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The 2010 George Orwell Remix – Do you geo or don’t you geo?



2010 - the Year of the Geo-web or of Geo-Dread?The rising popularity of neo-geography and all of the  geo- applications is causing a debate hotter than health care in 2009.  People are very strongly planted either on the “I love geo!” side or the “Are you kidding me? Let everyone know where I am?! No Way!” side.  Neutrality doesn’t seem to be a player in this game, and we are only in the first inning!

I, as you may well know, am a geo-phile. If it has a map app to it, I’m on it like white on rice (my new geo-bff? – friend me, I’m “janie” there).  My husband, on the other hand, goes all George Orwellian on me any time I mention adding something like Google Latitude to his phone (I’m the one who called Lo-Jack and asked if they could implant one on my husband 5 years ago, still nothing!).  He just doesn’t want to be found, he feels it an invasion of privacy.  End of story.

From a security standpoint, I get it, we don’t want stalkers knowing our every move. As real estate professionals, we sure put ourselves out there and letting the creepy crawlies know where you are can be a security issue, there is no doubt. You can ride with the geo-wave and not risk your neck by following a few rules of thumb:

  1. Most geo-tagging apps and software will ask you if it is OK to publish your location, either each time you use them or in the settings so just be aware of what info you are making available and when.
  2. You can always use a general location (ie within a 1 mile radius) instead of an exact location.
  3. You can post your location as you leave (if using Foursquare, Brightkite, etc) your locale instead of when you arrive.
  4. Only publish real time locations if you are with another person.
  5. Don’t publish your home location and when you are/aren’t there.

There is so much good Google power in geo, I wouldn’t let security concerns keep you from the party, just party smart.

The privacy issue is another animal all together. There is less overcoming this if you just like to run incognito all the time.  This is where I run into the hyper anti-geophites the most.  They just don’t want people knowing where they are (see hubby story above).  This is more DNA encrypted and I am not sure you can change this aspect of yourself (sort of like being a Coke or Pepsi drinker). What I would offer my fair friends on the other side of the aisle is this; Geo is the new way.  Geo is getting bigger and bigger, bonds you with your community like crazy, builds your brand as that of the local authority and has crazy good Google-punch.  If you don’t want to publish your own location, you can still use the geo-web to post your favorite locations, pics, attractions yet keep your own personal location a secret.  You can still be the masked avenger, don’t worry.

From either side of the aisle, you can find ways to use the blooming geo-web to build your business and your brand.  Do it in a way that resonates with you, is safe and is productive.  Find the app or apps that work within your boundaries of comfort and go for it!

Are you a geo-phile or an anti-geophite?  Why?  What thrills you, concerns you?  Let’s hear it!

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

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  1. Ken Brand

    December 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    It’s important to talk about these new tools, the in’s and out’s and the good, bad and uglies – so thanks:-)

    Personally, I’m with you and your advice is platinum – don’t be a knuckle head, be wise.

    I like that I can use it when I want. I also think that the illusion of privacy is exactly that, if you use a debit/credit card or cell phone, some big brain can figure out where you’ve been and what you’re up to.

    Bottom line, since they exist, I’ll use them as wisely as I can, to help me succeed as quickly and conveniently as I can. When new privacy barriers go into place, I’ll adopt those too.


  2. Amy Cesario

    December 12, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    In trying to find a happy medium, sending out a geo notification that sends a twitter update and updates my calendar is a great tool for tracking my time and keeping records. Sometimes though, I sent the notification when I left as opposed to when I arrived. Is that deceitful? What thrills me are the people I have met through these tools, knowing a little bit about them on line, then having a conversation and ultimately meeting face to face and expanding my network, I would not have met some amazing people without taking the risk of using tools like these.

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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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