Editor’s note: The following excerpts are from the Inman News Blog. The blog enables readers to comment on entries and other reader feedback.

Editor’s note: The following excerpts are from the Inman News Blog. The blog enables readers to comment on entries and other reader feedback. Click on the links below each entry to join the reader comments section.

Web tool charts home-price changes

Paper Money, a real estate bubble blog, has built a tool to create custom charts that display home-price changes, based on Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home prices indices.

Users of the new tool can select one or more metro areas that are followed by the indices and a specific time period to view how home prices have risen or fallen over time.

–Glenn Roberts, Jr., Inman News
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Inman Blog Directory Breaks 200

InmanWiki’s Real Estate Blog Directory has been growing steadily since it launched and just today, passed the 200 blog mark. This is great news and it tells me that real estate blogosphere still buzzes with new activity and that blogging by real estate professionals is not slowing down.

For bloggers out there, it’s easy to add your site to the list. And, in addition to giving you the opportunity to promote yourself, the InmanWiki also gives you the option of adding your RSS Feed to your blog’s profile. This feature lets potential new readers get a ‘sneak peak’ of your writing.

Blog readers, this is a fantastic way to see what a blog is all about before you head on over and check out the whole site. So, if you’re looking for something new to read this weekend … head on over to the Real Estate Blog Directory.

–Joel Burslem, Inman News
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California Realtors: masters of technology

This is the last week members of the California Association of Realtors will be able to call (800) 773-8630 when stumped by a computer software issue. CAR’s Tech Hotline is being deactivated on April Fools Day, “due to declining demand for this service,” the group announced.

“As Realtors have incorporated the Internet, online transactions, cell phones, PDAs and the like into their day-to-day lives, they also have become more technologically proficient,” the announcement said.

Since 2003, the hotline has been available during business hours to answer questions about computer operating systems like Microsoft Windows or Palm, and other software that Realtors use to conduct business including Top Producer, FileMaker, Microsoft’s Office suite and FrontPage. About the only thing the hotline did not support was MLS hardware and software.

Support for WINForms will continue to be provided through the CAR Customer Contact Center (213) 739-8227 and RE FormsNet at (586) 840-0140. CAR is directing RELAY inquiries to (586) 840-1168.

–Matt Carter, Inman News
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Info overload or tech tipping point?

Take a look around and notice how many real estate sites are born each day, how many blogs are planted, how many widgets arise, how many new services are piled on the real estate industry offering to help expose listings, syndicate listings, create flyers, create individual Web sites for properties, communicate with your clients, communicate instantly with potential clients, track what visitors are doing on your Web site, automatically podcast, video-cast, broadcast your listings and your services to the world. You can blog about your listing, text message info to prospective buyers, answer phone calls sent directly through your Web site, blog some more, join a new social network or two or three or ten.

All of this innovation is truly amazing to watch. And much of it comes from young minds in their early 20s. But at some point, you have to wonder where these things will catch with the reality of current real estate sales and sales agents (whose average age is somewhere around 52 years old). Realtors for the most part are high-touch people, not high-tech. And as long as top-producing agents keep raking in deals the old-fashioned way (repeat business, referrals), they will continue to leave a lot of this stuff by the wayside until it becomes a forced option.

Progressive brokers are stepping up and taking on a lot of this stuff for their agents. And enterprising agents are jumping in themselves, blogging, engaging, innovating their own marketing models.

The true revolution in real estate technology most likely will occur when the changing of the guard happens — when older agents start to exit en masse and their younger, Gen X and Gen Y counterparts step up to the plate.

We hear a lot of brokers complain about the arcane hierarchies of associations and MLSs, which they say have failed them on the technology education front. Maybe it’s time for these organizations to step up, hire some young blood and listen to what some brokers have been saying for years now: You can only ignore this movement for so long before you become so lost that nobody cares where you’ve gone.

I bring all of this up because as I was researching for a few articles that ran on Inman News this week (See “Social media party too hot for TV“). I uncovered so many different takes on what social media means for real estate. Everything from agents saying they get at least 10% of their Web site traffic from some form of social media to those saying it’s not made an inch of difference in how their office performs. Also, a lot of people say they don’t know what the implication will be on their business but they just know they have to be there.

–Jessica Swesey, Inman News
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