What is ActiveRain? My rambling answer to Jonathan Washburn.

Real Estate Agent with Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME

Jeff X, Linda Davis, and Jonathan Washburn.

photo courtesy of tboard

Your assignment?  Define "what is ActiveRain."

Seems simple enough, right?  ActiveRain is a community of real estate professionals that blog, talk, share, and refer.  Ok, I'm done.  There's my submission.  But, it doesn't seem right.  Seems like it's an incomplete answer.  Seems to simple for something so complex.  Might not really be a good representation of what it means.

Jonathan Washburn asked the question "What is ActiveRain?" about a month ago on his blog and I foolishly read it.  Of course, I say foolishly, because I knew I couldn't just drop a quick comment in there and be happy with my answer.  You know I have a hard time being short and to the point.  And when you try to really consider what ActiveRain is to you, well...you wind up with a ton of thoughts.  Here are just some of mine.

The world's largest real estate encyclodepia.

Have a question?  Need an answer?  Wonder how something works?  In your state or another?  Want to grasp the theory behind a clause in a contract or know what an abbreviation means?  Confused by the difference between conventional, FHA, and VA mortgages?  Need to know what an inspector is looking for?  Don't understand what the HVCC is?  Wonder if you're eligible for the First Time Home Buyer's Tax Credit?


You can keep asking questions until your fingers hurt from typing, but there will be an answer on ActiveRain.  Not just textbook answers either.  You'll get opinions, views, people looking at it from different angles, and people from different parts of the real estate industry answering it from their viewpoint.  No matter what you need to know, it's here.  Whether you're in the industry or a consumer, new to it all or experienced - it's right here.  Go ahead and search for something on ActiveRain.

A place to learn about blogging and hone your skills.

I started my blogging career long before real estate, but I never called it a blog.  I wrote daily journal entries for my band's website that chronicled the ins and outs of what we were doing on tour.  When I started my real estate career, I discovered AgentGenius and was lucky enough to be asked to write for them.  I soon started my own website and began building it slowly but surely.  One day I was Twittering with a friend, Kristin Moran and she invited me to join ActiveRain.  I did, but still didn't know what I was getting into.

Since I had a blog already on my site, I wasn't sure what use ActiveRain would be to me.  I knew I could read other blogs here, but didn't know if I would blog.  Obviously, I eventually did.  The decision was based on the fact that I thought the more I blogged, the better I could get at it.  So my idea was "cut my blogging teeth" over here.  I think my plan worked.

A community that you can count on.

There are tons of stories about the "community" of ActiveRain.  There are a million ways to look at it as well.  You can view it from a peer perspective.  You have a community who understands you, knows what you go through in a day or real estate, and "get you."  You can view it from a friend perspective.  You meet tons of people who have common interests and you become friends.  Friends you can count on.  Friends that you worry about when they're sick.  Friends you celebrate the joys of their lives with.  And then there's the love perspective.  There are several cases of ActiveRain love out there.  Like I said before - search ActiveRain and you'll find them.

Is there more?

Oh yeah, maybe I should have remembered to mention all the business that real estate professionals are generating thanks to ActiveRain.  I guess that's kind of important too.


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Jane Heiss-Armitage
Ayre/Rhinehart Realtors (Midland County, Bay County,Saginaw County, Mi.) - Midland, MI
Selling Homes in the Great Lakes Bay Region

I agree with everything and everyone Matt,  I have learned so much by participating and blogging.  I have a blog thru Activerain, its awesome.  My website hits have improved tremendously. Plus I have met great people who know alot about everything. 

Aug 29, 2009 11:15 AM #27
Balboa Real Estate San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA

I am so thrilled with finding Active Rain. I am an independent Realtor, and work from my home office. How nice to have the AR community as my sounding board, information center and lead generator. I have the support and feedback from thousands of Realtors across the country. What a great resource.

Aug 29, 2009 11:25 AM #28
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional


Hi Matt,

It was a very good read, reading your answer to "What is ActiveRain". For me, I think of ActiveRain as a family. Now I have particular reasons for feeling that way. Some of my connections here in the Rain, really are just like family. There is a connectedness that sometimes would defy even logic. Peers in our industry have been considered competitors. Here, the only competitiveness would seem to be earning points for local position. Still  got to earn them so that really isn't an issue. Otherwise, there are few boundaries.

People don't learn here simply from the post. There are a lot of private connections on the how to and why to and even  how come. There is no limit on resources to expand your real estate knowledge or even community knowledge . Before blogging and especially before ActiveRain, how much did you know about Michigan, where Missy lives, or Fla, with Bryant and TLW call home. Probably not much. Nor did you probably care. Now you do and you have perspective about markets across the land in every community. Factually based and not just statistics. Not to forget the photos of the places we all call home. Those are shared like family would share them.

Brad's resource list and the many others that have  special skills and share what they know. Not always easy find in a Google, especially if you didn't know you needed it or it never crossed your path before.

We are so much and so unique in the world of real estate. I have often said if all of real estate was as cooperative and forthright in helping those that need and want it, and our industry would look very different. It actually already does from our perspective, doesn't it? I could never resent the others for not understanding better they should be a part of it. And it is not for not tying that we don't convince many of our peers that they would benefit greatly if they become a part of us. I suppose there is still time.

Aug 29, 2009 11:48 AM #29
Emily Lowe
The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty - Nashville, TN
Nashville TN Realtor

I love Active Rain and am so happy to be a part of it!  I am continually amazed at those who help each other on here!  Very giving souls!

Aug 29, 2009 11:55 AM #30
Donna Edwards
Donna Edwards Realty - Odessa, TX

I first found Active Rain by accident when looking through the web right after I received my licensed.   It is key to some of my best advice.  thanks AR

Aug 29, 2009 01:34 PM #31
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Goodness...where to begin?

I suppose the first thing that I could say is that you're absolutely right, Matt. About everything that you've said.

But, as you pointed out in your comment, the comments that we are submitting here may be commentary enough for you, and even enough for those of us who follow the comments along with the post, so that means that you don't necessarily have to rejoin the conversation that will ensue...

Which I have to say, it didn't ramble on long enough, imho. ActiveRain, for those who are really active in the rain, means too much to be encapsulated in a few brief words, or even a 800 word post. It would take too long, we would miss something, or somebody, inevitably, in trying to explain or describe the impact of ActiveRain on all of us individually and collectively.

Aug 29, 2009 03:00 PM #32
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Matt - Broken down to it's most base form, it is a tool for our businesses.  But, it is no ordinary tool.  This is the WorkChamp XL Swiss Army Knife of real estate tools.   For those who use wield it wisely, it can be one of the most powerful tools at our disposal.  I can honestly say, without AR I might not still be an agent.  I certainly would not be sitting here at the end of August having already achieved the goals I set at the beginning of the year.   

Aug 29, 2009 03:19 PM #33
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Ultimately Active Rain is people involved in real estate.  To ask what Active Rain is is to ask what is any group of people.  Is Active Rain the web site or is the Web Site the tool of Active Rain.  I think the latter.

Aug 29, 2009 04:02 PM #34
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

A great description of what Active Rain is.  There's so much here that it's difficult to be concise.

Aug 29, 2009 04:11 PM #35
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

This is a great description.  I am still learning every day and that is the best part I think.

Aug 29, 2009 05:26 PM #36
Charles Perkins
Charles G. Perkins, CPA - Burien, WA

AR seems to mean something different to everyone.  I like your description because encompasses the main advantages of being apart of this community.

Aug 29, 2009 06:31 PM #37
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes

Active Rain has made my real estate career what it is today.  Those who use it, understand, those who don't- better jump on the band wagon!

Aug 30, 2009 12:22 AM #38
Ginger Moore
Wilkinson & Associates Realty - Gastonia, NC

Great blog. This is exactly what brought me to Active Rain.. There were soo many questions I had, and really, no one to answer them. This is where Active Rain filled the gap. I could just type in any question, and get lots of answers.  this is just the greatest site I have ever found for real estate agents!   All the people are just first class, and so very willing to help you. I want to always be affiliated with Active Rain and its followers. This is like an encyclopedia for us real estate agents.  thanks for sharing!

Aug 30, 2009 03:01 AM #39
Dianne Hicks
Realty ONE Group - Poway, CA

You are so right! I signed up and then thought why did I do this and was thinking about cancelling. Then... I realized what a great wealth of information here!!! Anything and everything is HERE. What a treasure chest of help available, opinions and great people.... That's why!!! Now I am so glad I did! 

Aug 30, 2009 03:05 AM #40
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

Hi Matt,

Thanks for answering the question for those of us that didn't.  I see a lot of heads nodding to your post.

For me personally, AR opened up my eyes to photography and I now look at the world in a whole new way through a camera lens.

The only downside to AR is that it can lead to "inactive" rain and a larger backside.

And on that note I think you should call for a seventh inning stretch.  Everyone up for a stretch and walk around the block.

Aug 30, 2009 04:52 AM #41
Brad Andersohn
Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Way to go Rockstar!  I think AR is unique and different to every member as well as visitor.  It of course includes all that you mention here, and so much more.  I have seen many ask the question before "what is ActiveRain" and the response is always different.  A common reply I have been seeing lately is....  "It's Home!"  :-)

Aug 30, 2009 01:28 PM #42
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

This has been a great thread of comments to read.  Thanks everyone.  I'm sure the ActiveRain staff are enjoying it too.  We all have our reasons for enjoying ActiveRain and I can see that although there are many facets to ActiveRain for each person, there seems to be one or two major points that they really latch onto.  The good news is that ActiveRain doesn't have to pander to just one or two things - because they have created a place where so many needs are met.  Nice work.

Aug 30, 2009 02:15 PM #43
Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker
Aloha Kai Real Estate - Clearwater, FL
Florida and Washington Real Estate

Hi Matt. I like AR too. That's why for the last week I haven't been posting as much because of more inquiries due to my AR blog. Then I return. It's great! :)

Aug 30, 2009 04:37 PM #44
Mark Velasco
Sharpstone Realty, Inc - Whittier, CA
Listing Agent-Whittier & Surrounding ciities

Hey Matt. Don't forget a great place to meet new friends too.

Aug 30, 2009 06:43 PM #45
Julie Hegyi

Hello there,

I am new at this AR stuff but have been logging on for months now.  I LOVE that you guys all
"get it! Thank you from beautiful British Columbia, Canada! There is soooo much stuff here, I never get through it all but am trying..

Julie Hegyi, Sutton Group West Coast Realty, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Aug 31, 2009 12:46 AM #46
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