Archives For August 2013


3409 SW Seola Lane, Seattle, WA 98146

The incredible view of Puget Sound isn’t the only reason we selected this 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home as our Property of the Week! In addition to being a beautifully designed contemporary home, this post serves as a prime example of how to use high quality real estate photography to successfully market your property.

Broker Darin Cruzen of RE/MAX Metro Realty has utilized photos that employ a few easy tricks to highlight the property’s best features. Simple strategies like shooting into corners, using good lighting, and taking photos from the height in which a particular room is most frequently used, help showcase the superior finishes and functional flow of this 4,540 square foot space.

Custom-built to withstand the elements of beach front living, this modern marvel is located in Seattle, Washington and is on the market for $2,450,000. For more photo tips, check out our previous post A Lesson in Real Estate Photography.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.


The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced a new Streamlined Modification Initiative under which mortgage servicers must now offer borrowers who are 3 to 24 months delinquent a plan to help avoid foreclosure. This new initiative differs from previous government plans like the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in that borrowers may be approved without providing proof or documentation of financial hardship.

According to Diane Cipollone, director of the Fair Lending Training Program for the National Fair Housing Alliance, the formula used to calculate the new payment is the same as for standard modifications under Frannie and Freddie.

Though the elimination of paperwork may benefit some, the formula is not based on income and affordability and will not necessarily make a significant financial difference to all borrowers. One category of borrowers likely to benefit from the streamlined program includes anyone who fell behind because of “a big interruption in income or some unexpected expense, and but for the arrears, they’re back on track,” Cipollone said.

This article can be found in its original form on


Boulder City, Nevada: The least crowded town in the U.S.

Recent studies show that more people are living in cities than ever before. However, while many of us are settling for smaller and smaller apartments and competing for increasingly in-demand urban housing, some people still prefer to spread out. CNNMoney has recently compiled a list of the least densely populated towns in the U.S.––perfect for anyone who likes a lot of space.

The 20 least crowded towns with number of people per square mile:

  1. Boulder City, Nevada – 75
  2. Canyon Lake, Texas – 160
  3. Nantucket, Massachusetts – 248
  4. Sierra Vista, Arizona – 295
  5. Woodbury, New York – 306
  6. Amherst, New Hampshire – 330
  7. Colts Neck, New Jersey – 331
  8. Colchester, Connecticut – 332
  9. Readington, New Jersey – 340
  10. Hooksett, New Hampshire – 370
  11. Prunedale, California – 389
  12. Auburn, Maine – 397
  13. Summerfield, North Carolina – 398
  14. Scarborough, Maine – 400
  15. Camano Island, Washington – 402
  16. Hugo, Minnesota – 408
  17. Ipswich, Massachusetts – 414
  18. Portland, Connecticut – 416
  19. Prosper, Texas – 448
  20. Vail, Arizona – 461

This list can be found in its original form on CNNMoney


26 Stillman #2-3 Boston, MA 02113

Located in Boston’s historic North End, this incredible loft is traditional charm meets urban chic. The exposed brick and high beamed ceilings throughout the 1,287 square foot condo are evidence of the buildings bygone days as a clothing factory in the late 1800s. Plus, additional details like the 13 large windows and huge custom built barn door make this a really cool space for anyone looking to live in the city’s oldest residential community.

Listed by Andy McLaughlin of Gibson Sotheby’s, this property is one of 5 units in the building and is on the market for $799,000.



This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.


It is still a tough job market despite our slowly improving economy; And for many people, finding employment means relocating to an area where opportunities are on the rise.

CNN Money has compiled a list of the top 25 counties in the US for job growth:

  1. Columbia County, Georgia – 14.1%
  2. Rockwall County, Texas – 13.0%
  3. Falls Church, Virginia – 12.6%
  4. Guadalupe County, Texas – 12.2%
  5. St. John’s County, Florida – 12.1%
  6. Utah County, Utah – 11.6%
  7. Madison County, Alabama – 11.5%
  8. Prince William County, Virginia – 11.4%
  9. Gwinnett County, Georgia – 11.3%
  10. Santa Rosa County, Florida – 10.9%
  11. Rutherford County, Tennessee – 10.9%
  12. Wake County, North Carolina – 10.7%
  13. Weber County, Utah – 10.3%
  14. Scott County, Kentucky – 9.8%
  15. Broomfield County, Colorado – 9.7%
  16. Dallas County, Iowa – 9.5%
  17. Laramie County, Wyoming – 9.3%
  18. Sumner County, Tennessee – 9.3%
  19. Faulkner County, Arkansas – 9.2%
  20. Douglas County, Colorado – 9.1%
  21. Kalamazoo County, Michigan – 9.0%
  22. Lee County, Alabama – 9.0%
  23. Maricopa County, Arizona – 8.9%
  24. DeSota County, Mississippi – 8.7%
  25. Canadian County, Oklahoma – 8.6%

This list can be found in its original form on CNNMoney


This summer, and as we head toward Labor Day, real estate inventory is continuing to fly off the shelves across many major markets. Representing buyers in these types of conditions becomes an art form: the initial offering price, how much earnest money to put down, the terms, the re-negotiation during inspection. Each broker has their own way of advising clients on how to make their offer shine in a sea of many. Here are a few of mine:

Tighten up your timelines- The Seller wants to sell. Period. Why not offer to make that happen in a shorter amount of time? If possible, offer to shorten the inspection period down to just a few days. Do you have a cash offer? Lucky you! Shorten the closing date.

Adjust your financing- Depending on your client’s financing situation, there are some effective ways to strengthen your offer. Rather than delve into it here, I read a great article on Active Rain by Craig Blackmon that outlines some interesting ideas on how to strengthen an offer.

Write a cover letter- I have seen this simple, yet effective, technique win the deal many times. Including a short letter from your buyers that details a little about them with the initial offer is key. Even if your offering price is not the highest, the cover letter gives a face to your clients and can overcome the price disparity. Additionally, when negotiating the inspection points, I have found that an honest, fair, and well-worded letter accompanying the requests goes a long way to help both parties reach mutual agreement.

Have your own techniques you would like to share with others? Leave it in the comments!


Robyn Woodman is the head of Househappy Business Development and a regular blog Contributor. For more information about Robyn and her experience as a real estate broker, click here

Social mediaCreating a strong social media presence is quickly becoming an integral part of the overall marketing strategy for any business––including real estate. Twitter, in particular, is an extremely effective way to increase brand awareness, lend credibility, and create a dialogue between a business and its customers. For brokers, this platform can be a way to drive traffic to your company website and ultimately generate leads.

To get you started, here are three crucial steps from digital marketing expert Alyssa Mattero to guide you on your way to a strong Twitter presence:

1. First things, first. Claim your brand on Twitter!

  • Create a Twitter handle and Twitter name that include your brand and keywords.
  • Write a description that is honest, informative, and somewhat witty––this is often what will determine whether or not someone chooses to follow you.
  • Use a photo of yourself as your profile picture––Twitter is about making connections and people are more likely to connect with a person rather than a company they know nothing about.

2. Determine your goals.

  • Consider the following questions: What are you hoping to achieve on Twitter? Who are you trying to reach?
  • Your twitter goals should consist of 3 parts: a metric, a targeted audience, and a deadline. For example: I want to be followed by 10 moving companies by the September; Or, I want to tweet 10 real estate articles each month.

3. Get started with tweets and followers.

  • Follow people similar to you. (See what your competitors are doing. What are they posting? How many followers do they have?)
  • Follow people you want to follow you––the easiest way to get a follower is to follow that person first.
  • Follow accounts and retweet things that interest you. This shows personality and brings your brand to life.
  • Use hashtags to organize your tweets into categories and make it easier for others to find them in a Twitter search.
  • Content ideas include: company news, company blog posts, industry news, trends and events, quotes, memes, and videos you find interesting.
  • Retweeting can be just as effective as creating your own tweet, and is a great way to connect with other Twitter users and gain followers.

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