REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Face it: Writing's on the wall in Belmont


ADDRESS: 503 Rialto Street


ASKING: $327,500

ASSESSMENT: $243,700


SIZE: 1,011 fin. sq. ft. / 267 unfin.

LAND: 0.05 acres

CURB APPEAL: 8.5 out of 10

AGENT: Stuart Rifkin, Hasbrouck Real Estate Corp., 295-4663

The median age of Facebook users is steadily increasing. What was once the exclusive domain of college students is expanding to include real estate writers, their older sisters, and oftentimes students' parents– who perhaps may even use it for more than checking up on Junior. Savvy advertisers relish the ability to target their products according to the information its users freely give: things like gender, age, interests, marital status, and academic major make it a cinch to tailor advertisements to very specific consumers.

For an Internet entrepreneur like the founder of local real estate information aggregator–- who also happens to have this house for sale in Belmont– Facebook is thus a logical and powerful advertising medium. The owners are hoping they'll find a buyer by going beyond the avenues of traditional real estate marketing. (Of course, this story in the Hook probably won't hurt either, but we're sticking to our premise! )

To that end, they've also created a website, (, complete with dozens of photos and facts about the house– and the neighborhood in which they hope to remain, though in a slightly larger place now that their first child has arrived.

A quick stroll around the block illustrates the convenience of living here, particularly for various gastronomic "–ophiles": La Taza, the Local, and the new Crush wine shop are literally one minute away. Mas? A mere three minutes, no mas. 

The Downtown Mall is about four blocks in the opposite direction, with Spudnuts looming invitingly between, daring one to post a net calorie loss on the morning walk to work. 

Perched well above street level, and with a peaked (pointy, not sickly) façade, this Tudor has a vertical leap reminiscent of Michael Jordan before his boredom-induced baseball detour. High ceilings and wide arched openings transitioning from living room to dining room to kitchen give the ground level a feeling of space beyond its relatively diminutive square footage. On one side, a screened porch is a cozy place to sip morning coffee.

The small yard is also private, thanks to the elevation and hedges thick enough to make a French military planner feel secure. Gasoline prices may fluctuate, but the seller never knows since he walks to work, cuts the grass with a blade mower, and trims the hedge with manual clippers. More money for tapas!

The top floor makes it clear the owner is not targeting families of more than three in his Facebook ads. The ample master suite boasts an excellent view of the morning sun and Carter Mountain. The second bedroom will work in its current configuration as a nursery. A Baggins would find it comfortable, but don't expect Gandalf to want to sleep over. In the lone bathroom, the roof's steep slope competes for space with the shower– with presumably uncomfortable results.

Despite the top floor's angularity, the house has an attic. It must be like the cone of a brown stucco rocket, but the storage space is there. There's also a small basement with washer and dryer– thank goodness, too, because the wine and coffee spills that will inevitably stain one's best wrinkle-free oxford just a block away will require an immediate tumble in a Whirlpool.

In sheer juxtaposition to this listing's technological forwardness is the fact that the local real estate agents' association does not permit independent web addresses to appear in its listings. In fact, it was the owner's frustration with the limits of local real estate technology– experienced while conducting the house hunt that led him to this place three years ago– that prompted him to create CurbPlaces. He and his agent believe, as does real estate uber-blogger Jim Duncan, that the future of real estate sales is not in controlling information, but in adding value with local knowledge and negotiating skill.

So what about Facebook– can it sell a house? We'll be a block away at La Taza, waiting to find out.



Each week, a brave local seller invites the Hook to provide an impartial, warts-and-all look at their real estate listing. E-mail yours today!



Thanks Mark! We love this house and are hoping someone else will to. The web address for the house, again is:

We've gotten over 1,800 visitors to that website from Facebook. To contrast, we've gotten 60 from, 29 from Craigslist and 42 from MyCAAR (you have to click the "virtual tour" button there). That's translated in to 50 or so people that have come to take a tour in the last two weeks.

This is a charming house, with a compelling vision of downtown/resident friendly neighborhood. I plan to look into this, although I would have to sell current home in SC. Great idea to use Facebook! Provides thorough visual details for the out of town viewer, especially.

I'm excited to view this cute little place tomorrow! = )