, “Norm and Cliff to see _____.”


    I’ve received more marketing mileage from that tour than anything else I’ve ever done. It’s kind of a sad statement that a marketing piece that ridicules the work of others could have such a strong impact, but, oh well. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’ve found a use for it and I’m honored that it’s in your tool kit.


    So, you’re responsible for this?

  20. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 9, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Excellent, welcome, and congratulations to both of you!

  21. Jonathan Dalton

    July 9, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Oy vey.

  22. ines

    July 9, 2008 at 11:25 am

    oh no!! don’t blame me for this! πŸ™‚

  23. Glenn fm Naples

    July 9, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Welcome to Larry and Norm – based upon their backgrounds, I am looking forward to their posts, useful information, and insights regarding our profession.

  24. Mack in Atlanta

    July 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I swear I just saw Terrance and Phillip. Has this changed to SouthparkGenius? Oh well welcome Larry and Norm!!!

  25. Matthew Collinge

    July 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Great to see Larry and Norm added to the AG! I’ll have to buy Larry’s coffee in about an hour I guess.

    And to whoever mentionned the Pac NW Tweetup, that sounds like a great idea.

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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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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.

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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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