The Unconditional Blog

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Archive for the ‘The lighter side’ Category


NZ Ultramarathon run for charity

Posted on: November 9th, 2009 | Filed in The lighter side

lisa-tamati-nz-run-2009Just imagine getting up before 5am every morning for 33 days and running for an average of 60+ kms per day!

This is the challenge that Lisa Tamati has set herself as she takes on a formidable challenge of running from Bluff to Cape Reinga in 33 days covering 2,200 kms. In the course of this unbelievable run Lisa is raising money for charity and proving to anyone that such a challenge can be achieved – my admiration goes out to her, especially as I find a half marathon of just 21 kms a fair enough challenge once a year!

This challenge is gaining awareness and momentum as she heads up the country – currently she is approaching Christchurch and more and more people are coming out to greet her and provide her with much needed motivation and moral support. Her daily blog provides a great insight into the mental challenge that such a run poses and how to muster the stamina and personal motivation to takes those millions of steps to the Cape.

Lisa outside the First National office in AshburtonI am also impressed by the support that the real estate industry has provided her so far – the team at First National in Ashburton rallied around and not only raised $750 but also gave her a great Ashburton welcome.

To keep up to date with Lisa’s progress you can follow her on her progress map on her website – and don’t forget to give generously by donating online to support her and the charities she is supporting – CanTeen & Cure Kids.


Perfect marketing for halloween!

Posted on: October 31st, 2009 | Filed in Online marketing, The lighter side

It’s the 31st October today and this presents marketeers with a twice a year opportunity (well April the 1st would be the other day!) – theme an advert to suit the day!

This is exactly what this smart agent Andrea Kent has done with her client’s house – as she calls it a “quirky home” – definitely one of those great real estate euphemisms for “this house needs some significant work.

The advert in today’s paper and on the web certainly creates standout – that is what marketing should do, so my congrats to Andrea – I hope you find an enthusiastic buyer who is prepared to step into the shoes of its prior owner who as you appropriately describe “have returned to Transylvania”!


Larger than your average family home!

Posted on: October 30th, 2009 | Filed in International, The lighter side

The US real estate website Zillow has just highlighted what they believe is the largest house in the US. At 43,031 square feet (3,997 square metres) – that means this house has the floor area of just that bit less than an acre!

US largest home - NY state

As Zillow reports on their blog the property which has a very nice waterfront vista along from the famed “The Hamptons” took 5 years to build and is built on a section size of 63 acres. The property comprises officially 21 bedroom and 18 bathrooms. The unique Zillow Zestimate places an approximate value on this property of US$202,864,000 – roughly NZ$262 million!

The property makes a very impressive image as seen on Google satellite imagery as seen below

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In NZ we certainly do not have anything quite as grand, extensive or expensive!

The most expensive and most impressive property for sale as listed on the website at this time is this grand property on Waiheke island being marketed by Michael Boulgaris.

This 12,000 square foot property (barely a quarter of the size of its US sister) is set in 88 acres of land on Waiheke island. It is a very impressive property boasting 8 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms and three open fires, together with a private wharf, tennis court and boat shed.

Whilst Waiheke island may not be quite “The Hamptons” the NZ$33 million price tag seems pretty good value for an undeniably impressive lifestyle!


Incentives to stimulate property sales come in many forms

Posted on: July 15th, 2009 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Online marketing, The lighter side

I was amused to see over the past month a couple of intriguing offers by real estate agents and their clients to stimulate the purchase of property.

House for sale with Ferrari - Lt DunmowIn the English village of Little Dunmow if you were to be in the market for a 4 bedroom modern built house for around £450,000 (NZ$1.18 million) you could be motivated by the fact that in the garage you will find a very nice black Ferrari Mondial QV Spider.

The owners have decided that a new life in France beckons and therefore as reported in the local paper have decided to part with one of their classic cars to ease the sale.

The property was listed over a month ago and is still featuring on their agent’s website so unfortunately it does not look like the offer has found the perfect buyer as yet!

Kawau island property for sale with Farr 727 yachtBack here in NZ, not to be outdone; should you be interested in a holiday home away from it all on the beautiful island of Kawau then you may be interested in this classic 1933 built property which is in original condition and comes complete with a Farr 727 moored on the property’s private jetty.

Certainly the Kawau island property appears to justify the need for the incentive of a yacht as a critical part of the purchase to get to and from the mainland whereas the Ferrari is closer to an straight out incentive – either way a novel approach to real estate marketing.


Innovative real estate videos

Posted on: May 18th, 2009 | Filed in The lighter side

As the real estate industry focuses more and more to the online medium for marketing, so the richness of new media formats adopted to profile properties for sale grows. Over the past year we have seen a significant rise in the adoption of video as one such new media for marketing properties. At this time we have over 400 properties on the site with videos as well as comprehensive portfolios of photographs.

A video however does create a dilemma for the real estate community – how to really make an impact and thereby create interest in a property? – should the video be just a narrated ‘walk-through’ of the property or should it try and engage the audience?

This latter approach has been undertaken by Mike Lefebvre, an agent from Boston, Massachussets – here is one of Mike’s videos:

As ever with this type of presentation there is a novelty factor which certainly provides some light relief from all the other such videos – as to a long term sustainable proposition – well time will tell, in the meantime see if you can solve the “who dunit!”


The marvels of modern technology

Posted on: March 30th, 2009 | Filed in The lighter side

We may be in the midst of a global recession, one in which we are constantly comparing our predicament with The Great Depression of the 1920’s, however I am passionate in believing that we should never forget the amazing technological marvels that have been achieved in the intervening 80 years.

To compare our situation to that time is to liken an iPhone to the original Sinclair handheld calculator. As a momentary distraction to the ever present turmoil of global economic recession take a moment as I did to this 5 minute video entitled “Did you know” as it takes you on a wondrous journey to startle you with some of the most amazing facts of technological advancement that we have witnessed in barely 20 years.

I am grateful for @mashable on twitter for bringing this to my attention.

As to memorable take-outs from the video:

“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies thta haven’t been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet”

There are 31,000,000,000 searches on Google ever month

It is estimated that 4 exabytes of unique information will be generated this year (that is 40,000,000,000,000 MBs of data) – that is more than the previous 5,000 years.


Twitter – a personal perspective

Posted on: March 23rd, 2009 | Filed in Agent Tips, Cool sites, The lighter side

istock_000000969383xsmallThe decision by NZ Post to cease collections over the weekend is yet another reminder of how our wired (or wireless) world continues to dominate our lives. Whilst the advent of the web has actually delivered benefits to mail delivery services around the world as a function of online ordering, the reality is less of us actually put anything in an envelope and walk down to the local post box.

More and more of us find the immediacy of email, blogs and now the fast emerging experience of Twitter is the most efficient and rewarding experience to keep in touch with friends, colleagues and connectors.

Twitter seems to have come from nowhere in the space of barely 3 months to be the thing almost everyone I know is talking about. I recall that I first heard about it at a conference in the states 18 months ago and at the time I said to myself a combination of:

  • “Tweet” ??”
  • “Why does anyone want to know what I am doing”
  • “I don’t want people following me”

Subsequently I have come to appreciate the merits of Twitter. For me the most compelling statement made about it came from a well respected online commentator who said in one of his frequent podcast episodes “the most frequent comment I hear from advocates of Twitter is that they all at some stage or other have said – I don’t get it!” – I can relate to that, I didn’t get it until 4 months ago when I started to get it and I started to use it!


Here is my take on Twitter:

  • It is a mico blog – and just with blogging it can mean various things to various people
  • It does not really matter who follows you – let them; it is there life and if they are fascinated to read my tweets then great, if they “unsubscribe” to my tweets then fine, my life does not revolve around them
  • I follow people I know and Tweeters who provide valuable insight and information – these are more often than not businesses rather than people who provide a steady stream of insightful comment in the form of content links not unlike an RSS feed, but far more organic
  • I tweet on a combination of subjects – my thoughts on and insight on the real estate market, things that I observe in my everyday life, events and things I discover.

When people follow me and this is brought to my attention I undertake two quick checks – firstly do I know this person? –  if so, I may follow them (they are part of my circle of friends / influence). If they are not someone I know I look to see what they post, if they are mainly posting a combination of answers to questions from others or they post about the minutia of their lives I just don’t follow them . What I am looking for in my twitter stream is interesting news and insight.

Happy tweeting ! – you can follow me at alistairnz – but don’t be offended if I don’t follow you – you will now know why. As to the relevance to real estate  well I recall writing a piece on just this subject back in August last year – have a read “Does Twitter have a place in real estate“.


Panic in the market – must get that mortagee property listed!

Posted on: February 9th, 2009 | Filed in Agent Tips, The lighter side

istock_000005291546xsmallNo, I have not made a fatal spelling mistake in the title of this blog post – it is meant to be spelled “mortagee” rather than the correct spelling of “mortgagee”.

Unless I am very much mistaken there is no such word as mortagee – Google clarifies this for me by directing my interest by observing “did you mean mortgagee?” – however I was fairly staggered to discover that on a weekly basis we are finding that around 30 searches are made each week by people typing in the word mortagee. Over the past 9 months we have had over 1,400 such searches.

Having discovered that we have people (one or many) who are searching for mortagee, image (oops) imagine my surprise when I discovered that we actually have listings on the site for Mortagee Properties! – 4 of them today.

So clearly there must be a new category of mortgagee property, or could it be a factor of a blind panic to get a listing of a mortgagee property on the market and onto our website resulting in a little less checking or spelling checking than might be necessary!


Property information on the web just keeps getting richer!

Posted on: January 24th, 2009 | Filed in The lighter side

Aerial images and mapping has now become a standard component of all real estate listings on the web – however the question is often asked as to how often the images are updated. The true answer is “we don’t know”. All we know is that it is likely to be more regular in the future given the falls in the price of the technology.

In the light of this it was interesting to be shown a property yesterday listed on which when linked across to the property details on Zoodle showed almost the identical aerial image and Google Street View as the listing images – how is that for up-to-date presentation of a property!

The boat and the car are clearly visible in both the aerial photo and the street view, as is the boat in the listing photo. What is also interesting is the for sale sign in the Street View image – this has got to be a very recent set of photos all taken by chance around the same time. All 3 taken by different means and different companies!


Would you want to live in the President’s house?

Posted on: January 9th, 2009 | Filed in International, The lighter side

the-white-houseIt is called the White House and it certainly looks like the White House, however this 1,650 sq metre home is a replica and is for sale!

As reported in the New York Times the Iranian-American owner of the house has decided it is time to sell up and is looking for a reported US$9.88 million (that’s around $17m).

It is staggering to see the extent of the work undertaken to create a property that so closely mirrors the original, I cannot quite conceive of anyone in NZ seeking to build a model of the “Beehive” – not an official residence of course, but our own iconic vision of prime ministerial location.

Whilst I could not find the listing on any agent website (maybe they are keen not to have too many gaukers!) – it took me no more than 2 minutes with the power of Google maps to locate the property (can’t miss it really!). A valuable lesson in the empowering of consumers as property buyers through advancements in the web. The property address for interested prospective buyers is:

3680 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta, DeKalb, Georgia 30345, United States.

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