Today is the official launch of a brand new real estate education and community site designed to enhance agent productivity through social media – The Hip Roof.

The Hip Roof was created by Maya Paveza (@mayaREguru), award winning REALTOR in Delaware with Coldwell Banker Preferred and real estate social media butterfly! Maya has gained national acclaim for continuously redefining the role social media plays in her business.

I’ve know Maya online for some time and was very excited to see this new forum get off the ground with the assistance of a lot of great people in the industry including the one and only, Chris Brogan, president of Human Business Works.

Chris says, “The Hip Roof is a great opportunity for real estate professionals to learn from the people experimenting successfully with social media marketing. We’re excited that so many smart minds are participating in the forums already.”

I emailed Maya yesterday to interview her, and get the scoop on this new networking and learning opportunity for real estate professionals.

Q: Maya, how did you come up with the idea for The Hip Roof?

A: The idea for a real estate educational community is something I have been toying with since early 2009. I was a web developer and designer from 1993-2001, so my mind works in this sort of way, I am also very entrepreneurial in spirit. I loved the idea of creating a place where some of the community of experts I know via the social spaces, and from attending a variety of events, like Real Estate Connect, could interact and share their achievements and ideas with others. Where the new agent or the agent who has been working for 30 years could all come together and share and learn. A collaborative community if you will, where everyone can contribute as everyone has an area of expertise.

Q: What’s the general premise of the site?

A: The premise is that THR is a real estate educational community with a focus on social media.To allow people to grow and learn, to share successes and seek assistance from others. To remember that what we do is about customer service and finding new ways to do that better. To remind each other that humanity is much more important, especially in this day and age. To share expertise, to offer webinars to help agents better understand the social spaces, platforms, and a lot of basic business development and coaching too. Currently the membership gets three webinars a week, Sunday Night Open Forum, Experts Series Interview (kicking off 2/28 with Ben Kinney) and the Thursday “Hot Topic” learning webinar.

The most basic need I feel the site meets is to make education, coaching and training accessible and affordable to agents everywhere. We can’t always make it to New York or San Francisco for a Real Estate Connect, or a REBoot tour, especially with the current market conditions. I believe so deeply in this that we don’t want to turn anyone away – if someone wants to join but can’t afford it, I am working with a few partners to offer scholarships, it is that important to permit total access.

Q: Is it open to all agents nationwide?

A: Absolutely, real estate agents nationwide and worldwide – as long as they are licensed in whatever capacity in their municipality. But not just for agents, it is also for Brokers and owners – the category I call office leadership – they have their own private forum within The Hip Roof. Office Leadership will have different discussions needs from recruiting and retention to desk occupancy costs, and more. We also welcome our partners who we deal with on a daily basis, all of which have their own forums like the leadership does – lenders, title representatives, real estate attorneys and home inspectors. We don’t have a consumer facing side at this point, but there might be something coming soon to meet that need, a forum where consumers can ask questions and interact with the experts.

Q: I see you have no advertisers, will that change in the future? If not, do you have plans to monetize the site?

A: I want the agents and community to feel completely comfortable in sharing opinions and thoughts on technology, tools, platforms and vendors. I don’t anticipate that changing, which is why we do charge a membership fee, similar to the other Human Business Works communities although we are independent from the HBW family.

I don’t expect it will change, but the option has been reviewed. I think that if it comes down to advertising it will be advertisers that don’t directly market to agents, maybe on the consumer facing side – when and if that happens. I want to avoid agents having to feel like there is any undue influence on the information shared within the community, which is why I don’t want to permit advertising on the inside.  To help create local experts everywhere, because there won’t be a “tour” or local events, if a local board or mls wants someone we will refer them to one of our area experts.

Q: What is the cost for a membership?

A: The introductory rate is $27/month for the life of the membership until 3/31 for agents. For Brokers/Office Leadership, the rate is introduced at $57/mo as well as Lending Partners, Title/Attorney and Home Inspectors until 3/31.

Q: When is your official “open for business day”?

A: We soft-launched on Monday February 21, but our official “launch” is today! It is a living organism of sorts, the platform we are built upon is so dynamic, it is just amazing the things we can do with it, to grow it and expand. What is really exciting is that right now during the launch we are giving $5 for every paid membership that signs up until 3/2 to Daniel Rothamel’s Legal Defense Fund. Dan is a great guy, and he was in the new edition of Trust Agents, so he is a shining example of the goal of this site – to be a better agent, to serve your community, to share with others, to humanize business

Q: How did Chris Brogran hear about the project and get involved?

A: I met Chris in March of 2010 at a Trust Summit even in Wilmington DE, we have a mutual friend in Whitney Hoffman. She helped bring Chris, Julien Smith and Mitch Joel to that event. I wasn’t planning to go but decided last minute to buy a ticket. So serendipity, we met when a friend saw me arriving and called me into the coffee shop to meet the Governor. I honestly have to say I didn’t follow him on Twitter, had not read the book, and didn’t know much about him other than his name, I am like that with anyone, I want to meet people for who they genuinely are not what my mind might have created from reading about them or following them.

He is a good friend, more mentor often than anything else – always offering suggestions and a good kick in the backside when I needed it. This was a project I had been working on trying to create for a while, I believe I was most likely whining to Chris about my frustrations with progress on a variety of projects, purely for the friendly kick in the backside I needed and expected, when he suggested that his company Human Business Works could partner in the development of the site. An incredible offer, and after two previous partners had bailed, it was surreal to think it might finally become a reality. I think that for Chris it aligned nicely with some other projects HBW was working on, like 501MissionPlace.com and KitchenTableCompanies.com. Serendipity again. I really have the most amazing group of friends.

Q: What is your goal for this site? Your dream?

A: My goal has long been to create this site, so I now have to adjust my mindset to extended business planning and goal setting. This is the safe place for agents to interact and talk freely with each other without worrying about consumers reading about our day to day challenges. I want it to become the standard of excellence for real estate educational communities, to be the resource people think of when they want to learn something or ask a question. I think my dream is for the site to be everything that the member wants, it can grow and evolve as technologies change, platforms change, the business changes, it is completely dynamic and database driven so that is super easy.

Part of the dream of this site is to show my two daughters that anything is possible, and they should work hard and dream big. Be idealistic and be kind.

I would love to see it have a regular charitable cause, or some sort of benefit to the real estate community. I want it to make a difference in an agents life, to help someone gain access to all these wonderful resources, and affordable coaching. It really is about real estate agents by real estate agents, so I want everyone to feel that, and share in that sense of ownership.

My next dream has nothing to do with this site actually, I dream of being able to bring change to girls and women, to help bring back self-confidence and the #ownit mantra I have. Life is too short not to love every moment and feel great about who you are. My dream is to bring that message as far and wide as I can, by sharing my own story. That’s the next chapter after THR is running smoothly.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I am so grateful for all the support from the RE.net community, there are so many amazing people out there, who have generously given of their time to help me build this community, when it truly is about the community. This is merely the beginning, I want to bring this to the far corners of every continent to make it accessible to everyone. I welcome anyone to join, and those that would like to contribute I would be happy to hear from them as well. There is always room for more people.

To find out more about The Hip Roof you can go to their site or contact Maya directly for more information.

If you have already signed up, I’d love your feedback on the site. Leave me a comment below!

Written by: Katie Lance, Senior Marketing Manager, Inman News, @katielance