We’re happy to have the CoRE back here at Geek Estate this week. What was I looking for? As you may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of a strong personal voice, so that was a high priority in my selection process. I also looked for educational value. Did I learn something by reading this? Or did I think their target audience would have learned something?

Since we’re rapidly coming up on the holidays, I thought I’d give this a bit of a Santa Claus theme by naming my awards after some notable figures from the North Pole. Here are this week’s award winners:

Santa Claus Award – Raymond takes this week’s top honor for his post “What Is My Credit Score and How Is My FICO Calculated?” over at Money Blue Book. With the economy in a recession and lending requirements tight, understanding your FICO score is even more critical than it would be in a normal market and Raymond does a thorough job explaining the complex issue. Photo courtesy of HowStuffWorks.

Mrs. Claus Award – Just as Mrs. Claus is vital to making Santa’s work easier, RSS is vital to blogging. Joe Manausa gets this award because his post “What Is A RSS Subscription” article at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog talks about a vital functionality of blogging that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. It’s safe to say most home owners, buyers, and sellers who are not immersed in Web 2.0 technology do not understand how RSS works. Joe helps explain the technology. Photo courtesy of BuyCostumes.com.

Rudolph Award – Morgan Evans wrote “New York City First time home buyer and Investor Must Read” at Morgan’s New York City Real Estate Blog. I think Morgan’s article is a great example of how to blog for a local consumer market. For those not immersed in the Manhattan real estate market on a day-to-day basis, this is a great educational post detailing the types of units on the market. Since I had never heard of a cond-op, I certainly learned something from the post.

Elf Award– Brian Block takes the Elf award with “The Tale of a Near Death Accident, a Bank Robbery, a Washing Machine & the Completed Short Sale” posted at Virginia Real Estate News. Wow, what a story – I certainly hope every short sale is not this difficult to complete. Since Elves are the ones in the trenches getting things done, I thought this was a good award for Brian’s post since he stuck it out and completed the deal against all odds.

Grinch Award – This has to go to Handy Saputra for “Home Loan Closing Costs May Be Surprising” posted at Home Loan and Mortgage Info. The Grinch tries to ruin Christmas just as mortgage closing costs aim to ruin a buyer closing on a mortgage — and Handy educates borrowers about the charges that might pop up.

Photo courtesy of MajorityRules.org.

Next week’s CoRE will be over at Northwest Indiana Mortgages, so make sure to submit your post by Sunday, Dec. 21 for consideration. I hope you enjoyed this week’s carnival!