The Epicenter of Real Estate Blogging

Mortgage and Lending with San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751

A light rain couldn't spoil the excitement and enthusiasm I felt this morning as I drove into the heart of the City of Phoenix. Papa Joe Brady, my able seminar assistant, retired sales executive for First American Real Estate Solutions, and proud Luddite negotiated the streets of the boom town as we headed to the first Arizona Real Estate Bloggers Roundtable.

The Roundtable was a trial balloon post here at Active Rain.  I had planned to be in Phoenix this first week of the new year to write some loan applications and visit my family.  I had hoped I might convince a few AZ Realtors from Active Rain to allow me to buy them some donuts and have a collaborative discussion.  Yes, boys and girls, you heard that correctly, America's Most Opinionated Mortgage Broker broke marketing to Realtors rule #1; I bought them donuts.

Many things contributed to the excitement I felt.  Nostalgia was one of them because I spent 12 years in Phoenix.  The compelling reason for my excitement was the Roundtable, an historic event. Today reinforced my earlier declaration that Phoenix is the epicenter of real estate blogging.

The huge draw was the presence of three accomplished webloggers:  Greg Swann of BloodhoundBlog (accompanied by the lovely and articulate Cathleen Collins) . Jonathan Dalton of Phoenix Arizona Real Estate Blog, and Jay Thompson of The Phoenix Real Estate Guy.

READ:  The Bloodhound's post about this event complete with a picture and follow-up action item (BLOGINAR) 

The excitement was further driven by budding blogging superstars, Tony And Suzanne Marriott, Adam Tarr and Sharon Kotula, Ken Spencer, Mario Romero,  and "Doctor" (check his profile) Kaushik Sirkar.  The enthusiasm was apparent in newer entries to the Real Estate 2.0 world, Lorine Lovett, Brian Cross, Rich Pieropan, Nicole Whitman, Sandra Heredia, and Blake Mata.

I tried to gently moderate the Roundtable by asking three questions:
1- How did you get here?
2- Why are you writing?
3- Where do you see the future of Real Estate 2.0?

This prompted two hours of lively discussion which is not limited to but highlighted in these points:

1- Transparency is clearly working.  Consumers love to "get to know" a future real estate professional by reading about them online.  Jay Thompson shared the story of the Vanilla Pepsi buyer, I related how quickly I've built relationships with Realtors, and Greg Swann cautioned us that transparency is a double-edged sword; lie and you die.

2- Real estate bloggers blog to find business,  Adam Tarr was unabashed in his declaration of this goal as was Tony Marriott (I stipulated),  The "Old Guard" of the epicenter  Greg, Jay, and Jonathan were somewhat circumspect in the desired results of that goal but were quick to offer practical solutions to those who felt it possible.  That discussion led to...

3- The Solution; linking to local blogs for your "farm" area.  Note that we concluded you should link to local blogs, NOT local real estate blogs.  An example might be for Kaushik Sikhar to find a city council race in Chandler, AZ and link to the candidates weblogs as a mode of setting himself up as the expert in Chandler, AZ.  Rich Pieropan proudly claimed the title of #1 for Luke AFB, AZ.  When the group chuckle died down, Greg Swann ebulliently offered a detailed plan for taking advantage of the long tail by writing about topics relevant to the communities surrounding Luke Air Force Base and thereby establishing yourself as the expert.

4- The Long Tail versus SEO rankings.  Fancy words for getting ranked high on Google search versus establishing yourself as an expert online for a specific community or market.  I attempt to do this with my articles about hard money.  Thoughts steered to the conclusion that The Long Tail might indeed be the future versus SEO rankings.   One only has to look at the creation of and as examples of how some of the big thinkers in Real Estate 2.0 believe this war can be won.

5- Active Rain is the absolute best place to learn how to become a real estate weblogger.  The environment is friendly, supportive, and very instructive.  Newer or hesitant authors should attempt and hone the craft here.  I will personally reinforce this thought by stating that the Active Rain community doesn't care if you suck.  The members want to give constructive advice because we are grateful to have a forum to explain our views and improve our writing skills.  Newer authors MUST take the leap here and MUST do it today.  

In 13 years of lending and 22 years of financial services, I have NEVER seen a cause more exciting, a group of people more supportive, or a time more relevant.

Today was the epitome of that conclusion.  Thank you to everyone working in the epicenter.

Related posts include:

Jonathan Dalton's  Meeting at the Epicenter of Phoenix Real Estate

Jay Thompson's The Power of the Long Tail and Local Content Blogging

Suzanne Marriott's A Bloggers Blowout Blast!  




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Gena Riede
Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792 - Sacramento, CA
Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699

Brian, and what kind of donuts did you provide? All joking aside...we are all evolving and I must say that I am a little apprehensive about our new split to localism...hoping that it doesn't take away from the participation that we have on AR as well as MyHouseKey. Sometimes, when things grow out it is hard to get back what was so great...

I am open to change but skeptical...since I do love it on AR and it works so beautifully.

I think that there are those that blog for business and then those that have other agenda items. Nice that you could share and exchange ideas and philosophys. Hope to hear more about it as time goes on.

Jan 06, 2007 06:27 AM #28
Kevin & Diane Orak
The Orak Team-Parkside Realty Group - Palm Coast, FL
Palm Coast & Reunion Resort Real Estate
I am new to this atmosphere and am learning so much I appreciate that you do not have to be a blogging "expert" to participate.
Jan 06, 2007 08:18 AM #29
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

There are no experts as of yet, Kevin.  Just lots of people a few months ahead of everyone else.  Get engaged, get the lead the pack.

Gena:  I understand the apprehension.  In the interest of transparency, Localism holds little for me.  Active Rain is the perfect forum for me as it puts me in front of thousands of full-time Realtors; what better comminity for a mortgage broker who lends in 50 states?  However, I will attempt to corner the "expert title" of hard money lender on Localism and  I have no problem sharing ideas with mortgage brokers but hard money is my niche; I will do everything humanly possible to retain a "top rank" in that niche in the online world.

I think Kristal and Carole (as well as many others) understand my openly transparent motive.  Greg Swann started off the meeting yesterday with an excellent question..."Brian...what is your interest here today?  You're a California lender who flew to Phoenix?"  (Thanks for the tee up, Greg)

The response was simple and straightforward.  "I lend in Arizona.  I hope 2-3 of you discover I know more about lending than some of the vendors you use now" 

Adam:  Thanks for coming...keep writing.  Your local stuff is brilliant and you'll own a long tail somewhere in the Valley. 


Jan 06, 2007 08:31 AM #30
Tom Burris
NMLS# 335055 - Baton Rouge, LA
Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience
great post as usual brian
Jan 06, 2007 08:34 AM #31
Christopher Farrell
Sanctuary Lending - Orlando, FL

Okay, well - then what's rule number two?

Excellent post, now I'll spend the rest of the evening digesting 'Long Tail' theories. :)


Ooh, wow - Passion, haven't seen that one in a while. :)

Jan 06, 2007 11:35 AM #32
Rob Wills
Gilpin Realty Inc. - Everett, WA

Happy New Year Brian

I have enjoyed active Rain and have learned a lot about myself. It is cool to know that we all have the same basic problems and there are different ways to solve them. I also think it is neat when I get an email saying. Hey I saw you the other day in Star Bucks with a client, and I've seen you on Active Rain.

Jan 06, 2007 03:06 PM #33
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

Doesn't that beat all, Rob?

The question of 2005 was "Haven't I seen you on Myspace?" .  The question of 2007 will nbe "Aren't you that Realtor on that Rain site?"

Jan 06, 2007 03:56 PM #34
Ken Spencer
Serendra Realty Group - Buckeye, AZ
for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance


I thoroughly enjoyed our get together.  Thanks a bunch.  Looking forward to our next meeting but most of all to touching base with everyone online.  The face to face was and is a great idea.  Learned a lot in the span of two hours which seemed to pass at lightening speed.



Jan 06, 2007 04:21 PM #35
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
Brian - You've got to stop by Las Vegas in February for Family Reunion. There will be about 15,000 of us here, and you're already familiar with the business model. Also, I have inside info that Rich Pieropan will solidify his #1 position at Luke AFB in the near future. There's an exciting project in the works!
Jan 06, 2007 05:29 PM #36
William Collins
ERA Queen City Realty - Scotch Plains, NJ
Director of Property and Asset Management


Thanks for the post. The idea of linkage to local blogs is a great one. Thanks again for another gem.

Jan 06, 2007 10:57 PM #37
Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
I agree with Krystal on this one!  Excellent and mindful post-we have so much to share and need good people to take the lead! Well done!
Jan 06, 2007 11:45 PM #38
Suzanne Marriott
Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Anthem, AZ
Associate Broker, CLHMS, e-PRO
John - I'm happy to hear that Rich will be working on a few blog posts here on Active Rain - today Luke AFB - tomorrow - the world!
Jan 07, 2007 02:49 AM #39
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Yep.  This stuff sinks in slowly but surely.  It's one thing to know real estate brokerage (or mortgage lending).  It's quite another to WORK the Internet for business.  I've been doing it for 11 years now and I believe that I have just scratched the surface.  

Active Rain and all of the blogs I read are very helpful.  And fun.




Jan 07, 2007 04:54 AM #40
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

John:  When is the KW Family Reunion?  We all chuckled at Rich and his Luke comment but Greg showed him immediately how valuable an expert in Luke AFB real estate really is.

William and Allison:  The idea came from a collaborative effort; I was merely the facilitator.  I appreciate it when you read and comment, though. 

Lenn:  A post is never successful until the Godmother of Online Real Estate Marketing checks in with her opinion.  I'm continually grateful for your comments.

Jan 07, 2007 08:00 AM #41
Teresa Boardman
Boardman Realty - Saint Paul, MN
I think it is great that you greats all got together.  The internet is the center of the real estate universe, you won't be able to move it all to AZ. :)
Jan 07, 2007 10:42 AM #42
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA

Why not, Teresa?

Just kidding.  I was trying for the sensationalist title.  Certainly, some Seattle or San Fran folks could argue that their cities are the epicenter .

Jan 07, 2007 01:04 PM #43
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
I thought NYC was the epicenter of the World.
Jan 07, 2007 03:13 PM #44
Michael Jordan
Tarbell, REALTORS - Murrieta, CA
Being new to blogging and real estate, I love logging on as much as my eyes can take the strain of reading all the posts. I like AR for the friendliness of everyone, and the willingness to teach us newbies. I learn every time I log on, and it's much better time spent then watching TV. Brian, we need to have a meeting close to San Diego for all us Southern Californians, or maybe we could all meet at my favorite destination, DISNEYLAND! 
Jan 07, 2007 06:14 PM #45
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

"Certainly, some Seattle or San Fran folks could argue that their cities are the epicenter."  San Francisco never crossed my mind but I was surprised that you did not hear from Seattle people over your title... in fun of course.  I think New York could certainly be considered a center for blogging... Curbed, Sellsius, lots of good real estate blogs from NYC.


Jan 07, 2007 09:26 PM #46
Blake Mata
commercial - Phoenix, AZ
       I apreciate bieng mentioned in such a widely read blog and hope i can live up to the term "budding blogger", ive only written three blogs so far but hopefully there will be much more to come. With any luck i can make it to your next roundtable, even though i was late to this last one i gained a lot from it; with what i learned i was able to get 1200 more points on active rain in just 2 or 3 days, i was very happy with those results. 
Jan 12, 2007 08:15 AM #47
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