A Friday without a new blog post is like Christmas without presents, or at least like a Trump rally without ignorance.
So without a new post last Friday, I felt absolutely lost. I hope you all got over it…
Folks, I really, really don’t like change. And I fear things that are new and different.
But Toronto Realty Blog is in its tenth year, and there a new layout and new features were overdue. Let me fill you in…
Damn. The “insert more” tag is in a different place. I already don’t like blogging in this new format! 🙂
This represents the fourth layout I’ve had in ten years, and I have absolutely no idea how that compares to other websites.
But that old layout was getting tired, and more importantly, it was time for some new features.
This is still a project, folks. So bear with me here.
But by mid-week, we should have this thing back up and running.
There are a few new features on TRB that I wanted to point out:
1) Ask TRB
This is perhaps a long time overdue.
I’ve mentioned in the past how I wanted to put up a “forum” where readers can not only post their own topics, but also interact.
And many of you have probably noticed how some of the regular commenters often keep conversations going, and sometimes, they converse about things that have nothing to do with the blog topic itself! There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s not what I’m getting at.
But I am thinking another forum is needed for these folks, as well as the ones that want to start a blog topic of their own.
The format of “Ask TRB” is threefold:
1) A reader asks a question.
2) I answer it.
3) Subsequent readers comment.
It’s just like a regular blog post except steps #1 and #2 are reversed.
I know a lot of you have questions, and many of you email me directly, or ask questions in the blog posts themselves.
But if “Ask TRB” catches on, then it can help us collectively accomplish all of the above. I can answer your questions, you can post new topics, and the regular readers and commenters can spew opinions until the cows come home.
2) House & Condo Of The Week
For years, people have asked me why I don’t post listings on my blog.
My blog is for blogging.
All the crappy template websites flash listings across the screen, but they’re just that agent’s one or two listings, plus other listings from his or her office that he or she asked permission to advertise.
Those boiler-plate websites aren’t really showing listings of interest, but rather listings that are already in somebody’s pocket.
You all know how I feel about the archaic rules put in place by TREB and RECO that prevent me from “advertising” listings, which basically means mentioning them, or from providing any sort of opinion (God forbid Realtors did that…) on active listings that would be anything but glowing, since that would be “disparaging a competitor’s listing.”
It’s why I started “PICK5” in the first place. Create a “Virtual Office Website,” and thus you can discuss with your clients.
In any event, the whole idea behind TRB is, and always has been, to provide information, opinion, and insight that other Realtors don’t.
So while I can talk to a client, or email with them, and tell them what properties I like and don’t like, I don’t have a mass forum to do that. Yet.
So the new TRB will have a section in the middle of the page, just below “Today’s Article” for those “Listings of the Week.”
I’ll have one house, one condo, and one other – not sure yet.
TREB rules still mandate I can only “advertise” those for which agents have ticked the box “allow advertising” on the MLS listing, but that’s probably 30-40% of all listings, which is good enough for me!
3) Whatever Comes Next
Not to sound too vague, but change is coming.
I don’t agree with much of what the Competition Bureau is fighting CREA for, but I do believe there is a lot more we could be doing for our clients, and for the general public.
I see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to engage people in a mass forum.
Advances in technology should be implemented and taken advantage of, not fought.
As the very first Toronto Realtor with something called a “blog” back in 2007, I can tell you first-hand how hard it is to fight the “old guard” of real estate when you have a new idea, or want to use a new technology.
So I can tell you that when change comes, or when the door opens to new ideas, I will be ready to run through it!
There’s all this talk about “sold data,” but that’s not what the fight is about.
You want sold data? Call any agent in Toronto, and they’ll give it to you, despite what the “rules” say.
This is about the flow of information, and how breaking down barriers and ditching old rules will allow the top agents to provide a better service to their clients.
Perhaps the question should be asked – what does the public want?
Tell me. I’m all ears, and I might just take you up on your suggestion if/when the real estate’s version of the Berlin wall comes down.
The summer is slow, so I figured this would be a good time to roll out the new layout, and work out some kinks.
I’ll still be blogging Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and a new Pick5 will still appear on Thursday.
But we might get the odd interruption here or there, and Ask TRB and House & Condo of the Week aren’t up yet. But check back periodically – it should be up soon.
Thanks for your patience!