10 Best U.S. Housing Markets: Only Two in California

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Courtesy Forbes.com New York City

Chicago Sun-Times published this deansguide article 2-27-09

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 2-27-09

According to a new Forbes.com report “10 Best and Worst US Housing Markets” California only has two markets rated in the top 10 Best: San Diego #5 and Los Angeles at #9. The most surprising fact was San Francisco’s ranking as the #5 Worst housing market in the nation.

The 10 Best Housing Markets in the US

  1. New York, NY
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Charlotte, NC
  4. Portland, OR
  5. San Diego, CA
  6. Denver, CO
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Dallas, TX
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Seattle, WA

Most Powerful Element of Sales: Asking Questions

The following video is a short yet extremely powerful reminder for some people and for others a revelation. The most powerful element in sales is to ask questions. The simple act of asking questions begins a dialoge that engages your target audience. It is this engagement that allows you to deliver your value or the value of your product or service.

Do You Have a List of 25 Questions?

According to sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer one of the most powerful methods of asking questions is to make a list of 25 questions:

  • Questions you are “certain that your prospect (audience) has not heard before
  • Questions you are “certain your competition is not asking”
  • The more thought provoking the questions the more your prospective buyer will respect you
  • The more your prospective buyer respects you, the more likely they will be truthful with you
  • Questions can lead to the factors that determine the sale
  • Questions can lead to your prospect describing how the decision is made

2 Jeffrey Gitomer Resources for Jobs Seekers & Entrepreneurs

Jeffrey Gitomer is a best selling author, world class keynote speaker, and one of the most important resources available for job seekers and entrepreneurs today. Gitomer specializes in many important facets of business including business development, sales strategies, and networking. Yet it is one very simple concept, that remains one of the greatest takeaways I have learned in my business career. Jeffrey’s mantra “Give value before you receive value.” When you network with people he instructs people to give value, give it continously, and give value without asking for anything in return. Here are too very valuable resources that help people understand networking and the sales process:

1. Newsletter: Sales Caffeine

This is a fantastic resource. Jeffrey asks a weekly question that is both thought provoking and instructive.

Q: What is the most significant long-term benefit of successful networking?

A. You will not have to cold call to get new business

B. You will build business friendships and relationships

C. You will be able to use your contacts for sales and referrals

D. You can call people later and they will already know you

Answer is here

2. Books: “The Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets to Network Your Way to Rich Relationships

Gitomer has authored 12 books from customer loyatly and sales principles to persuasion and success. The most influential book I have ever read that changed my mind set and results is Jeffrey’s “The Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets to Network Your Way to Rich Relationships.” Here are some of the concepts that changed my business life:

  • How to give value constantly without asking for anything in return
  • How to become a go-to resource of value
  • How to research before networking
  • What to give first in order to create value for my networking partners
  • Why your network building is the most important concept that must be a continuous process throughout your business career
  • Understanding networking etiquette for different networking groups
  • What networking is NOT
  • Where to find the best resources to network
  • How to assess your networking efforts
  • How to stay connected and relevant in today’s networking environment

Entrepreneurs & Job Seekers’ Tip #1: Utilize Box.net Linkedin Application

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 2-18-09

The focus of every entrepreneur and job seeker should begin and end with the concept that in today’s world you must become a go-to source of information for your target audience. If you provide valuable information, provide it continuously, and provide that information without asking for anything in return you will be very successful. The first step to becoming a go to source of information? Utilize Linkedin.com to it’s fullest capabilities.

Tip #1 Utilizing Box.net Application

Box.net is a free application that you can load onto your Linkedin profile. The application allows you to upload pdf files, videos, articles, or links into one neat storage area. Your files are then made available to anyone interested in accessing them.

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Strategy of a Go-To Source of Information

The idea is for entrepreneurs and job seekers to give valuable information while they build their network. By creating your mini resource library on Linkedin, utilizing Box.net application, you will do the following for your career:

  • Establish your networking presence online
  • Attract new networking partners due to the fresh information you provide
  • Help others with challenges in their business
  • Create a reason for people to view your profile by giving value first
  • Utilize “What are you doing now” message to alert your network of new content you will share
  • Create opportunities for exposure, stay top of mind, with Linkedin updates every time you add to your application(s)
  • Drop the url to your profile in comment sections on  blogs inviting people to download the free valuable information in your Box.net library
  • Increase traffic to your profile

These are just a handful of the benefits that the Box.net application will provide you and your network in your strategy to become a go-to source of information. Linkedin is the key vehicle to drive your message. It is up to you to find the resources of value and deliver.

National Association of Realtors’ Twitter Strategy

The National Association of Realtors is one of the most, if not the most, powerful associations in the real estate industry.The people at NAR are often helpful, very pleasant, and professional in their approach. They take their jobs seriously; and that is why I am puzzled.

The NAR’s mission is to support Realtors, educate the masses, and provide a touch point for an industry that is quickly changing. The biggest change is the utilization of social media tools and blogs, by Realtors and brokerages, for branding, marketing, and lead generation. One of the most prominent of these new tools is the microblogging phenomenon called Twitter.com.

“The Voice for Real Estate”

If the NAR is setting the tone by being “The Voice for Real Estate” and leading by example then what is their Twitter strategy? My point is why don’t the people running the NAR twitter account give a voice to Realtors on Twitter?

Follow Strategy for Twitter

Many major brands or entrepreneurs that utilize Twitter want to initiate conversations with their targeted audience. The strategy most often used supports an open follow process on Twitter. Simply put if you follow Guy Kawasaki he follows you back-each and everyone of you.

The question I would like the NAR to answer: Why don’t you follow any of your constituents who follow you? If the NAR is the “Voice of Real Estate” why not give voice to Realtors, brokers, and affiliate service providers in the industry by following each one of these people back? As of this date, February 15, 2009 the NAR strategy:

Fact: 539 Realtors, brokers, industry affiliates follow NAR on Twitter
Fact: NAR follows “0” as in zero as in none as in nobody

The following is a snapshot of the NAR Twitter page:

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Ed Okun Victim Cautions LandAmerica Victims, Challenges Government, Admonishes 1031 Exchange Industry

Note of Disclaimer: The following comment, story, and opinion(s) are that of the commenter Elizabeth Callanan and not that of deansguide or the author of deansguide Dean Guadagni. Those of you who have read this blog in the past know where I stand. I am a victim’s advocate and simply creating a place for victims or industry pro’s to communicate.

The following are opinions, experiences and stories of the trials and tribulations of the 1031 exchange industry from long time contributor and commenter Elizabeth Callanan one of the 350 “Trainwreck Victims” of the Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group Ponzi scheme. This is a warning, it is a plea, and it is her argument for the complete overhaul of the 1031 exchange industry–or it’s outright Abolishment.

Note: Not all of the 1031 exchange companies are bad, fradulent, or subversive. There are well respected, honest, and worthwhile 1031 exchange companies doing business.

——————————————-

To Daniel Lowe and the other victims of the LandAmerica debacle,

You have my most heartfelt empathy.
Having been myself a victim of Ed Okun’s embezzlement of exchangers funds on deposit with the 1031 Tax Group, I truly feel your pain. I’m not an attorney, an accountant, and have no expertise apart from what comes of painful firsthand experience. It was in the hopes of warning other potential exchanger/victims that I started posting on Dean’s List and elsewhere.

At the end of the day, though, I agree totally with Yaco Tiamo, who has posted here. The entire 1031 industry is superfluous and that aspect of the IRS’ 1031 regulations should be expunged. It is a wildly unregulated industry that answers to no government oversight at any level (apart from some half-hearted oversight incorporated in a couple of recently enacted regs by a handful of states (Nevada, California?) and, as evidenced, by the recent spate of embezzlements or gross mismanagement puts all exchangers at great risk for no good reason. Doing a 1031 isn’t brain surgery. The forms are pretty standard and the process pretty simple, really.

Since the IRS has shown no interest in overseeing, licensing, demanding accountability from, providing meaningful insurance for (as the SEC does) or otherwise regulating the industry it created, it should kill it – NOW!

As to the LandAmerica victims, my (personal, not professional!!) advice in terms of investing in legal help is two-fold and in both cases I would act only collectively (except for those whose funds were held in traceable segregated accounts, who will no doubt make a serious (and perhaps successful) run at retrieving those funds, I see little point in acting individually — certainly not in bankruptcy, a self-funding and self-perpetuating legal and financial train wreck for everyone involved except the court appointed functionaries. (If you want to see the extent to which such a process can drag on ad nauseam with many billable hours just check out the history of the 1031 Tax Group case on either of these sites: http://www.committeeinfo.com/1031/index.htm (the official website for our Creditors Committee) or http://trustee1031taxgroup.com/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/ (the Trustee’s website).)

However, I WOULD hire a legal firm (on contingency if you can – since, by definition, you no longer have any money!) to:

1) GET YOUR CASE OUT OF BANKRUPTCY COURT!! That is a deep dark hole that will suck up every dime of funding available until there’s nothing but dust left. In the 19 months since Ed Okun put the 1031 Tax Group into “bankruptcy” (it was a criminal embezzlement plain and simple now being tried in a US Federal Court in Richmond which was known at the time the bankruptcy was filed in May 07 — the Feds having raided the offices in April 07 — and should never have been accepted as a legitimate bankruptcy to start with!) all of the various court-appointed functionaries have claimed MORE THAN $30 MILLION IN SO-CALLED “ADMINISTRATIVE FEES” and victims have received not one penny of their escrow funds. In fact, in an amazingly brazen and twisted miscarriage of justice, the Bankruptcy Court authorized attorneys for the so-Called “Debtors” (ironically the Dreier firm whose owner embezzled millions in escrow funds himself) to pursue a legal action to retrieve the only escrow funds that Okun himself had not been able to steal and the settlement cozily agreed to by the attorneys on both sides (and approved by the Court) provided for payment as well to the attorneys DEFENDING the bank where those funds were on deposit — the end result of which is that the costs of BOTH SIDES of that court case will be paid by Okun’s victims. (So, to our point of view we were mugged first by Okun and then by the Bankruptcy Court!) The only way to get that Bankruptcy action derailed is to get the Committee itself on board (not easy since the Committee’s attorneys will understandably vehemently argue against the prospect of losing their cash cow), but I’d consider that a first priority.

2) Get a class action going to pursue all the parties involved, including especially LandAmerica to force them to use the proceeds from the sale of its other two arms to repay the exchange funds it squandered on worthless investments.

I sincerely hope you are more successful than we’ve been to date in retrieving even a dime of our life savings. The key is acting collectively and getting a junkyard dog of an attorney who is willing to work on a contingency (which means you’ll get 25% less than you otherwise might, but most of Okun’s victims would happily settle for that today!). Unfortunately in bankruptcy there is absolutely NO incentive for settling anything quickly. It’s all about billable hours — for attorneys, for management companies, for accounting firms, and all the other hangers-on who can get their licks in. If I were you, I’d follow the lead of the creditors in the Southwest Exchange Case – which happened just a few months prior to our’s and in which there’s been a settlement of $92 million of the $97 million lost (minus the contingency and other costs incurred by the attorney) while WE HAVE NOTHING and dismal prospects ahead.

You’ve gotten off to a better start than we did, it appears. You have a website (noted above by one of your fellow victims), your Committee seems to communicate with you (our’s has maintained a nearly absolute silence and shares NO information whatsoever for reasons none of us can fathom), and I understand you’re collectively discussing a civil class action which I encourage you to pursue.

Good luck to you all — sincerely.

Realtors Do You Support Promotions that Create Goodwill for Your Business?

Imagine a real estate business model where the customer names their price. Call it a“Pay-what-you-want-house” and you might have an interesting idea. That is the idea behind the new Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen. Check out this promotion merely to see the cool website.

Why Do People Love Promotions?

1. Added Value: is it such a bad idea to create promotions in a such dreary economic times? Even if you can’t give away the store, isn’t there an item or service you can give away? Now more than ever, bartering one of your services in some fashion would be a welcome relief to some people who need help. People want and need added value in anything they buy, more than ever today, whether it is a service or a product.

2. Consumers Remember: more economic pressure, job loss, and belt tightening is in store for 2009. Now more than ever, if you help someone by providing a promotional “prize” or service that gesture is often remembered and past forward via word of mouth. When people give under the toughest circumstances (economy), that is truly the measure of our willingness to help.

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