World’s Most Expensive Cities to Live: Top 10



Chicago Post-Tribune published this deansguide article 7-11-09 is the master of lists and Top 10 offerings. One of the most compelling is their Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live. The following is the list and each city’s 2008 ranking. Notes of interest shows Japan dominating the Top 10 list with #1 and #2, New York City vaulted from #22 to #8, and Copenhagen, Denmark is in the Top 10- remains a mystery.

World’s Most Expensive Cities to Live

1. Tokyo, Japan: 2008 ranking #2, Cost of Living index 2008: 127; Cost of Living index 2009: 147

2. Osaka, Japan: 2008 ranking #11. COL index 2008 110; COL index 2009 119.2

3. Moscow, Russia: 2008 ranking #1, COL index 2008 142.4; COL index 2009 115.4

4. Geneva, Switzerland: 2008 ranking #8, COL index 2008 115.8; COL index 2009 109.2

5. Hong Kong: 2008 ranking #6, COL index 2008 117.6; COL index 2009 108.7

6. Zurich, Switzerland: 2008 ranking #9, COL index 2008 112.7; COL index 2009 105.2

7. Copenhagen, Denmark: 2008 ranking #7, COL index 2008 117.2; COL index 2009 105.0

8. New York City: 2008 ranking #22, COL index 2008 100.0; COL index 2009 100.0

9. Beijing, China: 2008 ranking #20, COL index 2008 101.9, COL index 2009 99.6

10. Singapore: 2008 ranking #13, COL index 2008 101.9; COL index 2009 98.0

Google: New Player in Real Estate and Threat? and have been breakthrough sites that allowed consumers social media functionality in finding listings, property values, and information down to the neighborhood level. Real estate world meet your new neighbor: Google Maps. In a solid article outlining the new Google move’s ,“Land Grab: Google Expands Real Estate Listings” announces the “new kid on the block.” According to writer Matt McGee: “Google has expanded its real estate listings and added extra search functionality for users to find property listings in.”

New Search Feature

In the old version of Google Maps, the search function would return basic information such as listings of real estate agents and brokers on a map.  Such as a search for San Francisco real estate produced a basic map

Now if you are searching you will find right below the search box, a new “invitation” to search current real estate listings. The results for a search “san francisco real estate” returns:

Google Maps SF example003

And comprehensive maps like this:

Google Maps SF example

Google’s Source of Information: Scraping Listings?

According to McGee the search results are coming from sources such as “real estate brokerages and agents, many of whom upload listings into Google Base as part of their online marketing.. .”

McGee asserts that “Google is also getting listings from sources such as Homes & Land and The Real Estate Book and similar sites that advertise listings for participating real estate professionals.”

The dilemma now for Realtors and brokers is whether to list their properties in Google base or other sites that can be readily accessed and repurposed by Google for their own search engine listings within Google Maps. Finally, the National Association of Realtors has already accused Google of scraping it’s MLS listings thus stealing their competitive advantage. Where do Realtors go from here? What is your take on this new player in the real estate market? Only time will tell.

Twitter Strategies For Realtors: Twitter Grader’s City Networks

Twitter Grader

Courtesy of published this deansguide article 5-13-09

Twitter Grader is one of the new tools that helps Realtors, entrpreneurs and companies measure their social media presence on the social network, micro-blogging sensation,  is just one in dozens of open source measurement tools available to Twitter users.  What stands out about this new tool is it’s special feature: CityGrader.

What is CityGrader?

City Grader is a listing of the top 10 Cities, calculated by number of Twitter users, with dedicated Twitter users. These users are consumers, companies, entrepreneurs, and public utilities. The list of participants is endless.

Top 10 Cities

1. London
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. New York
5. San Francisco
6. Toronto, Canada
7. Seattle
8. Atlanta
9. Boston
10. Austin

Twitter Strategies: City Networks

Here are some tips on how to utilize the information provided for each city network of twitter users:

  • Networking: mine city lists within your niche. Example: Los Angeles #12  prominent Twitterer is Jeff Turner Founder of
  • Jeff Turner Twitter Grader
  • Leads: mine city lists for prominent entrepreneurs, small businesses, or firms that could use your services. Build a list from these leads for each city and trade with partners who are located in those markets
  • Research: Compile a list of the most prominent consumers, competitors, and possible networking partners in each city and research the information they “tweet” on their markets. Gain a direct understanding of each city’s conditions by reading about the experiences of those professionals in each city network

Playboy Mansion Cottage for Sale: $28 Million Makes You Hef’s Neighbor


Courtesy Associated Press Jennifer Graylock

Next to one of the most storied mansions in Los Angeles, the Playboy Mansion, sits the “other” house Hef built-and now it’s for sale. You can be Hugh Hefner’s immediate neighbor by purchasing his freshly listed home next to the mansion for $27,995,000.

The house according to Yahoo:  “The two-story 7,300-square-foot English Manor-style home was built in 1929, and bought by the Hefners in 1998. It sits behind private gates on 2.3 acres and has some of the original wood paneling, leaded-glass windows and a hand-carved staircase. There are hand-painted walls, a newly remodeled kitchen with a morning room and butler’s pantry, two staff rooms, formal living and dining rooms, a library and family room. It has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.”


National Association of Realtors’ Twitter Strategy: Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote an open letter to NAR asking them what their Twitter strategy delivers to their constituency. My point was to highlight the fact that NAR dubs itself “The Voice of Real Estate” yet they did not give Realtors a voice when on the social media site original post “National Association of Realtors’ Twitter Strategy” shows the following screen shot of NAR’s Twitter account:


The date of this shot above was February 17, 2009 and it shows that NAR was follow 0 as in zero Realtors on Twitter.

Strategy for NAR:

The best strategy for NAR would be to follow what well known pundits like Guy Kawasaki and companies like Starbucks do with their Twitter strategy: follow everyone. On Twitter the best method to recognize your audience, and that is the main focus or should be for NAR, is to follow them when they follow you. Here is an example provided by Starbucks Coffee:


Starbucks follows all the people and companies that follow them. They engage their audience and provide their audience, consumers, and evangelists the opportunity to directly communicate with them.

3 Benefits For Following Everyone Who Follows You on Twitter:

You can’t receive DM aka direct messages from your audience of Realtors UNLESS you follow them back. Simply put when a Realtor follows you, the ettiquette and strategy of following them back immediately opens the lines of communication. This allows you 3 advantages:

  1. You can receive feedback on your products and services
  2. You can measure your marketing and social media campaigns
  3. You can open a direct dialogue with the audience you claim to serve

Update on the “New Strategy” at NAR

Apparently somebody is listening but not really understanding. Whoever is in charge of the NAR Twitter strategy decided to follow roughly 6% of the Realtors and professionals who follow them. Here is the NAR Twitter page as of March 3, 2009:


A Step in the Right Direction

Although this is a step toward the strategy they should consider, following 42 out of the 743 followers that are your direct audience and constituency seems a tepid effort at best. At least NAR is making progress in the right direction.

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


Courtesy New York City

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

According to a new 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

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

“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: