Posted by: Timothy Ellis (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.

55 responses to “Stop Setting Your Money on Fire Every Month!”

  1. softwarengineer

    LOL Tim

    I’ve blogged this one before, but here goes:

    Back during the 1990 housing bubble in the Seattle area, there was a joke going around, “a condo is harder to get rid of than Herpes”….

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  2. Jillayne

    These ads are hilarious.
    “You don’t have to do the math, we did it for you.”
    At the end of the second ad, there’s a promo for an event happening this weekend. There will be luxury cars from Park Place Motors, boats, etc. The only thing they’re missing is hot chicks handing out samples of free Budweiser Beer.

    Their target market audience is very clear.

    Did the ads run on conservative AM radio by chance?

    It will be interesting to watch sales at that particular commercial project.

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  3. Jillayne

    Depending on the day and all throughout the day, I often have 97.3 on the dial because I need traffic updates and have never heard the ads played. Oh well! There goes my grand theory….or maybe not.

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  4. singliac

    I smell an HGTV series… “FLIP THIS GARAGE!”

    I’m going to buy two or three, install hardwood floors and granite workbenches, and let the cash roll in.

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  5. mukoh

    Actually its a pretty good idea, if it was closer I would get it for my toys. Their ads might be funny but the actual garages are nice.

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  6. Ray Pepper

    100-200k PLUS???????????

    Are you kidding me? I bit and went to the website..

    http://www.garagetown.com/locations-wa-federalway.html

    I’d give all my stuff away before I’d buy one of these.

    GOOD GOD!

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  7. Scotsman

    I’ll bet you could buy a lot in the country and put up a simple building for less and you’d have something real.

    It’s the old “what’s the monthly payment” game, version 2, for guys stuck in condos.

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  8. mukoh

    Scotsman lets take a look at a scenarion of lot in the country. Lots in the country are $30k+ putting up a heated space is about $100k. Of course if you don’t need heated can opt for pole building for $25k. Thats out in the country though. An hour +- drive to pick up a boat, or your collector car. Most people will opt into something like this. I toured one in graham or somewhere further south. Really nice space. This is what I was talking about. http://ownamancave.com/

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  9. Jillayne

    Besides, Ray, they have done the math for you so you don’t need to do the thinking.

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  10. Jillayne

    New Saturday Night Live skit idea: Don’t buy stuff if you don’t have room for it.

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  11. wreckingbull

    I like this idea, but as Ray says, the price is a total joke. How much are HOA dues on these things?

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  12. AMS

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 7 – How much does it cost to rent a unit?

    These cost $100k-$200k, and what do you get? A door or two, a cement floor, a few partitions. Oh, you get to pay monthly fees…

    It seems you could toss a lot of stuff out and just buy new some other day for all the cost.

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  13. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: The Tim @ 14

    Wait a minute. You’re paying 70 bucks a month HOA dues for a storage unit? What does that pay for? The clubhouse so you can sit around and discuss what kind of garbage you’re paying to store?
    Or electricity so you can turn the garagetown unit into a grow operation?

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  14. wreckingbull

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 16 – Each unit is metered, so no great deals on 1500 square feet of grow lights. When I saw this, it occurred to me that they would be popular with meth cookers, as they are plumbed and have an easy-to-clean interior.

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  15. AMS

    RE: wreckingbull @ 17 – Each unit is metered separately means that each unit will probably pay the minimum “ready to serve” charge by the utility. I don’t know how much that is, but it’s inefficient.

    While I agree that meth cookers might be attracted to building A, with the plumbing, my guess is that they’d rather be in the back woods for free.

    I am happy to report that I don’t have one dime invested in this deal. Imagine if they actually sold all the units for 50% of asking price… $$$ times many units.

    Crazy.

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  16. Scott is Rad

    Long time listener, first time caller here. Had to pipe up for this one.

    Taking the highest priced, largest storage unit available through Bellevue storage – $167 (sq footage not available but advertised as car/rv storage)

    Lowest priced garagetown storage – $103,000

    That’s fifty years of rent. It would be interesting to see if this is a last ditch effort to avoid default, or if someone bought this as a distressed property and this is their business venture. If that’s the case someone please line me up with their investor!

    As for the ads… Comedy gold

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  17. Anon.

    I love SeattleBubble…

    Thanks for the laughs Tim/bubbleheads!

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  18. Ira Sacharoff

    “While I agree that meth cookers might be attracted to building A, with the plumbing, my guess is that they’d rather be in the back woods for free.”

    Yes, but what about marketing to the upscale meth cookers who don’t want to be associated with the lowlife meth cookers who cook meth in the woods?

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  19. shawn

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 7 – Ray, apparently you “did” the math :)

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  20. shawn

    Here is my concern. We are at the beginning of this craze. If I don’t get in now, I might miss my chance to have gotten in at the beginning? Later I will be priced out. I will be kicking myself for not getting in in the beginning. What to do!? Then again if things really get bad, the second great depression, then I could sneak and live in it.

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  21. Scotsman

    RE: mukoh @ 10

    You could easily do the building for less than $40K on a slab, insulated, steel. You could also probably rent out a few RV spots on the back of the building to help pay for a good portion of it. And Federal Way isn’t any closer to much of the Eastside than much of the Snoqualmie valley.

    I agree there’s a market for them, and they can be pretty nice. But the math leads me to see it as an expensive solution, not an investment. What’s the upside potential on one of these verses land that can hold a manufactured home or expanding shop space with potential rental income? Like I said, mostly for guys stuck in condos with more money than sense.

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  22. Scotsman

    RE: shawn @ 23

    Shawn- buy now, don’t be stuck forever as a ……….. RENTER!

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  23. Shin'ichi

    interesting piece on WA home prices relative to the nation:
    http://blog.seattlepi.com/realestatenews/archives/185783.asp

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  24. mukoh

    RE: Scotsman @ 24 – I wholeheartedly agree with you as far as this being an investment should not be treated as such. I highly doubt the demand is there to justify $200k for a garage unit.

    $40k on Slab is a good deal and can be done not past exit 60 though. Prices there are a bit higher. However if you wanted it heated as in controlled it would set you a whole lot more as propane heat is the only option or worse electricity.

    Shawn needs to hurry up and buy, those damb renters are missing all the fun. LOL

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  25. Ray Pepper

    I’m just jealous I guess. I just have nothing to put in one of those.

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  26. BillE

    I’m on the fence about buying one. Maybe if the government would give me $8000. Or, if the head economist for a national association of garage experts says it’s a good deal.

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  27. Kevin

    By Shin’ichi @ 26:

    interesting piece on WA home prices relative to the nation:
    http://blog.seattlepi.com/realestatenews/archives/185783.asp

    This is where I am greatly confused and concerned.

    From my observation and analysis of Redfin listing / sold data, the activity certainly heated up for the past few months. And the best deals in terms of $/sq ft are around summer (July, Aug) when people were very scared, e.g. Lumen condo auction had prices under $280.

    And then there are various analysis showing that the price is dropping, etc. So I asked the question a few posts back whether this is a combination of first time buyers buying smaller homes and the still frozen top-tier market.

    A lot of mixed signals nowadays – the extended credit is certainly not helping to get a clear picture.

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  28. Matsayswhat

    Maybe that’s why the fed keeps printing more money, to offset all of the money being burned up by renters! lol.

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  29. Drone

    This is so wonderful… it’s what I’ve been waiting for. I have a beautiful new condo with high-end finishes, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find more things to spend money on. GarageTown is the solution… now I can pay extra for “high-end” beautiful surroundings for my CRAP. That’s right, I’m not going to live there, but the random stuff that I don’t have space for will be housed in the best designer environment money can buy. Maybe I’ll even drive out to visit my stuff once in a while.

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  30. 3rd Generation

    Ira Sacharoff » Nov 19, 2009 at 6:01 pm –

    “Wait a minute. You’re paying 70 bucks a month HOA dues for a storage unit? What does that pay for? The clubhouse so you can sit around and discuss what kind of garbage you’re paying to store?
    Or electricity so you can turn the garagetown unit into a grow operation? ”

    Some of us have expensive hobbies, like mine, classic automobiles for example. Some of us have paid for houses, positive cash-flow rentals and a ancilliary need room for our hobbies to grow and flourish where a space/facility like this makes perfect convenience and economic sense.

    I guess that makes me an automatic rube, meth cooker or pot grower to be laughed at and made fun of. I guess that makes my classic automobiles ‘garbage’ as in the esttemed genius quote above.

    Doesn’t it feel good to feel superior by laughing and making fun of people, especially when you are clueless about the circumstances? ? How is your 401K-retirement plan performing over the last decade? I will let you in on a secret. My Packard, Mercer, Early V8 Ford(s), and certain musclecars are up on aggregate 3-400% +of purchase price, even now in a crashing market.. Plus I get to enjoy them regularly. Can you say the same thing about your hobby? How’s that GM or WaMu stock doing? You see, $ 70 per month HOA is a BARGAIN, and $ 100K for a secure, monitored space is also a mathematical bargain in my case to house a $700K plus automobile and related goodies collection, insured for loss/damage, heated and safe.

    Tonight, in my heated garage, away from all the absolutely average people, like those posting here, I will pull the cork on a nice ’04 bottle of Schloss-Vollrads, turn up Wagner on the McIntosh tube separates and enjoy the company of my Classics, and maybe a few friends and listen carefully as my Classics continue their appreciation. I would invite you over, but I’m sure that would be way beneath you…

    For some, No explanation is necessary, For others, No explanation is possible. . .

    Yes the radio ads are juvenile, So are many of your comments here. Think About It. . .

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  31. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 34
    I’m not making fun of you at all, 3rd Generation, and Packards are awesome cars! I don’t begrudge your car hobby, I’ve got plenty of weird ones myself, so I’m in no position to judge.
    I just question the price of these units in addition to the HOA dues. Couldn’t you have a heated garage built for far less money than buying one as a condo, and not have to pay HOA dues, and even own the land it’s sitting on??

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  32. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 34

    Also, in your case if you don’t have the room on your own property to build a garage for your car collection, then maybe this garagetown is perfect for you, and the costs are incidental to the value you receive from it.
    But…do you think that you’re the typical garagetown buyer?
    So…I’m sorry if you thought I was making fun of you or your hobby and I obviously didn’t realize the value of your collection or your valid reasons for needing one of these. At no time did I suggest that anybody who bought these had no reason, I obviously didn’t get it. But thanks for calling me an esteemed genius. Nobody’s ever done that before.

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  33. Scotsman

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 34

    I love car guys, know quite a few who have extensive collections worth big bucks. Not one of them is so insecure that they would give a rip about what someone else thought about them, their cars, or their financial decisions. To a man they are successful business owners and investors.

    Given the tone of your post, you sound more like an anxious developer or real estate sales person looking to sell some garage space… who just discovered that the market for your product may not be the slam-dunk you hoped for when the project went into development 3 year ago. Just say’n. Why else would you waste your time posting on a site like this?

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  34. mukoh

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 34 – Nice vehicle. Love those.

    Ira, he is exactly the type of people who will get those garages. Even though I see demand being good, not great however.

    Most collectors or owners of high value cars etc.. can afford to pay those numbers in a heart beat.

    My coins for example also sit in a vault, not a bank vault either, its about $90 a month.

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  35. geon

    We’re going on year five of renting. Although the wife would like to find the right house NOW! I could go for a change of scenery too. Hey, I think I said that last year. LOL

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  36. 3rd Generation

    Scotsman » Nov 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 34 –

    1)I love car guys, know quite a few who have extensive collections worth big bucks. 2.)Not one of them is so insecure that they would give a rip about what someone else thought about them, their cars, or their financial decisions. 3.)To a man they are successful business owners and investors.

    4″Given the tone of your post, you sound more like an 5anxious developer or real estate sales person looking to sell some garage space”

    1. I doubt it, by your ‘tone’…
    2. Insecure? LOL. Maybe civil and polite to strangers, the infirm and mentally challenged and especially the jealous. LOL. You might be hanging put with other Realtors.
    3. Surprise. There are woman Car Collectors, many at much higher levels than I will ever be and even bigger surprise for you, even women “successful business owners and investors”. They can vote now and everything. . .
    4. You have a great ear for tones, maybe a touch of clairvoiance? Do you read palms too?
    5. Yeah, that’s it. I’m actaully a Bellevue babe part-time realtard with pointy shoes and a Benz payment.

    I rescind my invations, but thanks for the pure comedy gold. It’s what I expected. No Harm, No Foul. I understand.

    Carpe diem.

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  37. David Losh

    Well heck if mukoh’s going to talk about his coins let’s get to the meat of the garages.

    I used to collect wild west guns then turned to military weapons. Congress passed the assault weapons ban and over night my collection went through the roof in value. I had a bunch of H&K stuff and people knew me from the gun shows. One night everything I had went into a heated storage locker. When I realized how stupid that was I sold everything.

    Cars, guns, and collectables are best kept in a secured, heated, storage facility you own and control.

    Sheesh, you’re on the internet for crisssakes, you must know that the economy is about to collapse and you neeeeeeeeed to have your stuff safe and secure before the unwashed hoards raid you home.

    My only question would be if the place has barbed wire, towers, and an armed response.

    That’s the buyer pool. Those people who have collections that are best kept away from the home. Some place where they can be watched at all times.

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  38. One Eyed Man

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 34

    Well, excuse me Church Lady, but it sounds like somebody around here is just a little bit superior. I almost erased this after I wrote it, but after your post at 40, I’m glad I saved it before logging off.

    Federal Way may have had the cheap raw land for someone to foolishly conclude it made sense to build high priced storage units, but I’ll be suprised if there’s enough demand to fill half of them. Even if code enforcement and the owners association are lax it wouldn’t even make sense for a bunch of Federal Way families to move in and live there. Those storage units cost about as much per sq ft as a Federal Way residential condo.

    Ira was too nice in comment 35. While it’s true that many of his comments are intended to be humorous, they’re certainly never intended to be insulting or malicious. I’m sorry that someone who claims to have everything money can buy apparently can’t afford a sense of humor. I’d invite you over for a beer (my beverage of choice when socializing) but I’m sure you have little interest in associating with someone of lesser means like me.

    Fortunately, my next door neighbor whose just for fun cars include a Benz AMG and an Acura NSX took pitty on me last Saturday and invited me to his house for a good meal prepared in his home by a Chef from a Bellevue restaurant so I wouldn’t have to eat Top Ramen again. Of course his cars aren’t as interesting as those housed in the 4000 sq ft craftsman style garage on the 7 acre estate of the neighbor directly behind us and don’t cost as much as the Ferrari 6 or 7 houses down the street but they are nicer than my ’03 Tahoe and my Subaru.

    But then again, like I told the car salesman who said he didn’t see me “as a Subaru driver”: “I’ve got a big penis and I don’t need an expensive car.”

    I’m sure glad your garage is heated because otherwise your cold little heart might suck all the heat out of the cars and and you wouldn’t be able to play with your toys. I’m too old to be “juvenile” like Ira, so lets just say I’m young at heart.

    I know you’re probably a real person with a sole and everything and I should let it go. But your comment triggered my Don Quixote complex and I won’t be able to sleep tonight until I’m properly medicated or I ram a couple of windmills. You’ll never owe me an apology and notwithstanding the fact that I like Scotsman, his you might be a realtor comment struck me as ill founded and I don’t think you owe him an apology either. But I think you probably owe one to Mr. Sacharoff although he would never be so rude as to even consider asking for one.

    Unfortunately, I know I probably haven’t persuaded you that you’re being a pompous ass, and you won’t consider accepting Ira’s apology, much less apologizing to him. But I feel better about myself now and I guess that will have to be enough. It would make me feel even better if you at least acknowledged Ira’s apology, but I guess being gracious isn’t one of the things you value.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas from all of us Who’s down here in Whoville and don’t let the garage door hit you on the way out.

    Sincerely,
    Another Pompous Ass.

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  39. Scotsman

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 40

    Well, you pretty much confirmed my suspicions. “Poser.” Perhaps a developer, probably feeling a bit financially squeezed, who found comments on his latest project online through an RSS feed or such and felt the need to respond. But a real person? Lord, I hope not- what an insufferable bore.

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  40. One Eyed Man

    My apologies to you 3rd Generation for being unnecessarily rude and obnoxious in comment 34. It was uncalled for. I would never have been so rude in person and believe that its inappropriate to use the anonymity and impersonal environment afforded by the internet to be intentionally insulting.

    And my apologies to you The Tim and to those who read Seattle Bubble for using this forum in a manner which failed to reflect the dignity which should be accorded to all participants and failed to meaningfully forwarding the substantive discussion.

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  41. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 44
    Yes, One Eyed Man, you and I are honorable enough to apologize when we feel that it is appropriate. Someone with good manners and a sense of honor would at least acknowledge an apology, if not accept one. Thus, I think Scotsman might be right. 3rd Generation very well may be a real estate professional of some type. Certain real estate professionals save their strongest venom for other real estate professionals who dare utter opinions contrary to the industry pablum. I’ve gotten flak for daring to have a mind of my own before. I’ll have to stop that, starting right now. It’s a great time to buy. Real estate always goes up. There is no better investment out there than buying units in Garagetown. It’s a sure thing. In fact, any investment at all you make in Federal Way can’t do anything but skyrocket.

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  42. David Losh

    Wait a minute, is the One Eyed Man a reference to your anatomy below the waist line?

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  43. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: David Losh @ 46
    Get your mind out of the gutter, David.
    If his user name were ” Trouser Snake”, that might be a different story.

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  44. David Losh

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 42 -

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  45. wreckingbull

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 34 -

    Tonight, in my heated garage, away from all the absolutely average people, like those posting here, I will pull the cork on a nice ‘04 bottle of Schloss-Vollrads, turn up Wagner on the McIntosh tube separates and enjoy the company of my Classics, and maybe a few friends and listen carefully as my Classics continue their appreciation. I would invite you over, but I’m sure that would be way beneath you…

    Last night, in my unheated garage, I cracked open a tallboy Budweiser, turned up some John Prine on my $30 boom-box I bought at Target a decade ago, and proceeded to install Bilstien 5100′s on all four corners of my truck. I live for evenings like this.

    Most real wrench turners I know don’t give a rat’s ass about clubhouses with flat-screen TVs. We do it because we love it.

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  46. Scotsman

    Comments #46 and #47: You guys owe me a clean keyboard and a lunch.

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  47. David Losh

    RE: Scotsman @ 50

    No really, One Eye brought it up.

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  48. David Losh

    RE: wreckingbull @ 49

    OK, I wasn’t going to share this but a guy in my neighborhood built a 4000 sq ft house with the main floor a garage. Also on the main floor, garage area, is an alcove with a big old fire place and room for about twlve people to sit around. It has an open living area upstairs with a few bedrooms, kitchen, and open living/dining area.

    The whole place is heated by hot water coils in the concrete floor and upper floor boards. He lives with his wife above a smaller garage on the alley. He happens to be a Real Estate agent, but his money is in his cars. The house is for him and his buddies, who are sharing the expenses of the garage construction. They also did a lot of the work themselves over the course of a few years.

    The whole idea is to have a place where these guys can congregate, work on the cars, and drink beer.

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  49. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: David Losh @ 52 – I was in a house once where the garage was carpeted and finished like a rec-room, and that room was part of the house–no doorway between it and the rest of the house. You could have just as easily put a pool table in the room, and it would have looked in place, except for the garage door.

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  50. mukoh

    RE: David Losh @ 41 – H&K is wild west guns? Where have you been Dave? My guns are through the roof as well including pre bans. Whats the point? I at least tripled up on my FN guns and some Class 3 weapons that have really broke 400% since 1990s. You bring anything new here?

    I am not concerned about the hoards of raids on my home, I am more concerned about zombies taking over soon. Zombie banks, and etc… and the shadow inventory coming to haunt me.

    To 53 Kary L. Krismer, I was at my friends house it is literraly a car collectors dream, including a turn table in the glass garage turning a Ferrari full 360. Kinda fun. I just like to collect though. Not a shower.

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  51. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: mukoh @ 54 – You can thank gun buyback and destruction programs for that. I’ve always considered those things to be a gun manufacturer’s dream.

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