Friday, February 26, 2010

First day of the rest of my life...

I woke up yesterday morning and saw Greg Robertson's post on Vendor Alley. I've been a devout follower of Greg's since Vendor Alley started. You know when you're on Vendor Alley you've hit the Big Time. (Oh, I swear that picture was my 1 attempt in 10 years to grow my hair and it will never happen again!!! )

Tons of folks reached out to me, from South Florida to Vancouver, New York to Southern California, Chicago to Dallas. There were Tweets and DMs. I received countless emails congratulating me. Honestly, I was floored by the kindness and support. Yesterday afternoon I found I was also part of Russ Bergeron's emails (if you don't receive his daily updates, get them). Wow, Vendor Alley and Russ!!!

I heard many times "you are the perfect person for this job!" and "they made a great choice." I believe in myself, my children, parents and family believe in me. My friends believe in me. Yesterday I found people I barely know believe in me.

At the end of the day I was on cloud 9. Everyone loves to hear how wonderful they are! I floated into aftercare to pick up my Compact Carrs and my little Pixie looked at me and said, “Mommy, you look horrible. No really....your hair is a mess!” She made me smile. Come back down, Princess, take off the tiara, roll up your sleeves and get to work. There’s a lot to be done, you can do this and you can do it well but it isn’t going to be all Rainbows and Butterflies. Time to pull out the power tools and get something done!

Thanks to everyone who took their personal time to offer support, it means a lot to me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Look, New Things

I changed the look of my blog. I have some new, exciting things happening in my life and wanted this to be my blog, not a company blog. I plan to keep writing what I've been writing but I have a few adventures just around the corner.

Let me know what you think. Oh...and the header image was taken at the Palm Beach Zoo when I went on a field trip a few weeks ago with my daughter, Little Darity aka Ninja Barbie aka Mini Carr. I like it and I made it!

Hope to see ya'll at Clareity next week... I get to do a presentation with my pal Matt Cohen. You know if Matt and I are talking together it's going to be interesting, to say the least!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Alphabet Soup

My pal Austin Smith at Goomzee posted a link this morning to his blog. The subject: Alphabet soup - what the #@$% do all those real estate acronymns mean?!?! I had to check it out right away.

I remember coming into the biz and not knowing what the hell people were saying. My department at RMLS worked on a dictionary for a while, it's just such a loooooooong, boring, painful process.

Good job Austin!!! What a great resource. I already passed it on to some of my peeps.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Leveling the Playing Field

I've been reading tweets this morning from Inman Connect in New York #ICNY. Mostly I've been interested on the RPR discussions.

Everyone is (once again) talking about leveling the playing field. Ugh. That just gets me all fired up. Leveling the playing field. Bah! RPR providing the same reports and tools to all Realtors does not make all Realtors level. Data is great and is an integral part of the real estate transaction but there is so much more to buying and selling a home!

When the market in Florida was super hot we were seeing Fee-For-Service, Flat Rate and other non-traditional business models opening up all over the place. I wasn't really considering selling my home but I looked at some of the services available to me if I did want to sell. Remember, I love statistics and analytics. I love crunching data. I would bet I can get a better idea of market trends in my area than most agents. It's what I do. If the question is only pricing my house right, I wouldn't need any help. I could price my house, pay someone to add it to the MLS then hire a real estate attorney to represent me at closing. Quick, easy and painless? No way.

There is so much more that a good real estate professional brings to the table other than reports. Things like staging, curb appeal, proper marketing channels, open houses on the seller side. Then there's little Susie's ballet classes, neighborhood vibe...feelings on the buyer side.

I like to think I know a lot about real estate, especially when it comes to real estate information but I would never dream of buying or selling my home without representation. I know there are disclosures but I don't know what they are. I don't know what's reasonable in negotiations. I can look at average days on market but I don't know, strategically, when to modify my price in order to get the best return in the shortest time. There are tons of things I can not do.

So RPR is providing some cool tools for agents. That's awesome. Leveling the playing field? I dunno. IMO the playing field is not data or reports, the playing field is how a person takes the data and reports, add their own intellectual property (something which can not be managed by a computer) and uses that information to represent a buyer or seller. I don't know what all will shake out of RPR, still too early to tell, but I think the tools they are providing will enable the great agents to shine and the bad ones will continue to just get by.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Congrats to a GREAT dude!

I'm sure everyone has already read the post on Vendor Alley but I wanted to take a minute and write up my own congratulations to my friend Kurt Von Wasmuth with RMLS in Portland.

I met Kurt for the first time at the Clariety MLS Workshop a few years back. As the night got later and later a few of us tough guys were hanging out in the bar at the hotel. I have lots of great memories from that bar but the night I hung out with Kurt is one of my favorites. If you know Kurt at all you know he's one of the most hilarious people ever. We were hanging with the Tarasoft boys and just laughing and laughing. I'm not even sure what we were talking about but I do remember laughing so much my stomach hurt.

Over the years I've been fortunate enough to cross paths with Kurt at most conferences. We try to make it a point to spend at least a few minutes together and I've always felt honored that he'd take the time for me. We've even had some grown-up conversations, Kurt's business philosophies and his ability to share are a true benefit. I believe Kurt is a wonderful choice for RMLS (the real RMLS) Kurt is the kind of person who makes you want to do well. His personality drives success - not because he's mean and scary but because you want to see him pleased. Through my experience I can truthfully say the folks at RMLS are amazing - they're all very driven, smart and super kind. Kurt makes a wonderful leader for that group.

So congratulations, my friend! I look forward to seeing the great things you and your team do in the future. And...don't forget who your friends were when you were one of us little guys.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Keeping a local database current..

MLSs ask me all the time how their 3rd party vendors can keep a local database current when they only have access to Active listings. In terms of IDX - how does the 3rd party delete listings which have become Off-Market if they can only query On-Market? Here's my answer...

Let's say Active, IDX listings in your MLS are Status = A.

Have the vendor query ML# - they'll only get listings to which you have given them access, in this example:

WHERE Status = A

We call this a "Reference File". Run that Reference File against the local database. Delete listings in the local database

WHERE My_Database_ML# <> Reference_File_ML#

Finally, run a RETS query for all listings:

WHERE Update_Date > My_Last_Run_Date

The first step will provide a list of all Active ML#s. When that is run against the local database any listing in the local database which is no longer On-Market will be deleted. Doing a SELECT * from the RETS server WHERE Update_Date > My_Last_Run_Date will provide updates for the local database for listings which are still on the market and have been modified since yesterday - or whenever the process was last run.

If anyone has anything better please post.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#NAR09 - San Diego

I'm still recovering from a crazy cold and from PCSD (Post Convention Stress Disorder) but wanted to get out a few thoughts following NAR09 - San Diego.

RPR: Let's just get this out of the way first - I'm tired of hearing about the RPR. Obviously there are still a million things to be flushed out and we all have a ton of questions. Whatever question you have, someone else asked it last week - or the week before. Will the RPR change the landscape? Probably. Is this the death of the MLS? I don't think so but I do think the MLS business is in great need of a huge evolution. I've been in this business for about 15 years and it hasn't changed much. We went from mainframe systems to fat clients to the innerwebs but that hasn't really changed anything. The whole world around us has changed but we haven't. I say it's time for some change. The RPR may be the change we need and, if we don't step up, may push us out of the way. Either way - it's time for some innovation.

RETS: I missed the Saturday RETS panel facilitated by Mike Wurzer because I was sick but I heard it was a pretty heated event. I heard people were upset that nothing has happened with RETS in 2 years. That's been a topic coming from all different directions for some time now. Here's what I think - the RETS spec has not moved for 2 years, that's true. There isn't a whole lot of "published" RETS advancement. That does not mean we haven't done anything. RESO was formed just 2 years ago. We hired an Executive Director, wrote Bylaws and an IP Policy. We contracted NAR to project manage the development of a Compliance Tool. We worked out our recommendations for the usage of that Compliance Tool. We created some support procedures (thanks CRT for being 1st line support!). We're putting in place a Document Management system to facilitate quick publication of changes to the spec. In my opinion what we have done is put some tools in place which will make forward motion much more efficient in the future. We've built a foundation. The Cove Group put a fire under us to refocus on Standard Names, Data Standards and/or Schema. We're close to publishing Core RETS with Extensions. We have a great start to a Roadmap. We have detailed Goals and Objectives for the future. We're *this close* to wrapping up a ton of little projects. The place we're still not doing so well? Communication. Thanks to the Outreach & Education Workgroup, and specifically Troy Davisson, I think we've got a great plan for revising and taking great strides in fixing that issue. I heard from someone that RETS hasn't moved because the vendors aren't doing anything. That's a big load of BS. The vendors have busted their butts in getting the Compliance Tool designed and tested. I've heard it's because NAR has done nothing - that too is a big load of BS. NAR paid for a very expensive and comprehensive Compliance Tool and NAR (CRT) staff has worked to see it published. Again, while it seems nothing has happened I'd say a ton has happened. Don't believe me? Call in on Compliance or Roadmap or Education.

My Favorite New Tool:
I was fortunate enough to get a demo of CloudCMA. Disclaimer: I think Dan Woolley and Greg Robertson are brilliant! I loved the clean look of CloudCMA. It follows what the fellas have done with Dwellicious. I won't get in to a salesy discussion - sign up on the site and get info from the source but, I'm telling you, it's cool. Another thing I learned during the demo - suites at the Hard Rock have the shower kind of right in the middle of the room. Pretty interesting.

My Favorite Meeting: Pace Davis (just ask Kurt von Wasmuth...we always use both first and last name for Pace Davis) and I met with Lin and Bob from Hawaii Information Service. We met in Lin's suite during the Florida game. We talked about tons of topics and watched the game. Lin gave us a ton of Hawaiian candy. Our meeting was laid back, comfortable and fun. Lin is very opinionated and articulate in voicing her opinions - those are wonderfully refreshing attributes!

My Favorite Session: Hands-down was The Future of the MLS facilitated by Mike Wurzer. The panelists were all great, the content was timely. Obviously the presentations were revised to include the RPR. Ron Stephan, Matt Cohen, Jim Duncan and Bob Bemis hit across the board on their opinions. I have to say - Bob Bemis was fantastic! His Magic 8 Ball was funny. Oh...and right before the session Bob gave me a check for the money I won in his famous football pool. And for you sports fans out there - my method is very scientific. I choose based on which animal would win in a fight, then what city I'd prefer to visit. If neither of those work I pick my favorite color. I'm up $200 this year, last year it was closer to $600.

My Favorite Dinner: Sunday night I had dinner with some of the Clareity Security folks (Nicole Boxx, Eric Hoglund and Paul Hethmon) and my dear friend Marty Reed from LPS. We started with drinks in the bar at the Marriott then had dinner at Roy's. Thanks Kevin Hughes for suggesting we make reservations! Our conversations ranged from super-duper personal to work to inappropriate. We told secrets about ourselves and pumped each other up. We all laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. I feel very blessed not only to have these folks as my friends but to have been able to spend so much time together!

My Favorite Night Out: After dinner at Roy's Nicole, Paul and I headed out to hook up with some LPS folks to celebrate a birthday. Nicole and Paul didn't last very long but, in true KC style, I did. I don't kiss and tell so I'll keep my comments to this: Johann is marvelous and thanks, Underboy, for defending my honor! The rest of you - thanks for including me! I had a great time, even if I was a bit Greene at the airport!

My Favorite Party: Had to be Tarasoft! Those boys sure know how to do it! I found it amazingly classy that they invited everyone, even their competitors. The venue was amazing, conversations were fabulous and the crowd was varied. I think having a cocktail hour rather than a late-night party is the way to go. And do it in style. Thanks Ray and Jeremy for thinking so highly of me, it means a lot!!!! And Kurt - I can't even think about you without laughing. You are a funny, funny man! I promise to find that video and send it to you.

My Favorite Bridge Activity: On Sunday Pace Davis and I had lunch with some of our RETS IQ customers. We were sad not all could make it but had a great time with our intimate group including Freddy Sarabia, Bill Cole, Adrese Roundtree and Jason Sanchez. I'll get some pics posted on Facebook and Picasa as soon as I have time.

Last but not least...My Favorite Kiss: Was from Wes Wiggins. Wes is tall and he always gives the best snuggly hello kisses in the business!!!

As I write this a lot of the fog is starting to clear. As Rob Overman tweeted - this was a strange one! I think my main take-aways are: I'm tired of the RPR for now and I am damn lucky to know the people I do. Thanks Suzanne Harris and Steve Byrd for offering to take care of me when I was sick! Sorry Pace Davis for giving you my germs.