Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
By Jim Walberg
From his blog: Caribbean Real Estate Photos Instantly Take You There Wherever Your Computer Is!
Ilya Moshensky is one of the finest real-estate photographers that I have met!
I first met Ilya at the Luxury Real Estate conference in Del Mar, Calif. several months ago. He seemed to be everywhere during the conference taking photos of the participants and various events. I final asked one of the Luxury Real Estate staff people who was this guy! She smiled and said that he is the finest photographer they had found for capturing the essence of luxury real estate homes and estates. I began some homework after the conference to see some examples of this work since we always need a top photographer’s services for the luxury properties we represent - both in the Caribbean and the San Francisco Bay Area. Boy, was I impressed with what I discovered.
My experience is that Ilya’s Photography sets one of the highest standards for quality in the industry with over 30 years of experience. Ilya is the principal photographer of Ilya’s Photography, and he has enjoyed a lifelong passion his work with the camera. His reputation for excellence has spread both in the U.S. and internationally. Ilya has shot luxury estates in France, Spain, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Miami, Chicago, the Seattle area, plus many other locations in the States and the world. After checking out his work, my next question was, “How much does this type of quality photography cost for shooting a luxury home or estate?” Well, I discovered that he has VERY competitive rates that are negotiated flat-rate prices for any project. He is even willing to offer long-term budgeted photo-shoot contracts. His flat-rate policy is greatly appreciated within our industry because it is THE rate no matter how much time it takes to complete the project. Again, I don’t think you will find a better value for your marketing dollar if you decide on Ilya’s photo services.
In further discussions with the staff at Luxury Real Estate their consensus was that Ilya consistently produces quality work and can make a home or an estate look amazing. They said he has the ability to capture on digital film the best aspects of the luxury property. As promised, I am always on the look out for the best professional services I can find, whether it is a photographer or a painter. It takes a “village” to sell and buy a home - from the preparation of the marketing program to the signing of the closing documents, hiring a professional real-estate company is critical. Until next time….fair winds!
Jim Walberg is the co-Broker/Owner of The Bay Area Team, the most-successful team at Keller Williams Realty-Danville. He is also a member of the global LuxuryRealEstate.com network. Jim is an experienced blogger, as you can see by visiting his blog, Caribbean Islands Realty. Feel free to submit your blog entries and comments to the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog. Also, you can contact Ilya Moshenskiy to take advantage of his amazing photographic services at ilya at ilyaphoto.com. I highly recommend him, as well.
By Brian Langhorst
I was recently invited to join the Naymz.com network by our member, Eric Kodner of Wayzata Lakes Realty and Madeline Island Realty in Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively. Naymz.com is a business-networking site that allows you to rate people that you have worked with, as well as view the reputation score of others you may be interested in referring business to. I invite you to check out this new network for yourself.
Brian Langhorst is LuxuryRealEstate.com’s Membership Manager. He meets members’ unique needs through the dynamic services LuxuryRealEstate.com provides. How extraordinary! Eric Kodner is actually the same person who first invited me to join ActiveRain, where I currently maintain a blog with many of the blog entries that I post on the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog. He is awesome! I highly recommend checking out his fine work on his blog.
By Robert Lockard
A helpful warning to bloggers: “Be prepared.” It’s the Boy Scout motto and it’s also good advice for people in all walks of life. It appears that many bloggers, myself included, are a little unprepared for the possibility of close scrutiny of blogging. What if we were told that we had used too much of someone else’s news article in our blog entry or that we got our facts wrong and are guilty of negligence or even defamation? It’s a scary thought, but that’s the risk we take in offering our work in a public environment.
Have you noticed that, as bloggers, our responsibilities and rules seem to be a little hazy and hard to define? It sometimes does to me. Luckily, in college I studied media law, fair-use doctrine and other libel laws, so I have a pretty good understanding of what is allowed and forbidden when writing content.
The rules can get pretty complex, but they boil down to the fact that writers need to respect others’ rights by not stealing their work, spreading lies about them or being unfairly critical of people we disagree with. I don’t believe I’ve witnessed any of that in the discussions I have seen on ActiveRain and the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog, but it’s still important to keep in mind. Kindness and honesty are generally essential for free speech and democracy to thrive. I have no desire to defame anyone because my goal is to uplift by exercising the Golden Rule as much as possible.
When you use a news story or another person’s blog in your work, make sure to give credit to the person you borrow from. I always strive to do that when I write a blog entry, since much of my inspiration for writing about specific topics comes from news sources and other bloggers. Actually, this blog was inspired by two news articles: a Seattle Times article by Brier Dudley entitled “Battle of the day: AP vs. blogs,” and Marcie Geffner’s article in Inman News entitled “Is your blog a lawsuit magnet?” I highly recommend reading them both so you can make sure you’re aware of some potential pitfalls.
The one thing I don’t know too much about is the fair use of photos in blogs. I almost always provide a link to the source of the photos I use, and I try to include the photographer/artist when it’s available. Maybe someone can help me out on this aspect of fair use because I’m unsure what the rule is there. Is it okay as long as we give credit to the person responsible for the work or do we need to obtain written permission? Speaking of which, the photo above is from www.flickr.com/photos/katiegail/1344714672, and it is the copyright of rakastajatar on Flickr. I got the idea to check Flickr for a safer photo to use because of Ms. Geffner's comment in my ActiveRain Blog.
In closing, I strongly advise you to pay close attention to Ms. Geffner’s 17 questions in her Inman News article. I won’t reprint them here because I wouldn’t want to use too much of her work or remove the incentive to visit her site. As I read them, I went over in my mind the times when I had encountered these different situations or at least considered them. I hope this helps you be a little better-prepared in case anything like this might come up as you blog.
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with LuxuryRealEstate.com. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate’s newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me with your suggestions about the photo issue I mentioned.
By Grant Hermes
“Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.”
~ William Pollard
Nowadays, information spreads and multiplies exponentially throughout the Internet. Who has time to spend hours a day sifting and sorting through endless websites in search of useful and, more importantly, up-to-date news? I know I certainly do not. This is where RSS feeds are a lifesaver for me.
When you see the icon all you have to do is click on it and add it as a bookmark or to a reader of your choice. Try it out by clicking on the “Articles” RSS feed on this blog page (just look for the icon to find it). Now you have a current look at the most-recent posts to the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog. I personally place all my feeds in my bookmarks toolbar so they’re right in front of me. Another useful RSS feed I use is from RISMedia.com (they have dozens of feeds but I use the Real Estate-specific feed as well as a few others – check them out).
I always saw links for RSS feeds before, but just never clicked on them until this past week. Let me tell you, it is the greatest addition to my Internet browser. In one click, I get a snapshot of a site’s blog posts or articles and, most importantly, if any new ones have been posted. I feel more informed than ever on world news by being able to quickly and effortlessly scan through headlines, and if I want more detailed information it’s just a click away.
Hopefully this will help you narrow down and sort through the overwhelming amount of information out there that’s important to you but which you just don’t have time to sort through.
If you need it…RSS picture is complements of http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/HA102200751033.aspx
Grant Hermes is the Staff Accountant for LuxuryRealEstate.com. He assists Controller James Hughes with all of the necessary paperwork and accounting to keep LuxuryRealEstate.com running smoothly. This is the first blog entry I’ve received from Grant, and it’s quite a smashing one. RSS feeds are quite helpful in our information-saturated environment, like the quote at the start of this blog entry notes. It doesn’t help to have a huge library if none of the books are correctly ordered or easily accessible to readers. Thank goodness for RSS feeds, which are kind of like a high-tech Dewey Decimal System. And thanks for the explanation, Grant!
By Yvonne Harvey
As the Events Coordinator at LuxuryRealEstate.com, I feel it is very helpful to have a checklist before I go to a conference to be prepared. Last week a co-worker found a blog entry on seomoz.org in regards to a conference checklist. I have added a few items as it relates to the Luxury Real Estate conferences, and I believe it will help you maximize your experience.
What to Bring:
Business Cards – The person giving the card is much more important than the quality of the card. Unless you have superfluous design resources, don’t spend a significant amount of time or money on your business cards.
Laptop/Notepad – The medium onto which you transcribe your notes is personal preference. Just make sure you bring something and utilize it to its fullest.
Good Shoes – You will be standing and walking around in between sessions. Fuse function with fashion.
Appropriate Clothing – Check your favorite weather source and plan accordingly – we often have outdoor events. The event documents will state the dress code for the events – generally business or business casual during the day and business or cocktail in the evening.
Sign Up For a LinkedIn Account and Join the Luxury Real Estate Group – Be prepared to have other attendees research you and be sure to research them after the conference.
Know the Big Players/Companies – Know who the big players are before you get to the conference. Be proactive in seeking out potential contacts and individuals from your feeder markets.
Personalize Your Own Itinerary – Choose breakout sessions and roundtable discussions that you will be attending. Refer to the hotel map found in your packet for locations.
Airline Savings – Luxury Real Estate offers promotional codes on one or more airline. It may be only 5%, but hey, it’s savings! Or use airline mileage to book your flights.
Book Your Hotel Room – Planning ahead will ensure best room selection.
Pictures for the Roster – Luxury Real Estate provides a roster with pictures. It is extremely helpful to put a name with a face. Give your picture to Luxury Real Estate one month before the conference to be included in the roster.
Bring a Separate Wireless Internet Source – If you have the resources, bring an external Internet source (i.e., PC card). This will keep you connected if Wi-Fi is not available or it goes down. Or rely on your mobile wireless device to keep up with email.
Be Born at Least 21 Years Prior to the Event – In the United States the legal drinking age is 21. Although drinking is not required by any means, a lot of networking occurs in the hotel bar in between events.
Find Restaurants Nearby – Knowing places to eat is always a great way to help you network. People unfamiliar with the area will be looking for someone who is in the know.
During the Conference:
Network, Network, Network! – The relationships you make at conferences have much more potential than the information you learn in sessions. Since almost everyone at a conference is there to network, meeting people should be easy. Study the roster in your conference packet.
Visit Sponsor Booths – Sponsors’ booths will feature important people and offer conversation starters with the people you don’t know. Frequently our sponsors provide elaborate giveaway items – don’t miss out!
Eat a Healthy Carb and Protein In the Morning – You do not want to miss out on valuable information throughout the day. Stay awake! You want to take in all you possibly can.
Drink a Lot of Water – Keeping yourself hydrated keeps you energized and fully functional.
Use Your Notepad/Computer – Take a lot of notes, at least one new page/file per session.
Always Bring Along Your Conference Packet – You may have your day planned out, but you never know when a conversation goes long and you are in the hall looking for your next event.
Keep All of Your Random Ideas In One Place – This can either be a separate text document or the last page of your notepad.
Collect Cool Promotional Items – Free stuff is great. Gather as much as you can and bring it home for friends, family or colleagues.
Receptions and Dinner Parties:
Mingle, Mingle, Mingle – Maximize your chances to network and meet other attendees.
Avoid Useless Conversations – Make your impact but keep most conversations short and to the point. Don’t get stuck with one person all night.
Don’t Sit With Friends or Colleagues – This is hard because most people see reception and dinner as a time to relax. This is not necessarily true. Network, Network, Network!
Review Business Cards – Reviewing business cards helps you to remember the people you met.
Review Notes – This will help you prioritize your follow-up tasks.
Create a To-Do-List – After a conference, your motivation will likely be really high. Use this opportunity to define future tasks and goals. It is helpful to do this right away. Review your list later (to see if you have accomplished what you intended).
Complete the Conference Survey – A survey will be sent to you one week after the conference. It is important for us to hear your feedback.
Blog About It – Not only will this help you keep a record of the event, but it also provides an avenue to cement connections with people and promote yourself online.
Connect Online – Find people you met and connect with them in an online environment. Specifically, find people on LinkedIn, ActiveRain and other online communities.
Do You Have Any Tips? – We would love to hear from you on how to get the most out of LuxuryRealEstate.com conferences. Share them with us.
As she mentioned, Yvonne Harvey is the Events Coordinator for LuxuryRealEstate.com. So when you come and enjoy the wonderful presentations, discussions and networking opportunities at Luxury Real Estate conferences, you know who to thank. You should definitely join us at the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference on October 11-14, 2008. This is quite a long blog entry, but it’s definitely chock full of useful tips to follow.
By Jim Walberg
From his blog: Tierra del Sol Expands Aruba’s Fractionals In The Caribbean Real Estate World!
NEWS FLASH: The most beautifully planned development in Aruba is about to offer fractionals!
Tierra del Sol – the only planned community in the Caribbean, with the Trent Jones champion golf course – is launching a fractional project to go along with their beautiful development that includes homes, villas, condominiums, golf, spa & fitness, fine dining and much more. At the northwest tip of Aruba, has emerged a gorgeous 600-acre community offering a lifestyle to satisfy even the most discriminating of owners and world travelers. With today’s planned lifestyle, Tierra del Sol gives you the opportunity to purchase the home of your dreams just a chip shot away from the green, even if you are not an avid golfer.
This private community offers a remarkable experience within a meticulously planned and highly acclaimed environment. Homeowners and vacationers experience world-class amenities, including fine and casual dining, a full-service spa, fitness and full-care beauty salon, lighted tennis complex and unlimited greens at a championship golf course, displaying its own challenging version of Robert Trent Jones II – the only professional golf course on Aruba.
The tranquil setting provides a gracious lifestyle amid some of the most beautiful views of the Caribbean. Custom homes, villas, casitas and home sites accommodate a wide variety of expectations for your personal lifestyle. Homes at Tierra del Sol incorporate distinctive design features, tailored to the desert surroundings and complementing the natural beauty of the landscape, creating an inspiring and peaceful environment within this beautiful private community.
Body & Soul is a sanctuary amidst the finest displays of nature. Nourish your body, revitalize your mind and enhance your well being with a journey to vitality. Pamper yourself from head to toe. Their spa treatments are designed to ease tension and restore balance to your body and spirit. The spa’s professional staff offers a variety of therapies, including massages, body wraps, skin and body treatments, aromatherapies, hydrotherapy, manicure and pedicure and a newly opened full-service hair salon.
As you know, each time I get off a plane in the Caribbean, no matter what island it is, the words that go through my brain are, “Welcome Home!” That is the experience you will have when you arrive at Tierra del Sol. For more information about pricing, contact me! Until next time…fair winds.
Jim Walberg is the co-Broker/Owner of The Bay Area Team, the most-successful team at Keller Williams Realty-Danville. He is also a member of the global LuxuryRealEstate.com network. Jim is an experienced blogger, as you can see by visiting his blog, Caribbean Islands Realty. Feel free to submit your blog entries and comments to the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog.
By Robert Lockard
I originally planned on writing this blog entry earlier this week on the proposed settlement between the National Association of REALTORS® and the Department of Justice that would allow multiple listing service members to make private MLS information available to non-members. However, immediately after the story broke, plenty of real-estate bloggers came up with all sorts of reactions, positive, negative and neutral. Now I’m having trouble coming up with something to add to their expert opinions. I hope you’ll bear with me.
I’ll start by quoting Malcom Forbes (1919-1990), the father of Steve Forbes, current publisher of Forbes Magazine, “It's so much easier to suggest solutions when you don't know too much about the problem.” My knowledge of the MLS is certainly not as impressive as those who have already voiced their opinions, but I’ll just try to bring my thoughts to the table in an interesting way and you can feel free to correct me if I mistake some details.
It seems to me that this really shouldn’t be that big of a deal. I agree with what Geoff Lewis, Senior Counsel for RE/MAX International, said in Glenn Roberts Jr.’s Inman News article entitled “Blogosphere reacts to proposed NAR/DOJ settlement.” He basically said that a lot of the information that will be opened up to public use by this decision has already been made public through free online sites.
The majority of home buyers start their search for a new home online and so, if you think about it, they’re already finding the homes they’re looking for without needing to log on to websites controlled by MLS members. There’s a lot of free information already available online. For example, buyers don’t have to pay anything to search for luxury properties on LuxuryRealEstate.com, even though they can find more than 55,000 such properties in 100 countries on that site.
It’s advantageous for brokers to share information freely with buyers and sellers because then they can allow the right people to find the properties they’re seeking more quickly. At least that’s what I think.
As Mr. Forbes eloquently pointed out earlier, it’s easy to say what I think, but I might not have the whole picture. The MLS, which I understand is not a completely homogenized collection of listings but a variety of different ones in different formats, is not necessarily a public good. It was created by a private organization to give a competitive advantage to specific professionals, and there might be less of an incentive to provide this service if there are few limits to who can access it.
The Internet age is changing the way we think about many things, including marketing and real estate. But perhaps it’s still true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Anyway, that’s my contribution to this wonderful exchange of ideas known as the blogosphere.
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with LuxuryRealEstate.com. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate’s newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. I welcome your input on this story. The Multiple Listing Service logo above is from: www.nsrealestate.ca/listings4.htm.
By Jim Walberg
From his blog: Caribbean Islands Real Estate Developments Continues to Focus on Belize!
The Placencia Peninsula, an 11-mile strip of land sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the Placencia Lagoon in Belize, has beautiful white sandy beaches and – because of its distance from the reef – it also has “real” surf. The water is clean and clear; the trade winds gentle and cooling.
Remember that Belize has a stirring and lively history beginning in 200 B.C. with the ancient Mayans. In the 17th century Spain settled the country. It then survived war, piracy and slavery until being declared a British colony – British Honduras – in 1871. It gained self-government in 1964, chose the name Belize in 1973 and became an independent member of the British Commonwealth in 1981.
The beaches along the Placencia Peninsula are dotted with small resorts that can easily arrange dive and snorkel trips to the reef, which is about 17 miles away. They can also arrange day trips to many small, idyllic cayes, such as Laughing Bird Caye, a mini-atoll that offers protected snorkeling and swimming, a white sand beach and many cooling palm trees (it even has hammocks!) Laughing Bird Caye is also a favorite camping site for reek kayakers who base their expeditions in Placencia. A hotel can also arrange deep-sea or reef fishing trips, or day sailing on a 57-foot catamaran.
Placencia, along with Ambergris Caye, are now two of the country’s main tourist destinations, and they are also well-visited by Belizeans from across the country on local holidays. You can get a delicious plate heaped with stewed chicken, rice and beans for about $4 USD. There are also several small gift shops, a post office and some night life. Nearby Mango Creek/Independence Village also has a disco and weekend activities.
Another new resort is planned for Belize – The Palmetto Bay Resort at Maya Beach being developed by Dave Bowman and his exceptional team. It is located on Placencia Peninsula it will offer beachfront real estate and Four-Star amenities and will be the first development in the Caribbean designed “green” from inception to completion.
The first phase of the gated resort, which is currently under construction, will be comprised of 36 whole-ownership, luxury beachfront condominiums ranging from approximately 1,100 to 4,500 square feet, each with open views of the Caribbean. (In a perfect world, I would be talking with Dave about offering some of their units as fractionals.) Prices will start in the low $300,000s. The turnkey one- two- and three-bedroom residences are spread through two low-rise buildings. Designer Julieanne Dobson also worked on Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn in Belize. He is creating the interiors using warm woods and natural stone, vibrant contemporary textiles, and niche-lit Mayan and African-inspired art.
Ownership at Palmetto Bay Resort will include access to fitness facilities, conference rooms with wireless Internet; 24-hour reception and security; fully equipped luxury kitchens with gourmet utensils and stainless steel appliances; balcony barbecues; and lush, mature landscaping with use of indigenous fruit trees and plants. The property will feature a 300-foot oceanfront infinity pool, a 400-foot private beach, beach boardwalk, and private dock.
We have been telling you about Belize and the many awesome opportunities for second and third home ownership for months! It is now time to act. Let me know if you are ready!
Jim Walberg is the co-Broker/Owner of The Bay Area Team, the most-successful team at Keller Williams Realty-Danville. He is also a member of the global LuxuryRealEstate.com network. Jim is an experienced blogger, as you can see by visiting his blog, Caribbean Islands Realty. We welcome your blog entries and comments in the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog.
By Meghan Barry
It’s not unusual for the members of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate to represent high-profile individuals in a real estate transaction – actors, professional athletes, musicians, Fortune 500 CEOs and politicians are frequently on our members’ list of clients. Celebrities often demand the highest level of service, and have the means to afford luxury living.
Country-music superstar Kenny Rogers is selling his $7.9 million Atlanta, Ga. home to live full-time on his 150-acre estate in Athens, Ga., according to a Wall Street Journal article. Although he still tours part of the year, Mr. Rogers is thinking about retiring. “This may be my last year,” he says.
In Newsday, we find that stylist couple Jonathan Adler, judge of “Top Design,” and Simon Doonan, creative director for Barney’s, recently bought a second home on Shelter Island. “We stumbled upon Shelter Island and just instantly fell in love. It’s just so mellow and chill, and there’s something about that five-minute ferry ride, it keeps it all away.”
The Montana ranch of late fashion designer Liz Claiborne sold for close to its $7.5 million asking price, The Wall Street Journal said. About 75 miles north of Missoula, the ranch includes a private lake and a nearly 9,000-square-foot house with indoor pool, guest house, indoor riding arena and a helicopter pad.
Halstead Property represented Joy Behar of ABC’s “The View” in the purchase of a $2.555 million for a two-bedroom co-op apartment in the Astor Court building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Husband-and-wife actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen sold their five-bedroom house in Malibu, Calif. for an undisclosed price – the property was listed for $16.75 million.
Meghan Barry is the Executive Vice President of LuxuryRealEstate.com. She works closely with CEO/Publisher John Brian Losh to organize a variety of Luxury Real Estate programs, events and services. Lifestyles of the rich and famous – that’s the first thing that popped into my head when I read this blog entry. Luxury real estate is definitely a magnet for the wealthy and well-known, so it’s no wonder we find LuxuryRealEstate.com members working closely with big names.
By Jean-Yves Piton
Today’s real estate marketplace is most definitely more technology-driven worldwide. This fact became even more evident during the Technology Roundtable held at the 6th Annual Luxury Real Estate Spring Retreat in San Diego. Top brokers in the luxury real estate industry are now seeking for more tools to become more productive and effective vis-à-vis their top competitors.
Here is an example: You never stepped into the agency today. You have already received many text messages from prospective buyers you need to follow up with this morning. Your property buyers located your ads on LuxuryRealEstate.com. They were able to view both photos and virtual tours of the properties they saw and liked. They also connected with you a few times via LiveChat on your PDA.
You have already called your clients back and all of your appointments are scheduled on your PDA phone. You are bringing along with you both your laptop and a data card to ensure you are able to share all the needed electronic documents, in case you need them. You have completed numerous successful property visits today. You are calling your 1-800 line to check any voicemails left at the office by any possible home buyers. Luckily, your Bluetooth headset allows you to do so while driving your car to another property.
You beat traffic since you are guided by your GPS. Before your client arrives, you have plenty of time to check the latest industry news on the LuxuryRealEstate.com Webzine, read blog entries on the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog and educate consumers about market news on your blog. Time to see if you have received any signed contracts via your efax in your email inbox. While at it, you might as well update your customer database regarding today’s activities and before you forget.
Does this sound familiar?
Clearly, in order to gain a competitive edge and increase sales, it is critical to embrace new technologies in the new real-estate era.
Jean-Yves Piton is the Global Services Membership Manager for LuxuryRealEstate.com. He assists Bente Madtsen, the Director of Global Services, in expanding the LuxuryRealEstate.com brand into even more countries around the world. Indeed, technology is bringing us new capabilities and expectations. We need to react quicker, think faster and be ready to meet clients’ changing needs. This is a time of incredible challenges and opportunities. The picture above is from www.dougbelshaw.com/tag/meetings.
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