Blog is Working!

Thanks for the heads up about the blog being down. For those of you that know WordPress, a plug-in auto updated and was not compatible with my version of PHP that’s on the server. I renamed the plug-in folder name to get the site back up.

Almost time for the stats to update with November data. I’m interested in what they show.

Archiving Family Photos

A few years ago, I gave my daughters an external drive of all the home videos I took of them growing up plus some earlier videos. This year, I decided I needed to archive all the photos and give all of them a copy. So I went hunting for print photos and digital camera photos on all my past hard drives. What I found was multiple boxes of loose print photos and 50 albums either my wife or our mothers had put together. I also found about 150 slides from my wife’s childhood.

I’m using an iphone app called Photomyne. I paid for the pro version at $7.99/month. I then use my iphone to take shots of the print photos. The app will automatically crop the photo and enhance it too (which worked out really well with the old black and white photos). I didn’t take any photo out of the albums either and I’m happy with the quality. Not having to take them out of the album was a big time saver.

After about 2 weeks of using the app, I’m at 5,500 photos!! The app allows you to create different folders so I have all the photos from a particular photo album stored together. I took a picture of the outside of the album to make it easier if someone wanted to get an original print photo.

With 50 albums to do and boxes of loose photos to go through, I didn’t spend time to make sure the photo came out ok. I’d say 99% of them looked fine. But I did have some that were blurry or they weren’t cropped. What I should have done is looked at each folder when I was finished and retook any photos that didn’t come out. I could still do that but I decided that those photos just weren’t worth the time.

For the slides, I tried another iphone app where you put the slide in front of a white computer screen and took a camera picture. I didn’t like the quality of the resulting photos so I sent out the slides to be scanned at a photo lab.

I already have my digital photos over the past 20 years stored in folders and I’ve gone through all my old hard drives and think I found everything I have. Just need to do some cleanup of the photos (such as not needing to include 8 photos of the same thing).

I’m also including all my iphone photos as well as iCloud shared albums we all post to.

If my calculations are correct, everything will fit on a 256G thumb drive. Sweet!

DOJ sues NAR about anti-competitive practices

It’s been a busy couple days for the real estate industry. On Thursday (Nov 19th), the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors (NAR) alleging that trade organization’s practices and policies are anti-competitive.

Then today (Friday, Nov 20th) a settlement was announced between NAR and DOJ. As a result, what consumers will see soon is the commission the Buyer’s Brokerage is being offered on public home search websites. For the site, it should mean that my MLS will include the commission the Buyer’s Brokerage will receive in the data feed I have. Once available, I’ll need to hire a programmer to modify my scripts to download this new field and include it in the MLS Listing Detail page. This is the page that is displayed when you click on a property address on one of my Listing Reports (Today’s new listings, Past 7-day solds, etc.). Currently I display ALL fields I get from my MLS feed, something very few home search sites do.

The lawsuit was also to address Buyer Agents who steer Buyers away from listings that offer lower commissions to Buyer Brokerages. For example, one listing my offer a 3% commission and another a 2% commission. Some Buyer agents will treat these listings differently with some not presenting the lower commission listing to their Buyer. Buyer Agents were already told not to do this and the DOJ lawsuit does little to stop this activity. But having the commission being paid on home search sites will let Buyers question why their agent is only showing them listings with 3% commissions.

To me, the true fix to the Buyer commission problem is to stop the Seller from having to pay the Buyer’s Brokerage. Let the Buyer pay the Buyer’s brokerage. Then the Seller can pay for the listing service (a $9,900 flat fee that we charge) and the Buyer pays for the services of the Buyer’s Brokerage. Buyer Brokerage’s can then set their own fee for their services rather than having the Seller determine how much they will receive. Buyers will then have a choice of what Realtor they choose based on the service they offer and the price for their service.

We’re not there yet but with this latest DOJ suit, the days of 5-6% commissions just because “that’s the way it’s always been done” will not last long.

I’ll leave this with my new slogan…

Friends don’t let Friends pay $35,000+ for a Listing Service!

DeLaveaga Disc Golf

This past Monday was a good weather day in Santa Cruz so I drove up to play disc golf on the infamous DeLaveaga disc golf course (aka Dela). This is one of the top rated disc golf courses in the country. The weather was beautiful and I had a great time with my buddy! We have multiple disc golf courses on the Central Coast and I’ll be blogging about those too. If you’re looking for a fun activity to get you out walking, pick up a disc at Big 5 and go throw it!

KCPR Decal

I’m not sure how old this decal is. I worked at the station from 1979-1982 so I’m assuming it was from that period. “The San Luis Sound” was the tagline back then that we had on a cart to play. The voice on it was Brian Hackney, who went on to be a TV news weatherman and anchor in the SF Bay Area. Weird Al was also at the station when I was there and recorded My Bologna in the bathroom across from the radio station on the 2nd floor of the journalism building. He ran cables from the production room to the bathroom.

KCPR = K Cal Poly Radio