Ardell DellaLoggia and Kary Krismer

Lots of people speculate as to why Kary Krismer  “calls me out” around the internet in various places by saying I am “wrong” about this and that and most everything.  I don’t really know why he does that. I do know I have never met the man, as far as I know. I’ve never had a real estate transaction with him. I’ve never met him at an Open House or a Real Estate related educational function.

Maybe I have met him, and the fact that I don’t remember ever having met him is what makes him so irate and why he personally targets me at every opportunity.

Oh well, the speculating is fun sometimes. If anyone wants to venture a guess as to why he does that…leave your guess in a comment. Maybe I can make some headway toward better communication with him…with your help.

What a week!

First Zillow releases a new version of their web site.

Then Microsoft releases a new Virtual Earth (VE 3D in Firefox).

Then the a new Beta of is released.

Galen releases new ShackPrices features.

Ardell is using her Verizon EVDO card in Vegas, probably while playing the slots and sipping drinks with umbrellas in them.

Then I discover, Redfin is merging with Move and they also just sold a home in neighborhood!

I’m feeling WAY behind the tech curve today.  I’m going curl up into a ball and read my RSS feeds in a corner now…. 😉

Why Selecting a Lender by Rate Alone is Not in Your Best Interest

When Ardell suggested that I post rates on Friday, I was a bit reluctant to do so.   Why?   Because it promotes rate shopping and I don’t believe that is the best way for consumers to select the professional who will be advising them on one of the largest financial transactions they will make in their lifetime.   But I must admit, the posts have created a lot of very interesting comments and kudos to Ardell for putting me on the spot to post rates.

Recently, one of RCG’s frequent readers added a comment on Mortgage Rates for Friday Morning that brings home why you should not shop mortgage professionals by rates and that you should select your mortgage professional by referrals instead: 

I got a GFE from a broker recommended to me by my boss. She was smart and knowledgeable, but not particularly personable. 

I also got one from a guy who worked with my Realtor who called himself a Home Mortgage Consultant (with BIG BANK Mortgage). Personable, but not that sharp. 

I also called a few other brokers off the net and paper – straight APR shopping. 

The first broker, the one recommended, had the best rate. Because I liked my Realtor, I gave the (Bank) guy a shot to match her rate, which he did. 

He made numerous mistakes, and I was forced to go over my docs repeatedly with a fine tooth comb to make sure they were correct. 

In retrospect I should have gone with the recommended broker, though perhaps not, given that she was angry with me and showed it. 

In the end, however, I am going to go with the reputable person who gives me the lowest rate in an apples-to-apples comparison. A quarter point could mean 10s of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. That’s going to trump loyalty every time, and you are fooling yourself if you think otherwise. 

There are many issues with shopping lenders by rate:

  1. You must shop all of the lenders at the same time on the same day.   There can be several price changes throughout a day.  You cannot compare apples to apples if 5 minutes after you receive one quote, you call the next lender and rates have changed up or down.  Brian Brady did an excellent post:  You’ll Never Get the Lowest Rate.
  2. Unless you’re prepared to lock in the rate the moment you’re dialing for dollars, the rate that is being quoted to you may very well not be the rate you receive when you decide to lock.    If it’s not a confirmed locked in rate, you don’t have it.   It’s a quote, not a guarantee.
  3. The lender who is “quoting

ARDELL on "Where is the 2007 Market heading?"

My prediction has been, that the 2007 Market will be similar to the market of 2006, that being strong and upwardly mobile.  Not necessarily as strong as 2005, when interest rates were lower, but on an even keel with, or better than, last year.

To determine momentum of the market, I look at absorption issues, and reduce the study to a somewhat predictable and mainstream market segment.  To keep apples to apples, I target that portion of the market with the highest number of sales in a year’s time.  The results are almost startling, with regard to upward momentum since the first of the year, and even better than I expected to see. 

Where “in escrow”, which is both STI and Pending, is much higher than “for sale” and/or closed in January 07, the forward momentum of the market is strongest.

Seattle has too many new properties not reflected in the stats (i.e.”1 of 8 townhomes”), as does high end.  I am using the market segment I find is best for prediction purposes using the MLS, that being Redmond (98052 only), Bellevue, Kirkland and Bothell (98011 only).  I am also using “up to $650,000” as that is the segment with the most properties changing hands in a year’s time, based on the stats I did on a running basis last year.

I also use this market segment because I can readily visualise the properties involved, and so my conclusions are more valid than areas like Tacoma or Snohomish or even all of King County.  The segment I use, accounts for both strongest and weaker markets and “residential” vs. condo.

98052 – Redmond – 37 residential for sale, 40 in escrow and 18 closed in Jan. 07; 44 condos for sale, 69 in escrow and 19 closed in Jan. 07.

98011 – Bothell – 40 residential for sale, 37 in escrow and 18 closed in Jan. 07; 15 condos for sale, 28 in escrow and 15 closed in Jan. 07

98034 –  Kirkland – 35 residential for sale, 29 in escrow and 27 closed in Jan. 07; 32 condos for sale, 37 in escrow and 25 closed in Jan. 07

98033 – Kirkland “proper” – 23 residential for sale, 15 in escrow and 19 closed in Jan. 06; 50 condos for sale, 62 in escrow and 21 closed in Jan. 07

98004 – Bellevue – 4 residential for sale, 2 in escrow and 1 closed in Jan. 07; 27 condos for sale, 21 in escrow and 8 closed in Jan. 07

98005 – Bellevue – 5 residential for sale, 4 in escrow and 2 closed in Jan. 07; 14 residential for sale, 40 in escrow and 8 closed in Jan. 07.

98006 – Bellevue – 17 residential for sale, 13 in escrow and 9 closed in Jan. 07; 20 condos for sale, 14 in escrow and 6 closed in Jan. 07

98007 – Bellevue – 5 residential for sale, 9 in escrow and 5 closed in Jan. 07; 6 condos for sale, 12 in escrow and 16 closed in Jan. 07

98008 – Bellevue – 18 residential for sale, 20 in escrow and 11 closed in Jan. 07; 1 condo for sale, 4 in escrow and 4 closed in Jan. 07

98005 is a bit skewed, as Woodbridge and Oasis are long escrows, so 40 in escrow is not reflective of a less than 30 day market activity.  New construction in escrow will always throw off momentum stats.  That is why I don’t do the high end this way when I am looking for “people’s recent decision to purchase” forward momentum.  There is some of that in others, but not as much as in 98005.

I also break it down this way, so people can see where they might most likely find a single family home priced under $650,000, or where they might most likely find a condo at an entry level price.  The highest numbers will equal the highest ongoing availability, or whether you are looking “for a needle in a haystack” in that area.

2007?  If you list it, price it well, it looks good and is priced under $650,000…it WILL sell.

Interview with Ardell DellaLoggia of the Searching Seattle Blog

[photopress:ardell_mlsphoto.jpg,full,alignright]There is only one Ardell. She’s a top-notch blogger that shows up all over the place in the blogging world. In addition to RCG, she keeps up an ActiveRain blog and her solo blog at Searching Seattle. And while it might seem somewhat self-serving to interview one of our own contributors, I couldn’t resist the curiosity to unleash this interview on Ardell! 🙂

However, before I begin the interview, I have a HUGE announcement! Today marks Ardell’s one year anniversary as a Rain City Guide contributor. Her first words may have been “be gentle” but she has been much more disruptive than gentle on the real estate blogging world! Let me be the first to say thank for for giving us such a fabulous, fun, and fantastic year!

What inspired you to start blogging?

I wouldn’t call it an inspiration. I honestly was just doing my “good deed for the day”. A Microsoft employee named Noor, explained to me in his Toastmaster’s International speech at our club in Redmond/Bellevue, that a blog was a personal online journal, a web log, a log on the web. So when John Reilly of Internet Crusade emailed me on 1/1/07 and asked me to be one of the people to test their blog product, I had a basic idea of what he was asking. I said yes and just started typing away. I wasn’t really realizing others would read it, except John. I look back at those first articles and wonder why I chose to write on those topics. I mean, who is sitting around on New Year’s Day writing on such intense topics? I’m not a techie geek for sure, as you can tell by my huge print, color text, etc. But I am a real estate nerd.

Unlike other people who decided to blog, or who had an urge to be a writer, I was just typing out whatever I was thinking about. Just turned out to be TMI about real estate 🙂

Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?

I like to talk about the real estate process, real estate commissions especially the buyer agent fee, and how people and agents interact differently using technology and why that will make things easier and cheaper. I think people want to know a whole lot more about what they are getting themselves into. They may still want to hire someone to do “it” for them, but they want to know a whole lot more about what that “it” is, and why it costs so much and does it have to cost so much. I think talking about these things angers a lot of people, so I mix up other things in between. If I could, I’d only talk about those three things.

What have you done to personalize your blog?

Personalize my blog? LOL That’s an oxymoron…I’m all over it. To read me is to know me. I think I need to learn how to DE-personalize it 🙂

[photopress:ardell_at_computer_small.jpg,full,alignright]Do you have any favorite posts?

I loved this post and I especially loved when the client commented. It totally surprised me. This was my favorite, but it just slid by. I must have been the only one who liked it…oh, and my sister loved it. Most people, like “Jack” in that first linked article, came to me from this one. So I’d have to say that is one of my favorites as well.

What are some of your favorite blogs (real estate or otherwise)?

My first instinct in answering this question would be to link to the Who’s Who of the Blogosphere and the Usual Suspects, but honestly I don’t like blogs…I like people. To me Sellsius is Joe and Rudy, Urban Digs is Noah, Urbnlivn is Matt and Property Monger is Jon. I like those people via their blog. The only blog I used to read regularly was Bloodhound, but it has gotten too confusing for me. Too many people with too many different viewpoints. If I could click on Kris and read all her stuff in sequence, and then click on Greg, etc , the way RainCityGuide functions when you click our pictures, I’d still read it. But I can’t keep up with all the people, and I like the people, not the blogs. If I read the blog and don’t like the person…I leave. If the blog doesn’t have a personality, I don’t read it.

How does blogging fit into the overall marketing of your business?

It’s turned it upside down, as you know. Most of my clients come from my writings now. It’s nice that they already “know me” when we first meet and there doesn’t seem to be much difference from “me on blog” to “me in person”. I like when they say “Oh, now I know what Dustin meant when he said he can see your hands moving in your writings”. I think Glenn Kelman was one of the ones who said that when we met. I am in person as I am on the blog…one of the benefits of “stream of consciousness” blogging.

What plans do you have to improve your blog over this next year?

I added the podcast. Other than mispronouncing my name and calling me Ardle, I like it. I also want to make it easier for people to find specific topics of interest. More like an encyclopedia of real estate topics. Oops I mean wiki 😉 Right now you have to go to the archives, but I think that is one of the problems with a blog. The older it is the more you bury what people want to read. I indexed it last year, but I changed my categories so I have to get the index back up and linked. It’s a lot of work.

What is the one tool or feature that you wish your site had?

I actually like it the way it is. I’ve tried a lot of different platforms to test them. My Bloglines went caput the other day and I lost my entire Family Blog. It’s still there but it’s totally blank, so I’m never writing there again. Blogger is OK, but it bores me for some reason. I’ve tried it two or three times and can’t seem to be consistent there. I like having both WordPress and RealTown blogs. Word Press for Rain City Guide is THE best, but that’s because of what you, Dustin, have done to it. My other Word Press blog is not nearly as easy as this one. So best is Word Press after Dustin modifies it!

What do you think real estate blogging will look like 3 years from now?

I think you will see some lawsuits, actually. A lot of people are writing like they are 12 year olds on My Space and ranting about things that border on slander. Making negative comments about competitors, badmouthing those who “discount”, some even say nasty things about their own clients. Of course after a law suit or two the blogs will become less colorful and will be “bought” from news sources. So enjoy reading the colorful ones while you still can!

Thank you Ardell for taking the time to answer these questions!

Interviews, interviews interviews:

Jeez Louise! Web 2.0

[photopress:2_1.jpg,full,alignright]We just can’t be the only ones not reporting on this. That’s all I can say. It’s a sad day. Click on every word in Greg’s post for the full scoop heard round the world regarding Redfin and Web 2.0.

Maybe they should have closed for holiday during Glenn’s honeymoon. I never called my office once during my honeymoon…hope Glenn is doing the same and shutting out all forms of communication!

Try this one…it’s quicker.

10 things I learned from my stats tonight

It’s been a long while since I posted about traffic on RCG. Two reasons come to mind… One, I’ve been swamped in starting my new job and never got around to updating my excel sheet and two, I knew we weren’t seeing much growth, so what’s the point 🙂

However, I took a little time out tonight to play around with RCG stats and I was actually surprised (in a good way!).

First I’ll give two charts and then I’ll explain what I learned from my research. The first chart looks at visitors and the search engines that they are coming from, while the second chart compares the growth in unique visitors to the total visitors to give an idea of how many people are returning to the site on a regular basis…



  1. While traffic may not be growing exponentially any more, we’re still gaining new unique visitors at a relatively healthy clip. (If you take out all the Zillow-hype related traffic in February of this year, then the chart would look a lot more like exponential growth! 🙂 )
  2. Google provides a majority of our unique visitors (almost 15K hits last month alone) and far outweighs any other traffic source (it is all organic traffic as I don’t spend any money on AdSense).
  3. MSN and Yahoo still have not figured out how to parse through the glut of Seattle real estate content in order to drive more traffic to RCG! 🙂
  4. The ratio of total visitors to unique visitors has always hovered between 3.0 and 4.0. This tells me a fair number of people continue to return to RCG and it increases as we attract more unique visitors. It also tells me we haven’t found the viral “secret sauce” that causes either a ton of unique visitors (who could care less about a majority of our content) or a super sticky feature that causes new visitors to come back at a higher rate.
  5. 61% are using Internet Explorer, 23% are using Firefox. The rest go using “Unknown” (8%), Safari (4%), and others…
  6. The top 10 search phrases (like [Seattle Real Estate] and [real estate blog] account for a combined 7.2 of all search engine traffic. The other 92.8% of search engine traffic comes from more obscure phrases. (Think Long Tail!)
  7. Traffic is highest around lunch (between 11am and 2pm).
  8. Mondays get hit the hardest while Saturdays are the slowest days on RCG.
  9. Seattle Bubble (404 hits), Ardell (399), and Bloodhound (384) are the three blogs that sent the most traffic to RCG in August!
  10. Google analytics tells me that of all the unique visitors in August, 1,333 had been to RCG more than 200 times!!! (4,710 unique visitors have been to the site over 25 times).