A realtor’s job is never done

September 28, 2006

So here I am in King’s Beach, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, ostensibly on vacation. I’ll be spending some time today getting an offer ready to submit tomorrow. Fortunately, technology makes this pretty straightforward and painless… Thanks to the good folks at the Java Hut for providing some great coffee, a little table to work on, and funky, inspiring tunes (including, for a while, some classic Fela tunes)… ..and thanks to the neighboring restaurant, Steamers, for inadvertently providing me with Wifi access… …add in the help of my Lenovo X41 Tablet PC, our local real estate forms provider, an e-fax system, and, of course, my e-signature provider… …and it all comes together pretty effortlessly, even getting the 125 pages of disclosures ready for signature… Turns out the seller of the property on which I’m submitting an offer is a meticulous record-keeper. I know this dates me, but was there really a time when tradespeople charged only $10 an hour?

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Now that the blogathon is over, how am I going to pass the time?

September 27, 2006

They both did it, as we all knew they would. Greg and Ardell both finished a full 101 posts in a 24 hour period, and then both surprised us with a 102nd post just under the wire. Greg’s 102nd was in his signature every-word-a-link-style, while Ardell’s last post was an inspirational change-the-world one. Thanks to everybody who participated in this betting market! With Greg the winner, his stock closes at $100 and its holders are cashed out accordingly. Ardell’s stock closes at $0. To add insult to injury, Greg himself was the winner of our betting pool, netting himself a cool $6,027. Ardell did not participate in the pool, unless her login name is test1, gqTsuK8w, walkable, or tyr. Ardell’s Seattle compatriot Eric demonstrated his loyalty by betting big on her…alas, capitalism puts little stock on loyalty and his results weren’t, ah, so good. :( Now that this is over, maybe you can let me get back to enjoying my Lake Tahoe vacation, which is the only reason I didn’t participate and whip Greg’s butt.

Tags: Sellsius 101

Need my fix…Rain City, where are you?

September 27, 2006

One last post before I go back to my vacation…I promise. Getting my fix this morning… Bloodhound — Check

Sellsius — Check

Ardell – Check

The unknown blogger — Check

TransparentRE — Check

The numbers guys –Check

Seattle Rain City Guide — Uh oh!!!

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Insanathon update…

September 26, 2006

There don’t seem to be many contrarians in our betting market…it currently has Greg ahead of Ardell by 5 to 3, which reflects Greg’s current blog post lead of 70 to 30. Where are Ardell’s supporters? Let’s see some daring trading and motivate Ardell to pick up the pace. If she manages a spurt of energy and pulls ahead and wins…some folks will make good money, and others (Greg included) won’t. Does this count as insider trading? And where’s Ardell — doesn’t she have time to place a bet or two in between posts?

Tags: Sellsius 101

Update from Vegas: Early odds are on Greg

September 24, 2006

It’s a Sunday, with few traders on the floor, and it’s a new market, so trading volume today was light. Current odds are on Greg at about 7 to 5. Experts predict significant trading volume on Monday, with fluctuating odds and great profit potential for those who call it right. Confused? See my earlier post. 4.png

Tags: , Sellsius 101

Zaccuracy Update

September 23, 2006

This just in … thanks to a contribution from Marlow Harris, we now have the skinny on the accuracy of the Seattle real estate data from which Zillow spins its magic, and the results are pretty much the same as here in Menlo Park: the mid 80%’s. If you have access to the MLS in your area and would like to contribute 10 data points, please email me at and I’ll send you an invitation to my iRows spreadsheet.

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Insanity hath a name — and here’s how to profit from it

September 23, 2006

Taking up the challenge posed by Sellsius Real Estate, Greg the Phoenix Bloodhound takes on Ardell the Prolific Seattle Blogger in a race to see who can produce 101 cogent blog posts in a 24 hr period, beginning at 12:01am Tuesday Sep 26 and ending at midnight the same day.

Live coverage provided by Sellsius and The Property Monger.

Don’t just be a bystander — you can make some serious, if fake, money by betting on the outcome. Go to Inkling Markets (login required) and place your bets!

Here’s how this betting market works:

The “price” of each “stock” – one for Greg and one for Ardell – reflects the market’s current consensus of who will win. The market starts at $50 each—ie. each has a 50% chance of winning.

If you believe Greg’s prospects, for instance, are better than the current market price, then buy shares in Greg, which will drive his price – the % probability that he will win – up.

If you believe Greg’s prospects are weaker than the current price, then sell shares in Greg. (This market allows short sales, which means you can sell shares even if you don’t own them.)

The market closes at midnight on Tuesday. If Greg wins, his shares close at $100 and Ardell’s close at $0 and your shares are automatically cashed out. Likewise, if Ardell wins, her shares close at $100 and Greg’s at $0, and again your shares are automatically cashed out.

If neither of them makes it to 101 posts, then the one with the most posts at midnight on Tuesday will be declared the winner.

Email me at if you’d like more information.5.png

Tags: Blogathan, , ,

Zestimating Zaccuracy of Zdata

September 22, 2006

While Gregg Swann was busy stirring the pot again (another post sure to bring wrath and retribution raining down on him) and the good folks at Sellsius were busy Carpal Tunnel-ing themselves (don’t these guys sleep?) and Patrick Kitano was explaining my friend Chris Iverson’s real estate “money back guarantee” (heck, if I weren’t an agent myself and I didn’t work for a competing broker, I might just take him up on it!), I was busy trying to answer a question I posed two days ago: how accurate is the data on which Zillow bases their controversial Zestimate?First, a big, big, big, HUGE up-front disclaimer, in keeping with many recent discussions: An automated valuation mechanism (AVM) a la Zillow is not and never will be a substitute for an appraisal done by a professional. It is an estimate, and an estimate only. Improving the accuracy of the data on which the Zestimate is based will not change that fact. ‘Nuff said.Based on my initial highly unscientific look at 10 randomly chosen properties in Menlo Park and comparing the data about those homes as presented in our local MLS vs. county records vs. Zillow, the county gets an accuracy score of 87%, and Zillow gets 84%.I intend to add a number of additional cities to the mix and see what patterns emerge. In the meantime, here are the results… (if you’re a numbers jock and interested in my scoring methodology, scroll down below the chart.)

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Wrath and retribution

September 22, 2006

I didn’t think it would take long for this to happen!


Fun with Zillow — #4 — Exploring Zillow’s new features

September 20, 2006

Hats off to the Zillow team for adding some ridiculously “z-addictive” features to their offering! The real estate blogosphere is abuzz with comments, some relatively positive and some negative.In this post, I’ll describe what I found, and in the next one, I’ll provide some commentary on what impact I think these features will have on the agent community and the general public.

While you can continue to use Zillow as before without registering, you do need to get a Zillow account before you can use some of these new features. Once you’ve done so, you search for a property…

…and click on “See home details” which gives you, uh, the home details…

…and three options.
“Save Favorite to My Zillow” is pretty tame. The other two options, however, have a lot of folks hot and bothered. Let’s see what the fuss is about…

“Owner Tools” gives you three further options:

Confirming ownership sounds a bit dubious at first, and indeed the first time you do it you only have to confirm the owner’s name:

Thankfully, to claim a second or subsequent property as your own, you have to enter your credit card information (which Zillow dutifully promises not to use for spurious purposes), enabling them to match their ownership records with the name associated with your credit card.On to the next feature…editing your home facts. They’ve made this ridulously easy to do. In my case, the basic features of the home were correct, but Zillow was missing information about the type of heating and cooling system, the roof type, and a few other items.

The third feature, “Create an Estimate and Make it Public” was also pretty straighforward. You start by editing basic home facts, if necessary……followed by adding home improvements……and other features… …and finally by specifying which comps make the most sense for your home:

When you’re all done, you get an updated personalized estimate, which is different from the public Zestimate.

Go ahead, give it a spin yourself! Warning — it is addictive.

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