Thursday, April 03, 2008

History of Housing Market

A new video from the John Burns Team about the current Real Estate market cycle. It's a general overview cartoon and worth the time to watch plus a nice history lesson of housing from 1970 to today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Real Estate Possible without an Agent?

Many people in the country have been hurt by the mortgage crisis. People are getting foreclosed upon; they can't make their payments. Many people are trying to sell their homes themselves. Here are some ideas from Chris Pirillo to work without a Realtor, to save you some money.

My idea would be find a Realtor, and negotiate an acceptable fee for the services provided. It's like a free insurance policy. :-)

Related: Realtor As a Wing Man
How Much Money Do You Spend Marketing A House For Sale?
Problem: No Buyers Agent Available
How much house can I afford?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

TurnHere's YouTube Channel

A while back I covered TurnHere a professional digital videos production company and suggested that it could be used as a tool to research locations to purchase a home. Well I just received an email from Andrew at TurnHere who let me know that TurnHere is now distributing its videos on the major search engines, including YouTube (TurnHere Channel), Google, Yahoo! and AOL.

The TurnHere Channel on YouTube also has a real estate play list that displays videos that profile individual Realtors, real estate firms, neighborhoods and houses. The cost for producing your own professional video tour of your business, house for sale, neighborhood, personal message, etc. is $550. The ability to tell your story and/or sell your service or product with video is playing out to be a requirement for the competitive real estate industry.

The one complaint is that TurnHere has disabled the ability to Embed YouTube videos into other websites. Andrew who made that decision and why? Is it possible to give an option to the producer of the video to allow embedding? . Anyway here is the video I was going to include with my post~!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Real Estate Conversation

A Real Estate Market is social. Buyers and Sellers communicate to discover information and negotiate to exchange goods or services. From this I understand the Real Estate Market as a Real Estate Conversation.

Internet transparency is letting home buyers view Residential and Commercial MLS, FSBO listings on their own. It has reduced home buyers search costs, and given them access to multiple new product options to choose from when going into a real estate transaction. Also sellers have found new tools and services to attract home buyers and sell their houses, they can now leverage Internet market tools that are intended to increase the efficacy of transactional requirements.

This "conversation" transparency has made it difficult for Real Estate Agents, Appraisers, Lenders, etc. to collect the fees - tipping the balance of power towards the consumers. By opening access to information outside of the Brokers/Lawyers control, buyers and sellers now gain economic benefits that would be otherwise be received by market intermediaries or inappropriately distributed among the smart and connected deal makers of the financial world.

update: I added this to Wikipedia - *Still in progress.

Related: The Real Estate King Takes A Gabby Queen
InmanTV Video

Monday, January 08, 2007

Elvis "The King" Presley's Birthday

Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in a two-room shotgun house in Tupelo, Mississippi. Vernon Presley, Elvis's father, built the house with the help of his father and his older brother in preparation for the birth. He took out what amounted to a mortgage of $180 from Orville Bean, on whose farm Vernan and his father occasionally worked. The birthplace has been designated a Mississippi landmark.

Elvis would have been 72 years old today.

Elvis was the KING of Rock N' Roll, is the King of Stamps, and its a bit of a s-t-r-e-t-c-h but unconsciously an icon of Internet culture with his understanding of Social Networking when he said, "We can't go on together - With suspicious minds.."

Think of trust as the currency of social capital.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Years Chicago

Jack White and the Raconteurs lead Chicago into 2007 with Auld Lang Syne - LIVE - at the Riviera Theatre. After the ballons drop the band jams into the "Steady As She Goes" single. The show was incredible.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Problem: No Buyers Agent Available

What client services are included when a home seller works with a Full-Service Realtor to list a home for sale?

  • Agent-2-Agent Networking - Yes
  • MLS Listing- YES
  • Advertise Property - Yes
  • Negotiate And Manage The Sale - YES
  • Show property to other agents clients - ???
Showing a property to other agents clients is a hot debate among Realtor groups and real estate consumers. This extra service from the listing Agent answers the demand of home buyers who want to see a property before they buy it and then submit an offer through a Discount Broker. Before the Internets' transparent introduction of letting home buyers view MLS listings and Open Houses on their own, the Buyers Agent would accompany the buyer and show the property. Now a relationship with a Buyers Agent, is less of a requirement, to find a home.

Touring homes with Redfin participating as the home buyers agent is done through a service called Redfin Direct. The first tour, for up to three hours, is free and there is no obligation whatsoever to use Redfin as the agent. Future tours are $125 per home or $250 for a three-hour tour. Also Redfin explains:
Calling a listing agents or touring a property on your own is easy and listing agents are typically happy to show the homes they are representing to qualified buyers. For first-timers, Redfin offers an outline of what to say on the call, and a spiffy one-page Redfin introduction for you to print and show the listing agent once you do the tour.
Kevin Boer explains via his comments on the Refin Blog that there isn't an obligation to show property to other agents clients. Keep in mind - don't shoot the messenger.
...though it seems really, really, really screwy to folks outside the industry, as it stands now, the listing agent does not have an obligation to show the property, and if he/she does, it's going above and beyond...
Even though it's not a legal obligation to make oneself available to show the property on behalf of a missing Buyers Agent, I feel it should be a moral obligation. The owner and Agent have an interest to sell the house. A licensed Realtor in this situation should set an appointment to show the property and allow the home buyer(s) to tour the property by appointment.

If you're working with an Agent to sell your home make sure to ask how they will handle home buyers that choose to tour homes without a Buyers Agent.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Global Real Estate Transparency and Knowledge

Change happens fast and it's getting faster. The real estate industry boundaries are starting to give way to the advancements in technology and transparency into the Basic Steps Of A Real Estate Transaction. This openness is creating momentum towards a larger and more dynamic international market for the Internet homebuyers and global investors of residential and commercial real estate.

More info on Real Estate Transparency: (Global Transparency Index 2006).

The reasons for rapid improvement: Higher securitization levels, higher cross-border flows, and the introduction of more indices of listed (public) and unlisted (private) real estate performance.

If your looking to become more knowledgeable in the international real estate field check out the The Little Book of Real Estate Definitions authored by Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL).

Another reference tool can be found from The Global Real Estate Project for international real estate research. The information contained in these profiles has been compiled by the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver.

Also take note of it covers all aspects of the real estate terms discussed in the "Little Book of Real Estate Definitions" for FREE (Tools Listed Below). How very thoughtful of JLL, considering they had revenue of approximately $1.4 billion in 2005.

  • Country Terms: Don't understand SEPP in Australia or first-tier city in China? Learn what real estate terms are unique to each Asia Pacific country.
  • Market Practices: Find all the specific market information: lease terms, rental payments, charges, property taxes and lease disposal.
  • Metric Conversion Tools: Here is your instant calculator. Just enter the value you want to convert, and select the measure you want to convert.
  • Office Building Grades: This section will provide you a glimpse of the real estate scenario in each country.
  • Definitions Glossary: Find out about unique real estate terms used in different countries.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Neighborhood Search Engine For Homebuyers

NeighborhoodScout provides real estate search resources for homebuyers looking to buy a home, condo, or property in the neighborhoods that meets a consumers personalized search criteria needs. This Patent protected search engine is available on a subscription basis; However ZipRealty will gladly pay for you to take advantage of the service for Free.

FREE NeighborhoodScout Tools from Zip Realty

First Time Home Buyers | Family Communities | Luxury Communities | Retirement Communities | Build A Neighborhood | Match A Neighborhood | Neighborhood Profiles | Neighborhood Appreciation Rates

NeighboorhoodScout helps answer one of the first questions most homebuyers ask when looking for a home. "So, where should we focus our house search if we want to live in a neighborhood that has [Fill In The Blank] and doesn't have [Fill In The Blank]."

Note: NeighborhoodScout Real Estate and Relocation Services

Find a Realtor | Buying a Home | Selling a Home | Real Estate Investment | Relocation Services | Real Estate Loans

This neighborhood search tool is probably the best resource for an online word-of-mouth experience of researching unfamiliar areas. Just remember that technology is not a spoken communication like you would get working with a Realtor, although web dialogue, such as "blogs, message boards and emails" are now included in the Wiki discussion. NeighborhoodScout uses nearly 200 characteristics to build a neighborhood profile for each and every neighborhood (Census Tract) in America. These profiles are created from data mined sets of information captured by the U.S. CensusBureau, the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Geological Service, etc. So what type of data does that include: school quality, housing costs, crime rates, income levels, the age, size and style of homes, the density of buildings, rental areas versus owner occupied, the proportion of families with children, the ages of persons in the neighborhood, ethnic and racial makeup, educational levels, languages spoken, types of careers of those living in the neighborhood, numbers of farms, coastal setting, and more.
If you are looking for good schools combined with reasonable home prices within 20 miles of New York City, NeighborhoodScout will uncover the best matching neighborhoods in your price range in less than five seconds using its patented search technology that reveals results to the sub-zip code level, so the best options are never missed. Want to find the neighborhoods within 30 miles of downtown Las Vegas with the highest appreciation rates, yet which are still affordable? NeighborhoodScout will instantly map your results so you know exactly where to buy from among the many hundreds of neighborhoods in the Las Vegas area.

Another service from the Location Inc. Group is a nationwide resource of local information that allows you to instantly view social and community information for the city of your choice.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Version of The Tour Sheet Blog

Google has now completed the Beta version of its Blogger service. New features include drag-and-drop template editing, posting article labels, and more. I've been waiting to switch over to the significantly better Blogger version because I wanted to keep the same URL's and avoid broken links. The process of switching the Tour Sheet Blog to the new Blogger version is a bit of a challange because I need to go back and "label" each article post and decide on the best available layout templates for the site organization.

I want to use the labels feature to add value and simplify the online real estate consumers search for information. Im still thinking of how I can take advantage of "post labels" which are perfect for indexing the articles I have written.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Draw A House

The way you draw a house says a lot about your personality, according to After you draw your home answer some quesions based on your drawing - then find out what your house says about you.

Also the best looking, most imaginative houses are added to the Hall of Fame

FHA Brings the Holidays Home

What better way to celebrate the holidays than by purchasing a home of your own. To help increase homeownership opportunities during this holiday season, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is launching the "FHA Brings the Holidays Home" sales campaign.

Homebuyers who purchase a HUD-owned home and finance the purchase with an FHA-insured loan will be entitled to valuable sales incentives including:

  • $2,500 Holiday Home Improvement Allowance
  • $500 Selling Broker Bonus
  • Minimum Required Downpayment of Only $100

The incentives are effective for HUD homes sold between Friday, December 8, 2006 and Friday, January 5, 2007.
In addition to the special holiday sales incentives, buyers may also receive a credit for up to three percent (3%) of closing costs, a benefit HUD provides on most of its home sales.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Real Estate Auction MashUp is a Google Map mashup built with eBay's API. It displays live eBay listings from Real Estate Auctions. One great feature is that the site allows users to view the listings next to the highest bid count - alerting the internet homebuyer of a strong demand and possible bargin. Also, U.S. Census data for housing & occupancy near the home is available.

If your wanting to view more auction inventory take a look at Realty Bid it is not a mashup filter of eBay Real Estate Listings. It is an auction site that works with real estate agents, corporations and banks to accelerate the sale of real estate. The site is for "motivated sellers, but not necessarily desperate sellers. All properties offered on are required to have discounted minimum reserve prices as compared to the list price." Note: is designed to be a tool for real estate agents only. The site is a Non-For-Sale-By-Owner (NFSBO) site.

In October, RealtyBid.coms monthly inventory of properties up for auction nationwide topped more than 1,000 for the second time in four months. Octobers inventory of 1,038 properties was an increase of 427 percent over October 2005. Source: Denver Post

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What is a Building? Is it a Dwelling?

Martin Heidegger wrote an article in 1951 called "Building Dwelling Thinking". The philosophical work ponders - What is it to dwell? - it's translated by Albert Hofstadter, 1971.

We try to fill the need by providing houses, by promoting the building of houses, planning the whole architectural enterprise. However hard and bitter, ... The real dwelling plight lies in this, that mortals ever search anew for the nature of dwelling, that they must ever learn to dwell... Rightly considered and kept well in mind, it is the sole summons that calls mortals into their dwelling
Not every building is a dwelling.
"In what way does building belong to dwelling? A bridge may serve as an example ... The bridge swings over the stream with case and power. It does not just connect banks that are already there. The banks emerge as banks only as the bridge crosses the stream. The bridge designedly causes them to lie across from each other. One side is set off against the other by the bridge."
<-- The "concrete bathtub" bridge over the Elbe River in Germany. Also located in Falkirk, Scotland - A giant wheel lifts and lowers canal boats from one canal to another. The move is about 200 feet.
When you watch the Falkirk Wheel video here is what to expect.
  • 1min 30sec the giant wheet starts to turn
  • 4min 30sec Half way there
  • 6min 30sec both boats leave the wheel

Internet Marketing Exposure

"Build your ad once. Get it on several top classifieds sites. Free."

Postlets are category-specific ads that you build just once and then they are automatically posted on several top classifieds sites quickly and easily. Postlets are currently available for cars & trucks, housing rentals and real estate. My favorite feature of Postlets is that it generates hosted HTML code that can be used (cut & paste) to post your ad on other classifieds sites such as craigslist and LiveDeal as well as on your blog or email newsletters.

The classified sites included to the automatically submit process: Oodle, Google Base,, Propsmart, edgeio, Vast, HotPads and more.

Also make sure to review: Postlets Plus - a website dedicated to your property listing. It gives you all of the good things you've come to expect from postlets plus:

  • Multi-page listing.
  • Huge photos.
  • Integrated mapping.
  • School info and mortgage calculator.
  • Virtual/video tour and external links.
  • No advertising next to ad.

Another option to look at is the SinglePropertySites tool that allows you to make a website devoted solely to the property. SinglePropertySites is mainly used by Realtors but they also have a FSBO platform available. You can log in to your free account, create a website (no obligation, no contracts, no charge). Then you will see a FSBO option from the site build wizard. Simply choose the FSBO to build your FSBO site.

For Example:

1122 Main Street

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Technology Side Note

The Houston Association of Realtors plans to upload MLS data onto Google Base for all homes for sale.

Some are predicting that by the end of the decade at least 80 percent of home listings across the country will be available on Google or some other searchable Web site. Source: MSNBC

A side note: Technology will simply allow inventory to be more accessible to consumers using the Internet.

With this news and Zillow's move into property listings - more brokers will start sending listings to search sites such as Google Base or Zillow. For that reason - I've added Google.Base to the TourSheet Blog 'index' page for Consumer Links.

Monday, December 11, 2006

How Did My Loan Balance Increase?

Wow~! Take a look at these stats on negative amortization (or "pay option") mortgages in today's L.A. Times. This real estate stat is a bit scary - if the individual is unaware of the possible effect of just paying the minimum payment each month.

    New negative amortization mortgages in California:
  • 2003 -- 8 of every 1,000
  • 2005 -- 1 in 5
  • 2006 -- 1 in 3

Note: To all with this type of loan - Negative amortization starts when the mortgage payment is smaller than the interest due and that causes your loan balance to increase rather than decrease. Not sure if your loan has negative amortization - usually you can find an 800 number on your statement each month to call and ask questions.

Architecture From Around The World

Hey there, thanks for coming back to hang out. I found a cool site and want to share Here you can find pictures, 3D models, and links to structures of all kinds. A great resource to view architecture from around the world and designs from leading architects throughout history.

Great Buildings

Roman Colosseum
Fallingwater <-- (Article & Video)
World Trade Center
The Alhambra
Sagrada Familia
Great Pyramid
Chrysler Building
Notre Dame Cathedral

Great Architects

Antonio Gaudi <--Casa Batllo is incredible.
Frank Gehry
Frank Lloyd Wright
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Le Corbusier
Alvar Aalto
Tadao Ando