First, the major disclaimer. Technically speaking, the beginnings of this blog date back to January 2006 back on the RealTown platform. Of course, the blog also sucked massively for the first several months as I tried my best to figure out what the hell a blog was supposed to do. We got serious about this in mid-July 2006, which is why this has become the chosen birthday/week/month. Everything before January 2007 can be seen on our old digs at http://jdalton.realtownblogs.com.
And all of that, of course, allows me to back into the lead – that Tobey and I are celebrating our fourth birthday here at AllPhoenixRealEstate.com, including its previous iteration. It’s not always been an easy four years, personally or from a blogging standpoint – there are time when I feel like I’ve covered the same topic about two dozen times over – but it’s four years nonetheless and, with the exception of a handful of guest posts along the way, I’m to blame for the more than 1,800 posts here and over 2,000 overall.
It’s rather interesting to look back to the beginnings, back in the day when we were early adopters and we believed that blogging was going to change the way we prospect and the way we sell if not the entire face of real estate as we knew it. Except, it never really happened.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s easy to cast blame on REALTOR Magazine’s call to blogging action a couple of years back, many, many, many agents began their own real estate blogs. Some managed a unique voice while others were extensions of the usual “it’s a great time to buy and especially from me because I’m wonderful” theme. At some point, though, the exponentially expanding base of real estate blogs became only so much white noise not much different than the agent website or newspaper advertisement has been once in the day. There remain notable exceptions – hopefully I remain one but given my own slow turn back to older methodology it wouldn’t surprise me if I’m not – but the vast majority seem to be indistinguishable, which defeats the purpose.
Another thing missing back in the early days were the “social media experts” and the consultants, all of whom are more than happy to tell the rest of us how to get business through blogs and Facebook and Twitter even as some surrender on the real estate side of things in favor of consulting and such. Such an evolution was all but inevitable as wherever there are people facing a learning curve there are others more than happy to make a buck or two for serving as the sherpa.
Four years ago we were on the cusp of the real estate revolution that was going to be caused by websites such as Trulia and Zillow. Except four years later, we’re still here – some of us, at least. Others have been pushed from the business but these two sites haven’t been the cause.
For that matter, real estate agents as a whole haven’t been disintermediated. By now we were supposed to have gone the way of the dodo and the travel agent and sought business in other fields. Except we haven’t had to since real estate, contrary to the opinions of many so-called experts, remains a field where expertise has its benefits. Sure, it can be done without an agent. And everything will work out fine until it doesn’t and then you only can wish you’d had someone providing advice – Trulia Voices is chock full of such examples.
Four years ago there had yet to be a Real Estate Bar Camp (in fact, REBC celebrated its third birthday yesterday when the San Francisco version was revived once again.) Many of us at the very first thought we were revolutionizing the way this business is done – we were the cool kids on Active Rain, on Agent Genius, we were the original target for Trulia Voices – little did we know the new ways weren’t the only ways.
When the blog started, my idea was people would read as often as they chose and when they were ready to make a purchase they’d get hold of me. This ignored the inconvenient truth that few consumers are shopping for agents online, they’re searching for homes. And so the strategy changed. I started requesting registration before you could see home details on the search, not because I enjoy nagging people but because I honestly do believe with my help you’ll save time and money. Spend more time shopping for homes and less time trying to figure out who’s going to open the front door, which is the least part of the exercise.
The web became my way of being introduced to you but from that point it was up to the old-fashioned ideas of the phone and the hand-written personal note to solidify the working relationship, at least in the majority of cases. Not everyone wants the hand-holding, which is fine. But more do than most agents realize.
This week in San Francisco, new ideas will be presented at Inman News’ Real Estate Connect conference. Those in attendance will learn all of the new things they have to adopt right now if they hope to be in business in a couple of years time because the face of real estate is changing that fast.
Except it isn’t. Methodologies and technologies change but this business is little different than it was four years ago when I wrote my first(ish) post. Except I’ve added another 2,000 posts to the sea of white noise with many, many more to come.