Here is an excellent way to pick and chose where you would like to live in Seattle if crime is high on your list of concerns. Take a look at the map. Some of the results may surprise you regarding where the crimes are actually taking place. The map was running a little slow for me. I’m guessing the city didn’t plan for the high demand of such a page. Here is the link to the map. Here is another blog with more information.
Schools have been very important to many of my buyers. We all want our kids to have the best chance possible so it makes perfect sense. A client recently asked me to find a website that rated or ranked the local schools in a given district. I started my search on google but ended up bogged down with a bunch of garbage sites. There are plenty of scammer sites that want to take your money and don’t necessarily have the best information. After more research, I narrowed it down to a couple of good research sites I can recommend for finding the best schools.
Great Schools : This one is free. There are some ads but it’s a small price to pay. You get user ratings here. Just like on Amazon. Keep in mind that people tend to speak out more when something is bad than when it is good so the results can be a little bit skewed. Still, it’s a good place to obtain some perspective.
School Match: This one is more involved and costs money. They will generate a “report card” for any given school. They also provide some rudimentry information about the schools for free. Things such as how many teachers are at the school, etc. For $35 you’ll get an unbiased opinion from a neutral third party. If you have narrowed down your search already, this is probably not a bad investment.
Please leave some comments if you have any personal experience with either of these or have other suggestions.
We now have the equipment to add video clips to our virtual tours for clients. We are able to track traffic and traffic sources on these clips so we will hopefully be able to gauge how effectively our tours capture the viewer’s attention. We feel this is an improvement over the older “fisheye tours” that were so common a few years back. As internet bandwidth is expanded, we expect the quality of these clips to rise dramatically as well.
Here are examples of our new video tours:
We have been on both sides of short sale transactions over the years. Even in 2005 we sold a short sale property in the midst of a hot market. Home owner’s situations are always subject to change. This doesn’t mean that they are liars or bad people because they cannot pay their mortgage. It’s nothing to feel bad about. It is simply a problem that needs to be solved with some professional guidance.
In the interest of being able to better serve our clients, I have obtained my Certified Short-sale Professional designation. With this education, I feel that our chances of successfully closing a short sale has been further increased. In the past, the ones we have done have been successful but this education further helps with the organization and presentation of cases for our clients to their lenders.
Along with this designation and certification, we are also launching a new plan for pre-foreclosure properties that will reduce market times of short sales and ultimately generate less hassle for short sale sellers. Feel free to contact us for more details.
I have recently been invited to contribute to Zillow‘s own Geek Estate Blog. The topic is internet marketing by tech savvy real estate agents and they thought I would be a good fit. I am adding a feed to the sidebar on Rostad Realty that will allow you to follow my activity on the Geek Estate Blog. If you want to see ALL of my posts, click here for my Geek Estate Blog profile. I urge you to check it out since it will give you some insight on the way I do business and some of the various techniques I use to market properties for our clients. I’m always trying out new methods and technology as well so check back often because the lansdscape of internet marketing is constantly changing.
I was invited to join the team from Zillow for lunch on May 14, 2009. I had no idea what to expect. For the couple of weeks prior to lunch I wondered if I was the only one they invited or whether they had invited every real estate professional in the area they could get their hands on. I had a suspicion they would invite Sam DeBord. He is another agent who is extrememly active on the Zillow discussion forums. I had assumed that is where they culled their guests from. The surprise came when I showed up and met Geordie Romer in person. He is not overly active on the discussion forums because Leavenworth, WA, his area of expertise, has no Zestimates yet even(At the meeting, it sounded like they were coming though). Geordie had met Spencer Rascoff at a REBar meeting and had a bit of an idenity mixup. Spencer had put us in contact because we both have a unique(so I thought) name and we both work at Windermere. Lastly, but certainly not least, Zillow invited Sunnyview, a helpful non-professional Zillow user with over 7600 postings to date. She does this purely for the love of real estate and helping people out.
Our meeting started with Spencer introducing us to at least 10 Zillow gurus who would soon be picking our brains for our perspective of Zillow. He prefaced the meeting with, “we have no specific outline for this meeting”. Nevertheless, I think it was a mutually beneficial meeting of the minds. I gained a bit more insight about where Zillow is planning to end up and thought seriously about new ways to integrate their tools into my arsenal. They gained some great suggestions from the four of us which I hope they implement soon. (I understand if it takes a bit guys, the list was long) The bonus was that I met several people face to face that I had cooresponded online with in the prior months. This can be a rare opportunity nowadays.
Thanks for lunch!