Friday, December 15, 2006

Come One, Come All! here comes the iMLS

Do you believe in fortunetellers? Well you should. I’ll tell you why and in the process let you take a peek into this blog’s crystal ball. Let’s start off with the anecdote:

I am a fortuneteller. I don’t read people palms, or play with Tarot cards, or summon spirits. But I can use my experience in the real estate and marketing fields, and my gut reaction to new technologies, to very accurately guess the big moves that make headlines. So here comes an iMLS and cMLS, Internet Multiple Listing Service and Consumer Multiple Listing Service, definitions below.

Here’s an example. Last week, before the ZMLS (the new Zillow MLS online search database, NOT IT's official name-but What I am calling it) debut was announced, I was telling a local real estate pioneer about my uncanny fortunetelling abilities. I predicted that Zillow was going to take this step and that it was going to revolutionize the real estate industry. The gentleman I was speaking with is a big time exec owns and has managed over a half a billion dollars of real estate transactions. Let’s put it this way, he’s no spring chicken. But even he was dumbfounded by my prediction. He wasn't alone. Most people I told didn't believe that Zillow would take such a bold step, so quickly. Two days later and the shockwaves of the formal announcement are still rippling across the industry.

Another anecdote. In 2004, I wanted to write a book detailing the ins and outs of real estate negotiations. Despite my passion, a broker of mine convinced me to hold off on the project. I took bad advice rather than listening to my gut. So I passed on the idea, on another instance I suggested to a nice couple who wanted more real estate leads for her business, to use a blog as the medium for getting more traffic to her real estate agent website. They took that advice and now Dustin and Anna Luther have one of the most successful real estate blogs in the country, They have done an amazing job and set a trend for the distribution of information that only now are others catching up to.

Oh yeah. I also called the craze a couple months after they launched. Good hunch, huh?

So where is all this bragging leading? I’ll tell you. I sat down by myself one morning and decided that it’s time to stop using this foresight for parlor tricks and use it to inform, excite, and enliven the real estate community, by sharing my thoughts and predictions with all of you.

I’m returning to the great idea I buried long ago and will write the book about everything in the real estate industry that the trendsetters won’t tell you and the fat cats don’t want you to know. This blog will be a medium for organizing my thoughts, and I strongly encourage all of you out there to chime in with your own experiences, questions, and epiphanies. The end result will be a published book, name TBD; a narrative, if you will, about the rise of the real estate Internet revolution and its effect on buyers, sellers, and agents. I’ll include a rough outline below and I hope that this skeleton of a book will be fleshed out with real, true-to-life stories (many of which will come from you) that we come across along the way.

1. A historic overview of the real estate market; how did things used to be and how has everything changed in the past decade.
2. The Internet beyond the hype and how it is used today. Basically a primer on the most advanced technology, what has happened, and what will happen along the road to the web 10.0.
3. The nuts and bolts of buying/selling a home. The roles that real estate agents, banks, title insurance companies, appraisers, and inspectors play.
4. How does everyone get paid? Better yet, how you make sure you get a piece of trillion-dollar industry.
5. The myth that buyers win over sellers by using the Internet.
6. The reasons why sellers work cheaper by using the Internet and walk away richer.
7. The reason why some agents go BIG with the Internet and others go BUST.
8. A primer on how to develop real estate investments, via renovation or development.
9. Win/win, lose/lose real estate negotiations and the larger implications.
10. And finally, I get to peer once again into my crystal ball. What’s the future look like? Forget virtual tours, we have home video tours, ZMLS to CMLS, and using less paper than a ticker-tape parade. In summary, we will help you develop a plan for buyers, for sellers, and for agents to make those millions!

Let this be your formal invitation to return to this blog often and bring friends. In the world of the information revolution, ideas can be worth more that gold. So come often and fill your pockets and maybe even leave a few nuggets of wisdom behind.

I’m here to cut through the smoke and lights and read you a fortune that is absolutely real and may shake the cobwebs out of this stuffy ol' industry. What you do with the fortune I tell is completely of your own choosing.

Definition of MLS: For those non-real estate insiders, a MLS is a real estate agent and broker association that allows all parties to share the Listing of the Homes for sale. It is a collaboration of these associations that makes it easier for consumers to sell homes via one company, but get the exposure to all companies. Traditionally speaking the MLS's in each metro area were heavily controlled by it's members, but more or less too heavily influenced by large companies who run the National Association of Realtors. We favor NAR and Realtors, but want ultimately consumers to win.

As always these are my opinions and as you all know, I have my biases, as I am in the Real Estate IDX web solutions industry.



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