Monthly Archives: September 2006

Using a blog to sell a house

My son Tyson got a comment on his house for sale weblog yesterday from a reporter at ABC’s Good Morning America who wrote,

“I’m a writer at Good Morning America. We’re doing a story on people who blog about selling their homes, can we show video of your blog on the air tomorrow morning? It would be a pretty short shot.”

They’re doing a Sell your house in seven days series this week with contributor Barbara Corcoran and today’s segment was on marketing your house.

Tyson asked the reporter, Lara Naaman, how she found his blog. She said she did a search on the words blog my house for sale without any quotes (not a phrase, in other words) and his house came up 9th on Google.

Alas, the blogging portion didn’t happen today due to a time-squeeze. But maybe we can pitch the idea to other reporters, especially here in Minnesota.

1:30 PM update: My son’s blog post about all this mentions their web story today titled Insider marketing tricks to sell your house in which Corcoran writes:

Start a blog. It’s free and is as easy as going on to Blogger.com. You can show more photos of your house than on a Realtor’s Web site, and get a little personal. Not too personal, of course, but say something like, “We’ve had a lot of birthday parties in this backyard.” 

Within 6 blocks of our house

The sun broke through after a rainshower late this afternoon so I grabbed my camera and my bike took photos of the schools, parks, paths, and a few stores within a 6 block radius of our house.

I plan to make a geo-map of these photos and attach descriptions of each, but for now, see the entire album here (larger photos).

Attic windows

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The hail damaged our attic windows, and — old house that we have — they’re more than a little unique. So Midwest’s Jon Cooper (left in left photo) brought in a windows expert, Tom Voigt from United Products, a wholesale distributor of roofing and siding products based in the Twin Cities. We think they’ve come up with a good plan, despite the fact that Tom left his PDA in his car and had to use a time-tested technique for taking notes (right photo). Click photos to enlarge.

Siding repairs

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The siding subcontractor for
Midwest is Professional Exteriors, Inc. from Farmington, Minnesota. They have a crew of five working on our house… at least when it’s not raining, they’re here working. Thus far, we’ve really been pleased with their work, their friendliness, their sense of humor (see below). Brad Hildreth and Mark Feldhacker are the owners. Click photos to enlarge.

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Left photo: Scott Greene and Lee Eden

Center: Brad Hildreth

Right: Mark Feldhacker and James Jensen

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One of their trailers has a Matt’s “Book of excuses” for sale sign. $29.95!

Siding crew starts work

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After a one-day delay due to rain, the siding crew arrived yesterday. Again, Jon Cooper from Midwest was very good about keeping us updated on the arrival times for both the crew and materials. And he arrived with them at 8 am to do a complete walk-through with the crew leaders.

I snapped these photos (click to enlarge) earlier today. They worked till noon but then rain started again and they had to quit. I don’t expect they’ll be back till Monday, since rain is predicted again for tomorrow and Saturday.

Roofing done; summary of our experience thus far

My wife Robbie wrote this up tonight:

IMG_3604w800.jpgAfter the estimate and list of damages were submitted to Todd Hodapp at Auto-Owners, the process of repairing our house really took on some speed. I must compliment Todd and Auto-Owners for the swift processing and handling of our claim. I called on Thursday to check on when we could expect a check, Todd had taken what I am sure is a well-deserved day off before the Labor Day Weekend and I assumed that we would not get the check until after Labor Day…. but to my surprise he had finished up the claim and made sure the check went out so we had it by Friday. Impressive! Todd (left in left photo – click to enlarge) has been very patient, informative and efficient with me and my many questions.

I was then able to meet with Jon Cooper (right in photo above) from Midwest Roofing, Siding & Windows, pick colors on Tuesday after the holiday, and it was then a go.

Jon gave me a call to let me know the whole process would start on Friday, materials would be delivered and roofers would start on our steep, high roof then. Just a few minutes later… Justin, another supervisor, gave me a call as well as Theresa from the office.

Sure enough the dumpster arrived at 7:00am on the dot, the roofers were here waiting for the materials to show up by 8:00 am and the materials showed up about 30 minutes later.

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There is a team of 4 guys but as they attacked the roof, I was sure there were about 6. I am not sure when they ate, I never saw them take a break and they worked non-stop. They were like cats on the roof working with ropes standing almost perpendicular to the roof line. They were careful where they pitched stuff off the roof and there was always someone on the ground picking up and gathering the shingles and trash. In fact, my neighbor commented that one of the team walked the full length of our lot, over into her yard to retrieve some stray wind-blown scrape tarpaper.

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At 8:00 pm….. (you got it they were on the roof till eight) most came down and starting cleaning up so that the yard was left with very little mess to blow around. One very nice and memorable event occurred when our daughter was leaving to meet a friend. Her job is to take care of all the cardboard and paper recycling from the house, so she was tending to that. Griff and I were sitting on the porch eating, feeling a little self-conscious while these guys continued to work. I looked up and one of the team was carrying the boxes for her to the car, which was parked out on the street, quite a ways from the garage. She doesn’t speak Spanish and he doesn’t speak English….. it was just a very kind gesture.

The guys were due back on Saturday morning at 7:00am but it was raining and continued to do so thoughout the weekend. Jon called Saturday morning to check on how everything was going and if the guys showed up. He also wanted to make sure the roof was left protected from the rain.

On Monday morning at 7:00 am…. The team arrived and didn’t stop for a minute. I think they eat in shifts. As I was leaving for the gym I set up some folding canvas chairs for them in the garage out of the cold wind with a make-shift table. When I came back the chairs had all been replaced in their bags and hung back where they belong. My kids don’t even do that.

Later I took out some cookies…. Everyone smiled and thanked me but NO ONE stopped to eat them until they were all finished. What a fabulous team of workers, courteous, tidy and very very hard working.

This morning I got a call right away from Matt, the person in charge of the siding crew. Because of the weather they were not able to finish the roof on Saturday as planned so he was just informing me that the materials would arrive in the afternoon, which they did and that the team would be down to start the siding by 10:00 am tomorrow.

This is turning out to be a painless event. I so appreciated being informed and kept up to date on what to expect. Even more impressive is that, so far, it has actually happened the way I’ve been told. Good follow-up is the key to a customer having a good experience in my business. Customers are usually very cooperative as long as they are informed. So far, Jon, Justin, Matt and all the others from Midwest we have talked to have been good on their word.

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Last Friday, my husband Griff show the roofing crew this weblog and the photos of them that he’d blogged from earlier in the day. They were pleased and asked for printouts. We don’t have a photo printer so today Griff got five 5X7 prints made and gave them to them. They were quite appreciative.

The team finished the job at 8:30 pm tonight. A neighbor  who worked with his dad in construction and commented that he had never seen a crew work so hard in his life. He brought some coffee, I took their picture, they cleaned up, collected nails with this magnetized sweeper, packed up and bid farewell. Nice guys!