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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Undergoing Radical Change - 04/30/08 11:04 PM
The marketing of luxury items, especially real estate, is undergoing major changes. Today's luxury buyer is buying a lifestyle and an experience, not merely a home. They're not buying a roof over their heads. They are purchasing exclusivity. Your selling points aren't bedrooms or baths or square footage. Those elements may be important, yes, but the sizzle that sells the steak is a sense of uniqueness. After all, if everyone can purchase what used to be unique and distinctive, what is the point of acquiring it? In their "Top Ten Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Trends for 2008", the hotelmarketing.com website reports that "the (23 comments)
Switching Real Estate Firms: Google May Be Sending Your Prospects to Your Former Company - 04/30/08 02:20 AM
Last weekend, I went searching for an agent friend on the Web. This fellow works in a vacation home market north of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metro area and he's been a well-known and successful agent there for years. I Googled his name and found at least half a page of entries under his name. But the problem was, all of the page one search results pointed me to his former company. And he started his own firm nearly a year ago! How many referrals from other agents and offices would you be losing in a situation like this? How many repeat (53 comments)
CIPS Designation Classes Will Broaden Your Knowledge Base in the Luxury Homes Market - 04/28/08 11:04 PM
The coursework leading to the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) Designation is a perfect fit for anyone interested in luxury real estate marketing strategies. The five courses which comprise the required education toward earning the CIPS include studying international currency and economic relationships, business customs, plus investment, banking and tax issues. There are several very good reasons to pursue the CIPS Designation and take the coursework if you are interested in the luxury home market: A significant percentage of today's luxury home buyers have either traveled extensively abroad or have lived or studied in other countries. An increasing number of foreign (10 comments)
High Gasoline Prices Will Force Changes In Driving Habits - And That's Probably Good! - 04/28/08 06:16 PM
You've seen the following kinds of drivers in the course of a day behind the wheel: The "American Gladiator" driver who is out there on the freeway, threading the needle, jockeying for that perfect position ahead of everyone else. Get him (or her) on your tail and you'll notice a car or truck bearing down on you from behind, attempting to menace you out of the way, sometimes flashing headlights or honking. You may be driving five or even ten miles per hour over the speed limit, but when the American Gladiator passes you, he'll be going twenty miles per hour (12 comments)
Idle Chatter About "American Idol" - 04/24/08 01:44 PM
I watched "American Idol" on the evening when Brooke White decided to start over on her song. Some viewers may have been shocked by what she did. A few even referred to her performance as a "train wreck". I've been in the music business for over thirty years. At the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, I remember being part of a panel of three (alongside Artistic Director Garland Wright and Music Director David Bishop) who auditioned singers for the musical "Candide". And I've performed in numerous back-up orchestras behind pop music vocalists. On a couple of rare occasions over the years, I've seen professionals start a song (12 comments)
They're Still Playing My Song After All These Years - 04/24/08 12:45 PM
True story here. In the late 1970s, I had just returned to Minneapolis from overseas, where I'd been working with the Israel Radio Orchestra as a French hornist. I started free-lancing in the Twin Cities and working as an "extra" with the Minnesota Orchestra and playing gigs around town. One day I got a phone call from a fellow named Scott, who was working at a recording studio in Bloomington. He asked me to come down to the studio and record some music for a Minnesota Vikings jingle. When you freelance, you take pretty much whatever comes along. Just because you're (26 comments)
Is It Gloom & Doom? Or a Reality Check? - 04/24/08 12:18 PM
Dozens and dozens of posts have popped up on AR about the housing crisis and the economy. Many in our industry blame the economic "downturn" and the resulting housing slump on media negativism. Is that what's behind all the problems? Or is it something else? Maybe things just aren't good out there. Some believe the dominoes have begun to fall. Gas prices are spiralling and consumer goods (including food) are giving us all sticker shock! OPEC blames high prices on "the mismanagement of the U.S. economy". The dollar is weak and most of our oil comes from overseas. Real estate is generally in a slump [please don't comment that "things (10 comments)
"Minnesota Sesquicentennial Show" Coming to Minneapolis Pantages Theater May 10-11 - 04/23/08 02:13 PM
Midwest composer/producer/songwriter and historian Warren Nelson (of Big Top Chautauqua fame) has written a musical theater production about pioneer life in Minnesota, to be presented at the Pantages Theater in Minneapolis, May 10 and 11. "Old Minnesota: Song of the North Star" is Nelson's musical and historical tour of life in the Gopher State. The show features large screen still photographs of life in the early days of Minnesota statehood. The performances at Minneapolis' Pantages Theater are part of a Big Top Midwest Tour of Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, with appearances in Glenwood (April 25), Stillwater (May 3rd), Elk River (May 13) and downtown Minneapolis. Wisconsin stops on the (2 comments)
Real Estate Service Providers, How Are You Doing in Today’s Market? - 04/21/08 10:36 AM
Okay, you sell services to real estate agents and brokers, right? Maybe you sell home warranties or E & O insurance, or maybe your business is: lawn signs, business incentives, virtual tours, photography services, website or blog design, graphic design services, mortgage services, home inspection, title services, virtual assistants, auctions, staging, lock boxes, computer equipment, office furniture, SEO help, etc., etc.
A FEW QUESTIONS - How's your business doing? Is it your impression that agents and brokerage companies are cutting back and spending less these days? Has the broader market slowdown affected you? How so? What are you (0 comments)
Saint Mark’s Music Series To Present Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” On May 17 - 04/20/08 07:30 AM
The Music Series at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Minneapolis will present Felix Mendelssohn's Oratorio, "Elijah" on Saturday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be a benefit for the Groveland Emergency Food Shelf, with ten dollars from each ticket to be donated. Music Director and organist Raymond Johnston will lead the Cathedral Choir, Choral Society and Orchestra. Minnesota Orchestra bassist Robert Anderson will be contracting the orchestra. Tickets are twenty-five dollars, with senior and student tickets priced at twenty dollars.
Participating orchestra musicians of the Saint Mark's Concert Series are members of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 30-73. (11 comments)
Does Your State Require Agents to Pass a Test Following Continuing Education Classes? - 04/19/08 07:14 PM
These days, real estate agents everywhere are talking about the need to "raise the bar" among real estate licensees. How would you accomplish this? Do you think stricter testing standards for CE might discourage a percentage of people who may be less serious about real estate or less competent as agents? For example, in Wisconsin, CE students take a written test following each continuing education module. Agents are notified by mail whether or not they passed the course.
What about YOUR state?
How does your own state evaluate agent competency following a CE course? Or do they simply ask for (16 comments)
In the Luxury Home Market the Rewards are Greater and the Stakes are Higher..So Are the Risks! - 04/19/08 04:11 PM
In an earlier post, I discussed why working with upper-bracket buyers and sellers may not be for everybody. And it's certainly not as easy as it may appear to be. Yes, the financial rewards may be greater, but there are risks involved as well: High net worth clients tend to have deep pockets. If they become aggrieved during the process, they may be more inclined to spend the money and take the time to pursue those grievances. Check your E & O (errors and omissions) policy to see if it offers appropriate coverage for high-end sales. When you fly higher, you may (10 comments)
How Easy Is It to Become a Luxury Homes Agent? - 04/18/08 10:09 AM
I read a post a couple weeks ago by one of our members who wants to change the focus of his real estate business. He's recently decided that the low-end market in his area is dead. And now he plans to become a luxury homes agent. Just like that. Marketing and selling upper-bracket properties looks easy to some agents! But how easy is it really to become a luxury properties agent overnight? I understand the part about looking for business in other markets. However, I'm a bit more skeptical about the idea that you can just throw a switch and immediately morph from selling (37 comments)
Old Log Theater Presents "Sounds for Summer" in Excelsior, Minnesota - 04/17/08 10:25 PM
Excelsior's Old Log Theater has put together its own summer concert series! The Old Log's "Sounds for Summer" concerts begin June 2nd, with an appearance by the Russ Peterson Big Band. On concert evenings, dinner is available in the theater's dining room. All concerts in the summer series begin at 8 p.m. Here's this summer's concert schedule: June 2 Russ Peterson Big Band June 9 Cliff Brunzell and his Minnesota All Stars, with vocalist Charmin Michelle June 16 Monroe Crossing June 23 Barbary Coast Dixieland Band July 7 Medicine Show Music Company July 14 Sopranorama, with Janis Hardy, Maria Jette and Molly Sue McDonald July 21 Upper Mississippi Jazz Band July (2 comments)
"Showcase Minnesota" Featuring Various Real Estate Offices on KARE-11 Television - 04/17/08 10:26 AM
Tune in to KARE-11 Television's "Showcase Minnesota" program mornings at 10 a.m. weekdays and you'll see a variety of local real estate offices touting their services each week. Last week, Showcase Minnesota hosted Webdigs, an alternative model brokerage company that advertises itself as full service, yet offers a flat-fee commission structure. Today, the featured company is Denny Hecker's GMAC Real Estate. What's wrong with the feature idea? One problem with these segments might be how real estate agents are portrayed to the public on this show. In each segment, Showcase Minnesota has set aside part of the studio for a three-tiered "phone bank" of agents and company mortgage specialists, each eagerly (8 comments)
Run! Jump! Fly! At Minnesota Children's Museum Now Through September 14 - 04/12/08 11:59 PM
The Minnesota Children's Museum is now featuring its current presentation of "Run, Jump, Fly: Adventures in Action"! The "Run, Jump, Fly" exhibit is described as "designed to discover the fun in being physically active in a non-competitive environment". The exhibit will run through September 14th. The Children's Museum is geared primarily towards children ages six to ten. Interactive exhibits and video presentations are a major part of the activities available to kids. The Museum is located at the intersection of Seventh and Wabasha, in downtown Saint Paul. The Children's Museum is closed Mondays. Hours are 9 to 5, Tuesday through Thursday, (4 comments)
Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS Announces NorthstarMLS Plans to Abandon MLXchange - 04/12/08 09:02 PM
MAAR (the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS) and RMLS (Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota) announced this past week their plans to discontinue MLXchange. Originally, MLXchange was made available in order to provide agents with a back-up system, in the event that the Matrix system went down. There was also hope that system providers would compete with one another and such competition might result in feature improvements. Now it seems less than five per cent of NorthstarMLS subscribers are using MLXchange. Despite efforts to encourage the use of MLXchange, including lab training and subscriber bulletins, the alternative system just didn't catch on. In addition to the low percentage of use, RMLS cited excessive cost (2 comments)
Mobiledia Offers Handy Information Including Cell Phone "Dead Spots" In Your State - 04/12/08 12:09 AM
Mobiledia describes itself as "dedicated to providing cell phone reviews, news, and comprehensive information on all things mobile". But the handiest part of the site I've found is the section dedicated to identifying cell phone "dead spots" in your state or locality. From the site's Home page, go to Cell Phone Carriers > Dead Spots for a map of the United States. Click on your state and you'll find consumer-contributed comments about alleged cellphone dead spots. Each comment includes carrier and rating information, location and date contributed. For example, a Minnesota commenter might comment on weak reception in Marine-on-Saint-Croix or Silver (14 comments)
LuxuryRealEstate.com Named Number One Luxury Broker Network by Ultimate Homes Magazine - 04/11/08 11:26 PM
LuxuryRealEstate.com has topped the 2008 Ultimate Homes Magazine list of leading Luxury Properties networks worldwide. The 2008 luxury brokerage rankings showed a total of 420 homes from LuxuryRealEstate.com making the Ultimate Homes list, nearly twice as many as second-ranking Sotheby's International Realty. Other contenders among those networks and organizations ranked were Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (Luxury Portfolio), Christie's Great Estates, Coldwell Banker Previews International, Prudential Real Estate and the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Six of the top twelve brokerages representing the "most expensive residential properties on the market" (according to Ultimate Homes) are members of LuxuryRealEstate.com. The six firms were Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Brown (10 comments)
Duluth Pounded By Spring Storm With Twelve-Foot Waves on Lake Superior! - 04/11/08 08:47 PM
The Duluth, Minnesota area got blasted by some heavy-duty stormy spring weather today. Local news stations reported sixty-plus mile per hour winds in Duluth harbor, with twelve-foot waves striking the shore. Duluth didn't receive as much snow as expected so far, but winds have been unexpectedly strong. People were advised to stay indoors. Large pieces of ice were picked up by the gale-force winds and did damage to cars and building windows. The wet, heavy snow has made driving difficult and visibility was minimal in some areas. The bad weather stretches across Carlton County and into Superior, Wisconsin, across the south shore and into the (10 comments)
New Widget from BlogCatalog & JargonFish Designed to Bring More Traffic to Your Blog - 04/03/08 03:01 PM
The people at BlogCatalog and JargonFish have been busy coming up with a new in-text widget. They claim the new application will "drive more traffic to your blog by cross-linking your content with other bloggers in the BlogCatalog network". Here's how it's supposed to work: once you load the widget, keywords are highlighted on your blog. When visitors click on those highlighted keywords, a JargonFish window is launched which gives the viewer a list of related posts from other BlogCatalog members, as well as content from Digg and Technorati. In order to use the new application, you'll need to register for a JargonFish account. (6 comments)
The "little blue book" is packed with luxury property information and resources! We're proud to be in very good company this year, listed in the LuxuryRealEstate.com agent directory alongside companies and agents such as Diane Turton (New Jersey, Florida), Turnquist Partners (Austin, Texas), Patricia Choi (Choi International Hawaii), Vladi Private Islands (Hamburg, Germany) and Rubloff Residential in Chicago. You'll see companies representing all parts of the world in this twenty-first edition of the directory, with access to over 15,000 luxury agents worldwide. (0 comments)
REALTOR Expo 2008 Coming to Saint Paul RiverCentre April 21 - 04/03/08 08:33 AM
The theme of this year's Twin Cities REALTOR® Expo is "Unlock Success". And attendees will be eagerly searching for ways to boost their own chances of success at the event. The Expo will take place on April 21, 2008 at the RiverCentre in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Keynote speaker Robyn Waters describes herself as a "trendmaster" and trend-tracker who "inspires audiences here and abroad with her unique message that simplifies and demystifies the art of trend tracking". Also appearing will be Verl Workman, a well-known real estate educator and trainer. And Rainer Teresa Boardman will present "I Blog...Do You?" at the Expo (0 comments)
Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park Now Open at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota - 04/02/08 02:31 PM
Nickelodeon has created the first Nick theme park for families and kids at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The newly-opened Nickelodeon Universe is the nation's largest indoor theme park! The Universe website rates rides from "mild to wild" with a RideGuide that helps parents determine if a particular ride is appropriate for their children. Some of the flashy ride names include the Avatar Air Bender, Danny Phantom Ghost Zone, Pepsi Orange Streak, Splat-o-Sphere and El Circulo del Cielo. April 1-13 features an opportunity to meet your favorite Nickelodeon characters. SpongeBob, Patrick, Dora, Diego and the rest of the gang will make regular appearances (8 comments)
"Blues In The Night" Appearing at the Ordway Center in Saint Paul Through May 18 - 04/02/08 01:38 PM
The Ordway's McKnight Theatre in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota has a real winner onstage with "Blues In The Night", a celebration of Blues and Jazz music. Blues In The Night features a dynamite cast, including my friend Debbie Duncan, who has made recent Twin Cities appearances at Crave in Edina and at the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis. Other featured cast members include Jamecia Bennett, Julius C. Collins III and Regina Marie Williams. The musicians are led by Raymond Berg on keyboards, with Joe Pulice on drums, Jay Young on bass and Mark Lenander on guitar. This blues celebration in the McKnight comes on the heels of the Ordway's very (2 comments)
Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Website Helps You Make Seafood Choices That Are Good for the Environment! - 04/01/08 12:38 AM
Seafood Watch is an online consumer's guide to seafood options which are sustainable and good for you at the same time. The organization makes recommendations to the public about which seafood choices are best for ocean fisheries and fish farms from an environmental standpoint. The group publishes a 2008 "Central US Seafood Guide" (I got my free copy at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota) which divides seafood items into three categories: "Best Choices", "Good Alternatives" and "Avoid". For example, the Guide names Monkfish, Shark, Red Snapper, imported wild Sturgeon Caviar and Bluefin tuna as species which "are caught or (8 comments)
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