Time for an Announcement (or: What’s with the ads?)

Observant readers of Seattle Bubble have noticed that the last few weeks have brought some fairly major changes—a new, cleaner layout for the blog, avatars in the comments, a redesign of the forum to match the blog, a fancy new sidebar section: “Recent Forum Posts,” the addition of tags to stories, and oh yeah… ads. This may lead readers to ask a few questions:

  • Where does The Tim find the time to do all this?
  • Why are you adding advertising now, after two years of being ad-free?
  • Also, why do I have this strange urge to spend all my evenings watching “Short Circuit”?

Well, I don’t think I can really help you with that last one (let’s try to stay on-topic), but hopefully this post will sufficiently address the first two.

Here’s the short version:
As of January 28th, Tim Ellis is self-employed, and Seattle Bubble is one part of the plan to make enough money to pay the bills.

Here’s the long version:
I’ve had a growing list of projects mulling about in my head, and although I enjoy electrical engineering and had nothing against my employer, I have always had a strong desire to be self-employed. Given my present financial situation of zero debt, low living expenses (including no rent, as my wife and I are caretakers on an unused property), no kids (yet), and enough liquid savings to last over two years with zero income, it is hard to imagine a better time in my life to chase this particular dream. So, upon returning from our big giant road trip, I put in the two week notice at work, and as of January 28th, I am now an employee of Me, Myself, and I, Inc.

Although Seattle Bubble is not the entirety of my plan to generate an income, it is an important element. What this means is that you’ll be seeing some advertising, but you’ll also be seeing more frequent updates, additional content, and a quicker responses to your questions and concerns. I intend to do my best to keep Seattle Bubble interesting and relevant, even as the housing market finally comes down from its recent ridiculous highs. In addition to the advertising, I’m considering a few other ways of making some money off of Seattle Bubble, including sales of stickers and/or t-shirts, some sort of premium content (over and above what is already being offered—nothing currently free would become for-pay), and of course there’s always the big DONATE link at the top.

But that’s not all…
Now you may be asking: “So, if Seattle Bubble isn’t the whole plan, how do you intend to make enough money to get by in Seattle?”

That’s a great question. To answer that, I’d like to direct you to my brand new blog: Thatch Mound. Thatch Mound is the “parent company” that I have created to serve as an umbrella over all of the projects I’ll be working on. In the blog I’ll be giving a first-hand account of my experiences as I build the business from the ground up. I hope you’ll find it interesting enough to visit regularly and see how things unfold.

Visit Thatch Mound

So that’s what’s going on, that’s the big secret. As for the ads on Seattle Bubble, I realize that they’re probably poorly targeted, and they may be a bit annoying (though I’ve tried to avoid making them invasive), but hopefully they don’t detract from the quality content that we work hard to bring you here. If they really bother you a lot, I recommend using Firefox with the Adblock Plus add-on. Ta-da, ads gone.

I appreciate any financial support you care to send via the donate option, and for those of you that have already generously donated, thank you. I’ll set you up with some free t-shirts or subscription content when those things are added in the near future.

Now go visit Thatch Mound, and tell all your entrepreneurial-minded friends about it, too.

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

72 comments:

  1. 1
    Cougar says:

    Congrats Tim. Once your the boss you will never go back! Good luck.

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  2. 2
    Scotsman says:

    Good move, Tim- I wish you the best of luck! After 20 years of self employment I could never go back!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. 3
    biliruben says:

    Number Five is Alive!

    Good luck on your foray into entrepreneur-dom, Tim. Might I suggest getting that wife digging in the coal mines while you in this transitional period.

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  4. 4
    biliruben says:

    This suggestion probably belongs in some post from last week, but I would really like to see some sort of housing-celebrity death match. Bubble-head (you, now that you have all this free time) takes on local housing “experts” in a fact-fest to the death.

    Or something like that.

    Maybe something like Dueling Fools over at Motley Fool:
    http://www.fool.com/investing/value/2008/01/23/dueling-fools-microsoft-bull.aspx?terms=dueling+fools&vstest=search_042607_linkdefault

    But look at a neighborhood median or even a house’s list price, and debate it’s appropriateness and whether it will go up or down.

    Just a thought.

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  5. 5
    David McManus says:

    Tim,

    Promise you won’t ever become a Realtor. Raise your right hand and swear on it!

    -David

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. 6
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Good for you, Tim.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. 7
    laxtosnoco says:

    Great news!

    The only downside is that you may be confirming some people’s stereotype of a dirty renter:
    Unemployed (check)
    Unshaven (check)
    Following his dreams (check)

    Just promise you’re not going to move in with your parents and start eating curry!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. 8
    EconE says:

    Sweet! Now just grab a robe, pipe and slippers and we can roam the 2200 complex with a cocktail in hand like a couple of drunk Hugh Hefners!

    Looking forward to buying a t-shirt also.

    One last thing…can we get email addresses at seattle bubble? I’d love to sign Realtor logbooks at open houses with an email address of EconE@SeattleBubble.com

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  9. 9
    Ray Pepper says:

    I have a great place to sell those shirts! We attend most trade shows and I will place them on display everywhere we travel in 2008. Same with Bumper Stickers! Let me know what I can do for you? Were going back on comcast next month with our “headknocker guy” and I don’t mind spreading out our advertising budget a bit.

    http://www.500Realty.net

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  10. 10
    Sniglet says:

    Here are some suggestions for “premium” content Tim could think about to broaden his income.

    1. Collect and publish some very useful statistics in King County that no one currently is putting together. There could be demand from a variety of industry insiders for a more accurate view of where the market is headed. You could make some raw numbers public on a regular basis to attract attention, but provide the details (like neighbourhood break-downs) for a fee. The tricky part would be finding incentives to get particular market participants to hand over the info on a regular basis. Maybe there could be some monetary incentive for mortgage brokers and escrow firms to provide monthly data (e.g. they get a cut of the revenue from selling the compiled data). Such statistics could include:
    – the number of accepted offers that fall through (and the top reasons)
    – the percentage of offers that are made
    – the number of for-sale-by owner places
    – the percentage of loan types being used (e.g. option ARM, 30 year fixed, 100% financed, no-doc, etc)
    – the number of loan applications that are made, and declined
    – planned lay-offs at escrow services
    – volume of business at escrow firms

    2. A referal service that links prospective buyers up to known-good appraisers who can independently verify the REAL market value of a home. People could rate the appraisers (could collect fees from prospective buyers who use the list)

    3. A referal service that links struggling home-owners with good Washington legal help, who specialize in “walking away”.

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  11. 11
    CalifornianWhoBoughtRE says:

    Please tell me you haven’t gotten into the flipping business?

    Congrats on the gutsy move trying to build a business. I have the luxury of a day job that entails working from home and only consumes about 75% of my time. I and am trying to find a business to spin up on the side.

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  12. 12
    Sniglet says:

    Not to be too negative, but I don’t know how great a time this is for relying on web advertising for revenue. If we are about to embark on a signifant recession (which many people who frequent Seattle Bubble believe), then advertising ALWAYS takes a massive hit. Even if Seattle Bubble maintains a large readership (or even grows it), the over-all money spent on advertising is likely to decrease substantially. Companies like Google will more than likely see the effects in their stock price soon (wait, weren’t investors already disappointed by a GOOG earnings miss last month?).

    The irony is that the vindication of Seattle Bubble (i.e. that homes are overpriced and a significant correction is inevitable) may also lead to a loss in revenue potential from the site itself.

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  13. 13
    The Tim says:

    Sniglet said,

    Not to be too negative, but I don’t know how great a time this is for relying on web advertising for revenue.

    Indeed. This is exactly why I am not relying solely on Seattle Bubble or on advertising as a source of revenue. The concept of Thatch Mound is to get multiple revenue sources set up, such that the loss or decline of any one will not be crippling blow to the business as a whole.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. 14
    patient says:

    Case-shiller zooming. From national down to zip code level. If you can get S&P to provide you with the needed data that would be pretty cool even if it’s only once a month and two months old.

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  15. 15
    Joel says:

    I agree with Sniglet. Right now seems like a difficult time to start a web-based business. I think we’re hitting the end of this little Web 2.0 boom. I will be interesting to see what your service oriented sites are (I’m assuming they will produce profits from something other than ad-revenue) because it looks like ad revenue is dropping precipitously and will continue to do so for a while. Then again, I might just be jealous because I have been day-dreaming about doing the same thing, although my circumstances are the exact opposite (I pay rent, just had a baby, very little saving because I just graduated a little over a year ago).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. 16
    thelongwait says:

    good luck, Tim. I’ll be sure supporting your endeavor, indirectly.. “wink wink” :-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. 17
    nitsuj says:

    Congrats, and welcome to the realm!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. 18

    Congrats on living your dream, Tim!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. 19
    nitsuj says:

    Overall online ad spending isn’t dropping precipitously, it’s just that the growth rate isn’t what it was. Overall online ad spending is growing, and will continue to grow as money shifts from trad media to online.

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  20. 20
    Sniglet says:

    nitsuj said: “Overall online ad spending isn’t dropping precipitously”

    True, on-line ad spending has dropped significantly– YET. For that matter, neither has spending for traditional media advertising seen much in the way of declines in the last 6 months either.

    However, once the recession really kicks in, I fear that all bets are off, and that we will see over-all ad spending plunge precipitously. All it takes is for corporations to start reporting actual declines in business. So far we are just starting to hear companies report they are seeing declines in growth (like CSCO did this evening). Give it a quarter or two and we will start to see these same companies report outright contractions in their businesses, not just slower growth.

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  21. 21
    deejayoh says:

    True, on-line ad spending has dropped significantly– YET. For that matter, neither has spending for traditional media advertising seen much in the way of declines in the last 6 months either.

    Online advertising won’t be dropping any time soon. Growth has slowed, but it’s mainly a “size of base” issue. Online is currently <10% of all advertising spend and keyword based (e.g. Google) advertising is about the only form of spend and advertiser can calculate an ROI on. Tradiitional media advertising may drop, but the rate of substitution from that to online will also probably increase during a recession.

    I’ve talked to plenty of advertising people about the trends, on both the traditional media (ad agency) and online side (Google and Microsoft). The view is pretty consistent.

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  22. 22
    mike2 says:

    Congrats.

    During my early days of entrepreneurship, I was spread all across the board. Anything that was interesting I’d jump on. It only took a few months before the revenue generating projects took 90% precedent, as it became clear which projects were going to bring in cash.

    After a few months it was all projects and marketing. Projects came and went, but marketing had a life of it’s own. Search engine optimization was a tiresome chore, however it had a direct and long lasting impact on lead generation and sales.

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  23. 23
    stephen says:

    Best of luck, I have enjoyed my daily stop here.

    I’ve tried the switch a couple of times with crappy results. The day job is here to stay for me. My downfall was always sales. Always had other things to do instead of sales. The best advice I ever ignored was ask at least ten people a day to do business with you…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  24. 24
    nitsuj says:

    “However, once the recession really kicks in, I fear that all bets are off, and that we will see over-all ad spending plunge precipitously.”

    If you can purchase advertising on a performance basis, where you only pay for a customer, you will continue to spend in downtimes.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  25. 25
    Alan says:

    Congratulations and best of luck!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  26. 26

    Tim,

    It is good that you are working on a side business other than your job. I am a Mechanical Engineer by profession, eceived a masters degree from University of Washington and can relate very well with your intentions. It used be that you could proudly retire from one job happily but not any more.

    I think what you are doing is excellent but just keep in mind the consumers you target, just like I do woking for 500realty.net

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  27. 27
    jess/pumpkin says:

    Good luck, Tim!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. 28
    Greg M says:

    How do you remove comments from here? I didn’t realize they get archived and now they show up when I google my name! I’d like to remove a couple that I made earlier if possible.

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  29. 29
    Joel says:

    If you can purchase advertising on a performance basis, where you only pay for a customer, you will continue to spend in downtimes.

    A click doesn’t always translate to a sale and it seems reasonable to me that during a consumer led recession the percentage of people window shopping vs. actually buying will increase.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. 30
    Angie says:

    Best of luck on your new venture(s), Tim.

    low living expenses (including no rent, as my wife and I are caretakers on an unused property), no kids (yet), and enough liquid savings to last over two years with zero income, it is hard to imagine a better time in my life to chase this particular dream.

    Pardon me, did I read that right? *No* housing costs?

    Sure is easy to cast a critical eye on other peoples’ choices when you enjoy a rare and enviable situation. Also far easier to maintain zero debt when you’re exempted from what is usually a major expenditure.

    Ouch. I think your cred just took a big hit there, Tim. Come on back and talk to us when you have to live in the real world, ‘kay?

    Enjoy that situation while you’ve got it.

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  31. 31
    The Tim says:

    Angie, my living situation has been public information on this blog for quite some time. I’m not sure what you’re referring to though when you say “cast a critical eye.” All of the posts and commentary I’ve done here have been data-driven analysis. When I say “it’s a good time to rent” it’s not because I don’t pay rent, it’s because even if I were, I’d still be saving bags and bags of money over buying.

    And I don’t think you have much ground to stand on when you claim it is easy for me to have zero debt just because I’m not spending the $800 a month I used to on rent. My wife and I had over $40,000 in debt (mostly school loans) when we got married in 2002. In less than four years we paid it all off, bought two vehicles with cash, went on numerous trips, bought fun gadgets, etc. And only the last two and a half years of that was on zero rent.

    So spare me the “real world” lecture.

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  32. 32
    Angie says:

    Well, it’s news to me.

    Obviously, all we have to do to make housing more affordable is to get the kind of deal Tim has! Imagine what it’d do to the median house price! Sniglet might actually be right!

    Don’t give me that “data-driven” BS. Two and a half years–what, you must have started this blog at about the same time that your rent bill evaporated? Your writings are shot through with sarcasm equal to or greater than that of my preceding paragraph. All that arch, look-at-the-foolish-people talk looks a lot more like gloating about the suckers who don’t have the sweet deal you do.

    30*$800 is $24K, which is still a serious bunch of spare change. Would you still have “enough liquid savings to last over two years with zero income” if you subtracted out $24K, and had to pay for the roof over your heads besides?

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  33. 33
    The Tim says:

    You seem to assume that I would have lived exactly the same way had I continued to pay rent. On the contrary, we would have gone out less, bought fewer gadgets, put off buying the car, etc. Also, even though we pay no rent, we have still put no less than $3,000 into fixing this place up. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that we also paid cash for my wife to attend a one-year program at the Art Institute (that was $14,000 right there). All in all, if we were paying $24,000 in rent, we would have probably not spent at least $15,000 elsewhere, if not more.

    So no, if we had been paying rent this whole time, we probably wouldn’t currently have enough to last two years with zero income, but we’d likely have at least enough to last a year. I’m a big fan of the concept of living within one’s means, whatever the circumstances happen to be. Yeah, we’ve been blessed to have such a fortunate situation. But for you to assume that I am where I am financially solely because of the rent-free situation is pretty presumptuous, and simply false.

    Being able to work for myself has been a long-time goal that I have been working toward for quite a while. Has the caretaker situation made it easier? Of course. But would it have been impossible if we had continued to pay rent? Definitely not.

    If you think that because I don’t pay rent, I’m not able to objectively analyze the market, then I guess you’re wasting your time here. However, I would be interested in any specific examples you would like to point out of this alleged “look-at-the-foolish-people talk” that you accuse me of. I’ve heard it all before, and every time I ask for a specific example, people tend to disappear or drop the subject. The hollow accusations get really old.

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  34. 34
    nitsuj says:

    CPA Joel, CPA

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  35. 35
    nitsuj says:

    Tim, don’t feed the trolls. Oh wait, she’s not a troll and still posts things like that? Arguing that most of your posts aren’t data-driven? HuH?

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  36. 36
    old timer says:

    Congrats on your new focus.
    I wish you all good fortune as you explore your new world.
    Your intelligence and diligence will pay off big time.
    Thanks for the good energies you have so freely shared.

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  37. 37
    Angie says:

    However, I would be interested in any specific examples you would like to point out of this alleged “look-at-the-foolish-people talk” that you accuse me of.

    Here are a few choice snide remarks from last month:

    Jan 31: “Wow, $5,000, huh? That will let some overstretched buyer keep making their adjusted-ARM payments for about… six months. After which, they’ll either need to find another sucker to front a loan, or they’ll end up in foreclosure anyway. Or maybe they’ll just take the $5,000 and get in touch with You Walk Away. Cha-ching.”

    Jan 29: “In this case, the people in question are a room full of “professionals” whose income depends on suckers consumers continuing to buy homes all the way down the declining price slope.”

    Knock yourself out, buddy.

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  38. 38
    The Tim says:

    I fail to see how either of those comments are in any way influenced by my present living situation. On the contrary, both of those sarcastic remarks are rooted in actual data. $5,000 really is barely any help to a home buyer struggling to make payments on a Seattle home. And for Realtors’ to continue to have strong income, people would have to ignore the data and buy into a declining market.

    Am I occasionally sarcastic? Yes. Does that have anything to do with my financial situation? No.

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  39. 39
    Angie says:

    I talk with my husband about Seattle Bubble blog a bit. We were just chatting about the whole FREE RENT thing and had a good laugh over it. Definitely not good for your cred, man.

    He asked me to point out that when you do end up paying for your own lodging again, your YOY costs are going to be up, like, infinity percent.

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  40. 40
    The Tim says:

    Good for you. I’m glad you enjoyed a hearty laugh at my expense. The fact is, I wasn’t under any sort of obligation to make my financial situation public. I did so because I believe that full disclosure and honesty earns someone “cred,” not their personal financial situation.

    Frankly, I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks about me or my “cred.” I feel that what I write can stand on its own and be judged on the merits of whether it is fact-based or not. If you feel like what I’m saying is worthless because of how much I do or don’t pay per month in living expenses, then I honestly don’t know why you would bother to waste any more of your time here.

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  41. 41
    Dave says:

    Hi Tim;

    Please don’t think I am backing Angie up on this but I did want to add something. Not having to pay rent (to someone like me who likes this board generally) does impact what I take away from the conversation. Not having to consider the greatest single financial expense does somewhat impact your credibility – not from a “he doesn’t know what he is talking about” point of view rather a “he is so far outside my situation anything he says has to have an asterisk next to it”. Put it this way – you are in the same situation pretty much as someone whose parents gave them a house (in the short term at least). Now those peole may very well know the “theory” behins the fiances – but when they start talking about how “easy” things are I have to tune them out – they are so much better off than me that their view point isn’t that useful. I liked this blog because you were (I thought) pretty much a normal guy like me – nothing too special financially. You get by and can make enough to have a life in this city on the west coast. Now when I read what you write it will always have the “but hey – he can say that – he lives for FREE!”. Just like those people who have their parents give them alot of money – I can’t relate. Do you think it could affect your credibility? You neither rent nor buy?

    Any thoughts?
    Dave

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  42. 42
    LeftOverpricedSeattle says:

    Tim,

    Angie is just annoyed because she is realizing that what some of us have been forecasting for the last couple of years is happening, right now, in Seattle.

    Seattle???? the bio-tech hub, the aerospace hub, the latte hub, the software hub, the home gaming system hub, say it isn’t so!!!!

    Angie, keep believing in the infallible Seattle market, just make sure you can deal with a significant value drop on your current home, because that is what is about to happen.

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  43. 43
    The Tim says:

    Hi Dave, thanks for the non-combative thoughts.

    As I said to Angie, I feel like people should take what I write and judge it based on its own merits. Whether the data I present or my analysis of it is relevant and true doesn’t have anything to do with my personal living situation.

    When I say that job growth doesn’t support home-buying demand, you can look at the data I present and judge whether that’s true.
    When I say that prices aren’t supported by population growth outstripping supply and that we’re not running out of land, where does my personal living situation come into the discussion?
    When I lay out the financial rent vs. buy discussion with as many details and real-life examples as I can, how is that somehow invalid because I don’t currently pay rent?

    Just because I’m not paying rent at the moment doesn’t mean I don’t know what it’s like “in the real world.” It’s not as if I’ve never paid rent around here. Before this caretaking gig came up, we were living in an apartment in Woodinville, paying rent and utilities just like anyone else.

    As I said on the “about” page:

    Don’t take anyone’s word when it comes to what will likely be the largest financial decision of your life. Do the research, and determine if the market is right for you. That’s what Seattle Bubble is for: providing a resource where regular people can assess the local housing market on their own.

    I don’t want you to listen to me because I’m some kind of authority on the housing market. That’s the game that real estate agents and economists play. I just want to put the data out there, share my opinion, and hope that people will be able to make a more informed decision than they would if the newspapers and TV were their only source of information on the local real estate market.

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  44. 44
    patient says:

    I for one things The Tim’s situation ADDs to his credibility. To be fully credible you need to be objective. How can you be more objective about the market than if you are not in it?

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  45. 45
    Dave says:

    Hi Tim;

    Fair enough – I can’t actually remember a time you called out your specific situation enough for me to notice. It did come to me as a surprise (and I can see you critics gloming onto it – definately) when I found out. No worries.

    Hey – another question. I totally agree housing prices are set to fall. I bought in July and don’t intend to Monday morning quarterback myself – for us at the time it was good decision. We plan on staying a while and upgrading the house to live in – not flip – really we wanted a “home” rather than a “house”. Anyways… have you ever picked up on the mocking tone of most of the conversations here? It really is like a big version of Nelson off the Simpson’s going “HAHA”. If you are turning this into (hopefully) a profitable business – how are you going to address that for new cusotmers who may very well be completely tuned off by it? I mean runnign a boutique blog where people who didn’t get intot he housing market is one thing while tryign to appeal to enough people to have a revenue stranm is another. I know it sometimes bugs me a little – the little digs people throw in conversations. Hell, I’ve done it to Angie enough about Biotech.

    Just curious,
    Dave

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  46. 46
    Dave says:

    Dear Patient;

    That’s a crock. That’s like saying you can be more believable talking about poverty if you’ve never been poor or hungry because you can be more objective about it.

    There’s objective and there’s completely outside the realm of experience.
    Dave

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  47. 47
    Everett_Tom says:

    (including no rent, as my wife and I are caretakers on an unused property),

    I’m kinda surprised that some of you didn’t know this… After I first found this site one of the first things I did was read the “Important post” … sections” post and comments. (which I think had a different name before the layout change?).

    I remember being struck by this comment.

    2 – To be honest, our rent is unbeatable right now—free. No, we’re not living out of a parent’s basement. It’s a converted garage in the back of a skinny plot of land that I’m pretty sure the owner is only keeping as some sort of tax write-off.

    But after reading the rational for what this blog suggest (and the compelling data to back it up), I’ve been very happy with it. I see no reason why not having to pay housing cost for 2 1/2 years out of your adult life disqualifies you from understanding how it works..

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  48. 48
    The Tim says:

    One more thought on the subject. I guess I don’t see where credibility comes into the discussion at all.

    Sure, if I was saying “these are the market conditions, just take my word for it,” then yeah, I would need to be pretty credible or what I was saying would be worthless.

    But I’m saying just the opposite. I’m telling you not to take my word for it. Go out there, do the research, and come to your own conclusion about where the market is at and what that means for you.

    I just want to provide a resource where people can get as much data about the local housing market as possible, and I don’t see why there would be a problem with throwing my personal opinion (which admittedly is often sarcastic) in there once in a while.

    P.S. – I’m basically making a point that has been made much more concisely by others. It even has a name: appeal to authority. It’s a logical fallacy.

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  49. 49
    John says:

    People like Angie is one of the reasons I want to see the housing market crash. It is fun to see condescending people proven wrong and taken down a notch. Housing bulls have had their fun. This is a bubble blog. Of course there will be snide remarks here and there towards those who think home prices have reached a permanent plateau or some such bullchocolate. If it is not your cup of tea, go read RCG. I am sure all the realtors will need your hug soon.

    This site provides solid analysis, data and graphs, and Tim isn’t the only contributor. I wonder if the annoying little twerp would want to see the others’ financial records and rental/ownership history.

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  50. 50
    The Tim says:

    Dave said,

    …have you ever picked up on the mocking tone of most of the conversations here?

    I know it sometimes bugs me a little – the little digs people throw in conversations.

    Dave, I agree that the tone of the conversations could stand to be more civil, and I take responsibility for at least some of it, since often the posts themselves are peppered with sarcastic remarks such as those Angie pointed out above. Sarcasm in my posts and antagonism in the comments are both things that we’ve tried to address in the past, but I admit that I have been more lax lately. You’re right that it would serve the community well if we built a more professional atmosphere, and I will try to keep that in mind again as I write. I’m not promising no sarcasm whatsoever, but I will try to tone it down a bit.

    Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I should have another clearinghouse post for people to air their complaints and constructive criticisms to see what else people think could improve about Seattle Bubble. I’m always interested in doing whatever is possible to make this a more enjoyable place and a better resource.

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  51. 51
    John says:

    Tim, this place is already more civil than many places I have been. If one of us goes to a realtor or a flipper forum (if they still exist) to stir things up every other day, I am sure we will get blasted just the same.

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  52. 52
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    This is a funny as saying someone has no “cred” analyzing the stock market because they haven’t owned any stock in 2 years. When the analysis is based on data and statistics, personal investment is irrelevent.

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  53. 53
    Dave says:

    John –

    I hope “annoying little twerp” comment wasn’t directed at me. Or I could thank you for making my point for me – in a way.

    Thoughts?
    Dave

    Tim-

    A colleague of mine had an idea – he called it a “Thunderdome” discussion board. Just say at the title of it that nothing within is regulated and let people do what they want. Outside that particular forum – professional and considerate. Inside chainsaws and giant hammers.

    Dave

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  54. 54
    The Tim says:

    Oooh, Dave, that’s an interesting idea. I could create an additional forum for that. I might just steal that idea outright, including the name :^)

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  55. 55
    WestSideBilly says:

    Dave, my experience on other forums is that lawlessness eventually spreads to the whole board. If people can flame, insult, and attack other members at will, they will do so elsewhere too.

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  56. 56
    patient says:

    Dave said,

    “Dear Patient;

    That’s a crock. That’s like saying you can be more believable talking about poverty if you’ve never been poor or hungry because you can be more objective about it.

    There’s objective and there’s completely outside the realm of experience.
    Dave”

    First I’m not your dear. Second, nice try but objectivity adds to credibility. Knowledge is another subject. The Tim has credibility here as well from having both been in the market and studied it. Don’t mix up subjects to make a weak point.

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  57. 57
    Angie says:

    Tim, just to be clear–I think it’s terrific that you’ve been fiscally responsible (killing that much school debt is no small task). You are also smart to be taking advantage of a very good deal with your housing.

    But you do look down your nose quite a bit at other peoples’ choices–not only personal financial choices, but of professional choices as well (no one here can can deny a general prejudice toward agents and other people in the industry, which just to reiterate, I am not). I don’t have to tell *you* that housing is one of the biggest expenses in the typical family budget, especially so in recent years. People do what they do to make the best of the available choices, to make ends meet. The fact that you are fortunate to be relieved of one of that big burden makes that judgemental attitude look really bad. (And don’t make it worse! Please now, $3K to fix your place up? That’s $100/month…be honest with us, I’ll bet you spend more than that on video games.)

    I love the data here and I’m glad you provide it. (Don’t I thank you for it every time? I try to remember to do that.) That’s why I keep reading here, although the peanut gallery is also entertaining. I think you’re smart to stick the google ads on here and try to work up some scratch for all your work–I’m kind of surprised you didn’t do it long ago. I genuinely do wish you luck in your new endeavors…consider my comments an attempt to keep you from presenting yourself poorly and shooting yourself in the foot.

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  58. 58
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    I’m with WestSideBilly. I’ve helped run another (non-housing) forum for 6+ years now and we learned quickly that lawlessness cannot be contained. If you give one forum where people can post nastiness and personal attacks, not only gives the entire site a black eye to most, but it will spread like a cancer through the rest of the site. It ultimately drove away some of our best members, and we had to squash it outright.

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  59. 59
    The Tim says:

    Angie,

    For the record, I mentioned the $3,000 that we have spent to fix this place up only as a part of the overall list of expenses that we would have foregone had we been in a normal rent situation. That list also included $5,500 for a car, $14,000 for an interior design diploma, and at least a few thousand more on gadgets like computers, a GPS, and a DLP projector.

    All told, while we did power through our debt and save up quite a bit, we also spent darn close to $24,000 ($3k + $5.5k + $14k + ~$1.5k) on unnecessary stuff. I’m just trying to make the point that I’m not where I am today because I had rich parents or a goose laying golden eggs. I got here through hard work, and would have made it here regardless of the rent situation, albeit with fewer amenities.

    If your comments truly were intended to be constructive criticism, then I apologize for interpreting them incorrectly. Even though I don’t think my character or credibility have anything to do with the validity of what is presented on this site, I tend to get defensive when I feel like I’m being attacked.

    P.S. (I don’t spend anywhere near $100 a month on video games. I doubt it’s even $25 a month. I rarely spend more than $25 on a video game, buy only one or two a month on average.)

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  60. 60
    Mike2 says:

    Yikes, this thread went off topic fast. I was hoping it would be more about making the jump to self employment.

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  61. 61
    The Tim says:

    Mike2,

    Sorry about that. I should have probably not gotten so defensive and just let it go. I do encourage you to keep tabs on the new blog though, because I hope to have a lot of conversations on that topic as I build the site.

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  62. 62
    John says:

    Dave, I wasn’t referring to you.

    It is funny to see some here not liking the sarcastic treatments when they repeatedly play devil’s advocates. It isn’t like the renters and housing bears don’t get heat in realtor blogs if they choose to venture into those dark corners.

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  63. 63
    Angie says:

    If your comments truly were intended to be constructive criticism, then I apologize for interpreting them incorrectly

    Well, I try to work my comments around to be constructive eventually, though I will confess it’s fun to twit youa little. ;)

    Along those lines–it might not be a bad idea to build up a thicker skin! Jeez, you guys heap way more abuse on Pepper and he lets it roll right off his back every time.

    John, I love you too. Don’t ever change, babe, ‘kay?

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  64. 64
    Dave says:

    Hi Tim;

    Hey – maybe this is sommething you coudl add to the site for the recent home buyer. As opposed to the overall “you bought recently and screwed the pooch” information (which you have to admit is the general gist here) you coudl add value to the site for those people by HELPING them – provide useful information on how to improve their situation. Not onkly those poor bastards (yes their own fault I agree) who have exploding arms coming. You know – added value stuff that would set you apart form others. The “We both know you screwed up but there are ways we can help you and you help yourself” – sales pitch. Credit counseliors etc. could advertise. You coudl seel yourself as the only truthful resource in real estate. Am I making sense?

    Dave

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  65. 65

    Angie mentioned something about a general prejudice towards people’s professional choices, such as real estate agent.
    I personally haven’t felt a lot of that prejudice here.
    I think the general feeling here is that most real estate agents are either liars or have swallowed the Kool-Aid so much that they actually believe that it’s a great time to be a buyer.
    Oh, there have been one or two people here who accused me of being some kind of smarmy placater in order to attract business, but i think most people on here realize that I don’t try to act as some kind of expert, and that my posts are incidental to my being an agent.
    Re: The Tim’s ventures- may his multiple streams of income free him from the shackles of ” the man” and give him enough money to buy a home ( with cash? ) when the time is right.

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  66. 66

    […] going by the name “Sniglet” brought up a great point yesterday in the comments on Seattle Bubble when I announced Thatch Mound: Not to be too negative, […]

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  67. 67
    John says:

    Angie, build up a thick skin? You should take your own advice since you are the one who mentioned the snide remarks towards RE bulls and realtors. I am more of a tit-for-tat kind of guy. If this market turns out to be more like Japan or even Hong Kong, ie. a 40%-60% drop, there will be a lot of time to “twit.”

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  68. 68
    Cougar says:

    Tim – I like how you added “Jump to the bottom to add your comment.” could use also add “Back to the top” and/or links to the next/previous posts? You will know your success in this blog by the traffic it gets. If traffic starts to decline it will be from sarcastic bashing more than self promotion. I like the diversity and interesting conversation it currently has.

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  69. 69
    The Tim says:

    Cougar, how’s that? I added next/previous post links at the top and bottom of the comments, and also added a “jump to the top of the comments” link above the comment entry box. Useful?

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  70. 70
    Cougar says:

    Excellent – thanks!

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  71. 71
    patient says:

    Seattle Bubble has two great things going for it IMO.
    1. It’s mainly consumer driven.
    2. It provides information and support for home buyers compared to the seller biased propaganda and information that is generated by the real estate industry.

    A suggestion for evolution of the same concept is to add more buyer support with
    consumer input. One example is a neighbourhood description where you present updated data of the normal stats as crime rate, eduction level, income level, percentage moving onto to college from schools etc but also add a real time consumer rating and blog aspect where readers can rate the neighbourhoods on a scale from 1-10 in the main categories to make up a general desirability score. A user driven comments/q&a section would also be cool.

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  72. 72

    […] making the big announcement on Wednesday, I’ve received a lot of feedback about Seattle Bubble and some of the improvements people […]

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