Dylan Chalk

We told you about “The Confident House Hunter: A Home Inspector’s Tips for Finding Your Perfect House” by America’s new favorite home inspector Dylan Chalk just before it hit the bookstores and Amazon last year. Well, Dylan just won the Silver Award at the 11th Annual Robert Bruss Real Estate Book Awards, held during the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) conference in Denver last week. In my column from July of last year, I called his book a breakthrough in capturing “A Better, Different Way to Buy” a home. Now he has won one of the highest awards for real estate authors available. The president of NAREE,  Michelle Jarboe of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, announced Dylan as this year’s Silver winner at a luncheon packed with real estate journalists from across the country, including writers for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, Dallas Morning News, Newsday, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Orlando Sentinel, Atlanta Journal Constitution, US News & World Report and many more. In congratulating Dylan, Michelle shared this: “The judges said that Chalk used an innovative approach to evaluate and organize home systems. The judges also noted that book offers clear and helpful advice for anyone examining a home.” A Proud Moment I was sitting next to Dylan at the luncheon because Dylan was not only a client of mine when he first started writing the book, but he is a fellow Islander: Dylan also lives on Bainbridge Island as I do, just outside of Seattle, and we know each other well. Dylan and I also worked together when I was in the mortgage business several years ago. We supported each other’s businesses by hosting a seminar for real estate agents called “How Green is Your Listing?” Clearly, we were way ahead of our time, but the gist of the 3-hour clock class in Washington was to provide agents with a way to market the green features of a home and how to focus on improving energy efficiency of existing listings. But I was most proud because I helped Dylan with his book at the very beginning. We spent a ton of hours working together, as I set a schedule and gave him a framework and then pushed him hard to get his first draft finished. So when his name was called as a winner of […]


DENVER–The National Association of Real Estate Editors has opened registration for its 51st Annual Real Estate Journalism Conference in Denver, June 14-17, 2017. NAREE’s conference, which begins Wednesday morning June 14 at the Brown Palace Hotel, will attract scores of journalists from major newspapers and prestigious publications from around the nation and Europe. The conference features newsworthy speakers covering commercial and residential real estate topics, green building, architecture, hotels, mortgage lending, mixed-use development, single-family investing and vacation properties. Insightful speakers will include Douglas Yearley, chief executive officer of Toll Brothers; Marilyn Wilson of the WAV Group; Rohit Anand of KTGY Architecture and Scott Muldavin, chair of the Counselors of Real Estate. NAREE’s newsworthy conference programming will feature several chief economists including: Kevin Thorpe, Cushman & Wakefield; Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors, Nela Richardson, Redfin; Brad Hunter, HomeAdvisor and Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia. The real estate trends, economic forecasts and real estate market analysis sessions are delivered on timely topics. The conference content typically generates hundreds of news articles, blog posts and social media mentions from some of the nation’s most prominent publications. Outstanding mid-career journalism training is offered at NAREE University’s peer-to-peer professional development program for journalists, which will run twice daily during the conference. NAREE University equips journalists to deal with new reporting tools and techniques in the rapidly changing media industry. Journalists and industry communicators may register for the affordable conference online at Conference registrants may choose to stay at the historic Brown Palace, which opened in 1892, or the adjoining Holiday Inn Express. Both hotels are located in exciting downtown Denver, which is a very active real estate market. Other highlights of the conference include NAREE’s Meet the Press, the awards program for NAREE’s 67th Annual Journalism Competition and the Bruss Real Estate Book Awards luncheon. Founded in 1929, NAREE is a non-profit professional association of journalists, writers, columnists, editors and authors covering residential, commercial and financial real estate, urban planning and home design.


The Davos of Real Estate Journalism

by Steve Cook on July 20, 2016

NAREE 2016

Have you ever wanted to have the opportunity to really get to know the journalists who cover real estate for the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Inman, Bankrate, CBSMoneywatch, HousingWire, REALTrends, or the key real estate editor at your top metro newspaper? Would you like to get a sense of how they view real estate markets, mortgage finance, real estate technology and the other topics?  How do they get their information?  What do they think are the paramount issues facing real estate consumers and the real estate industry? Above all, how can you contribute to their coverage as an informed source able to articulate your observations in words that will resonate with others?  Imagine how your business and your future in the industry might benefit from national coverage that inherently positions you as a leader. Every June top real estate journalists and the public relations people who work with them gather to meet and update themselves on the latest trends and issues.  It’s a meeting based on common interests and needs, sort of a mini-version of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland each January.  It’s the annual meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. This past June was my 16th NAREE meeting.  Attendance from both journalists and communicators was greater than ever as public interest in real estate returns with the real estate recovery.  During that time, I’ve learned a great deal about how individual news organizations cover real estate, especially why they decide to do a story on a particular trend and how they go about putting their stories together. Most people would rather not become media sources and those who do often don’t know to work successfully with reporters. The migration of real estate advertising from print to the Internet devastated real estate journalism. Hundreds of real estate journalists lost their jobs and very few online news sites can afford more than one or two reporters, relying on freelancers for much of their content.  For several years, NAREE’s membership declined drastically, but now is reviving as reporters make the rocky journey from full-time jobs to getting paid very little for the free-lance piece they write. Real estate journalists still employed at major outlets today are thinly stretched.  They badly need sources they trust for their accessibility, candor and expertise on topics that directly impact consumers like affordability, access to capital, lending standards, MLS […]


Losing the Convention of Conventions

by Kevin Hawkins on November 19, 2014

It was 1986. Inflation was under 2 percent, the Dow Jones closed under 2,000, a gallon of gas was under a buck, Americans were being held hostage in Iran, and it was the year the US bombed Libya. It was also the year of my first NAR Convention, held in New York City at the then new Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. I had convinced my employer at the time, Great Western Savings of Beverly Hills, to let me scout the event for exhibiting, sponsorship and press opportunities, as the bank was ready to grow its lending model nationally. The media opportunities I discovered at NAR that year turned out to be an amazing start to a career-long journey. NAR was the ‘go-to’ real estate convention when it came to making connections, meeting reporters and pitching story ideas. I had been invited to attend a dinner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, NAREE. It was held at an established Manhattan steakhouse, in a second floor private room. David Jeffers, head of PR for Fannie Mae at the time, had a slide projector queued up when I arrived. Legendary consumer real estate columnist Bob Bruss greeted me before I could sit down, and we soon became fast friends. He had me signed up as a member before I walked out the door. This was an era when NAR would host press conferences that were packed with reporters. It was a great place for journalists to mine news stories they needed to fill their gigantic newspaper real estate sections. Steve Kerch of the Chicago Tribune, Kirstin Downey of the Washington Post, and H. Jane Lehman, would pepper the NAR officials and their chief economist with tough questions that yielded better reporting for everyone in the room. The Dearth Today Fast-forward to NAR in New Orleans the beginning of this month. Today the press room is practically barren, with just a couple of bona fide journalists camped out, conducting an interview or two, filing a couple of stories at best. The back-to-back press conferences have been replaced by lightly attended media briefings. NAREE still holds its annual installation of new officers meeting and dinner in conjunction with NAR, but even NAREE has to wonder if the trek is worth it these days. I pinged a dozen reporters in advanced to see if they were attending. After all, many were NAREE members […]