Browse Month: May 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Gratitude

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.  ~Benjamin Disraeli

While many of us may be enjoying picnics with family, town parades or perhaps even a ball game – this Memorial Day Weekend, we’ll be honoring those who have lost their lives while serving in the military for our great country.     We’d like to extend our heartfelt remembrance and gratitude to these individuals and their families for this great sacrifice.      

This weekend, NAR President Ron Phipps posted this special podcast on, asking us to remember the sacrifices of the men and women of the military and our veterans in a special Memorial Day message to REALTORS(R).

We welcome you to share a story of someone you know who died while in military service.   We’ll  post it here – simply add a comment below.

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Linking ePD User Websites to Their Listings

Carl Peterson, Sales Director at ePropertyData (ePD) likes to say “input once — use often.”  I agree, no one wants to spend time repeating input steps into databases and updating sites.   I often think about the cost of my time spent updating and we utilize as many aggregation and feed tools we possibly can to keep those costs down.  Now that ePD has launched “Link”, their CIE clients also have the option to customize their websites by embedding their personal website with their CIE listings – with no additional input work and all in real time.

Link allows ePD CIE members to input data into their CIE and the embedded Link portal on their Website is updated automatically.  Carl was recently visiting with a Florida broker and both he and his assistant were excited that they would be saving considerable time not having to make duplicate data entries.

Link also has an integrated text messaging feature allowing users of the widget on your website to send a text inquiry rather than an email allowing for quick follow-up on leads.

Link has customization features allowing ePD CIE customers to seamlessly integrate the portal into the design of their websites for effective branding.  Additional features include:

  • Integrated map search functionality;
  • Report generation:
  • Variable search configuration options;  and,
  • Anti-spam security tools.
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Two Useful Tools for Marketing Your Services and Properties Online

Image representing Follr as depicted in CrunchBase


Increasingly, business is conducted on the go, so it’s nice to have a few reliable tools that will make your mobile life easier, more productive and profitable. The tools covered in this article will allow you to list commercial properties online easily and provide a custom online profile for you to share with your contacts, that is concise and easy to share.

Tweet Lister

Tweet Lister allows agents the ability to keep an informative, timely Twitter stream while they are on the go serving their clients. The Tweet Lister form allows you to  easily create a Twitter-friendly property listing every time.  It’s easy enough to use that you won’t even have to think about how to present all the facts in 140 characters or less – Tweet Lister does it for you.  Tweet Lister’s format ensures that your listing can be found in property searches by buyers and sellers on both Twitter and Tweet Lister’s presence.

This service also frees practitioners from having to enter listings for each tweet, because listings can be claimed from the Tweet Lister database of more than 1.5 million current listings (courtesy of  List Hub).  If your properties are in their system, and they match your Agent ID, they will appear in your account for you to grab and add to tweets.    Real estate blogger Jeff Dillman called  Tweet Lister “a well-rounded tool for posting and scheduling all your listings on Twitter.”


The second tool I’ve found is an online twist on the old reliable business card.   Follr is great for those practitioners who are online often enough to feel comfortable,  subscribe to some social networking sites and/or have a blog.   The Follr application integrates all of those parts of your business into one place so you can give out one link that shows all of your online offerings and gives a breif bio of your work.

Follr is a social media business card that allows you to organize your social networking profiles, content, your contact information and contacts through on personal website address, which serves as your online business card.  Follr can be used for any business, but it is heavily promoted for real estate agents. Flor also provides a little diversity to your link profile for both your website and your social accounts. This is a great tool that helps keep your personal elevator pitch down to a few minutes.  Most of the features on the Follr site are free to use, too.

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ePD Charges Up Marketing Power for Oklahoma City

The Source would like extend our thoughts and well wishes to all the communities being ravaged by this spring’s devastating storms.  We were in the process of drafting this blog post when we discovered that Oklahoma City and surrounding areas were in the direct path of the latest round of storms.  You can join the relief efforts by visiting and donating to the REALTOR® Relief Foundation which in turn makes donations to the disaster relief efforts of REALTOR® state associations.

When Oklahoma City Metro Association of REALTORS® (OKCMAR) was looking for effective ways for their members to market their properties and stay competitive, they looked to ePropertyData (ePD) – owned by Second Century Ventures the strategic investment arm of the National Association of REALTORS®With Allied Real Estate Commercial Services (ARCS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of OKCMAR, ePD helped to custom design a commercial information exchange (CIE) that was launched last year.

Now ePD has created for ARCS a member-only “haves and wants” feature in response to the needs and desires of the nearly 3,000 commercial practitioners who are members of OKCMAR.  It also connects them to the 150,000 commercial practitioners in the ePD network of CIE systems around the country.  “ePD prides itself on providing unique, responsive and revenue-generating features to its customers,” said Connie Capone, ePD CEO.

ARCS CEO, Dawn Kennedy shared with us that she is not only excited about this opportunity for ARCS participants but also for the economic development of Oklahoma City.  “The Oklahoma properties will be at the fingertips of commercial brokers throughout the US, not only when brokers are actively seraching but when the practitioners access the system to compile comparables or enter in new listings,” said Dawn.

Congratulations to OKCMAR and ePD on their continued collaboration and success!  Stay tuned to the The Source for more announcements from ePD and their partners.


Updated!  Tuesday 5/24

It’s nearly 11am on the second morning of RECon and the exhibit halls are bustling with people heading to sessions, networking meetings and dealmaking.   We kicked off the morning with coffee time with members of the informal “CREJAVACLUB”  from the commercial Twitter conversation.   Angela Sweeney (@angelasweeney), Dave Lewand (@creGROW), Jeff Vinzani (@vinzani) and Neil Johnson (@NeilJohnsonCRE) shared their thoughts on their convention experience so far – and hopeful expectations for the day!



Monday’s Recap:

The best part of working shows like ICSC RECon is the how much WE learn from attendees – there is no doubt that we are constantly motivated to keep it an even exchange!  Here are some ideas that emerging from our conversations this morning:

  • In an interview with Duke Long CRE blogger and Broker/Owner at, we revealed one of our favorite facts from the 2011 Commercial Member Profile being published today in the REALTOR store.  75% of REALTORS conducting commercial real estate have been doing so for 26+ years.  Those REALTORS in commercial with less experience under their belt are lpursuing commercial designations such as CCIM, SIOR, CRE, ALC and/or CPM.  Working with a REALTOR means phenomenal experience and the best education in the business.
  • Betty from Philly, a long time REALTOR, recently conducted commercial idea exchanges at her local REALTOR Association inviting primarily residential members to come and ask questions.  What she found is that by inviting them into her world she was able to gain referrals and their confidence.  Her secret?  Being nice! 🙂
  • From the #RECon Twitter conversation, mainstreet is back and poised for growth as telecommuting becomes more prevalent in the workforce.  NAR Commercial agrees – we’ve published two articles in the last two issues of Commercial Connections on the impact of telecommuting on commercial real estate.  See individual links in related articles below:
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Commercial Real Estate Chat Winners!

Thanks to all the real estate professionals that participated in the first #CRECHAT today – and to Jason Sandquist for putting it together!

And now, for the selection of the book winners…

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Congratulations to @propertyline, @BoBarronCCIM and @rbeland!

If you’d like to purchase your own copy of any of these books, you can currently find Cindy Chandler’s “The Insider’s Guide to Commercial Real Estate“,  and, and Bob Potter’s “Selling Real Estate Services, Third Level Secrets of Top Producers“ in the Store.    Sam Foster’s “Alpha Male, a Tale of the Battle of Commerce will be available there soon!

Join the Conversation

Tomorrow at 2pm EST, the first ever #CRECHAT  (commercial real estate chat) will be taking place – we’re joining the conversation and we hope you will too.

Jason Sandquist, a practitioner from Minneapolis, created to host topic-focused commercial real estate conversations, happening on Twitter.   From his blog post earlier this week he says:

“Last week we made an announcement for a commercial real estate chat via Twitter called #CRECHAT. In the short amount of time since then, we’ve built quite a bit of traction in a short amount of time including many commercial brokers and brands that are very relevant within the industry.   So much so for the traction, I threw this site together so everyone can follow along easily. You can use any web browser (although I caution against Internet Explorer, only because its Internet Explorer), on your mobile phone and its even iPad/tablet friendly!

The first #crechat is going to take place on Friday at 2pm EST. The topic is industry sentiment. Easy enough, as everyone has their own opinion on the current market place and trends. Everyday you hear the stories on how the market is doing, good and bad. Most of the stories are coming from media outlets with fragmented numbers. Now is your chance to show your market expertise as we all know that each one is different.”

We wanted to do something for the participants, and have a little fun in the process.   So, for this first chat tomorrow – we are giving away three awesome books on commercial real estate-related professional development, all written by REALTORS(R) Signature Series Speakers.  Cindy Chandler’s “The Insider’s Guide to Commercial Real Estate“, Sam Foster’s “Alpha Male, a Tale of the Battle of Commerce, and Bob Potter’s “Selling Real Estate Services, Third Level Secrets of Top Producers“. 

How do you win?   We’ll keep track of everyone who tweets during the conversation with the hashtag #CRECHAT and randomly pick three names.
We’ll post the names of the three winners here in a video blog tomorrow afternoon.     

 Spread the word and join the conversation!

ePropertyData Announces Mobile Application for CIE Customers

Mobile applications are making it easier to do business in many ways.  And now members of ePropertyData-operated Commercial Information Exchanges will be able to download a new mobile application from their member accounts.   ePD is a leading CIE solutions provider, owned by Second Century Ventures, the venture capital arm of the National Association of REALTORS®.  Their CIEs throughout the U.S., offer data solutions to more than 150,000 commercial real estate professionals.

ePD clients own their data, own their brands and control their costs with the choices their products provide such as the researched system, a broker-loaded system, or a combination of both.  Large, fragmented markets as well as smaller, organized markets benefit from ePD’s customized approach.

One such market that has successfully integrated ePD products is the Triangle Commercial Association of Realtors® in Morrisville, N.C. “In light of recent changes in the commercial real estate data world, we’re proud to partner with ePropertyData in providing a secure and cost-effective solution to our members,” says Kim Brennan, Executive Officer, TCAR and the Total Access Commercial Real Estate Exchange (TACQUIRE).  “The new mobile application allows TACQUIRE members to stay in constant contact with their data, saving them time and money.”

One important reason NAR’s Second Century Ventures invested in a CIE-solutions provider was to have a company dedicated to listening to the needs of REALTOR® Associations and building solutions that are specific to the needs of those clients.  ePD has the ability to work closely with clients and grow with them as their needs change over time.  Here at NAR, we understand this well as ePD powers and many changes were needed over time and ePD has been a close partner in meeting those challenges and needs.

For more information go to: or or



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CRE: Still in the Hospital But Out of the Intensive Care Unit

staff photo of Lawrence Yun
Image via Wikipedia

To a packed house at the NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings, NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun said you might not “feel the impact of the recovery — the hole was so deep, it might still feel like we’re in it.”  During his Economic Issues & Commercial Business Trends presentation, Yun identified some bright spots — citing sales and leasing volumes for commercial real estate heading upward;  but he continued to forecast some looming concerns and said financing remains a major stumbling block.

The commercial sector is expected to strengthen more over the next couple of years even as the end of commercial mortgage backed security (CMBS) activity is happening, but banks — particularly regional banks — are stepping in with portfolio loans.  Interestingly, the big-four national banks — Wells Fargo, Citibank, Chase, and Bank of America — are in a far better position to make loans.  They are not yet stepping up, but they are sitting on piles of money.  “Because they’ve grown to the point where they’re too big to fail, they have a de facto implicit federal guarantee,” Yun said.

A big concern looming is inflation.  It remains essentially low – about 2.9 percent – but inflation could rise and hit 5 percent by the end of the year and 6 percent in the early part of 2012, Yun predicted.

The top line on commercial sectors:

  • Multifamily housing has been the standout over the last year. Vacancies hit historically normal levels last year at about 5-6 percent with solid rental rate growth.  Look for 4 percent higher rents nationally by the end of this year – and more in some first-tier markets.
  • Office market vacancy rates are expected to decline steadily, from 16.5 percent in the first quarter of this year to 16 percent at the end of the year. Rental rate increases could turn positive for the first time in a while, too, to maybe 5 percent from a negative 2 percent.
  • The Industrial sector is expected to improve with vacancy rates projected to decline from 14.2 percent to about 12.9 percent at the end of the year and positive rental rate growth of about 2 percent this year.
  • Retail continues to struggle, with consumers still retrenching in their spending. Vacancy rates are only expected to improve marginally, from about 13 percent to just slightly better by the end of the year. Even so, the sector might see some improvement in rental rate growth, moving from a negative 1 percent to 1 percent in positive territory by the end of the year.

For the latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook, go to:

Follow the NAR Economists’ Blog at:


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What Would Your #CRE World Be Like Without Twitter?

There’s a very funny cartoon that was shared this week on Twitter, and I heard it by way of re-tweets by @CoyDavidsonCRE and @NellieDay after it was tweeted by@TitanCommercial (all are influencers of mine in the social space).   The cartoon offers a lighthearted look at a world without Twitter – egads!, because not knowing what the Bronx Zoo Cobra was up to…or for that matter, where he/she was slithering around would be absolutely frightful.

After a laugh or two, I started to wonder – what would my commercial real estate world be like without Twitter?  

For starters, and most importantly, I would be missing all the great, intelligent and passionate commercial professionals I’ve connected with through this network.   Sharing news, comments, perspectives and even a virtual cup of coffee with people (most of whom I have never met in real life)  from all over the country – pretty awesome when you get right down to it.  I would even venture to say that nurturing and growing these relationships is one of the most rewarding things I spend time doing.

Second, I’d not be aware of 75% of the commercial real estate news out there, and not as quickly as it gets out.   I’m still amazed at how fast word-of-mouth travels via Twitter.

Third, being far less connected to the real world of commercial real estate would mean I wouldn’t know just how much power this economic engine is capable of producing… and how much we need to collectively support the whole industry.

What would YOUR #CRE world be like without Twitter?

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