‘My ‘secret sauce’ is stuck between my ears’

‘My "secret sauce" is stuck between my ears’
The National Association of Realtors’ objective to create an online property valuation tool is generating some debate at the 1000Watt blog. The "Realtor Valuation Model" (RVM) is intended to standardize property valuations by combining Realtors’ street-level assessments with raw property data processed through algorithms.

"Only a skilled Realtor familiar with the qualitative dimensions of a property and its environs can price a home correctly," says 1000Watt Consulting’s Brian Boero in a blog post. "So capturing the practitioner perspective online — in essence, ‘productizing’ the Realtor mind — would have immense value," he adds.

He warns, however, that any Realtor who contributes to the RVM could be committing career suicide. "If big banks and consumers can leverage the knowledge of Realtors through something like an RVM, well, who needs Realtors?" Boero asks.

Real estate blogger Todd Waller agrees, "By giving up for free the ‘secret sauce’ that is what makes an agent worth their weight in gold, I believe you are correct about agent committing ‘value destruction’ … my ‘secret sauce’ is stuck between my ears."

Reggie Nicolay, social media director for Realtors Property Resource LLC, says, "The reality is that AVMs (automated valuation models) are abundant on the Web and reviewed by homeowners daily. When homeowners gather these AVMs from multiple third-party sources, they start running into questions and turn to their agent. So it just makes sense that we equip Realtors with the proper tools for their clients … enforcing their role as the knowledgeable source for interpreting this information."

Planning non-events
Going hiking this weekend and looking for friends to come along?  Working at your local café Friday afternoon and want some company? Plancast, an online tool so new it doesn’t even have an iPhone app yet, allows you to announce what your plans are in the future, implicitly inviting people to join you without spamming them with a blanket invite.  The tool connects to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

"For me personally, this tool is fantastic because I’m not much of a ‘drop what I’m doing and go see people’ type," writes Lani Rosales, new media director at AgentGenius.com. "I’m more of the ‘I’ve scheduled out my entire week down to the minute’ type, making Plancast conducive and more effective for me and others like me."

Some commenters on the site expressed concern about the safety of using a tool that will tell others where you’ll be at a given time.  "It’s like reverse stalking," said one commenter. Rosales recommended not using the site for things like family vacation plans, but rather for public events you’ll be attending or events you want to invite others to attend.

See Twitter trends on your beat
Ever wonder what people in your neighborhood are saying? Think knowing would help your business? AgentGenius.com’s Rosales shows us five ways Twitter’s new geolocating feature, GeoMeme, will help you do just that.

1. Connect locally: Plug in a couple of search terms and see which is mentioned more frequently in your neighborhood.  You may find out your neighbors are more interested in sports than gardening.  If you’re a sports fan, you can see specifically who is talking about what and send them a direct message to establish a personal connection.

2. Control your brand: "Listen" to what people are saying about you by typing in your Twitter name.  Compare your name to your major competitor’s handle. 

3. Learn: What’s all the buzz this week?  If people are still talking about Black Friday deals maybe you can point them to a great sale at their local department store.  Even if it’s not directly related to your business, you can take the opportunity to provide them with something of value.

4. Share: Whatever intriguing little tidbits you find through GeoMeme — are people in your neighborhood talking about buying more than selling? – tweet about it.  Better yet, write a blog post about it and tweet about that.

5. Shirts: Do a search, click the "T-shirt" button, and you can buy shirts featuring the winners of your search. Gimmicky, Rosales admits, but could be fun.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

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