Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
By Robert Lockard
In the winter 2009 issue of LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine (this link will start working in December 2008 when the magazine is published) I wrote an article entitled “Seeing Green: Living eco-friendly without sacrificing luxury.” In that article I mentioned a number of links and resources awaiting readers online. As promised, here they are! Check out the following Web sites for valuable information on what you can do today to start enjoying the benefits of “green” homes. In addition, I included links to the personal blogs/sites of the five Luxury Real Estate members and Eco-Brokers who I interviewed for this article. They were very helpful in the writing process and I’m sure you’ll find them to be extremely helpful in the home buying and selling process:
“Green” Organizations and Resources
www.buildinggreen.com: An independent publishing company focused on “green” building materials and methods.
www.builditgreen.org: A nonprofit dedicated to promoting “green” building in California by providing education, professional directories and more.
www.builtgreen.net: The Built Green™ logo signifies a property meets rigorous “green” standards. Based in Western Washington.
www.earthcrafthouse.com: Founded in 1999, EarthCraft House™ certifies new homes in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia as “green” based upon high standards.
www.greenhomeguide.org: Sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, this site offers a variety of resources for “greening” your home.
www.lowimpactliving.com: A tool for setting realistic goals based on your budget, location and other factors.
www.nahb.org: Formed in 1942, the National Association of Home Builders provides in-depth data on housing trends, including “green” homes.
www.southeastgreen.com: A user-friendly directory of businesses offering “green” products and services in the Southeast United States.
www.usgbc.org: Official site of the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry, which provides LEED™ standards for homes, businesses and more.
Blogs/Personal “Green” Sites:
www.cottenalston.com (Cotten Alston’s personal site)
www.roseannblacher.com (Roseann Blacher’s personal site)
http://maringreenrealestate.blogspot.com (Jonathan Marks’ blog, the only “green” blog in Marin County)
www.thebuckheadblog.com (Carson Matthews’ blog)
http://welcomehomegreen.typepad.com (Hannah Tai’s blog)
By Robert Lockard
I don’t have a whole lot of time today, but I just wanted to share an interesting CNN article entitled “The staycation effect: 5 reasons to travel now.” Because people have been very wise with their money this summer and have not gone on as many vacations, right now is a great time to take a vacation. Many hotels and luxury resorts are offering special discounts to entice people to get out of their homes and into a luxury community.
As soon as I saw this story I thought of Andrew Harper. They’re the experts on luxury hotels and travel, and they’ve posted some great blog entries in the Luxury Real Estate Blog on scoring free hotel upgrades and 10 places in the U.S. to see before you die. Plus, I just finished writing a City Spotlight on Nassau, Bahamas for the winter 2009 issue of LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine. That definitely seems like an excellent getaway in the Caribbean. I can’t wait until the magazine comes out so you can read my fun take on the islands.
I wish I had more time to talk about this topic, but I highly recommend reading the whole CNN article. It’s quite concise and informative. Enjoy!
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with Luxury Real Estate. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate’s newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. I had mixed feelings about writing this blog entry today. I just don't know if it's super appropriate to share on September 11, when feelings of melancholy and seriousness should prevail in my heart. I hope you don't mind.
By Robert Lockard
Jim Walberg, the co-Owner/Broker of The Bay Area Team in San Francisco, told me something really cool a few days ago. He said, “Bloggers are the most open and sharing community I have found on the Internet. They want every blogger to win!” I have definitely found that to be true.
As a blogger, I often find myself learning a great deal about what is effective and what is not from other bloggers with more experience than me. I have received a lot of positive feedback and support in my blogging from Eric Kodner, a luxury homes Broker with Wayzata Lakes Realty and Madeline Island Realty. Eric is an awesome blogger, and he has more than 110,000 points on ActiveRain.
In addition, I just did a simple search on ActiveRain for “blog tip” and I found a whole bunch of great ideas for improving my own blog posts. I particularly like Ronnie Roach’s Blog Tip of the Week. He confirmed my suspicion that I should use a different term than “blog” to describe each post I write. Another great resource is the Daily Blog Tips Web site.
There are many other examples out there, but these show how helpful and open the blogging community is. Jim is right! He’s been blogging for two years and he currently has two blogs, one called Caribbean Islands Realty and another called East Bay Real Estate. He also contributes many of his blog posts to the Luxury Real Estate Blog, which I appreciate very much.
I appreciate all the people who take the time to let me know when they agree with what I write and those who share their disagreements, too. Feedback is very helpful, and bloggers are often happy to give it. In fact, I hope you feel free to let me know if you think I’m a little naïve on this topic or to share your own experiences with helping fellow bloggers or receiving help from them.
By the way, Jim shared this quote with me as I was writing a news release about his upcoming presentation at the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference on effective blog strategies and tactics and the positive effects that can come from blogging. This event will be in Philadelphia on October 11-14, 2008 and you're welcome to attend.
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. You can share your blog entries on the Luxury Real Estate Blog by emailing them to me. Thank you very much! The photo of Rosie the Blogger is from www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/2493066577 and it is the copyright of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.
By Robert Lockard
I hope this doesn’t sound too prideful, but I really like what I write. And I do a lot of writing as the Public Relations & Media Specialist for LuxuryRealEstate.com.
While my blogs on ActiveRain and the LuxuryRealEstate.com Blog are sometimes quickly written and they don’t have the benefit of as much outside editing as I usually receive for my other work, I think they give you a taste of my writing skill and style.
My mind is constantly working before, during and after the writing process. I think about what is interesting about the story I am currently writing about. I ponder why my target readers would bother to read what I’ve written. I try to decide which points are most important and how best to convey them. I only have a limited amount of time to create my news releases, newsletters, magazine articles and other works, so I need to make quick decisions.
For the Week in Review newsletter I create each week, I receive a lot of news releases from members of the LuxuryRealEstate.com network. I am very grateful for that fact because it helps me keep our newsletters filled with great material. Many of the stories I receive are really interesting while others are about new employees, anniversaries and other topics that don’t seem too interesting at first. However, once I go through a news story, I can usually find something remarkable in it and I usually rewrite the headline so it’s much more eye-catching.
With these thoughts in mind, I’d like to talk about my recent experience writing a news release on a seemingly average topic: a Ewing & Clark, Inc. broker celebrating her 20th anniversary. I don’t mean that the broker, Jane Powers, is average; I’m just saying that I’ve read many stories similar to hers. As I approached this story I tried to remember that this is an important moment for her, and she has many great stories to tell after 20 successful years in the Seattle luxury market.
So I sat down to write about her story. Many times when I write I have a sudden inspiration that I know did not come from me. This time was no different. I suddenly had a thought that I should look up remarkable events that occurred in July 1988, when Powers started with her company. As it turned out, I discovered that a little movie called “Die Hard” debuted in theaters the same day that Powers began working at Ewing & Clark.
I was ecstatic by the creative opportunities opened up by this coincidence.
I am a big movie buff and I couldn’t pass up this chance to add some really unique flavor to Powers’ story. So that’s exactly what I did. You can see the final product here. I wrote the first and second-to-last paragraphs first and then worked on the rest of it. I had a blast writing this story.
I got butterflies of nervous excitement when I showed it to Powers herself for approval. Luckily, she liked my take on her story and I got to distribute it through my usual PR sources.
I believe any story can be interesting to read. I could have written Powers’ news release in a really boring, run-of-the-mill way, but I found that little something special that turned it into a great story. I hope that you can find the greatness in your stories and, as long as you’re a LuxuryRealEstate.com member, I’d love to post them in the Week in Review!
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. By the way, John Brian Losh is the Chairman/CEO of Ewing & Clark, which is a member of the Luxury Real Estate Board of Regents. The copy of the “Die Hard” movie poster is from www.flickr.com/photos/nickslidepics/442646618 and it is the copyright of Nick Slide.
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 Patrick Randi Real Estate
Patrick Randi opened his real-estate agency on the left bank of Paris in 1989. Since that date, our office has been playing an important part in the sales on the left bank, which includes the famous V, VI and VII districts and arrondissements of Paris.
While the V district is the oldest, it features many XVI-century buildings, made out of stones and beamed ceilings. It is a colorful district, attracting many students (the Sorbonne), and the apartments are generally smaller and charming.
The VI district is a mixture between the V and the VII centuries, with different periods of construction going from the charming little place to the more exclusive residences.
The VII district is prestigious since, historically, in the XVII, XVIII and XIX centuries enormous mansions with unbelievable gardens were built. Most of them are occupied by French government institutions (Hotel Matignon, house of our Prime Minister), therefore leaving less space for privately owned properties. It is divided in two different areas: St Germain, which is busy with hotels, restaurants and high-end shopping, and the Champs de Mars (Eiffel Tower), which is more residential and quiet. Foreigners adore these three districts, the entire world enjoy walking their attractive streets, where watching is an endless game to play. The Marais is quite similar to the left bank, very active and intriguing.
We also sell many properties on the right bank, the most exclusive being the VIII-century (Avenue Montaigne) and the XVI district (Etoile). These areas are glamorous and we have for sale there a choice group of XIX district apartments. Foreigners also find there the Museums (Grand Palais, etc.), the restaurants and shopping, they are attracted by wider avenues and very large flats (10,000 square feet on Avenue Foch or Avenue d’Iéna), suitable for clients from Russia, the Persian Gulf and United States. In Neuilly, the exclusive suburb of Paris, we handle sales of large mansions with enormous gardens, it is a greener space.
Old prominent French families(most of them a client) live in all these privileged arrondissements, in secluded and amazing properties, featuring the parquet floors, fireplaces and moldings, marvelous showcases for precious family antiques.
The attraction of Paris all over the world is always growing and therefore it may take some time finding the property of one’s dream. Private individuals, as well as investors, are willing to place their money on an ever-increasing market and take advantage of a unique lifestyle.
In Paris, the supply has never been able to keep up with demand, and the prices increase accordingly.
Our most important sales have been to French tycoons, Europeans, Americans, Persian Gulf residents and now we start to welcome Russians and Asians, all of whom are looking for a typically Parisian apartment.
We are lucky enough to be confronted each day with this diversity and vast history. It is fun to encourage and help our foreign clients to «play the French», showing them the open air-markets, the quaint unknown areas, all the little «codes» that make up the French mind or way of life. If we take good care of our long-time French families, we enjoy very much meeting and helping clients from all over the world to settle in Paris for a while or why not forever?
Patrick Randi is the Founder and President of Patrick Randi Real Estate in Paris, France. He is a distinguished member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. This is a great blog entry, giving us a taste of the French luxury market and Parisian delights. By the way, Paris is where the 4th Annual Luxury Real Estate International Conference will be hosted. Be sure to sign up for it! The photo is from www.flickr.com/photos/tangysd/2139262874 and it is the copyright of skinnydiver.
By Brian Langhorst
Who would you like to network with at the upcoming 13th Annual Fall Luxury Real Estate Conference in Philadelphia this October?
Networking is one of the main facets that can distinguish top luxury real estate agents from their competition. Who would you like to have dinner with, have a conversation with, or simple meet at our event to help your business?
I look forward to your responses! Feel free to email me at BLanghorst at luxuryrealestate.com.
Brian Langhorst is LuxuryRealEstate.com’s Membership Manager. He meets members’ unique needs through the dynamic services LuxuryRealEstate.com provides. It’s nice to see another blogger talking about this exciting conference. Events Coordinator Yvonne Harvey has been offering some insightful peeks into Philadelphia and other topics pertaining to the Fall Conference in her blog entries. Be sure to check those out, as well.
By Jean-Yves Piton
With a devalued U.S. dollar against many other foreign currencies (i.e. Euro, Pound Sterling, etc.), now is the best time to invest in luxury real estate in the United States.
Whether this initiative is part of your diversification strategy or not, your property investment(s) in the United States will pay off in both the short and long term. Namely, your purchasing power is greater today in the United States and your ability to create greater returns in the future is increased tremendously.
To further exemplify present investment trends, I recently came across the following article “U.S. Real Estate Tops Foreign Investors’ List, Interest in Asia Grows” posted in the July 7, 2008 issue of www.Bostonsf.com.
The commentary reveals that, based on the results of the recent 16th Annual AFIRE Foreign Investment Survey, the U.S. real-estate market is at the top of global investors’ list.
Furthermore, “with 56% of the votes, the U.S. again emerged as the most stable and secure country for real-estate investment. No other country has ever come close to this number-one position. The second-ranking country has historically been the U.K., but this year Germany, with 10.5% of the votes, took that honor; Australia and the U.K., with nearly 9% of the votes, tied for third place.”
Agreeably, “this year, New York City and Washington, D.C. were named foreign investors’ top global cities. New York City leaped ahead by a substantial margin to be named the top global city, followed by Washington, D.C. and London in a tie for second place. Last year, New York City was ranked second globally and Washington was ranked fourth. Paris fell from second to fourth rank.”
Directly involved with global real estate on a day-to-day basis, I find such figures and trend eye-opening.
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. There are some wonderful opportunities available for U.S. buyers and sellers. One person’s downturn is another person’s bargain, so be sure to look for the good out there. The photo of the U.S. flag is from www.flickr.com/photos/tomsaint/2525886032 and it is the copyright of tomsaint11.
By Brian Langhorst
As in luxury real estate, sometimes selling and parting with something close to your family is tough. This example easily extends over to the situation of the Seattle Supersonics, a National Basketball Association team, being sold and now moving to Oklahoma City, as you can read in this Seattle Times article.
Unfortunately a deal has been struck and the Seattle Supersonics are no longer going to be playing in Seattle. The former Sonics ownership group sold the team a few years ago to another group based out of Oklahoma City. The new ownership group has decided to move the team to Oklahoma City to play as a new team.
It is frustrating to see something that has been a large part of the Seattle culture and community just packed up and shipped to the Midwest. The final decision came yesterday as the City of Seattle agreed to settle out of court with the new ownership group on the move to Oklahoma City. The city did receive a substantial payout, but money does not replace what is being lost.
R.I.P. Sonics Basketball
Brian Langhorst is LuxuryRealEstate.com’s Membership Manager. He meets members’ unique needs through the dynamic services LuxuryRealEstate.com provides. This whole situation is quite silly, in my opinion. It could have been easily avoided if everyone involved had simply been honest about their intentions from the start. The photo above is from www.flickr.com/photos/yannickcarer/426046468 and it is the copyright of Yannick Carer
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.
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