Marketing Patrick.net


By Patrick   Follow   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 1:20pm   2,532 views   51 comments
In Menlo Park CA 94025   Watch (0)   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

How can Patrick.net spread better?

Being an anonymous forum means that people don't get pulled in because all their friends are on it, like they do on Facebook.

I was hoping users would share comments and threads by email via the "Share" link, but they don't do that much. Also, I was hoping users would invite experts to weigh in on various topics via that "Invite an expert to fact-check this" link, but they don't do that much either.

I could post threads to Facebook or Twitter, but that's not organic growth from this site itself.

I'm looking for some mechanism where a user feels their friends would be happy to hear about Patrick.net. For example, when you get a Linked-In invitation from a friend, you're usually happy to get it. At least it doesn't lose you any social credit.

One motive for people to share the site would be to share their own writing with friends when they create a thread. Another motive is to warn friends about the dangers of buying a house. I know people do share it for that reason.

Just brainstorming here. Ideas?

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  1. BayArea


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    12   4:17pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Understood. Picking domain names in 2012 is not easy.

  2. rooemoore


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    13   4:49pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Well, for starters you could re-animate my avatar!

  3. Patrick


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    14   5:06pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I love your avatar and would find myself just staring at it -- BUT then the bill came due.

    Meaning that your avatar alone was about 1GB of data transfer from my site every day. If I go over a certain limit per month, I get charged extra.

    So I made it just the non-animated first image, which made it far smaller in terms of data transfer.

  4. curious2


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    15   5:09pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    I made it just the non-animated first image, which made it far smaller in terms of data transfer.

    This would be an improvement for all animations. Too many sites are auto-loading animations, which slow everything down and waste bandwidth.

  5. BayArea


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    16   5:22pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    I love your avatar and would find myself just staring at it -- BUT then the bill came due.

    Meaning that your avatar alone was about 1GB of data transfer from my site every day. If I go over a certain limit per month, I get charged extra.

    So I made it just the non-animated first image, which made it far smaller in terms of data transfer.

    Where can we DL the original :-)

  6. Peter P


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    17   5:26pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    rooemoore says

    Well, for starters you could re-animate my avatar!

    What is that avatar about? It looks better than Avatar the movie. LOL.

  7. Patrick


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    18   6:41pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    What is that avatar about? It looks better than Avatar the movie. LOL.

    It was definitely inducing brain damage in me.

  8. Peter P


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    19   6:42pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Who is that person in the picture? It is so wrong it is right.

  9. Patrick


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    20   6:43pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Google "tight jeans" and you can find a few more of her, but no idea who it is.

  10. errc


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    21   6:47pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Why is she wearing underwear? Prude

  11. Peter P


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    22   6:56pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    errc says

    Why is she wearing underwear? Prude

    LOL!!

  12. rooemoore


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    23   9:55pm Tue 4 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    I love your avatar and would find myself just staring at it -- BUT then the bill came due.

    Meaning that your avatar alone was about 1GB of data transfer from my site every day. If I go over a certain limit per month, I get charged extra.

    So I made it just the non-animated first image, which made it far smaller in terms of data transfer.

    Okay, see, now we have motivation to help you increase traffic and profits!

  13. David Losh


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    24   8:18am Wed 5 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Marketing, traffic, and profits are different.

    I think you want profits from what I've read.

    On Real Estate sites they are selling services, mostly mortgages, some have to do with Real Estate commissions. Glenn Beck sells gold. A whole bunch of gloomer sites sell survival, but the sites we go to are for some service we will eventually have to pay for.

    In the 1970s there was a Real Estate comapny called Principles Only. It was a Limited Listing service for people who wanted deal with the buyer. Buyers could also deal directly with sellers.

    Another company called John P. Nagle was an attorney who would help do a Real Estate transaction for a flat fee.

    Now we have redfin kinds of companies.

    I would look at what services you can offer. The term is lead generation. You get a per cent for leads you generate for the services you offer.

    You can always trash you site up with ads, or you could offer your own expertise in building an internet community.

    There's a lot you can do.

    As far as marketing, your site is a very plain jane, which I appreciate because it's fast, but there may be more appealing things you could do with a designer.

  14. upisdown


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    25   9:37am Wed 5 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Patrick,

    How about doing some type of in depth analysis of some part of the housing sector, and maybe do one every month? I know that's time consuming, but that's what I found really interesting that I came here for and stuck around for too. Having some benign and never-ending thread about gay marriage is pointless because it's 2012, not 1952. Those kind of posts may generate a lot of responses (and money?), but how does that relate to the housing sector?

    I'm pulling out one the most over-used cliches, that: If you build it, they will come. Intereing, informational writings about housing is what made you a source for information in that sector. Be THAT guy, and have THAT blog, not the pointless and trivial crap that it seems everybody posts their opinions about, because that's not unique, that's mostly boring and it's everywhere too. I know that you have to pay the bills so to speak, and I also don't know what or even how that happens now, but if you're going to be a guru/ lay-expert on the housing sector, go with what got you here.

  15. pkennedy


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    26   6:27pm Wed 5 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    Part of the problem is the fact that your topics are generally pretty narrow in scope. They only interest a very few people, and those people are interested in sharing ideas with like minded people. If you actually tried to analysis the data, you would probably find most people just buy a house they like. Many others buy because others are buying. Many probably buy because it's nicer than renting. Overall, housing follows inflation, so if you buy, you'll eventually "win". While most people here are saying there are better times to buy. If you time it, you'll do far better.

    People come here, looking for similar minded people, because they don't know anyone else interested in this information.

    The next time you have a family reunion, try and strike up a conversation with as many people about the great benefits of using mysql. See how many of your aunts and uncles are interested in that.

    Realistically, people aren't sharing, because they don't have anyone to share with, or don't want to bother trying to convince someone else their religion/housing ideas are better.

    Sorry, no solutions, but trying to shed some light on failed sharing.

  16. EastCoastBubbleBoy


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    27   9:48pm Wed 5 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Hold an annual convention. Invite patrick.net members, guest speakers, etc.

    Seriously though... you'd need to expand beyond the "houses are generally overpriced". I think the value is that you saw the bubble for what it was WAY ahead of the curve. Some of us (and the reason why I keep coming back) have the same ability - to use history, human nature, and basic math skills to predict the future - or rather handicap the probability of X, Y or Z happening.

    Your marketability is just that, your ability to foresee where we are headed before most others. If you think you know where housing and/or the economy will be six months, twelve months, two years, ten years out - and can find data to back your position. That is where the marketability is - spotting trends before the crowd, and selling them on your insight (or the collective insight of your readership base).

  17. Patrick


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    28   8:37am Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    David Losh says

    I would look at what services you can offer. The term is lead generation. You get a per cent for leads you generate for the services you offer.

    You make good points, and lead generation is probably profitable, but I just don't think I can do that. Feels like throwing readers to the wolves. The basic theme of the site, if there still is one, is that realtors are wolves in sheep's clothing.

    upisdown says

    How about doing some type of in depth analysis of some part of the housing sector, and maybe do one every month? I know that's time consuming

    Yes, the time is the issue there. What I'd really like are guest writers who would do that. Maybe I could just hunt down the best analyses and get permission to re-post.

    EastCoastBubbleBoy says

    Your marketability is just that, your ability to foresee where we are headed before most others. If you think you know where housing and/or the economy will be six months, twelve months, two years, ten years out - and can find data to back your position.

    I was thinking of setting up some answerable questions about the future, and then seeing how well the Patrick.net crowd can answer them in a poll.

    If the answers are good, that would give people a motive to share the predictions and look at Patrick.net for future results as well. If you like that idea, what should we try to predict? Interest rates? House sales? How about the eventual sale price and date of specific houses? Maybe we don't have enough users to do that one though.

    SFace says

    Notice all of these are brands people can attach to none of them talks about politics.

    People talk about politics anyway, no matter what I do. So giving them a forum for that seemed like the way to at least put it in a specific place so it doesn't clutter up the real estate part so much. Then it followed naturally that I should do the same for religion, etc... Anyway, I really like the forum. The discussions are often pretty good.

  18. David Losh


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    29   1:07pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Lead generation can be for any services. Aren't you a programmer? Weren't you looking for work?

    Well you have a platform here that demonstrates your ability to also build a community.

    Let's ask if any one else could use programming services? What other services have you got?

    The reason I ask is because I took what I learned from internet Real Estate marketing and applied it to my wife's cleaning business. Now that's pretty much all I do.

    You never know where lead generation will lead you.

  19. Patrick


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    30   1:30pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I wouldn't mind getting paid for lead generation for good housing deals, but I don't have any special ability to find good housing deals, especially now that Craigslist cut off my data feed.

    I just ran across the site Goodreads.com, and I think they have a wonderful little business model, namely, using social proof of quality (ie, your friends like it) to lower the risk of a purchase. If you get book recommendations from a friend, or from the Goodreads forum, you can probably trust them.

    Other good characteristics of the Goodreads model:

    1. People like to talk about their books.
    2. Other people want to hear about the books their friends like.
    3. You can sell those books to make money, and you can sell them over and over since they're a commodity. One forum user's purchase does not prevent another forum user from buying the same thing.
    4. People are always looking for good new books to read.

    So how is that different from real estate:

    1. People don't like to talk about their house or apt, too personal. If they're buying a place, they don't want to tip off potentially competitive other buyers that they're interested.
    2. Other people don't want to hear about your house, because it doesn't help them.
    3. You cannot sell the house someone is in, not a commodity. Houses are all different from each other, one-off items, except in some subdivisions.
    4. People are not always looking to move.

    I guess I do kind of have the Goodreads model for news, since people want to talk about news they've read, and other people are always looking for quality news to read, but I can't sell that news like I could sell a book.

    Is there any way to apply something like the Goodreads model to real estate?

  20. YesYNot


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    31   5:34am Fri 7 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Redfin has a bit of the social proof thing going. They allow you to see how many people have a house marked as a favorite and how many page views it has had, so you have an idea of interest. So, by marking a place as a favorite, you are slightly upping the chance that someone else will bid. On the other hand, it is a convenience feature for you. You get status updates & a marked house on a map. For you, people would get second opinions if they find that helpful. I doubt that would outweigh the privacy issue in the bay area (where most readers probably are).

  21. Patrick


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    32   9:32am Fri 7 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Yes, a potential buyer really wants honest opinions on a house he's interested in. But the catch is that he doesn't want anyone else to see those honest opinions while he still might buy that house. He wants to get the opinions privately, which doesn't make for good forum material.

    But maybe a potential buyer could offer, say, $20 for a short private writeup of a specific local house for sale with advice on whether to buy it and what a fair price is. Then he could review the writer on the basis of how good the advice was.

    If it took the writer only 10 minutes to do the writeup, that's $2/min, which is $120/hour. Pretty good pay, maybe enough for a realtor to make an honest and useful living.

  22. YesYNot


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    33   10:12am Fri 7 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I think that it would be great if you had a service where I could request a written opinion from 3 realtors on a particular house. It would certainly be worth $50 or $60. It would probably take 3 to insure that there was no conflict of interest.

    It would have to go beyond the quick 'market analysis' aka the virtual MRIS comp appraisal they do, and actually offer some insight that someone might not be able to figure out quickly on their own. For this to work, it would require participation from local realtors who probably do have local insights.

  23. Patrick


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    34   10:23am Fri 7 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Yes, three realtors would be better, since each one would probably have a primary motive of trapping the buyer with a contract. Since each of the three would know that two other unknown realtors would be answering, they might actually feel compelled to tell the truth.

  24. upisdown


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    35   11:04am Fri 7 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Yes, the time is the issue there. What I'd really like are guest writers who would do that. Maybe I could just hunt down the best analyses and get permission to re-post.

    No offense, but you found the time to write a book, and yet time is an issue? I haven't read your book yet, and intend to later this winter, but how much time did that entail? I also have to wonder why you would consider going into anything realtor-related, since your forum and it's participant(s) seem to be mostly hostile to them to say the least.

  25. Patrick


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    36   12:29pm Fri 7 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The book was written very quickly, since it's almost all material I already had. And now that the book is done, it keeps selling and I don't have to do much.

    But re-doing some market analysis every month would be like writing a mini-book that I cannot sell and that expires quickly.

    You're right about realtors though. I probably should not bother with that.

  26. upisdown


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    37   1:07pm Fri 7 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    The book was written very quickly, since it's almost all material I already had. And now that the book is done, it keeps selling and I don't have to do much.
    But re-doing some market analysis every month would be like writing a mini-book that I cannot sell and that expires quickly.

    I think that you might have answered both of our questions, albeit accidentally. Your material for the book came from stuff that you had already compiled or calculated. And, if those 1 month articles add up to 12 months of info and data, you could meld them all together for your next book. But I haven't read your latest book so maybe I should reserve my comments and advice to replicate those efforts until after I read it and see how good at it you are. LOL

  27. David Losh


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    38   3:04pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    some market analysis every month

    Tim Ellis at SeattleBubble spent years doing the quarterly analysis, and as far as I can tell not to many people were buying it.

    In my opinion people come to the internet for free stuff. When they buy they buy for value.

    redfin offers hours of entertainment before you pay them to rebate you a Real Estate commission. It's value, even if you don't buy. I don't think though the commissions are what Venture Capitalists are paying for.

    Venture Capitalists are paying for the redfin programming. There are thousands of lead generation options from the interactive redfin experience.

    Zillow, which no one is currently liking, is an interactive internet experience without limits, if it ever works properly.

    The money is in the experiences that people will pay for.

    In your case you are looking to provide Real Estate porn.

    So, where are the pictures, or Jim the Realtor videos? What will keep people glued here day after day?

    A better question is where is the glamour? What's the prestige, or bragging rights to using your site?

  28. Patrick


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    39   3:19pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    David Losh says

    Venture Capitalists are paying for the redfin programming. There are thousands of lead generation options from the interactive redfin experience.

    Yes, I think you might be right about lead generation. I was just discussing refi lead generation here: http://patrick.net/forum/?p=1219664

    David Losh says

    So, where are the pictures, or Jim the Realtor videos? What will keep people glued here day after day?

    A better question is where is the glamour? What's the prestige, or bragging rights to using your site?

    I think what keeps people coming here is the sensitivity people have on both sides of the rent/buy divide. Both sides are worried about making the wrong decision because there is so much money involved (which means years of labor obeying some boss, trading your life for cash).

    But I was thinking that commenters and thread creators should get more prestige and bragging rights. Maybe there should be "channels" that users control, like

    http://patrick.net/apocalypsefuck (which does not exist, but I think I'd subscribe to that)

    Well, it sort of exists already, in that you can "follow" a user to get their new threads and you can look up all their comments:

    http://www.patrick.net/forum/comments.php?a=11959

    Maybe you should also be able to "stalk" a user and get an email of every comment they make?

    What would enhance the experience so that Patrick.net writers and commenters would want to tell their friends "hey, look up my stuff on Patrick.net"?

  29. David Losh


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    40   4:09pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Where's the money in that?

    You could offer services like a mortgage person you recommend, as long as it's disclosed, up front, and above board.

    You're also hitting on another thing most people don't consider in the rent buy equation, which is financial counseling.

    I own a business, and it will never die, so owning is much better than renting, my accountant told me so. There again many people come to Seattle to work for Amazon, and they want to buy right away. They are on a contract, maybe they don't understand the contract concept.

    Last, but not least, I think people are interested in the home buying process. You don't need a Real Estate agent, and as a matter of fact they may hinder what I'm going to propose.

    A buyer is on a house hunt, and you follow them, the process. An attorney is all they need. An agent could never get involved with this, but why would an attorney care?

    The buyer signs on, and does the search, maybe takes some photos, writes about the loan process, without disclosing terms, but what the heck, maybe that, and the whole process becomes transaparent.

    Some one doesn't want no stinking agent? Sign them up for the Patrick Home Search. It could be interactive.

    How many people know some one who would like to sell? How many vacant houses in you neck of the woods? How many trashed rentals that are screaming for a sale?

    Honest, above board, from start to finish, and the players get the credit, the loan officer, financial planner, and attorney.

    Who wants to play?

  30. Patrick


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    41   4:42pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    David Losh says

    Where's the money in that?

    Traffic is money, at least high enough traffic levels are.

    David Losh says

    You could offer services like a mortgage person you recommend, as long as it's disclosed, up front, and above board.

    That seems to be illegal now whether disclosed or not, according to RESPA:

    Prohibited Fees. It is illegal under RESPA for anyone to pay or receive a fee, kickback or anything of value because they agree to refer settlement service business to a particular person or organization. For example, your mortgage lender may not pay your real estate broker $250 for referring you to the lender. It is also illegal for anyone to accept a fee or part of a fee for services if that person has not actually performed settlement services for the fee. For example, a lender may not add to a third party's fee, such as an appraisal fee, and keep the difference.

    http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/ramh/res/sc2secti

    David Losh says

    I own a business, and it will never die, so owning is much better than renting, my accountant told me so.

    If your accountant told you owning is much better no matter how much you pay to own, then fire him immediately.

    David Losh says

    The buyer signs on, and does the search, maybe takes some photos, writes about the loan process, without disclosing terms, but what the heck, maybe that, and the whole process becomes transaparent.

    Some one doesn't want no stinking agent? Sign them up for the Patrick Home Search. It could be interactive.

    I don't quite get what the Patrick Home Search service would do. Can you say it in one sentence?

  31. David Losh


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    42   4:59pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Can you say it in one sentence?

    You would follow the buyer process from beginning to end. The buyer wouldn't use an agent, and hopefully find a property not listed. Even if it is listed I don't see what would prevent you from following from beginning to end.

  32. David Losh


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    43   5:00pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    if that person has not actually performed settlement services for the fee.

    I've always wondered about all of those loan ads on Real Estate sites where the borrower clicks to the service. Is that legal?

  33. Patrick


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    44   5:01pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Thanks, but still not sure what you mean by "follow". Just make suggestions during the process? Would I get paid for that?

    Could be fun to do it in a crowd-sourced way on the forum, where everyone chips in their knowledge, but that's probably not any kind of actual business.

  34. David Losh


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    45   5:03pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    no matter how much you pay to own,

    I was kidding about my accountant, but I will never leave my business afloat without a home. It can self manage.

    The premise however is the same. People need more affordable financial counseling.

  35. David Losh


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    46   5:06pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    but that's probably not any kind of actual business.

    It's probably illegal, but it's porn.

    People tell great stories after the fact, but to follow it in a forum? From day one of the search, who you're talking to, getting advice from a crowd, writing the P&S, getting the loan, what happens, as it happens, and being critiqued.

    I haven't seen it done, has anyone?

  36. Patrick


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    47   5:18pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    What's P&S?

    I like that "porn" aspect to it, since there will probably be many people who identify with the buyer as he goes along the process. It could get quite a big audience and I have not seen it done.

    But then, what about privacy? Maybe buyers just don't want to get public advice, no matter how good, if it means they are telling the world about their specific purchase.

    Maybe there's some middle ground, where the buyers don't say what specific address they are trying to buy.

  37. Patrick


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    48   5:25pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    David Losh says

    Patrick says

    if that person has not actually performed settlement services for the fee.

    I've always wondered about all of those loan ads on Real Estate sites where the borrower clicks to the service. Is that legal?

    Probably not.

  38. David Losh


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    49   5:39pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    What's P&S?

    A Purchase, and Sales Agreement.

    Patrick says

    Maybe there's some middle ground

    You gotta go all in.

    The privacy aspect is where Glen Kelman of redfin, and others, went to Congress to say we needed more transparency, but there isn't any.

    Throwing numbers up on a website, with photos isn't the transparency most people encounter.

    People get tired of the search so they buy anything. People see a house they love, love love, so they buy it anyway, or they get so turned around they are just happy when it closes.

    There is no transparency. Most people go into a Real Estate transaction blind, and get lead around. Why not make that a forum?

    The buyer has to agree, sign a waiver, and open the forum. What could go wrong?

  39. Patrick


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    50   5:44pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    David Losh says

    The buyer has to agree, sign a waiver, and open the forum. What could go wrong?

    Forget the waiver. If they write in public, they know what they're doing.

    The question is only how to get buyers to do it.

    I think the public advice could be really valuable, and that's the motive.

    How do we get the first buyer to document their whole process on this forum? I don't mind if they keep their name and the specific address private.

  40. David Losh


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    51   6:09pm Sat 8 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Forget the waiver.

    Because you want to own the porn.

    I'm just sitting here doing my billing, and end of month paperwork. I don't have it figured out, but I do know you want to own the content for your next book.

    and for goodness sake, you own a forum with 18,000 eyeballs a day, ask if a buyer wants to get involved.

    What I know is that some people need all the help they can get.

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