Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 3:38 PM on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Alaska Realtors meet in Homer

Role of technology, social media in real estate is convention's No. 1 topic

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff writer

Just in time to pick up where the visitor season typically ends, the Alaska Association of Realtors is holding its annual convention in Homer. The convention will be Sept. 13-16 at Land's End Resort.

This year's theme, "Social Solutions — the Future is Now," 20 hours of continuing education and the end-of-the-road location have drawn 180 registrants to date with more expected, said Debra Leisek of Bay Realty, co-chair of the conference.

"They really like to come to Homer," said Leisek.

Sandy Eherenman, AAR chief executive officer, agreed.

"Homer usually gets a pretty good turnout," said Eherenman of convention registrations coming from the association's state-wide membership.

With so much of the state only accessible by air, being on the road system helps a lot, said Eherenman.

The role technology and social media play in real estate is the overall topic being addressed by speakers and presenters.

The keynote speaker is Shannon King, who depends on virtual technology to manage two separate brokerages: TriBella Realty in Texas and Schoolhouse Realty in California. King, the author of "Real Estate Road Warrior: 101 Technology Tools for Business on the Go," encourages agents to expand their areas through the use of technology and marketing.

Nobu Hata brings to the convention his 15 years of experience applying "new-school techniques to his brick and mortar business," as well as his ability to demystify new media.

Chandra Hall, whose presentation is entitled "Social Systems to Keep You Sane," was named the Distinguished Real Estate Instructor" in 2008.

Debbie Murphy of Wasilla will give tips on using Facebook.

"We also have the vice president of the National Association of Realtors, Gary Thomas," said Leisek of the Orange County, Calif., Realtor who will become the NAR president in 2013. "We have some really good speakers coming. ... People enjoy coming to our state. That's good."

With this a licensing renewal year for Realtors, 20 hours of continuing education have been included in the convention schedule. In fact, Saturday's agenda is filled with required classes, with an additional 12 hours of electives scattered throughout the schedule.

Also attending the convention are many of AAR's affiliate members, representing mortgage companies, banks and other related businesses, with 19 businesses represented in the convention's trade show.

Some lighter moments, such as Wednesday night's "iCostume Contest" and the "REALTORS Got Talent show," also are included the agenda.

"You see from the schedule it's 8 a.m.-midnight. We're always doing something," said Leisek of the convention schedule. "It's a good networking thing and we have a lot of fun. ... We'll learn a lot and be better Realtors for it."

The 2011 AAR Convention begins with a "Meet and Tweet" from 6-11 p.m., sponsored by Morris Communications. The opening ceremony at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday includes a color guard provided by the American Legion Post 16 and singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" by Hope Hudson.

For more about the convention, visit www.alaskarealtors.com.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben. jackinsky@homernews.com.