Here’s a roundup of entries that appeared on the Inman News blog during the National Association of Realtors convention in San Francisco this weekend:

Mortgage fraud alive and much too well
SAN FRANCISCO – Mortgage fraud is rampant in the United States, and Realtor Ralph Roberts is on a crusade against it. At a table in the Moscone Center at the NAR convention, Roberts told me about his Web site,, and how the 30-year real estate industy veteran was moved to launch his crusade. First, he was approached by a fraudster who wanted to involve him in a scam, Roberts said. Then, he discovered one of his agents engaging in fraud, he said. Finally, he realized his own partner was involved in fraudulent activities, Roberts told me. The experiences drove him to contact the FBI and authorities, establish his Web site and write a book about it. Also, on Nov. 16 in Detroit, he is giving a free seminar, Roberts said. “If I can get the information out to every agent and every one of us can stop one potential fraud, we can beat it,” Roberts said.
–Janis Mara, Inman News


Google Earth steals the show at NAR tech panel
SAN FRANCISCO – The audience gasped as Google’s John Hanke took us from a photo view of the United States, green with a zillion trees, and zoomed in on Denver to show off a modification RE/MAX’s Denver office made of his company’s Google Earth product. In a tech panel at the National Association of Realtors convention today, Hanke also showed off Prudential Chicago’s adaptation of Google Earth. Some of our readers had expressed concern that companies doing Google modifications, or embedding Google Maps in their Web sites, were violating Google’s terms of use. We asked Hanke after the presentation and he said, “The ones I showed (in the presentataion) are poster children” for the kind of uses approved by Google and that the company has not had any problems with groups violating its terms of use.
–Janis Mara, Inman News


Are you a Realtor?
SAN FRANCISCO — “Everyone is a real estate expert today,” said Bill Powers, CEO of Realty Executives this morning. You know you’re in a crazy real estate market when you overhear people doing real estate deals in the oddest places. Powers said before coming to San Francisco for the National Association of Realtors convention this week he was in a barber shop getting his hair cut and noticed the next barber over had a Bluetooth-enabled phone in his ear, conducting a real estate deal. We wonder who was getting the better service — the guy with the scissors to his hair or the person making the biggest investment of their life on the other end…
–Jessica Swesey, Inman News


Google that
Some random facts:
1. At the RIS Media Power Broker Dinner, RE/Max franchise king Dave Liniger got a big award and made some comments about technologists not getting it.
2. Liniger was one of the biz execs who attended the Google confab last week in the Silicon Valley.
3. Google is doing classifieds.
4. Zillow is shaping up.
Possibilities: #1 and #2 are related. #3 and #4 are related.


Got a home? Yes, but do you have another?
SAN FRANCISCO — Tom Kelly, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, radio talk show host and author, is signing books right now in the Realtor tradeshow here in San Francisco. Check out his latest book, “Cashing In on a Second Home in Mexico,” co-written with Mitch Creekmore, that is now available. The informative guide helps investors understand the nuances of buying real estate across the border — and the rewards. Click here to find to the book on Amazon.
–Jessica Swesey, Inman News


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