“Marin-Extrodinary Living”: Lifestyle Magazine with Power

“Lifestyle” magazines are all the rage in the San Francisco Bay Area. These publications promote each targeted area by evangelizing the “lifestyle” that area represents. A rarely recognized but powerful fact is that these magazines are very helpful to Realtors who wish to promote their properties and their careers. One of the best magazines for just this campaign is “Marin-Extraordinary Living.

The magazine is a veritable “Who’s Who” of Marin Counthy Real Estate. Such long time luminaries as Marilyn Rich ( and daughgter Whitney), Connie Irwin, Susan Bowman, Steve Gregory, Anna Pennington-Boucher, Marian Sichel, Natasha Najafi, Jimmy “Marin” Wanninger, and Tracy McLaughlin grace the pages throughout.

The high quality photography, elegant fonts and style, set up, and interesting lifestyle pieces make this magazine a must read for anyone living, looking to buy or sell, or wishing to advertise in Marin County.

The following are a sample of properties advertised in Marin-Extraordinary Living:

*3245 Paradise Dr., Tiburon

*99 Lyford Dr., Tiburon

*55 Sir Francis Drake, Ross

*335 Willow Ave., Corte Madera

*11 Leona Dr., San Rafael

*1065 Meadowsweet, Corte Madera

*100 Wolfe Canyon, Kentfield

*24 Summit Dr., Corte Madera

*366 Lovell Ave., Mill Valley

*126 Marion Ave., Mill Valley

*23 Leona Dr., San Rafael

*507 Easterby, Sausalito

*33 Rose Ave., Mill Valley

*612 Chaparral Circle, Napa

*16 Sheridan, Mill Valley

The Mountain Home Inn: ” Marin’s Mountain Retreat Wedding Oasis Minutes from Your Doorstep”

Nestled into one of Marin County’s most magnificent mountain top views, the Mountain Home Inn has long been an oasis spot for weddings of the heart. As Marin Visitor’s Guide so eloquently effuses: “Rustic Elegance in a Legendary Mountain Setting.”

The Inn has a long history dating back roughly 100 years ago. At that time tourists rode ferry boats in order to arrive in Marin. The ferry boats, from San Francisco, made as many as 60 trips per day. Since it’s prolific early history, the Mountain Home Inn (Mill Valley, CA) has been recognized as one of the most sought after wedding venues in the world. One of the best recommendations comes from the Trip Advisor written by a couple from San Francisco in November of 2006.

Weddings and receptions may be booked by going to the “Private Events” page on the Mountain Home Inn web site: http://www.mtnhomeinn.com or by contacting Marisa Affolder, Events Planner, at marisa@mtnhomeinn.com.

If you are looking for an intimate setting, excellent service, Tahoe like views in the Bay Area, mild weather, resort ambiance, and word of mouth cache, the Mountain Home Inn is the perfect choice for your wedding ceremony. Although the Inn is quite expensive, the memories made in the perfect setting will last a lifetime, bring joy to both families, and remain a reminder of an unforgettable experience.

Ed Okun “Promises to Make Good”: Is this a “Check’s In the Mail” Statement?

Mark Heschmeyer of CoStar Group wrote a fine article “UPDATED: Owner of Bankrupt 1031 Exchanges Promises to Make Good” on 1031 Exchange king Ed Okun’s plans to “make good” on $150 million worth of outstanding debt owed to investors caught up in the collapse of his empire.

Since the 1031 Exchange Group’s May Chapter 11 filings, Ed Okun has been”negotiating with both the debtors and the unsecured creditors in the case, according to bankruptcy court filings.”

Okun is working with Stillwater Capital Partners Inc. a New York hedge fund management firm that specializes in, according to Heschmeyer, “alternative investment services.”

The third moving part to this deal is with JPS Capital Partners out of New York. JPS Capital Partners specializes in commercial real estate bridge loans on what is considered tough to fund deals.

According to Heschmeyer’s findings: “Under terms being discussed, a lender (debtor in possession) would fund the debtors, which would in turn pay off the creditors, including possibly paying administrative expenses of the chapter 11 cases and other expenses.

Okun is offering “. . . up to all of their (Okun Holdings Inc. & IPofA) material assets to the potential lender in connection with the loan transaction.”

Details of these transactions were to be “sealed” by the court prompting a firestorm of criticism. Heschmeyer’s investigations found that Okun is fighting to seal the documents because public disclosure of these records “would give competitors to the Okun Entities’ access to confidential and commercial information related to business relationships which are in the process of being negotiated. Such information, if disclosed, would significantly hamper the Okun entities’ ability to conduct business, which directly impacts the recoveries of creditors in these cases.”

US Attorney Adams is fighting to make the records public. Her argument is that the real estate information is of public record already; in addition she states that this information does “not qualify as protected information under the Bankruptcy Code.”

Another red flag was that, according to Heschmeyer, the extent of Okun’s real estate holdings are not known. Is he hiding assets? You make your own judgment on that idea. Heschmeyer asserts that CoStar Group has identified “numerous properties” through public records and CoStar databases. These properties in question are believed to be “either owned, managed or leased in part by affiliates of IPofA or other Okun affiliates. As Heschmeyer states “We list these properties in The Watch List, a weekly column of distressed commercial properties, mortgages and corporate news.”

So the fight is on to uncover all of Ed Okun’s assets in order to hold him accountable for the horrific actions of his 1031 Exchange companies. Stay tuned in as more information is soon to follow. In the meantime anyone with information or new developments to share, please do so by writing deansguide.

Active Rain: A Great Beginning Point For Real Estate Professionals!

Active Rain bills itself as a “Free on-line community for real estate professionals designed to help them promote and grow their business.” To date, Active Rain has 35,688 members nationwide. This is one of the best places to beginning expanding your on-line presence through social networking within a community of like minded real estate professionals.

Here is how Active Rain has built their networking community:

“To help build a thriving community we’ve included a point system to reward members who make the greatest contributions. The more points you earn the more your business is promoted on-line. Creating a thorough profile is the first and most effective way to get noticed online and earn your first points. You can also gain points by inviting other real estate professionals from your market, and by writing about your experiences in the industry.” The point system is a popular way to get people to actively and consistently participate; this is what has separated Active Rain from their competitors.

Becoming a member of Active Rain is as easy as the following steps:

1. Click the “Join Us” tab under “Welcome to the Community” or the tab along the top toolbar on the right side “join.”

2. “Joining Active Rain” screen begins the process.

3. Once you have registered, an email is sent to your email address with a link. Go to this email and follow the instructions to finish your registration by clicking on the link.

4. The link you clicked will bring you back to Active Rain’s About page. Here you will fill in information about you, your business, and the community you serve. This step must be done before you may activate your profile in Active Rain.

5. Once you have completed your information, your Active Rain account is activated. You will then view a page which gives the statistics for you: Score, Rank in State, County, City. In the right side column are statistics for Members Invited/Referred, Blog Posts, Featured Posts, Comments Received, and Comments Made.

That is it! You can now begin to explore people’s blogs, comments, and ideas. Take a look at the FAQ page to understand what consumers are asking for and their needs. Also investigate professionals in your area to understand your competition, network with them, and begin to build your on-line presence. Stay active, be consistent, and have fun making new friends: social and business networking at it’s best!

The “F Shape” Theory:”Do Foreign Languages Which Read from Right to Left Follow a “9 Shape” Pattern?

The blogisphere is an explosive citizen journalistic opportunity with rich social networking possibilities. Consequently attracting traffic to your blog is a very important development. The “F Shape”, as detailed in Chris Hotz fine article on Real Estate Tomato, is a very important theory to understanding how reading patterns effect your blog traffic. How does this theory work in languages other than English that are read from right to left?

With this idea in mind, is it possible that languages written for people to read in a right to left manner would adhere to a “F Shape” pattern of reading–in reverse? Simply put would readers of Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, and other right to left read languages follow a “9 Shape” pattern in reading our blog articles?

Google and other search engines provide “translator” software that will translate your English text articles into dozens of foreign languages. As a marketing tool, the idea of translation is very interesting here in California. Huge Chinese and Arabic communities reside in the San Francisco area; translating for this population could lead to wider exposure and new business possibilities.

Consequently it is always fun to experiment with blogging and blog marketing. If any bloggers who write in foreign languages could answer this question for us it would be of great benefit. The “F Shape” and translation may be steps for everyone to investigate.

I am happy to announce that I will be highlighting my “Realtor of the Week” beginning this week with Frank Soda of Sunshine Realty of Sausalito. Frank has been a successful Marin Realtor for over 25 years; his web site www.sunshinere.com is a rich inventory of tips and real estate community information. Thanks to Frank Soda for his work and effort with the Independent Brokers Network aka IBNmarin.com; we look forward to the monthly gatherings!

1031 Exchange Political Disaster: “Will Any Paid Representatives of the People Please Stand Up?”

In our May 31, 2007 post “No Wonder the 1031 Advance Fiasco Is Littered with “Dead Financial” Bodies!” we outlined the incredibly uninformed musings of two California politicians and their reactions to the disaster at hand. As promised, this is a follow up post to investigate whether any further actions, reactions, statements, or press releases have surfaced–the following is LESS than encouraging!

According to Senator Mike Machado’s Biography on his web site: “Senator Machado currently chairs the Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation.” Upon a new inspection of Machado’s web site here is a list of his current triumphs and latest accomplishments:

1. “. . . During the last legislative session, he was instrumental in crafting legislation designed to stop the unfair practice of “predatory lending.”

2. “. . . serves on the Senate Committees on Budget and Fiscal Review. . . ”

The original source of comments by politicians and their vows to “look into” (a less than active form of investigation) the 1031 Exchange disaster came from the San Jose Mercury news story on May 16, 2007 titled: “Politicians probing collapse of 1031 Exchange Firm.

Here are the rest of our paid politician’s statements and “actions” regarding this subject:

United States Representative 14th District of California Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) was quoted in the Mercury news piece that she “promised to contact the US Attorney in Virginia investigating the 1031 Tax Group.” Ms Eshoo’s web site, on the “Issues and Legislation” page, expounds upon her accomplishments and “platform.” There is NOT a single mention about 1031 Exchange laws, regulations, or the 1031 Exchange Group’s disaster. Nothing shows up regarding her “contact” with the US Attorney in Virginia investigating the 1031 Tax Group.

Senator Joe Simitian 11th District California (D-Palo Alto) has a nice “About” page. Unfortunately just like his counterpart Ms. Eshoo, Simitian’s web site makes no mention of the 1031 Exchange disaster. In the Mercury article, Mr. Simitian stated that he “promised to investigate the matter. . . ” Again there is no mention of any “investigation” into the 1031 Exchange (Advance) or affiliated companies and their misdeeds.

Finally Zoe Lofgren 16th District of California (San Jose-Silicon Valley) has a beautiful home page. This front page outlines her latest good deeds and what she currently is working on for us. Subjects like Vietnamese human rights, Stem Cell Research, and the Spyware Bill are outlined. NO mention of the 1031 Exchange (Advance) or any of it’s affiliates is mentioned. It was Lofgren who stated that she would “raise the issue with the appropriate committees in congress.” Yet here we are over a month later and nothing.

It seems to me that unless people begin to write and deluge their representatives with phone calls about the travesty taking place right now, no laws will be introduced to both regulate the 1031 Exchange landscape and protect the consumers within this space!

2nd Victim of 1031 Tax Group Disaster Speaks Out: “Extending the Identification Period and the Tax Ramifications for Victims”

In what is easily one of the most unexpected and unfair developments derived from 1031 Tax Group plundering, victims are being informed by their legal representatives and the IRS that they will be liable to pay capital gains taxes on monies they may never see again! Why are investors liable to pay the government taxes on monies they never received, in deals that investors lost their monies, with the “Qualified Intermediaries” baring no tax burden from their own questionable actions?

The following is a comment by a 2nd investor who decided to speak out in order to help others in similar situations:

Darlin’ | boudreau33@comcast.net | IP:

“Q.I.’s charge a fee for their services. Further, the money doesn’t belong to the QI, the interest therefore belongs to the Exchanger. Same as escrow or trust accounts.

Re the Edward Okun, et al fiasco, my attorney, yes I’m one of his victims, told me the national organization of Q.I.’s are lobbying to extend the identification period because of what’s happened. I had two properties slated to close May 1st, my identification period ended April 27th, and I now have no idea where my money is.

As the law stands now, everyone will still be responsible for the captial gains taxes even if our money is never recovered, and if it is for those of us whose identification period is closed I’ll have to pay capital gains on the full amount. How messed up is that? No money received in my pocket, but by golly I’ll have to pay the taxes.”

As I reported back in May, California Democratic Senator Mike Machado had done little except to “look into” the problem of regulation in the 1031 Exchange industry. The real killer is that Machado “Chairs” the Senate’s “Banking, Finance, and Insurance” committee yet he did not understand the lack of regulation in the industry. Likewise equally uninformed United States Representative Zoe Lofgren D-San Jose has done nothing to move the situation forward.

Maybe it is time for all of us to check in on our paid representatives in state and federal governments.

LinkedIn: “Powerful Social Networking Perfect for San Francisco Bay Area Real Estate Professionals”

LinkedIn: “Relationships matter” is the tag line used for one of the most powerful Social Networking sites available to Realtors today. LinkedIn currently has 11 million “experienced professionals” with the goal of networking to increase their business and social profiles on the internet.

The sign up process is fairly simple:

1. Join LinkedIn screen asks for name, email, and creation of a password.

2. Experience and Industry screen allows you to tell the world your position, company, and industry of expertise. This information industry specific contacts and new relationships to take shape.

3. Education screen helps you describe your educational background helping you connect with past alumni or old college friends.

4. The “How do You Want To Use LinkedIn” is extremely useful as it gives specific uses on how to best connect within the network. It is divided into two Screen Menus:

To Find-What can your network help you with” This menu has the following options (you may check some or all of these options)

*Job Consulting Contracts *Reconnect with Colleagues *Stay in Touch with Colleagues *Hiring employees *Selling Products and Services *Investigating Deals with companies *Finding information about industries products and services *Finding a job *Finding professionals interested in my new venture or product.

To Be Found: What kinds of things do you want to be contacted about?

*Messages from friends and colleagues *Requests to provide job references *Career Opportunities *Contract or Consulting offers * Inquiries about a position with me or my company *Deal proposals for my company * Requests for your expert opinion *Proposed discussions about new ventures or products.

All of these options provide a rich information profile in which people can seek you or your company out. It also drills down to ensure that you receive pertinent and important contacts. LinkedIn truly links you in to Bay Area professionals.

How Would You Like to Purchase the Last Available Island in the Most Exclusive Bay in the United States?

That’s right. . . the last available property, (island) surrounded on all sides by water, is “Red Rock Island” in the San Francisco Bay. Asking Price for this exclusive property: $10,000,000. According to the Marin Independent Journal “David Glickman, a Bangkok-based gem dealer and attorney, wants $10 million for the 5.8 acre, uninhabited island in the shadow of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Glickman purchased the island for $49,500 in 1964.

This property holds a special place in my heart as I attempted to put together an investment group to buy the island in the early 1980s. At that time, our vision for the island was of a luxury yacht marina, hilltop restaurant, and social club combination. Plans were in the works to lease a luxury ferry to deliver patrons to and from the island, secure parking on the mainland, and bring in a winery as a co-owner sponsor.

Like many well intended projects, our vision was harpooned by the endless wildlife moratoriums, state legislative bodies, county ordinances, and tax issues involved in converting this uninhabited island into a developed property.

If you have dreams of island ownership on US soil, if you want to own the last available island property in the San Francisco Bay, or you just want to play your own version of “Pirates of the Caribbean” then look no further–Red Rock Island awaits!

Facebook: “The Future of Real Estate Marketing through Social Networking is Now!

The most powerful new trend in marketing today is social networking on the internet. One of the biggest niches for social networking is real estate. Realtors today must carve out their marketing strategies for the rest of their career using these networks as new channels to prospective buyers and sellers. The most powerful networking site right now is Facebook. The incredible statistics about Facebook from Jeff Clavier:

*5,000,000 users

*Signing 20,000 new users every day

*10th Most visited Internet site in the U.S.

*8,500,000 Unique visitors

*80% penetration among college students at colleges that utilize Facebook platform

*5,500,000,000 page views

*Repeat usage: Daily 70%; Weekly 85%; Monthly 93%

*Coverage of 45% of U.S. colleges (2,000) representing 8,000,000 students

According to the site: “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.” To become a Facebook member:

*Go to the main home page and on the right sidebar look for “Everyone can Join” and click on the large green “Register” button.

*The “Register and Start Using Facebook” screen will appear-fill it out.

* Once completed, a Confirmation email is sent to you.

*Open the email and click on the link provided.

*The “Your Account is Ready” screen appears telling you that you are now a Facebook member. Go back to the site and begin exploring.

The toolbar at the top of the welcome page begins with a “Profile (edit)” tab. Here is where you tell the world about yourself and your business. Next is the “Friends” tab and this is where you can search for friends already on the site, create a “rolodex”, and build new contacts. The “Network” tab allows you to join a “Regional Network” aka group, a College Network, or a Work Network. In this tab you may wish to find alumni from your college, reconnect with former or current co-workers, or meet people from the region of the country you live or a region of interest to you. The options are limitless.

Utilize Facebook and work to build your network. This is the new wave of marketing and it will be immensely important to Realtors and Real Estate affiliates in their businesses.