There’s always something to howl about

Archive for November, 2011 is live now. searches current listings by cash flow and capitalization rate.

I received an email, from BHB Anaheim presenter Bill Lyons, that is live now and will be announced to the public tomorrow.  Bill knows that the Bloodhound way is to fly under the radar, sneak in the back door, and quietly win so I appreciate the chance to break the news. is a new property search site.  It’s unique proposition is that it allows users to search by either capitalization rate or cash flow.  Revestor believes it will become a useful tool for both investors and primary residence home buyers.  Bill Lyons suggested that its unique ranking display, offers data to a home buyer, which is currently unavailable.  Incorporating the income potential of a property offers another valuation model for home buyers to consider.

I ran a search for an area with which I’m familiar; Oceanside, CA  zip code 92056.  I searched for properties listed from $150,000 to $250,000, by cash flow, and ten current listings were displayed.  The top two listings appealed to me:

3906 Marvin –  a 3BR 2BA, 1064 s.f. SFD with $902 of free cash flow, with an 80% LTV loan, listed at $169, 767

3132 Glenn –  a 4BR 2BA, 1302 s.f. SFD with $533 of free cash flow, with an 80% LTV loan, listed at 249,900

Revestor offers a “launch” blog post and I’ll insert Bill’s comments from there (italicized), as I offer my ideas  here.

Here is what I like about the site:  I like the map display of the listings and I love the fact that it ranks the listings by investment potential.  The financial data offered, on individual listings, is pretty comprehensive.  It drills down on expense data and allows the user to customize it.  The mortgage data is cool because it allows you to slide the down payment tool and see real-time figures.  The exit strategy information is unique but I’m unclear as to how they determine the potential resale value.

Bill offered:  While San Diego is just a starting point we are still very much a “work in progress“. The site is not perfect (especially for a perfectionist that is striving for simplicity). We launched with about 75% of the functionality/capability that we wanted to, but hey, we were anxious to bring about change.

Here is what I think needs improvement:  It’s only available for San Diego County right now.  That works fine for me but, as I’m sure the management of Revestor,com knows, that ain’t gonna fly if they intend to be a player.  I’m unclear as to the accuracy of the rental rates.  I thought the data look pretty high but I haven’t seen a property lease, in that zip code, for over a year now.  The individual property listing display page seems kind of boring with incomplete MLS listing data but the financial data exceeds my expectations.  Finally, the mortgage information is not “live” yet and a tad too ambitious.  That should improve as they secure live mortgage feeds.

Bill offered: We will be the first to admit our ‘estimated rent’ and our algorithm are not 100% accurate. Over time (as the algorithm recognizes patterns in our database and our users give feedback it WILL gain more intelligence and get very close!). At this point, Revestor is not an end all be all, but rather a pre-due diligence tool. You certainly aren’t going to call up your real estate agent and say “buy 1234 Main St – now!” without doing any additional research but it sure is going to give you a good place to start

All in all, Revestor,com is a great tool with a limited reach.  Tomorrow, it works for San Diego County agents and home buyers,  If Revestor,com wants to last past their cash burn rate, it is going to have to add new markets…quickly.  I’ve know Bill for five years now and I’ve seen him build profitable businesses pretty quickly.  If I had to bet on on a horse race, I’d bet on the Lyon.  Give Bill your feedback and don’t be too kind. He’s a big boy who can handle constructive criticism.


It’s Your Call – Decide – Make Some Toast

Ever wondered what the most powerful factor is separating those who’re successful and those who’re constantly wondering why they’re not succeeding as planned? There are bajillions of books attempting to explain it to us. They tell us about planning, goal setting, visualizing, hard work and a dozen more ways to get what we want. We’re told the world is our oyster! Shape it as you will! YOU! Can become a goal achieving machine!

So, how’s that been workin’ out for ya?

For the sake of this discussion, let’s set aside goals we ‘must’ set, but aren’t particularly motivated to bring off. Losing weight is an example. Tony Robbins talks a lot about ‘gaining leverage’ on ourselves. ‘If I don’t lose X pounds by Y date, I hafta go to work the next day in a Speedo.’ Then you’re supposed to tell your trusted supporters, who’ll hold you to your commitment. I’m not poopooing this, as I know it works for many. Let’s just talk about what we’re naturally motivated to do, and truly want to accomplish.

Grandma was right.

She told us we could be anyone we wanted to be. If you were lucky, yours told you one more thing. You must consciously decide to make it so, to become that person. No decision = guaranteed, abject failure.

How many have a goal to ‘get into great shape’? Know the worst 3-4 weeks for serious people in a gym? The first weeks of the year. All the wannabes with their new workout ‘outfits’ show up, makin’ things tough for serious members. Almost all of ’em disappear by Super Bowl Sunday at the latest. Why? They didn’t decide to become that person. They ‘decided’ to try, to ‘work’ at it. They planned, wrote goals, bored folks with all they were ‘gonna’ do to make it a reality.

Then they disappeared.

When we decide, we become.

Those who knew me in the 70’s saw a soft, slightly pudgy guy, whose waistline was several inches too big, and whose weight was far over the line. Then one day I brought a client’s offer to a husband/wife team. They hadn’t seen me in a few years. When I entered their office, she said, Jeff! I was wondering who that pudgy blonde guy was downstairs. Ouch. That was it. The decision to get back to my athletic self was made on the drive home.

A year later I ran my first marathon. I became that guy through one simple decision. I didn’t try. I didn’t work at it. Since the decision was already made, I was that guy long before I looked like him, even when I was huffin’ and puffin’ to finish a couple miles in 24 minutes.

I did the same thing years later when I returned to serious bodybuilding. It also worked like magic when I decided I wanted to be a baseball umpire. Made it to Division I NCAA level less than four years after my first (hilarious) Little League umpiring debut. I was also chosen, by the coaches no less, to umpire NCAA postseason play.

It works, people.

I’ve decided to do many things at work, just like you have. Only I’ve never tried really hard. Those who’re constantly showing empirical evidence of how hard they work while tryin’ to reach a goal, are really doin’ something else. They’re storing mountains of undeniable proof that their failure, their consistent failure, isn’t due to lack of effort.

Bullllllll Pucky.

Whether it’s a lifelong affliction or something we’ve overcome at some point, being in denial about what we’re willing to achieve is what plagues us. You a real estate agent and never made six figures? You’ve never decided to. Period. Over ‘n out. Stop makin’ those faces cuz you know in your heart of hearts I’m right.

Becoming a wildly successful anything is always, without exception, preceded by the decision to become that person. Sans deciding, all the goals, hard work, and so-called motivation won’t get you anywhere but makin’ excuses for another year’s mediocre results.

Makin’ six figures, gettin’ into unbelievable physical condition — whatever it is you want — is no more difficult than makin’ toast. Decide to do it. How many times have you tried to make toast?

Everything we do — or don’t do — is the RESULT of our decisions. Anything we try to do? It’s damning evidence we really don’t wanna be that person. Deal with it.

Then decide.


Giving thanks for a new Bloodhound: Rob Chipman joins us today.

My apologies to y’all for my extended absence. I got good and sick on my way back from Anaheim, then doubled-down on dextro last weekend. I managed to put two houses into escrow, but I didn’t get a lot else accomplished.

And so I owe an even bigger apology to Rob Chipman, who joins our roster of writers today. We were talking with Rob about making this change for the past few weeks, but by the time he was ready for me, I was off the radar. In consequence, he has two posts ready to roll, and I’m just now doing the admin work to make that possible.

If you’ve been following our comments, you’ve gotten to know Rob well. He is a Vancouver real estate agent and property manager, and his brokerage, Coronet Realty, has been around longer than some of us have been alive.

Please make him feel welcome — and then go ahead and just treat him like family.


A dumpster diver’s Christmas

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

I can be counted upon to walk, after all.

When everybody’s nowhere and even the laundromats are empty. When the respectable stores are closed and the line at the 24-Hour Slurp ‘n’ Burp is 15 deep with people craving cold beer and hot salsa and high-octane unleaded. When there’s one lonely mailman in an immense empty truck delivering insanely last-minute gifts sent via God-Help-Me-If-I-Screw-It-Up-Again Express Mail. When the streets are empty and the highways are empty and the parking lots are empty and, for once, even the bars are empty — I can be counted upon to walk. You’re at home with the yule log blazing, with a glazed ham baking, with a Bordeaux breathing, with the children seething to tear into that cache of treasures parked beneath the tree. And Uncle Willie’s out walking on Christmas Eve, dragging his pencil on the pavement for no good reason at all.

“Storm windows,” John Prine sings. “Gee, but I’m getting old. Storm windows, keep away the cold.” And that’s a silly enough thought in the great outdoors. I was cutting through an apartment complex and the closed-for-the-holidays supermarket next door had left its parking lot speakers blaring. And the radio station was playing a song they’d never play if they thought anyone was listening.

I can hear the wheels of automobiles
so far away, just moving along through the drifting snow.
It’s times like these, when the temperatures freeze
I sit alone, looking at the world through a storm window.
Down on the beach, the sandman sleeps.
Time don’t fly, it bounds and leaps.
The country band, it plays for keeps.
They play it so slow…

I was about twenty feet away from a big blue dumpster and I heard a rustle. You can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take away the boy’s revulsion for rats, and I was suddenly in the mood to be walking elsewhere. But then there was a big tumble-rumble-boom, something big knocking into the steel walls of the dumpster, and I knew it wasn’t a rat.

And I knew what it was, too, and so do you. We call them dumpster divers, dismissing them with a lame joke. We read about them in the papers when some reporter wants to convince us we’re insufficiently taxed or when one of them inadvertently falls asleep inside a dumpster and gets crushed by the compactor of a garbage truck. We ignore them, mostly, because they’re revolting, but we can’t resist being berated with the idea that they’re a metaphor for our perfect indifference, those people whom we have thrown away. The penance we pay for ignoring them, as we sit down to feast, is a moment’s spasm of guilt — sinfully delicious — as an appetizer. But in fact we have not thrown them away. Other people are not ours to dispose of or reclaim, and dumpster divers are simply people so poor that they mine as wealth the treasures we spurn as garbage. Indulge your guilt if it pleases you, but you are not at fault.

But I am not proud of you for looking away, and I make a point, perhaps a vanity, of looking where you refuse to. I called out, “Yo!” This is a universally understood term of street argot; it means: “I may have a gun, and you’d better find out.”

Tumble-rumble, tumble-rumble. The side door of the dumpster swung open. A muffled voice called out, “I ain’t hurtin’ nobody. I ain’t hurtin’ no one.” An old, old black man stuck his head out and peered around. He was so thin I could see every bone and blood vessel in his head and his cheeks were sunk in where his teeth used to be. His hair was covered by a grimy doo rag and there was an unfiltered cigarette, grey with dirt, tucked behind his ear. He stood up inside the dumpster and stood with his arms hanging from the sides of the doorway, framed like some hideous post-modern crucifixion. His clothes were rags and they were covered with filth.

I couldn’t contain myself. I said: “Holy Christ…”

He cackled and said, “Not today.”

There was nothing I could say, so I said nothing.

He saw me staring so stupidly and said, “Everybody gets what they deserve. Everybody.”

I said: “But — ” But nobody deserves this.

“I thought to have it both ways, son. So now I got it no way at all. I wanted to have me somethin’ for nothin’. But it don’t work that way. Instead, I gave up every little somethin’ I had, and I got nothin’ in exchange.”


“I got me that bicycle over there. I got me these soda cans, forty cents to a pound. I got a culvert pipe I sleep in, it’s dry most of the time, don’t smell too bad.”

“Oh, man,” I moaned.

“Don’t you pity me, boy! I ain’t got nothin’, but I got my pride. I ain’t gonna let you pity that away!”

I smiled at that. I said, “Wouldn’t think of it.”

“And don’t you go tryin’ to give me your money!”

I said, “Wouldn’t think of it.”

“I had enough of other people’s money! Ain’t nothin’ costs so much as somethin’ you stole, and charity is just stealin’ with guilt for the gun. I don’t steal no more, no way, no how. I ain’t got nothin’, but it’s all mine, right and proper.”

I said, “How did… How did you get here?”

He chuckled, answering the question and not the words. “I got away with it, boy. I got away with it all!”

I said, “…?”

“Gotta go to school, can’t play hookey?” He thumbed his chest. “I got away with it. Gotta get a job, can’t shoot craps for a livin’? I got away with it. Gotta tell the truth, can’t tell no lies? I got away with it. Gotta be true, can’t run around on your woman? I got away with it. Can’t mess with them nasty white powders? I got away with it. Can’t be rippin’ off strangers, then neighbors, then friends? I got away with it. Just look at me, boy. Can’t you see I got away with everything?”

I said nothing, just swallowed hard.

“They said a man can’t live without standin’ firm for the things he believes in. Mister, can’t you see? I got away with it!” He cackled mirthlessly.

I stood lost in thought for a moment. I said, “You’re paying penance. Aren’t you?”

“Boy, I’m just payin’. Ain’t lookin’ for no easy way out. There ain’t no easy way out.”

I nodded, and I guess that was answer enough. He jumped down out of the dumpster and stood before me. He didn’t smell too bad. He stuck out his hand, offering to shake. I couldn’t tell if the look in his eyes was a plea or a challenge. Maybe it was both.

I took his hand and didn’t flinch. I shook his hand as though he were a banker or a lawyer or the smiling, beguiling salesman from Munificent Home and Life. I shook his hand as though he were a human being. Because he is.

He said, “Mister, you’ve got guts.”

“So have you.”

He smiled, and the smile was devoid of every trace of merriment. “Guts is what I got left, brotherman. Guts is what I had that couldn’t run out on me.”

“But you could have chased it away.”

“Could have. And then I’d have nothin’ at all.”

“Or nothing worth having…”

He smiled again, and this time there was a little light in it. “Merry Christmas.”

I nodded with a solemnity that I have never conferred upon any banker or lawyer or insipid insurance salesman. I said: “Merry Christmas.”

And you’re at home with the fire and the ham and the wine and the tinkling, twinkling Christmas tree. You’re safe from the fates that people the void, the spaces and faces into which you never look by means of ostentatiously looking away. But it’s not the grace of god that protects you, and it’s not Munificent Home and Life. If you forget who you are and do as you mustn’t, you may escape discovery, but you will never escape justice. You may not end up digging through dumpsters, but that won’t mean you haven’t turned your life into garbage. Nobody ever gets away with anything, and no one proves that better than those of us who pretend otherwise. “Silence is golden,” John Prine sings, “until it screams — right through your bones.”

And isn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king? And yet this is every bit of treasure my life has afforded me, and I confer it upon you with all the solemnity I can muster. You can spurn it, but you can’t return it. And if you throw it in the trash, you may see it again someday. I hope you get what you want. I make me no doubt you’ll get what you deserve.

Merry Christmas.


Lower VA funding fees, as of November 18, 2011, attract year-end veteran buyers

N.B:  On the day before I published this, HR 674 passed, reverting the funding fee amounts to the “old” levels.  It was updated in VA Circular 26-11-19, published November 22, 2011.  The “new” lower funding fee schedule was in effect for three days, from Nov 18-21.  Sorry for the confusion.

Home buying became a bunch cheaper for eligible veterans.  On November 18, 2011, the VA lowered the amount it charges veteran borrowers, for the VA loan guaranty.  Rather than charge private mortgage insurance (PMI), like conventional loans do, or a combination of an upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) and a monthly insurance premium (MIP), like the FHA does, the VA relies on a one-time charge, which can be financed, called a funding fee.

The VA looks at a service member’s life cycle and tailors the funding fee to meet his/her expected abilities to finance a home.  For example, a first-time home buyer pays a funding fee of 1.4% of the loan amount, for a zero-down loan.  The VA expects that service member to have some equity for his/her second home purchase so, should the veteran choose to buy “no-money-down”, on a subsequent purchase, the VA funding fee is double, or 2.8% of the loan amount.

Veterans who put down 5% of the purchase price are only charged .75% of the loan amount.  Veterans who put down 10% of the purchase price are only charged .5% of the purchase price.  All refinance transactions, including the no-income qualification and no appraisal needed, refinance transaction, otherwise known as the VA Interest Rate Reduction Loan (IRRL), are charged .5% of the refinanced loan.

A full table, of the new VA funding fee amounts, can be found on Mortgage Rates Report.


Unchained From A TechTard’s Prospective

I’d be criminally remiss if I didn’t first comment on how massively cool it was spending an entire day and night with the level of expertise, knowledge, experience, and plain old results present at this Unchained event. This was not a room for posers — possibly the understatement of 2011. I was in nosebleed country all day. I felt pretty much all day like I was merely an insignificant fly in the room with these guys.

Got nothin’ to say about all the GeekSpeak that went on. It was when each speaker began to elucidate their strategy(s) that I perked up and began takin’ notes. I did notice one thing that made it more than just a great day of learning. Something that had me feelin’ all warm ‘n fuzzy.

Nothing’s changed.

• Scott Schang, and later on Mark Madsen with Tony Sena, pounded home the point that measuring results is mission critical — period, shut up. More on that principle later.

• All of ’em, directly or indirectly paid homage, due tribute, to the end game of all that was taught: Gettin’ belly to belly with those seeking the aforementioned expertise, knowledge, experience, and yes, that pesky concept — results. Any outcome short of that is akin to a coffeehouse conversation with two broke ‘artists’. In other words, you’ll never get that time back, sans results.

• Mark Madsen literally humbled me with his prodigious work ethic — which when combined with his ‘do it now’ attitude reminded me so much of Dad when he was making plans for his company, back in the day. For reasons I choose not to divulge here, I’ve been unable to follow up with Mark, but that’s passed, and he’ll be hearing from me. Remember his name, cuz he’s the real deal. I don’t often get impressed, mostly cuz I’m a cynical OldSchool bastard. But believe me about Mark. It’s a shame he doesn’t write more here.

• Ever been to a concert where the first several acts knocked your socks off? One time in the 70s I went to a concert where the freakin’ opening act was Linda Ronstadt in her prime. She was followed by Loggins and Messina. Then Lynard Skynard came on stage and literally blew the place down. And no, they weren’t even the headliners. After they did the best version of Free Bird I ever heard, Rod Stewart appeared on the stage outa nowhere. Now that was a concert. So was Unchained when, after all the gold dispensed by the folks above Eric Blackwell was brought up to speak.

Many in the room, guys for whom I hold great respect and admiration, referred to Eric as a rock start. What? Huh? I’d spoken to him once on the phone, and read what he’s written here for quite awhile. We finally met before the event started, happy to finally be in the same room.

When Eric took his turn to speak, it was obvious he’d mastered his craft. I appreciate few things in life as much as someone who’s spent the time and enormous effort it takes to master the principles and skill sets of their profession. Listen to him speak for two minutes and you know he’s a member of that elite group. I will also be in contact with him, seriously so.

I’ve written here since mid-late 2006, shortly after Greg graciously invited me. If you’ve read me much you know I don’t gush. I’m not quite the crusty SOB Dad was, not yet anyway. But when I offer praise, it’s deserved. Unchained was an all too rare event, even for me. I was profoundly affected in many ways. You may be hearing about one or two in the coming year. We’ll see.

Then there was Unchained II — The Hotel Room

Sean Purcell, Brian Brady, Teri Lussier (one of my all time favorite Hounds), Mark Madsen, Scott Cowen, myself, and probably one or two I’m forgetting, adjourned to Sean and Brian’s room. ‘Til about 1:30 it was virtually all shop talk — great shop talk. There was some politics too. It was invigorating.

Towards the end, Mark Madsen took charge. He asked us, in no uncertain terms, ‘What can we do now — tonight — to help all of us here in this room?’ He became a ‘Hound with a bone, and wasn’t takin’ ‘no’ for an answer. I lined up to give him my info. As I said above, I’ll be talking with Mark very soon. My unscheduled detour has worked itself out. Mark’s offer was both team oriented, generous, and very much appreciated.

Though Brian Brady plays it down, his too short talk on how he’s succeeded with email marketing gave me two ideas I’m now beginning to implement. I will say however, that his idea of using the Socratic method of teaching with that group was comic relief. The guy knows how to generate business.

Greg and Brian have created a gem with Unchained. Like so many of you, I’ve been to many of these kinda things. Most of ’em are barely worth the networking opportunity. Unchained is pure gold.

If you can attend the next Unchained — do it.


A Peek Inside the Unchained Conference (Part 5 of 5)

Each day of the past week, I featured one of the amazing speakers from the Unchained Conference 2011. It was your chance to spend a little time with some of the most creative, innovative minds in real estate online marketing… unfortunately, that’s all it could be: a few moments. For those of us in attendance, on the other hand, we had over 10 uninterrupted hours of access…

There were many great speakers, and lots of great ideas this year.  There always are.  But at every conference – Unchained or other – there is one Keynote Speaker.  One presenter that no one will miss.  The Superstar, if you will.  The expert who turns the fire hydrant on full force and dares you to step up.  At Unchained, there is no doubt who that speaker is…

Eric Blackwell is an SEO expert, and he has helped countless real estate agents generate countless new clients through their online presence.  When he gets going on what works and what doesn’t, you can almost feel the absolute truth of his words.  Why?  Could be all the sites he runs, or the totalality of hours he has spent doing SEO work, but it really comes down to this: Eric Blackwell does SEO for a living – he’s down in the trenches every day testing, trying and correcting.  He knows what it takes to build your online presence, and we know he’s a star.

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Snow you can get outside with!

Greg posted a photo of snow, showing it as a great closing argument for Phoenix.  As usual, he’s right!  We had our first snow of the year at Lake Chelan and I just have to share it!  While Greg has a great point about the snow, take a look at these beautiful scenes.  For many, snow doesn’t mean being indoors at all.  Some of us like the snow!

The first snow means no lawn mowing for months!  People were out all over town enjoying the beauty of the day.  With the right equipment, it is hardly a hassle at all to deal with a little snow.  I have a big driveway, but a snow blower on the front of a tractor clears it quickly.

Arizona is a popular spot this time of year, even for folks from our area.  The snow does make walking more challenging.  This is not Seattle, and we have efficient plows that clear the roads, although they too are more of a challenge than dry pavement.  But, it is beautiful and we could not do our skiing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing or just playing around in all the white without it.  I just had to put up a few pictures for the other side of the story when it comes to snow!  With that, enjoy the warm Phoenix weather!


A Peek Inside the Unchained Conference (Part 4 of 5)

Each day this week, I’ve featured one of the amazing speakers from the Unchained Conference 2011. This is your chance to spend a little time with some of the most creative, innovative minds in real estate online marketing… unfortunately, that’s all it will be: a few moments. For those of us in attendance, on the other hand, we had over 10 uninterrupted hours of access…

Whether “I told you so,” or not… remember this for next time: when you hear about an Unchained Conference being scheduled, get online, get out your wallet, and get yourself there. You will leave dead tired, overwhelmed, and so filled with ideas you’ll find yourself clicking your heels and saying “There’s no place like Unchained. There’s no place like Unchained…” Leading that chant will be none other than today’s speaker:

Brian Brady is called America’s #1 Mortgage Broker by Google; but he’s got a lot more to teach than finance.  He’s been generating clients AND closed transactions from online and social media venues since way before most in the industry had even heard the terms.  At Unchained 2011, Mr. Brady took us on a wild tour of email marketing, Hollywood movies and secrets to converting prospects into clients.  Want to know how The Wizard of Ahhhs does it?  Join him on the Yellow Brick Road at the next Unchained.


An open letter to El Queso Grande: If you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas — which is news to no one.

Q: “Oh, dear! An NAR committee I am very proud to brag about belonging to is composed of clueless idiots. Whatever shall I do?”

A: Ahem.

I swear I’m not making this shit up. Witness:

“It’s time to do something different.”


(H/T Linda Davis.)


A Peek Inside the Unchained Conference (Part 3 of 5)

As promised, here’s another amazing speaker from the Unchained Conference 2011. This is your chance to spend a little time with some of the most creative, innovative minds in real estate online marketing… unfortunately, that’s all it will be: a few moments. For those of us in attendance, on the other hand, we had over 10 uninterrupted hours of access…

Today, instead of repeating the: “I told you so,” mantra… I’ll just get right to the point: the next time there’s an Unchained Conference scheduled, do everything you can to be there. You’ll leave dead tired and overwhelmed, but overflowing with ideas you can implement immediately. Which brings me to…

Mark Madsen’s real estate site and an in depth discussion on how he creates web sites that not only attract a lot of traffic, but convert that traffic into clients. Sounds difficult? You bet, but just to make his numbers all the more startling, I’ll remind you of this fact: he’s doing business in Las Vegas… otherwise known as “Ground Zero” of the housing crisis. How does he not only survive but thrive in that environment? The same way he wowed all of us who were there: he creates TRUST.


A Peek Inside the Unchained Conference (Part 2 of 5)

As promised, each day this week I’ll post a few moments from some of the speakers at the Unchained Conference 2011.  It’s your chance to spend a little time with some of the most creative, innovative minds in real estate online marketing… unfortunately, that’s all it will be: a few moments.  For those of us in attendance, on the other hand, we had over 10 uninterrupted hours of access…

I know that yesterday I did the whole: “I told you so,” thing, but it bears repeating: the next time there’s an Unchained Conference scheduled, make it a point to get yourself there.  You’ll leave dead tired, overwhelmed, and full of ideas you can implement immediately.  Speaking of which…

Scott Schang’s amazing loan site and online marketing campaign started as an idea at the first Unchained conference, and now he’s back telling us how to do it.  Oh, and reminding us that when it comes to generating prospective clients, we all get what we deserve…


A Peek Inside the Unchained Conference (1 of 5)

Each day this week (and earlier than this one, I promise) I’ll post a few moments from some of the speakers at the Unchained Conference 2011.  It’s your chance to spend a little time with some of the most creative, innovative minds in real estate online marketing… unfortunately, that’s all it will be: a few moments.  For those of us in attendance, on the other hand, we had over 10 uninterrupted hours of access…

I could say: “I told you so,” but instead I’ll say this: the next time there’s an Unchained Conference scheduled – and the way each one gets better than the one before, you better believe there’ll be more – make it a point to get yourself there.  You’ll leave dead tired, overwhelmed, and full of ideas you can implement immediately.

Here’s Greg, discussing how he creates hundreds of thousands of web pages to dominate the competition.

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Blessed Are The Implementers, For They Will Inherit the Moniker “Unchained”

I caught up on some much needed sleep yesterday, after the fifth BloodhoundBlog Unchained Conference, held in Anaheim, CA.  It is my hope that my partner Greg Swann celebrates his birthday, in relaxation and Splendor, before pondering the future of these conferences.  As the Godfather of the Unchained movement, Greg argued that the title of these conferences be “Unchained” rather than the “Unleashed” title I offered.  What Greg knew, and I understand now, is that Unchained suggests that the Bloodhound was never enslaved while unleashed suggests prior submission.

If you missed our show in Anaheim, you missed the proof in the pudding.  I’ll give you an overview:

Greg Swann led us off with a demonstration of his Chinese army; software which creates tens of thousands of unique webpages, with granular listing data.  Greg showed us how he can close the publishing gap, in less than an hour each week.  Greg continually invents new and exciting software, to stay one step ahead of the market competitors, who would try tho chain him.

Scott Schang came to Unchained 2008 on, how he has described it, “his final few bucks”.  He took the ideas offered there, implemented them here, and created a business which employs a half-dozen people.  He shared his online business plan, his accomplishments and mistakes, and how he overcame market changes to stay relevant in the consumers’ eyes.  From borrowed bus fare to accomplished entrepreneur, in 40 months, Scott has a database of willing home buyers, numbering in the five figures—Scott is Unchained.

Brian Summerfield, of the National Association of Realtors, came to take some body blows from the crew.  It was his motivation which impressed me; he transparently announced that he came to address us because he wants content for .  Mr. Summerfield invites constructive criticism of NAR on its forum.  Contact him if you have an opinion to offer.

Bill Lyons, a serial entrepreneur, shared his latest creation for consumers, . offers investors an IDX search with rental data.  Home buyers can search listings by net cash flow or capitalization rate. is expected to be released right before Thanksgiving.

Mark Madsen and Tony Sena reflect their Vegas heritage well.  Never content to seek the chains of employment, the pair created as a business community alternative to  That site inspired the wildly successful group blog, where Mark assembles some of the greatest mortgage minds across the country.  Mark and Tony attended Unchained 2009,  learned some valuable information and made invaluable contacts, to launch their latest venture, Shelter Realty.  Their presentation chronicled the steps they took to make this new business a force in the SERPs.  Both gentlemen embody the Unchained spirit.

Eric Blackwell knows search engine optimization.  When we first met Eric, at Unchained Orlando, he was toiling away for a Louisville brokerage.  The contacts he made, along with some salesmanship skills he learned, set Eric up for the challenge of entrepreneurship.  Eric overcame a health scare to launch his own SEO consultancy; Eric on Search.  Today, Eric helps regional brokerages and high-producing agents, dominate the SERPS in their region.  While Eric is certainly the “rock star” of Unchained, he also demonstrated some of the things he learned, to wear the Unchained moniker.

Trudy Smit was an Unchained first-timer and shared her project, Loan Interchange, an online marketing platform for loan origination and secondary notes marketing.  Her technology offers notes investors and opportunity to buy and sell, in a centralized location where participants are vetted.

Finally, I led an ill-prepared session on email marketing.  I intended to share my video e-mail marketing campaigns, which helped me to achieve a higher conversion rate, but the hotel internet was too slow for a good performance.  Good entrepreneurs however, have plans– and contingent plans. Business never pans out the way you think it will so you must anticipate the problems you might have.  In a sense, I had chained myself to a presentation which relied upon an inflexible plan.  Our Unchained conferences teach lessons to everybody so my takeaway is that you must be prepared for any and all opportunities.  If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, I was “unlucky” because I was unprepared.

The Unchained philosophy is one of freedom–the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail.  We know that our world and industries are changing rapidly.  Old bosses are being replaced by new bosses and the Unchained practitioner will supplant all bosses, to chart her own course, serve her customers, and profit wildly.  We hope to continue to give you the tools you need, to profit wildly, and share the experiences of those who implemented the strategies they learned with us.

Born Free and Determined to Stay That Way,

Brian Brady


The Proprietor Is Celebrating Another Spin Around the Sun

Happy Birthday, Greg!




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