I is for Internet

September 14th, 2006

Back in 1995, I became a huge fan of the Internet. That is when I arranged for my first Real Estate Website. I just knew that the web would become a major part of the industry.
Many of my local colleagues thought I was crazy- most of them did not own a computer.

In 1996, Bancroft Real Estate Board was the first Board in Ontario to go with a web-based system. We are a relatively small board and often “cutting-edge”. The success of the system soon brought other Boards to the table and within a short time; the Canadian Real Estate Association (owners of the MLS trademark) began working on a countrywide site.

Website providers have flocked to provide razzle-dazzle to Realtors for their websites. I found that a lot of the bells and whistles made the website sluggish and distracting. With the help of a fabulous web-designer (and a wonderful brother), Matthew Didier, we have developed the GetRealinOntario site, with the market in mind.

A recent edition of “REM” (a publication about Real Estate Marketing, News, Mortgages, Technology & Opinions- provided to Realtors) had an article titled “Internet is overvalued, says Re/Max founder”. I was shocked. The article goes on to quote “… the internet has taken hold. But its impacts on the industry have not been as dramatic as one might expect….” And “The Internet has not affected Re/Max growth, profitability, share or whatever.” And almost remorsefully, “Gone are the days of real estate… warm friendly faces, shaking hands and a dog running around the yard.”

Oddly enough the article also quotes Re/Max International Founder and chairman David Liniger as saying “the Internet is still an important tool to reach consumers” and that “Re/Max plans to promote its website to consumers through extensive advertising”.

TILT

I believe the Internet is undervalued by many Real Estate professionals, I believe that the Internet has affected my personal growth; I believe that Internet can convey the warmth and sincerity I possess.

I am a research-aholic. A google-holic. I check out all kinds of websites; EVERY DAY.
I know that not everything on the Internet is accurate and true, some is opinion based, but I also find the Internet is the most quick, convenient, cost-effective and comprehensive source of information available to me. The Internet is my friend. The Internet provides solutions. The Internet keeps me connected to the pulse of the Industry, to friends, family and news.

Having a website makes sense to me. I don’t believe that a Real Estate website has anything to do with increasing market share- for GetRealinOntario it is about sharing knowledge and good information with Buyers and Sellers.

my way

September 14th, 2006

I think most of us have heard the quote “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching”. It really does resonate similarities to my own personal mantra.

Once I had a little Real Estate experience under my belt, I began yearning for an, at least internally, “non-competitive” office place. This is a very difficult beast to locate, because usually the sort of “driven” personality that can handle a competitive industry isn’t easily able to shut-off the “compete” button. Big egos and big personalities can clash and cause the sort of environment that creates the “vulture” or “snake pit” feeling that Buyers and Sellers shun… some of us Realtors do, too.

With much virtue in mind, I set about writing a “Mission Statement” and once I had the opportunity to manage my own office, I set about finding people who could relate to my optimistic vision. There have been times that I have felt undermined and misunderstood and at those times, I always revisit my mission statement… it reads:

“To focus on offering our talents, energy and knowledge to serve others. To operate with authentic intention, honesty and integrity. To empower others to live extraordinary inspired lives.”

I have never changed the original draft of my Mission Statement, because it reminds me that I can find my way, through any landmines in the Real Estate world, by holding on to the very essence of providing “service” and giving it my all, while preserving my individual identity.

I have always tried to be authentic. Authentically me, of course, which means that I may not necessarily take the popular stance. It’s interesting to note that among the various descriptions for the definition of the adjective “authentic” is: “conforming to fact and therefore worthy of trust, reliance and belief.”

I make my way in life, decisively- with good intentions and I can always defend my own position and yet, I am always interested in hearing the “other guy’s” viewpoint, doing more research and I have been known to change my mind… but not the “Mission Statement”. For those of us connected with “GetRealinOntario” the Mission Statement is the glue.

My first blog

September 14th, 2006

Any decent Realtor keeps informed and will read anything they can get their hands on, with regard to politics, market trends, strategies, marketing etc etc… and I have a particular interest in the “business” aspects of Real Estate.

A recent “Harris Poll” (2006) surveyed American adults and asked them to rate the level of trust that they place in the advice and guidance of certain professionals from a variety of business areas. The survey included 11 distinctly different professions. Real Estate agents placed tenth.

Information like this is not big news, really. Unfortunately, not all Real Estate reps are created alike. When I started in this business, I thought that I was well prepared for the competitive environment… and I was, when it came to being informed, educated, energetic and well-connected in complimentary industries… however, after a few short months, I began to recognize some attributes in my colleagues that bent my perspective as they nagged at my own personal morality.

I was immediately comforted that I had chosen to be a part of “organized Real Estate” and soon made it my own personal strategy; to be up-to-date on the rules & regulations, laws & legislations, policies and procedures applicable to being a Realtor. I have volunteered a lot of time to the organization of various Boards within Canadian Real Estate and I have studied much about the history of Real Estate, as well.

I suppose it is what I do, in order to maintain a sense of pride about my work. It isn’t always easy working in a small town, having your photo in the paper every week and trying to please all of the people, all of the time… and I AM my own worst critic. On the other hand, the ridiculously high expectation that I place on myself, ensure that I am (at the very least) a little more informed than the industry standard. I am always pleased when I am consulted for my opinion on matters of ethics and interpretation and I am even more excited when I have an opportunity to learn something new.

Often, I find that I am well ahead of the pack, with insight into coming pitfalls and/or changes in the business. Other Realtors, who know me, soon learn that I write pretty good offer clauses and I have a good handle on the rules and local by-laws….

I would never, however, by any means wish to imply that I am an expert, especially when there is no real criteria to objectively define an expert. I’m just pretty confident that I know how to make sure that I when I don’t know something, I’ll consult someone who knows. If that makes any sense…. Besides which, the Real Estate Council of Ontario, Code of Ethics, principle #21-5 says (among other verbiage). “A member should not use a term, title, or designation, implying that the Member is a specialist or expert in the profession, or a term, title or designation restricted by the Council, unless the Member satisfies the criteria established by the Council for its use.”

I don’t have an Expert license, I just have the duty to perform within my own areas of expertise… and with any luck at all, the areas of my own expertise will keep on growing!