I Love Ellicott City (Ellicott City, MD)
I Love Ellicott City (Ellicott City, MD) Real Estate News
"I tell my buyers that I don't show Short Sales"
Laura Strunk, Howard County Maryland Realtor (Keller Williams Realty Centre)

This is the comment I heard yesterday while I was walk through the common area in my office by another agent.   This comment caused me to pause and head towards the file drawer to pretend I had an addendum that I needed to find at that exact moment.    But in reality I wanted to eavesdrop of the conversation.    The agent continued by saying that he tells his buyers up front that he does not show short sales and if they are interested in seeing short sales he will refer them to another agent.     His reasoning was he had a lot of short sales contracts that never went to settlement and he felt it was a waste of his time and caused the buyers to become discouraged with the process of buying and often they stopped looking all together.  


Of course short sales are difficult and often times never go to settlement.   However, I disagree with his line of thinking for two reasons.   One, I believe this agent is giving up a lot of business.    However, this is his personal decision and trust me I plan to approach him to offer to take on his short sale clients if he wants to refer them to me.   When I work with buyers who express interest in short sales I spend a lot of time preparing them and educating them on the reality of the situation.    My buyers who do move forward with short sales are reminded by me before and during the process of the reality of the situation.     However, I do tell them that some short sales are successful and often times you can get a great price on a home if you are willing to deal with all the crap that goes along with short sales.    


The second reason that this agents comments upset me is even more important.    Whenever a home is not sold as a short sale and heads towards foreclosure  the real estate market recovery is delayed.   I believe it is every Realtors duty to try to get as many short sales to the settlement table.  This is one way we as Realtors can positively impact the real estate market.    The sellers of a short sale believe in home ownership.   They want to own property - this was demonstrated by their initial decision to purchase their property.   If they did not have a hardship they would not be headed towards foreclosure or trying to sell their home as a short sale.    These sellers are potential buyers in the future.   However, the length of that future is determined by whether they are successful in their short sale or not.    If these sellers have a foreclosure on their credit it will take a minimum of seven years before they can consider purchasing another property.   If they have a short sale the wait time is typically two years.     


So I ask you and this Realtor in my office - would you rather wait seven years for all of these short sale sellers to become buyers again or would you prefer it to happen in two years!   Personally I will take the two year time frame.    I believe it is each and every agents responsibility to try to get as many short sale properties to the settlement table.    What are your thoughts?



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Featured Donna Gurfolino Listing
Donna Gurfolino (Long & Foster Real Estate)
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Need Photos? Lets share some Resources. Please add to this list.
Neil E. Broten (www.ubadoo.com)

All of the below links come from Wikipedia - This is the page I got them from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources     This is an awesome resource.  Please check it out.  Additionally, you can type 'public domain photos', 'public domain images' or 'public domain clip art', - into your favorite search engine (mine is Google - soon to control the world). 

Additionally - and very importantly:

"The presence of a resource on this list does not guarantee that all or any of the images in it are in the public domain. You are still responsible for checking the copyright status of images before you" use them

I would just suggest that you make sure that the images you are using are public domain images.


I repeat (for extra emphasis): **Be SURE about the images you use - make certain they are public domain** 

 If you are unsure - do not use them.

I repeat (for extra emphasis):

Most of these websites make that pretty clear  ***but if you are unsure - I would advise NOT to use it.***


I hope that this helps:


Historical images

  • http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ammemhome.html Library of Congress American Memory site (Check copyright information for the separate items before deciding to use them!)
  • http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/ - public domain images of American Political History
  • http://www.exclassics.com/newgate/ngillus.htm Images from The Newgate Calendar. Mostly crimes and criminals from the 18th century. Also other works at http://www.exclassics.com
  • http://www.fromoldbooks.org/ Collection images scanned from various old books that are now in the public domain. Searchable. Used to be under http://www.holoweb.net/~liam/
  • http://www.john-leech-archive.org.uk/ John Leech sketch archives 1841 until 1864 from Punch magazine The page states they are long out of copyright and that they are believed to be public domain.
  • http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/ Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library's online collection of digital images. Most will be {PD-art}. 90,000 images from rare books and manuscripts, search by keyword.
  • http://digitalgallery.nypl.org New York Public Library. Over 500,000 images scanned from books. Including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more. There is a per-image usage fee even for public domain images.
  • http://www.oldbookillustrations.com/ Images scanned from old books. States that images on the site are the works of artists who "...have been dead for over seventy years, which makes them part of the public domain in many countries". Searchable by keywords.
  • America As It Was - a huge resource for vintage postcards in the U.S., organized by state. Any postcard first published in the U.S. before 1978 without an explicit copyright notice is PD. Lots of photos, aerial views, and maps of many U.S. locations.
  • "The Secret Museum of Mankind" - collection of anthropological photographs published in a 1935 book without copyright. Scanned and released under a CC-NC license, but images should be public domain, at least in the US, since they are faithful reproductions of PD images. (Warning: strong 1930's racist P.O.V.)

Specific periods


Visual arts

Note: Accurate photographs of two-dimensional visual artworks lack expressive content and are automatically in the public domain once the painting's copyright has expired (which it has in the US if it was published before 1923). All other copyright notices can safely be ignored.


Old photographs, photographers and their subjects


  • http://books.google.com - Scanned in books & historical documents. Keyword searchable. Great source for diagrams/illustrations. (not all public domain, many still in copyright)
  • http://gutenberg.net - Scanned in books. Searchable.
  • http://www.bookscanning.com - Scanning of public domain books without destroying them. Great source for non-destructible scanning. (This site provides scanning services of printed Public Domain Works. Customers pay a fee for an editable soft copy of the selected work.)


Logos and flags


 Postage stamps

http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org Collection of high-resolution Roman Catholic images of the Saints and the events in the history of Salvation. All pictures have been released into the public domain.

http://www.coolnotions.com/PDImages/pd_StoryOfTheBible.htm Collection of Public Domain pictures from the Bible.

General collections

Computer-generated public domain images

Public domain image meta-resources

Uncategorized links

U.S. Government sites

Search Engines

  • everystockphoto.com - Searching over 4.3 million public domain and creative commons photos including wikipedia and NASA. Free user accounts with drag and drop collections, and other features.
  • PicFindr.com - Searches a hand picked collection of public domain-, free stock photo-, and photo community sites. Includes the ability to search by rights! (whether you need to give credit, ask permission or not)
  • Spffy.com - Searches one billion stock photos and video, including free images, public domain, creative commons, royalty-free and rights-managed.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources"



 Best Regards,


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How We Found Our Home Online: Advertising Real Estate Listings on the Internet Really Does Work - But Most of the Time You'd Never Know It?
Neil E. Broten (www.ubadoo.com)

This is a true story. Enjoy! And, afterwards, let's discuss the benefits of an online presence even though you may not always be able to connect a purchase with a specific form of advertising. 


Sunday morning, August 13th, 2006 - My wife and I woke up early and were enjoying a cup of coffee on the 6x14 sq. ft. balcony of our condo.  Our beautiful view - the backside of the building directly behind ours separated only by a small strip of sparsely forested land with run-off drainage snaking through it (I'd call it a creek, but that would be a gross overstatement).  As we were sitting there talking and taking in what scenery was available to us, we both watched in disgust as one of the residents in the building across the way walked out onto their third floor deck and scraped the remnants of their breakfast plate out onto the ground.  I had had enough!  It wasn't like we lived in a slum or anything; in fact, we lived in one of the most affluent counties in the country.  It was time to buy a real home.

We went into the office (we all know this is really the second bedroom) and sat down in front of the computer.  Three bedroom two bath minimum with at least a half an acre and absolutely NO HOA!  I hate other people telling me what I can and can't do on my own property. 

Speaking of property, my wife always laughs at me every time I refer to my house as my property.  I still love her though. 

After four solid hours of searching every site we could find hosting RE listings in our area, we had our search narrowed down to three houses (yes - we are every realtors dream).  Two of the three that we could find within our budget that fit the majority of our requirements were your everyday run of the mill suburban floor plans located in newer neighborhoods.  Unfortunately with HOA's and neighbors whose houses you could almost touch if you reached out of your window far enough, these posibilities were quickly scratched off of our list.  I just couldn't deal with a HOA. 

This left us with one possibility, a home built before the signing of the Declaration of Independence - mid 1700's - I can't remember the exact year.   My wife and I jumped in the car and drove by the house just to get a look.  We really liked what we saw so we went home and called our Realtor and asked her to set up a viewing so that we could inspect the property.  Two days later we met our realtor at the house, toured the property and decided that we were, in fact, interested in making an offer.  Priced above our budget, we decided that we would offer as much as we could afford - which, I believe, was $30K below asking. 

Our realtor called their agent and informed him via voicemail that she had a client who was interested in putting a serious offer in on the house.  This so called ‘agent' never returned her call.  Now, I do not know exactly what she did, but I know that she did everything within her means to get a hold of this guy.  Four days later, still no response.  That evening (Saturday the 19th), we learned that the house was now under contract with another buyer.  Our agent shook the grapevine a little bit that evening and found out that the new buyer was also a client of the homes agent.  Hmmm...very fishy if you ask me. 

Our agent informed us that we should look for another home as, even though we had our hearts set on this historic home and with all of the problems that can come up during the inspection when trying to close on a historic home, that it was possible it would come back on the market.  However, due to the shenanigans of the home's agent, our Realtor advised us that it was better to just move on. 

Sunday morning, August 20th, 2006 - My wife and I spent another 4 hours searching the internet for the home of our dreams.  Just as before, we were able to narrow our search down to one house.  It was beautiful; it was within our budget, no HOA, half acre, smack in the middle of the county we have chosen for settling down.  To my surprise, it had been on the market for just one day and today, they were willing to schedule a viewing that evening.  We immediately called our Realtor and asked her to get us an appointment.  She called us back - we had an appointment for 7:00 pm. 

We went to the house, on sale as the result of a divorce.  The female homeowner was there and our Realtor instantly hit it off with her as she had also recently been through a divorce.  As we were touring the house, the homeowner, devistated over her pending divorce began to cry, our agent and my wife both consoled her.  It was a touching moment for all of the women (My wife should have written this section as I do not have the ‘feelings' to fully describe the situation. Anyways, we toured the house, loved it and decided to put an offer in that day.  Our offer was $1K above asking as a sign of good faith.  You see, for the listing price as low as it was, there was a lot of traffic that day.  We didn't want to lose the opportunity so we jumped on it. 

The next day our agent called with the good news. The offer was accepted. We later learned from the homeowner herself that because of the kindness of both our realtor and my wife - that she was going to accept our offer even if there were others that offered more.  All because she wanted to make sure that the home went to a nice young couple, and we seemed to be that couple as far as she was concerned. 

Just a note:  The first house we wanted to offer on had its contract fall through about two weeks later.  All of the sudden - that agent was interested in answering his voicemail.  Did we still want to offer?  Did we want to visit the property again?   Could he answer any questions for us? 

We had one thing to say to him:     Kick Rocks!


OK, so there are a few more morals to this story than I saw when I originally decided to write on this topic.

1.)    A strong internet presence with regard to RE listings / advertising will likely assist a Realtor in closing deals - and you may never even be able to sufficiently link the sale to a specific site or listing service provider.  However, you will find that if you ask your client how they found out about a listing, many times they will tell you that they found it ‘surfing the internet'. 

2.)    Always be nice to others when they are vulnerable.  It will give you good Karma.  And we all need good Karma. 

3.)    As a Realtor, you should always be available and willing to communicate with clients and potential clients as well as requests from other Realtors.  When you are only in it to serve your self interests, others can see that, and will eventually come to the same conclusion that we did about the agent for the historic house:  Kick Rocks! 

Thanks for reading my Blog and your interest in me.

Best Regards,

Neil E. Broten

As always - don't forget to list all of your listings with me on www.Ubadoo.com.  

See my profile for more detailed information:  http://activerain.com/realestate_marketing_advertising


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