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"8 Things I Learned About Philly By Cruising the Listings"

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In Seattle lives one Ryan "Knuckles" Nickum, who has the weirdest portfolio of online products you could possibly imagine. For instance, there's his website Custom Nickname (once featured on CNET), where Nickum and his two partners will come up with the perfect nickname for you (because your current nickname is Pickles) or your friend (who lacks a nickname) for his birthday. The writing services he offers at Knuckle Mart are slightly different: a custom sea shanty for when you're stuck in traffic; a LinkedIn recommendation from a supervillain, like Darth Vader; a personalized funny best man speech; 10 actually plausible reasons to phone out of work (not "food poisoning"); "Five Horoscopes from a Bitter Astrologer"; and rewrites for your online dating profiles and Craigslist ads. There's more, but you get the idea.

Knuckles recently took on a more conventional task: blogging for real estate website Estately. In so doing, he's had reason to look at endless real estate listings in innumerable markets, and he's noticed a few things that make Philly stand out among the other the cities he's been trolling—cities like L.A., San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Chicago. Safe to say, he's got a pretty keen eye.


1. Your old money people are keeping it old school. None of the nouveau LA thrills those rich folks in Hollywood are doing. 2. People like to have green astroturf on the front porches and bars in their basement. Is this to help guests from slipping on the steps when they stumble home from a night of boozing it up in your basements?

3. It's cheaper to buy a house in Philly then it is to rent one for a month in the Hamptons or Hollywood Hills. Too bad you don't have a beach.

4. The old buildings downtown are far more attractive than in other cities.

5. Backyard gardening is not as common as backyard pavement.

6. Way more chandeliers and wood paneling and I'm a man who loves me some wood paneling. Not so into the chandeliers.

7. How come there isn't more Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers stuff up on people's walls? Is Philly no longer a sports town?

8. Do you not have IKEA in Philadelphia? In every other city, sellers fill the houses they intend to flip with cheap furniture from IKEA so they all look modern and exactly the same.


Thanks, Ryan—er, Knuckles—for those observations.