From a mayor who is shaming banks to take care of their weed-infested foreclosed properties to contractor fraud in Texas, Zillow’s roundup has you covered coast-to-coast this week.

Bank-owned homes get shame treatment. SOURCE: City of Auburn

Wall of Shame

There’s one mayor in America who knows how to get banks to clean up the foreclosed properties they’ve let fall into disrepair. NPR station KPLU tells the story of former banker and Auburn, WA mayor Pete Lewis, who’s posting photos of run-down properties (above) that have successfully shamed banks to take care of their messes.

Luis Ortiz, left, will join Ryan Serhant and Fredrik Engstrom this season. SOURCE: The Real Deal

Addition For “Million Dollar Listing”

The Real Deal lets it loose that Bravo show “Million Dollar Listing New York” has added the $50-million-listing-man Luis Ortiz to this year’s lineup. Meanwhile, lovable broker Michael Lorber, who tried hard not to be pushed around by twin egomaniacs Ryan Serhant and Fredrik Eklund (above), is apparently leaving the show.

SOURCE: Seattle Times

Urban Tall and Skinnies

Building lots are hard to come by in cities like Seattle, but a new trend described by the Seattle Times shows how some developers are taking advantage of ordinances to drop new houses onto tiny parcels (above). What would you do if you woke up and found a house hovering over your backyard?

Really Sick Set

Call this a little bit too much reality TV. According to a story on Good Morning America and Yahoo! A house in Houston (above) about to be used in the TLC show “Hoarding: Buried Alive” has made at least two people sick with a hantavirus.

A Texas school teacher was left with this botched swimming pool project. SOURCE: WFAA TV

Digging Deep on Contractor Fraud

AOL Real Estate shows how unscrupulous contractors bilk homeowners out of money and inflict weeks and months of wasted time. They also provide information on how to not let that happen to you (above).

Matthew Hyland is a Brooklyn chef chosen by Google to accept or reject neighborhood map changes. SOURCE: The New York TImes

Drawing The Line

Where you live can make a difference for a lot of reasons, especially when it comes to real estate values and resale. The New York Times’ story about amateur mapmakers (above) brought forward some interesting twists to the pursuit of neighborhood integrity. Who draws the line of where a neighborhood starts and ends?

John Olerud wants this pine taken down. SOURCE: Seattle Times

Fences Make Good Neighbors, But Not This Tree

The Seattle Times goes high and long in a story about former Major League Baseball first baseman John Olerud’s dispute with a neighbor over a Chinese pine (above) that blocks the Olerud’s view of Lake Washington, Seattle and the Olympic Mountains. Through it all, Olerud and the neighbor have remained civil, even as official action is being sought by Olerud.

About the Author

Laura Vecsey is a former sports columnist, news reporter and politics writer and has worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Baltimore Sun, Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union and Harrisburg Patriot-News. She was also a regional editor with She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

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