Archive for the 'Events' Category

Real Estate Connect Conference – San Francisco Aug 2009

This conference which is held twice a year gathers together real estate agents, technology companies and service providers wrapped up in a demanding and comprehensive agenda designed to provide a vital insight into the trends in real estate with both a true international perspective and a full-on focus to the online world. It is not however a geeky technology conference, the participants come from all over the US and all types of real estate operations – sales people, business owners and service providers.

Over the 3 years that I have been attending the conference I have witnessed it becoming far more international. It is as ever a very practical conference with strong participation and discussion in all sessions. The challenge is as always to find the time to fit in as many of the sessions which span the 3 main days of the conference as possible; there is always a parting sense of “I wished I could have gone to that session as well..”

This year for the first time there was an additional leg to the conference organised on a separate day. This was a specialised mini-conference focussed exclusively on the operation of real estate portals internationally. This session with over 50 attendees brought together owners and managers of real estate websites from the UK, US, Holland, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Germany as well as some regional operators in Europe, and of course New Zealand.

The discussions and debates at these sessions were wide ranging and in-depth covering pricing models, agent services, and the role of Google, search engine marketing, social media, and media ownership vs. Independent, display advertising, consumer research and a host of other topics.

What stood out for me was the similarity of issues and challenges despite our diverse geographical spread. That was matched to a non biased judgment that we (along with Australia) are among the leading innovators in real estate online marketing. This is strengthened today by a very changed relationship with the REA Group in Australia. When the Group was operating the website of in NZ we were stern competitors, however since their withdrawal from the NZ market we have established a strong professional relationship to share insights and developments.

The main Inman Connect sessions really highlighted for me a couple of key themes:


This theme is judged to be becoming pervasive across the US industry as a consequence of the enormous fall out of the property market – the worst of their market is still with them. Prices are still down close to 30% from peak and the flow through of foreclosure property (mortgagee sales) has a long time to go with the lasting consequence on prices. The industry has had a wholesale clean out of agents. The confidence of the consumer has been significantly damaged, this is what is driving this desire to open up as an industry and share complete information about how the industry works.

This trend is driving agents to focus more and more on building online profiles around their unique skill set, largely through the use of social media. A trend that was first witnessed at the first Inman Connect conference I attended back in 2007. The key evolution over these years is the fact that to have such a profile is no longer relevant, today the challenge is to be found online as part of the conversations going-on on the web.


There is a sense of a coming of age of mobile applications. This can be attributable to the Apple iPhone. This application as a “poster child” for smart phones has provided what up until now has not been possible – a handheld mobile computing device that by chance is a phone. Up until the launch of the iPhone all mobile applications were endeavouring to operate on phones – a situation that was doomed to failure.

In the context of real estate mobile applications are likely to make the greatest impression when they incorporate the GPS and compass feature – this is when the rich data can be focused to the hyper-local environment where the answer to the questions ” what is for sale round here?, what did that house sell for? And what does that property for sale look like from the inside?” becomes really appealing and relevant.

Be assured that within the line up of activity in the coming months has a programme of developments in this area.


Far from being a teenage phenomenon Facebook is fast becoming the web’s universal directory and meeting place. The figures are staggering – over 100 million new users added in the past 9 months!

In the US real estate market Facebook is being seen as a great platform for engagement and discussion about real estate by vendors, buyers and agents. Savvy agents are using “business profile pages” to network and be part of conversations regarding real estate where content can be easily shared and taken anywhere you want with whomever you want. Watch out for Facebook, the median age of users is 29 years – that would be pretty close to the median age of property buyers. Additionally the most active users of Facebook are women aged 35 – 55 years.

Market Statistics

The media in the US as with NZ is awash with data on the property market. Agents are up skilling themselves to be better able to assist buyers and sellers to better interpret the data to make sense of local markets. Companies are offering personalised reports that utilise local data to present the trends on the market and add to the profile of professional agents that fully understand the market dynamics.

Agent Evaluation

It was evident at the conference that there are emerging examples of websites and services that endeavoured to assist the public better evaluate agents. These are on the whole more than just simple “rate an agent” feedback sites. Many are taking sales data and analysing the capabilities and record of property sales by agent measured as number of listings, number of sales, conversion rate – sale price to listing price performance.

This is certainly an interesting development as an emerging trend; one that I will be keen keep a watching eye on to see how it develops. I would like to hear any feedback on this matter. It was interesting to see at one of the sessions on this subject a “show of hands” vote saw very roughly 3 to 1 in favour of this type of open and transparent evaluation of agents!!

August 14 2009 | Events | 2 Comments »

It’s not about the technology!

I just read a great article by Teresa Boardman titled “Real estate tech for non-techies” – it provoked in me one of those feelings of such empathy!

We have been providing seminars and training sessions for a number of years now which are designed to help any real estate professional better understand the opportunities that the web provides this industry. Not the how of the web or the deep technical issues – just how to be smarter at using simple tools and simple pieces of advice that can help you be more successful.

The frustration is that I think people see a seminar by and assume that it is going to be techie or even geeky, that somehow we will be sitting down and playing on computers for hours! – No; all I do is share information, insight, facts and advice borne of my growing experience in this market to help this industry. Sure I believe that the web is the most important part of your marketing – I would say that! – however it is true. If you don’t believe me come along to one of our future sessions to find out and challenge me!

I highlighted Teresa’s article because I have met Teresa and can tell you honestly that she is skilled in using the tools of the web – she is not a techie, but she is what this industry has load of – great real estate agents who know their marketplace and their clients and want to provide outstanding service.

So give it ago, come along to one of our regular sessions as we go around the country. If you are keen to know when we are likely to be in your area next leave a question below and we will let you know.

May 08 2009 | Events | No Comments »

Join a free online seminar with Stefan Swanepoel

If you are quick you can take advantage of this special free seminar by Stefan Swanepoel to he hosted online next Wednesday the 18th March between noon and 1pm (NZ time – how convenient!) – the seminar will be focused on Stefan sharing his insights on the industry from his just-published 2009 Trends Report.

Places are limited due to technology so register now – I have! To register click here

March 13 2009 | Events and News and Uncategorized | No Comments »

Come along to one of the free seminars – South Island

The team are back … on the road

We are bringing the world to you – and for one simple reason – to help you sell me more property.

Come and listen to the latest ideas from here in NZ and around the world. We have captured the latest learning from Stefan Swanepoel and his recent visit to NZ in July; as well as the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco.

Learn how we are apply these ideas in New Zealand and implementing them on your behalf on “your” website – the official website of the real estate industry:

This is not only about the future but more importantly the present. It is not just a presentation on the web and a website – this is a presentation on major changes affecting this industry which go well beyond just how to list a property on the web.

We will also have a group of people there to answer and help with any questions you have afterwards on any topic.

So we just need an hour of your time for what we hope will help generate a lifetime of benefits – continuing to support and protect your industry

Still not sure? – have a look at this amusing quote from a “would be cynic” who attended a recent presentation:

“I went to a conference yesterday in Palmerston North… (one of the speakers)  was the head honcho from Mr Alistair Helm. I thought to myself ‘oh god, this is going to be sooo boring’ I’m very rarely if ever wrong so it was with mild astonishment that I found myself rapidly riveted to my seat with some fascinating knowledge which frankly amazed me. Did you know that the Internet can predict the future?”

Pearse Kinchella – Harcourts (Wanganui)

Fancy coming along – great!

We have organised the first 6 venues starting in the deep south

– Dunedin on the 9th September

– Invercargill on the 10th

– Queenstown on the 11th

– Oamaru 23rd

– Timaru also on the 23rd

– Christchurch, 2 sessions on the 24th.

If you are in one of these venues then go to our special “On the Road” website to registerOn the  and get all the information.

If you are not in one of these towns then please be patient, we will be communicating future dates very shortly – the best thing to do to be kept informed is to check the On the Road website regularly, or better still set up an RSS feed (don’t know what an RSS feed is?, one of the many things to learn at the presentation) – we will also be sending out emails very shortly by region, so hopefully you will not missed out, we would really encourage you all to attend. We are a part of this industry and want to share the experiences and knowledge we have developed over the past 2 years here in NZ and from overseas.

Looking forward to meeting you soon

September 01 2008 | Events | No Comments »