Mike Schroll

Insights from Security Expert turned Web Entrepreneur

The Path From Boston to Myrtle Beach

In life I often find myself on the path less traveled. Now that path appears to be taking my wife and I from Boston, which we’ve called our home for the past 6 years, to Myrtle Beach, SC.

Why Myrtle Beach

I vacationed in Myrtle Beach with my family many times growing up. Last year I decided to share that experience with my wife, and we visited Myrtle Beach for the first time together. We had a great time! Often when we travel, we find ourselves saying “I could live here” - it happened in San Diego, CA during our honeymoon, it happened in Boulder, CO last year. In all of these instances though, we find ourselves quickly following up with reality check reasons why it wouldn’t make sense for us to move somewhere.

Having had a great time in 2011, we decided to make another trip to Myrtle Beach, just for a quick long weekend in June. While driving around our last morning in Myrtle Beach, I stopped at a piggly wiggly I knew to have gluten free items, and we ended up just driving around some nearby neighborhoods. We saw an open house and decided to stop and wander by. Thats how it all began.

Cost of living wake-up call

3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths 1367 sqft, new construction, 1 mile from the beach. $180k. In Boston – we live 7 miles outside Boston on the western fringe of the redline in Cambridge, MA. We’re now in the process of selling our 2-bedroom 1083 sqft Condo for $475k.

$131/sqft vs $460/sqft

Even property taxes are less - For owner occupied in Myrtle Beach, the expected property tax is under $500/yr. We were already having a field-day in Cambridge which doesn’t charge for the first $200k of value of your home, and were paying $1400/yr here vs. nearby towns which go as high as $20k!

Myrtle Beach job industry reality check

Thats all well and good, but normally anyone’s dream of moving to Myrtle Beach would end shortly thereafter, when they realized that there is very little industry in Myrtle Beach, and so their only job prospects would be low-paying and seasonal tourism work.

At the moment, this turned into a blessing in disguise for us, you see – my wife is an RN. There are a lot of older folks retiring to Myrtle Beach, and the Grand Strand Hospital is well known for its quality. Seems demand is high enough that some people are being paid well to relocate.

I have a web-based startup in Cambridge, and already spend plenty of time working remotely, and held jobs throughout college working 100% remote.

Family & Friends

Our excitement continued as we realized that airlines at the local airport offer inexpensive, direct flights to Boston and Allentown, PA - mere minutes from where both our parents still live.

My parents had a failed attempt at buying a retirement home in Ocean City, MD this spring, and upon discussing the idea with them, they said they’d retire to Myrtle Beach in a heartbeat if we were moving there. Woah! Another bonus: free babysitting for our future children.

We’ve also since discussed with friends - my two best friends now work remotely, and said they could see themselves landing in a place like Myrtle Beach in a few years. Sure its a long shot that it could all work out as well for them as for us, but its still reassuring to hear.

Why Now?

This was all great, and a nice concept; maybe some day, right? I turned to my wife, and said why not right now? She’d been unhappy in her job for the last 9 months, and unsuccessfully trying to find another RN position in the competitive Boston market. Although I’m dedicated to my startup and the plan was to be in the Boston area for a few more years – I was confident that I could successfully work remotely and take an occasional flight back when necessary.

After spending a few minutes looking at me like I was crazy – our minds started to race. Returning to Boston – we were off on a journey of exploration. Julie applied for a South Carolina nursing license, I started looking into housing options, and selling our Condo, and I began conversations with my co-founders: We were doing it – we were going to move to Myrtle Beach!

Almost

Life works in funny ways…. often. 3 days after returning to Boston, Julie receives a phone call: “Hi there, we had your resume on file, and you look like a good fit, could you come in for an interview tomorrow?”

She interviewed, received a great offer a few days later, and we couldn’t refuse. There went that dream – Myrtle Beach plans would be put on hold. Or would they? We really liked the idea and my parents were now on track to explore housing and moving to the area. The lower cost of living, proximity to beach, job opportunities for Julie, inexpensive travel options to visit her family, and new construction were all things we wanted. But she’d just accepted a new job! Well – how about if she gained two years in this new field of visiting nursing, and THEN we moved to Myrtle Beach. We were in agreement - Lets do it!

Not then, but not two years out: back to now!

Although we put things on hold, we were still exploring selling our Condo, as the market timing was right. I decided to forgo a realtor and try selling myself. We had a spectacular open house in August and I accepted an offer. Unfortunately my buyer was also unrepresented, and a first-time home buyer. He got cold feet, and the deal fell through. We had a second open house a month later, and we’re now back on track to sell. But time does funny things. The job isn’t turning out to be what Julie signed up for, and with the delayed closing, she’s comfortable moving on.

And so here we are, on a NEW plan. Its all coming together nicely. We’re set to close November 19th. We traveled to Myrtle Beach last weekend and nice gentleman who is renting out the top floor of his house: a block from where we’re lookking to build. Once the condo closes we’ll have cash in hand for a down payment in Myrtle Beach and we remove the normal stress associated with trying to time moving, selling, buying, and other headaches associated with such a big move. We signed a 6-month lease, so we have plenty of time to get settled, get Julie and job, and get involved in building a house.

It gives us time to make sure Myrtle Beach is the right choice.

I’ve been reading City-data, funbeaches forums, following Myrtle Beach news and recently became moderator of Reddit’s /r/MyrtleBeach

We were told that we should become familiar with the area traffic, and experience Myrtle Beach in the height of the tourist season, and in the lull of winter. We’ve since been back in July, September, and now October to do just that. (and the traffic can’t even compare to the traffic we’ve become accustom to in the Boston area)

It gives my parents and I time to figure out exactly where is right for us in Myrtle Beach.

Between June and July I did a lot of house hunting online: If we were to sell our place, I could buy a home in Myrtle Beach – even now – before we move there. Take advantage of low interest rates, and the flood of homes on the Myrtle Beach market.

We really liked the Market Common area (formerly Withers Preserve), but there are even better deals just on the other side of the intercoastal waterway – still just miles from the ocean.

Well after visiting in July with an eye for housing, we realized the Market Common area itself is what attracted us to Myrtle Beach, and its where we had to live.

Market Common (formerly Withers Preserve) is the place to be.

For me, it has everything I want in a location:

  • New construction (and from multiple, competing developers)
  • Proximity to the ocean
  • Beautiful landscaping
  • Nearby shopping (movie theatre, grocery store, restaurants)
  • Community ammenities (pools, fitness, lakes)
  • Outdoor activities (walking, biking trails, spots complex)
  • Latest technology (fiber to the home)
  • Proximity to the airport (and its inexpensive airlines and flights), but without the associated noise

How is this all possible? am I just imagining it? Surely there must be similarly wonderful places elsewhere in the US - and even on the East Coast - near our families!

Exploring the possibilities

For a reality check – we decided to do something different for our July vacation, which included a 3-day visit to Myrtle Beach: We would travel the length of the east coast, comparing coastal cities to Myrtle Beach. We flew into Fort Lauderdale Florida, driving up the coast, and ended our journey in Ocean City, MD.

What did we learn along the way? Although there are many beaitful places, with many wonderful attributes, none of them have the exact combination that makes the most sense for us – except Myrtle Beach. We definitely don’t think Myrtle Beach is for everyone: Unless you have such a creative combination of careers which can be supported in Myrtle Beach outside the tourism industry, it would likely not be the panacea it is to us. You may demand more culture or activities (though as a tourist town, Myrtle Beach is doing pretty well for a population of 30k)

So again, how is it possible that Mytle Beach has this perfect (for us) combination of attributes? I turn to what was formerly known as Withers Preserve.

What was Withers Preserve

The Myrtle Beach Airforce Base was at this location until 1993 when it was closed. The land was then exchanged with multiple parties and development began.

It was a grandious planned urban development project, which peaked in the late 2000s:

image

You can see it described in one of their sales brochures that I found in an archive of their old website. Dislosure: I went ahead and bought WithersPreserve.com

Unfortunately with the housing downturn, the owners of the project went bankrupt and the last was put back into the hands of the financers, and sold off to various entities.

This however did leave a wonderful situation: price competition, but everyone still having to adhere to the planned urban development plans. Leaving a wonderful community with competitive pricing.

Reborn as Market Common

The most successful and mostly completed component of the project was Market Common, a town-style shopping and living complex in the center of the former Withers Preserve.

image

Housing Developments in Market Common

I evaluated all the housing complexes in the Market Common area, and posted about it on city-data.

D R Horton - Beautiful homes customized to your tailoring. They tout their steal tie-downs build methodology as a big-win in an area with possibility of hurricanes. The tie-downs are epoxy’d into the concrete slab and bolted to the frame every 6 feet to keep your home on the ground, even when winds are pushing it up. They have a home design center where you get to choose every last detail of the inside build, and they’re willing to let minor modifications take place during the build process. Their Phase II buildout is starting in the next 6-9 months which includes 16 plots backing up to a lake. I’ve put myself on the interest list for those. They have a community pool coming, but it doesn’t sound as impressive as Lennar’s. Their plots are larger - 70ft wide, giving you a little more room between neighbors.

The market has come down substantially from 2007, but is just starting to turn up with recent price increases and new complexes being started.

DR Horton - Wait and See

I’m interested in DR Horton’s Highlands @ Withers Preserve community - and have fixated on two things:

The Cumberland Model

image

The Cumberland Model features a 2nd story and 3-car garage, this layout really fits our style and allows for some toys. I look forward to having my Genuine RoughHouse 50 scooter, a golf cart, and maybe one day the Terrafugia Transition driveable airplane. I can add an office on the back of the house, we have room to expand, and the 2nd floor with ‘bonus room’ gives us the same sense of a separate space as we’re use to in Pennsylvania with finished basements.

Lakefront lots

DR Horton is starting their 2nd phase of development, and that includes lots which back up to a very small lake (more properly a pond). Based on the way the community is laid out, this is very attractive to have a more private back yard with more free space - without a neighbor and their house immediately across from you in the back yard. Privacy could also be achieved with a wooded backyard, but they don’t offer that yet.

But with these wishes comes a wait: The lakefront lots will only become available in the spring. And they don’t yet know if the 3-car garage Cumberland will fit on them. So we shall wait. Perhaps it will work and be a perfect fit. Maybe another developer will come along in that time and offer an even better option.

Adventures Ahead

In the mean time, we’ll have more opportunity to explore Myrtle Beach, and get a feeling for whether we’re comfortable in the area. Maybe life plans will change yet again in another way I can’t possibly predict.

Either way, we’re very excited to be following our dreams and it’ll be a heck of a ride – we’re very excited to continue down the road.

My Experience Using Spinto for a Quick WYSIWYG Site

I recently had the need for a small website when listing my condo for sale by owner (moving to Myrtle Beach, SC – thats another blog post itself, as is doing FSBO and forgoing a realtor). Having recently been using Jekyll and markdown to create websites, like this one, I figured I’d give Spinto a try and see how the experience compares.

First, some quick background on Spinto:

  • It leverages Jekyll and stores changes to git, re-running jekyll on the content. This is very similar to the existing github pages model of building websites.
  • The difference is that Spinto integrates the Mercury editor for a pleasant web-based WYSYWIG experience. Should you ever need to do more than the editor can handle, you just git clone your repo, make your changes, and when you push jekyll auto-runs on the changes, and you get a new site.
  • Supports custom-domains too.
  • Released into beta just a few months ago by Matt Beale

So how did it go? Great! I created only two pages, and used a custom domain:

I did have a minor issue when trying to create other pages in a different spinto project when I was experimenting in preparation for this one, but Matt was responsive via email and it turned out that the bug affected only that project, and Matt has since fixed the issue.

Based on the skeleton CSS template Matt provides as an easy-start option, I did have to checkout the git repo to do some custom CSS, javascript, and tweak the layout templates used to get the different looks between the pages.

The experience using spinto and Mercury was quite pleasant though, and made for quick and easy edits of page content. I was able to create a wonderful looking site in just a few hours, and quickly add to it throughout the week as I brought more content online.

This post was actually inspired by a project I saw mentioned on Hacker News this morning called PageBlox which I could imagine being combined with Spinto to make for an even better WYSIWYG experience.

Some improvements I can recommend to Matt:

  1. I couldn’t figure out how to make the editor not close a paragraph tag when I hit enter, and instead do a break which affected my spacing
  2. Since you’re just interacting with the git repo, it’d be great to offer an option through the website to upload media into the repo, which could then be referenced from the image and link add boxes. It was slightly annoying to have to exit the editor, git pull, put my media in the repo, commit, push, re-open the editor, and continue by inserting or linking to some content. I ended up using dropbox to host some of my files and link to instead just so I broke that long cycle.
  3. Provide some simple CSS styling ability – even if you make me type raw CSS into a webUI, it’d be something that keeps the process on the website and doesn’t make me leave for the command-line.
  4. I’d love to see support for outside repos, much like one would do with a heroku project also hosted in github, but with support on spinto’s side. This way I could leverage spinto for use with this blog, or other github-pages sites!

Overall, once you do the initial design and layout work for yourself or anothers site, I can see this being a wonderfully powerful tool to bring simple website creation and editing in-line with current git-managed website management.

I recommend you give it a try for your next small website project!

My first open house this past Sunday was a smashing success (over 50 visitors in 2 hours!), offers are rolling in today, and it was painless to update the site last night with the flyer I used for the open house. I received a number of compliments on the website and photos, and overall I’m not sure I could’ve done it much better or faster any other way!

Startup Battlestation: Multi-display MacBook Pro

My Battlestation is near and dear to my heart. I’ve battled with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over the years, and this setup is the most comfortable, and least stressful on my wrists that I believe I’ve ever had.

As I’ve finally reached the pinnacle of setups while working on my startup, SocialSci in our office space at DogPatch Labs, I decided it was about time to share this joy before we move along to our own office space soon.

Multi-display MacBook Pro Battlestation

Macbook Pro with SSD + HDD

I started with a top of the line MacBook Pro 15” with 750GB HDD and added a top of the line Vertex 3 240GB SSD. I used a Drive Adapter, allowing me to remove the optical drive, and place the HDD in its place.

I also upgraded my ram from the stock to 8GB of ram after market, saving a few hundred dollars.

Multi-Monitor from a MacBook Pro?

I’ve struggled for a while trying to do multi-monitor setups with a MacBook Pro. Although Apple released with Thunderbolt Cinema Display and I eagerly purchased, with dreams of connecting it to my existing monitor(s), I quickly learned that this is not possible.

However, DisplayLink came to the rescue with their software update from December 2011. The Plugable UGA-2K-A now works with OSX Lion, and is stable. This is a USB Display adapter, which I’m using to power the left-most 27” display there, at its native resolution of 1920x1080.

This enables me to have the 3-screen setup you see above (click for larger image), with my laptop stand being a 3M Vertical Notebook Riser, which promotes airflow under the machine.

Chair rounds out the package.

Rounding out my setup is the Global Total Office Stamina+.

I’m 6’4” 275lbs, and this chair is amazing. It came recommended by an ergonomic consultant from a previous job.

Unbeknownst to most people, standard office chairs have a weight limit of 250lbs, and after a few months on them, they start to break down on me. This chair however was the most comfortable, supportive, and helped with my wrist pains, as compared to any other office chair I’ve ever experienced.

Superior back support, long, adjustable seat area for those with long legs. Its also designed for 24 hour use, and I use it hard!


This was cross-posted to Reddit.



disclaimer: my product recommendations are Amazon referral links

LinkedIn: Can You See Me Now?

Are you sharing the wrong LinkedIn URL, and they can’t see you?

Based on the recent project I took on, and interacting with many redditors, I asked for LinkedIn URLs. I was surprised by the high percentage of people who provided me with their private LinkedIn URL (when you search within LinkedIn, and view a profile), instead of the public URL listed in your profile.

You can learn a bit more about this at the LinkedIn Learning Center, but its a bit light. You may consider The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search for more in-depth information.

The public URL version, which you can find just above the share buttons on your edit page, is the one which should be shared. You also can customize that URL to make it more personable. Those who visit the public URL can view your profile when they’re not logged in to LinkedIn, or if they are logged in and are more than 3 degrees disconnected from you. When you provide the private URL, this is what they see!

I’ve had to explain the URL situation, and ask for resends, because I couldn’t see anything about them!

How many potential employers are they sending this wrong URL to who can’t see them, and move along to the next candidate without saying anything?

This was cross-posted to Reddit.

disclaimer: my book recommendations are Amazon referral links

Typo Email Are Belong to Me

I recently subscribed to Mailchimp’s Wavelength venture, and saw in their confirmation email a link to their blog post Comacast and Gmai: all your typo email are belong to us.

Now, certainly there are those who go out of their way to grab typo domains for popular consumer email providers. They mention examples of comcast along with gmail, and its easy to imagine plenty of other well known providers.

The point they didn’t bring up however is that of corporate email domains. I use Catch-alls on all my email domains, so I can do fun things like servicename [at] lx.tc - and then watch as they spam me.

I happen to own spent.us (don’t ask), which is very similar to
spnet.us - the email domain for Successful Practices Network

Who happen to send me email… all. the. time.

A quick search of my email box shows over the last 3 years I’ve received no less than 18 email threads of email from them. I’ve received emails about HR issues, attachments to clients, and countless personal communiques. Each and every time I diligently forward the email to the correct party, CC everyone on the email thread, and beg them to please not make the same mistake again. One user even had a colleague’s email entered as spent.us in his address book, leading to a long discussion about the merits of contacting their IT group and asking them to resolve it if he doesn’t understand how to edit his address book.

Its left me with more questions than answers:

  • Who else experiences these issues?
  • What domains have you received others email at?
  • What can we do to solve this problem?

If the email admins at spnet.us chose to, they could forcefully reject sending mail to spent.us via a number of means (DNS, configure spent.us as a local email domain mirroring spnet.us). (To that end, having just thought of this solution - I’m reaching out to their contact on the domain whois)

What of the future? As people such as myself point this out - Will someone devise a methodology for identifying more commonly mis-typed or misspelled corporate email domains, and purposefully try to capture rogue emails? To what benefit?

Companies Who Have Spammed Me

For years now I’ve maintained a system where I use a unique email address when I sign up for any particular service. This has helped me to better keep track of emails, and filter the emails.

Its also had the nice side effect of allowing me to see who has sold my email address, been compromised, or spammed me in other ways.

And so, I’ve decided its about time to start calling out these companies (especially the ones which claim to be anti-spam), so here we go! Where possible, I’ve always tried to follow up with the company, and provide explanation below.

I define spam not as newsletters, or reminders - but when I start getting drug, pharmaceutical and penis emails.

A number of my email addresses have been compromised due to security breeches at 3rd parties. The worst has been Aweber. They’re a newsletter provider who has been compromised not just once, but twice, and had their full list of email addresses for all their mailing lists stolen. *sigh*.

Spammed due to aweber compromise:

Other:

I intend to keep this list updated as I discover more.

Disclaimer: yes, I’m embarrassed to have ever been associated with some of these companies.

Have You Been Applying to Jobs Online for Months? You’re Doing It Wrong.

The few, the fortunate

There are certainly many fields where getting jobs are easy right now: Startups and high-tech are just a few. Not that it’s easy for those startups to get qualified candidates, but if you happen to be one, you can probably still throw your resume out in to the void, and find some companies that will respond, and you’d get a job in short order.

What you’re doing wrong

For everyone else, let me be clear about this: Blindly submitting your resume, or filling out job application will NOT get you a job anytime soon. It amazes me just how many people don’t understand this, and make this mistake. I’m really not offering up anything new, this is covered in an immense number of sources, one of my favorite is the book What Color is Your Parachute? And yet, I keep running across people who don’t realize that what they’re doing is ineffective and don’t realize there’s a better way.

Evidence

For some quick anecdotal evidence, how did I get my current job? Through getting to know SocialSci in the same co-working space, and them coming to trust my competency, and me seeing an opportunity for me in the company, and straight-out asking them to hire me. How did my wife get her current job as an RN? Through a neighbor working at the same hospital recommending her for the position. How did my mother get a job after being out of work for a few years? She applied to a job where the Hiring Manager/Interviewer happened to have gone to High School with her, and they connected.

Is it scary and difficult to try to get a job? Yes. Is it more scary and difficult to NOT be doing everything you can to get a job, and floundering for months if not years: Even more so!

In the last week I’ve helped advise the following people:

  • A college graduate with 4 Bachelors degrees who graduated two years ago and has had a low-paying job he hates for the last 11 months.
  • A foreign student whose OPT (Optional Practical Training VISA) is about to run out, who just finished an internship and is moving cities for the 3rd time in the last year, looking for a Marketing job that will sponsor him.
  • A college student academically dismissed from his primary university who had been taking random community college classes with no matriculation or plan in sight, whom just realized most of his classes won’t transfer to his old college, or a different degree at another college.

Misconception & Idealism

There was a common thread of misconception and idealism: Believing that getting a bachelors degree will solve all your job problems, that people will be beating down your door to give you a job as soon as you graduate, without any effort on your part.

Finally, I also believe there’s an element of hiding behind the keyboard, which will probably only continue to get worse with coming generations: These candidates didn’t even consider calling or speaking to someone to get what they wanted, the only option was interacting with websites and MAYBE sending a form email.

I get it. I’m introverted and I hate interacting with people. I REALLY hate having to make a phone call. I also realize that sometimes to get what you want in life you have to suck it up and do some things that aren’t enjoyable. What amazes me is how long people can persist with ineffective techniques like applying to jobs via Craigslist and Monster – without getting frustrated to the point of trying something different.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

Solution

Now before I go too far off the deep end ranting about the problem, lets get back to the solution.

As I mentioned, I’m practically stealing this advice from What Color is Your Parachute? and many other sources.

Grow your in-person professional network

Attend networking events, either in your field, or just generic professional networking events. Get some cheap business cards from VistaPrint (free, just pay for shipping) and exchange them. Go home and LinkedIn connect with each person. Email those you had something to say to, referencing what you talked about. Include a follow up question or two.

Adding people as Facebook friends who you don’t know, and have never spoken to is not ‘networking’ or using social media to get a job.

For the college graduate with 4 degrees, he found a job listing on LinkedIn for a local company, I had a connection, and now his resume is going in front of the CEO - Thats how to get results!

Apply - with a cover letter, and follow up

Find the right job, and put more effort in to it. Research the company, research the people who work or have worked there. Find a connection in your network. Write a cover letter going over how you meet their requirements. Don’t dismiss the job because you’re not a 100% match. No one is. That’s usually okay, because being a 100% match is not what will get you the job. The next step is what will get you the job: Find someone who works there, and get him or her to talk to the hiring manager and get your resume/application pulled out of the pile.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a 100% match, or if a different candidate is a 100% match, because both your resumes will sit in an electronic bit bucket and never be read by anyone without this step. Companies are now having a problem of getting TOO many resumes - most candidates which are grossly unqualified, and your resume ends up getting lost in the noise and never looked at. If you were 1 of 1000 resumes submitted that day, do you believe yours will be thoroughly reviewed?

Find companies you like, and ask about jobs

Most jobs (like the two from my anecdotal evidence) aren’t even LISTED as jobs. You won’t find them on craigslist or monster. They’re positions that didn’t exist, but were created due to a known but not formally sought after need, or just because the right candidate came along. If you are passionate about a field, find a company that you respect or are passionate about. Learn about them (maybe you already know about them!) - and reach out to someone there, explaining who you are, how you believe you can help them be a better company by bringing you on.

Get more creative to get noticed

What is everyone else doing to get a job in this tough economy? Well first, they’re making the same mistakes you are, as evidenced above, and then when they get frustrated enough, or get a clue; they’re doing what’s being advised here. So you need to get creative about your tactics and approach so you stand out. Kelly Rice recently started working in my office for Kinvey - What a wonderful personal website she has to represent her skills and personality - no doubt helped her stand out in the crowd.

Don’t get frustrated - get inspired, get creative, and get noticed!

(Credit to Sean Laurence for this section)

So you’re underemployed, or don’t have the time - Stop Making Excuses!

You’re not being paid what you want, you don’t like your job, you get home from work and plop down in front of the TV… Stop. That sucks. Take a 30-minute nap, and turn off the TV, log off Facebook and get to it! Yes, your situation isn’t great, but if you’re not proactively trying to improve it, a better situation isn’t just going to fall in your lap!

Disclaimer: Links to Amazon in this article are affiliate links

Zillow’s Make Me Move for Reservoir Lofts

I was the first resident to move into my Condo at the Reservoir Lofts complex in Cambridge, MA in May 2008 when I purchased Unit 302 with my wife. I’ve been a huge fan of Zillow over the years, and so recently the idea popped in my head to take advantage of their ’Make Me Move’ concept, and list my property.

If you’re not familiar with ‘Make Me Move’, here’s Zillow’s explanation:

Make Me Move is a free and easy way to tell others the price you’d be willing to sell your home for, without actually putting it on the market. It’s the “dream price” you might accept if someone offered you that price.

Great! Sounds wonderful! My property was recently appraised at $475k this past year during a refinance, so I decided to list Unit 302 at a Make Me Move Price of $500,000 - a tidy profit over the appraised value.

Now here’s where things start to get weird. A few weeks back I received a phone call and voicemail from a realtor, asking when she could take a tour of my property, and what my flexibility was on moving.

This was followed up today by a fellow resident in my complex saying that they heard I was selling, and had a friend interested.

Now, after I received the first call from a realtor, I decided to remove my phone number from the listing and only left the email contact form. I haven’t heard from any other realtors.

The question I’m left with is: Is Zillow doing a poor job of explaining or differentiating ‘Make Me Move’ listings from standard listings? Or are users (including realtors) just ignoring the differentiation, and assuming everything listed on Zillow is on the same playing field as far as the market goes?

Trust me, I Love the concept of Always Be Closing, and I’m happy to seriously sell and move if the right offer comes along. I’m concerned, however, that I’ll continue dealing with buyers who are comparing my listing to others on the market and want to bargain me down in price. That is Not what I’m interested in - wasting my time racing to the bottom. I’m not desperate to sell, I’m not even looking to sell, which is what to me is attractive about the concept of Make Me Move.