After a three-year stint helping the National Association of Realtors manage its online and social media presence, Todd Carpenter is leaving the trade group to become listing portal Trulia.com’s senior manager of industry engagement.
Carpenter, a real estate and mortgage professional since 1992, created the first mortgage broker-focused mortgage blog, Lenderama, in 2005, after leaving his position as an account executive for a wholesale mortgage lender, Commonwealth United Mortgage.
He quickly developed a following, and has been named to the Inman News "Most Influential Real Estate Leaders" list every year since 2007. Carpenter was also a contributor to the Inman News blog.
In February 2009 NAR hired Carpenter as its social media manager. When NAR first advertised that it was creating the position, Carpenter notified Lenderama readers that he’d applied for the job, and listed 20 things he’d do as a "NAR outsider and an RE.net insider" if he were hired.
Carpenter said he’d "build a training system to show NAR’s leadership how, when and where to participate" in online discussions. "This job will work best if I’m allowed to perform more like Karl Rove than Dana Perino. NAR’s leadership already knows NAR’s policies and vision, they just need to know how to communicate it."
In announcing his new position at Trulia Thursday on his personal blog, snap.tc, Carpenter recalled his first week on the job at NAR.
"NAR CEO Dale Stinton invited me to his office to talk about my future," Carpenter recalled. "He told me I was hired to change NAR and not the other way around. I was hired because of my instincts and that I should trust them. I was given a license to drive fast and take chances, but I wondered how long would it last."
Carpenter became NAR’s "director of digital engagement," and his duties included writing for a number of NAR publications, including the "Speaking of Real Estate" blog. In March 2011, Carpenter wrote the cover story for Realtor Magazine, "Friendpower: Less is definitely more," on social media networking strategies for Realtors.
"My friends tell me there was a pool on how long I would last at NAR and that most of the action was around 18 months," Carpenter recalled Thursday.
"I definitely pushed buttons and boundaries," Carpenter said of his time at NAR. "Sometimes, I pushed too far. To upper management’s credit, I never received less than 100 percent support. When we made mistakes, we learned from them and we moved on."
Last year, NAR deleted a post Carpenter had written on "Speaking of Real Estate" about the social media reaction to a copyright dispute between two Realtors, and apologized if the post had "created the impression that the National Association of Realtors was taking sides or expressing an opinion about a private matter between two of our valued, and valuable, members."
In his bio on the real estate agent blogging network ActiveRain, Carpenter said that while he’s been called a pioneer in real estate blogging, "From day one, I’ve been tracking the successes and failures of what other bloggers are doing to better my own efforts."
Among the many reacting to the news on Twitter, Trulia CEO Pete Flint said he was "very excited" that Carpenter was joining the Trulia team.
Rival Zillow has made news in recent months by hiring Phoenix-based broker and blogger Jay Thompson in March, and Bob Bemis, the former CEO of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS), in February.
On Wednesday, Bemis announced that Zillow has hired Duane Fouts, a past president of president of ARMLS and the Arizona Association of Realtors, as director of partner relations.