Top 50 Real Estate Marketing Bloggers

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Every real estate agent and developer is different, and each one believes one form of marketing works better than another. Word of mouth, or viral marketing, represents just one method of marketing. Others include print, radio, television, Web sites, and blogs. This marketing “to-do” list can grow, and it would take a ’superperson’ to take advantage of every marketing situation - let alone to use each one to its peak performance.

This is where marketing bloggers can come to the rescue. The list below includes bloggers who focus on general and online marketing, including blogs. More specifically, the list below focuses only on real estate marketing, a necessity that can prove both very expensive and time-consuming unless you learn how to get around those obstacles.

Please note that the blog numbering is not meant to be a ranking, as each blog topic is listed in alphabetical under five different categories.

General Marketing

Location is important to realtors, and it’s no less important in where you place your print ads, your radio spots, and more. The blogs below will provide tools, tips, and advice on how to promote your listings in the general marketplace from other real estate developers and agents.

  1. About Real Estate Business: The About Web site maintains plenty of real estate blogs, but James Kimmons’ column focuses specifically on real estate business and how to market that business. Kimmons is a real estate broker in Taos, New Mexico. He has been previously licensed as a broker in Texas and currently also holds a broker license in Colorado.
  2. Ask Chester: Real Estate Advice: Real estate agent, Judy, speaks through her dog, Chester, as she offers advice on real estate, including marketing tools that go beyond her Dallas real estate market.
  3. BRER Real Estate Marketing Blog: Kathleen Allardyce, founder of Build Real Estate Results and Getting It Write, Inc., offers tips and tools that will provide your real estate business a competitive edge. Allardyce also maintains a real estate marketing “lens” at Squidoo.
  4. IBS Team: Yes, this site is known for its real estate listings; but, the blog focuses on real estate marketing. The news categories are varied, as they range from blogging to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Web 2.0.
  5. Real Blogging: Yes, this is a blog, but it’s a blog about community and how that real estate community can drive markets to your business. A variety of agents blog about coaching, specialty services, technology and more at this site.
  6. Real Estate Marketing Ideas: Brandon Cornett is the author of many real estate marketing guides, having earned a reputation for “spilling the beans” on marketing secrets that other experts hold in reserve. The blog is an arm of Cornett’s Web site, Arming Your Farming.
  7. Real Estate Blog: David Cowgill created this blog in 2006 to help others already investing in real estate to pick up a few more ideas, and for those who are beginners and want to learn exactly how to get started. If you type “marketing” into the site’s search engine you’ll discover some real estate marketing gems.
  8. REALonomics: REALonomics analyzes, critiques, polls, editorializes and conducts interviews that are posted to this blog as a service to real estate company owners. The advantage to the real estate agent is that he or she can learn much from various business models, including how to analyze business models for the most effective and profitable ways to conduct business.

Internet Marketing

The days when you didn’t need a Web presence are over. But, you may wonder whether the expense is worth the effort. The following blogs will help you sift through the Internet hype, to decide whether you want a static site or a blog, and to decide whether you want to go it alone or join a group of other real estate bloggers.

  1. 3plainsReal Estate Internet Marketing Blog: Ryan Trask converted to Internet Marketing from working previously for the media industry. In 2007 he began to create useful online real estate website guides and building real estate Web sites. He shares his expertise with agents and developers in his blog.
  2. Best Practices: Latham Jenkins has been in real estate marketing for ten years. He brings his passion for real estate and for Internet marketing to readers through this blog.
  3. Future of Real Estate Marketing: This blog, brought to you by Joel Burslem, examines the impact of Web 2.0 and the Internet on real estate and real estate marketing. Burslem has over ten years’ experience in high tech marketing and consumer public relations, and is a regularly quoted expert on the impact of the Web 2.0 and real estate.
  4. Geek Estate: Zillow.com founded GeekEstate Blog as a resource for real estate professionals who want to learn more about how they can grow their business through smart use of technology.
  5. Kim’s Tips and Tricks for Marketing Real Estate Online: Kim Morlan, a marketing coach, provides articles and info on real estate marketing, with an emphasis on online marketing and websites.
  6. Mike’s Corner - Real Estate’s “New Rules - New Tools™”: Michael Price is the president of 360Podcast, LLC, the parent company of MLBroadcast.com. He’s been involved with the development of web software, marketing and listing enhancement tools for real estate since 1995, and he now offers his advice to anyone online.
  7. New Home Marketing: Bo Gilbert, Senior Consultant at Mitch Levinson Consulting, has over 12 years of experience working in the new home construction industry and he’s also a member of the Institute of Residential Marketing (MIRM). He focuses on Internet marketing and blogging for the home seller.
  8. ParticleWave: John Lockwood’s goal is to get you more escrows through advanced Internet marketing. He uses his blog to share tips and tricks.
  9. Real Estate Internet Marketing: Mert Sahinoglu is a White Hat SEO Consultant who hopes to share his Internet and marketing expertise with fellow real estate industry professionals through this blog.
  10. Real Estate Marketing Blog: This blog offers real estate marketing advice for the wild, wild Web. “The Sheriff and his posse of consultants defend the value of real estate websites around the globe to the search engines by warding off the renegade throngs of bad SEO practitioners, inefficient spam lords, and boring form-letter outlaws.”
  11. Real Estate Marketing Platform: Rather than location, location, location, this blog focuses on relationships, relationships, relationships. Realivent aims to connect real estate agents to potential clients in a non-obtrusive, helpful, and friendly manner by providing tools to promote efficiency and the ever-increasing need for transparency.
  12. Real Estate Marketing Tools: Justin Smith, a coach for the Real Estate Tomato and employed at the Christian Real Estate Network, offers his expertise on blogging and search engine optimization.
  13. Real Estate Toolbox: Brian Rodgers is one of the most sought after trainers and copywriters in the real estate industry while maintaining his successful real estate practice. Brian remains “out in the trenches” so he doesn’t lose touch with what is actually going on in the industry.
  14. Realtor Tech: Marc Everlove, the Director of Information Technology at the South Bay Association of REALTORS®, shares some insight and knowledge regarding technology in the real estate industry.
  15. Realty Blogging: This blog fosters a network of blogging evangelists who write on how to conduct effective real estate blogging. Interested realtors will find tips on effective blogging techniques, trends, and tools that can be put into practice as agents learn how to efficiently use their blogs.

Coaches

Coaches teach, monitor, and hold agents accountable to their goals. Additionally, coaches teach the skills required to meet those goals. This includes marketing tips and tricks that only the experienced coach would know. The following coaches have businesses, but they also take time out to write blogs about motivation, skills, and selling techniques.

  1. Jan O’Brien - Real Estate Coach: O’Brien has over 22 years’ worth of training, leadership, business and coaching experience. She seeks to inspire, educate and counsel others to discover their full potential.
  2. Colm Dillon - Real Estate Development Coach: Colm Dillon, real estate developer, has created workshops that he holds in the U.S. and in Australia. Additionally, he provides software and more - including this blog - that help other developers to get a leg up on their businesses.
  3. Doug Crowe - Real Estate Coach: Doug Crowe offers a blog, a podcast, and other online tools to help real estate agents create and meet goals.
  4. Luxury Clues: This blog is dedicated to real estate agents who represent luxury properties. This tool will help you learn their “Language of Wealth ™” as well as what’s hot and what’s not in the upper echelons. Their posts include timely training tips, updates on the statistics you need to know, and strategies for providing the services that wealthy clients expect and require.
  5. Tom Ferry: With a current focus on real estate and financial service professionals, the Tom Ferry blog leads readers deeper into this company’s materials and mentoring programs.

Development Properties

Marketing development properties, condos, apartment and office buildings and other large properties is different than marketing a home. The blogs listed below are geared specifically toward those individuals who seek to invest and/or sell larger commodities and to the accompanying marketing issues.

  1. 1031 Like-Kind Exchange Blog: Why worry when a 1031 expert can help you to avoid the tax man — with little to no marketing! Bloggers Chad Hallberg and Richard Dance are qualified to facilitate a 1031 like-kind exchange, and and they about the advantages to this real estate development tool as well.
  2. CondoLeaf: Marc Vitorillo, broker/owner of Schaaf & Vitorillo Realty and CondoLeaf.com LLC, believes it’s time to “turn over a new leaf” by focusing on a savvy consumer-driven market. While CondoLeaf specializes in buying and selling condos in the Tampa Bay area, Vitorillo’s advice provides great inspiration and ideas for any condo agent.
  3. Curbed: What better place to learn about development markets than in New York (although there are links to Curbed LA and San Francisco from this site as well). Not only does this site provide a wealth of information that New York agents can use, it provides great insights into tools that other agents can use across the country.
  4. EcoHome Guy: So you have your hands on some properties, and you want to catch the wave of the latest green technologies. Visit this blog to learn about Burke Sisco’s perspectives on this market in the Atlanta area. What he imparts, you can adopt.
  5. Landlords and Property Managers: The authors of this blog, who also participate with LandlordAssociation.Org, provide services and resources to help landlords, real estate investors, property owners, or property managers make or save thousands of dollars each year. This includes networking and marketing.
  6. Multifamily Technology 360°: Look up this blog to find the latest news in technology and telecommunications services for apartments, condos, student housing and mixed-use developments. This is one way you can advance the marketing of your properties, and this blog shows you how to do that as well.
  7. The Trump Blog: You don’t need to attend Trump U. to take advantage of the wisdom imparted by writers on the Trump blog. You can even catch blog entries written by “The Donald” himself.

Marketing Tools

Business owners who also offer real estate marketing tools such as Web site design and virtual tour development write the following blogs. While business owners also write other sites listed above, these blogs are geared specifically toward the tools that they market for your success.

  1. 1st Online Realty News Blog: This blog compiles real estate marketing and technology news articles that will help you get a leg up on your competition.
  2. Base 10 Web Solutions: Base 10 Web Solutions is an internet marketing firm headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. They specialize in online marketing services such as Web site design and development, strategic Web marketing solutions, and graphic design, and they provide a blog filled with real estate marketing tips.
  3. Guru Real Estate Marketing: Bruno Roldan studied marketing and international business before he started his first business based on developing virtual tours for real estate marketing. Now, he promotes the first donation-based online real estate software for agents worldwide.
  4. ISREP Member Blog: International Society of Real Estate Professionals members use this blog to interact with the public and other members on the subject of real estate and the business of real estate, including marketing. Although no advertising or solicitation is allowed, the benefits derived are transparent. This is a form of marketing for the member, and the reader learns more about the real estate business. If you’re an agent, perhaps you should join or become a member of another group that provides this same benefit to its members.
  5. Kay’s Real Estate SEO Blog: Kay is a Search Engine Optimization Strategy Specialist, and she has a great deal of experience working with real estate agents, ranking their sites in Google and other search engines.
  6. Livepads: LivePads provides real estate professionals, home buyers, and home sellers the necessary tools for all real estate needs. People can search for homes, sell their homes, utilize social networking, and find valuable web resources for real estate. The bloggers try to write about 25 real estate sites a week.
  7. On the Avenues: Although the blog provides generic yet valuable SEO information, Bonnie Burns also provides web site analysis and search engine optimization services specifically for real estate web sites.
  8. PropertyTech.org: This business offers practical technology for trainers, practitioners and students in the real estate industry. Their blog carries the same focus, and it brings an emphasis on the services that they provide.
  9. Real Estate Blog Site: Chris Frerecks and Kristen Veraldi provide real estate agents with Web-based products and services, but they also provide a blog that offers advice on how to promote your business through blogs.
  10. Real Estate Marketing: This blog is a collection of tips, techniques and real-world advice for marketing real esate projects. Renderings.com, a full-service real estate marketing company, maintains this resource.
  11. Real Estate Marketing Blog: This blog is a promotion of Proquest Marketing, a business that offers marketing products to real estate agents.
  12. RSS Pieces: RSS Pieces makes no bones about the fact that they design Web sites for real estate professionals. However, they also interact with the public through a blog where they offer advice on Internet marketing.
  13. Sorted Sites: Sorted Sites is a leading company on Web site design and internet marketing. They offer complete solutions for small to medium real estate companies, and they also provide a free blog filled with substantial Internet marketing advice.
  14. Viral Marketing with a Real Estate Twist: This blog is provided by 4MySales, and it focuses on viral, or word of mouth, marketing.
  15. VTRevolution: This business combines photos or video, voiceover and music to create multimedia presentations for real estate agents. On the side, they write a blog geared toward the real estate market, which also shows some of the ‘other’ agents who are using this business product.
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Greenify Your Home: 100 Tips and Resources to Make Your House Environmentally Friendly

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By Sarah Scrafford

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released its fourth and final report, and the message is clear. Global warming is real, it’s a threat to human civilization, and we must act now if we have any hope of stopping it. Considering that buildings account for almost half of all annual greenhouse-gas emissions, it seems logical to begin this work against global warming at home.In fact, the Mayors of Chicago, Seattle, Miami, and Albuquerque recently proposed Resolution No. 50 [PDF], which sets a goal for carbon neutral buildings by 2030. While this resolution applies mostly to new urban buildings, you can expect to greet a burgeoning market that demands homes that use little to no fossil fuels over the next two decades.

You can increase your home’s marketability and safety by making changes now. To save money, focus on remodeling one room at a time, and look for federal or state (even local) incentives and tax credits that may be available for certain features of your green remodeling project. These tax deductions could help shorten the payback period. Energy-efficient homes do save money - financial benefits of green design are between $50 and $70 per square foot according to Resolution No. 50. And, they may prove more beneficial to your health as you reduce toxic materials and maximize fresh air and natural light.

The following tips and tricks can help you with your green home remodeling projects. The list is broken down by various topics ranging from “Before you begin” to wall options and ventilation. Throughout the list, you’ll encounter what are known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. These are organic compounds that evaporates readily to the atmosphere and that are usually harmful. You want to avoid VOCs at all costs in your green remodeling.

Topics Covered in this List

Before You Begin | Hiring Help | Bathroom | Kitchen | Energy | Flooring | Roofing | Wall Options | Ventilation | Landscaping

Before You Begin

Here are a few tips to think about before you begin to tear up that carpeting or before you add solar panels…

  1. Buy local: Green remodeling supports buying from local businesses and using goods and services that are non-polluting and respectful of environmental resources. But, sometimes it’s impossible to find a certain green resource locally. In this case, you can reduce or offset your carbon footprint with other projects like planting trees or by purchasing carbon credits.
  2. Do your research before you spend a dime: Comparison shop, look for professionals with green design experience, and discuss your findings with other like-minded homeowners. Research will help you to find the right help and resources and it will also keep you from creating costly mistakes if you plan to do the work yourself. Use resources like the Oikos library and other online collections to begin your education.
  3. Think Universal Design: In addition to an environmentally safe home, you might consider what is known as Universal Design. This type of design, whether it’s used in a home layout or in your choice of faucet handles, strives to be a broad-spectrum solution that helps everyone, not just people with disabilities. Universal Design is a solution for many design solutions that appeal to a broader range of users.
  4. Identify your problems: Beyond your goals, you might take time to identify the hazards that already exist in your home and begin by eliminating those problems first. Old paints and certain plumbing types may contain lead, and you might find asbestos in the strangest places (like in your vinyl floor). The new green home will be devoid of lead-based paints (see wall options below) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in any shape or form. If you’re unfamiliar with PVC problems, read the fact sheet [PD] provided by Washington Toxics Coalition.
  5. Learn about the local salvage yards and recycling places: In addition to lessening your burden on landfills, reusing salvaged materials minimizes the demand for mining, tree harvesting, water, energy, and other natural resources, as well as toxic materials used to process, manufacture and transport new materials. This option works two ways - you can find many bargains at salvage yards and recycling places, and you can also offer your goods for salvage or recycling. Depending upon where you live and your resources, you may receive a small amount of cash, in-store credit, or the material may be considered a “donation,” meaning you can get rid of it for free (and some stores can offer a tax credit for those materials).
  6. Don’t reuse toxic materials: The only problem with using salvaged materials is the possibility that you might reuse of toxic materials…don’t use them ever again, even if they’re the best bargain. Additionally, you might need to find special local recycling for items you discover in your home (such as asbestos or lead paint).
  7. Keep lists of materials you need and sizes: Before you go salvage yard hopping, make sure that you have complete lists of things you’d like to purchase. Additionally, you will need the sizes of those ‘things,’ such as kitchen cabinets or decorative moldings. Keep this list with you at all times, as you never know when you’ll meet someone who has that slate you want for your roof.
  8. Free up that imagination: You don’t need to buy out the magazine stand for creative home decorating or remodeling ideas. You can search online for “junkyard” decorating ideas or “recycled interior designs.” For instance, you can use old bookshelves for steps, or you can use a birdcage for a new planter. Use those DIY sites to learn how to visit a junkyard, as well as to learn how to find great ’stuff’ once you arrive there.
  9. Try to avoid hazards during the remodel: Before you begin a remodel, you might look for recycling solutions for things like kitchen cabinets, old floor materials, sinks, and other items. Be sure to let anyone you hire know that you intend to recycle those items so they don’t destroy them.
  10. Keep hazardous remodeling to a minimum: No matter if you use a contractor or not, be sure to outline on the front end how you intend to contain dust and fumes and how you intend to clean up the remodeling mess. A wise remodeling project can protect your health, the health of those who work with you, and your neighbors.
  11. Watch those building codes: Work that violates building codes may also violate your insurance terms, which means you would be vulnerable to loss. The goal of your remodel is to comply with safety, health, and energy-efficient issues, and these goals also are part of any building code. Check with your county department of development before you lift a hammer to learn about your local codes and check to see if you need building permits as well.
  12. Include the neighborhood: Future neighborhoods will provide easy walking to local shops, bike trails, and other pedestrian-friendly amenities. You can increase the value of your home - nay, the entire neighborhood - by encouraging city officials to begin with these projects now. Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are safer and healthier than auto-friendly suburbs.

Hiring Help

A remodel from a toxic home to a green environment will at times rival a new house purchase in price. Since you’re about to embark on a costly project, it makes sense to hire professionals when and if you need them.

  1. Learn patience and expect the worst: This may seem like a negative attitude, but it pays to lower your expectations - especially if you plan a job in a hurry. No matter if you use salvaged or new materials, a home remodel is a taxing proposition. Take it easy on yourself, expect problems (because if you don’t, then the problems will seem worse), and learn how to be gracious and helpful to your employed personnel. The adage, “You can attract more bees with honey,” has several implications, and they all apply to home remodeling. Sometimes problems may open the door to new solutions, so keep an open mind and try to use as many local resources as possible to remedy any given situation gone sour.
  2. Plan for a year: With all that said above, it might surprise you to learn that planning a remodel can take up to a year. If you plan to tackle just one room or one wall at a time, it still helps to plan your overall objectives first. No matter if you can’t meet those goals for years - the professionals you hire will appreciate your long-term foresight.
  3. Think of professionals as your ‘team’: Your architect, interior designer, and contractor will require special skills and experience, and hopefully they’ll display enthusiasm about a green project. Depending upon your goals, they may help you reach a more satisfying solution at a lower (or higher) cost. This is why it’s important for you to learn about the green remodeling process in advance, so you don’t get mired in a situation that’s nonreversible.
  4. Take advantage of consultations: Even if the professional you have in mind demands payment for a consultation, it might be worth the charge to lay out your ideas and to learn what that professional thinks about your goals. That professional might also know more about building codes and local environments than you, so you could stand to learn much from a consultation.
  5. Help your help: If you’ve conducted research on remodeling plans and materials, don’t hide your expertise or resources. If your contractor loses a roofing shipment, you might be able to point him to another resource pronto, saving time and money.
  6. Hire local: Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be able to tap local reviews about your choice. Most professionals maintain Web sites, so you can look at their portfolios online before you make a call. Ask around about local resources - friends, family, and coworkers can share their experiences with you so that your choice will save you time and money.
  7. Hire appropriately: A construction crew cannot help you with your landscaping, and an interior designer most likely won’t know how to install your solar panels. Check out the city of Seattle’s brochure [PDF] on how to hire professionals for your green remodeling project. Although this area is well ahead most of the country on establishing green building practices, you might use their leads to find local professionals in your city or town.
  8. Consider your health: In some cases, you may need to hire a professional to remove toxic materials. The cost of doing business with a professional in this situation may save your health in the long run. One advantage to this situation is that if you have lead paint on your walls or asbestos, then your neighbors probably do as well. Ask them if they’ve ever had to tackle those problems and ask about the professionals they used to take care of those problems.
  9. Be considerate to your neighbors: If you plan a huge project that will take time and that will be noisy, be sure to talk to your neighbors about your goals. Keep them in the loop about any elements in your project that may impact them directly. Will your new project cut off their views? Will they lose privacy thanks to workers who are swarming over your yard? We know of one person spent several thousand dollars for an eight-foot fence after his neighbor neglected to remove the garbage that remained from his remodeling project. Needless to say, those two neighbors aren’t on speaking terms anymore.

Bathroom

A bathroom remodel is second only to the kitchen in expense. Before you invest a sizable amount, be sure to do your research and plan well before you dive in.

  1. Replace the toilet: If your model was installed before 1992, you’ll save water by replacing it with a new efficient toilet. Older toilets can use as much as five gallons per flush (GPF), while newer models are required to use 1.6 GPF or less. Dual-flush models save even more by giving the user the option between a full or half-flush.
  2. Study the water heater: The simplest way to reduce energy use in a bathroom (and to minimize the risk of a scalding burn) is to keep your water heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. And, the easiest way to reduce costs even further is to place a shower or bath close to that water heater to minimize the distance hot water needs to travel (see more about hot water heaters below under energy).
  3. Install a heat recovery system: A waste-water heat recovery system captures the leftover heat that would otherwise escape down the shower drain and works well with all types of water heaters. That water is then transferred to the cold water entering the water heater. By preheating cold water, drain-water heat recovery systems help increase water heating capacity. This increased capacity really helps if you have an undersized water heater, and cost recovery usually is better if the installation is in new home construction by a professional.
  4. Use hot water circulation: Hot water re-circulating systems use a pump to circulate cold water sitting in the hot water pipe back to the water heater. This action eliminates the need to run a tap until the water heats. One unit installed at the point of use farthest from the hot water heater will serve an entire home. This is an easy system to install, so you might want to do this yourself.
  5. Get a hard-working faucet: Think durability for your bathroom faucet, since it probably is the most used faucet in the house. A lifetime warranty and ceramic disc valves (longwearing and easy to replace when damaged or worn) are key for replacements. If you want to sell your house, look for faucets that comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA approved), as these faucets will work across a wide variety of users.
  6. Use a water-conserving aerator: If you can’t or don’t want to replace your faucet, see if the current faucet can be outfitted with an aerator. This device will screw onto the end of the faucet to reduce flow, and it’s easy enough for a DIY project
  7. Don’t lose sleep over the tub: A tub is a tub is a tub; however, if that tub needs some ‘oomph,’ it would be better and less expensive if you refinish it rather than replace it. Despite the less expensive option, tub refinishing uses toxic materials. Therefore, persons with chemical sensitivities should conduct thorough research about this option before going this route.
  8. Salvage yards can be useful: If your heart is set on replacing that tub (or a sink), visit the local salvage yard to find something that will match your home’s decor at a reduced price. If you opt for a totally new tub, consider cast iron or heavy steel tubs with a porcelain finish. These can last 50 years or more, although they don’t hold heat like acrylic tubs (which scratch easier). Other options are available as well, so do your homework before you buy.
  9. Use latex caulk when possible: Latex caulk is the least toxic of all caulks (both in manufacture and in use), and cleans up with soap and water. However, it tends to be less durable in bathrooms and in kitchens. If you plan to use something other than latex, ask a retailer for the Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the brands you are considering. If the retailer cannot provide an MSDS, you might be able to find the information online.
  10. Save the sink: As you’ll learn below in the kitchen remodel, sometimes it’s best to recycle the sink and refinish it. If you plan to replace it anyway, learn more about how much counter space you might need. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends at least 30 inches of counter space between two bowls, measured from centerline to centerline; otherwise you’ll bump elbows with your significant other.

Kitchen

A kitchen remodel can be as complicated as a bathroom remodel and twice as expensive. But, if you do things right the first time, you’ll save money in the long run. And, there are ways to reduce both the cost and complexity of a kitchen renovation as you increase that room’s environmental efficiency.

  1. Plan for disability and aging: If you don’t plan to sell your home, how will you fit into this home in ten to thirty years from now? Universal Design reexamines basic assumptions about designing areas like kitchens and baths, and the result is a more flexible, adaptable design that’s useful to a wider range of ages, sizes, or physical abilities. The National Kitchen and Bath Association maintains a list of kitchen and bath guidelines with access standards that are easy to follow.
  2. Reduce utility bills: If your refrigerator and dishwasher are more than 10 years old, you can most likely reduce your utility bills by replacing these appliances with newer high-efficiency models. Start shopping at the Energy Star® website and look for the Energy Star label at a local retailer.
  3. About that freezer - location, location, location! In general, models with the freezer on the top use up to 25% less energy than comparable side-by-side refrigerator/freezer models.
  4. Remove the refrigerant before you recycle the fridge: If you want to recycle your old refrigerator, select a service that will remove the refrigerant before recycling. If you leave the refrigerant, you’re releasing ozone-depleting CFCs into the atmosphere to join the estimated foiur million pounds of other CFCs released this way every year. You may be charged a small fee, depending upon the services in your area.
  5. Do you really need a new stove? Ovens and ranges are not included in the Energy Star program. Given the inefficiency of these appliances (it’s estimated only six percent of the energy used to power an oven is actually absorbed by the food) it makes sense to choose wisely and decide on the appliance based upon your cooking needs. Part of the energy efficiency in this case is dependent upon how you cook.
  6. Get the most out of your gas stove: To get the most out of your gas stove, select one with an electric ignition so the pilot light isn’t always on. An electronic ignition uses fourty percent less energy than a standard pilot light. Also, make sure the burners on your stove are burning with blue cone-shaped flame. A yellow flames means air inlets or burners need repair. Finally, check the seal on your oven door regularly for gaps or tears that let heat escape.
  7. Countertop magic: A countertop that’s durable and easy to clean is a wise investment. But, before you decide that your counter needs to be replaced, you might consider a less expensive repair or renewal. Tile countertops can be re-grouted and wood countertops can be refinished. Even a laminate surface can be re-glued if it’s come loose. If you want to replace the countertop, remind yourself that fabrication and installation costs can equal up to 80% of the total price. So, if you can do the work yourself, you’ll save tons of money.
  8. Recycled backsplash: Since the backsplash doesn’t need to stand up to the abuse that your countertop experiences, you can get creative about your choice of materials that will make the wall behind the counter easy to clean and protect it from moisture damage. Think chalkboard slate, surplus or salvaged tempered glass, or a mosaic of salvaged tile or stone - anything that can withstand grease, scrubbing, and water.
  9. Recycled sink: If you’re replacing a sink, think about using enameled cast iron. Cast iron not only is durable, it’s recyclable. The downfall is that the enamel may chip and the cast iron could rust. The other choice could be stainless steel, which also is recyclable. Additionally, both types of sinks are commonly found at building salvage and industrial surplus yards, which could cut your cost tremendously.
  10. Think twice before replacing cabinets: If your current cabinets are from the 1950s or earlier there’s a good chance they’re built better than most on the market today. If you’re truly tired of them, consider a refacing at a fraction of the monetary and environmental cost. You can find eco-friend veneers that don’t require glue for this job. Finally, the least expensive alteration would be painting and/or staining the cabinets, but be aware that this option may also require some hazardous materials, depending upon your choices.
  11. Downsize: A dishwasher and refrigerator run most efficiently when full. If you find that the only thing you keep in your fridge is that proverbial Chinese take-out box and if you rarely use your dishwasher, you might consider downsizing on both items.
  12. Keep the faucet: Unless that faucet is so damaged that you can’t use it anymore, consider reusing it. Kitchen faucets must meet minimum standards for water efficiency and use no more than 21.2 gallons per minute (GPM). You can find the GPM marked on the aerator (nozzle) in most cases. Kitchen aerators should use no more than 2.0 GPM. You can replace an aerator, and if you want a new look, replace the handles. If you really need a new faucet, look for lifetime warranties that include the finish, replacement parts, or a full replacement. Check for ceramic disc valves, as they last longer and are less prone to drips.

Energy

An energy-efficient home is more cost-effective, and it’s also more comfortable.

  1. Learn about financial options: Lenders are beginning to recognize the value of ongoing savings to the homeowner through green remodeling. Mortgage Options for Resource Efficiency (MORE™) is a new program that lets you add up to $4,000 to your mortgage for home improvements that save energy or water, and HUD also has resources to help with remodeling. Learn about these programs and more at the Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat: This tool will help to minimize unnecessary heating and cooling when not at home.
  3. Service your heating and cooling: Both heating and cooling systems should be serviced prior to peak seasons.
  4. Think propane: Propane water heaters can cost one-third less to operate than electric water heaters, and they recover hot water twice as fast as electric water heaters. You can increase your water heater’s efficiency by draining it every six months to remove lime deposits and sediment.
  5. On the other hand…: When buying a hot water heater or furnace, avoid naturally-vented models to avoid air leakage. Instead choose models with power venting or a combustion path that’s sealed off from the indoor air. Of course, electric water heaters eliminate the problem entirely, but you might find a propane model with power venting. Take your time, do your research, and purchase the heater that’s best for the home’s needs.
  6. Go photovoltaic: Cost remains the main deterrent to installing a photovoltaic (PV) system. Check local incentives from your city or county, and don’t forget to ask your utility company about their ideas. Additionally, you might ask your banker about rolling the cost of a solar system into your mortgage with a home improvement loan. One further way to cut costs is to choose a system that doubles as roofing material. If you’re ready for a roof replacement, you may see your cost returned more quickly with this option. Current products are varied, so do your homework well before you talk with your banker.
  7. Install a solar hot water system: These systems provide hot water for all domestic needs. The usual configuration includes panels containing fluid-filled tubes that capture the sun’s energy and uses it to preheat your water heater’s input. Solar hot water systems have a much faster payback than solar electric systems and work even on cloudy days.
  8. Get passive about your green activities: Passive cooling requires correct placement of windows, proper shading of windows by trees or constructed shade (see landscaping below), light-colored roofs and walls that reflect heat, nighttime ventilation, and thermal mass to prevent overheating in hot, sunny weather. Large west-facing glass areas usually present a risk of unwanted summer afternoon heat gains. If the house is designed properly, you can avoid many cooling costs. In some areas of the country, you might avoid air-conditioning altogether.
  9. Learn about thermal mass: Thermal mass inside a building moderates temperature swings by storing heat when the sun is shining and releasing heat back into the building when it begins to cool off. Materials commonly used for mass include water, concrete, masonry, and earth. Mass and glazing (also a component) may vary depending upon where you live.
  10. Spend time observing your location: You may have lived in that house for ten years, but you may not know how the sun travels across your yard during different seasons. Time spent observing sun, wind, rain, and ground water processes on your property pays off when you begin to plan for passive or active solar energy. You’ll learn where to place windows, perhaps where to plant that tree. And, you’ll learn more about the materials you need to reach your goals successfully.
  11. Go underground: Earth-sheltered homes reduce heat loss and thermal swings. You already may have a basement, so you can take advantage of this feature by expanding use of the lower floor and limiting use to the upper areas of your home.
  12. Plan for the future: Even if you cannot afford solar or passive energy now, plan for the inclusion of this green option in the future. Leave room for solar/mechanical equipment, for extra pipe and conduit runs, and for materials that might be needed to expand structural support.
  13. Downsize: Smaller homes mean fewer emissions, less expensive heating and cooling costs, and a cozier environment (with no room for overt consumerism!). Instead of remodeling all those bedrooms, you might consider removing them totally. Then, concentrate on that large yard and its fantastic possibilities for curb appeal.

Flooring

Eliminate or cover up that toxic old vinyl floor and mix it up throughout the house when it comes to floors. Some of the least expensive and most environmentally ideal options include salvaged wood and concrete. Carpet would be ideal for bedrooms, and recycled rubber might be the ticket for that kitchen. Learn more about your options below, and remember that you’ll always save money if you choose an environmentally friendly do-it-yourself option:

  1. Bamboo: If you ever get the chance to visit a bamboo stand, you’ll be amazed - you can actually hear bamboo grow! This plant is a fast-growing, rapidly renewable member of the grass family that is cut into strips and assembled into planks for flooring. But, while this type of floor often is touted as more durable than hardwood, some users would beg to differ with that opinion. Plus, if you read the Treehugger article in that previous link, you may discover that the demand for bamboo has placed it in a precarious position ecologically. Plus, most bamboo is imported from Asia, so you’re working against the environment through transportation issues. If you do decide to use this flooring, it doesn’t need to be stained or painted, but it must be sealed. You also need to watch for low VOC content and try to avoid bamboo planks that have a wood core, especially if you’re going to use this flooring in an area that might get damp (kitchen, bathroom, etc.). Bamboo will expand at different rates than wood, and this composite might fall apart under these demands. Shop around and use that Treehugger article as a guide.
  2. Carpets and rugs: The carpet and rug industry now uses a labeling system to identify materials with fewer VOCs in carpet fiber or in installation adhesives. Such carpeting improves indoor air quality, a major consideration of green building. The Green Label Plus program, directed by the Carpet and Rug Institute, certifies environmentally friendly carpeting products (Cushions, currently tested under the Green Label program, will soon undergo more rigorous testing standards under the Green Label Plus program as well). Learn more about these carpets and how to limit health hazards from a fact sheet [PDF] produced by Washington Toxics Coalition.
  3. Certified sustainable wood: Sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment, because trees are a renewable resource that can be replaced time and time again, according to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). But, you might consider using reclaimed or salvaged wood for floors. This wood comes from either re-sawn salvaged lumber, logs reclaimed from river bottoms, or urban salvage - trees that are removed from properties because they’re storm damaged or a safety hazard. Both certified and salvaged wood have the advantage of being locally available in most cases. Finish wood with water- or plant-based products like linseed oil or beeswax, or order it factory finished for convenience.
  4. Concrete: For homes with a concrete slab foundation, consider a finish layer of concrete using various types of decorative concrete techniques. Concrete is durable, although it can produce cracks and stains over time. Concrete also is hard on the feet, even when layered with carpet. But, a concrete floor is an ideal candidate for radiant in-floor heating. Finally, a concrete floor, if used wisely, can contribute to a home’s energy efficiency as part of a passive solar system. It absorbs heat during the day and releases it as temperatures drop at night. Take a look around the Internet to see the possibilities, as you can color concrete with natural nontoxic pigments that will last the life of the floor, or treat the concrete with other design applications.
  5. Cork: The bark from the cork tree is removed every nine years to create bottle corks, and the scrap from this process is used for other products, including floors. You can order these materials unfinished or pre-finished, and natural finishes are available from manufacturers. Cork has great resilience, which makes it very comfortable for standing for long periods such as in the kitchen. Since cork is imported from Europe, you face the environmental downside of not buying local. Additionally, you need to keep your eye peeled for products sealed with low-toxic, low-VOC, or plant-based wax sealer. Cork is long-lasting, but heavy furniture can dent the floor. Additionally, cork will fade in direct sunlight, it may yellow with age, and cork reacts to changes in relative humidity and heat.Wet mopping, for instance, may cause the seams to swell.
  6. Laminates: Laminates usually consist of a thin layer of color or pattern over a tongue-in-groove base of wood or wood fiber that’s glued together, but not to the subfloor. This creates a single piece of flooring that floats above the subfloor with edges covered by molding (which is why this type of floor also is called “floating floor”). While durability and environmental benefits are uncertain, you can find laminates with recycled content, and some versions are made with bamboo and cork layers. Some floating floors snap together, rather than use glue, and a floating floor is an ideal do-it-yourself project.
  7. Natural linoleum: Natural linoleum is made primarily from linseed oil, pine resin, sawdust, cork dust, limestone and jute. It is an all-natural alternative to resilient flooring, including sheet vinyl and vinyl composition tile, which are made from polyvinyl chloride. Available in tiles and sheets, natural linoleum is naturally anti-static and antibacterial. It also has ‘give,’ making it more comfortable for a standing surface. The environmental drawback is that this material currently is transported from Europe, which results in transport issues and high cost (about twice as much as vinyl, but it lasts twice as long). Linoleum tiles are a good do-it-yourself project, but professional installation is recommended for linoleum sheet.
  8. Recycled rubber: Recycled rubber flooring gives you the option of rolls or tiles that can be cut, shaped and customized to any length needed for easy installation. Usually made from rubber reclaimed from salvage and landfills, this flooring is ideal for standing for long periods as it’s even more resilient than cork - in fact, recycled rubber floors are now being used in fitness centers and as sidewalks. The industry has become creative, so you can find various textures, thickness, and colors to choose from, both for indoor and outdoor flooring projects. Recycled rubber resists buckling and cracking, and is said to last three times longer than concrete in outdoor projects. Hopefully, a new factory will open near you, as the rubber is heavy, and the main cost is in the shipping.
  9. Salvaged stone: Like concrete, stone is extremely durable, and just as hard on the feet. So, you might want to avoid using this material in rooms where you stand for a long period of time (like the kitchen). But, on the plus side, stone floors also are candidates for in-floor heating. If you use salvaged stone - especially if you find that stone on your own - you can save more than half the cost of new stone. If you plan to seal the stone, use low-toxic water-based sealers.
  10. Tile: Walls present a great reason to use tile, especially glass tile that contains recycled materials. Learn about tile flooring in the wall options section below.
  11. Vinyl: Vinyl flooring has been a popular flooring choice for decades, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. However, vinyl sheet flooring manufactured before the mid-1980s may contain high levels of asbestos in its backing material. Additionally, vinyl tiles - especially the 9″ x 9″ tiles - from this era also may contain asbestos. The asbestos in the tiles is usually much less likely to be released into the air than from the sheet vinyl backing. In either case, if your home contains this type of flooring you might want to replace it. But, you also might be required to use professionals [PDF] for this removal job, depending upon your local laws. Sometimes it might be safer to lay a new floor over the vinyl rather than remove it.

Roofing

Here are some tips about whether you should or shouldn’t replace that roof. Plus, we’ve included information about your many roofing options, and the end result of a very environmentally friendly roof - rainwater collection! You do want to save on that water bill and have a great looking yard, right?

  1. Use quality the first time: You can choose high-quality recycled materials or your roof and escape the landfill altogether with this option. Plus, since rainwater carries toxins from roofing tiles to groundwater, you help to protect water quality when you choose nontoxic materials. So go with quality the first time around to avoid another roofing expense too soon down the road.
  2. Do you need a new roof? If you inspect your roof annually for deterioration or damage, you’ll stay on top of any repairs that need to be made. Inspections can be coordinated with gutter cleaning. Use binoculars when possible, as some roof surfaces damage easily with foot traffic, especially asphalt shingle in hot or cold weather. Look for curling shingles, broken tiles, asphalt shingles that lose their granular layer, and excessive moss (the latter sign may mean your roof needs cleaning, rather than replacing).
  3. Check the attic: Sometimes a leak or other problem will originate in the attic rather than outside on the roof. Often, the culprit is failed or improperly installed flashing
    in especially vulnerable areas.
  4. Research the contractor: You can buy the best roof in the world with the longest known warranty and still have a lousy installation. Don’t always go with the lowest bid, as those low bids often smell of desperation. Instead, get bids, ask around about the professional, check the local Better Business Bureau, and talk with the contractor to find out if he/she has used recycled materials before. A well-done job on the front end will save you many years of repairs and grief.
  5. Not all recyclable materials are equal: Inquire about the roofing products’ suitability for rainwater harvest, because not all have been tested for water-quality impact. Different products vary in recycled content as well, but you can discover the specifics from the manufacturer or the retailer. No matter what you do, use high-quality stainless steel fasteners. Stainless steel products are water-friendly and often have warranties for up to 75 years. In fact, you might consider a stainless steel roof, but you need to watch for scratches, as that scratch will produce rust.
  6. Avoid asphalt: Asphalt is, after all, a crude oil product. And, asphalt tiles that contain built-in moss inhibitors may contain zinc, copper and other toxins that harm aquatic life, and may render water unusable for landscape or other rainwater harvest applications.
  7. Aluminum: You can find 100% recycled content aluminum shingles along with baked-on resin finishes that meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards for rainwater harvest. Look for anodized finishes.
  8. Clay: Also known as terracotta, you often can find used tiles as the tiles tend to outlast the buildings that they shelter. Like concrete, however, you may need to install reinforcing structures because clay weighs in at 600-900 lbs. per square. This roof often is considered the best choice from a water quality perspective.
  9. Concrete: Concrete roofs last a long time, and this is a good thing because the manufacture of concrete tile requires a large amount of energy to produce. Plus, you may need extra structural support, as the weight of concrete may strain your existing supports. Finally, your concrete roof may need to be waterproofed to ensure a long-lasting roof.
  10. Recycled or certified wood shake: Wood shake roofs are environmentally friendly, especially if they’re made from responsible harvests, including FSC-certified products. Storm-damaged trees and older wood left over from previous harvests resists rot, but some wood still may not fare well in areas with heavy rain and/or snowfall.
  11. Slate: Outside of clay, this is one of the most water-quality-friendly choices for your roof. Although expensive, 100-year warranties aren’t uncommon. Additionally, slate goes from quarry to roof with minimal processing. But, since most of the slate quarries are located in the northeast U.S., transportation would prove non-friendly to the environment for west coast residents. Additionally, some slate is produced abroad; before you purchase, you might want to learn about the slate’s origins. Like clay and cement, slate may require extra structural support, as it weighs as much as terracotta. Slate roofing has been in use in this country since before the Revolutionary War, so search for used or recycled slate tiles to save money.
  12. Go totally green: Ecoroofs have captured the minds of city officials as well as organic hippies. Ecoroofs are vegetated roof systems used in place of a conventional roof. Cost estimates come in at approximately twice per square foot of a quality metal roof, but this cost can vary depending upon roof design and your willingness to participate in labor. Over the long term, however, the extended life span of a green roof makes this option extremely competitive. Plus, some homeowners may find city incentives to ‘grow’ a green roof, an option that provides great insulation, treats rainwater with respect, and may extend the space for your garden!
  13. Collect rainwater: You probably wondered about the “water-quality” notes in the roofing materials above. This is the deal - not only does excessive amounts of rainwater get wasted as it’s diverted into storm or sewer systems, it also damages local natural water resources. However, if you collect that rainwater, you can store it for later use. Yes, you can use rain barrels; but a better option might be a cistern that can hold from several hundred to thousands of gallons of water. This amount of water is enough to reduce or even eliminate the need to use municipal water for landscaping, especially if you landscape wisely. Learn more from the Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting [PDF].

Wall Options

Wall decoration and protection choices are extensive, but many of your choices could be based upon whether you plan to stay in that home or if you plan to sell sometime soon. In the latter instance, staging is important, and good staging advice includes the use of neutral paints. But, if you plan to pass that house on to the grandkids, you can use many options, including recycled wallpaper and tiles and more.

  1. Get the lead out: If you own an older home (built before 1978, for instance), it almost certainly will contain some lead-based paint. The presence of this paint makes renovation and repainting hazardous. Before you begin to paint, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information site and download their fact sheet [PDF] on “Remodeling or renovating a home with lead-based paint.” You can also order it by calling (800) 424-LEAD (5323). Additionally, The Washington Toxics Coalition also offers an excellent fact sheet [PDF], “Reducing Exposure to Lead in Older Homes,” which has a specific section on remodeling and paint removal.
  2. Indoor paint: Some people are especially sensitive to various compounds found in paints, such as formaldehyde, chemical preservatives and fungicides. It’s best for your green remodel that you avoid any paints with the words, “poison” and “warning” on the labels. Instead, use eco-friendly paints that contain low or no levels of VOCs that can cause eye or skin damage. The advantage is that they’re odorless, and these paints may actually improve the overall air quality since they’re safe for the environment. You can find these paints in a variety of colors, and they’re cost efficient.
  3. Do it right the first time: Learn more about the types of paint available and what to use indoors and outdoors. Then, choose your brushes and rollers accordingly. Choose colors carefully, so you don’t waste time, money, and the environment with extra purchases. You can find great tips on painting and the tools you’ll need through an online brochure [PDF] produced by Seattle, Washington’s Department of Planning and Development.
  4. Paint first: Before you plan a carpet-elimination party, paint your walls. You should still use tarps and/or drop clothes, but you won’t damage the floor under that carpet if you paint after you remove it.
  5. Avoid sprayers: It’s human nature these days to want to finish a project yesterday. So, sprayers seem to make sense since they appear to get a painting job done quickly and easily. However, Paint sprayers can also be dangerous, injecting paint under the skin and into the bloodstream. Because of these potential hazards, the use of paint spray equipment is best left to professionals.
  6. Tile: Tile usually is considered an environmental choice because it’s durable and it’s made from natural materials (primarily clays and talc combined with water, pressed or poured into forms, then fired in a kiln). Look for locally produced designs to avoid shipping and transportation costs when possible. Also, you can find tiles with recycled contest, such as waste glass, feldspar tailings, or reprocessed porcelain. Note, however, that 100% recycled glass time makes for a slippery surface, so it’s best suited for walls or accents. While most professionals suggest hand-applied mortar and galvanized reinforcing mesh for a tile base, cement board applied to a sufficiently rigid subfloor is adequate for tile flooring. Cost of tile will soar dramatically depending upon materials used, quality, size of tile, and complexity of tile design or the installed design. Remember to avoid sealers free of formaldehyde and low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when you finish installing your tile.
  7. Use recycled wallboard and insulation when possible: More companies are jumping on the recycling bandwagon as they realize the potential in reusing materials rather than producing them new. Recycled wallboard represents one of those options, and if you hunt around you also can find recycled insulation. Remember that your wallboard and insulation may be recyclable as well, and some companies may pay to haul it away for you. Use the GreenHomeGuide and other resources to help decide what type of insulation you might need for your home.
  8. Wallpapers: Just because that wallpaper’s graphics detail endangered species, it doesn’t mean that product is environmentally sound in its manufacturing. The problem with wallpapers is that they take time to install; so if you plan to resell that home the new owners might not take to your taste. For reselling, it’s best to stick to paint in neutral colors. But, if you need to remove wallpaper, do your research. Older wallpaper often can be removed with steamers. Newer wallpaper pastes, however, were made to resist moisture, so you may need to find a professional wallpaper removal service for this situation. If you can’t avoid using wallpapers, try to look at some recycled options and kits, or choose papers made from sustainable wood pulp, formaldehyde-free, and printed with water-based inks.
  9. Visit online sites for ideas: Sites like Apartment Therapy aren’t just for apartments. You can glean great tips from this site, such as this idea for recycled aluminum tiles for your walls.

Ventilation

Levels of indoor air pollution can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels, thanks to toxic building materials, molds, allergens, and poor ventilation. The following tips will help you bring fresh air indoors and circulate that air more efficiently:

  1. Replace inefficient windows: Replacing windows can make a big difference to your utility bills. Because it’s a fairly challenging job for the average homeowner, most folks will want to bring in a contractor for this job.
  2. Stop drafts: Use caulk or weather stripping to seal doors and windows and close vents and doors to unused rooms. Random leakage isn’t effective ventilation, because it’s not reliable, regulated or distributed.
  3. But you still need to vent: A tight home is fine, as long as it comes with a controlled ventilation system. The controlled ventilation described in this article is intended to maintain overall indoor air quality as ventilation systems should expel toxic air and increase the flow of fresh air.
  4. Check filters: Change cooling and heating filters monthly to allow for better air flow.
  5. Keep that range hood small: The hankering for commercial stoves has created a ventilation problem. Larger hoods can suck exhaust gases out of a fireplace, wood stove, water heater or furnace, adding to toxic fumes in the home with backdrafts. The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI), a fan manufacturers’ trade association, recommends range hood capacity of 40 to 50 CFM per linear foot of range, or about 120 to 150 CFM for the standard 30-in. range. Keep it small, or no larger than what you absolutely need.
  6. Test for carbon monoxide: If you insist on that large range hood, it might be wise to test for Carbon Monoxide in your home. There are many hundreds of fatalities every year from Carbon Monoxide (CO) and just a small amount of CO in your living area can cause major problems over time. If you outfit your new green abode with a CO detector, it will provide you and future owners with peace of mind, especially if you own a fireplace.
  7. Replace attic vents with soffit and ridge vents: If you own an older home, you may discover that you need more ventilation in your attic (your county building codes will be instructive in this case). If so, you might want to adopt the soffit and ridge vent combination, which seems to work well to distribute fresh air, to lower energy costs, and to keep your attic dry. Search for this combination on the Internet, and you’ll find various ‘how to’ articles that can shed light on how to install this type of ventilation.
  8. Avoid ceiling fans: It’s long been held that ceiling fans reduce energy use because users can raise thermostat setting point two or three degrees. However, a field study by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) revealed that there was no correlation between using ceiling fans and saving energy. Instead, a computer simulation showed a potential energy use increase of ten percent, as the energy used to run the fans exceeded the potential savings. Additionally, waste heat from the fan motos added to the building’s cooling load.monitored energy use and surveyed the occupants of 400 new homes in central Florida. They also collected indoor temperature readings for 63 homes. The average home had four or five ceiling fans that operated 13 to 14 hours per day.

Landscaping

Learning how to landscape with an environmental objective may seem foreign to you at first. But, the links and tips below will help to guide you along the way as you begin to restore your landscape to its natural ecological functions, and reduce your need for water, fertilizer, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals.

  1. Rethink your attitude: The EPA estimates that the average American spends more than 90% of his or her life indoors. Considering that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air, you might look at your yard in a new light. Consider that yard as a healthy extension to your home, an investment in your health, and as added value to your home.
  2. Head back to the local planning department: Before you decide to build shelters or outbuildings, check with the county planning and development department for codes that you might need to abide by and for permits that you may need to build.
  3. Consider taking a course: Local colleges might have what is known as a “Master Gardener” course that residents can take. These courses are worth their weight in gold, as they look at local resources and environments and teach you what plants and grasses you might use to help conserve that environment.
  4. Plan long and hard: Taking a course is well within your time frame, as a landscaping revamp is a time-consuming project. Doing it right the first time around will save you time and money in the long run. Search online for “landscape symbols” and print some out. Play around with graph paper and these images as you learn about local environments and you’ll discover the landscape plan suited for your home.
  5. Study Xeriscaping: Xeriscape began in Colorado as a means to promote creative approaches to water conserving. These environmentally specific landscape techniques help people to conserve water, maintenance, and other resources by using techniques, plants, and grasses that are indigenous to a given area. In other words, you wouldn’t want to grow plants from the northeast U.S. in the southwest, as you’ll need to use too much water to keep that plant alive. Nor would you want to try to grow cactus in Seattle, as the amount of rainwater in that city would kill the effort. Some cities have adopted local Xeriscape centers, so conduct some research to see what you have available locally.
  6. Learn about construction options: Once again, the city of Seattle pulls through with a great brochure [PDF] that provides information about various landscape construction materials and mulches. They also offer information on decks, fences, raised rockbeds, irrigation, and ‘found objects’ as yard art. The only disappointment is that they don’t include recycled rubber as a choice for walkways (see Flooring above).
  7. Watch HGTV: Although the Home and Garden television station isn’t always about greening your home (although they now maintain a new green mission), they have some great ideas for curb appeal. If you threw out your TV along with your meat-eating habits, then visit the HGTV site online for ideas. Other green landscaping sites also carry some creative thoughts that might fit with your ideals and with your home.

Without a doubt, the green movement is on, it’s real, and you’ll be left behind if you don’t begin making changes now. But, don’t feel as though you need to complete a total remodel within the next year. Take your time, learn as much as possible about your choices, and have fun with the process. You are, after all, improving your health along the way, and - as a result - you might live longer to enjoy the changes that you’ve wrought.

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25 Real Life Cavemen

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Did you know that millions of people worldwide live underground? In fact, over twenty million people live in caves in China alone. These numbers don’t count the numbers of individuals who work in underground laboratories, urban cities, and on construction sites as more and more underground facilities are being built.Some individuals live underground or in caves because they’re simply following the paths of their ancestors. Others, like Gerald Fitzpatrick, have taken on the task of refurbishing underground facilities like this missile silo located in Champion, New York. Still others desire a move beneath the ground in order to avoid overcrowded cities and ground surface pollution. Some of these individuals are minimalists, and others live high on the hog. Finally, there are the survivalists - individuals who want to hunker down in some flat space in Middle America.

The following list, which is in no particular order, includes real modern-day cavemen, but it also looks at the other millions of people who reside in underground housing projects, urban cities, and other cave-like structures. Don’t feel left out - plenty of these habitats are for sale!

  1. Andalusian Cave HousesAndalusian Cave Houses - Caves are being rediscovered and refurbished like never before and the resident cave market is booming in Guadix Village, Granada Province, Spain. From Guadix to Galera and all across the Altiplano area near the Sierra Nevada, beautiful homes are carved out of the Andalusian mountainous rocks. The 21st century Andalusian cave house is well equipped with necessary water and electricity supplies; many have phones (and in some cases broadband connection), while others even come complete with Jacuzzi and swimming pool. Want to purchase a cave dwelling? You can find many houses in the region for sale (like the one shown here).
  2. DongzhongDongzhong Cave Students - Primary school students at a Miao village in Ziyun county, southwest China’s Guizhou province attend classes at the Dongzhong (literally meaning “in cave”). The actual school is built inside a natural cave that was carved out of a mountain naturally by winds, water, and seismic shifts. Although the buildings are used, classes often are held “outside” in the cave.
  3. TroglodytesTunisian Troglodytes - You can find troglodytes (cave dwellers) in desert villages spread around North Africa; however, Matmata and Bulla Regia, both in Tunisia, serve as prime examples of this type of dwelling. Troglodytes are believed to be a relatively recent invention in Saharan architecture, dating from about 1200 AD. While the structures proved to be a success, their uses are limited. This area is also popular for nomads and their Bedouin tents and for ‘regular’ housing. Matmata is home to Sidi Driss, the only troglodyte hotel. This building was used as the actual house of Uncle Owen and Aunt B, the underground home of Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” movies.
  4. Star WarsTunisian Takeover - On the opposite side of the coin, some Tunisian desert people have become inhabitants of the futuristic houses built by George Lucas and company. This set, built in the 1970s, is located a mere three-hour drive from Matmata, mentioned in #3. The dwellers who reside on this movie set may actually help the set from being destroyed or marred with graffiti, as they welcome guests and offer tea in very passive and lean surroundings.
  5. Coober PedyCoober Pedy - Coober Pedy, located in South Australia, is the “Opal Capital of the World.” Many of the residents live underground in dug-out modern homes to escape the outside desert heat. Crocodile Harry, one of Coober Pedy’s most infamous characters, resides in one of the most bizarre dugouts. Many people know him through the Lonely Planet’s Guidebook to Australia. Others may recognize his home from the underground scenes of “Mad Max-Beyond the Thunderdome.”
  6. Dan PriceThe Man in the Hole - Dan Price is a “modern day hobbit” who lives undergound in an eight-foot circular space near Joseph, Oregon. Although Price has access to underground electricity that powers his lamps and photocopier, he plans to go completely off the grid as he makes a switch to propane within the upcoming year. He’s worked it out so that he can survive on $5,000 per year (including his land rent of $100 per year), and he makes his money through subscriptions to his publication, Moonlight Chronicles. Other supplies are garnered through various corporate entities that sponsor his minimalist quest.
  7. GeotropolisThe Geotropolis Concept - Since the last acre in Tokyo went for US$7.8, the Japanese must become more creative about how to house residents. Since the price of property is now so expensive, it makes economic sense to build underground. More than 50 meters under the earth in the western part of Tokyo, researchers are working on the development of a comfortable subterranean living environment. This SubTerranean Urban Development (STUD) project, which began in 1989, is conducted by Tokyu Construction Co., Ltd. Their lab is located at the end of that 50-meter tunnel, where they develop new technologies that will ensure safety and comfort for underground living.
  8. GamirasuGamirasu Cave House Hotel - Gamirasu is located in in Ayvali Village near Ürgüp in the heart of Cappadocia, Turkey. This eleven-room hotel was restored from a one-thousand-year-old Byzantine monastic retreat, and it provides the chance for any international traveler to become a part-time cave dweller. It offers modern conveniences without distracting from the historic ambiance of the area. You can also view a Christian Byzantine Church, but you will need to wait a number of years before you can tour the underground city located just across from the hotel, as that city has yet to be excavated.
  9. Underground HousingUnderground Housing - If you want to build a home that will protect you from hurricanes, tornados, mobs, and atomic fallout, then you might consider an underground home designed by modern-day underground idealist, Mike Oehler. If you can’t hire Mike, you can order his book, which shows you how to build underground homes from $50 and up. You will learn how to build a house under flat land, drain the house using gravity, and ways to pass or otherwise deal with the building codes.
  10. YaodongYaodong Cave Dwellings - the Yaodong cave dwellings stretch across six provinces in north central China, and almost 20 million people currently living in traditional cave dwellings across the entire northwest Chinese landscape. This architecture currently is being replicated as sustainable and affordable housing for many residents. This particular region in China serves as a model for this architecture, because its yaodongs once served as the early headquarters of a rebel leader named Mao Tse-Tung.
  11. Gates MansionBill Gates’ House - This mansion is a large earth-sheltered abode built into the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. According to Wikipedia, The house is a modern design in the Pacific lodge style, with classic features such as a large private library and a domed reading room. The house occupies 50,000 square feet on a 5.15-acre lot. Garage space and outbuildings may occupy an additional 16,000 square feet. Property records indicate eight bedrooms and four building levels.
  12. EarthshipDennis Weaver’s Earthship - Dennis Weaver, the late actor-environmentalist, built an earthship near Ridgway, Colorado. An earthship uses tires, aluminum cans, and other recycled material as part of the overall structure, and all or a portion of the home may be built underground. This house uses solar mass to conserve heat and solar power. The home is now for sale.
  13. Underground HouseThe Underground House: This is Cumbria’s first underground home (U.K.), built in an old, disused quarry site. The house has been built into the hole left by the removal of stone from the quarry, making it invisible from behind or the sides. All that can be seen from the front are the double height conservatory and a small array of photovoltaic tiles above the front door, as seen at right in the photo. Combining the shelter of the earth with high levels of insulation means that the house needs no heating whatsoever – all of the heat it needs is available from the sun alone.
  14. Hobbit HouseUnderground Hobbit House: This link leads to pictures and the story of an owner-built home inspired by “The $50 and up Underground House” book (by Mike Oehler - see #8). Using log pole and heavy timber framing with about 18″ of soil and compost on the roof, this underground family uses simple sheds for drainage. The inside photos reveal a comfortable ski-lodge type atmosphere. Follow the link on the Hobbit House page to the forums, where you can find more images of this hand-built underground home.
  15. South Pole Station domeAmundsen-Scott South Pole Station - The original South Pole station, now referred to as “Old Pole,” was built partially underground in 1956 in order to protect its inhabitants from the worst imaginable weather. As with all structures at the South Pole, the original station caused wind-blown snow to build up in the surrounding area. This snow accumulation resulted in the structure being further buried by about four feet of snow per year. The station, abandoned since 1975, is now deeply buried, and the pressure has caused the mostly wooden roof to cave in. The site is therefore a hazardous area and off limits to all visitors. The station was relocated and rebuilt in 1975 as a geodesic dome 50 meters wide and 16 meters high, with 14×24 m steel archways, modular buildings, fuel bladders, and equipment (shown here). But, that building is also becoming buried and unsafe, so another building was constructed in 1999 - this time above ground and with rounded corners so that the wind will scour away the snow and keep the building from being buried under the annual eight inches of accumulated snow.
  16. The Caves DiningThe Caves - You, too, can be a caveman with a dining experience for those who stay at The Caves resort in Negril, Jamaica. Enjoy a “Cocktail Cliffhanger” while you listen to the waves and wait for your dinner to be served in this seaside grotto. While the cottages are above ground and built from conventional materials, the restaurant is nestled in one of the local seaside caves.
  17. Alice CityAlice City - This is another Japanese project, spearheaded by the Taisei Corporation. This $4 billion project would incorporate a very wide and deep shaft, within which would be built levels for habitation, all looking in toward a hollow core topped with a huge skylight. The cost is negligible, considering the cost of the last acre for sale in Tokyo (see #6). Named for Alice in Wonderland, This office/shopping/living space will carry absolutely no heating costs and inhabitants and workers can avoid above-ground pollution. According to Dr. Tomorrow, this concept and the expertise acquired to build this underground “city” will bode well for the Japanese, who may be called upon to help other burgeoning cities to meet population demands.
  18. Montreal's Underground CityMontreal’s Underground City - This “La ville souterraine” (French) is the largest underground network in the world (others situated in places such as China, Paris, Germany, etc.), with 32 kilometers of tunnel that cover more than 41 city blocks (about 12 square kilometers). More than 2,000 shops and 40 cinemas line the passageways. Tourists often visit various attractions in the underground city, which is used by an average of half a million Montrealers per day. Eight metro stations link to smaller networks that are not yet part of the central network, such as Berri UQAM in the eastern part of downtown, and Pie-IX which links venues from the 1976 Summer Olympics. Additionally, other underground networks exist that are not part of the metro system, such as the La Cité housing and retail complex. You can view a map [PDF] to learn more about how far this underground “city” extends.
  19. Sassi di MateraSassi di Matera - Literally, the “Stones of Matera,” Sassi are houses dug into the rock itself in Italy, known locally as “Tufo.” This is the city where Mel Gibson staged his film, “The Passion of the Christ,” a perfect setting as the city looks as though it woke up after a long nap that began about 2,000 years ago. From the photograph, it appears that you’re looking at a ‘regular’ ancient city, because the facades are actually built with bricks, however, as soon as you cross the threshold, you discover that you are inside the mountain.
  20. ICBM SiloICBM Missile Silo Living - You’d need to be a fairly well-to-do caveman to purchase this refurbished ICBM missile silo in Kansas for $1.5million. It went up for auction on eBay in 2001, with a total of 16,000 sq. ft underground floor space and a. 4,000 sq. ft. launch control building that was refurbished into living space. Did you know that you could fit an 1100-gallon hot tub, sauna, kitchen, 3 large carpeted living areas, a home theatre and more into an underground silo? Above ground, the twenty-eight acres included with this purchase included 15 fresh water wells, water pumping windmill, fruit, nut and pine trees and two sewage disposal systems. Primitive, right?
  21. HHPThe Hockerton Housing Project - Become one of the first ‘cavemen’ to reside in the UK’s first earth sheltered, self-sufficient ecological housing development. HHP residents generate their own clean energy, harvest their own water and recycle waste materials causing no pollution or carbon dioxide emissions. The houses are amongst the most energy efficient, purpose built dwellings in Europe. Take some time to learn how the modern caveman lives, as HHP also runs a wide variety of events based at the project, from basic tours to all day technical workshops, from art events to venue hire.
  22. Beckham Creek Cave HavenBeckham Creek Cave Haven - How would you like to vacation in a cave that holds a living area, pool room, and kitchen, along with a venue that can handle a wedding or some other special event? This 2,000 sq. ft. cave house is located in the Buffalo National River country with all the wild beauty of the Ozark countryside in Arkansas. The home is a multi-level five-bedroom facility that offers a family or small group complete privacy for a getaway. The kitchen, which holds a grill, microwave, bread maker, and even two refrigerators, is located toward the front of the cave dwelling, where huge windows provide plenty of light, and where it’s convenient to haul in all those cave-dwelling groceries from the parking lot.
  23. Underground HomeMalcolm Wells - This man often is proclaimed as the ‘father of modern earth-sheltered architecture.’ Whether you agree with this sentiment or not, his Web site holds plenty of valuable information for anyone who wants to build an underground structure. But, be prepared for his purist tendencies, as he states that, “…A building should consume its own waste, maintain itself, match nature’s pace, provide wildlife habitat, moderate climate and weather and be beautiful. That’s a series of pass/fail evaluation criteria….” No matter - most folks who want to build underground structures probably would agree with this man’s ecological perspective.
  24. Stover HouseStover House - Andy Davis is a regular guy who lives underground in a Springfield, Illinois suburb. His disguise is so good that his home looks like a regular home from the front. But, once inside, you discover that some parts of this home are as deep as twenty-two feet underground. The spacious 8,000-square-foot home allows the living room, family room and dining room to soak in the morning sun. Ceramic tiles absorb the heat while the white walls allow for maximum light. As you burrow deeper into the ground, you’ll discover a cozy den and reading room that gets much of its light from a fireplace
  25. Caves of MarsThe Mars Homestead Project - Cavemen in the future may live in cave-like structures on other planets. The Mars Homestead Project, the main project of the Mars Foundation, is developing a unified plan for building the first habitat on Mars by exploiting local materials. One consideration for this project is underground living, which would help to insure that residents are sheltered from the high-radiation environment. According to the Caves of Mars, a NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts funded program, natural subsurface cavities and subsurface constructs present the most mission effective habitat alternative for future human missions.
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The Ultimate Guide to FSBO: 100 Tools and Resources

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According to the National Association of Realtors, the typical FSBO (For Sale By Owner) home sold for $187,200 compared to $247,000 for agent-assisted home sales this past year. And, almost half of those sales were made through yard signs and through friends and family. But, not all home sales are that simple. Almost sixteen percent of home owners stated that the paperwork was the worst part of the selling experience, and a full eleven percent couldn’t get the right price.

The worst part of the home selling experience, according to eighteen percent of the home sellers, was preparing and fixing up the home for sale. Staging, open houses, curb appeal and more can be trials filled with tons of errors when home owners don’t know what they’re doing. So, we figured that a good list of contractors, home improvement ideas, thoughts on how to sell a home and more was needed. This list provides those tools and more.

The topics listed below are in alphabetical order, and the sites listed within those categories also are listed in alphabetical order. So, please don’t take the numbers as a ranking.

Topics Covered In This List

Advice | Appraisers | Auctioneers | Blogs | Contractors | For Rent by Owner | Home Improvement | Inspection | Investing | Land & Condos | Listings | News

Advice

If you’ve never sold property before, you’ll need to do a bit of research to learn how to be successful in your endeavor. Even if you’re a seasoned pro, you know that others may have a solution for various problems that arise. The sites listed below cover everything you can possibly imagine about FSBO topics. And, they undoubtedly cover topics that may not have crossed your mind…

  1. AOL Real Estate: Research local or distant markets, learn about valuations, and utilize real estate tools and more at this site. This site also includes listings.
  2. Get-Ready-Sell-First-House-Smart: Despite this site’s silly name, the author has compiled some sane advice for selling your home. All the topics are categorized, and tips range from DIY staging to success stories.
  3. Home Buying/Selling: Elizabeth Weintraub at About.com can tell you all about buying or selling a home, from checking a sewer before you buy to using dual agents when you sell. You’ll find hundreds of pages filled with solid information at this site.
  4. Home Sellers Information Center: You will find everything related to selling a house here, from the preparation of your home, choosing whether or not to use an agent, how to set the price for your house, to how to best show your house when it is on the market and more.
  5. HUD: The U.S. Deparment of Housing and Urban Development provides tons of information for homeowners, sellers, and buyers. You don’t need to use their services to take advantage of the news and advice that they offer.
  6. MSN Real Estate: This link will take you to the “Selling Your Home” section, where MSN provides news, updates, and advice on selling your home with or without an agent.
  7. Real Estate ABC: RealEstateABC.com was started in March 1998 with the goal of providing a site that candidly informs homebuyers and home sellers about the real world of real estate, without puff, hype or sensationalism. You can find an extensive list of how-to articles here that will help you brave the world of home selling.
  8. Sell My Home 101: This Web site is packed with timely and useful information for home sellers about real estate. You’ll learn about real estate, the process of selling a home, what to look for in a realtor, pricing your home to sell, and much, more.
  9. SmartMoney: This link will take you to SmartMoney’s real estate section, where you can find advice on everything from buying to mortgages, along with worksheets to help you stay ahead of the game.
  10. Yahoo! Real Estate: You can list your home for sale, check the value of a home in any given community and more at this real estate news and self-service portal.

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Appraisers

You may believe your property is worth a zillion dollars, but an appraiser could help you land softly in the real world. It would be impossible to list every appraiser here, so this list is about the best of appraiser directories and tools.

  1. AppraisalEdge: AppraisalEdge.com prides itself on not only being a national real estate appraisal directory but an information resource for real estate appraisers, consumers and loan originators alike.
  2. Appraisers.com: This is the oldest existing appraiser listing service on the Internet. This service is designed to help consumers and financial institutions quickly find real estate appraisers serving any county in the USA.
  3. e-Appraise: This site is filled with tools for the appraiser as well as for the homeowner. You can find appraisers through their directory, but you might want to snoop around to use the calculators, read the classifieds, and more.
  4. FeeAppraiser.com: Feeappraiser.com was developed by real estate appraisers, professional database managers and website designers to provide those who hire appraisers a quick and easy way to find fee real estate appraisers (appraisers directly available for hire) in every area of the United States and the 4 territories licensed under the Appraisal Foundation.
  5. HomePrice: This program operates on a national level with two types of reports, the Property Value Estimator and the HomePrice Report. Both products are designed for existing residential properties from single-family homes to high-rise condominiums. Reports will not be available for new construction, multi-family or mobile homes.

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Auctioneers

You might think you’ll never need an auctioneer to sell property; but these folks come in handy when you want to finalize a will or probate for a family member or when you need to sell property quickly. The following auctioneers were chosen simply for the amount of territory that they cover within the U.S.

  1. A. J. Billig & Co.: Established in 1918, this is a family business with a professional reputation.They produce hundreds of auctions every year, and they’re known as a dynamic business participant throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.
  2. Christenson-Elms: This company specializes exclusively in the sale of distinctive real estate for premier developers and builders. Located in Florida, they handle estate sales and auctions nationwide, and have sold in excess of 24,000 properties.
  3. Deiro & Associates: Deiro & Associates has been one of America’s premier family owned real estate, auction and liquidation companies for 30 years. They advertise as a national company, but they seem to focus on Western properties.
  4. Fuchs Auction and Realty: This company provides all the brokerage services as if the property were sold using the private traditional negotiated method. And in addition they provide packaging, promoting, showing and conducting the auction from the sale to the closing. You set the date and time of the sale, as well as the terms and conditions.
  5. Grand Estates Auction Co.: This company specializes in the marketing and sale by auction of luxury real estate throughout North America and the Caribbean. By offering only the finest luxury properties at auction they can create a more concentrated marketing effort to maximize interest and expedite the selling cycle, allowing for both buyers and sellers to take part in a swift and seamless transaction.
  6. Higgenbotham Auctioneers International: Since 1959, Higgenbotham Auctioneers International has had tremendous success marketing real estate and other assets using the auction method throughout the U.S. Their president, Martin Higgenbotham, is a member of the National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.
  7. LandAuction.com: LandAuction.com has been doing business in the State of California since 1990 with a goal of becoming the largest auctioneer of raw land for sale in North America. LandAuction.com purchases the property before they put it up for sale at auction.

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Blogs

Unfortunately, there’s a real dearth of FSBO-specific blogs that are both useful and up-to-date. However, we did find some FSBO blogs and included them here, along with great blogs that focus on real estate investments, home staging, and other topics within the FSBO realm.

  1. Best Home Selling Tips: John Wen is a licensed real estate agent in Georgia who shares his home selling secretes, ideas, strategies, and effective marketing methods.
  2. Blog.ByTheOwner.com: A blog about the real estate market and the for sale by owner process, sponsored by ByTheOwner.com, Canada’s popular private sale website.
  3. Building an Empire: Trisha Allen is 32-year-old full-time real estate investor and realtor has been investing in real estate for over four years. She brings her personal insights into the ups and downs of building a personal real estate empire.
  4. For Sale By Locals (A New Real Estate Approach): A blog that is an offshoot of the “For Sale by Locals” Web site. Entries include business information, tips, and advice on how to work with online real estate services.
  5. For Sale By Owner - FSBO - Law Blog: Craig Blackmon, a Seattle, Washington attorney whose practice is centered on residential real estate, authors this blog. He handles both transactions (including FSBO) and litigation.
  6. Get Happy Home: This FSBO blog is sponsored by the Get Happy Home listings. Although the blog hasn’t been recently updated, you can find some useful information here, especially on remodeling.
  7. Home Staging Blog: Nickie Rothwell provides homeowners with news and ideas about home staging so you can sell your home as quickly as possible and at the best possible price.
  8. Home Staging, Rants & Ravings: Craig Schiller, a professional home stager and founder of Real Estaging (Chicago), is behind this property merchandising and home staging blog.
  9. Landlord Shmandlord: This is a blog about being a landlord and investing in real estate.
  10. The FSBO Blog: This is the best and most up-to-date FSBO blog around. The authors of this blog work at or own multiple real estate companies, including some “For Sale By Owner” service companies. Everything written at this blog, however, is their personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. You’ll gain insight into the news, tools, and issues of the FSBO “real estate revolution.”

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Contractors

Before you sell you may need to make some major alterations to your property. If you don’t have the time to do those repairs or changes yourself, you can contact any one of the nationwide companies listed below. They will put you in touch with a local contractor(s) who will do the job, no matter if it’s large or small.

  1. ANDY OnCall: This company will send a handyman out to your home for a free estimate on small jobs, repairs and maintenance. Whether to fix a fence, caulk a tub, or hang a blind, ANDY OnCall® has a craftsman for your job.
  2. Handyman Connection: From painting and electrical work to basement, bath and kitchen remodeling, this company will get your project done right. They’ll match your large or small project with the skills of a talented craftsman who has at least 10 years of professional experience.
  3. Handyman Matters: Choose among over 1,000 services provided by this company. They have a “preferred price” option, where you only pay for the time spent on your project.
  4. Home Improvement Hub: Tell this company about your home improvement project and they’ll match you up with up to four price quotes. These are free estimates with no obligation.
  5. ImproveNet: ImproveNet has been matching homeowners with contractors for home improvement, remodeling, .maintenance and repairs since 1996. Improvenet is a free service with no obligation, and is powered by a nationwide, screened network of home improvement contractors.
  6. My Handyman: Also known as Mr. Handyman, you can hire this company for small jobs like hanging curtains or larger jobs like installing tile in the bathroom. All technicians are insured.
  7. NARI: The National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) helps homeowners find the right professional partner to do their remodeling. Whether it is updating a kitchen to make it more efficient, turning an ordinary bathroom into a haven of rest and relaxation, or adding a room to meet the needs of a growing family, NARI wants each homeowner to get the maximum value or enjoyment for the dollars they invest in their remodeling.
  8. ServiceMagic: Click on a category, describe your needs, and ServiceMagic will match you with a screened contractor that will fit the bill.
  9. ServiceMaster: You probably know this company by their leading brands, like TruGreen, Terminix, Merry Maids, and more. All you need to do is schedule the service and they do the work.

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For Rent by Owner

Have you toyed with the idea of renting rather than selling your home? For rent by owner (FRBO) sites have proliferated over the past few years. Some homes can be considered vacation rentals, while others are more serviceable. Either way, you will become a landlord! Some of these sites include listings, but they also include other features such as articles, tips, and links to other sites that will help you manage your rental properties.

  1. HomeAway: HomeAway is a community for vacation rental owners. Although the site represents more than 95,000 vacation rental homes, condos, guesthouses, cottages, and cabins in more than 90 countries, it also provides information for home owners who want to rent their property.
  2. HotPads: HotPads is a nationwide map-based rental housing search engine. Whether you are a property manager with hundreds of units or just want to rent out your basement, listing your property on HotPads is free.
  3. How to Rent by Owner: Christine Karpinski has written the book on how to rent by owner. Although this site promotes her book, the advice she offers online is well worth the visit.
  4. iVacationOnline: Joe Godar created this community so like minded vacation rental owners may share ideas and techniques for everyone’s benefit.
  5. Lay My Hat: Lay My Hat is a unique resource for holiday rental home-owners, by holiday rental owners - it’s full of free advice, ideas and discussions focused on the goal of more bookings.
  6. Premier Properties Only: Advertise your luxury home, estate home and luxury real estate properties on this site for a flat annual fee.
  7. Renters.org: This site lists rental properties, but it also provides a forum for addressing issues affecting the industry, and the resources for promoting the highest professional standards for vacation home landlords. Landlords can find useful tools here, including a universal availability calendar and more.
  8. Vacation Home Advisors: With financial, technology and real estate credentials in one firm, Vacation Home Advisors (VHA) provides guidance for owners of seasonal resort rental homes and condominiums, vacation home website development and hosting, and real estate seminars to the investing public.
  9. VacationsFRBO: List as many vacation homes as you wish for no charge, and upload as many photos as you want. A vacation rental property may not be listed in more than one city, and a property must be listed as a vacation rental only during the time that the property is open to rent.
  10. VRBO: Find or list vacation rentals by owner, listed by state. A flat fee includes up to three photos, community support, and - if you already have a Web site - a free link to that site.

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Home Improvement

So you purchased a fixer-upper and you want to make a profit? Learn how to improve that property without damaging the bottom line. The Web sites below focus on all areas of a property, but some - like the DIY landscaping - are included to focus on curb appeal. If you’d rather hire a handyman, use the list under ‘Contractors’ above and use the following sites for ideas.

  1. DIY Home Improvement: From interior to exterior, this site covers everything you’d want to know about DIY basics and more.
  2. Energy Star: You can’t go wrong with an Energy Star compliant home. The mere mention of these energy-efficient practices will increase a home’s value.
  3. HGTV: From curb appeal to wallpaper, this site has it all. The site runs in conjunction with the popular Home and Garden Television programming.
  4. HomeTime: Like HGTV, this site leans on a televised program, but it’s not as extensive. HomeTime is, after all, just one show, and it’s focused on heavy-duty changes that can alter your curb appeal or change your floor from tile to wood.
  5. The SideRoad: Jeanette Fisher is a design psychology professor who has expanded her expertise into real estate. She maintains several sites on interior design along with a focus on homemakers and real estate investors.
  6. This Old House: If you can’t get your hands on the magazine or watch the show on television, then this Web site is the next best thing to learn how to improve that old house. Top notch tips from experts on everything to improve the inside and outside of that property.
  7. DIY Landscape Design: You’ll be exposed to professional knowledge, advice, tips, recommendations, and do-it-yourself landscape resources and pictures at this site.
  8. Landscape Ideas: The authors have spent thousands of hours developing useful content, taking thousands of landscaping pictures and getting advice from expert landscaping contractors to put this site together for you. Peruse information on everything from decks to tropical designs.

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Inspection

As with appraisers, we cannot possibly bring you all the inspectors listed in the U.S. However, we can point you to some national businesses that will provide food for thought on home inspections, and some organizations that your inspector should belong to in order to be certified or just downright reliable.

  1. Allstate Home Inspection: This home inspection franchise features a directory of affiliate offices in the U.S. plus information on training and franchise opportunities. Their local franchises will conduct home inspections as well as household environmental testing.
  2. AmeriSpec: Over 350 independently owned and operated businesses within this company conduct in excess of 150,000 AmeriSpec inspections annually in the U.S. and Canada.
  3. ASHI: American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the largest and most respected professional association for home inspectors in North America, with 6,000 members. ASHI’s Standards of Practice, covering all of a home’s major systems, are specifically noted in state and federal legislation and recognized by consumers as the definitive standard for professional home inspection.
  4. Building Specs Inc.: National network of home inspectors provides standards-based home inspections and hands-on home inspector training programs. Includes online search for US inspectors.
  5. Criterium Engineers: You’ll find a directory of licensed professional engineers offering home inspections and other building related engineering services in the US and Canada. Includes services, pricing, company overview, office locator, FAQs.
  6. HomeTeam Inspection Service: This franchise utilizes a team approach to home inspections and offers a directory of inspectors across the US and Canada.
  7. HouseMaster: Ordering a home inspection before you list a home for sale is a great idea for people who are interested in getting to a closing quickly and with fewer surprises. HouseMaster home inspectors have collectively performed almost 2 million inspections.
  8. NACHI: The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) is an international non-profit organization helping home inspectors achieve financial success and maintain inspection excellence. If your inspector belongs to this association, then he/she is certified.
  9. NAHI: The National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI) was established in 1987 as a nonprofit association to promote and develop the home inspection industry. NAHI now has over 1300 members in 49 U.S. states, Cayman Islands and Singapore.
  10. Pillar to Post: All Pillar To Post home inspectors are members of regional, national, state and provincial associations, and are fully trained, certified and E&O insured. These franchises are located throughout the U.S. and Canada. They also were named #1 in the Home Inspections category by Entrepreneur Magazine’s 28th Annual Franchise 500® issue.

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Investing

When you sell a home, you’re selling perhaps the largest investment vehicle in your portfolio. No matter if you’re rushing into purchasing a new home, settling back to purchase a second home, or looking at real estate as an addition to a diverse portfolio - the following sites can help you discover whether these types of investments are right for you.

  1. American Investors in Real Estate Online: This organization is committed to providing the highest quality information, services and products for Real Estate Investors of all experience levels from novice to experienced pro alike.
  2. Free and Low Cost Real Estate Forms: Find a plethora of forms here for buying and selling real estate. You will have the option to fill-out your form online and print it or you may save it to your own computer for later editing and printing. You can also alter the forms to fit your particular situation.
  3. National REIA: National REIA’s mission is to develop, support and promote local real estate investor organizations while serving the interests of the real estate investment industry through networking, education, leadership on legislative issues, and promoting professionalism and standards of excellence in the industry.
  4. Property Investing: You’ll find free property investment advice, information, insights, ideas and support for people interested in making money from investment property. They also include the latest property news and special reports on property hotspots.
  5. Real Estate Investment Alliance: This group’s research methodology targets rapidly growing real estate markets with strong demographics in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and the Caribbean. They focus on turnkey and hassle free products.
  6. REI Club: This Real Estate Investment Club can educate you on creative real estate, wholesaling, 1031 exchanges, asset protection, commercial real estate, hard money lenders, IRA investing, landlording, lease options, mobile homes, no money down, owner financing, rehabbing, tax liens, and more. Much of the material is free, and you can also search for an investment club near you.
  7. Tax Rules for Second Homes: Brought to you by Kiplinger.com. This is a great article to read over before you make that ’second home jump’ and especially before you rent that home out on weekends.
  8. Yaerd: If you want to invest in some development, you might spend a little time at this site first. Yaerd provides preconstruction investment, new construction investment, residential investment, and commercial investment advice, information, resources, and listings. They also provide property listings for the most promising real estate investment opportunities to help you make the best decision on where and how to invest in real estate (so consider this a great place to list your investment property as well).

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Land & Condos

The following Web sites focus entireley on either condo or land marketing and sales. In all cases you can list the land or condos for sale yourself if you’re the seller.

  1. condoDomain: The reader will find topics that include architecture, new condo developments, mortgage and financing, condo-hotel, design and other categories that deal with urban metropolitan markets around the US & Canada. This blog attempts to connect condominium buyers, brokers and developers.
  2. Condo.com: This company has over 300,000 condos listed on the site from the U.S. and 70 countries around the world valued at over $100 billion. Condo.com provides a low-cost, high impact marketing channel for condo sellers.
  3. Land FSBO: Advertise vacant land, lots, acreage, commercial property and rural farm land. All land listings are listed by owner so you are in direct contact with the buyer.
  4. LandAndFarm.com: This site the global marketplace for rural property, and the flagship of RPB Media. RPB Media was established in 2004 through the merger of LandAndFarm.com and Rural Property Bulletin, a quarter-century print leader in rural property advertising. Now headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts, RPB Media offers a variety of print and electronic advertising vehicles for sellers of land of all kinds, and a safe, effective way for buyers to find their target purchase.
  5. LandFlip: Single to unlimited land listings for a monthly fee and no contracts, comissions or referral fees.
  6. LandsofAmerica: LandsofAmerica.com is the largest rural land listing service in the nation. They advertise farms, ranches, timberland, mountain and waterfront properties for a monthly fee.
  7. New Condos Online: This blog is quickly becoming a relevant resource on the Internet for buyers to find and compare new condos, pre-construction condos, condo conversions, town homes, and lofts across the country.

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Listings

Urbanism is the architectural topic for the early twenty-first century. These blogs deconstruct, analyze, critic, discuss, and practice urban architecture, even when that architecture consists of homeless landscapes.

  1. 1-800-by-Owner: This company specializes in residential property, real estate and new homes for sale. They also offer high-end homes and real estate for sale or for rent. For a flat fee, this service guarantees to advertise your property until it is sold. Rates vary depending upon size of package and area in which the property is located.
  2. America’s Choice: America’s Choice® and Canada’s Choice® empower sellers and buyers of residential real estate to find each other and to easily work through the steps of real estate transaction. This company provides marketing, prescreens potential buyers and provides full services at a flat fee. All you need to do is show the home, and they even provide training for that process.
  3. Assist-2-Sell: Assist-2-Sell has over 620 offices in 46 states and Canada with more joining monthly. Each office is independently owned and operated. Each office offers sellers a “menu” of services from a paperwork-only low “flat fee” to a full-blown Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) marketing program.
  4. FSBO: FSBO charges a one-time advertising fee for a nine-month listing. Use images or videos to sell your property.
  5. For Sale by Owner: Advertise your home to nearly 2 million monthly visitors. If you can’t sell your home through this site, they offer a guarantee where they will work with you to find a real estate agent in your area. Once you have sold your home through an agent referred to you by us, you are entitled to a refund of the money you spent with ForSaleByOwner.com or other options, depending on the value of your home sale.
  6. Help-U-Sell: Help-U-Sell is a fee-for-service real estate franchise with nearly 1,000 offices in 46 states and 12 offices in South Africa. Help-U-Sell is a full-service set-fee organization and the company’s licensed professionals manage the entire home sale process from start to finish, including handling all negotiations, providing referrals, showing the seller’s home, and providing expert advice and representation.
  7. HomesByOwner: Serving FSBO’s since 1994 with 1000’s of homes for sale across the US and Canada. The company is operated by Wayne Strobel and his partner, Ken Hamric, and now serves more than half of the nation’s For Sale By Owner magazine publishers and numerous other affiliates - offering clients national exposure coupled with local experts.
  8. International Listings: This is the premier listing service for luxury homes worldwide, where you can list your home for a flat fee. You also can use up to 12 high-resolution photographs of interior and exterior of property on your own Web page.
  9. Owners.com: With Owners.com you skip the realtor’s fee and restrictive contracts, and you can list your home for free. Owners.com makes their profit through advertising, not through their listings.
  10. Zillow: Zillow helps consumers make smarter real estate decisions by providing them with access to the same information and tools agents use to value homes. Additionally, homeowners can take advantage of the Zestimate™ home valuation as a starting point for anyone to see - for free - for most homes in the U.S. Advertise homes for sale for free.

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News

If you’re about to sell a home, you might read some real estate news first. Headlines and analyses can help you time your sale to your advantage.

  1. CNN Money Real Estate News: This site falls between real estate advice and vanilla real estate news, as you can find calculators and other tools here that can ease your paperwork.
  2. Forbes Real Estate: If you’re searching for DIY here, you might be in the wrong place. Forbes focuses on luxury real estate, from the mansion of the week to how to own a second (or third or fourth) home. But you can find plenty of practical advice here as well.
  3. Inman News: Inman Real Estate News provides brokers, agents, consumers and industry insiders with the latest news from the Real Estate Industry. As a seller, it would be good to know what these folks know so you can feel both efficient and confident.
  4. MSNBC Real Estate: This link will take you to the top real estate news story and dozens of links for other headlines under this topic.
  5. Real Estate Journal: This Wall Street Journal guide to real estate helps home sellers arm themselves with the information they need to get the most for their money. Readers can browse entries on everything from mortgage rates and residential market trends to relocation and economic issues, home improvement ideas and advice on buying, selling and enjoying a home.
  6. Realty Times: Daily articles covering topics of interest to buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals.

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Top 100 Architecture Blogs

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If Modernism was the twentieth-century architectural trend that developed a new way of thinking, then Urbanism appears to be the twenty-first century architectural mindset. This trend is breeding urban explorers (urbex), the greening of major metropolitan areas, and a focus on merging habitats and commercial structures with politics, culture, history and the arts. Public discourse and scholarly research have found meeting grounds in this global landscape, and the results are evolving. But, this evolution has affected how individuals and partnerships present their materials on Weblogs and Photoblogs.To that end, we’re treating you to the top 100 bloggers who focus on everything from architectural news to urbanism and from the junction of design and technology to the landscape. While you won’t find blogs here that illustrate how to design a home or a business, you’ll discover plenty of dialogue, images, and ideas no matter if you’re an architect or a person who admires architecture. These blogs were chosen for frequently and recently updated blog entries, a focus on architecture, and for their attitudes and/or perspectives - no matter if they’re amateurs or professionals. Please note that the blog numbering is not meant to be a ranking, as each architecture topic is listed in alphabetical order with the listed blogs also listed in alphabetical order within that topic.

Top Ten

The following ten sites were plucked from this list’s topics as the ‘best of the best’ of the blogs that were chosen for this list. You’ll find the topics listed below these top ten blogs.

  1. A Daily Dose of Architecture: Or, “Archidose,” as blogger John Hill calls it. He’s an architectural student in New York, but his blog covers an “(Almost)” daily architectural musings from midwest American. This blog is intelligent, sharp, well-written, and enjoyed by many architects and designers.
  2. aggregät 4/5/6: Enrique Gualberto Ramirez, an architecture historian, maintains no qualms about “the messy connections between spatial practice, cultural criticism, technology studies, art history, architecture, and other realms.” A must-read.
  3. anArchitecture: Christoph Wassmann, who lives and work in Vienna, Austria, writes a blog filled with news, links, and opinions that are centered on architecture and architectural thinking.
  4. Archinect: The goal of Archinect is to make architecture more connected and open-minded, and bring together designers from around the world to introduce new ideas from all disciplines. One way they accomplish this goal is through their school blog project, where representatives from a collection of architecture programs around the world have been invited to maintain blogs that document their experiences and discoveries from each institution.
  5. BLDGBLOG: Geoff Manaugh is a writer, grant writer, would-be novelist, essayist, Archinect “team member” and the founding editor of BLDGBLOG. He’s also now a senior editor for Dwell Magazine. This site is an exciting meeting ground for architecture, planning, and landscape issues.
  6. City of Sound: Dan Hill, director of Web and broadcast at Monocle, blogs on themes of cities, architecture, design, media and culture as he makes logical connections between such seeming disparities as “travel writing and design, or football and architecture.” But, the major focus is on the design of the city as he points to design as the major catalyst between function and form.
  7. Inhabitat: Inhabitat tracks the innovations in technology and practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.
  8. Interactive Architecture: Ruairi Glynn opens the door to students at Bartlett School of Architecture to interactive architecture, or the merging of the digital virtual with tangible and physical spatial experiences. His blog brings this work on interactive spaces, or semi-permanent installations, to the public.
  9. Pruned: Alexander Trevi has a good sense of humor. Better yet, he has an aesthetic eye, a knowledge that landscape has everything to do with habitat, and the sensitivity to record environmental issues that basically connect how everyone lives in this world.
  10. Super Colossal: Marcus Trimble is a design tutor at the University of Sydney (Australia) Faculty of Architecture and he’s involved with the DARCH at the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture. He offers “architectural ephemera” for like-minded readers at this blog, with archives available at his former site, gravestmor.

Topics Covered In This List

Aggregators | Design and Technology | Environmental and/or Sustainable | Landscape | Niche | Musings | Photography | Urbanism

Aggregators

While many blogs tend to pick up on news from other architectural sites, the following blogs and aggregators make it a business to keep readers informed on daily architectural happenings.

  1. ArchNewsNow: ANN delivers the most comprehensive coverage of national and international news, projects, products, and events in the world of architecture and design daily to anyone who wants to keep up with the latest.
  2. Planet Architecture: You can find new architectural ideas, information, and news on this blog, as the owners summarize Web sites daily for your reading pleasure. The topics are wide-ranging and normalized to UTC time.
  3. dezain.net: A good place to catch up on daily architectural news and blurbs from blogs, press releases and other resources. The quick one-liners are superb for the busy reader.
  4. Floating Podium: If you’re into Inhabitat, BLDGBLOG, Archinect, and other top blogs (also listed here), then keep this site bookmarked. You can get an at-a-glance glimpse of all the latest additions to these blogs and news sites on one page at the Floating Podium.
  5. Planetizen: Planetizen is a public-interest information exchange provided by Urban Insight for the urban planning, design, and development community. It is a one-stop source for urban planning news, commentary, interviews, event coverage, book reviews, announcements, jobs, consultant listings, training, and more.

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Design and Technology

The following sites merge design with technology, and the results can be amusing, insightful, educational, and inspirational. While some products are mere decoration, others can fulfill a myriad of purposes…

  1. Apartment Therapy: Oh, sure - you might be an architect - but we bet you log onto Apartment Therapy when you’re all alone. With bases in four major cities and interests as broad as your loft is small, this blog offers miracles for the seemingly mundane.
  2. Cool Hunting: All of the content in this blog is based upon what tickles the editors’ fancy. Their entries on art, design, culture and technology and weekly videos about the designers are enough to inspire any creative individual.
  3. Core77: When personal trainers tell you to exercise your ‘core,’ they could be promoting this blog. A daily scoop of this blog’s pickings at breakfast will keep your creativity going strong all day long.
  4. Design Spotter: This blog offers young designers a platform for publication so that readers can stay on top of young modern contemporary design including: accessories, audio furniture, books, design-contests, exhibitions, fashion, furniture, hotels, lighting, new materials, residential architecture, interior design and prototypes.
  5. Design Verb: Aaron Tang, an industrial designer, covers “elements in design that excite, inspire, captivate, and rattle our goofy creative minds through curious and refreshing finds in art, design, technology, food, culture, experiences, lifestyles, entertainment, and all the other mind-provoking ideas that come with it!” Phew! Tang definitely has an eye for oddly beautiful and interesting artifacts and activities.
  6. dezeen: Dezeen is edited by Marcus Fairs, author of the new book Twenty-First Century Design (published October 2006) and founder and former editor of icon magazine. His goal is to bring you news of great architecture and design projects before anyone else, and he’s quite successful with that ambition.
  7. Future Feeder: Future Feeder feeds into design, design, and architecture on the authoritative spine of the Journal of Architecture and Computation. You can submit, suggest, and contribute to articles or to online entries that focus on the deepest of present and future architectural concepts.
  8. MoCoLoco: Start from the outside of the abode and work your way in. That’s what MoCoLoco covers in their dedication to everything related to modern contemporary design and architecture.
  9. pingmag: Sharp, fresh, and innovative, this blog flatters design in all its forms - based upon the premise is that design is unlimited. Based in Tokyo, pingmag looks high and low for design gems and brings them to readers with panache.
  10. StrangeHarvest: Sam Jacob is a director of Fat, he’s architecture editor of Contemporary, and editor at large for Archis. He also writes for icon and Modern Painters as well as contributing to various academic journals and books. He should write, as he’s got a way with words. On Bose noise-canceling headphones he states, “My ears sink into soft leather cushions like pigs reclining into Italian furniture.”
  11. things Magazine: Yes, the focus is on “things,” but those things are centered on design, architecture, and information technology. things has built a reputation as a home for new writing about objects and their meanings. The multitude of links in their essays, reviews, short stories and poems could keep you busy for days.
  12. we make money not art: Régine Debatty, a full-time blogger and new media art curator, has her finger on the pulse of the junction between art, design and technology. A visit to this site might make you feel as though you discovered a sleeper movie. Think Woody Allen in Soho back in the day, but with a fresh lemon twist.

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Environmental and/or Sustainable

Architecture has everything to do with ‘greening’ the globe, as this field designs the living and working spaces that earth’s individuals habitate. The blogs listed below cover a broad range of topics, or are topic-specific, but they all focus on the environment and/or sustainability.

  1. BLYGAD: “Blog like you give a damn” like Colin Kloeker does at this official blog for Minnesota’s Architecture for Humanity.
  2. Earth Architecture: You can travel the earth from your computer when you visit this blog, which focuses on architecture constructed of mud brick (adobe), rammed earth (pisé), compressed earth block or other methods of earthen construction.
  3. Eco Tecture: A rural resident comes to the big city to study architecture and then becomes interested in government projects and urban development projects in and around Chicago. The blog is about the complexity of these projects and how they impact social, environmental, and political environments as well as architecture.
  4. Green Bean: Erik Olsen, PE, is the Green Projects Administrator for the Chicago Department of Construction and Permits, where he manages the Green Permit Program. So, where else can you get a glimpse into built, in-progress, and unbuilt green building projects in Chicago except through his blog?
  5. greenbuildingsNYC: gbNYC’s mission is to explore the intersection of legal issues and green business, with particular emphasis on the LEED green building rating system and sustainable construction. Although the focus is on New York City, you can also find green buildings blogs based out of Los Angeles, Miami, and in Washington D.C.
  6. Jetson Green: Preston Koerner - who has an unlikely background of Eagle Scout, a B.A. in History and a minor in Japanese, with a little law and real estate thrown into the mix - has created a blog that has caught the imagination of many readers. The main theme of this website is the “confluence of modernism and environmentalism,” and he invites any professional who’s interested in green building to chime in.
  7. Resilience Science: Garry Peterson, a professor in Geography and the School of the Environment at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, focuses on adaptive management, urban ecology, responses to crisis, ecological functioning, serious games, visualization, and green design in this blog. After all, it takes more than a green house to make a green world.
  8. Tools for Sustainability: This website, started and updated by faculty and students at Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Architecture, is an online forum for architectural students.
  9. Treehugger: This link for Treehugger takes you to the “design and architecture” section within this online green journal. Within the past two years, Treehugger has walked away with several awards - not just for their green focus, but for posting news about new items and green technology with a positive attitude.
  10. WorldChanging: This site and its blog operates on one premise: That the “tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us.” The hope is to bring disparate fields together to use these tools, models, and ideas more efficiently. Excellent resources.

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Landscape

Don’t expect to learn how to plant your garden here, although a few tips on how to manage groundhogs might pop up among articles about landscape sculptures, water issues, and vacant lots.

  1. Aesthetic Grounds: Glenn Weiss, a planner for public art, architecture and urban design in suburban Coral Springs, Florida, believes that the “dialogue on public art and public space has almost no American art critics.” Weiss hopes to deepen the human pleasures of public art and public space with this blog.
  2. Free Soil: This site and its blog is an “international hybrid collaboration of artists, activists, researchers and gardeners who take a participatory role in the transformation of our environment.” Free soil offers plenty of resources for architects, artists, and landscape designers.
  3. Land + Living: Beyond the environment and landscape, Land + Living is dedicated to modern lifestyle and design both inside and outside the habitat - and that’s what made this blog difficult to categorize yet a joy to read. The founders and editors, Anthony and James, have backgrounds that cover architecture, landscape and gardening, graphic design, environmental awareness, and more. This link will take you to the landscape entries in their blog.
  4. My Urban Garden Deco Guide: If you live in the city and you want to do anything outdoors, this blog may inspire your creativity. Anne also touches on some inner beauties, but the outdoor merchandise and ideas are hotter.
  5. Places and Spaces: David Tulloch, an associate professor of landscape architecture at Rutgers State University, brings comments and news about environmental planning and design intended for all audiences including students and alumni of the Rutgers major of Environmental Planning and Design.
  6. Terrain.org: This blog is a work that belongs to Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments. While the journal is published twice yearly, the blog is updated constantly on issues relating to the Journal.
  7. The Dirt: This blog is an extension of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), so you can expect a comprehensive and intelligent discourse on this topic.
  8. Turned Earth: This blog belongs to O’Connell Landscape, located in Novato, California. We chose this blog because it covers everything from pesky garden problems to outdoor furniture, to outdoor art, sculpture, and construction with discriminating taste.
  9. Whispering Crane Institute: WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a “Green Industry” think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. Rick Anderson uses the WCI blog to spread some info about the art and practice of Landscape Design. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the ideas, the sketches, and the photographs that make this blog a delight to read.

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Niche

The following blogs were difficult to categorize, so they were filed under niche topics, where you’ll discover blogs created by activists, students, critics, and dreamers.

  1. Activist Architect: Graduate students at the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota facilitate this blog, which focuses on resources for designers who are interested in “applying their professional skills and abilities in working for social justice and community activism.”
  2. B.E.L.T.: This blog is about “Built Environment in Layman’s Terms.” But, the photography is by Toby Weiss, an architectural photographer. Once again, this blog was difficult to classify so it ended up as a niche blog since the writing is as interesting as the photographs.
  3. Continuity in Architecture: Academics and architects write this blog and use it as a studio for teaching at Manchester School of Architecture (UK). The site is scholarly, but fresh perspectives from students keep the site vibrant.
  4. EdwardLifson.com: Edward Lifson is one of Chicago’s biggest art boosters who studied art and architecture and then went to work for National Public Radio (NPR). Now, he’s known for his show “Hello Beautiful!” on Chicago Public Radio. But, don’t expect his blogg to focus on Chicago - you’ll find a plethora of information here on all sorts of design events and happenings - all infused with Lifson’s enthusiasm.
  5. eye candy: While the name for this blog might lead you to believe that it belongs in the “design and technology” category, you’ll discover that Eric, an architect, focuses on raising the bar for architecture on any current architectural project.
  6. fulminate // Architectures of Control: Dan Lockton, a designer and engineer from the UK, writes a provocative blog on products designed with features that intentionally restrict the way the user can behave, or enforce certain modes of behavior. He uses these objects to point out how many systems and environments are also created as controlled or controlling spaces or technologies.
  7. Offbeat Homes: Jennifer Chait is a favorite because she can really sniff out the unusual in abodes. She recently co-built a passive solar house on top of a New Mexico mountain, but she prefers to write about offbeat homes and Hippie Sounds. Her perspective is fresh and easy to swallow.
  8. Roundtable: Research Architecture: Goldsmiths, a new and innovative research center brings together architects, urbanists, filmmakers, curators and other cultural practitioners from around the world to work collaboratively around the questions on how architecture can engage with culture, politics, and conflict. The blog mirrors the topics and issues within this focus.
  9. Tessellar: Mazlin Ghazali, a private practice architect located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is absolutely obsessed with tessellations and how these mosaic patterns relate to habitats and commercial environments. His focus is on how to use these patterns to create better housing for more people.
  10. The Antiplanner: The author of this blog is directly related to The Thoreau Institute, and the focus is on critiques of hundreds of development plans written by a wide variety of federal, state, and local government agencies.
  11. The Architecture of Fear: George Agnew began this blog as an independent study at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. Agnew has since expanded on this study to include “war, art, terror, media, communication, design and destruction to create a relevant architectural theory on how we live our lives under the unconscious umbrella of fear and danger.”
  12. Unbuilt: This blog was started as a format for dialogue about reviving the city and a land after and often during conflict. Archis hosts the site with Partizan Publik and Pearl Foundation as partners.

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Photography

Anyone who needs a professional architectural photographer can tap the Association of Independent Architectural Photographers (AIAP) or find someone through a network. Anyone who needs records of decayed and abandoned buildings and landscapes can tap someone who explores urbex through photography (try the Urban Exploration Webring for beginners). We weeded through all the good, bad, ugly, and stunning to find the following photographers, who were chosen because they: 1) maintain an active blog; 2) focus on urban landscapes, and ; 3) have interesting written perspectives on their work or provide links to other independent and creative photographers.

  1. Berlin Guide: Berlin is not this photographer’s hometown, but the photographer is addicted to this city’s street scenes and architecture. The views are captured as the photographer travels the city by subway, S-Bahn or by foot.
  2. BlueJake: Jake Dobkin, an amateur photographer who lives in New York City, focuses mainly on urban landscape with occasional diversions. He posts a new picture on the front page nearly every day, and he has archives that stretch back to 2002.
  3. Chicago Uncommon: Dawn Mikulich, the photographer behind Chicago Uncommon, brings the Chicago environment to the public through several venues. The site contains over 1201 images of Chicago proper and over 320 images in her travel section.
  4. Desolate Metropolis: A brilliant perspective on the Boston area with topics such as “abandonment,” “industrial,” “surreal,” and “infrared.” Go to the “Get out of Town” section to find great links to other urban photographers.
  5. fotopromenade: Andy Marshall is an architectural photographer with a background in historic building conservation. He maintains this site where he posts a daily photo, a blog that focuses strictly on architecture, and a Flash Web site that contains architectural photos and commentary.
  6. Flak Photo: This daily photography blogzine features distinctive work from an international community of contributors. While not all portfolios and images pertain to architecture, the site provides links to photographers who do focus on this genre (such as Carl Corey’s Habitat).
  7. Funky Side of Town: Maciej Szafraniec is a student of economics, amateur photographer, designer and web developer who cross-processes color slides to achieve unnatural colors and high contrast in his mostly European urban images.
  8. iN-PUBLiC: According to this site’s manifesto, this site was set up in 2000 “to provide a home for Street Photographers.” The photographers hail from around the globe, and their perspectives turn familiar objects into thought-provoking images.
  9. jen bekman: Jen Bekman’s gallery in New York City is billed as the “best thing going for emerging photographers.” She provides readers with her enthusiasm for photobloggers and gallery activities through her frequently updated blog.
  10. joe’s nyc: Joseph O. Holmes is a professional New York City photographer who has exhibited across the U.S., in Berlin, and in several notable photography magazines. His images reflect this professionalism as they also reveal intimate details in urban architecture and landscapes. His blog is concerned mostly with personal and network activities, and his images are updated daily.
  11. Lee Bey: The Urban Observer: This link will take you to Lee Bey’s official blog. Bey is an urbanist, writer and architecture critic, and his blog offers observations, photography, video links and anything else that deals with Chicago’s built environment - with occasional diversions.
  12. Rion.nu: One of the first New York City photobloggers, Rion Nakaya has been documenting her photos online in narrative sets for more than six years. She’s now an exapt photoblogger as she resides in Paris and continues her work from that city.
  13. Running From Camera: This guy named “Muggezifter” has created a game where he puts the camera’s self-timer on two seconds, pushes the button, and then tries to get as far from the camera as he can. In the process, this photographer captures some interesting urban landscapes throughout The Netherlands, mostly in Rotterdam.
  14. Satan’s Laundromat: This photographer captures street art throughout New York, with an emphasis on “urban decay, strange signage, and general weirdness.” These images are not a wash.
  15. UrbanPhoto: Although UrbanPhoto is based out of Montreal, the cast of photographers who contribute are located throughout Canada and the U.S., with a peppering of images from Paris, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. The running commentary is as good as the images.
  16. Worksongs: Where UrbanPhoto brings Montreal’s streets to the Web, Andrew Emond offers images that focus on urban decay wrought by the industrial age from Montreal and Toronto.

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Musings

The following blogs consist of musings, ruminations, news blurbs, and announcements from individuals who work as architects or engineers or who are architectural students.

  1. After Corbu: “Quixote” is a “new-fangled structural engineer who likes his earthquakes strong and his politics anarcho-syndical.” But, don’t let this attitude scare you off - Quixote actually blends his personal life nicely into his opinions and perspectives, and that touch of humanity brings a softer edge to a razor-sharp perspective from the structural side.
  2. Architectural Antifreeze, Part IV: This blog is “for when architecture gets a little too cool for comfort.” The focus is away from corporate structure (in more ways than one) and into more public education that would enable individuals to care for their built environment and “maybe even participate in its design.” Anticipate tongue-in-cheek intelligence.
  3. Architectural Ruminations: Andrew Raimist, from Raimist architecture, Inc., offers his perspectives on St. Louis, Missouri, modern architecture including works of modern architect Harris Armstrong, and Raimist’s photographs.
  4. Architecture: This blog, created by Young Pong, covers a wide range of topics, including architecture, urban planning, interior design, 3D rendering, theories, and style. Young, a designer located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, connects readers with a wide variety of online resources..
  5. Architecture and Morality: A civil engineer, an intern architect, and a pastor ruminate on architecture, urbanism, politics, economics and religion. Their perspectives make for some interesting reading.
  6. Architecture Lab: This blog is an enigma, and it’s not quite an aggregator - but it’s included as the authors bring interesting news, updates, and resources that are quick and easy to read.
  7. ArkiBlog: Written in English and Turkish, this blog touches on architecture, design, urban life and other related fields.
  8. Arkitectrue: Yelda Horozoglu provides this blog platform for design enthusiasts to find items of interest in architecture, interior design, and urban planning.
  9. Architecture.MNP: This blog site aims to bring readers a daily supply of architecture and design from around the web and the world. They showcase all of the “illest, most interesting, and often times craziest architecture” that they can find.
  10. Design Observer: Design Observer was founded by heavy-hitters Michael Bierut, William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand, and Rick Pynor. Their contributors include Steven Heller, Adrian Shaughnessy, Dmitri Siegel, Alice Twemlow, Tom Vanderbilt, and Lorraine Wild. Need we say more?
  11. East Coast Architecture Review: Bradley M. Swarts, an Intern Architect and LEED Accredited Professional who is practicing Architecture in North Carolina, brings a slightly different angle to architecture, urbanism, sustainability, and modern design. The site is video-heavy, so if you’re interested in Swarts’ perspectives, you could spend a whole weekend on this site.
  12. Life Without Buildings: Coming to you from San Francisco, this blog is about buildings despite the title. Actually, it’s about buildings and postmodern culture.
  13. Loud Paper: Mimi Zeiger, editor and publisher of loud paper, former senior editor of Architecture magazine and author of New Museums: Contemporary Museum Architecture Around the World, blogs on art, architecture and design from an entirely original perspective.
  14. mirage.studio.7: Architecture is poetry to Calvin Ngan, an architectural student. Mix architecture with Calvin’s love for web designing and photography, and you’re in for a treat. Check out his links - promising students and friends. His archives can be found at his original blog.

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Urbanism

Urbanism is the architectural topic for the early twenty-first century. These blogs deconstruct, analyze, critic, discuss, and practice urban architecture, even when that architecture consists of homeless landscapes.

  1. Brand Avenue: The author of this blog focuses on place, space, and identity and how those spaces are branded for certain uses. While the entries are well written and thought provoking (the book reviews are great), the site also acts as a sort of travelogue for anyone interested in urban identity. This point is emphasized with this site’s long list of links to major North American cities and the Web sites that promote these areas.
  2. City Comforts: City Comforts is mainly a book on how to build an urban village. The blog, written by the author of the book, writes about cities, architecture, the ‘new urbanism,’ real estate, historic preservation, urban design, land use law, landscape, transport - “etc etc from a mildly libertarian stance.” The book is wildly popular, and the blog brings equally excellent perspectives to the table for urban planning.
  3. Digital Urban: Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith, a Senior Research Fellow at CASA (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis) and team leader of the Virtual London modeling group, examines the latest techniques to visualize the cityscape via digital media in this blog.
  4. Neighbourhoods: Kevin Harris set up this blog to explore “issues to do with neighbourhood relations, citizenship, social capital, space and place, and related areas that inform our understanding of what makes a viable neighbourhood.” He began the blog while working for Community Development Foundation, but now it focuses on surface issues and ideas that surround his consultancy work at Local Level.
  5. Sprawled Out: John Michlig started this blog project in 2006 when he read about a development project that was hailed as progress for a corridor that was previously the main link between Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now known simply as “27th Street,” this road also acts as the border between two cities. Michlig chronicles all the development happenings from planning meetings to meetings on the street, along with photos and opinion.
  6. Squatter City: Robert Neuwirth is a writer who spent two years living in squatter communities in four continents. His experiences resulted in a book entitled, Shadow Cities, which is an attempt to “humanize these maligned settlements.” His blog focuses on squatters and squatter cities around the world.
  7. Subtopia: This is a “field guide to military urbanism,” delivered by Bryan Finoki. As you might gather from the blog’s title, the writings here focus on urbanism and politics, but the underlying theme centers on design and how urban design shapes the city and its politics.
  8. Tropolism: Chad Smith is an architect, award-winning designer and writer who resides and works in New York City. His passion for NYC and the arts are apparent as Smith and his writers uncover the “architecture and motivations which are right in front of us.”
  9. Unhoused: Ava Bromberg and Brett Bloom conduct research for a forthcoming publication they are calling “Unhoused,” a follow up to their double-book, Belltown Paradise / Making Their Own Plans, which is available for free through their site. Their journal/blog reflects their research into the global housing crisis.
  10. Urban Planning Blog: Pratik Mhatre, a doctoral student in the Urban and Regional Science program at Texas A&M University, discusses trends in urban planning and design at his blog.
  11. Web Urbanist: The collective of writers on this blog are interested in all things urban - “from urban design to subversive art and strange architecture.” But, they go beyond this premise with images and commentary that focus on culture.
  12. Where: Brendan, who wants to build a boat and travel the length of the Danube, also has a long-running interest in the urban environment and experience. This blog focuses on urban places, placemaking, and the concept of “place.”

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Architecture From Another Planet - 25 Incredible (Real) Abodes

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If you’re in the market for a home but nothing seems to satisfy your taste, then perhaps the homes listed below will fire your creative urges. Or, maybe you’ll just be satisfied with an office space inside a building built like a basket. From small buildings to constructions shaped like flying saucers, you’ll be amazed at what some architects and builders have created. Many of the homes listed below are for rent or for sale, so you may have a chance to wow your friends with these incredible abodes.

The homes listed below are in no particular order, but we’ve managed to dig up some dirt on each building so that you can learn more about the architects and the history behind these unusual pieces of architecture.

  1. Smallest house in the world.Smallest House in the World: There’s been a rash of small houses in the news, and they all challenge our notions about need and consumerism as well as minimum-size standards. This house, photographed by Carol Lloyd for SFGate.com, illustrates how one person can live with a small space and a loft for sleeping. Located in the middle of an orchard, the house creates little impact on the environment, and even less of a carbon footprint for the resident. We wonder if the owner is a member of the Small House Society. If you’re interested in a small house, you might check out Jay Shafer’s work at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.
  2. Shoe house.Shoe House: Colonel Mahlon M. Haines, the flamboyant “Shoe Wizard,” built The Shoe House in 1948 for advertising purposes. Haines walked up to an architect, handed him an old work boot, and said “Build me a house like this.” It is a wood frame structure covered with wire lath and coated with cement stucco. It measures 48 ft. in length, 17 ft. in width at the widest part and 25 ft. in height, and was built in one year. The interior consists of five different levels and contains three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room. Haines died in 1962, and the Shoe House has had a few owners since, including an orthodontist who ran tours for twenty years and sold ice cream from a small snack bar in the heel. The house came full circle as it was returned to the Haines family in 1987, when a granddaughter of the “Shoe Wizard” purchased the building.
  3. MVRDV WoZoCosCrazy Amsterdam House - An otherwise ordinary apartment slab is expanded by radically cantilevering apartments over the sidewalk on one side of this building in Amsterdam. On the other side, colorful translucent balconies punctuate the facade. This building is called the “MVRDV WoZoCos,” this is just one of many projects planned and constructed by the MVRDV. Based in Rotterdam, the MVRDV has been creating unusual and beautiful architecture since 1996. Their latest project is the Didden Village, realized in 2007. This ice blue rooftop residence is located in Rotterdam.
  4. Cantilevered Void House.Cantilevered Void House - A cantilever is a beam supported on only one end, and the beam carries the load to the support without any other external bracing. Cantilevers can be constructed with trusses or slabs. This type of construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing, but the cantilever house shown here takes the cantilever to the extreme. Another new type of cantilever house includes the Single Hauz, a construction that looks like a large billboard. The house shown here was extracted from a gallery at Archinect.
  5. UFO House.Space Ship House: This now-silver UFO house, which is located along Highway 12 in Buxton on the North Carolina Outer Banks, used to be green. Now that it’s been painted, it seems to create a lot of glare. This house landed on the Outer Banks about thirty years ago, originally designed as a vacation home by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968. Word is that the house was once a hotdog stand and, most recently, a gift shop. Now it just sits along the side of the road, rotting and for rent. You can find other space ship houses (some more for rent, as well) at the Spaceship House Web site.
  6. Rotterdam Cube Houses.Rotterdam Cube Houses: These yellow Cube Houses (Kijk Kubus or Kubuswoningen) sit in stark contrast to the softly shaped and much older buildings in an old part of Rotterdam. These homes are not for sale, and they’re unlike anything else in the city with their lopsided shape. The main building was originally a bridge that crossed a traffic artery with a promenade at top. Sometimes known as “pole-houses” or “tree-houses,” the buildings were designed by the Dutch architect Piet Blom in the early 1970s. Blom tilted the cube of conventional house 45 degrees and rested it upon a hexagon-shaped pylon. There are 32 cubes altogether, all attached to each other. Bet a bird’s eye view of these structures at Impossible World.
  7. Bart Prince Home and Studio.Bart Prince House: Internationally-known architect Bart Prince is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and he still lives in the area in this fantastical studio and living space built on a small lot. He designed this studio, which is set into the ground behind an earth berm toward the front of the structure to provide easy access and a buffer from the street for the more private portions of the house. The top level contains bedrooms with curved south facing glazing for passive solar benefits. The masonry tower was added in 1990 to provide library and drawing storage space. Visit Prince’s Web site to view more photos of his incredible architecture.
  8. Centrum Rezydent.Centrum Rezydent (Crooked House): The Centrum Rezdent is located on the Baltic coast of Poland in a town called Sopot. Its main tenant is a tavern called the Wonky Pub. Polish architect, Szotynscy Zaleski, was inspired by the fairytale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer and the drawings of the Swedish artist and Sopot resident Per Dahlberg (watch a video of his drawings inside the Crooked House). The most photographed building in Poland, the 4,000 square meter house is located in Rezydent shopping center. Find more images and history at The World According to Google.
  9. Da Lat Crazy HouseDe Lat Crazy House: Da Lat was a resort during the Vietnam War and has remained a resort, with still-intact colonial villas designed at the turn of the last century by celebrated French architects. The Crazy House, built by the daughter of Ho Chi Minh’s right-hand man, is just one resort located in this town. The official name is Hang Nga Guesthouse (named for the architect) and gallery, but Vietnamese locals refer to it as the Crazy House. According to GlobeLife Travel, this concrete tree portion to the west in the guesthouse contains three rooms. “Its upper level has a framework of the slim tree trunks used in construction in most developing countries, draped with blue plastic sacking. Using the existing roofs of the Tiger Room, the Eagle Room, and the Ant Room for its foundations, this is where Hang Nga will build her dream room: the Bee Room. It will be a two-story suite, with two bathrooms, a waterfall and a massage bathtub.”
  10. Globe Tree House.Global Tree House: This house could compete for the world’s smallest home, but it might serve as a secondary home or a guest house. Designer Tom Chudleigh set out to build boats and ended up making these sophisticated tree house spheres that suspend via wires from old-growth trees or any other stationary objects. Since completing the first prototype called Eve, which was made out of yellow cedar wood, Tom has perfected his techniques. Now, he also constructs the spheres out of fiberglass, fitting them with plumbing, wiring and windows. Prices start at around US$45,000. View more images at Cool Hunting.
  11. Mushroom HouseMushroom House: The Mushroom House (aka Tree House) is located in the Hyde Park area of Cincinnati, Ohio. Although Hyde Park is home to stately, well-maintained homes with manicured lawns and tree-lined streets, this house has won the hearts and minds of local residents. Terry Brown, architect and professor of architecture and interior design at the University of Cincinnati, designed this house. It would change over time as his students used this house as a building project. The house was put up for sale in 2006. You can see another view of the house on this page at Flickr.
  12. Hasankeyf Gorge cave house.Cave House: Hasankeyf is a village in Turkey that clings to the rocks of a gorge above the Tigris River. Despite its beauty and history, Hasankeyf is one of the most ancient occupied places in the region, with historical remnants dated that date over 5,000 years. But if the Ilisu dam is built, 57 towns will be flooded and more than 16.000 people will be forced from their ancestors’ lands. All the inhabitants of the city — and all the local branches of the political parties — are against the building of a dam which will destroy their life. But their efforts to avert the crisis have been to no avail. If you look closely at this image, posted at Flickr, you’ll see a satellite dish erected at one of the occupied caves along the Hasankeyf Gorge.
  13. Underground House.Going Underground: Much media interest has focused on Labour MP Bob Marshall Andrews’ underground house, located in St. Bride’s Bay in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It was designed in 1994 and built by 1996 by Future Systems, the home has been nicknamed the “tellytubby house” by locals. The home is built into an 80-ft. cloff with views of the bay, and the roof and sides of the house being turfed with local vegetation. It’s barely visible beneath its grass-covered mound, a roof constructed from plywood aerofoil construction covered with turf. Earth-sheltered homes, like the one shown here, often appear as little more than a grassy knoll with little architecture to disrupt the scenery.
  14. Longaberger Office BuildingBasket Building: Can you imagine an office space in this building? What started out as a dream by Dave Longaberger, Founder of The Longaberger Company, was built into a giant basket to house the entire corporate offices of the company. “Dave believed the idea was one of his best and would draw attention to the company, while simultaneously helping to build [the] brand.” The Longaberger Company creates handcrafted baskets as its signature product. 1998, The Longaberger Home Office received a Build Ohio Award for its synthetic plaster system. The building is made of stucco over a steel structure, which helps create the look of an actual Longaberger Basket. The Home Office continues to attract the attention of media from around the world. If you’re in the area, you can tour the building.
  15. Bubble HouseBubble House: This odd house is located in Tourette–sur–Loup, high on a hillside behind Nice, France, is only 35 years old yet the French Ministry of Culture already lists it as a historic monument. Though construction began in 1970 and has so far cost $7,500,000 the house is unfinished, with completion estimated to require another $1,250,000. The house went up for sale in 2005 with a price tag of €2,440,000 ($3,000,000). Designed by Finnish architect Antti Lovag, this house is just one of about twenty bubble houses located throughout France. The finished property shown here has three bedrooms and covers just over 2,000 square feet - “although it is hard to measure,” concedes Daniel Bord, the village mayor and owner, “as it’s all round.”
  16. Dome HouseDome House: This Dome House (formally known as Narveno Court), located in suburban Hawthorn, Australia, was based upon Roy Grounds’ 1959 spaceship design for the Canberra Academy of Science. Architects Charles McBride Ryan ditched Grounds’ idea and created a home that is grounded and built from ribbed copper cladding, gabion stone walls, timber boards, translucent plastic screens and green, sheer curtains, shiny black, glazed bricks and thin, metal window frames. According to the story at The Age, “Whites and greens, yellows, natural timbers and burgundy brighten interiors, but they act also as a kind of instruction or signage for those using the building.”
  17. The ChemosphereThe Chemosphere: By 1960, John Lautner had had his own architectural office in Southern California for 20 years and had produced a long series of houses that combine innovative engineering, superb handling of materials, respect for his clients’ needs, and an experimental vision that remains perpetually fresh. Lautner built this house for Leonard Malin, an aircraft electronics engineer short on money but high on imagination. Malin gave the architect a budget of $30,000, a sum that was agreed upon and construction began in May 1959. The house is today considered one of the great architectural icons of Los Angeles. The Chemosphere, which resembles a flying saucer, is located at 7776 Torreyson Drive in the Hollywood Hills. It can best be seen from the corner of Flynn Ranch Road and Torreyson Drive or directly across the street at 7777 Torreyson Drive. In 2000 the German publisher Benedikt Taschen bought the Chemosphere for $1 million, and it now serves as his Los Angeles home and satellite office.
  18. Tallest log cabinTallest Log Cabin: Located in Arkhangelsk, Russia, this house is believed to be the world’s tallest wooden house, soaring 13 floors to reach 144 ft. - about half the height of Big Ben. Built by a one-time gangster, the house that Sutyagin built is also crumbling, incomplete and under threat of demolition from city authorities determined to end the former convict’s eccentric 15-year project. According to Sutyagin, “First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom,” he said. “So I added another and it still didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see today is a happy accident.” But, his plans were thwarted when he was tossed into jail in 1998 to server a four-year prison sentence. “When I went to prison I was a millionaire,” he said. “Now I’m penniless.” Sutyagin, 60, lives in four poorly heated rooms at the bottom of his wooden skyscraper with his 32-year-old wife Lena. He’s built a roof around the second floor so that he can claim the rest of the house is purely decorative. This effort was to avoid housing regulations that claim no house in Arkhangelsk can be over two storys.
  19. Airplane HouseAirplane House: This oddity, which looks like a jetliner has settled atop a two-story concrete home, is located in West Africa. This is the residence of Said and Liza Jammal. When they married, Liza loved to travel. So, she extracted a promise from her young husband - that he would build a house for her in the shape of an airplane as a symbol of her hobby. But, seven children and a fast-growing business consumed the Jammals’ time. In 1999, Said - a civil engineer - spotted this piece of land and began to fulfill his promise to his wife.
  20. Pyramid HousePyramid House: While this pyramid might seem the sum of the whole house, you’d probably be surprised to learn that this structure is a skylight for an underground home. The home, located in Hamilton, Ohio, is 6,500-plus square-feet with a 2,500-square-foot living room - ample space to entertain 80 guests. But, without a skylight, the lack of light made this large underground home dim. The pyramid, according to owner, designer, and local entrepreneur Harry Wilks, would catch the maximum amount of light and that the self-supporting pyramid would hold itself up without the aid of posts. In keeping with the pyramid scheme, the home is decorated with Wilks’ collections of historic artifacts from Rome, Egypt and Greece. If you’re looking for a pyramid that’s a house instead of a skylight, try this one located in Wadsworth, Illinois.
  21. Forest Spiral BuildingForest Spiral Building: The Hundertwasser house, “Waldspirale” (”Forest Spiral”), was built in Darmstadt, Germany between 1998 and 2000 by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the famous Austrian architect and painter. Hundertwasser died in 2000, just before this structure was finished. It contains 105 apartments that wrap around a landscaped courtyard with a running stream. Up in the turret at the southeast corner, there is a restaurant, including a cocktail bar. The building is constructed from sediment rock, bands of ceramic tiles and colored stucco, and the roof is formed by a garden of beech, maple, and lime trees.
  22. Cookie Jar House: This is the only cookie jar house in the United States, and it’s located in Glendora, New Jersey. The house was bui in 1947 as a speculation house, as the builders planned to make a community out of these homes. This house was originally built with a flat roof and a stucco finish. The brickwork was added later to this three-story framed building. The interior boasts a spiral staircase that rises to the roof and a widow’s walk. Every room within the house is semi-circular.
    Edit: picture taken down at owner’s request.
  23. Vertical HouseVertical House: This 2,400 sq. ft. house was built from cement fiberboard, and it has been innovatively used in conjunction with three types of glazing. What’s amazing about this house is that it sits on a lot that’s only twenty-five feet wide. But, what it lacks in width, it gains in height. From the roof, a visitor can see the Pacific Ocean, which is three blocks away from this Venice Beach site. Bring plenty of window cleaner, as this home contains 112 windows! Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, located in Culver City, California, designed this house. This firm has been recognized with twenty-four design awards including seven American Institute of Architects Design Awards.
  24. Spaceship HouseSpaceship House (for sale!): The link for this spaceship house, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will take you to a video where you can view the home’s interior. This home, which has been on HGTV (Home and Garden Television) for the number two most unique homes in the U.S,. is now for sale. Nestled between rocks and trees on the side of beautiful Signal Mountain among other single-family homes, the resident in this 1,952 sq. ft. abode will be very close to downtown and shopping. All you need for this purchase is $184,900 and plenty of time to wait in line to see the home. When this home was shown previously, so many people showed up the police were called to do traffic control.
  25. Dome HouseDome House: This photo and link will take you to the home of Bryan and Dianne Bremner, two sixty-something retirees in Republic, Washington. They built their 2800-square-foot Monolithic Dome home, Curlew Keep, on Curlew Lake, and it resembles a modified Torus — the first Monolithic Dome of this type to be built. In addition to the loft, Curlew Keep sports three bedrooms; three bathrooms; a sunken living room; dining, kitchen and laundry areas; and a two-car, attached garage leading into an outdoor room. If you’re jealous, you can visit other Monolithic Dome homes at the Monolithic Dome Institute Web site. These homes are located throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world, and some are for rent and for sale. You, too, can live in a dome!
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Top 100 Luxury Blogs

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The lap of luxury might elude some individuals, but this social class is becoming so large that there’s now a schism between the rich and the uber-rich. To that end, the following list of blogs may appeal to anyone who owns a private island, a Porsche or two, and a Picasso. Of course, voyeurs are welcome, as you’re not breaking a law if you want to dream. But, you might want to wear a bib if you tend to drool over bling and member-only sites.

While we cover everything from art to travel, we offer the “best of the best” luxury blogs just to get your luxury muscles warmed up. Those sites are listed in alphabetical order, as are all the following sites, which are also categorized. Please note that the blog numbering is not meant to be a ranking, as each luxury topic is listed in alphabetical order, with blogs then listed in alphabetical order within that topic.

Best of the Best

While most of the sites listed below are blogs, we included a few portals as well. We couldn’t pass those sites up, as they offer a gateway into everything luxurious.

  1. 20ltd: This site is more than a blog - it’s a virtual calendar filled with luxury goods, backed by incredible music. Yes, it’s a shopping site, but it sells only 20 uber-exclusive luxury goods at a time and you cannot purchase the items anywhere else. Yes, it’s a travelogue, but the focus is on the goods and the artisan. Yes, it’s a jukebox, and yes - you can dance naked at home while shopping.
  2. Goldarth’s Review: Watches, wines, and wonderful getaways - you can find all this and more at Goldarth’s Review. Visit the “luxury news” category to get gadget previews, or visit their other categories to learn more about luxury real estate, antiques, yachts, and more.
  3. High Chic: From cars to cigars and real estate, High Chic has it all. Luxury is a lifestyle, and this site doesn’t let you forget it.
  4. JustLuxe: A luxury portal that serves as a guide to the best in luxury living. Wear it, swim in it, live in it, and breathe it in - it’s all deluxe.
  5. Luxury Reviewer: This blog is an offshoot from Trendhunter, which is “an explosion of cool fueled by a community of 16412 Trend Hunters.” While TrendHunter brings the latest and greatest trends to the Web, Luxury Reviewer covers life in excess.
  6. Robb Report Luxury Portal: Although this site isn’t a blog as such, we can’t omit the constantly updated information provided within various themes on this site. The site incorporates compelling editorial, photography, and classified advertising from each of Robb Report’s luxury publications, presenting a one-stop resource for everything from fine wines to wealth management, vacation homes to motorcycling, and private aviation to high-end home entertainment.
  7. Street Peeper: Street fashion from Amsterdam to “Elsewhere.” The list of bloggers, photographers, and general contributors is enough to make you drool with anticipation over what these on-the-edge individuals will bring to the site. This site makes The Satorialist seem dated (see #36 below).
  8. The Real Estalker: There are real estate blogs, and then there are high-end semi-stalking celeb real estate blogs. This site is one of the latter, and a very good one at that. In fact, “Mama” calls her site some “good real estate pornography.”
  9. We Make Money, Not Art: Count on Régine Debatty, a new media art curator, to bring an interesting take on the intersection between art and design and technology. She’ll keep you informed, enlightened, and entertained.
  10. World Hum: While many travel sites focus on the destination, World Hum focuses on the journey. Why spend money on the mundane, when this blog will show you how to get a real rush from your ramblings.

Topics Covered in this List

Art | Automobiles | Fashion | Fitness | Food & Wine | Gadgets | Hotels | Odds and Ends | Real Estate | Social Networks | Travel

Art

Art collecting and gallery hopping are esteemed luxurious pastimes. However, if you’re unsure about emerging trends, historic issues, where to go and what to buy, the following blogs will fill you with artistic confidence.

  1. Absolute Arts: This is the artists’ art blog, with news, reviews, and thoughts about art around the world. The bloggers are artists, collectors and dealers, and they all carry a great deal of respect for each other and for the world that they deliver to you through this site. The site also includes an opportunity for artists to create portfolios, so you can browse for an unknown who might - one day - become the next Van Gogh.
  2. Akrylic: Articles, essays, and criticism on contemporary art and related topics. Almost all the articles included on Akrylic have been previously published in international art periodicals, so this blog provides a great summary for readers.
  3. Art Addict: Paige West, art curator and gallery founder, writes about her thoughts and tips on collecting contemporary art within a global venue. Don’t expect harsh critiques, as West prefers to stay positive. On that note, you can count on her frank perspectives on those places and artists that she highlights.
  4. ArtForum Diary: One of the best blogs for pushing you straight into the art world, with insider social news as well as hot art trends. Depend on this site to keep tabs on all your friends while you’re vacationing on your private island.
  5. Artopia: John Perreault is a critic, curator, poet, and artist who makes astute observations on popular mainstream and off-the-beaten-path art. Although he veers off-course at times, his insights and choices are stimulating.
  6. hatchets and skewers: artist, curator, art critic, and musician Jeffry Cudlin serves as the Director of Exhibitions for the Arlington Arts Center and writes for the Washington City Paper. His insights into his interests as well as on art provides the reader with a professional and creative perspective on the art world.
  7. Modern Art Notes: Tyler Green, art journalist, provides detailed artist reviews to entries about his travels. Let him be your eyes and ears on the latest openings and art happenings. ArtsJournal.com, a daily digest of arts, culture, and ideas sponsors his blog.
  8. Steve Roach & The Art of Law…: “A blog about the intersection of art, law, auctions, collecting, financial planning, and finally, my life.” Roach is a lawyer who handles trusts and estates at a Texas auction house, and his perspectives on art collecting will provide you with a solid base for this hobby/investment.
  9. The Intrepid Art Collector: Lisa Hunter, author of The Intrepid Art Collector, gives collectors insights into adventures in the art market.

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Automobiles

Don’t count on finding blogs that focus specifically on Bentleys, Lamborghini’s, or Jaguars. You might find some discussions or ratings about these vehicles at larger automotive sites, so you’ll need to content yourself with those offerings for now. Or, you can peruse the following blogs for ideas about other choices in the luxury car market…

  1. Automobiles De Luxe: Gunnar Heinrich brings his enthusiasm online in this blog about luxury and exotic automobiles.
  2. Automotive.com Luxury Blog: Do you crave Alfa Romeos? Or, perhaps you’d prefer something simple, like a Lamborghini. Automotive.com provides up-to-date information on these luxury cars and more at their luxury car blog.
  3. AutoSpies: This blog lays claim to the ultimate insider’s guide to the world’s finest vehicles. Discover a huge selection of car photos from various auto shows, along with upcoming releases.
  4. BenzInsider: This site’s main focus is bringing its visitors the latest and most interesting stories about the Mercedes-Benz Car Group (Mercedes, Smart and Maybach), which includes news, reviews, rumors and more.
  5. BMW Blog: A blog written by a BMW lover, a self-professed “car nut” who owns a few BMWs and who is addicted to “pretty much anything light and fast.”
  6. eMercedesBenz: eMercedesBenz is an independent blog dedicated to covering the latest Mercedes-Benz news, information and rumors.
  7. Exotic Car Rental Blog: This blog is maintained by DFW Elite Auto Rental, a business that has the largest collection of exotic and classic cars for rent in the United States.
  8. Jalopnik: Don’t let the name throw you off. This blog showcases new designs and technologies in the automotive industry, as well as the gadgets and accessories that enhance the driving experience.

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Fashion

You can check to see if you were noticed by the paparazzi on the sites below. Otherwise, you can catch up on the latest trends and then see how long it takes for the knock-offs to reach the mega-malls.

  1. B-Tique, Lifestyle & Fashion: The authors - two fashion professionals - believe their names aren’t that relevant, as their content will speak for itself. This blog offers enough photos that you’ll never need another fashion magazine. Click on the small images to see a larger detailed shot.
  2. Daily Candy: Don’t you dare book that trip to LA (or any other major city for that matter) without reading about the local hot haute hints provided by this blog. This is the best insider’s guide to what’s hot, new, and undiscovered — from fashion and style to gadgets and travel.
  3. Fashion Tribes: Blog and podcast from the experts on fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and pop culture.
  4. Fashion Wire Daily: Hardcore, down to business, hot news about the fashion industry. You can take this site to the bank. On average, FWD posts 10 stories and 50 photos each day in categories like fashion, beauty, and runway.
  5. Go Fug Yourself: Whether you pray for this type of publicity is up to you, as this site entertains about four million viewers per day. The peons love this site, which is filled with celeb fashion (or celeb strangeness), and edited with a keen sense of the absurd.
  6. High Snobiety: It isn’t all Vogue, you know. Find the best in street wear at this blog.
  7. Hint Blog: Hint Fashion Magazine offers more than haute fashion trends and collections for both genders - they also dish up the latest fashion news with this blog.
  8. Style.com: More of a portal than a blog, you still can rest assured that this site is updated daily with the best from the likes of Vogue and W. Don’t miss Men.Style.com or Men’s Vogue if you’re a guy (or if you just want to look at the guys in their posh threads).
  9. The Sartorialist: Selected as one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Design Influencers,” this blog will put you on the street across the world to view haute fashion and fashionistas. However, if Street Peeper remains strong (see #7), that site will give The Sartorialist a run for its money.
  10. WhoWhatWear: This new site runs on the philosophy of “We don’t care who you date or if you eat. We only care about what you wear.” You’ll find large images (great for copying trends) and a forum devoted to who was wearing what and when.

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Fitness

If you’ve eaten far too many European chocolates, you might need a little physical fix. While many luxury fitness camps and spas host offerings on the Web, only a handful provide blogs that promote their philosophies. Those blogs are noted below.

  1. Camp Biche: At Camp Biche, clients learn how to live the good life while absorbing a week-long, structured regimen in southwestern France. The blog merely mirrors the camp’s philosophy, which promotes eating as a great pleasure and physical exercise as bliss.
  2. Lift: Simply the hottest and trendiest gadgets for the sports fitness enthusiast. You don’t need a gym - you just need to play harder!
  3. NYC personal trainer Joe DiAngelo: Joe DiAngelo has become one of New York’s most coveted fitness experts and personal trainers. If you can’t hire him, then you can at least read his blog and compare his notes to your own personal trainer’s ideas on fitness.
  4. SPAPARAZZI Spa Blog: Brenda Lopez (aka The Spa Lady) is a spa industry professional and founder of Getaway Spas. She offers simple solutions that you can implement everyday to bring yourself back to a place of tranquility, solace, healing and renewal.
  5. Susie’s Spa Blog: After years of answering spa questions in Luxury SpaFinder Magazine as well as writing pieces about and for the spa community through the “Spa Finder Insider,” Susie is excited to throw off editorial constraints and offer opinions on anything spa-related.
  6. Truth In Cosmetic Surgery Blog: If your body looks ten years younger because you went to Camp Biche (see #38) and you want your face to catch up, you might want to peruse this blog for more information about your options. John Di Saia, M.D., a board certified plastic surgeon in San Clemente, California, brings a “No Spin; Bottom Line” alternative to “all the BS out there” on plastic surgery. His perspective is a luxury.

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Food & Wine

You may enjoy the following blogs so much that you’ll actually venture into your kitchen to cook. On the other hand, you’ll find enough restaurant ideas that you may never venture into that kitchen, ever. The wine cellar, however, is another story…

  1. A Self-proclaimed Foodaholic: Marie Antoinette had the right attitude - we all should eat cake, and hopefully it’s some very, very rich cake. But, this blog goes far beyond cake with tantalizing photos and recipes that you can hand to your chef (provided he/she doesn’t take umbrage with your suggestions).
  2. Chez Pim: Chez Pim chronicles her globetrotting adventures in the world of all things edible, from vibrant street-side fares in Asia to the refined world of Three Michelin Star restaurants in Europe.
  3. Gourmet’s ChopTalk: From this main link on gourmet food and travel, you can wander through cooking, travel, restaurant, gear and gadgets, and other blogs that bring you the finest gourmet offerings.
  4. Delicious Destinations: This lighthearted blog, brought to you by Gourmet Station, offers up ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture.
  5. Dr. Vino: A Ph.D. dissertation on the political economy of the wine industry in France and the United States led to this blog’s birth, where you’ll find good value wine recommendations and diverse perspectives ranging from politics to economics to sports and - occasionally - some pop culture.
  6. Pinot Blogger: Although this blog focuses on the birth of Capozzi Family Winery in the Russian River Valley, Josh Hermsmeyer writes a smart, technologically savvy and insightful blog that will enrich any wine enthusiast.
  7. The Wine Collector: Steve Bachmann, a 45-year-old entrepreneur, launched Vinfolio in 2003. This turnkey, white-glove wine store does everything for the serious collector as well as avid wine enthusiast - from buying, selling and cellar management to more in-depth collector services.
  8. Vinography: Simply the best wine review site on the Internet.
  9. ZagatBuzz: Initially started as a hobby, Zagat Survey is now the world’s leading provider of consumer survey-based dining, travel and leisure information, with more than 250,000 voters participating worldwide. Now you can gain access to ZagatBuzz, which is categorized by major U.S. cities and by this link to the “Best of” the Buzz.

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Gadgets

Sure, when you say the word, “gadgets,” you might think electronics. But, if you’re rich, you may believe that ‘gadgets’ represent anything that costs less than a million or so dollars. Therefore, the blogs below exhibit everything from electronics to handbags and from ‘thingmazigs’ to paintball panzers.

  1. Born Rich: The goal of this blog is to “help you spend all your hard-earned money on the snootiest thingmazig around.” Topics range from art to gadgets to surfboards and more.
  2. David Report: The David Report blog covers the latest and most interesting news concerning art, design, fashion, architecture, media, brand development and communication, travel and lifestyle trends. The trends aren’t the most expensive per se, but they’re the hottest items and ideas on the market.
  3. Gizmodo: Sure, this blog entertains news on ordinary gadgets, but - on the whole - this site also brings on the gadget bling. It’s all about shiny new toys!
  4. Hunt and Gather: This blog is for the primal male, one who seeks the walnut-grained LCD television and the printed Eco golf tees and ball markers. This is the luxury site for testosterone-based gadgets, gifts, gear, grooming, garments, and more.
  5. Lussorian: Want to find the most expensive deck of cards in the world? How about the most expensive bed on the planet? You can find both of those items and more at this blog.
  6. Luxist: There’s an emphasis on estates, journeys, and decor, with handbags playing an active role as well at this blog. Nice way to keep up on fringe merchandise.
  7. Luxury Design: This UK site brings jewelry, furniture, fashion, and cars to the Web, all with enticing images and discriminating taste.
  8. Popgadget: Popgadget is a lifestyle magazine that embraces technology as a regular and essential part of women’s lives. Be the first in your city to own a Woofer Speaker System for cat people or a handgun blow dryer. This is luxury at its most essential.
  9. Sybarites: A sybarite, by definition, is a person devoted to luxury and pleasure. Items included in this blog are considered only for quality and meaning - not for price.
  10. Pricy-Spicy: The item searches for this blog appear to be a hobby, but the writer has great taste. This blog offers perspectives on top-of-the-line merchandise, along with clues as to where to purchase the items.

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Hotels

If you want luxury accommodations, don’t count on the first place you find off the Interstate. Instead, treat yourself to the best world-class hotels that you’ll discover through the following blogs…

  1. Concierge.com: Subscribe to Concierge.com’s feeds to learn about travel bargains to luxury resorts and hotels, and to learn about travel tips from Condé Nast Traveler’s consumer news editor Wendy Perrin, among other top-notch travel information.
  2. Drake and Cavendish: This link will take you to the luxury hotel blog on the Drake and Cavendish site. You’ll learn about new hotel openings, green hotels, and the best places to stay worldwide.
  3. Helium Report: Helium Report is the leading independent source of objective information on vacation home alternatives, but you can also learn more information on fractional ownership and private jets.
  4. Hotel Chatter: Frank and detailed appraisals about luxury hotels around the world. This blog not only provides a terrific resource, it’s fun to read.
  5. Hotels of the Rich and Famous: Do you want to know where Matt Damon and Madonna stay when they’re on the road? You can find this information and more at this blog, which is devoted to hotels, stars, and wealthy hotel goers.
  6. The Informed Traveler: The Informed Traveler is a blog devoted to luxury travel, published by the travel specialists at Five Star Alliance. The Informed Traveler is an independent source that talks about upscale travel and lavish hotels.

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Odds and Ends

The following blogs didn’t fit under the other topics, but they are considered essential luxuries.

  1. Air Taxi Blog: Air-taxi operators offer competitively priced point-to-point transportation between local and regional airports at their customers’ convenience. Sometimes called fly-on-demand, air taxis are frequently the most time- and cost-effective way for business people to get from one suburban or rural community to another on short notice. This blog covers this information and more.
  2. Blog of a Book Slut: Forget the New York Review - Jessa Crispin has made a name for herself by staying abreast of the national literary scene with short and emphatic blog entries that keep readers up-to-date on subjects like film adaptations of literature, the current government’s meddling with libraries, and - according to Forbes - “smarmy comments from smarmy writers.”
  3. Big Business Jet: If you own or crave a Boeing Business Jet, the Bombardier, the Gulfstream and more, then this blog is up your gilded alley. Big Business Jet is sponsored by Greenpoint Technologies (GTI), the aviation industry’s leading provider of interiors for VIP, corporate, government, commercial, and head of state clients.
  4. Janus Thinking: Although Janus Thinking is a commercial marketing and sales consulting business site, the blog presents interesting news and insights into luxury markets. Their sister company, Allied Diamonds, believes that people who buy diamonds should not just be diamond customers, but rather they should be diamond connoisseurs.
  5. Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music Blog: No, you’re not required to attend the opera and you don’t need to adore Mozart if you’re rich; however, a little knowledge about the classics is a good thing so you won’t be tagged as nouveau riche. Jessica Duchen, the author of this blog, has held editorial jobs on several music magazines and spearheaded the creation of the UK’s first independent piano magazine. She’s created ‘literary concerts’ for the stage, she’s written several books with music themes, and she married a violinist. How can you go wrong, especially when The Times stated that “Everything she writes is worth reading…”?
  6. Living the Luxe Life: Stacy Brice, a self-professed “voluptuary,” brings tidbits about small and large, the free, the inexpensive and the obscenely expensive yummies our world offers us all to her readers. As long as it’s comfortable or brings comfort, you’ll find it here.
  7. Rotor Sales Blog: If you have an itch for a helicopter, you can find the crème de la crème of rotors on this blog. The pictures alone may make your heart race.

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Real Estate

If land is king, then homes are crowns. The blogs listed below will provide you with ideas on real estate investments, home improvements, emerging markets, and more - all in the throne of luxury.

  1. BawldGuy Talking: Jeff Brown, of Brown and Brown Investment Properties, reaches first-time buyers to million-dollar property owners with this blog about real estate investing blog and “Purposeful Planning” articles.
  2. Flipping Rich: Sunny Yee and Derrik Dyka’s Flipping Rich investment blog brings “interesting” investing ideas to their readers.
  3. Home Improvement Ideas: Luxury housing trends, technologies, and products are tracked through this blog. The tips and advice are unusual, and the merchandise is fantastic.
  4. Luxury Home Digest: This blog imparts information about trends, markets, furnishings, tastes (including fine wines) and relevant gossip. The editor, Roberta Murphy, is a real estate broker in the coastal San Diego market, but the majority of categories go well beyond this niche market.
  5. Luxury Portfolio: Based in Chicago with representation in London, Luxury Portfolio represents decades of experience in the high-end market. By presenting a gallery of the finest luxury properties and brokerages, they are ensuring that the Luxury Portfolio brand is being recognized throughout the world as the luxury standard of excellence.
  6. Luxury Real Estate: Robert Lockard brings hot real estate news and luxury markets to readers through this blog, which is sponsored by the Luxury Real Estate site.
  7. Nubricks: Nubricks scans the globe to blog about the most promising international property development ideas and concepts. They track both offline and online property resources, as well as taking to the streets of world cities and resorts to get a hands on view.
  8. Offbeat Homes: Need an idea for that second or third home? This site will crank your creative urges!
  9. Open House Blog: Mary Clare Fleury at the Washingtonian offers up some peeks inside the luxury real estate market in DC. You can use this blog to compare your home with those that Fleury picks out, or you can use it to wish upon a star.
  10. Overseas Property Blog: This international real estate investment blog has been offering free, reliable international property news and research since March 2005. The contributors offer objective in-depth analysis of global real estate markets and property investment products.
  11. The Private Islands Blog: Private islands for sale, island resorts and exotic islands world-wide brought to readers by “The Islomaniac,” president of the Islomaniacs Society and Owner of Coldwell Banker Morrison’s Private Islands.
  12. Unique Homes: This blog is sponsored by Unique Homes, the leading luxury real estate magazine, and it brings the latest news and information on the luxury real estate industry to your computer.

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Social Networks

All of these sites promise “exclusive” or “elite” clientele as members who are willing to bring you into their fold - provided, of course, that you have connections and money. Since we’re not members, we can only offer descriptions that we found on these sites.

  1. ASmallWorld: Erik Wachtmeister founded ASMALLWORLD as a private online community for “like-minded individuals,” where members can participate in travel suggestions, feedback, forum discussions, and other topics of common interest. Membership is by invitation only.
  2. CCC Alliance: “Designed initially as a private forum for families to share best practices and combine their buying power, CCC Alliance has developed into a dynamic peer network, collaborative purchasing organization, and source of insight and opportunities.” If you become a member, you can collaborate regularly on wealth management, family office matters, and more. You must set up an interview to become a member.
  3. Diamond Lounge: A decadent environment in which to hang out, have fun and even do business, all with an unparalleled level of privacy. Members also have access to exclusive private business and social events and exquisite high-end merchandise. You must be invited by a trusted VIP member or submit an online application that will be reviewed by an Independent Committee.
  4. Tiger 21: More than a networking site, Tiger 21 is a peer-to-peer learning group for high-net-worth investors with a minimum of $10 million in assets to invest. But, if you join, you’ll discover that members talk about kids, philanthropy, homes, travel, and toys as well as investments.

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Travel

The hotel comprises just one part of luxury travel. The following blogs will help you decide where to go, what to do, and how to do it all with panache.

  1. Arthur Frommer Online: Comments, opinion and advice from the founder of Frommer’s Travel Guides.
  2. A Luxury Travel Blog: Dr. Paul Johnson , Managing Director of The Dedicated Partnership Ltd. tourism marketing company, focuses on the finer aspects of travel. This blog serves as a gateway for the discerning traveler, providing information on the most luxurious hotels and resorts, the finest restaurants and news from within the luxury travel industry, among other tidbits necessary for the discerning traveler.
  3. Globorati: Every weekday, Globorati delivers fresh, up-to-the-moment intelligence for the jet-set traveler. Their goal is to change the way luxury travelers get their information, and to inspire them toward embracing new possibilities.
  4. Gridskipper: Sometimes it isn’t all about money. Sometimes it’s all about decadence and urbanity. This blog’s writers scour the globe for “chic hotels, hot restaurants, sweet nightlife, and pretty people.”
  5. Inside Luxury Travel: Varun Sharma hosts a television show entitled (appropriately) “Inside Luxury Travel.” His blog is a diary from his travels with insights into his everyday luxurious life.
  6. Luxury Travel Magazine: This magazine’s blog showcases the world’s most exclusive escapes, and provides expert recommendations and inspiration for discerning travelers. The site’s founder and editor, Christine Gray, is a former Beverly Hills “travel agent to the stars” and consultant to the 1980’s TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”
  7. Tango Diva: Tango Diva gives women their wings through sharing insight, direction, and inspiration so that they can become active, knowledgeable participants in life. Teresa Rodriguez Williamson, a former Richard Simmons employee, began this travel blog after a decade of some very interesting adventures.
  8. Vagablond: Discover the best in luxury travel, food, wine and shopping, all delivered by a team of editors, writers and designers who are frequent travelers and who live and work all around the globe.
  9. World Extravagant: This is a simple little site that offers tons of information about luxury travel and travel news. The writers also touch on real estate, yachts, and private islands.

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Top 100 Real Estate Blogs

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Despite the funk that the subprime crisis has brought down on Wall Street and financial institutions, this sector represents only one portion of an entire industry. Some financial analysts such as James DiGeorgia, 21st Century Investor publisher, advises investors to keep an eye on the real estate industry as an opportunity. And, savvy homeowners or those who seek to purchase houses as residences or as investments might be wise to stay on top of some of the best names in the industry. Who knows where real estate will go from here?

To find an answer, we’re treating you to the top 100 bloggers who focus on every real estate subtopic from appraisals to the title industry. You won’t find real estate listings in this article, although some blogs focus on individuals who work in real estate and others focus on consumers. Please note that the blog numbering is not meant to be a ranking–each real estate subtopic is simply listed in alphabetical order, with blogs then listed in alphabetical order within that topic.

Topics Covered in this List

Appraisals | Entertainment | Green Ideas | Homebuyers | Home Improvement | Doom and Boom | Investing | Marketing | Mortgage Brokers | News | Niche Markets | Technology | Title Industry

Appraisals

Only a handful of appraisers maintain blogs, but each one of the choices below represent appraisers who have years of experience in their field.

  1. Appraisal Scoop: Brian Davis has been a residential real estate appraiser for 23 years. He originally created the Appraisal Scoop blog to counter much of the negative press about appraisals from the mainstream media and real estate blogs. Davis and his guest authors contribute articles on business management, appraisal technology, industry news and market analysis.
  2. Matrix: Launched in August 2005, Matrix is an attempt to cull together items of interest or relevance in the real estate economy through Jonathan Miller’s neutral position. Miller is a real estate appraiser with more than 20 years of real estate experience.
  3. Soapbox: Soapbox is meant to be an industry resource, a repository of information that can help inform, annoy, educate and motivate, change.
  4. Table Talk with Apella: Resource for homeowners, real estate professionals, lenders and investors. This blog is supported by Apella Real Estate Business Solutions, a company that services the nation through a network of appraisers and home inspectors.

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Doom and Boom

Many real estate investors have been keeping one eye on the implosion of the subprime market. The following blogs are dedicated to this subject. Some are pessimistic and others are seeing a light at the end of the subprime tunnel…

  1. Blown Mortgage: Morgan Brown, Chief Operating Officer of New Day Trust Mortgage in California, provides his insights, news, tips, and more on the housing and industrial mortgage industry.
  2. Housing Doom Housing Bubble Blog: Debi Averett and John McLeod offer current information about the housing bubble, the mortgage industry, and horror stories for your edification. Although the focus is on Phoenix and Tucson Arizona, the content is relevant nationwide.
  3. Housing Boom: A focus on how to buy or sell a home during a tough market. The author states, “Is there a Housing Bubble? Is Real Estate still a safe investment?
    I don’t have these answers, but I do have a whole lot of evidence that realtors are resorting to ‘unusual’ tactics to drum up business.”
  4. The Housing Bubble: Ben Jones examines the home price boom and its effect on owners, lenders, regulators, realtors and the economy as a whole nationwide.
  5. Dr. Housing Bubble: The doctor is in the house, and he’s analyzing the housing bubble from an investor’s perspective.
  6. The Real Estate Realist: Reality “burns a little going down at first,” but pessimism sometimes brings on dark humor. You’ll find that humor here and more from Kevin Branson, a certified residential real estate appraiser who sees the imploding bubble as just the end of one party with more to come.

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Entertainment

Some people who work in real estate businesses aren’t all that stuffy. The following list provides some examples of agents and more who have a life outside business and who want to share their little obsessions with others.

  1. Grow a Brain: Hanan “The Human Vacuum” Levin, co-owner of ‘The Champion’ Real Estate Company in Riverside, California, provides insights into thousands of unique sites gathered from all corners of the internet. Grow-a-Brain links are grouped into 100 plus categories from advertising to Zen and more.
  2. Big Time Listings: Keep up with your favorite and not-so-favorite stars with real estate information about the rich, the famous, the movers and shakers, and the “soon to be convicted” at this site.
  3. Rants, Raves, and Real Estate: Spencer Barron is a entrepreneur, investor, and realtor currently living in Denver, Colorado; but, before this gig he was a graphics specialist, designer and project manager for a commercial architecture firm. He’s also interested in Internet technology and start-ups, so his blog covers a wide variety of topics. While this blog is geared toward other realtors, the homebuyer or seller can learn a trick or two from this site as well.
  4. Sellsius: Joseph G. Ferrara and Rudolph D. Bachraty III write on everything to do with real estate with an eye to entertaining their readers.
  5. Unusual Life: Marlow Harris lives in Seattle, and she’s interested in the juxtaposition of real estate and art. Therefore, you’ll discover unusual homes, amazing architecture, strange places, and fascinating people at her blog.

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Green Ideas

As a realtor, investor, homeowner, or homebuyer, you might be interested in some of the newest innovations in environmental architecture and design. The following blogs provide ideas and inspiration for a greener habitat.

  1. Apartment Therapy: Don’t let the title fool you. Although this blog attempts to save the planet, “one apartment at a time,” the authors bring resources to light that would delight any homeowner.
  2. Equity Green: A real estate tax advisor who focuses on public REITs, homebuilders, energy companies and real estate transactions (including like-kind exchanges), conducts an exploration of everything green as it relates to real estate.
  3. Green Build Blog: Green Build Blog posts about everything related to green building, with some entries devoted to answering readers’ questions.
  4. Green Buildings NYC: Stephen Del Percio, a New York attorney and a LEED accredited professional, attempts to stay on top of the latest news and developments in green building through his gbNYC blog. His site also links to the Green Buildings sites in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Miami.
  5. Inhabitat: Future-forward design and a daily source for innovations in sustainable architecture and green design for the home.
  6. Jetson Green: Preston D. Koerner focuses on advance trends in green building with an eye to the confluence of modernism and environmentalism.
  7. Living Green: Aaron Doyle, who believes that “everyone should be able to experience the pride and privilege of homeownership,” shares her thoughts on energy, environmental, and health issues that affect real estate today.
  8. Offbeat Homes: The unique, odd and freaky homes of today and tomorrow is brought to you by a freelance environmentally conscious Jennifer Chait.
  9. Sustainable Cities Blog: The CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities in New York City blogs about moving cities toward sustainable practices.
  10. Sustainable Green Communities: Ram Shrivastava, a CEO and professional engineer, writes on environmentally friendly building design with discussions on climate change, green roofs, flood control, storm water recycling, LEED compliance, and alternative fuels.
  11. Treehugger: This blog attempts to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information. Although more of a lifestyle-type blog, the focus is on living environments.

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Homebuyers

Are you ready to buy a home? The following blogs provide information for buyers. Although some blogs are geared toward other agents, the homebuyer will find some interesting insider insights in those blogs as well.

  1. Barbara Corcoran Ink: Barbara Corcoran, real estate entrepreneur, addresses real estate interests, concerns and questions. Her advice is mainly focused on home buyers and home owners.
  2. For Sale By Locals (A New Real Estate Approach): A blog that is an offshoot of the “For Sale by Locals” Web site. Entries include business information, tips, and advice on how to work with online real estate services.
  3. Home Buying and Selling Blog: About.com’s Elizabeth Weintraub brings her home selling (and buying) experience to her blog. Wientraub is a real estate agent, but she’s also lived all over the country from Maine to California and once even built a home in Mexico. She operates on the principle that “every American deserves to own a home.”
  4. Hotpads: If you’re in transition between homes, check out this site for information about available apartments, rental houses, sublets, and roommate opportunities. If you’ve got a place, there’s someone out there who wants to rent it. This blog provides news, guides, tools, and promos for the site.
  5. Luxury Home Digest: Roberta Murphy, editor for The Luxury Home Digest, is a real estate broker in the coastal San Diego market. However, her blog covers a wide range of topics related to fine living and real estate, including trends, markets, furnishings, tastes (including fine wines) and relevant gossip.
  6. Real Estate Journal: This Wall Street Journal guide to real estate helps homebuyers arm themselves with the information they need to get the most for their money. Readers can browse entries on everything from mortgage rates and residential market trends to relocation and economic issues, home improvement ideas and advice on buying, selling and enjoying a home.
  7. Trulia Blog: A Trulia employee blog where company happenings, real estate industry news, and other items are posted. The truly useful part in this site is the Trulia residential real estate search engine that helps consumers search for homes for sale, trends, neighborhood insights and other real estate information directly from hundreds of thousands of real estate broker Web sites.
  8. Zillow Blog: Zillow helps consumers make smarter real estate decisions by providing them with access to the same information and tools agents use to value homes. Additionally, homeowners can take advantage of the Zestimate™ home valuation as a starting point for anyone to see - for free - for most homes in the U.S., discussions, and post homes for sale for free.

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Home Improvement

No matter if you need to pump up that curb appeal to sell a home, or if you want to improve the home that you intend to keep - the following blogs will help you to make your residence a healthy investment choice. While there are hundreds of home improvement sites out there, we chose these four for their ease of use and for their attention to detail.

  1. Charles and Hudson: Charles and Hudson want to help you remodel, renovate, and beautify your home. This blog is a web magazine that’s dedicated to DIY enthusiasts who seek the latest tools, techniques, and designs for home renovation and remodeling.
  2. Construction Deal Update: If you’re a homeowner and you need help navigating the world of home improvement, then visit this site for help.
  3. Fixer-Upper: We picked this blog because of its unpretentious charm. Mindy and Teague, two DIY homeowners, take you on a journey as they remodel their residence. The fact that Teague has a degree in interior design and owns a residential construction and remodeling company doesn’t hurt!
  4. Helpful Advice for Home Construction Improvement: Todd Fratzel, a building superintendent and structural engineer with extensive experience in structural design and home construction, brings tips and advice to the person who wants to improve their home construction technique.
  5. Home Improvement Ideas: Luxury housing trends, technologies, and products are tracked through this blog. The tips and advice are unusual, and the merchandise is fantastic.
  6. Home Staging, Rants & Ravings: Craig Schiller, a professional home stager and founder of Real Estaging (Chicago), is behind this property merchandising and home staging blog.
  7. House in Progress: A DIY couple started this site to keep friends and family apprised as they continue to restore their bungalow. Their site was recently listed in Chicago Home Magazine as one of the five best online home improvement Web sites.
  8. Shakadoo: Shakadoo is a site written and created for those who love their home, no matter if it’s a castle or a condo. You’ll find several “shaks” that deal with home interiors, building, renovation, and more.

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Investing

Anyone who purchases a home is purchasing an investment. But, some homeowners are long-term investors, and other homeowners wish they could be day traders. The following blogs cover the gamut between the two extremes.

  1. Altos Research Real Estate Insights: Real time real estate research and housing observations provided by Altos Research. Customers and readers include real estate agents and brokers, and home buyers and sellers. Their information currently covers western states, Chicago, Houston, and Tampa, Florida.
  2. America’s Mortgage Broker: Brian Brady, an old-school-turned-high-tech mortgage broker, wants readers to learn how mortgages provide wealth.
  3. BawldGuy Talking: Jeff Brown, of Brown and Brown Investment Properties, reaches first-time buyers to million-dollar property owners with this blog about real estate investing blog and “Purposeful Planning” articles.
  4. Bigger Pockets: Two real estate investors and a journalist provide readers with information on how to invest in real estate in today’s market.
  5. Building an Empire: Trisha Allen is 32-year-old full-time real estate investor and realtor has been investing in real estate for over four years. She brings her personal insights into the ups and downs of building a personal real estate empire.
  6. Counter Intelligence: The Real Estate Cafe Weblog: A consumer advocate’s guide to saving money and recreating the residential estate industry online. As nationally recognized consumer advocates, The Real Estate Cafe has been pioneering new business models that help home buyers and sellers save billions of dollars for more than a decade.
  7. Equity Scout: Christopher Smith, founder and managing director of EquityScout.com and its parent company Paladin Equity LLC, provides market insights, economic evaluations, and talkes about the process that his company goes through to understand the needs and wants of real estate investors.
  8. Flipping Rich: Sunny Yee and Derrik Dyka’s Flipping Rich investment blog brings “interesting” investing ideas to their readers.
  9. Housing Derivatives: Applications and economics for the U.S. housing market, brought to you by Traditional Financial Services, Inc. a broker of OTC housing and commercial real estate swaps and options.
  10. Landlord Shmandlord: This is a blog about being a landlord and investing in real estate.
  11. The Real Estate Economy: Paul Kaihla argues that real estate is a fundamental building block of the economy, and this blog uses it as its organizing principle.

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Marketing

While the following sites focus on individuals who work in real estate, consumers can learn much about how the market works through these blogs.

  1. BRER Real Estate Marketing Blog: Build Real Estate Results (BRER) and Getting It Write, Inc. offers tips and tools that will give your real estate business a competitive edge.
  2. Joeann’s Blog: Resources, articles and thoughts on being a productive and creative real estate agent from Joeann Fossland, a new agent coach.
  3. Personal Insights on Web 2.0, Blogging, and Business: Drew Meyers. a Zillow employee, provides his insights on how to utilize the ‘new’ Web to promote real estate business.
  4. Real Estate Marketing Blog: Tim O’Keefe helps real estate agents create more leads and sales through market analysis and definition. This work is translated in to keywords agents can use that focus on bringing more traffic to Web sites.
  5. Real Estate Toolbox Podcast: Since 1996, Brian Rodgers has authored over 10 books and real estate systems. Brian’s passion is creating the ultimate tools and success systems to help any real estate agent achieve a high level of success in their real estate business while maintaining proper life balance.
  6. RealtyBizCoach: RealtyBizCoach.com site is part of the Morningstar Coaching Network, which is a privately owned network of sites devoted to helping small businesses succeed. RealtyBizCoach.com provides real estate agents with articles, tips and advice on how to market and grow their business.
  7. The Real Estate Tomato: The Real Estate Tomato is not just a real estate marketing blog. Jim Cronin built it to be a hub to help the real estate community to better understand how to embrace the technology available to them.
  8. Transparent Real Estate: Pat Kitano, co-Founder, Managing Principal of Domus Consulting Group, authors Transparent Real Estate. The blog reflects news, but also Kitano’s management consulting firm working with real estate brokerages and Web 2.0 companies to develop technology marketing strategies, and with venture investors on new business models.

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Mortgage Brokers

Even when real estate markets are bursting a housing bubble, people want to know more about mortgages. Individuals who are immersed in the mortgage industry provide the following blogs, and they provide their insights on this sector for the real estate industry and for consumers.

  1. Housing Wire: This blog is focused on the mortgage banking industry. This site also hosts the industry’s first Real Estate Blogging Awards, called the REBAs.
  2. Lending Clarity: Marc Brinitzer, from Big Valley Mortgage (California), brings his insight into mortgage lending.
  3. Loanbark! Mortgage Blog: Purchase and refinancing mortgage advice for consumers.
  4. Mortgage Broker Coaching: David Porter, a semi-retired mortgage broker and multi-millionaire, brings this new blog to the mix, where he wants to help mortgage broker owners and experienced loan officers create their dream mortgage practice.
  5. Mortgage Dead Pool: This blog lists the mortgage companies (banks, lenders, wholesalers) that are going bankrupt.
  6. Mortgages Undressed: Larry Cragun, a real estate and mortgage professional of nearly 35 years, exposes mortgage facts and provides a directory of real estate agent referred loan officers.
  7. The Mortgage Fraud Blog: Mortgage fraud news, video and audio reports, and a discussion board rounds out this comprehensive blog on frauds in the mortgage industry. This blog is supported and funded by the The Prieston Group, a diversified mortgage risk management consulting company.
  8. The Mortgage Reports: Mortgage Planner Dan Green blogs on mortgages, markets, and other items of interest.
  9. The Truth About Mortgage: Mortgage advice, tips, help, refinance info, mortgage calculator, lender rates, home equity line of credit information.

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News

The following blogs provide the best real estate industry news on the Internet. Even if you’re not in the business, these sites can keep you apprised of real estate trends and insights.

  1. Bloodhound Blog: “BloodhoundBlog is everything you wish were in Realtor magazine - but isn’t.” Lenders, investment experts, and other real estate agents bring daily must-reading news, advice, and tips for real estate professionals everywhere.
  2. Hot Property: Follow the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets from BusinessWeek. This blog was a finalist for a 2007 Inman News Innovator Award.
  3. Inman News: This site features a variety of residential and commercial syndicated columnists, and licenses content to 250+ major daily newspapers and 50,000+ Websites. Inman News also offers information-based products and services for real estate leaders, technology professionals, and consumers. Finally, Additionally, Inman News produces a variety of annual conferences for the real estate, mortgage, title, and technology industries.
  4. Little Pink Houses: The contributors to this blog bring extensive backgrounds in real estate, journalism and law to an industry that is “starving for impartial, knowledgeable conversations about what really goes on in the real estate business.”
  5. Nubricks’ Property Abroad Blog: Nubricks is an informational site, which publishes news, reviews and opinions, some of which are based on accurately reported factual information. Developers, property enthusiasts and marketing agents worldwide visit for a daily dose of overseas property news and check out the latest happenings from the world of international property development.
  6. Realblogging: “A real estate blog by the real estate industry for the real estate industry.” Numerous agents bring news, advice, tips, and more to the real estate industry.
  7. real/diaBlog: Danilo Bogdanovic, buyer and relocation specialist, bring’s tomorrow’s real estate trends to this blog.
  8. Real Estate Shmoozer: Real estate news, views and shmooz from Ladin Ventures, LLC, commercial and residential real estate brokerage, buyer and tenant representation, consulting, management and real estate development.
  9. RealtyTimes: Real estate news, buying and selling advice for consumers, and money-making tips for Agents, brought to readers daily by an array of experienced writers who offer a variety of perspectives and ideas.
  10. The REALTYgram Blogger: A weblog digest of news, articles, and essays about events and trends impacting the real estate market, brought to you by real estate agent Frances Flynn Thorsen.

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Niche Markets

The following blogs focus on condos, real estate for the elderly, women, overseas markets and more.

  1. Christian Real Estate Network Blog: The CREN blog is dedicated to real estate news, advice, and insight, with a special emphasis on real estate specific marketing and SEO techniques for budding real estate marketers.
  2. condoDomain: The reader will find topics that include architecture, new condo developments, mortgage and financing, condo-hotel, design and other categories that deal with urban metropolitan markets around the US & Canada. This blog attempts to connect condominium buyers, brokers and developers.
  3. New Condos Online: This blog is quickly becoming a relevant resource on the internet for buyers to find and compare new condos, pre-construction condos, condo conversions, town homes, and lofts across the country.
  4. No Limits Ladies: Two women who blog about personal finance, to starting and being in business for yourself, as well as investing in real estate and paper assets for women of all ages.
  5. Overseas Property Blog: This international real estate investment blog has been offering free, reliable international property news and research since March 2005. The contributors offer objective in-depth analysis of global real estate markets and property investment products.
  6. Real Sage Advice: Although this blog focuses on the Twin Cities real estate market, their entries on aging issues and senior housing apply to all real estate markets.
  7. The Private Islands Blog: Private islands for sale, island resorts and exotic islands world-wide brought to readers by “The Islomaniac,” president of the Islomaniacs Society and Owner of Coldwell Banker Morrison’s Private Islands.

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Technology

The list below focuses on individuals who work in the real estate industry, but homeowners who seek to sell can learn about what agents today need to know through some of these blogs.

  1. The Future of Real Estate Technology: An extremely useful blog initiated and written by Loren Nason, who runs a technology concierge service called, “Your Local Tech.” They work only for real estate agents and home users, and the blog is to help answer common questions about software and hardware used in the real estate industry.
  2. Mike’s Corner: Michael is the President of 360Podcast, LLC, the parent company of MLBroadcast.com. He has been involved with the development of web software, marketing and listing enhancement tools for real estate since 1995. This site brings Web 2.0, marketing, technology, and news to the real estate industry.
  3. Real Estate Blog Lab: A former computer programmer and database administrator, who also is involved in real estate, created this blog “lab” for other agents to talk about topics like SEO, tools to enhance the blogging experience, and advice on how to work with Wordpress and other real estate Web tools.
  4. Real Estate Technology Tips: Jason Ungo enjoys exploring ways to empower real estate agents using his background in technology, education, and real estate. His blog focuses on constant experimentation of code and design with personal thoughts, mostly related to real estate technology.
  5. Real Estate Zealot: Mark Eibner, real estate broker, is a technology evangalist, ready to persuade readers that “Technology will not replace real estate brokers. Brokers with Technology will replace real estate brokers.”
  6. Realty Thoughts: A team of real estate technology providers talk about web applications for real estate agents, investors, and the public to use when dealing with real estate.
  7. Smart Use of Internet in Real Estate: This is a blog for people who believe in the smart use of Internet in the real estate industry, brought to you by Magnus Svantegård, a product manager who believes that that real estate industry can be more efficient.
  8. WellcomeMat: If video is doing to real estate and local business what MTV did to the music industry back in the 80’s, agents need to follow this blog. The site offers advice on how to produce videos, lists regional videographers, and shows videos of homes for sale.

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Title Industry

Like the appraisal blogs, there are just a handful of title blogs operated by individuals experienced in this field. They offer their expertise in frequent postings so you can stay informed.

  1. Title-Opoly: This blog’s author plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges stemming from property flipping and mortgage fraud in 2003. Now, Ed Rybczynski is a highly regarded public speaker who travels nationally to give presentions to groups of title agents, corporate executives, mortgage brokers, elected officials and other concerned groups.
  2. TitleRep: Jeff Bernheisel brings information on how he markets his business.
  3. Clearing Title: Dave and Francine bring their expertise as land transfer and title experts to the table through this blog.
  4. Landrecs: Jeanine W. (Jeanne) Johnson has worked hands-on in the private sector for over twenty-five years as a closer, examiner, and abstractor (searcher) for a real estate company, a builder and title insurance underwriters and agents. She is now a professional author, consultant, trainer and speaker about Title Industry issues.
  5. My Closing Space Blog: - Damon Redmond believes that consumers are entitled to know how what title insurance is and how the industry works. This site is dedicated to title insurance education.

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The Real Estate Marketing Toolkit - 37 Places to List a Home

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Considering the beating many local real estate markets are taking right now, selling a home is more than putting a listing in the MLS; smart realtors are using a variety of synergistic sales strategies to ensure their clients’ homes sell relatively quickly, and for an attractive price.

That said, in a competitive marketplace it pays to utilize the most efficient marketing tools available. The Internet is certainly one of the most important lead generation tools we have, but after you’ve started your own Web site, it can be tough to know where to go from there. How can you get more exposure for your properties? Here are 37 places online where you can list a home–starting with a special category for those of us on a shoestring budget.

10 FREE Places to List a Home:

  1. CraigsList.com – The internet’s greatest online classifieds site also does real estate. List your properties here and be exposed to one of the highest volume sites on the internet.
  2. iiProperty.com – iiPropety.com is designed for people with 1-50+ properties. Here you can list your properties and easily manage your portfolio from anywhere in the world with their web-based system.
  3. HouseList.com – HouseList.com is a site designed to connect buyers with sellers for free. The site has many great features for realtors, including the ability to list properties and tell buyers about your business.
  4. HomeCheck.com – HomeCheck.com lists realtors and properties by state and allows realtors to list properties for free. It is also a great place to find more information about the online real estate business.
  5. FindMyRoof.com – FindMyRoof.com is designed to provide a space where you can easily list your real estate property online for free. The site allows you to list and have full control over your listings for free.
  6. PropertyWithAView.com – PropertyWithAView.com is another free site that allows you to easily list your properties for a worldwide customer base. In just a few clicks you can have your listing up and running with detailed information and pictures.
  7. House-Hunting.com – House-Hunting.com allows you to create home pages that list the details of your business and properties that you have for sale. In addition to opening the doors to the international real estate market, the site also is listed on many city pages.
  8. JustRealEstateListings.com – At JustRealEstateListings.com you can list for free your homes with an easy to use self service listing or use their automatic listing and updating service. The site also offers unique listings by neighborhood in cities across the United States.
  9. RealEstateSwapMeet.com – RealEstateSwamMeet.com is a free site that allows agents to list as many properties as often as they want for free. The sites are grouped by states and can be viewed by the worldwide market of buyers for free.
  10. Ads4Homes.com – Ads4Homes.com offers free real estate listings grouped by state. It also provides insightful articles on the online real estate business that are updated regularly.

10 Places to List a US Homes:

  1. HomeGain.com – HomeGain.com is the second most visited real estate website and has nearly 5 million unique visitors each month. It provides detailed information on the real estate market, both local and online, as well as listing services for realtors.
  2. Yahoo! Real Estate – Yahoo! Real Estate offers realtors access to the Yahoo! Community and brand and provides home listing services that are listed and searchable by various detailed criteria.
  3. Wall Street Journal’s Real Estate – Wall Street Journal’s Real Estate page is the complete guide to the real estate business as only the Wall Street Journal can provide. It also allows realtors to advertise their properties targeted at the Journal’s audience of affluent readers.
  4. HomeScape.com – HomeScape.com is unique in that it is tailored to selling in specific local markets. Realtors can have their properties listed by city, neighborhood, or zip code.
  5. Propex.com – Propex.com has one of the most advanced search engines on the web for locating real estates. It has over 100 searchable fields that allow buyers to find listings quickly and efficiently.
  6. BestBuy-RealEstate.com - BestBuy-RealEstate.com allows realtors to advertise listings on their site, as well as to create an agent profile page with pictures, email links, and copies of posted ads. The site offers several payment plans to pay for their services.
  7. ThisProperty.com – ThisProperty.com provides the public with simple access to real-time real estate information and listing capabilities. Realtors can build a professional, customized ad in a matter of minutes that they can easily edit, activate, and de-activate from anywhere in the world.
  8. HomeAdvertisingNetwork.com – HomeAdvertisingNetwork.com connects all aspects of the real estate market in one site. It offers affordable, competitive rates for its user-friendly, state-of-the-art listings and more site.
  9. PropertyLine.com – PropertyLine.com is a site focused on unparalleled customer service, tools to assist realtors in listing property, and the latest technology to advertise properties to a national audience. The company started in 1984 as a marketing firm that specialized in networking for real estate brokers before getting into the online real estate business.
  10. SellThisHouse.com – SellThisHouse.com allows realtors to advertise individual properties, multiple listings, as well as links to their real estate business. The advertisements can include up to four photos, a written description of the property, and contact information for the realtor.

9 Places to List an International Home:

  1. EscapeArtist.com – EscapeArtist.com was launched in 1997 and has everything you need to learn about life overseas and the international real estate market. It allows realtors to list properties in countries all over the world, and provides potential buyers with detailed information on international living.
  2. Mondinion.com - Mondinion.com is a real estate platform, an international real estate for sale or real estate for rent listings directory. It presents over 100,000 properties for sale and properties for rent from all over the world in a well categorized through a user friendly website.
  3. Jaidad.com – Jaidad.com is a Las Vegas based company that is widely known as a leader in the international real estate market. It is a great site where buyers and sellers can connect and communicate and focuses on real estate in large cities all around the world.
  4. FindYourProperty.com – FindYourProperty.com offers a virtual meeting place for buyers and sellers of real estate around the globe. Its browsing services connect potential buyers to targeted properties, increasing the seller’s ability to make a sale.
  5. HomeSalez.com – HomeSalez.com tailors to international real estate sellers of all kinds. It is also a clearinghouse of information on the international real estate market.
  6. PlanetProperties.com – PlanetProperties.com is an international real estate advertising site that connects potential buyers to the most interesting properties in the world. It allows sellers to inexpensively list properties and reach the vast online market.
  7. Arkadia.com – Arkadia.com is a site that connects buyers and sellers of all types of international real estate online. The site offers users the ability to list and search for properties and then directly contact the seller to complete a transaction.
  8. International Listings – International Listings is a place to find and list luxury international homes for an inexpensive one-time fee. It allows the agent to display up to ten photographs of the interior and exterior of the property, use unlimited text and contact information, and to update the photos and texts at any time for free.
  9. Condo.com connects buyers and sellers of condo properties on the world’s largest condo marketplace. They currently have more than 400,000 listings on the site located in over 70 countries around the world. Condo.com also provides free listings to anyone who wants to place their listing for sale or for rent and offers special advertising solutions for agents and brokers.

5 Places to List a Vacation Home:

  1. HolidayJunction.com – HolidayJunction.com is a listing service that specializes in North American holiday and vacation properties. It was established in 1996 and provides a variety of listings to cater to almost every type of vacation property.
  2. WebListProperties.com – WebListPropertie.com features vacation real estate in a wide variety of countries around the world for sale and for rent. It has several levels of property listings for competitive one-time fees.
  3. HolProp.com – HolProp.com is another site that allows buyers to directly contact sellers of vacation homes. The site currently generates an average of over 200 views per property per month.
  4. Search-Villas.com – Search-Villas.com allows buyers to search for properties based on location, type of property, whether it has a pool or not, and then directly deal with the seller. In a matter of minutes, sellers can list their properties for potential buyers.
  5. IntoMountains.com – IntoMountains.com is a vacation real estate listing site that focuses on mountain vacation properties. Its lists properties around the world and searchable by location and type.

4 Places to List a Luxury Home:

  1. LuxuryRealEstate.com – LuxuryRealEstate.com is an exclusive leader in the luxury real estate market. All listings are subject to approval by Luxury Real Estate, which is used by over 600 luxury real estate brokerages around the world.
  2. LuxuryHomesAndProperties.com – LuxuryHomesAndProperties.com allows members to place unlimited qualified listings on their site. This allows unparalleled exposure to affluent buyers and a real opportunity to capture a share of the luxury home market.
  3. DupontRegistry.com – duPontRegistry caters to the fabulously wealthy who can afford gilded luxury homes. The company has published monthly magazines geared to the luxury lifestyle for twenty years and has become a recognized leader in the market.
  4. LuxuryHomes.com – LuxuryHomes.com accepts luxury home listings from full service brokers worldwide. Here you can showcase your luxury properties and gain international exposure to qualified affluent buyers.
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