Happy Birthday Elvis

Writing about Elvis so I don’t have to, Seattle/Bellevue Realtor Debra Sinick writes about the recent tour she took of Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs. It wasn’t an agents or brokers open, but an open house for the public to take an inside peek at the home Elvis and Priscilla used as their Honeymoon Hideaway.

Debra works with Windermere and has her own blog Eastside Real Estate Buzz and also writes for the Seattle PI’s Real Estate Professionals.

Her post provides me with the perfect segue to our premiere Elvis event in Seattle, The Elvis Invitationals!

Please join me on January 24th, 2009 for our 12th Annual Elvis competition to find Seattle’s finest Elvi.

Performing again for your viewing and listening pleasure is Dino Macris, husband of real estate educator and marketing guru, Denise Lones.

I know you want to come! It’s on Saturday, January 24th at Club Motor and advance tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets. Also appearing is professional Elvis Steve Adams and his band Kentucky Rain. Visit my website www.ElvisInvitationals.com for more information.

Thank you. Thankyouverymuch!

House sells for $1.75 on Ebay. And Elvis Museum for sale again

With a winning bid of just $1.75, a Chicago woman has won an auction for an abandoned home in Saginaw. Joanne Smith, 30, recently was the top bidder for the home during an auction on eBay, The Saginaw News reported. Her bid was one of eight for the home. But before the Open House, the price was $2.50.

And on another note, the Elvis Is Alive Museum that was for sale by ex-real estate broker Bill Beany, is now for sale again on Ebay.

Happy Elvis Death Day

Real Estate Elvis

In my never-ending quest to write about Elvis and Real Estate, imagine my glee when I spotted this life-size gold lame clad Elvis cut-out at the entrance to this home for sale on Capitol Hill in Seattle. This was a few weeks ago, but I saved the photo for Elvis Death Day (tomorrow will be the 31st anniversary of his passing.)

Why? Who knows? But thank you, thank you, thankyouverymuch for giving me, again, this opportunity to combine two of my most favorite subjects in one mindless post.

Graceland Live Webcam

Happy Birthday Elvis

Elvis invitationals

Ok, so this really doesn’t have anything to do with real estate, but as you can see from my tagline 360Digest is also “popular culture” and Elvis is about as popular as you can get.

Today would have been Elvis’ 72nd birthday. But, um, he didn’t make it. But we celebrate this day anyway and use this is an excuse to have a dance party and maybe a scavenger hunt and play Elvis Bingo.

In conjunction with this event is the 11th Annual Elvis Invitationals and I am honored to be a judge for the third year in a row. Amateur impersonators get one chance to perform a song, in costume, backed by the Memphis Mafia all-star band, while competing for over $1,000 worth of prizes, and I get to be in the center of it all. It’s a beautiful life.

Happy Elvis’ Birthday

Anyway, I hope to be recovered enough from that event by Monday, January 15th, to host the Carnival of Real Estate and anyone submitting an article that somehow combines the subjects of Real Estate and Elvis gets guaranteed publication in that weeks Carnival, no matter how much of a stretch or how many degrees of separation.

If you can’t do it, don’t worry. All other subjects accepted too!

Thank you. Thankyouverymuch!

God, I love a good Elvis metaphor in the morning…


Marc Davison’s excellent article on Inman “Time for Elvis to pass the torch” caught my attention because how often can a writer include Elvis and real estate in one sentence? I got a contact high just scanning his commentary.

His article was about Inman’s Connect technology conference. He starts with relating a story about an old-timey broker calling him, but he just couldn’t drop the doobie and take the call.

“His point of view was irrelevant now. His words are bubble gum music and I’d just seen Hendrix. I turned my cell off, opened the window and let the wind cry Mary.”

He was hung over. His head throbbed. His body ached. “Conjure up the day after Woodstock.” So he opens up the newspaper.

“…. Page after page I searched for signs of the award-winning brands, innovators and progressive people I partied with for three days inside the Inmansphere. Something that would deliver me a new and exciting experience. With each turn of the page my post-conference high diminished. Midway through I imagined an announcement over the Starbucks speaker system: “Attention. Testing one, two, three. Hey man, don’t eat the brown acid. It’s bad! I repeat the brown acid is bad, man.”

I ignored the warning. My page turning pace increased as if I had lost something and was frantic to find it. Things like virtual tours, videos, mapping, digital signatures, online estimates, neighborhood data – ideas and services witnessed during the Worlds Fair of real estate. My bad trip included giant agent heads dwarfing tiny shots of homes that all looked exactly alike and carried the same message. One ad freaked me out completely: The Realtor in the picture claimed she “IS the changing face of real estate. She IS the eyes in my community. She IS the ears listening to my needs. She WILL sell my home.” With what? I thought. There IS no link to a Web site, there IS no e-mail address.

Was Connect real or did I hallucinate it? Didn’t I brush up against innovators? Had I not held meetings with the rock stars of our business? If so, how did I end up back here at home surrounded by personalities rather than a real estate reality that doesn’t include Redfin, Trulia, HomePoint, digital signatures, paperless processes, Neighborhood data, TMS, or an Oodle of LocaModa – services as opposed to individuals. It’s wrong, it’s antiquated and it’s whole-heartedly unfair to consumers.”

The Rock Stars of real estate? Man, them are pretty powerful words. They brought me back to earth. I was trippin’ but I crashed and came back from my own contact high.

So who is this Marc Davison who writes so eloquently, and the only other guy who can write about real estate and Elvis in the same article?

His point was that it was time to pass the torch from the traditional ways of doing real estate to this new way envisioned by the CEO’s, venture capitalists and technical writers.

“Two thousand Beatles appeared at Inman’s event last week. These people – the attendees, speakers, vendors and visionaries- are the most important people in this business.

It’s a new era now. The old real estate business, with its million-plus Elvises might be able to find some work in Vegas but as of now, the torch has been passed. There’s no going back”

So, I’ve been thinking about this more and more. Are real estate agents outdated and obsolete? Will they be replaced by the mash-ups and data sites and the do-it-yourself searches and the electronic signatures? Is it just a business of software writers and venture capitalists now?

Marc Davison is vice president of OnBoard, a real estate data provider based in New York. Davison previously served as vice president of VREO, a provider of electronic signature and Web site software for the real estate industry. OnBoard supplies data to companies such as Coldwell Banker and J.L. Scott.

So, I’m thinking…… if he’s one of the rock stars of real estate, are the agents just lounge singers?

His attitude is similar to many other CEO’s of technical and software companies who supply a product to an industry, but this one just happens to be real estate. They seem to get confused about who actually does the work. Rather than seeing themselves as a useful business tool or partner, these guys lose sight of who their client is and what role they perform. Just like coke gives those with low self-esteem delusions of grandeur, the software designer’s high he gets from creating the business’s webpage or supplying some data somehow makes them think that they now are more powerful than the business they were hired to make the webpage for…..

So many CEO’s of these brave new software companies are frustrated that business, not just real estate, remain in what they consider the stone age. They get inpatient with the fact that many people still depend on print advertising as a major source of revenue. From reading interviews with these guys, I get the feeling that they’re frustrated with agents and brokers for continuing to advertise and for buyers and sellers continuing to read that damn newspaper!

“Don’t you see? We’re the wave of the future! We software designers, CEO’s, venture capitalists, technical writers and paperless signature processors, WE are the true rock stars of real estate and all you real estate salespeople are just the, uh…. groupies.” Or something. Not sure. Oh, maybe we’re just supposed to be their clients and pay them to create products they design to “disintermediate” us…. Again, not sure. Many things remain unsaid by these guys.

One thing I do know is that if agents and brokers quit doing what we do, then many guys like Marc Davison and his company OnBoard, could lose much of their client base. If traditional agents and brokers are forced out of the business, then who will be left to purchase his product?

Picture yourself in a boat on a river. With tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, A girl with kaleidoscope eyes…..

Elvis Loved America

Happy Fourth of July.

Happy Fourth of July!

Graceland was honored to welcome two world leaders to Elvis’s home last week. President George Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi toured Graceland in a historic visit. Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley greeted the two leaders along with First Lady Laura Bush upon their arrival. Watch a video to see what the President and Prime Minister had to say about Graceland and Elvis after their tour and see photos here.

Graceland has the honor of being the most visited historic home in the United States, hosting a mega Open House nearly every day of the year.

Elvis & Bush

Graceland is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the country. But it’s more than just a house, it’s a business. Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises was sold to media mogul Robert Sillerman several years ago in a sweetheart deal for Pricilla and Lisa Marie.

I had the good fortune to attend the Penticton B.C. 5th Annual Elvis Festival last month and met dozens of top Canadian Elvi as they swiveled and shook they’re way to Canadian Elvis infamy.

Elvis Sandwich 

I was thrilled to see Dino Macris perform again, after winning top honors at the Elvis Invitationals earlier in the year at Paul Allen’s EMP, where I’ve been a judge for several years.

Dino Macris

What does this have to do with real estate?  Well, Dino’s married to none other than real estate educational dynamo Denise Lones.  Based in Bellingham WA, Denise has a company that specializes in assisting agents and companies fulfill their full marketing potential with coaching, sales systems, marketing help, business analysis and broker/agent “bootcamp”. I’ve attended several of her seminars and found them super-fab and inspiring (plus, gotta love those clock-hours!)

Denise Lones

Other agents and real estate folks love Elvis too….

Grow-a-Brain loves Elvis

Rodney Hamrick, Elvis Impersonator and ERA Real Estate agent in Mobile, Alabama.

The Cheesy Realtor

Elvis Vogrin, Re-Max Agent

Elvis Nail, Realtor

Elvis Webster, Jonesboro, GA Realtor

Boston real estate agent, Elvis Doda

Buy “Elvis Real Estate” in Turkey

Zillow loves Elvis

Elvis Game

Friends of elvis
Karma Physics Elvis is a modification of the first person shooter computer game Unreal 2003. As the viewer camera floats through an infinite pink afterlife, twitching multiples of Elvis are controlled by the original game’s “Karma Physics” real-time physics system – generally used to simulate realistic game character death.

The Epistemology of Elvis

Iconic Elvis -The Cultural Impact of Elvis Aron Presley Elvis: Cultural Influence, Intolerance and Political Correctness. A cultural paper presented by Dr. Gary Enders.

How the Blues Affected Race Relations in the Unites States, a thesis by Jessica Grant.

Elvis Presley: Hero with a Thousand Faces
by Susan MacDougall, presented at the National Elvis Presley Conference, Canberra, Australia, November 2004

Can’t write your own Elvis thesis? Buy one here!

My house on Photosynth

Laura Foy from www.on10.net and crew came to our house a few months ago to tape a Photosynth How-To video. By clicking on our garden gazing ball in the link, about half-way through the video, you get a quick tour of our living room. You can tell it’s our house because of the large life-size Elvis bust on the grand piano, the dead baby heads, the Shriner hats, the bad Louis XIV furniture, the garden gnomes by the fireplace and the Angel of Meat. You can even see a painting of my boys above the fireplace.

Photosynth is part photo gallery, part movie. One photo is shown clearly at a time; adjacent images appear faded, and others less closely related to the photo in focus are look like ghosts. Viewers can zoom in and out, and pan left and right, through the scene created by overlapping many different views of the same place or object.

Galen thinks it will change real estate. It may allow technologically motivated agents to bring better virtual tours to homebuyers. I’m going to try it out with one of my listings soon. The video crew did a great job but they were professionals. It will be interesting to see how it looks when a real schlub takes photos and try to use the software. I’m excited so stay tuned and I’ll post the results.

JoDavid writes about this and Microsoft’s other big news on Unusual Life.

All Hail The King


RisMedia notes How Graceland Celebrates the King’s Birthday.

Elvis, Jesus and General Lee

Become a member of Elvis Candlelight and promote a greater understanding of Spirit through the example and spiritual seeking of Elvis Presley during his life time, and his continuing presence in the world.

Marlow and Elvis

There are many ETA’s (Elvis Tribute Artists) but few PTA’s in the U.S.

Marlow/Priscilla at the Elvis Invitationals

Other agents and real estate folks love Elvis too….

Elvis Real Estate

Elvis Birthday Events at Graceland

Elvis Vogrin, Re-Max Agent

Boston real estate agent, Elvis Doda
Elvis Turkovich, Aspen Realty

Elvis Chin, Singapore Real Estate

Zillow loves Elvis

Unusual convergence of events

Christopher Hitchens represents conspiracy theories as the ‘exhaust fumes of democracy’, the unavoidable result of a large amount of information circulating among a large number of people. Other social commentators and sociologists argue that conspiracy theories are produced according to variables that may change within a democratic society.

Conspiratorial accounts can be emotionally satisfying when they place events in a readily-understandable, moral context. The subscriber to the theory is able to assign moral responsibility for an emotionally troubling event or situation to a clearly-conceived group of individuals. Crucially, that group does not include the believer. The believer may then feel excused of any moral or political responsibility for remedying whatever institutional or societal flaw might be the actual source of the dissonance.

So, it may be a coincidence that events of a certain importance happened on the first day of the NAR conference, however, on some occasions particular conspiracy allegations turn out to be more than a mere alignment of the planets.

Some argue that the reality of such conspiracies should caution against any casual dismissal of conspiracy theory. Many “conspiracy theory” authors and publishers, such as Robert Anton Wilson and Disinfo, use proven conspiracies as evidence of what a secret plot can accomplish. In doing so, they attempt to rebut the assumption that conspiracies don’t exist, or that any “conspiracy theory” is necessarily false.

However, it is just so odd that NAR convention-goers are witness to the eerie collision of events that cause 1000’s of Realtors to converge in the same city, on the same day, at the very same time that the New Frontier Hotel, yes, the location of Elvis’ first performance in Las Vegas, implodes upon itself.

Conspiracy or coincidence.

You decide.