Top 10 Bloggers of 2007: deansguide’s Resource Guide

As a newly minted blogger, March 2007, I have met and read many bloggers in the blogosphere who have had a profound impact on real estate, business, and health. The following is a list of deansguide’s choice as the Top 10 Bloggers for 2007:

1. Pat Kitano www.transparentre.com and domusconsultinggroup.com: A former top Wall St. investment banker, Pat’s blog transparentre.com was voted one of 25 most innovative blogs for 2007 by Inman News organization. Pat’s continual stream of hard boiled analysis, Wall St. experience, and visionary instinct makes him a must read for real professionals, start up entrepreneurs, and Web 2.0 technology followers. pat-domus-pic.jpg

2. Susan Hanshaw www.sanctuaryforchange.com; susanhanshaw.wordpress.com; innerarchitect.com: Susan left a successful 20 yr corporate career in direct marketing which culminated in a position as VP. Her departure into spiritual and inspirational endeavors produced a book “Unleashing Your Soul: Finding the Courage To Follow Your Heart”, a successful appearance on Martha Stewart XM Radio channel, and a number of speaking engagements throughout California.

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Her tips on positive energy, raising your vibration, and studies into the new frontier of spirituality meets science (quantum physics) make her blogs and website vast libraries of valuable information. Susan provides tools and thought provoking strategies for personal development for individuals, organizations, and corporate entities looking to strengthen their “Human Capital” through educational enrichment.

3. John Harper theharperteam: John Harper, Danville, CA Keller Williams agent, writes a template and guide map for Realtors searching for answers on “How to” write a hyper local blog. Recognized as a leader in the real estate blogosphere, John Harper incorporates local news, trends, and insider information that creates a window into the areas that he represents geographically as well as his niche business strengths. If I were a Realtor who was about to launch a blog I would study theharperteam.com extensively for direction and ideas. john-harper.jpg

4. Kevin Boer 3oceansrealestate.com: Kevin is a Yale MBA and former McKinsey consultant with vast business consulting experience beyond the norm found in real estate. Kevin’s blog is the ultimate template for strategy in google search placement, hyper local content, contributor panels, and how to capture your local market while locking out your competition. A co-founder of Domus Consulting Group along with Pat Kitano, Boer represents the new breed of Realtor: niche driven, Wall St. smart, technology savvy with global reach.

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5. Tommy’s therealestatebloggers: this blog is a professional journalistic quality example of how to write a hard hitting fast acting real estate news blog without being an agent. He writes and reports with a national and international scope that attracts huge traffic. Tommy’s blog is a fantastic example of the power social networking, keen ad placement, and thought provoking-reader commenting content. This blog IS A MUST READ for anyone watching the real estate market and industry from novice to cutting edge professionals.

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6. Brad Andersohn activerain.com/blogs/bandersohn : Brad is a title rep with fantastic advice, free information, as well as market analysis. This is a very valuable site for both homeowners as well as Realtors looking for answers. Brad writes about a broad scope of industry news as well as his specialty title insurance. Comprehensive and instructive in nature, Brad’s blog on Active Rain provides answers from a trusted industry professional at no cost. Thetone is everything the blogosphere is about: share information, be honest, provide value. brad-andersohn.jpg

7. Brasschecktv.com: For the conspiracy theorist in us all, this site provides a mountain of video on every type of conspiracy under the sun. From 9/11 to JFK, brasscheck has historical and vital documents which provide a living breathing record source that is easy to navigate, access, and utilize. If you really want to know the truth check out Jordan Maxwell. (No Pictures Available)

8. Joe Firmage www.firmage.org : Joe Firmage is a Silicon Valley legend who believes in the unbelievable, accomplishes the unthinkable, and stands by his principles like no other before him. A boy-wonder, Joe built US Web and then left the Valley after proclaiming his belief in UFOs and many other concepts scoffed at by his peers.

Firmage’s current project is to build the world’s largest network of free information portals that are manned by the most brilliant minds in each field:

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“. . . an Internet-based visual navigation system for scientific knowledge, experience, and exploration, built upon a rich-media collaborative publishing system.”

The portals will not be used to generate advertising revenue thus they will remain objective and open to analysis without the dirty hands of self loathing, self importance, and self indulgent American media tainting the information.

9. Tom Voight zodiackiller.com: Although this is not a traditional blog, my friend Tom Voight (son to the writer) site added over 1,200 pages in 2007. Tom writes his own copy and currently runs what is considered the highest authority on the Zodiac Killer in the world. His site garners upwards of 2 MILLION visits per month. Recently a English tabloid claimed that idiotic Brittany Spears is a regular reader of the site. tom-voight.jpg

This site is super rich with content, forums, and social networking having to do with the long time hunt for the Zodiac. If you were a Bay Area native and lived through this terrible and frightening time ( I am and remember the Zodiac) then this site clarifies and focuses on what is known to this point today.

10. Blogosphere: The collection of blog authors around the globe who diligently and willingly produce content day in and day out. People who share their expertise, share tips, provide How to guides, and inform readers. Authors who express themselves by giving first and asking second.

To my fellow bloggers-we are the new generation of media. The old guard media is finally under attack and losing the war for readership. “Citizen journalism” is winning the war with our weapon of choice “radical transparency.” We are beholden to no corporations, no conglomerates, no undue influences. We ARE the PEOPLE, writing for THE PEOPLE, standing TOGETHER to DELIVER OUR MESSAGE.

Honorable Mention: Walt Goshert’s Marketing blog has fantastic tips and inspirational messages and Gorilla Sushi a entertaining blog written by committee that has unique content from scientific experiments to comedy.

Peace in the New Year and Best Wishes to all!

Realtors’ Down Market Tip #8: If You Refuse To Blog Here Are 15 Reasons To Convince Your Broker To Blog

NOTE: If you are a Realtor who reads this blog this may be the most important article I have ever written about your industry. If you wish continued success, survival in a very down market environment, or if you wish to flourish while your competition flounders then please read this article and consider the suggestions and data presented.

In “Realtor’s Down Market Tip#7: If You Refuse To Blog Make Your Website A Problem Solver!” I outlined marketing strategies for Realtors, thanks to Walt Goshert, who would not adopt blogging. For those Realtors who will never create their own blog, I strongly urge them to ask their brokers to create a company branded blog.

Broker’s next generation online marketing presence will be accomplished through what Pat Kitano and Kevin Boer of Domus Consulting Group call Local Blog Networks. The power of this blogging platform and strategy will change the face of the real estate industry as you know it now. The era of your local newspaper and magazine listings, photos, and ads is quickly being overtaken by the explosion of online blogs with rich consumer-user experiences.

In what I like to call the 3-D communication system, I consider email 1-D or one dimensional. The tone and message delivered is easily misunderstood and has little value aka newsletters. A 2-D communication would be “brochure-ware” Web 1.0 websites that do little but push info out with no direct contact and collaboration between the intended target of your message. If newspaper advertising is somewhere between a 1 and 2 dimensional experience then a Local Blog Network should be considered a 3-D delivery system.

In the 3-D system the message intended for a target audience is both rich with content and collaboration. The blog or blog network drives information to consumers, consumers can directly communicate and collaborate with the author(s) of the blog or blog network, and the blogger(s) are able to instantly measure their target’s feedback and reading habits.

If this is not enough evidence of the paradigm shift in real estate marketing provided by Domus Consulting Group and other independent Realtor blogs, then consider a report by Daysha at Blogbust about the 15 facts about blogging as presented at the Blog World and New Media Expo:

1. Over 12 million adults maintain a blog

2. More than 147 million Americans use the internet

3. Over 57 million Americans read blogs

4. 1.7 million adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog

5. 89% of companies surveyed say they believe that blogs will be more important in the next 5 years

6. 9% of internet users say they have created blogs

7. 6% of the entire U.S. adult population has created a blog

8. Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs

9. Over 120,000 blogs are created every day

10. There are over 1.4 million new blog “posts” every day

11. 22 of the most popular 100 websites are blogs

12. 120,000 new blogs are created every day

13. 37% of blog readers began reading blogs in 2005 or 2006

14. 51% of blog readers shop online

15. Blog readers average 23 hours online each week

If I were a broker owner I would concentrate on a number of these facts that suggest that people’s media habits are rapidly changing in favor of internet sources rather than traditional channels. If your broker is unaware of this quickly evolving trend, ignoring the mounting evidence, or reluctant to adopt blogging then consider showing him/her examples of this industry change. You may just be saving your job.

Realtor’s Down Market Tip #7: If You Refuse To Blog Make Your Website A Problem Solver!

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Courtesy wiki-collossus

Many Realtors remain on the blogishpere sidelines by refusing to acknowledge the incredible value that creating a blog would represent to their business marketing, lead generation, and overall industry knowledge. Instead these Realtors stick with the tried and formerly true method of a staid “non moving” web site. These web sites utilize a “electronic brochure” Web 1.0 presentation of services and products with a heavy dose of salesmanship sure to turn off any consumer-or put them to sleep. For an example of why to blog see Pat Kitano’s “Blogging Primers.”

Meanwhile this group of low tech Realtors are losing market share, Google Search placement aka The Google Land Grab, as well as the opportunity to create value for prospective clients and networking partners. Their competitors gleefully blog, socially network within the industry creating alliances, and generate an ongoing “moveable” resume that adds value to consumers.

If you are one of these low tech Realtors you do have an option, if you refuse to create a blog, that will help make your website more attractive to consumers and your business.

The following tips come from Marketing business owner Walt Goshert of “7 Habits of Peak Performance” blog. Walt wrote a great article “Habit #4 A Wide Awake Website” which outlines some fantastic methods of creating smart websites. How did I meet Walt? I met Walt at the web directory social networking site Mybloglog.com. Here are Walt’s tips:

1. The Internet allows a two way flow of information between your business and the consumer.

Walt suggests that website owners use Pictures, Audio, Video, Free download reports , email, and email courses in order to faciliate interest in creating some dialog and communication with consumers.

2. Free Information on your site is inexpensive in comparison to print-media advertising campaigns.

3. Consumer information can be captured by your site monitoring programs which allows the owner to understand what consumers want, like, and utilize. It also gives the website owner a faster return of information than with traditional offline marketing advertising.

The last tip is the biggie, the value add, and the most important (yet simple) concept to running a successful website:

4. “Stop Using the Internet to Market your products and services.” Simply put the key to using the internet is NOT tactics, tricks, and tweaks. Instead here is Walt’s advise:

“Use the Internet to market information about problems that your prospects and clients have that you are uniquely qualified to solve.” Walt Goshert

Here are my tips to get you started:

1. Google search your prospects or clients problems: For Realtors search with tags like “Top problems facing home buyers” or any type of search that describes the niche you service.

2. Research: Once you have identified the top problems facing your target market and current clients-ask for help! Pole your mentor(s), ask for feedback from clients, mine your email for examples of how you created solutions for problems, or socially network on Active Rain and ask for ideas. Do your homework.

3. Redesign your website: Acknowledge your prospects and client challenges via a page or bullet point landing page. Then on each point have that point link to your unique method of solving the problem. As Walt mentioned before, provide tools such as video, audio, free download documents, and newsletters to accomplish that connection you are looking to achieve.

Realtors’ Down Market Warning #1-Thomas Musil Posits: “Will Real Estate Agents Be Replaced With Virtual Deals?”

Foxbusiness.com placed this post 12/6/2007

Who is Thomas Musil? Thomas Musil is the director of the Shenehon Center for Real Estate in the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He is a Phd, real estate broker, analyst, consultant, and expert witness in real estate litigation and arbitration disputes.

Dr. Musil has also served on the following boards and committees: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Building Owners and Managers Association; the Appraisal Institute; the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks; National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives; and the American Real Estate Society.

This man is worth considering, listening to, and pondering his warning as a call to take action.

Below are excerpts and points from Dr. Musil’s article “Will real estate agents be replaced with virtual deals?”

1. The next step for real estate “virtual transactions, could happen.”

2. Many real estate services are already online.”

3. Skepticism is alive and raging over amounts of commissions earned by agents and their “veracity.”

4.Could the consumer set the stage for a revolution in real estate transactions?”

Dr. Musil’s answers to his posits and points:

1. Technology is changing all business niches and real estate is not exempt from this change.

2. Technology provides more information to the consumer and “market activities are more transparent.” See Pat Kitano’s great article on radical transparency.

3. Although media has posited that the “Realtor is going the way of the dinosaur, travel agent, and stockbroker. . . Agents bring value to transactions.”

4. This Realtor Value is due to the increased “complexity, regulation, requirements, and procedures facing real estate buyers and sellers.”

Analysis: Many consumers will opt to perform as many functions of the process of buying or selling real estate in the virtual world as is possible. Online signatures, a specialty of super agent Kevin Boer of 3Oceansrealestate.com, is just one example of the virtual world’s new role in the transaction.

In the final analysis, a majority of consumers will rely upon an agent to help them complete their transactions. Although this will remain the status quo, Realtors must learn and adopt as many virtual “functions” as possible in order to remain credible and viable to all consumers.

Update–Haven Exchange President Dorothy Zink Sets The Record Straight: “Our Customer’s Signature IS Required Prior To Any Release of Funds”

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With this year’s 1031 Tax Group (Ed Okun) and Southwest Exchange (Donald McGhan) disasters fresh in investor’s minds, deansguide has focussed on providing information for investors to consider during their due diligence investigations of this investment strategy. Our recent installment spotlighted Haven Exchange and Union Bank’s “transparency program” aimed at making every step of the exchange process completely clear and under the investor’s control.

In my analysis, with the urging of other industry professionals comments, I posited the idea that true transparency can only be gained if an investor has in place a two signature clause on any exchange accounts holding their money. The two signature clause is the most fail safe approach, I have hear of to date, in preventing fraud or embezzlement during a 1031 exchange.

Below is a recent comment by Haven Exchange President Dorothy Zink. Dorothy has provided the missing link to the question: Does Haven Exchange and Union Bank provide a two signature clause for investors during the 1031 exchange transaction? We are happy to report that Haven Exchange and Union Bank do provide this very important feature in their transactions according to Dorothy’s comment below:

  1. Dorothy Zink | dorothyzink@havenexchange.com | havenexchange.com | IP: 65.60.65.2It can only be with great joy and relief that you receive the news that each one of Haven Exchange’s segregated exchange accounts ARE dual signature, qualified escrow accounts. Our customer’s signature IS required prior to any release of funds.The monthly statements are important because they prove the existance of the segregated accounts. Additionally, Fidelity Bond policies contain a “per occurrance” clause, and segreated accounts extend full bond coverage to each account.Since any difference in earnings paid to a commingled account seldom make it into the pocket of the Taxpayer, but are retained by the Qualified Intermediary, its mention by the Qualified Intermediary is rather misleading. Our customer’s monthly statements reflect the interest rate paid along with the amount. Transparency is beautiful.To quote Mark Twain, “We specialize in the return OF your principle, rather than the return ON your principle.”Nov 28, 8:25 PM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — Haven Exchange’s 1031 “Transparency”: Will This Model Prevent 1031 Exchange Fraud or Embezzlement In The Future?

Remember always perform your due diligence with a qualified professional ie attorney, CPA, or investment advisor for added protection. Thanks again to Dorothy for bringing this important information to our readers.

Step #1 For Realtors To Understand Real Estates Paradigm Shift: Your World Is Changing Do Not Get Left In The Dust

Foxbusiness.com picked up this article 11/29/2007

The world of real estate is going through a paradigm shift of the highest order with marketing campaigns moving from print to online (see therealestatebloggers.com for data), clients becoming more active in their search for information, and lead generation for Realtors becoming informational rather than self promotional. Understanding this massive shift is just the beginning to stepping into the progressive changes that are occurring in the industry.

Many Realtors deserved or not (my mom is a Realtor) have over the years been perceived by the public as information hording (MLS data), win-lose based, high pressure salespeople. The perception of the greedy Realtor is being changed with the adoption of Web 2.0 sharing of information, blogging and the tone of the blogisphere, as well as the continued demands on extensive Realtor education.

Therefore Step #1 for a Realtor to understand this paradigm shift is to cease being a salesperson. For an example of a salesperson view our video above. Stay away from selling clients, pressuring decisions, cajoling, or using any number of outmoded-outdated sales tactics meant to elicit the magic “Yes” word. Those days are over! Now repeat after me: “Those days are over.”

Today’s Realtor is a collaborative partner, information wellspring, and a thought provoking ally to the client. By becoming an expert in your niche, providing an endless amount of value through expertise and information, and allowing clients to feel comfortable, you will create the type of business you wish to achieve.

Step #1: Drop the salesman persona and you will begin your ascent into the future of real estate.

5 Tips To Generate Realtor Site Content: A Beginners Guide To Creating Your “Content” Library

The biggest complaint Realtor’s harbor when deciding on beginning a blog is the task of coming up with new and fresh articles day in and day out. Although many other obstacles, of much greater importance, stand in the way of adoption, generating content seems to be the biggest fear. Stop making excuses, stop being afraid of the unknown, here are a few simple tips to help you find your content:

1. Notebook or Notebook: Always keep one of the following tools with you everywhere you go. Either carry a small paper notebook and pencil or your notebook computer. Ideas can and will strike you at anytime during the day or at night. Do not let these ideas slip into the abyss of your untraceable memory. Write or type everything down. The alternative to this method is to use your cell phone to record a “memo” of a content idea or a small tape recorder ala “Mission Impossible.” The blog http://theblogexperiment.com is a great resource and they give great reasons to “write everything down.”

By implementing this practice, you will find ideas throughout your work day or in conversation with others.

2. Mine Your Email: Within your email archive lies a library of content ideas. Look for situations where you have “fixed” a problem for a client. Search for newsletter or correspondence from information sources with industry information pertinent to your niche. Finally Scour through and identify actions you have taken to help someone else or answers you have provided. These are blog articles waiting to happen!

3. Lists or Guides: Often thought of as linkbaiting (a subject for another post), compiling a article about a list of “do’s or don’ts”, a list of “tips” (sound familiar), or a “How to Guide” is considered the most popular types of content to provide your readers. Simply put, we all love to learn and these types of articles garner readership. How do you find tips, lists, or guide material? Take an inventory of your business niche and expertise. What do you know that would help others? What “secrets” or “tips” do you know that would help save people time or money? Get the picture? You are an authority on something. Bring that knowledge forward to your readers.

4. Research Your Competition: Go to Google Blog Search or Google Search and begin to identify the top bloggers in your region and your niche business. Make a list of their “themes”, “Tips-Lists-Guides” articles, and observe the comments that these bloggers are receiving. Now if you agree with an article then write one with your positive analysis. If you disagree with an article then make an argument for a better solution; support your solution and present it as a compare and contrast article.

5. Read, Read, Read: Online news sites are popular but what about a site that crams everything from mainstream news down to Web 2.0 mashable sites with multiple media deliveries ie video, audio, text. Try www.popurls.com as a source of fantastic content ideas. Popurl provides bullet point, easy to follow, descriptions of stories that are categorized for the reader. Each point is a link to an article. Each link then opens the door to a world of content within the site you are visiting.

Tip: If you are mining for content in another blog then look at that blog’s blogroll or outgoing links. Those sources will open up even more content sources with similar information as the original link you followed. My investigation of popurls led me to Guy Kawasaki a truly gifted speaker and a dynamo full of content ideas. See Guy’s article on popurls here:

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/09/reality-check-p.html

These 5 Tips will help you begin to aggregate ideas for content boosting your confidence and demonstrating once again that the only thing stopping you from success is you yourself.

“84 Percent of Journalists Okay Blogs As A Source For News Articles”: 2007 Arketi Web Watch Survey Validates Bloggers As Viable Content Source For National Media

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In what must be a surprise to those who do not understand blogging and others who hold fast to the traditional print media supremacy within the world of information distribution, the respected Arketi Group’s “Web Watch Survey” reports that “when it comes to using blogs as primary or secondary sources for articles, 84 percent of journalist say they would or already have.” This admission by main stream journalists points to the relevance of blogging as a viable and important information source, it indicates that blogging is no longer a hobbyists endeavor, and it culminates the suspicions that the main stream media is being forced (kicking and screaming) into the new delivery channel that is the internet. Thanks to Tim at blogburst, and the Center for Media Research, for the following information in his great article “Journalists Using Blogs As Sources.” Asked how they use the internet journalists replied:

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* 100% of the journalists interviewed say they rely on the internet for content

* 98% say reading news

* 97% say emailing

* 93% say finding news sources

* 89% say finding story ideas

* 72% say reading blogs (I suspect this number is actually higher)

* 67% say watching webinars or webcasts

Conclusion: Although I consult to the real estate industry, all industry must investigate and observe this shift in main stream media. Niches like law firms, insurance brokers, medical and dental practitioners, and other service providers must consider the advantages to blogging. Most of the aforementioned niches are not yet populated or overrun with well established blogs. The timing is right right now to get started in claiming your piece of the Google “Land Grab” aka Google search(s) page one top 10 spots for important searches within your industry.

Rupert Murdoch Drops Wall St. Journal Online Subscription Fees: Blogging aka Citizen Journalism’s Impact on Traditional Media-Do You Get It Mr. & Mrs. Realtor?

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Courtesy www.gettyimages.com

Reuters.com of Europe picked up this article 

In what should be viewed with interest, as well as delight, by bloggers and main stream media corporations, Rupert Murdoch has announced plans to drop subscription fees for the Wall Street Journal online service according to www.nytimes.com. According to Associated Press sources Murdoch is simply “. . . trading subscription fees for anticipated ad revenue.” Congratulations are in order as another very large media entity is transitioning from traditional channels to the new and growing online delivery system.

1. Do you get what is happening in the American media landscape Mr. & Mrs. Realtor?

2. Do you understand that print media giants like Murdoch understand the breathe and reach of their online businesses?

3. Do you see that citizen journalists aka bloggers just like yourself can and will provide the inertia driving marketing and media to online channels and away from traditional formats in the near future?

4. Do you understand the effect that this move from print to net will mean for your business going forward today and in the future?

These questions can be answered by doing a simple investigation. Go to Google and begin to research all of the key words that describe your business and how a consumer would find you online. Search your city, town, neighborhood, county with terms such as the following ” Your City Realtor.” Broaden your search by adding more descriptive words such as a neighborhood, real estate specialty ie broker-buyer’s agent-foreclosure expert, or any other words that would describe who and what your business is about. Do you show up on the first page in one of the top 10 spots in any of these Google searches?

Conclusion: Online marketing is a Realtor’s new best weapon in the fight for recognition, reputation management, lead generation, and gathering information from consumers. Pay attention and take action!

If you paid for a sponsored link that is fine but remember that most consumers viewthese sponsored links, at the top of Google search page one and on the right sidebar, as blatant sales advertisements. Often these sponsored links do not provide much traffic because of the nature of this perception.

Haven Exchange’s 1031 “Transparency”: Will This Model Prevent 1031 Exchange Fraud or Embezzlement In The Future?

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FoxBusiness.com picked up this article

Haven Exchange, a Huntington Beach, California based 1031 Exchange services company, claims to have come up with the answer to potential fraud and security issues now plaguing the 1031 industry. Haven describes their new service as “breaking new ground by creating transparency for 1031 Exchange funds.” More to the point, Haven’s transparency program is centered around allowing the consumer to watch their funds during the entire exchange transaction. Is this the type of service that will prevent the Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group or Donald McGhan Southwest type disasters in the future?

Here is how it works according to Havenexchange.com/news: “The clients of Haven Exchange will now receive monthly statements directly from Union Bank, providing them with complete assurance that their funds are fully segregated in separately held, FDIC insured, totally liquid money market accounts. The statements reflect any and all activity, including interest earned, leaving no room for doubt about how the funds are invested and growth proceeds therefrom.”

My question is with the above statement: “The statements reflect any and all activity, including interest earned, leaving no room for doubt about how the funds are invested and growth proceeds therefrom.” Does that mean that your monthly statement and transaction are controlled by a joint signature account? An account where the exchanger must receive permission to withdraw any funds, for any transaction, from the consumer via their signature? Without a dual signature account set up, transparency becomes less effective. Total control in my opinion means two signatures: that of the consumer approving an investment and that of the QI making the investment.

Haven Exchange’s president Dorothy Zink stated “Even though we have worked closely in the planning stages with our banking partner, Union Bank of California, to provide this security for 1031 Exchanges, I am totally blown away by the results.” That is a noteworthy statement coming from a company president and one reason consumers may wish to investigate Haven Exchange before beginning their 1031 transaction.

Equally giddy was Union Bank V.P. John McShane “These accounts are managed by our Real Estate Escrow and Title Management Group, and provide state of the art ease of use for the Qualified Intermediary and the desired Transparency /Security for the consumer. We are very proud of it.”

In addition, Haven Exchange is a member of the Federation of Exchange Accommodators the Exchange industry’s lone professional association. The FEA regulates it’s membership through background checks and testing processes. Haven is a member of the FEA.

In a bold statement to fellow members of the FEA, Haven has challenged the industry leaders to match Haven and Union Bank’s transparency program. As Zink exclaimed, “It remains to be seen whether other FEA Members will put the taxpayer and the Industry ahead of its profit margin, as shortsighted as it may be to do otherwise. . . “

As always if you are a consumer investigating Qualified Intermediaries or Exchange services remember to perform your due diligence, compare multiple services, and check the FEA website member section for membership. Also follow up and check the insurance bond for each QI.

As William Exeter of Exeter advises, do not assume that the insurance rider for your QI is in effect. Ask your QI for their insurance information. Follow up with a direct phone call to the insurance company to make sure the insurance is in effect and what it actually covers in case of loss due to fraud.