Simple Question, Great Answers!

Yesterday’s post wasn’t much of a mystery.  I really just meant what I said: the blog is getting boring and needs a facelift.  My initial position was that more in-depth numbers were the answer. The challenge is that I don’t have time to do the work, which means I need to pay someone else, and that costs money, hence the solicitation of opinions on cost recovery solutions.

They say a good lawyer doesn’t ask a question unless he already knows the answer, and to a certain extent that applies here.  I’m not surprised that few people want to pay for access to the site, nor am I surprised that many people would put up with ads. 

They also say don’t ask a question unless you want to hear the answer.  In this case I heard a few things I didn’t expect, and I’m so really glad that I asked the question.  There are lots of good suggestions about how to improve the blog.

What does surprise me is how some people construed the sentiment that “The blog is stale and needs a facelift” with “I’m tired, not having fun and want to throw in the towel”.   Sometimes there isn’t a hidden agenda. Sometimes the question isn’t in code.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.    I do appreciate the concern.  I also think its an object lesson in the way communication is filtered.   We all see things from our own perspectives.  For some, the solution to this blog’s challenges is to shut it down.  I have to ask everyone to put themselves in my shoes for a minute, though:  What kind of a Realtor would I be if I adopted that solution? I tell people that real estate is a great career if you like dealing with people and like solving problems.  If you apply that thinking to this blog is clear that shutting it down isn’t a real option.  There has to be (and frankly, there is) another solution.

I appreciate the business advice as well.  Blogging is new marketing tool, and the rules are still in flux.  There are many who argue that blogs will not generate business, but I can testify that I have actually made a few deposits in the bank that can be directly traced to the blog.  The amounts don’t justfy the time spent on it, but for the time being the combination of income and fun are rewarding enough (its no surprise that I like to argue, and from time to time there is some good give and take here).  That said, its a bad businessman who doesn’t consider his costs. It was a question that had to be asked. Besides, who wants a Realtor who shirks from challenges, doesn’t want to compete and can’t count money?

 Thanks for the input.  Changes are coming, but I’m not going anywhere.  Have patience. My “geek  tendency” (as one emailer called it) is low – new technology and software is a challenge at times.



Filed under Blog Additions

53 responses to “Simple Question, Great Answers!

  1. Dave

    Good to hear Rob. BTW what ever happened to the addition to your house? Did you finish it? How did it turn out? You started a post on it on your old blog and I don’t remember any updates.

  2. coco

    “There are many who argue that blogs will not generate business, but I can testify that I have actually made a few deposits in the bank that can be directly traced to the blog. The amounts don’t justfy the time spent on it.”

    If you made a few real estate commissions doesn’t that justify your time? There is a lot of blogs out there where no one makes one dime off of the bloggers. Maybe your just to use to getting paid for your time?

  3. passerby

    Interesting. But if I were to say just one thing it’d be “Don’t fix what ain’t broken”.

    Updating the look and feel is fine, but changing the content or trying to “improve” the discussion (either what or how it is) is always associated with a risk of losing current community and not gaining a replacement.

    Please consider making an evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes. The format of the blog is fine as it is, because that’s what a vast majority of readers came to expect from it.


  4. coco

    As an alternative, you can post daily numbers and not get so involved in all the conversations. That would definitely save you some time.

  5. coco

    You can have “ask Rob a question” day and talk to people on a certain day instead of a daily basis.

  6. Snick

    “They say a good lawyer doesn’t ask a question unless he already knows the answer, and to a certain extent that applies here.” – Rob

    Told ya he was “slippery”.

  7. WoW

    I’m happy to buy you a few beers Rob, for all your efforts – sincere offer.

    As I do plan to use your services in future. Feel free to take me up on it, but I will maintain my blog anonymity…(on the blog).

    numbers pls!:))

  8. vomitingdog

    Please make sure to cut off all personal attacks and feel free to be the one that sets the definition of what constitutes such an attack. The more focused you can be on the market, especially if it were to decline, the more potential buyers will come here to get the honest facts. People still need to buy houses even in a down market.

  9. vomitingdog

    Can you cut off snick, like, right away dude?

  10. $fromA$ia

    SATV, -A-, Snick?

    Are they all the same guy ‘er what?

    Whats with the hard on for Rob, Snick?

    You’ve been slandering him for months now.

  11. ceejay

    So Warren Buffet wants to re-insure Munis…maybe one of the safest investments ever. He has said words to the effect that you should buy assets when nobody else does. Boy, if nobody wants…are afraid of loosing on…Municipal bonds, investment capital is dead. And so goes the market.

  12. blueskies

    ol’ Warren Buffet knows how to make money.
    you can bet this is a good move for his operation.

  13. Hi Rob,

    I would use ad’s. You get a huge amount of traffic here and the back and forth between the bulls and bears is a blast.

    Your numbers have been streamlined over the last couple months but your insight and lively debate make this blog a favourite of mine. I have learned lots here.


    Stats here

  14. blueskies

    just checked your stats
    really bullish on sell/list #’s

  15. News Flash

    “the blog is getting boring and needs a facelift”

    Yes, I guess you can only make a fool of -A- so many times and the novelty wears off. Personally I still get a chuckle off of each of his posts. My favorite is when he claimed you and Bob Rennie secretly control the real estate market. One of those guys who is so dumb he doesn’t realize he is dumb. He can never figure out people are laughing at him and not with him.

    For purley humanitarian reasons I would also have to be opposed to charging for your site. -A- and Snick would have to get up pretty early to collect enough bottles to pay the dues. Judging by the amount they post on this blog it is pretty much their life and it would be sad to count them out.

    Anyway I look forward to the facelift but the commentary is really the best part of the blog. Keep that up and you will keep people coming back for more. As much as many do not like what you have to say the bottom line is you have been 100% right over the years. You could easily cater to the masses and tell them what they want to hear like some other Realtors trying to mimic your blog. No, you call it like you see it and so far you have been spot on. I doubt that will change anytime soon.

  16. blueskies

    No, you call it like you see it and so far you have been spot on. I doubt that will change anytime soon.

    brown noser extraordinaire!


  17. Mightymouse

    Just checked the numbers at Paul’s site. Looks like inventory hasn’t grown much the last few days 😦

  18. Skeptic

    Hey Rob, one neat thing that happened when you posted the Cost Recovery entry is that a whole bunch of lurkers came out and posted.

    I’d love to see some fresh perspective from some of these lurkers (regardless of whether their views align with mine).

    How can we get more people to participate on the blog ?

  19. Brittany Spears

    Note: My friend in the adhesive business – basically glue for counter tops. ( 13M/yr sales) are down 30% to the US. My 2 cents.
    This is a real number from the Fraser Valley. This is a direct impact on affordability.
    Yes, I am a bear.

  20. IKnow

    Rob: I appreciate reading about your thoughts and the data.
    As I’m a technical geek, it puzzles me why you cannot easily automate the data collection and calculation process.
    Everyday you get the feeds from mls about listings, solds, prices, etc …, and my gut feeling is that it ought to be straight-forward to automatically convert the info onto Excel spread sheet, then do whatever statistical analysis you care to do.
    Technical minds are not expensive, just hire one or two co-op students for a term, get those with programming and applied math experience.
    I’m quite sure in less than 1 month you’ll have an automated system to turn input data into statistics, ready for posting.

  21. Joe 6-pack

    I check the numbers in Paul’s site. He always posts them on time and with a lot more detail. The only reason I check this blog is for the comments; they are funny and sometimes informative; it is like a circus.

    It is quite interesting to see that when the market was very hot you did have time to post the numbers with detail and now you do not.

  22. Brittany Spears

    You started this blog. Finish it. It is your best interest. These are words of wisdom you will not regret in the years to come.

  23. Brittany Spears

    You started this blog. Finish it. It is your best interest. These are words of wisdom you will not regret in the years to come.

  24. Reknab

    I like the blog but it is somewhat frustrating when Rob posts multiple times each day over several days (often long posts) but won’t post any numbers. It sometimes seems as if he does it purposely…to me anyway.

    An aside, I work for one of the big banks in a western canadian mortgage approval center here in Vancouver, and the volumes are way down, it is very quiet. We are fighting over deals almost it seems..

  25. Brittany Spears

    I think Rob only wants to participate when times are good. I doubt he will tough it out. When you have only known easy money, it is hard to understand what is like to work for every penny.

  26. Whybuywhenucanrent

    As a daily reader, I endorse SpectralShift’s comments yesterday.

    Weekly numbers are fine, especially if they have more detail.

    It would be a stronger blog if you’d limit comments to the topic at hand. Post the numbers once a week, let everyone drool and salivate and discuss bull bear issues. But post other topics and ask folks to *keep* *on* *topic*. You could get a couple volunteer moderators to keep things on track.

    I’d really prefer a bulletin board, not a blog. I’m a paying member of the , take a look at it (click on “western discussion board” — that’s where most of the action is. Folks post a topic others follow, and it’s all archived and searchable. I pay $25/yr for the site, and I’d happily pay $25/yr for a Vancouver Real Estate discussion board. attracts a lot of RR professionals, it’s a fairly :safe: site, you’re not going to get flamed, and you’ll get a lot of good responeses to questions.

    My $0.02


    P.S. thanks for hosting the blog/discussion group, Rob! And I’ve considered using your services as a property manager, and if you were active in my part of town I’d have considered using you as an agent. I’m sure the blog drums up a bit of business for you.

  27. blueskies

    Heads up!
    cash is king!

    Based on the interpretations and implications
    from this chart, after the Aug/07 credit crisis
    the US Fed opted to protect the dollar and
    let hard assets deflate.
    They basically flipped the bird to the big banks
    and started draining liquidity from the system.
    The way they are handling the systemic risk is
    to remove the punch bowl and drain the swimming pool.

    Cash is king, hard assets (incl RE) are deflationary toast.
    Leveraged RE bulls just took one in the shorts!

    Sunshine and blueskies this AM with a touch of fog.

  28. coco

    Coventree to Close, Saying Business Is Not Viable

  29. coco

    U.S. demand for applications to purchase and refinance homes declined 2.1 % last week. The highest level in nearly four years as mortgage rates rose. Borrowing costs on 30 year fixed rate mortgages, as well as for one year adjustable rate loans, rose by 0.11 percentage point last week to 5.72 percent.

  30. coco

    Slowing U.S. economy hits Canada

  31. coco

    Bank of Canada lends C$339 mln in govt securities

  32. coco

    Bank of Canada also injects 125m to 150m on a daily basis. I think it was November that they stopped injecting cash for a couple weeks and actually injected the normal amount of 25 million. Since December the credit crunch has been continual.

  33. coco

    Global Confidence Weakens for Third Month on Slowdown

  34. coco

    U.S. January retail sales up 0.3% ex autos.

    Are consumers redeeming Christmas gift cards?

    Will this number be revised? (like a lot of other U.S. data)

    Only February retail numbers will tell.

  35. New Investor Rob


    I’m sure you know as good as anyone, but with the number of regular replies you get to your post, my guess is that the hits that you get on your site is very high. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are getting a 100-1 ratio of readers versus posters or better. You might be able to make some good money through ads.

    Just out of curiosity, could you post the number of page views you get a day?

  36. e

    i think part of the reason why this blog is so much work for poor rob is he just isn’t tech savvy as many of us (same goes with many realtors).

    but then again, you can’t blame him. if you were really tech savy AND with good business and social sense (talking with people and solving problems as rob mentioned), then you wouldn’t be a realtor.

  37. coco

    Explosion rocks West Broadway

    Storefronts blown out in 2:30 a.m. explosion and fire at Broadway and Heather

  38. GoingGoingGone

    Skeptic – you asked how you can get lurkers to participate more readily? I’d say create a more welcome forum that allows healthy debate but won’t allow it to move into character attacks and gross mischaracterizations. I appreciate respectful debate but a few people on this forum bring it down to the point that I just won’t bother posting.

    A bit about me – I hold a bear view to the Vancouver market right now. I sold my house in Pt.Grey in September and have moved to renting. We want to upgrade to a larger home but are happy to stay out of the market for at least a year to see what is going to happen to the market. We have the funds to wait — even if the market goes up. Any tips on investing a whack of cash while we wait?

  39. teddy

    Invest in gold, food, guns and ammo! These are always needed

  40. watching the market

    Coco — the credit crunch is a lot more complex and will be more drawn out than people understand (including me, but I flinched enough to get out of holding Cdn financials for the time being). Just as the rebate cheques the yanks will soon be getting from their gov’t will go to pay bills, not to new spending….all credit relief right now is going to shore up balance sheets, not to be lent out in the marketplace. Non-gov’t interest rates are going to continue to increase, I think, and there is a scary inflation risk out there. Non-performing credit card debt (and related credit card-backed securities) is going to be the next HUGE problem down south. The credit debacle is going to run through the summer I think…and there will be more collateral damage around the world…imo…question will be, can the Chinese and Indian middles classes (i.e., their domestic demand) keep the world economy from tanking…maybe… who knows?!

  41. domus

    San Diego House Prices Fall to 4 Year Low

    From SignOnSanDiego: Median housing prices in county hit 4-year low (hat tip iceman)

    San Diego County median home prices fell last month to their lowest level in four years with nearly half of existing homes selling at a loss in the face of mounting foreclosures, DataQuick Information Systems reported yesterday.

    The overall median price slipped $1,000 from December and $43,000 from a year ago to $429,000, the lowest since February 2004.

    Prices are back to Feb 2004, and based on future prices, probably headed much lower.

  42. $fromA$ia

    — even if the market goes up. Any tips on investing a whack of cash while we wait?

    ~4% GIC 30 days locked. TD.


    ~Toilet paper. “Great -A-$$ wipe” Better than Canadian Tire Money!

    You’ll have to wait for interest rates put the value back into money.

    I think it’s called “when cash is KING!”

  43. coco


    China only imports about 8% of B.C. exports. Korea, Taiwan 5%. India even less .08% China imports a lot of wood, only to be made into other products like doors, etc. to be imported back into the North American market. So many people have been sold on the all media hype that consumer demand from these countries will save our economy from a slowdown, but we actually export very little to them.

    B.C. exports 2007

    1.) North America, 61.2% (of which Mexico contributes 0.6 percentage points)
    2.) Pacific Rim, 27.1% (of which Japan contributes 12.9 percentage points)
    3.) Western Europe, 7.4%
    4.) South East Asia, 1.7%
    5.) South America, 1.3%
    6.) The Middle East, 0.9%
    7.) Eastern Europe, 0.6%
    8.) Central America & the Caribbean, 0.3%
    9.) Africa, 0.2%

  44. coco

    The U.S. foreclosure crisis is worsening and the number of foreclosures will become even higher over the next few years amidst growing economic uncertainty. Housing Predictor extends its foreclosure forecast into 2011 nearly doubling its original prediction.

  45. coco

    Anatomy Of An Intentional U.S. Foreclosure
    (there is a video on the left hand side you can watch)

  46. coco

    Canadians are juggling record debt loads averaging $80,000 per household, says the author of a new report who warns job losses would push many families over a fiscal cliff.

  47. Snick

    February 13, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Re: your post…

    Yes, I find it interesting how people can be so distracted and jump on the bandwagon vis a vis “current beliefs”.

    For example, look at how many “economists” have been leading each other along like sheep.

    e.g. From a “soft landing” to a “perhaps mild recession” to “a recession” to…

    Ugly and stoopid. All of it.

  48. News Flash

    “I work for one of the big banks in a western canadian mortgage approval center…We are fighting over deals…”

    When is that credit crunch going to kick in? It was supposed to have arrived last August yet banks in Vancouver are fighting over who gets to give out the mortgage.

  49. blueskies

    It was supposed to have arrived last August

    it did arrive in Aug/07, since then enormous efforts have been put into mitigation…..
    to what effect?
    so far the problem is not solved or even contained….

    read this:

  50. zed

    good luck with the face lift! whatever format you go with i’m sure most of us will continue to vist.

  51. watching the market


    I was not referring to Chinese or Indian demand “saving” BC directly per se…what I was referring to is that the US is not the only consumption machine in the world anymore, and to the extent that other countries will create demand, that will help reduce the impact of the US recession on the rest of the world economy…..BC cannot possibly have a strong economy while the rest of the world tanks…defies logic….IMO….

  52. The article was really interesting and the job of an real estate agent is not really easy .There is no written rule which says that the realtors lie to get their deal through.
    For Real Estate Details and Information-

  53. Not for the faint of heart! Here are some reasons “Real Men” blog:-

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