Hate Speling Misstakes And Bad Pictures in the MLS? Support My Campaign For NAR President And Put an End to this Nonsense once and for all

July 28, 2008

Having a little too much post-Inman fun and excitement…

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“I’m Sorry, I’m Twittering” — A Shameless Parody Of An Old Classic

July 21, 2008

Sorry I'm Twittering


Symantec Issues High-Priority Security Patch For Trulia Widgets, Called

May 8, 2008

trulia-in-computer.gifSymantec, the Internet security firm, today released what they described as a “code red” security patch for all real estate bloggers currently using the now-infamous “Google Juice Sucking” Trulia widget.

Tipped off by an anonymous Active Rain’er who had come across this discussion thread, which in turn had been prompted by good investigative sniffing [sniff one, sniff two, sniff three] by the pack at Bloodhound, Symantec’s elite Taskforce Realty Internet Permission Experts (TRIPE) worked through the night to come up with a patch. The head of TRIPE, Dr. Francois Viande-Fichu, released the following press statement:

With thanks to the ever-vigilant Active Rain-droppers for tipping us off, we were stunned to find some pretty damning evidence of foul play in Trulia’s widget, which unsuspecting Realtors have been deploying on their web sites in droves. Trojan Horses are one thing, but what they’ve come up with is something far more nefarious: a Peloponnesian Unicorn.

The Trulia widget does the following:

  • Sucks out the hosting web site’s Google Juice, especially the Raspberry flavor.
  • Decreases the hosting web site’s Google Page Rank to negative 5.
  • Installs a little Trulia MarkerMan on the desktop whose eyes follow you around as you surf, and they roll sarcastically whenever you visit Zillow’s site.
  • Automatically and instantaneously rises Trulia to the top of the Google rankings for all searches related to the host site.
  • Makes the web site owner/blogger start chanting Gregorian hymns in the original Latin.
  • Refers all incoming traffic to the hosting site’s owner’s fiercest competitor, in exchange for a 25% referral fee.

When challenged to provide evidence of the above, Dr. Viande-Fichu displayed the following code embedded into each Trulia Widget.

While {5>1 DO:
Trulia.PageRank = Site.PageRank*2 / Slurp.Giant.SuckingSound;
Install.Icon = http:/trulia.com/images/trulia_markermen_icon.gif; option bug eyes=”true”;
If Site.Visit=”Zillow” Do {Icon.Roll.Eyes And Sigh.Loudly};
Google.LocalSearchRankings.Site.City = “Truliawful”;
Trulia.LocalSearchRankings.Site.City = “TopOfFirstPage”;
Launch Latin.hymns.InstanceGregorian;
End Do}
?end Php>

Agents who’ve installed this widget are advised to uninstall it immediately, then put the following badge on their web site to protect them in the future:

To install this widget, do the following:

  1. Download this file to your computer.
  2. Open the file in Notepad or some other text editor.
  3. Copy and paste the contents of the file into a sidebar Text widget.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

Full disclosure:

  1. I did a consulting project for Trulia last year.
  2. Trulia out-ranks my site for many Google searches.
  3. My site outranks Trulia for many other searches, including, most significantly, peace corps volunteer botswana real estate palo alto.
  4. Trulia’s no-follow policy applies, as far as I know, consistently across all broker’s listings, including mine.
  5. No animals, Realtors, or SERPS were harmed in the production of this post.
  6. Void where prohibited.
  7. Do not ingest.
  8. This blog is not a toy. Keep out of reach of children.

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What Bad Housing Market? What We Need Are Tips On How To Win Multiple Offer Situations

April 4, 2008

Yes, the market is bad in many parts of the country — even many parts of the Bay Area.  But real estate, as the adage goes, is local, local, local — and in many of the good school district parts of the Bay, prices continue to go up and multiple offers are back in vogue.  Case in point — in the last week, there were at least two properties that sold with multiple offers — with “multiple” in this case meaning “more than 10.”

So, if you’re a buyer competing with other buyers, what should you do?  Our advice:  Pull out all the stops.  Here are some time-tested suggestions*:

  1. Bring a large manila envelope stuffed with 100 dollar bills to the offer presentation.  Discreetly slip it to the listing agent.
  2. Rename your first born after the owner of the property.  Bring said child to offer presentation, clearly labeled “I named him/her after you!”
  3. Offer a 15-year free rent-back to the sellers.
  4. Bring along your dream therapist.  Have him/her describe your last session in which you clearly saw yourself buying, owning, and living in the home.
  5. Lobby congress to make it illegal to not accept your offer.
  6. Stalk the seller for a few days ahead of the offer presentation.  Hold up signs saying, “Sell me your home!  Please!”
  7. Add an extra zero to the price you’re offering.
  8. Do a “presumptive close.”  The day of the offer presentation, show up with moving trucks, decorators, painters, and other assorted workmen.  Tell the current home owners you’re about to move in — didn’t they get the memo?
  9. Bring along your burly cousin to the offering.  Have him sit menacingly in the corner, swinging a baseball bat.  Make oblique comments about “keeping him happy” and “how disappointed he’ll be if I don’t win the house.”
  10. Put up a sign outside the offer presentation office saying, “The home has already sold!  Nah nah nah nah nah nah!”

* These suggestions are intended to be humorous.  Pleasure consult with your attorney and/or Realtor before following them.

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Market Bottom Officially Reached At 2:34pm This Afternoon; Impasse Between Buyers And Sellers Finally Resolved

April 1, 2008

The news that all fence-sitters have been waiting for finally happened: at 2:34pm this afternoon, the bottom of the real estate market was officially reached when 356 Avocado Lane in Stockton finally sold — with multiple offers — after 30 months on the market.

Said listing agent Trevor Blackstone of Stockton Realty: “Phew! I’m glad that’s over. I’m the fifth Realtor for these folks! They went on the market at $750,000 and after 25 price reductions they finally reduced it $275,000 and it sold! In fact, we got two offers, both just above the list price.”

CAR chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young broke out the champaign at CAR headquarters in Los Angeles. “We’ve been keeping our eyes on that property for a long time. We knew that when it sold, the housing recession would officially be over.”

Mike Simonsen over at Altos Research had this to say: “Our charts predicted this a few months ago already. The 7-day rolling average of the ratio of the median days on market for the upper quartile in the worst area of Stockton has been steadily moving upwards. That’s the sign that’s accurately predicted the bottom of every single market since 1900!

TJ Shanahan of Realty World in Sacramento was also not surprised. “Seven of my top 10 ways of predicting the market bottom came true literally in the last week!”

Astoundingly, every single market bottom has also happened on April 1st, and at the exact same time. Here’s the Altos Chart to prove it:


Bubblistas are already salivating over the next real estate recession, scheduled to start in late 2024. The domains IToldYouSo.blog and WorstHousingRecessionEverWillStartIn2024.com have already been reserved. “In the meantime,” said a prominent bubblista, “I’m gonna stay renting.”

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Dan Green Corners New .Blog Domain Market Within 2 Minutes Of Opening

April 1, 2008

Dan Green, the well-known — and very entrepreneurial — mortgage re.net 2.0 blogger, mortgage broker, businessman, and 50% of the brains behind the re.net’s “Associated Press of blogging” pinged me last night with some interesting, if perhaps geeky, news:  a new top-level domain .Blog has been announced and will be available starting today.

What does this mean?  Quite simple — if you’ve been thinking of starting a blog, you may have noticed that every single possible domain name has already been taken.  Seriously.  Trust me on this.  Say you’re in Wapatachee, WI.  WapatacheeBlog.com, the obvious choice, is already gone, as is its plural form.  WapatacheeHomeBlog and its plural twin — taken.  Same with WapatacheeRealEstateBlog[s].com, WapatacheeHomesForSaleBlog[s].com and so forth…you’d have to content yourself with something like WapatacheeRealEstateAndMortgageServicesInformationForYouFromMeYourTrustedRealtor[s].com

With the new .Blog domains available, you’ll now be able to settle for something much simpler and much more memorable.  Wapatachee.Blog, for instance, would be a good choice.

At just a few minutes after midnight, just after the domains had become available, I thought I’d reserve a few obvious choices for myself — 3Oceans.blog and 3OceansRealEstate.blog.  Guess what — taken!  I did some sleuthing and found both domains had been registered just minutes earlier by a company named DotBlog.Blog, headquartered in Cincinnati OH at 10979 Reed Hartman, Suite 118B.  Some more investigation proved my suspicion:  DotBlog.Blog’s head office is in the broom closet of Dan Green’s mortgage business.

You see, Dan Green is not, in fact, a mortgage broker.  He’s actually a domain cyber-squatter.  He got wind of the new .Blog domains a few days ago and took the time to write an automated blog that reserved every single conceivable re.net domain name within minutes of them becoming available.  Greg Swann — want Bloodhound.blog?  Sorry, Dan’s got it.  Joe — looking for Sellsius.blog?  Same news.

It turns out that through another of his nefarious shell Cayman Island-based shell companies, Dan has started another venture called BringTheMoolahForYourDomain.Blog.com  If you want to ransom your hijacked domain name, send $50 in crisp $3 notes to Dan Green’s West Coast office in Menlo Park.  Email me for the address.

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My Blood Pressure’s Down, My Cholesterol Numbers Are Looking Good, I Feel Great…

March 3, 2008

…now I know why!

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The Relationship Between The Super Bowl And Real Estate

February 2, 2008

At the risk of offending Jeff Brown, I’ve never been able to figure out why, in a sport called football, the ball in question spends almost no time in contact with, uh, the foot.  Be that as it may, there is apparently a major football game tomorrow — I think it’s called the Superbowl.

Given that a good chunk of the U.S. will be glued to the screen tomorrow, there’s an obvious question to us in the real estate business:  is this a good weekend to be buying or selling a house?

The general consensus is that it’s probably not a good use of your time to be hosting an open house tomorrow.  You’re not likely to have a lot of interested home buyers dropping by.

By the same logic, if you’re a home buyer, and you’re not really into the whole Superbowl thing, there may well not be a lot of open houses to see…but there will probably also not be much competition for the inventory that’s out there.  (Latter point will only make sense for those in the parts of the country — like here in Palo Alto — where it remains a seller’s market.)

Now it’s time to dust off a post of mine from last year:  The Top 10 Differences Between The Superbowl And My Real Estate Business.

10. It doesn’t cost $2M for a 30-second ad on my site.

9. I don’t need shoulder pads and a helmet to protect me from rough play in real estate.

8. I don’t have a 100 million people watching my every move.

7. There aren’t 10,000 web sites predicting the imminent demise of football.

6. I don’t get to call a timeout to figure out what to do next.

5. In football, there’s never any doubt about who’s on whose side.

4. Bad weather doesn’t bring the SuperBowl to a halt.

3. Prince doesn’t perform at my closings.

2. Not many of my competitors weigh 325 pounds.

…and the number 1 difference between the SuperBowl and my real estate business…

1. Real estate makes sense to me.

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Joel Joins Inman, Now Rudy Joins Trulia; Predictions Of Upcoming Blogger Transitions

February 1, 2008

A while back Joel Burslem — author of FutureOfRealEstateMarketing.com — joined Inman.

Today we hear that Rudy of Sellsius has joined Trulia.

Other (still unconfirmed) transitions we hear are in the works:

  • Redfin buys Bloodhound Realty and its associated blog, and Greg Swann becomes Redfin’s Arizona broker-of-record.  Redfin CEO Kelman, distressed at Swann’s self-proclaimed disinterest in national parks, sends him off to Yosemite to distribute Redfin stickers, with strict instructions to send back Latin-only postcards.   Russell Shaw, sick of the traditional broker model, is seen handing out the Book of Kelman on street corners in Phoenix.
  • Overwhelmed by her increased workload, Redfin media maven Cynthia Pang brings aboard uber-consultant Marc Davison — at Greg Swann’s recommendation.  Marc and Greg are spotted writing press releases in Haiku.
  • Rudy’s long-time business partner Joe Ferrara joins Zillow as its “Chief Zestimate Accuracy And Opt-Out Evangelist.”
  • Brad Inman, founder of Inman News, having successfully convinced the real estate industry to adopt electronic signatures, heads to the Middle East to replace Tony Blair as peace envoy.
  • Athol Kay gets hired by Kodak.  His new job?  Do nothing, absolutely nothing.  In particular, PLEASE DON’T POST ALL THOSE BAD PICTURES!!! It makes our industry look bad.

  • Marlow Harris, burnt out with real estate, moves to Memphis, TN, and becomes a Graceland docent.

  • Daniel Rothamel moves to Masai Mara, Kenya and becomes a safari guide.  On weekends, he heads into Nairobi to coach and ref basketball games.
  • Dustin Luther, missing the corporate life, moves back to Move.com.
  • Brian Brady gets an emergency call from Washington.  “Bernanke quits.  We need you.  P.S. Leave the suspenders in San Diego.”

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Advance Headline For February 23rd: Fed Drops Rates To 0%

January 30, 2008

Let’s see … on January 20th, the Fed Funds rate was 4.25%.

On January 21st, the Fed dropped the rate to 3.5%.

Today, January 30th, the Fed dropped the rate to 3.0%.

So, in 10 days (January 20th to January 30th) the rate dropped by 1.25%, which means [click click click on my calculator] we’re seeing a 0.125% per day drop.

At that rate, we’ll be at [click click click] 0% by February 23rd!

Recession averted…

Hey, there, you ex-engineer, what do you think of my extrapolation skills?


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