Planned Network Maintenance, This Sat. 6PM – 8PM

Tomorrow evening, Saturday July 19th, from 6-8PM the APR network will be offline for system maintenance. 

The APR IT Staff will be working at the XO Datacenter in Fremont to install new firmware on our core router.  This router controls internet access throughout the entire company and is being upgraded to provide new capabilities for network traffic management.

Please note: From 6PM-8PM tomorrow there will be little or no internet access from APR offices.  Access to shared files on office servers will also be unavailable. 

During this time period, access to email from other locations may be subject to some interruption. SAVI, Estates Online and other third-party tools will continue to operate. Thanks in advance for you patience as we make this important upgrade to our network operating system.

Important MLS Information for All APR Agents

Recently MLSListings, Inc. (formerly REIL) made the decision to unsubscribe to the MLS Alliance.  While this was the correct thing to do it created a void for some agents who desire access to listing information in surrounding MLS services.  Listed below is information on some arrangements that have been made to assist those agents who would like access to listing in other MLS services.

Peninsula and South Bay agents – If you are a MLSListings, Inc. (formerly REIL) subscriber and would like “read only” access to all MAXMLS (East Bay listings from BayEast MLS, CCAR MLS and EBRDI) listings you may now gain that access by subscribing to BayEast MLS for a one time fee of $50 which will provide you with “read only” access to MAXMLS listings for the remainder of 2008.  If you are interested or want more information please contact Bay East Association of Realtors at (925) 730-4060

East Bay agents – If you are a subscriber of BayEast MLS and would like “read only” access to MLSListings, Inc. (formerly REIL and the Central Valley MLS) with listings on the Peninsula and in the South Bay and Central Valley) you may now gain that access by subscribing to MLSListings, Inc.  The one time fee is $50 and will provide you with “read only” access for the remainder of 2008.  If you are interested or want more information please contact MLSListings, Inc. Customer Service at 1.800.546.5657

If you are a subscriber to CCAR MLS it is my understanding that similar arrangements are not currently available but the Board of Directors will be considering the subject at their upcoming Board meeting. 
If you are a subscriber to EBRDI it is my understanding that their Board of Directors has voted against establishing this type of arrangement at this time.

Regardless of which East Bay MLS you belong to there is another option.  That option is a full membership in MLSListings, Inc. which would allow you to offer your sellers the ability to market their home to 20,000 Peninsula and South Bay agent subscribers as well as the thousands of buyers who search the MLSListings, Inc. website (www.mlslistings.com ) each month.  And by the end of the year your membership in MLSListings, Inc. will provide you with access to virtually all listings in the three other MLS systems listed under “Longer term information” below (virtually all of Metropolitan Northern California outside of the East Bay).  The cost is $576 per year.  For information call MLSListings, Inc. Customer Service at 1.800.546.5657

Longer term information – In case you didn’t know, four large Regional MLS services in Northern California have agreed to share their data and offer their subscribers full reciprocal MLS services before the end of this year.  With this new arrangement as a subscriber of MLSListings, Inc. you will have full access to listing information, including input of your listings for distribution to the 57,000 agents in the system.  The four entities will share a single data base and you will only need to pay a single fee (no multiple memberships required).  The four participating MLS services in this new system are: MLSListings, Inc. (San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties plus parts of the Central Valley)
SFAR  MLS (San Francisco)
BAREIS (North Bay including Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties) and
Metrolist (Central Valley including most of Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and San Joaquin counties)

The three East Bay MLS’s that make up MAXMLS could choose to become a part of this Northern California initiative.  If they did, every agent in the Greater Northern California Metropolitan area would have full access to a single data base of all listings without the need for multiple MLS memberships.  If you are a member of any one of the East Bay MLS services and feel this would be of benefit to you please let your feelings be known to the Directors of your MLS system.

Please let me know if you have any questions.   

Thanks,

Larry Knapp, President

Alain Pinel Realtors

More about Social Networking…

Here’s the Part 2 of last weeks article on Social Networking for Realtors:   http://www.inman.com/buyers-sellers/columnists/berniceross/which-social-network-suits-you-best

In this installment, author Bernice Ross does a quick comparison of various social networking sites.

(from Inman News…)

"Social networking may be the most important new strategy to add to your business, especially if want to reach Gen X and Gen Y. Are you ready to start networking and connecting in your business?

Last week’s article looked at the various types of social networking opportunities. The question is where to begin and whether the activity really is worthwhile in terms of your business.

1. LinkedIn
A logical place for you to begin social networking is through LinkedIn. This is a business-to-business site. There is a robust free version of the site as well as a paid version. When you post your profile, you also post the other places that you have worked as well as where you attended college. Based upon this information, the system automatically makes suggestions of people you may know. The beauty of the system is that you can easily send out invitations to join your network to contacts in your current address book. Once someone agrees to be in your network, you can then view all the members of their network.

This is a powerful tool for building referrals. For example, when you first start working with a client, invite them to join. If the client is already a member, you will then have access to his or her LinkedIn network. If there is someone that you would like to meet on your client’s network, all you have to do is to ask for an introduction. A slightly different application is to invite your preferred vendors to join your LinkedIn network. Inform your clients that only your best resources are on your LinkedIn network.

2. ActiveRain.com and RealTown.com
These are currently two of the most frequently visited social networking sites in the real estate business. Until recently, ActiveRain was primarily a social network where real estate agents could connect with each other to discuss issues of mutual interest as well as to exchange referrals. ActiveRain is now expanding to be consumer-facing. RealTown was an expansion of the discussion boards from Internet Crusade. This site is not only a great place to connect with other agents, but it also provides content for consumers. RealTown is a place where you can obtain answers about difficult situations from other agents or just have fun staying in contact with agents from other places in the country.

3. Facebook.com and MySpace.com
If you’re serving the first-time-buyer market, these two sites have a tremendous amount of Gen X and Gen Y traffic. They are not real estate-specific. In fact, Facebook recently banned the regular uploading of open houses on its site. Because you can search by geographical area, you can make posts to your profile about your local area as a way to establish credibility as an agent. The key point to remember, however, is to participate in the community conversation. Pushing your real estate listings or marketing yourself will cause you to lose "friends" instantaneously.

4. Blogs
There are several reasons to have a blog. Blogs help your search-engine placement and are an excellent way to share detailed information about your listings as well as the lifestyle in your area. Blogging is fairly simple. Instead of answering clients via e-mail, post your response on your blog. If you’re not a good writer, use a voice-to-text service such as Jott.com to leave a telephone message that the system converts to text and can be easily uploaded. Carry your camera and take plenty of pictures. If you create fun and interesting content, you’ll have visitors that will soon become clients.

5. Twitter
Some people have likened Twitter to a mini-blog. You post what you’re doing throughout the day so your friends/clients can stay in touch. Most of what is on Twitter is "Hi! Here’s what I’m doing — bye!" Nevertheless, it is becoming an important way for people to share information and stay in contact. For example, assume that you’re out previewing open houses and you see one that is perfect for two of your clients. You could send them a "tweet" to come see the house while it was open.

6. Profiles on major real estate sites such as Trulia and Zillow
For those who are not comfortable with writing blog posts several times per week, an entirely different approach is to complete a profile on Trulia and Zillow. Once your profile is complete, both companies have discussion forums where you can answer questions posed by visitors. If you answer only one question each week, at the end of the six months you will have 26 posts on those sites. This creates strong credibility as being an expert in a specific market.

If you plan to be in business for the long term, social networking is a trend that you cannot afford to ignore."

Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of "Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters" and "Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?" Both are available online. She can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com or visit her blog at www.LuxuryClues.com.

Ross will speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008.

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