A Real Estate Lab Rat in the Lab

It has been too long since I jumped off the wheel and out of the maze to write.   Everyday I promise myself I’ll take time to write.   Before I know it, 100 emails have been read and answered and the sun has crossed the sky.   Night falls and with it the temperature in my west facing office climbs to points I and the computers can barely function.

REBARCAMP Phoenix (memories of REBLOGWORLD Las Vegas)

I last wrote about tweetgrid and building quality one way back-links using local media.   Those were written in preparation for Bloodhound Unchained in Phx.   The week before the conference I was at REBAR Camp Phoenix and spent some of the day with Kristal Kraft whom I met last year at REBLOGWORLD in Las Vegas when Teresa Boardman introduced us.   Kristal, is a shutterbug of renown in her own right. We hit it off immediately as we traipsed around Las Vegas late at night shooting the sites.   Kristal had foot surgery the week or so before and was hobbling pretty good, I don’t know how she managed to take a tripod and camera on a bus, but she did and down to Freemont street we went.   Teresa Boardman (another fantastic shutterbug) Kristal and I made up the three musketeers with cameras.   Kristal with a tripod, T with a monopod and me with a D300 set to ISO 2000 and High Noise Reduction turned on to make it possible to leave the extra gear behind.   But I digress.

Kristal was coming to Unchained the following week to present on Marketing with WordPress.   She was to be a co-presenter but her co-hort Linda Davis couldn’t make the trip   (too bad, I’ve always wanted to meet her IRL, another shutterbug) do you see a pattern here?   I volunteered to help with the session since I spend a little time marketing with WordPress myself and it would give me a good opportunity to chat more and maybe photo-walk in Phx.   (That didn’t happen, no time for photos)   It also meant I was finally after 4 years going to get to meet Eric Blackwell with whom I’ve been friends most of those 4 years.

Unchained the Following Week

Greg Swan and Brian Brady gracefully extended an invitation to the party crasher.   I didn’t know what to expect, but what I saw there was a whole lot of people willing to spend from 7 am to 9 pm each day in working sessions then work some more from 9 pm to 1 am or later on their blogs, websites, and learning even more about marketing and improving their skills.   These people all came to work and work they did.   It was like the hotel California where you could check in but you couldn’t check out.   I did manage to escape on Friday afternoon before the rap up session.   I met a lot of great people.

If you go to an Unchained conference expect to work.   There is some time to socialize, very little unless it is around work, but an outright   party, forget it.

I know there are polarized opposite ends of the RE Blogging world, I suppose it is human nature.   I’m too busy most of the time to notice part of the dial-up geek in me.   I can say, I’ve learned from every event I’ve gone to at either end of the spectrum.   It seems I’m a person who is by nature anti-social who likes people.   Go figure.   Time to move on.

While there and talking with some at the conference I learned that a lot of agents are suddenly being faced with their hosting companies shutting down as a result of the economy.   Some are suddenly faced with the need to migrate all their content from one site to a new location.   I’ll write more about this yet this week on Why I’m still a huge fan of self hosting your site/sites.

I’m working on launching a new project I think I mentioned once a few weeks ago, be patient it is coming soon.


Kristal implored, twisted, begged, and in general said I had to come to Denver for REBARCAMP there on May 22.   Her motives are purely personal and selfish.   She wants me to do a session on HDR post processing of images.   I’ll write more on this soon as well.

Coaching and Consulting

One of my goals this year was to spend more time developing my own passions.   If you have been a long time reader here at the Lab you know I don’t care much about real estate.   I’m not interested in the topic nationally or locally.   I don’t write contracts and the entire process is something I find amazing and have the greatest respect for those who work in this field and write contracts, take clients out, do inspections, BINSRs, and on and on and on. I find it both frightening and boring at the same time (the legal part of it).

I have been fortunate to spend the past 4 years writing/blogging, marketing, designing single property sites, blogging about Tucson and photographing the Desert Southwest as a part of our marketing our service and our community.   Now I’m branching out and taking on clients of my own, but not for real estate, unless it is virtual real estate, I’m modify blogs themes, help agents move from hosting companies to setting up self-hosting and coaching some who are getting started in blogging.

I like helping bloggers take control of their content.   It is also gratifying to save them money, in some cases a lot of money by moving away from hosting that is costing up to $250 a month or more to self-hosting for less than $150 a year.   Modifying and personalizing themes and getting paid for doing it is a blog geeks dream come true.

The Real Estate Blog Lab in the Future and Beyond

At Unchained some participants had never heard of the Lab.   Some even wanted to know what it cost to subscribe to the content.   Most were wondering how I make any money at it?   LOL, I don’t, never intended to.   This isn’t going to change.   Everyone is welcome now, and will be in the future.

With all these things I’m now involved in the question arises: Do I have time for the Lab>   YES, as a matter of fact the more development and design work I do the more content I have for the Lab.   Not only am I coming up with things to share from my own blogging but with each new person I do work for, I encounter new problems to solve and new solutions to share.

There, I passed the 1000 word make for a blog post once again.   Anybody still reading?   BTW, do you like the Gallery in a row down the post instead of all together?   That’s a piece of CSS I came up with this week for my Tucson blog.   I’ll share how to do this for your NextGen Galleries in a post soon.   Maybe this week, let’s see, how many posts have I promised to write in this one, anyone counting?


  1. Geez Dave, you put together enough content in this article to make for several blog entries. I have all sorts of thoughts, but let me start by saying I really appreciate meeting you at Unchained. I’ve been successful in life in many ways and almost always as a result of rubbing shoulders with someone who is better than me in one or more aspects. You are one of those guys Dave!

    “If you have been a long time reader here at the Lab you know I don’t care much about real estate.”

    Uh, the name of this blog is “Real Estate Blog Lab,” therefore you are stuck with us, and stuck with real estate. Nice try to get out, but you are in, hook, line, and sinker! lol

    “I passed the 1000 word mark for a blog post once again. Anybody still reading? BTW, do you like the Gallery in a row down the post instead of all together?”

    Yup, I made it to the end and love the pics. I’m seeing that HD thing you showed me at Unchained all over these pics. Nice!

  2. OK I hear you calling all the way from Tucson! Yes, I begged, ranted and cried for you to come to Denver! I’m so glad you finally saw the light and agreed! Now we can go shoot Denver and the mountains and the sunrise and the sunset and in between you can teach me HDR and T can show me how to take crooked pictures of stuff and we can argue and insult each other (that’s T and me) and you will be very happy to go home! Just kidding.

    Bloodhound Unchained was a terrific experience. I like the Hotel California comparison we all learned a lot and came away so much smarter. Getting a bunch of smart people together for 72 hours truly elevates the blood to the brain.

    Now if I can just find the time to implement what I learned and finish organizing the REBC Denver!

    Glad you are coming! It will be worth the trip. I promise!

  3. Yes we all had a wonderful time roaming the streets of Vegas with our cameras. I have to say I had no idea what a GEEK you are until we met in person. I think you will do wonderfully with the consulting. You are good at problem solving and at explaining things to people like me who like to use the word thingy. Thanks for the help you gave me with my new site. It is saving me money each month and is so much better than the template real estate web site that I had before that there is no comparison. All too often we are sold dumbed down inferior products and charged an arm and a leg for them. Led to believe that these products are wonderful and will help our businesses. The people who make the products either don’t understand our business or they don’t understand technology and they definitely don’t understand marketing. With your experience as an industry insider you should be able to bridge the gap . . Good luck to you!

    As for the HDR I wrote an article about it for Inman news. I believe photography is more important than ever before when it comes to marketing real estate. My clients love the photos that I use when I market their homes and so do potential buyers. HDR is inexpensive and effective. I hope that the real estate industry embraces the technique the way that we have. The photos on most of the MLS sites are an embarrassment to the industry and we need to raise the standards.

  4. As much as I hate to admit it, I do agree with Teresa here You are a fabulous consultant and an amazing geek. You will do well pursuing those passions.

    Once again T is right about photography being oh so important in our industry. The marriage of real estate and the web make having compelling images ever so more important. The numbers of agents who just don’t “get it” totally amaze me. This one compartment of our business needs to be done right or outsourced. Photos make the difference between attracting buyers or not.

    Of course when working as a buyers agent it’s always a thrill to locate a fabulous home that was never represented well online. The sellers jump at a deal and the buyers and I never tell!

  5. I admit, I read the entire post. I read it completely because there is an excellent chance I might just learn something. I think the pictures on the side of the post really enhance the article, especially when they can be enlarged and viewed in a slide show. I think this would be a great feature to use when I blog about a listing on our company website.

  6. Doug,

    Today, I’ll show you how to do this in any post with the NextGen Gallery Plugin and a little CSS code added to your style sheet and a div to your post.

    All pretty simple to setup with great looking results.

    BTW, I just turned commentluv back on. It was breaking the theme navigation at the top with it’s javascript. I’ve decided to let it be broken. When you mouse over the pic in the top they no longer display the post title. But when you hold the mouse over the images the post title will appear.

  7. Your comment counter thingy is broken.

    Kristal Kraft ´s last blog post..Lies, Life and Stuff

  8. Never mind. I see it records the total. My bad.

    Kristal Kraft ´s last blog post..Lies, Life and Stuff

  9. I am going to REBarCamp Denver. I am glad Kristal was successful in bribing you to do a session. She does pay very well.

    I will be there to learn. See you then!

    BTW: I own a home in Dove Mountain so I consider Tucson to be my “other home”. It’s a great town!

    Larry Hotz ´s last blog post..Castle Pines Market Report

  10. Larry,

    Look me up, I would love to meet you. It looks like there are going to be hundreds of people there for the day. With so many people in one place it is too bad it is only for a day.

  11. Who would have thought so many would come to REBarCamp in Denver? Sign-ups started out slowly. But now there 404 signed up and the organizers had to change the venue to accommodate the large crowd.

    I am looking forward to meeting you Dave. It should be a great event.

    Larry Hotz ´s last blog post..Castle Pines Market Report