Light Fixers – Before and After

As a follow up to Ardell’s post about finding those homes where the owners just didn’t take the time, or have the money/energy to bring the home to retail condition, I’d like to share a few before and after photos. These two sets of photo are from light fixers my wife and I rehabbed last year (our first two, actually). We put about $15K total into each property, and each sold within a week of listing.


This first set of photos shows the before and after condition of the kitchen in a small rambler up in northeast Marysville. We used the existing cabinets, adding new pulls and hinges for a simple update. New paint, vinyl flooring, appliances and fixtures rounded out the upgrade.

This second set of photos shows how a little paint (and some nice staging) can go a long ways. This home is in Shoreline.



If we had chosen to do the work ourselves, we could have cut down total rehab costs to close to $10K. Now, on the other hand, as a preview for a future post on major rehabs, here’s a final before and after (total costs for this job in the $120K range). This one is on the market right now, but in the spirit of neutrality, I’m going to hold off on discussing this in detail until after it’s sold.



7 Reasons for Real Estate Agents to Blog

A recent conversation on Tribe got me thinking about my experiences with being a real estate blogger. Here are my seven reasons real estate agents should consider blogging:

  1. Fun. I really enjoy the many conversations that I’ve had with real estate professionals from all over the world that would never had taken place had I not started this blog!
  2. Expertise. By simply writing about real estate and your local community in a public forum (like this!) you become an expert. Anna gets emails and calls from people on a regular basis asking for her opinion on real estate issues. I’m a transportation engineer, but even my opinion on real estate issues holds some weight! For example, someone from my wife’s corporate office recently called to get advice on how to better use technology in real estate.
  3. Trust. A client recently told my wife that he completely trusted her advice because of the honesty in her writing! That’s darn near impossible to get with a regular website.
  4. Knowledge. I follow local news, national news, local blogs, real estate blogs, tech blogs, etc, because I feel a responsibility to my readers. Maybe you won’t feel that internal pressure, but it definitely drives me to ensure that I’m up-to-date on real estate news.
  5. Ranking. Because of all the unique content, we get hits on all kinds of unusual real estate searches. In addition, because we’ve gotten some links from some high-ranked websites (mostly other blogs), her site ranks really well when compared to most real estate sites. Additionally, on typical real estate searches like “Seattle real estate”, we’re ranked very high (#7 on Google) for such a new site and I know that we’re beating out sites that are spending $1000s a year on marketing their site.
  6. Cost. Compared to most marketing techniques that agents are using, blogging might as well be free. I pay $100 a year to host this site. That’s it! The cost of blogging is measured in time, not money!
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  8. Potential. Rain City Guide is not even 10 months old yet. Give us two or three years of blogging, and we’ll easily be the most popular real estate site in Seattle. Ideally, the site will continue to grow as the web technologies evolve and more perspectives are added. I’d love to do more podcasting and videoblogging. I’d love to have someone document the building or remodeling of their home. I’d love to have some more real estate agents blogging about their local areas (Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, etc. neighborhoods). I’d love to have someone take on some more analytical issues (Tom?). There are so many interesting ways that Rain City Guide can evolve that I feel like we’re only touching the surface of it’s potential.

When I look into my crystal ball to see the future of real estate blogging, I see one or two real estate blogs in each major city that have really captured the local market by having a group of prolific real estate professionals (agents, brokers, lawyers, etc) writing about local issues. I see people turning to these blogs to get unique and personal perspectives on issues like moving, building, buying and listing. I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that that is where I plan on taking Rain City Guide!