Guess What

Granite Countertops, Stainless Steel Appliances, and RamenPictured at right: The Tim posing in his new kitchen, complete with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

And by “his new kitchen” I mean the kitchen in this house, which he closed on one week ago today.

Bubble bloggers buying: it’s sweeping the nation.

Feel free to use this thread to comment on what an idiot and a sellout I am, or whatever other sentiment you are inclined to share.

I fully expect this decision to be picked to pieces by all of you that frequent these pages with your clever minds and quick wits, so please ask me anything you’re dying to know. I’ll either answer your questions in this thread or in the upcoming weekly series of posts I have planned in which I will dive into my entire home buying process in excruciating detail.

Rest assured that I will continue to deliver your regularly scheduled programming right here (same Bat-time, same Bat-channel) despite this particular incidence of moral weakness.

Sympathy cards may be mailed to 3601 Wetmore Avenue, Everett, WA 98201.

  

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.

209 comments:

  1. 1
    grumble says:

    Congrats on the new home! Can you talk about your thought process, and why you felt this was the home and time for you to jump in?

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  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    RE: grumble @ 1 – Short answer: We needed to move anyway and buy vs. rent was in favor of buying for the location & type of homes we wanted to live in. Long answer: Forthcoming in the aforementioned series of posts.

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  3. 3

    I hope the ramen isn’t indicative of all you can afford to eat now that you’re a mortgage slave.
    Looks like a fabulous house, old world charm but nicely updated, and a house that would sell for than twice what you paid for it if it were located in Ballard( I cheated by looking it up). Congratulations.
    My only two questions:
    1. How’d you get so lucky to have a short sale close so quickly?, and
    2. Are you commuting into Seattle, and how is that going if you are?

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  4. 4
    grumble says:

    By The Tim @ 2:

    RE: grumble @ 1 – Short answer: We needed to move anyway and buy vs. rent was in favor of buying for the location & type of homes we wanted to live in. Long answer: Forthcoming in the aforementioned series of posts.

    I noted the “we”, and the presence of a wedding ring in the picture… family expansion on the way?

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  5. 5

    I really like that style of cabinets, and also the back splash.

    I hope the food choice isn’t indicative of all that you can now afford. ;-)

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  6. 6
    Pegasus says:

    Is that a batch of crack that you are cooking up in your picture? I hope the anticipated Boeing hiring boom bails you out in the future. What was the story on the 5 month flip on the house in 2006 for about 100K increase?

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  7. 7

    I just checked it out beyond the picture. You bought an old house! Great! That makes the cabinet choice even better. Love all the wood throughout the house. Can you tell if it’s mainly original?

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  8. 8
    The Tim says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 3:

    1. How’d you get so lucky to have a short sale close so quickly?, and
    2. Are you commuting into Seattle, and how is that going if you are?

    The ramen is for laughs. The payment is actually super affordable (~17% of gross income—just my income).

    1. There was only one lender for the seller’s 80/20 so I’m sure that helped. Otherwise, your guess is as good as mine. The lender was Ocwen.

    2. Yup, the move added about 10 minutes to my bus ride, which I hardly even notice since I just pull out my computer and work or blog on the bus.

    RE: grumble @ 4 – Hopefully. That’s the main reason that our old place wasn’t going to cut it for much longer.

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  9. 9
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 7 – Yes I believe most of the wood features and built-ins are original. Obviously the kitchen isn’t, but it was built by the previous owner (a contractor) who intended to keep the home so the quality is nicer than a flip.

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  10. 10

    By Pegasus @ 6:

    What was the story on the 5 month flip on the house in 2006 for about 100K increase?

    My guess is that they added two bedrooms, a 3/4 bath and that they sold it FSBO to someone not knowledgeable of values (although perhaps they fixed it up in other ways too).

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  11. 11
    ESS says:

    Mazel Tov to the Tim!! As you well know – it all comes down to the particular deal for the particular individual(s). If the deal makes sense, then it doesn’t matter what is happening elsewhere.

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  12. 12
    The Tim says:

    By Pegasus @ 6:

    What was the story on the 5 month flip on the house in 2006 for about 100K increase?

    I’m really not sure. Not the kind of thing you really feel comfortable asking the seller who you already feel bad for as he’s dealing with the harsh reality of not being able to afford the house he thought his family would make a long-term home in.

    I do know that when the couple who sold it to me bought it in July 2006 it was definitely not a fix-n-flip. The seller described the condition the home was in when they purchased it and it did not sound pretty. I’m hoping he’ll be sending me the “before” photos he took before doing the various remodels he did while living here.

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  13. 13
    James Baker says:

    Hah, congrats!

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  14. 14
    S-Crow says:

    - congrats Tim. Welcome to the big Sno-Co. Sweet house.

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  15. 15
    alex says:

    What’s the opposite of “pump and dump”?
    Is it “trash and grab”?
    Buy five more houses and the SEC will come for you, I’m sure!

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  16. 16

    RE: The Tim @ 12 – Wow, so they bought it before it was changed? Sounds like the classic case of an unrepresented buyer on a FSBO. I assume they split the commissions savings. :-D

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  17. 17
    Snigliastic says:

    Only five blocks from the courthouse!

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  18. 18
    The Tim says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 14 – Thanks! I’m just sorry I couldn’t use your services for closing. Seller’s lender was particular about using Chicago Title.

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  19. 19

    RE: The Tim @ 18 – If the seller’s lender was directing escrow (as opposed to the seller’s agent), that’s probably an explanation for how it closed so quickly.

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  20. 20

    Well the TIm bought a home.

    That must mean we”re at the bottom! ;)

    Congratulations TIm.

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  21. 21
    The Tim says:

    By Julie Lyda RE/MAX Northwest Realtors @ 20:

    That must mean we”re at the bottom! ;)

    Personally I doubt it. Part of the reason I bought such a (relatively) inexpensive home was to limit my downside risk in the near-certain event of continued (real and/or nominal) price declines.

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  22. 22
    MarkM says:

    Major congrats Tim!

    It’s easy for this site to lose focus. Some on here seem to think us “holdouts” will never buy. But in the end, I think it was the general idea that what appears to be a small group of folks had the notion that there was a bubble forming in the real estate market and it wasn’t a good time to buy (ie they’re not building more land!… lol Seems quaint notion now, yes?)

    I think anyone who decides to take the “plunge” and buy a home at this point avoided the worst scenario (buying at the absolute peak). If home prices drift down another say 5% does it really matter if you bought the house that you really want (and possibly the home of your dreams?).

    I really don’t think we’ll ever see crazy double digit growth in home prices like we did in the past for a lot of reasons which have been addressed on here so I won’t echo those out again.

    What’s that? You plan to have a house warming party for all us BubbleHeads?… ;-)

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  23. 23

    That was a joke Tim, hence the winky smiley.

    However I would add that I think we are bouncing along the bottom and will be for a long time.

    Also, buying “smart” like you did (well below your means) also protects you from rising rents. Is your new home payment less than the rent payment you were making?

    When you write up your purchase story, let us know what type of financing you used, like a 15 year or 30 year mortgage. Do you plan on making extra payments to pay your home off sooner?

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  24. 24
    The Tim says:

    RE: Julie Lyda RE/MAX Northwest Realtors @ 23 – Yes, I figured you were joking but I also figured maybe others were thinking the same thing more seriously so I thought I’d go ahead and speak to that.

    As for your other questions, the rent is more than I was paying but only because I had a screaming deal before (that also required me to fix anything and everything that broke, including a leaking roof and a busted water heater). The payment is a few hundred less than I would pay if I were to go rent a house that met my needs today.

    For the mortgage, we went with a plain vanilla 30-year, but plan to pay slightly more than the 15-year payment on it, which should result in paying it off in less than 14 years.

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  25. 25

    Excellent Wide Open Eyed Choice Tim

    I did the same thing in 1999, before a real estate bubble was even envisioned by most pundits. I bought in the same range too, about 15% of net pay, albeit with HOA, insurance and property taxes thrown in though….but I was a bit older I imagine, so about the same risk mitigation by age, for falling prices in the future. Some of my friends and the realtors then that felt 35-50% net pay in debt was OK back then, thought I bought WAY below my salary level in 1999 and what I actually qualified for….today, they call me Mr. Softwarengineer….LOL

    I also had a fear back then that buying big priced properties in 1999 with more and more population density mitigating per capita wages in Seattle would make the lower priced units much more sellable in the future. After hearing of the trouble a neighbor is having finding a qualified buyer for even a $119K home recently, I was spot on. So were you.

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  26. 26
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    That house would sell for $90,000 in Auburn.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. 27
    jj says:

    Nice house – in a couple of years you will be able to harvest some equity and buy that yellow H2 hummer you wanted.

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  28. 28
    jeff says:

    I love the tree in front of the garage.

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  29. 29
    The Tim says:

    RE: jeff @ 28 – Yeah whoever planted that tree wasn’t thinking long-term. Fortunately there’s a giant carport around the corner facing 36th. Actually, we’ll probably end up fencing off that area in front of the garage for our dogs.

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  30. 30
    The Desponder says:

    By The Tim @ 24:

    RE: Julie Lyda RE/MAX Northwest Realtors @ 23 – …The payment is a few hundred less than I would pay if I were to go rent a house that met my needs today… For the mortgage, we went with a plain vanilla 30-year, but plan to pay slightly more than the 15-year payment on it, which should result in paying it off in less than 14 years.

    Congrats Tim… and great textbook example of how to do it the right way.

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  31. 31

    RE: The Desponder @ 30

    Pay that Principle Off as Fast as You Can

    I bought my home on a 30 yr loan in 1999, but a 10/20 loan too….meaning it was fixed interest for 10 years, then automatically refinanced on a 20 year loan as needed. It wasn’t needed, got that puppy principle paid off within 10 years….its like an early retirement once its paid off too.

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  32. 32
    S. Marty Pantz says:

    Congratulations! Now that you’ve finally settled your personal house-buying situation, you can focus on better ramen: http://www.ramenrater.com/

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  33. 33
    Chuck Ponzi says:

    Welcome to the dark side. It’s only a matter of time before you start flipping, right?

    Chuck

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  34. 34
    ; says:

    first redfin, now a home. the housing-cult has slowly claimed another bear.

    i admit, your buying makes me have second thoughts but only for a second. then i come to my senses.

    i expect you will -not- become a dumbass just because you bought – like has happened to so many new buyers. i do, sadly, expect an ever so slightly more pro-housing blog. possibly articles on the joy of BBQing on the patio, benefits of growing your own garden and the elation of watching TV at night without disturbing the renters downstairs.

    congratulations.

    p.s. the software was removing newlines so my paragraphs were getting clumped into a single big paragraph

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  35. 35
    Brady says:

    The recession is over! yesss!

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  36. 36
    The Tim says:

    By ; @ 34:

    …benefits of growing your own garden…

    We’ve actually been gardening for years at our rental. We’re actually going back over the next few weeks to dig up all our roses, a lilac, the blueberry bush, and our raspberry patch to transplant them all up to our new home. But I wasn’t planning to blog about it ;^)

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  37. 37
    HappyRenter says:

    The typical question: Are planning to have children?

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  38. 38
    deejayoh says:

    Congrats Tim! Looks like a nice place.

    I love this part of the realtor’s description:

    Master Suite Has 5 Piece Bath with Large Closets & Sliding Glass Doors To Huge Party Deck.

    Wow! There are large closets and a door to a party deck in your master bath?

    Oh, and Shugy sez: “According to Zillow, you are underwater.”

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  39. 39

    CONGRATS!!! :)

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  40. 40
    The Tim says:

    By deejayoh @ 38:

    Oh, and Shugy sez: “According to Zillow, you are underwater.”

    Heh. Well that would be quite a trick considering the 20% I put down. Even when you factor in the 10% cost to sell I think I’ll still be above water for at least a few months. ;^)

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  41. 41
    jo says:

    Look like a very nice pad

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  42. 42
    Jamie says:

    It’s called Seattlebubble.com, not Everettbubble.com, what on Earth were you thinking?

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  43. 43
    NewHomeOwnerInFremont says:

    SELLOUT!!!!!! J/K. Congratulations on the new home, Tim. & thanks for this site.

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  44. 44
    Ryan says:

    Congrats Tim, and thanks for the education along the way.

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  45. 45

    By The Tim @ 40:

    By deejayoh @ 38:
    Oh, and Shugy sez: “According to Zillow, you are underwater.”

    Heh. Well that would be quite a trick considering the 20% I put down. Even when you factor in the 10% cost to sell I think I’ll still be above water for at least a few months. ;^)

    That’s amazing that Zillow could be so far off on a house that was sold within the past four years. If the neighborhood is fairly consistent as to house type (e.g. most houses built before 1940, two story, etc.), then that would be even more shocking.

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  46. 46
    S-Crow says:

    I’m donating money to Tim via his tip jar….for some home improvement tools to get at Lowe’s down the street from his new home!. It’s Memorial Day Weekend so there’s going to be some deals!

    WHO’s WITH ME!

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  47. 47

    By Jamie @ 42:

    It’s called Seattlebubble.com, not Everettbubble.com, what on Earth were you thinking?

    That the bubble was only in Seattle! ;-)

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  48. 48
    Greg Perry says:

    It’s been ages since I’ve visited here. Congrats on your closing, Tim.

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  49. 49
    Lurker says:

    I’ve been waiting for this post. Congratulations The Tim and thank you for all that you’ve done on this site!

    Love the ramen photo :)

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  50. 50
    jillayne schlicke says:

    Ahh. The nesting instinct is powerful. Congrats to you and your wife! A housewarming meetup is in order! For all u have done for us….

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  51. 51
    The Tim says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 46 – Hey you weren’t kidding. Just got the Google Checkout notification. Thanks!

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  52. 52
    Tim McB says:

    The Tim,

    Congrats on the new house. Did you end up using a real estate agent (Redfin?), an attorney, or some other arrangement? I’m guessing if you used an agent that’s a pretty big feather in their cap. It might even appear on their business cards next month (Agent hooks the white whale, can sell to anyone). My guess is that you didn’t though.

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  53. 53
    The Tim says:

    By jillayne schlicke @ 50:

    Ahh. The nesting instinct is powerful.

    To be fair there was more than a “nesting instinct” at play here. To share a bit more personal news, we’re hoping to adopt soon, and our rental literally would not have passed the state-required home inspection due to a few things like “bedrooms” without windows, etc. So we kindof needed to find new digs.

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  54. 54
    Hello says:

    We just got our offer accepted last week on our dream house in Bothell, and the possibility that the housing prices may still drop significantly kept making me doubt if I made a smart decision. But now I see that you bought a house, it makes me feel much better :)
    Congratulations!

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  55. 55
    The Tim says:

    By Tim McB @ 52:

    Congrats on the new house. Did you end up using a real estate agent (Redfin?), an attorney, or some other arrangement?

    Redfin doesn’t provide direct service on short sales in the Seattle area (currently, although that may change soon). We used attorneys Marc Holmes & Craig Blackmon with WaLaw Realty [disclosure: WaLaw is a Seattle Bubble advertiser, but we signed up with them long before they began advertising here]. More details on that decision will be forthcoming in the upcoming series of posts I mentioned earlier.

    P.S. (Thanks for the donation/tip!)

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  56. 56
    One Eyed Man says:

    So with a little sweat equity to finish the lower level The Tim scored what appears to be an approximately 2700 sq ft newly remodelled vintage craftsman for about $85/ sq ft.

    Nice. It probably even makes Scotsman jealous. I know it does me. I was working for a judge 5 blocks away at the Snohomish Co Ct House in 1980 when the house sold for 75K and I know I couldn’t have afforded it then. But 30 yr rates were just a little higher in those days.

    And good choice of representation too!

    But as nice as the house is, it’s probably nowhere near as nice as the people in it.

    Congratulations. And thanks again for the incredible public service you provided with this site.

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  57. 57
    Jonness says:

    Hi Tim:

    Who is that cool-looking guy in the photo sporting the goatee eating Top Ramen so that he can afford to pay his mortgage?

    Congratulations Tim! You waited a lot of years for this moment, and I suspect you will get a lot of joy from your purchase. I understand your desire to buy, because I’m in a similar situation as you. I’ve been on the fence for years and have made several offers. Fortunately since I’m a horrific low-baller, the sellers have saved me from my weakness.

    Prices will continue down for a while. What ultimately occurs will have more to do to the national economy and less to do with Seattle itself (note in your charts how the tax credit caused similar patterns across the nation). There are still many factors at play that will matter. Fiscal and monetary stimulus, foreclosures, unemployment, lending standards, the state of Fannie, Freddie, inflation vs. deflation, the global economy, China, Europe, local factors…

    In short, if the U.S. economy can heal, you’ll lose less money on your purchase decision. You managed to buy when mortgage rates were really low, so that will offer you some protection (if you don’t move within 10-years). Now you just have to figure out if you want to pay an extra $500/mo. on the mortgage in order to whack the principal in a hurry, or bet on inflation and use future dollars to pay off the loan (assuming you took out a big ol’ loan).

    We knew you were cracking Tim. It started coming out in your posts. “There is no such thing as a good time to buy, only your time to buy.” Yeah, we screamed and yelled that prices were still correcting, and the fundamentals were not right for a bottom. But we knew that hot redfin money was flowing in faster than house prices were falling, so it didn’t matter to you. As much as you are banking from The Fin, why not?

    Personally, I’d like to wait another year or so before pulling the trigger. We’ll see what happens. :)

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  58. 58
    The Tim says:

    By One Eyed Man @ 56:

    So with a little sweat equity to finish the lower level The Tim scored what appears to be an approximately 2700 sq ft newly remodelled vintage craftsman for about $85/ sq ft.

    You have revealed my plot. Nice factors about the basement include a ceiling height >7 feet plus two full egress windows that were just installed by the previous owner (a contractor) in anticipation of his basement-finishing project that he was unable to get to before he had to sell.

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  59. 59
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 46

    I’m in, but I’m notoriously cheap so some other people better pony up to make up for me.

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  60. 60

    Tim, you yourself commented a few weeks ago that now MIGHT be a good time to buy, depending on your situation (sorry no time to find link). So you’ve hardly gone to the “dark side”. Indeed, you’re the proto-Buy-Now buyer: mortgage rates remain historically low, market has undeniably corrected itself significantly (albeit probably not fully), you have a long-term ownership timeline, you have other external reasons for buying (no. 8 above), and you found a house well-priced and well within your means, thus insulating yourself to a degree from further price drops. Nice work and congrats!!

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that a Bubble Housewarming Party for the Tim would be the Party of the Century?? Set the date Tim and we’ll be there!

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  61. 61
    Jonness says:

    BTW, that’s a great little house at a sweet price! :)

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  62. 62
    The Tim says:

    By Jonness @ 57:

    We knew you were cracking Tim. It started coming out in your posts. “There is no such thing as a good time to buy, only your time to buy.” Yeah, we screamed and yelled that prices were still correcting, and the fundamentals were not right for a bottom.

    I agree completely. Bottom’s almost certainly not here yet. As you astutely surmised, the point of that post was to pre-soften readers against jumping to the conclusion that my purchase indicates some sort of bottom. My purchase just indicates that it was a good time personally for me to buy. It’s not a market signal by any measure.

    Remember, I’ve been saying the same thing pretty much the entire time I’ve run this site. Text I wrote years ago for the About page:

    The most important thing to remember is that the decision of whether or not to buy is a personal one that only you can make. Don’t let a blog or a real estate salesman make that decision for you. Consider all the options and risks, and make an informed decision based on your unique circumstances. If you find a home that you love, at a price that you’re comfortable paying (i.e. – you wouldn’t be upset if the price dropped another 10-20%), and you plan to live there for a long time, then go for it. If you are looking at a home as a place to invest your money, then you should probably reconsider.

    Still true today.

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  63. 63
    Kevin says:

    I appreciate the full disclosure.What’s with the little lot/structure on the alley behind you? Or is that just a Redfin property line bounding box rendering glitch?

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  64. 64
    The Tim says:

    By Kevin @ 63:

    What’s with the little lot/structure on the alley behind you? Or is that just a Redfin property line bounding box rendering glitch?

    Hah, not a glitch. That is a 1,100 square foot house on a tiny 1,700 square foot lot. If I had a bit of extra cash I’d pick that up too and maybe fix it up as a rental in the short term and eventually get rid of it and expand our yard.

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  65. 65
    hoary says:

    Way to go The Tim! Being a homeowner is a great feeling and makes you work a lot harder to get your debts paid off.

    How are the neighbors? I hope they are aware they have a K-list celebrity living next door! Also how are the schools?

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  66. 66
    Cheap South says:

    Congratulations and enjoy it with all the health and…..dammed I promised myself I wouldn’t cry!!

    Really looks like a beautiful place. Let me call it a ” great find”; only Ray can categorize it as a “gem”.

    By the way, what do you know about the surrounding elementary school?

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  67. 67
    Dirty Renter says:

    Congratulations.
    I hope your pink pony likes the yard…you didn’t leave him in Arizona after you took the picture did you?

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  68. 68
    The Tim says:

    By Cheap South @ 66:

    By the way, what do you know about the surrounding elementary school?

    Jackson Elementary – The test scores don’t look awesome but parent reviews seem to be mostly high. The school I went to as a child has lower test scores but somehow I turned out all right (if I say so myself). I tend to think that a kid’s success has more to do with the parents’ involvement than how good the school is. Also I’m pretty down on public schools in general (mainly based on their crazy low expectations). If I can afford it I plan to send my kids (when/if I have kids) to private school anyway.

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  69. 69
    IHMHL says:

    RE: The Tim @ 24 – Congrats Tim!
    Wondering why did you not just go for 15 year loan? Must have got it at a lower rate, no? I am sure the payment would have then been well below your means too.

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  70. 70
    The Tim says:

    RE: IHMHL @ 69 – Because rates are so stupid low right now that it wouldn’t have been all that substantial of a difference. Also, this gives me the flexibility to pay the 30-year if times get tough.

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  71. 71
    Drone says:

    I’ll add my voice to the congratulations. I don’t often congratulate people for buying anymore (because so many of them still overpay) but it looks like you’ve scored yourself a really deal that will serve you and your future family well. Hope to follow in your footsteps in a year or so.

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  72. 72
    The Danza says:

    Congrats, Tim. I just had an accepted offer on a house in St. Louis that has had my stomach in knots…but this news makes me feel a bit better about buying. My PITI will be roughly 60% of equivalent rentals in the area and I paid 1996ish pricing for the place. But with all your and these posters help and a little (giant) push from the spousal unit I final made the jump. Hope it works out…for us both. Keep us updated. Don’t be suprised if you have a few six packs of Boulevard Single Wide IPA on your doorstep in the near future purchased from the Co-op at the Everett Public Market. And if any one wants to join be in a good old fashioned grade school style egging and tee peeing…let me know!

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  73. 73
    Scotsman says:

    Congrats are in order- a well thought out move with little potential downside and lots of pluses. With 20% down a minimum wages job will pay the note and leave a bit for the Ramen variety pack. Of course momma will have to work too.

    It looks like a great house, in good shape, with the potential to add square footage and value. I’ve looked a similar situations over the last few months, figuring that while I’m not ready to pull the trigger on a more substantial purchase there are homes for sale that could work now and become rentals in the future. And since one possibility we’re looking at is building, having an existing home to live in during the process that was stable (i.e., not a rental) could be a plus. There have been a couple REOs in the $120-180K range around that fit the bill. Still I think Fall will be a better time to purchase.

    The best news I’ve read in these posts is that you’re thinking of expanding the family. Going the adoption route not only helps you, but makes the world a better place for all and confirms a generous spirit. My wife and I had hoped to adopt above and beyond our own two kids, but my oldest daughter’s cancer adventure tied up the years it needed to happen. Hats off to you, and good luck!

    Remember, a can of tuna perks up the basic Ramen and adds needed protein. ;-)

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  74. 74
    The Tim says:

    By Scotsman @ 73:

    I’ve looked a similar situations over the last few months, figuring that while I’m not ready to pull the trigger on a more substantial purchase there are homes for sale that could work now and become rentals in the future. And since one possibility we’re looking at is building, having an existing home to live in during the process that was stable (i.e., not a rental) could be a plus. There have been a couple REOs in the $120-180K range around that fit the bill. Still I think Fall will be a better time to purchase.

    We looked at a bunch of houses with that same plan in mind. This was actually the 5th home we made an offer on. All the rest were REOs under $200k that we were planning to fix up, live in for a while, then eventually rent out. Seems like a pretty reasonable plan right now with the glut of REO inventory that most buyers are passing up.

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  75. 75
    joe dirt says:

    I bought a foreclosure last year, and put in offer on short sale two days ago. Unless you are worried abou a double dip or economic calamity from the deficit, there is no reason to wait anymore.

    Bottom may not be in for normal sales, but seems to be for distress sales.

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  76. 76
    ARDELL says:

    .83 x AV. Hard to beat that deal with a stick.

    Congratulations to you and your wife. May you enjoy it for many years to come.

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  77. 77
    Neverabrogatedcommunity says:

    Good on ya, Tim! Neat place and good call for your family.

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  78. 78
    EconE says:

    Nice place! Congrats!

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  79. 79

    By ARDELL @ 76:

    .83 x AV. Hard to beat that deal with a stick..

    Assessed values in Snohomish are even more meaningless than in King County.

    Even prior to the peak they were often high. I had an expert witness situation where even the expert that wanted a high valuation couldn’t get his valuation as high as Snohomish County’s, and they adjusted it up the next year again!

    I’m not saying it isn’t a good value, especially for an older house like that with exposed wood. I’m just saying I wouldn’t ever base that on assessed value in Snohomish County.

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  80. 80

    RE: The Tim @ 55 – I’m surprised Redfin doesn’t make an exception for employees that want to buy a short sale. That seems a bit strange.

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  81. 81
    LA Relo says:

    Congrats! Makes me feel better about buying right now if the Seattle Bubble Author himself is buying.

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  82. 82
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 79

    It’s “YAY The-Tim Day”, Kary. nuff said.

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  83. 83

    RE: ARDELL @ 82 – I’ve already said how much I like the house and what I like about it. I’m just commenting on your method of valuation.

    I just looked at one of the properties I’m dealing with right now, and the client is picking it up for less than 50% of AV, and it’s not a fixer. Until now I never even thought to look at its AV, because it’s practically irrelevant even though it’s in King County where they’re more accurate than Snohomish.

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  84. 84
    EastBellevueEtherBinge says:

    Absolutely awesome.

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  85. 85
    David says:

    So this what the rapture is like! Congrats seems like a fair price based on it’s historical value.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  86. 86
    James says:

    Does it have FiOS?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  87. 87
    Notorious ART says:

    Tim,
    Congrats on the new house! We closed on our house a few months back and I used Redfin. I guess I won’t see you on the bus anymore.

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  88. 88
    The Tim says:

    RE: James @ 85 – Sadly no. I’m stuck with Comcast. Oh well, at least it was easy to transfer my service from the rental.

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  89. 89

    RE: The Tim @ 88 – In case you don’t know, if you don’t care about cable channels, you can get “limited basic” for under $5 a month, after a $10 a month credit, if you have Comcast Internet.

    And either way, this would be perfect for that: http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/

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  90. 90
    joe dirt says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 89

    I have comcast basic and with HDTV built in QAM tuner am able to watch HD channels (no set top box rental) and actually get more channels than advertised.

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  91. 91
    joe dirt says:

    RE: The Tim @ 70

    Interest rate is the other reason not to wait. Recently I was cleaning up and found a paper slide mortgage calculator circa 1990 – it did not even go below 6% !

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  92. 92
    David North says:

    Tim, your credibility remains intact, at least until you start a new blog about how math works differently in Seattle than elsewhere, and how artificially deflated Seattle real estate prices are, and how nobody in their right mind would resist leveraging to the hilt to own the biggest possible piece of guaranteed future (talkin’ weeks, not years) wealth. But I’ve heard there’s a lot more (and well-funded) competition in that space, so I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

    Your purchase affirms the truth that everyone ought to be comfortable with, that real estate isn’t all about math or all about lifestyle. It’s about some balance of both, which balance is unique to each individual based on their respective goals and situations.

    Congratulations!

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  93. 93

    And in related news, Real World Express has been banned from this forum. ;-)

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2011/05/24/heres-why-selection-stinks-right-now-around-seattle/comment-page-1/#comment-132477

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  94. 94
    Ross says:

    A sincere congrats to you Tim. Looks like a very reasonable and affordable home. Also, kudos to you for being so open and transparent on your purchase with this opinionated community (a home purchase, after all, can be a pretty personal choice).

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  95. 95
    Ross says:

    By The Tim @ 18:

    RE: S-Crow @ 14 – Thanks! I’m just sorry I couldn’t use your services for closing. Seller’s lender was particular about using Chicago Title.

    FWIW, I had the same issue when purchasing a REO, the seller insisted on using their preferred title company (who also happened to be Chicago, though not a local office). Technically, that’s a violation of RESPA:

    Section 9 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. §2608) states that:
    “1. No seller of property that will be purchased with the assistance of a federally related mortgage loan shall require directly or indirectly, as a condition to selling the property, that title insurance covering the property be purchased by the buyer from any particular title company.

    2. Any seller who violates the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be liable to the buyer in an amount equal to three times all charges made for such title insurance.”

    But by the time most people buy their home, they usually aren’t up for pursuing a RESPA violation – so it seems this rule is frequently violated, especially with REO/short sales.

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  96. 96

    RE: Ross @ 95 – I’ve not looked into that specifically, but I think they do sometimes have some sort of an out for the buyer to switch escrows, or maybe do a sub-escrow or something. So they’ll specify escrow in the original contract, but then you have the opportunity to change. For example, in the Fannie contract, there’s a clause that says the purchaser has the right to select their own independent escrow, but when you make the offer they will select the escrow.

    For short sales though the short sale coordinator may very will be associated with the escrow, and it wouldn’t generally be a good idea to switch unless you knew something about them.

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  97. 97
    Ross says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 96:

    RE: Ross @ 95 – I’ve not looked into that specifically, but I think they do sometimes have some sort of an out for the buyer to switch escrows, or maybe do a sub-escrow or something. So they’ll specify escrow in the original contract, but then you have the opportunity to change. For example, in the Fannie contract, there’s a clause that says the purchaser has the right to select their own independent escrow, but when you make the offer they will select the escrow.

    For short sales though the short sale coordinator may very will be associated with the escrow, and it wouldn’t generally be a good idea to switch unless you knew something about them.

    In my case, the (REO) seller’s addendum was pretty clean (i.e. there was no official requirement to use their title). But the listing agent made it clear that I would need to specify the seller’s title company of choice (on my offer) or the offer would not be accepted. I think that falls into the “require indirectly”, but I ultimately didn’t pursue it.

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  98. 98
    David North says:

    RE: Ross @ 95 – The section you cited deals with title insurance, not closing services.

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  99. 99
    Ross says:

    By David North @ 98:

    RE: Ross @ 95 – The section you cited deals with title insurance, not closing services.

    My bad, I thought we were talking about title insurance.

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  100. 100
    Scotsman says:

    100 comments or bust! Oh, wait a minute. . .

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  101. 101
    Pegasus says:

    Evolution of “The Tim”. Frustrated real estate buyer goes “mad dog” on the industry and starts negative blog. After a few years goes to work for RedFin. While saying he does not think real estate has bottomed out he buys a home for personal reasons. When his transformation is completed I suspect that “The Tim” will end up selling real estate for a living to prevent his followers from being priced out forever. Maybe for John L. Scott….

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  102. 102

    By Ross @ 99:

    By David North @ 98:
    RE: Ross @ 95 – The section you cited deals with title insurance, not closing services.

    My bad, I thought we were talking about title insurance.

    Since the seller pays for the buyer’s insurance, would it be a violation for the seller to pick it? I would assume the seller wouldn’t have a problem with the buyer using a different title company for their lender, but that would be more expensive, and who would care?

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  103. 103
    JimN says:

    Congratulations!

    Of course you know this type of move will move markets!
    We’ll have to be mindful of the artifactual “The Tim” bump looking back at Summer 2011 with a disclaimer.

    In all sincerity, thank you for your blog. I look forward to your series on the purchase process as a first timer. Will you be keeping up the blog with the razor focus?

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  104. 104
    Ross says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 102:

    By Ross @ 99:
    By David North @ 98:
    RE: Ross @ 95 – The section you cited deals with title insurance, not closing services.

    My bad, I thought we were talking about title insurance.

    Since the seller pays for the buyer’s insurance, would it be a violation for the seller to pick it? I would assume the seller wouldn’t have a problem with the buyer using a different title company for their lender, but that would be more expensive, and who would care?

    Did you get that backwards? My understanding is that buyer usually pays for both lender’s title insurance and their own policy (if they so opt).

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  105. 105
    Ross says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 102:

    By Ross @ 99:
    By David North @ 98:
    RE: Ross @ 95 – The section you cited deals with title insurance, not closing services.

    My bad, I thought we were talking about title insurance.

    Since the seller pays for the buyer’s insurance, would it be a violation for the seller to pick it? I would assume the seller wouldn’t have a problem with the buyer using a different title company for their lender, but that would be more expensive, and who would care?

    Aside, I understand that there have been schemes where seller (or seller’s agent) gets kickbacks from the title company (or from escrow company) for delivering the business to them; so the rule was to prevent kickback schemes.

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  106. 106

    RE: Ross @ 104 – in our local area, typically the seller pays for the owners policy (which is for the buyer) and the buyer pays for the lenders policy IF they’re obtaining a mortgage. The seller is proving to the buyer the home is free and clear of title defects, liens, etc. and the buyer is doing the same for the lender.

    My previous life was in the title/escrow biz. :)

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  107. 107

    RE: Ross @ 104 – It may be different elsewhere, but here the seller pays for the buyer’s policy and the buyer pays for the lender’s policy.

    Since most transactions are by Warranty Deed, the seller is hoping that the title company pays the claim and then doesn’t come after them!

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  108. 108
    WillyNilly says:

    Bravo! Congratulations on making an eyes wide open, fully informed, financially conservative decision. I don’t know if they still have them, but when we bought last fall the post office had a moving packet. The only thing of value in the packet is a “project starter” coupon from Lowe’s for 10% off whatever you buy. Home Depot also honers these Lowe’s coupons. I’ve used about 15 of them so far. ;-) You, and many of the astute contributors here on this blog enriched our home purchase decision making process. Thanks. I still read here regularly.

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  109. 109
    magnolia44 says:

    ha ha, glad i stopped by today. to me buying now is just as crazy as buying a few years ago with what lies ahead.Welcome to the club buddy, you too will soon own a house that is worth less than you paid for, its just that i am about -75k ahead of you. Enjoy the ride i know we are!!!

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  110. 110
    Jonness says:

    Apparently house prices are not the only thing falling off the edge of a cliff in Seattle. Try regressing from a Pulitzer Prize finalist to grossly misquoting optimism and becoming a horribly irresponsible journalist.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2011/05/seattle-area-housing-market-at-bottom.html

    Missing from the piece is Ellis’ statement that he believes prices will continue to decline. Instead we get “The recession is over” from a poster nobody even recognizes. The final blow to her career is, “seattle-area-housing-market-at-bottom.”

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  111. 111
    Scotsman says:

    RE: magnolia44 @ 109

    You’ve traveled a long road to arrive at your current opinion. Gotta say I admire your honesty now, especially in light of discussions we’ve had in the past. My only comment would be that it’s harder to lose life crushing money on a $200K house than it is a $500k house. Still, it hurts, and while going into the deal with open eyes probably makes it less of a surprise, it’s not easy. But we all need to live somewhere, and to the extent possible, get on with our lives.

    And I agree- the worst is still to come.

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  112. 112
    The Tim says:

    RE: Jonness @ 110 – I think that’s a bit harsh on Ms. Grind…

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  113. 113
    HappyRenter says:

    RE: Jonness @ 110
    Why is according to Kirsten Grind the Seattle Bubble website controversial?

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  114. 114
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Jonness @ 110

    Yup, that’s completely over the top.

    Stupid facts. None of the larger macro issues that were there before the bubble have been corrected. If anything, they are all pretty much worse now than they were 4 years ago. Housing is going to take two hits. The first is from the credit collapse- no more liars loans, 80/20s, negative amortization, etc. We’re about 3/4 of the way through that one. The second will be from a hit to income. Stagnant or falling wages, higher taxes, less governmental support for medical and retirement expenses, higher energy costs, all these and more will lead to a smaller percentage of income available for housing and other consumer functions that have traditionally supported and grown our economy. The initial hit may be over, but we’re in for a long, slow, slide down to some as yet unknown equilibrium. The true recession hasn’t really begun, let alone ended.

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  115. 115
    Scotsman says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . . a little perspective:

    “Columbia State Bank, Tacoma, Washington, Assumes All of the Deposits of First Heritage Bank, Snohomish, Washington

    As of March 31, 2011, First Heritage Bank had approximately $173.5 million in total assets and $163.3 million in total deposits. … The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $34.9 million. … First Heritage Bank is the 44th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in Washington.

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

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  116. 116
    David Losh says:

    I looked it up this morning and if I recall the house sold for $143K in 2004. You have a granite, and stainless steel remodel at let’s say $80K so you may have been able to purchase this home for $224K in 2005, the year you started the blog.

    How is anything different today than it was in 2005? We had a spike in pricing, but other than that, how did the market change?

    Welcome to Real Estate.

    Now you are talking about your land lord who had you fixing the water heater, sounds lovely. You advocated renting when you could have made the same deal you have, back then, and still come out ahead.

    Well, congratulations, your blog has helped thousands, if not millions, of people to make reasonable, if not rational choices about a home purchase.

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  117. 117
    GrizzlyBear says:

    By Lo Ball Jones @ 26:

    That house would sell for $90,000 in Auburn.

    Exactly. And, though Tim can afford it, methinks time will show he paid nearly $100k too much.

    I’m wondering how long until the blog takes on a “now’s the time to buy” slant.

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  118. 118
    HappyRenter says:

    By David Losh @ 116:

    How is anything different today than it was in 2005? We had a spike in pricing, but other than that, how did the market change?

    Today was the RIGHT TIME ->for Tim<- to buy. This is what this blog has always been about!

    Congrats Tim!

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  119. 119
    GrizzlyBear says:

    By Scotsman @ 115:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . . a little perspective:

    “Columbia State Bank, Tacoma, Washington, Assumes All of the Deposits of First Heritage Bank, Snohomish, Washington

    As of March 31, 2011, First Heritage Bank had approximately $173.5 million in total assets and $163.3 million in total deposits. … The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $34.9 million. … First Heritage Bank is the 44th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in Washington.

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

    Sterling Savings should be next.

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  120. 120
    Crashcadia says:

    Congrats on the house. May you make it a home. I just purchased a 1989 Ford Ranger with about 200K miles on it and no oil pressure on the gauge. I have a feeling that you are going to fair better than me. Best Wishes to You and Yours.

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  121. 121
    corncob says:

    Flat top stoves are terrible. I’d rather have coil if going electric, my old flat top would emit all sorts of weird smells after cooking meat (esp. delicious bacon) no matter how you cleaned it. Good riddance.

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  122. 122
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 116

    David. When someone’s trying to decide what to do, you bring out all of the cons. The day they move in, you say good luck, you give them a gift, and you don’t pound them with “Woulda, Shoulda, Couldas”.

    THAT is “Real Estate”.

    Now put your money where your mouth is and go give the nice young couple a gift in the Tip Jar. :)

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  123. 123
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 122

    I know the etiquette.

    At the same time the should we always congratulate a home purchase after everything that’s gone on?

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  124. 124
    magnolia44 says:

    scottdman,

    thanks for your comment but if it does become life crushing , “if” i would have rather crushed itr in Magnolia than in any other part of Seattle that i can say for sure. ive been here 6 years and counting, owned for 3. cheers and good luck to us all!

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  125. 125
    Ray Pepper says:

    dammit! I knew it…Just 9 months off and Ira would have bought me dinner…….

    Congrats!

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  126. 126

    By David Losh @ 116:

    I looked it up this morning and if I recall the house sold for $143K in 2004. You have a granite, and stainless steel remodel at let’s say $80K so you may have been able to purchase this home for $224K in 2005, the year you started the blog.

    How is anything different today than it was in 2005?

    Well, first I will say I think you’re totally overestimating the value of the kitchen, perhaps by 2x or more, but you’re basing value on a non-listed sale in 2005, which is always suspect. Second, if you spent even a minute looking at the listing information, or a bit longer looking at the comments here, you’d have realized that in 2005 this was a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home, and that makes a huge difference in value.

    Finally, I would say that none of us should be valuing a house that we’ve never been in, however, an older house in that apparent condition is much more valuable than other houses, old or new.

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  127. 127

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 125 – What? You’re not going to tell Tim that he was defrauded by the bank, that he shouldn’t make even the first payment, and that he should then do another short sale on the property and have the buyer be a trust setup for his unborn children? ;-)

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  128. 128
    Ray Pepper says:

    I’m on vacation and I don’t wanna read all the posts but can someone please tell me the date of the house warming? Is it BYOB?

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  129. 129
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 125

    Count your blessings. Nine months ago you would have purchased that dinner at Claim Jumper, ordered the cheesy fries, and possibly lost a load in your pants on the way home.

    I’d say this way you win in the end.

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  130. 130
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 127 -I will tell him at the house warming!

    Funny that you mention that though..Just before I left today I had a meeting with a Mother and her two daughters while researching this activity for Data Snap/Vestus. They bought in Olympia and are part of the Pierce/Kitsap/Mason Produce The Note Movement. They bought their home 2.2 years ago and NEVER made 1 payment. Amazing story considering the mother is a Doctor, the daughter is an RN, and the other daughter is in college. The home is lets just say…………………no where close to Trustee Sale.

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  131. 131

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 130 – Good thinking. Better not to have a record. ;-)

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  132. 132
    The Tim says:

    By David Losh @ 116:

    I looked it up this morning and if I recall the house sold for $143K in 2004. You have a granite, and stainless steel remodel at let’s say $80K so you may have been able to purchase this home for $224K in 2005, the year you started the blog.

    Nope, the house sold for $364k in July 2006, before that for $267k in February 2006, and before that for $74,500 in April 1980. The first two are on the Snohomish County website, the 1980 one I know about because I emailed the county and had them look it up for me.

    Zillow shows a 2004 sale for $153,745, but that’s because their public record data provider got a parcel number off by one when that sale was entered. That sale was for the tiny little house on the 1,700 square foot lot next door.

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  133. 133
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 123

    It’s not just etiquette, it’s real estate. Ever had a client who didn’t listen to a word you said and bought a house they were happy with? You say good luck, you give them a gift and you wish them well.

    It’s a lovely home and I’m sure they will be happy in it. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

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  134. 134
    Ray Pepper says:

    Tim, whatever happened to the home you wanted on acreage? I believe at lunch you stated you wanted a home that you could subdivide or do something with that your father did?

    What the heck???

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  135. 135
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Congratz, Tim.

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  136. 136
    MichaelB says:

    Tim,

    Congratulations! Have enjoyed your blog and will be sorry to see it end! Enjoy your new home in beautiful Everett, WA for a long time to come. Aqua Sox just down the street for $6.00 a ticket! Can’t beat it.

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  137. 137
    Leanne says:

    Congratulations! Nice place. I also bought well before I thought the bottom was in on a deal that was right for me and have no regrets.

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  138. 138
    Voight-kampff says:

    9 out of 10 Old school bubble readers agree:
    You are no longer a loser according to R.A.L.

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  139. 139
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: The Tim @ 132RE: Ray Pepper @ 130

    So was it their plan to buy and never make a note payment?

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  140. 140

    By The Tim @ 132:

    Zillow shows a 2004 sale for $153,745, but that’s because their public record data provider got a parcel number off by one when that sale was entered. That sale was for the tiny little house on the 1,700 square foot lot next door.

    Realist is picking that up too, which is probably how David saw it, and how I saw it. See, I said non-listed sales are suspect! ;-)

    Seriously, I should have noticed the vendor/vendee didn’t match up, but it was the earliest sale showing on Realist, so that wasn’t quite as obvious.

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  141. 141
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 126

    But I don’t have a minute. My question still stands; How is the market today any different than it was in 2005?

    I did value the total remodel at $80K.

    The fact the property sold for $364K is very suspect.

    Yes Ardell, of course you’re right, and I made the contribution.

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  142. 142

    By David Losh @ 140:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 126 – The fact the property sold for $364K is very suspect.

    Try to get the facts straight.

    It sold in 2/06 for $267,000. At that point it was listed as a two bedroom, one bath.

    Then is sold in 7/06 for $364,000 in a non-listed transaction. Being a non-listed transaction, I’ve said that was suspect. Tim has indicated his seller told him the condition was not good at that time, which makes it even more suspect.

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2011/05/27/guess-what/comment-page-1/#comment-132760

    The current listing showed the house as a 4 bedroom, 1.75 bath home. We don’t know when those extra bedrooms and the extra bath were added, but it’s sometime after the 2/06 sale for $267,000. And presumably the new kitchen was added after that point in time too.

    So, using your numbers, of adding $80,000 for then entire remodel, the property would have been worth $267,000 + 80,000, or $347,000 in 2006 in it’s present configuration.

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  143. 143
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 138

    I should have asked that but the flow of the conversation never led me to question them on that. I was also pressured for time due to my departure to Nevada.

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  144. 144
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 140

    OK David, now that you put your money where your mouth is…and since you don’t have a minute to check the facts, I’ll answer your question.

    You asked: “How is the market today any different than it was in 2005?”

    When The Tim started the blog in 2005, the CONDO townhomes down the street, only a block away from the house he just bought and on the same street, were selling for $210,000 to $215,000. In today’s market the same townhome just sold for $119,900.

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Everett/3515-Wetmore-Ave-98201/unit-D/home/2899943

    Roughly $100,000 less and almost 50% less for the same property than in 2005.

    That’s an attached townhome – no land – condo…for only $11,000 less in 2005 than The Tim just paid for a remodeled home with more square footage on a 6,098 sf lot.

    Big difference, David. BIG difference. He could have bought that townhome in 2005, but he said no! That’s crazy! I’ll wait until I can get a “real house” with land that needs little or no work for about that price.

    …and he did.

    Hope that answers your question.

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  145. 145
    ARDELL says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 138

    They owned it for five years…how do you get “never make a note payment” from that?

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  146. 146
    Lurker says:

    since the records still state the house is still a 2/1 does this mean the improvements were done w/out permits?

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  147. 147

    RE: Lurker @ 145RE: Lurker @ 145 – Realist shows it as being “2/4″ bedrooms and “1/2″ bath. They started showing up that way only recently, with changes to the Realist system (or I never noticed one listed that way until recently) and I never understood what it meant, but apparently it’s “as built/current.” Presumably that’s from county records, but it could also be Realist is pulling that from listing information since they now show current and prior listings.

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  148. 148
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 143

    It really doesn’t because as you point out town homes are different. Town homes were, and are affordable housing units.

    Just because the sales pitch has changed from “buy now or be priced out forever” to “buy now if it’s the right time for you” doesn’t shift the paradigm.

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  149. 149
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 142

    Tell them to plead the 5th if they intented to never make a payment when they signed the note because that would be fraud. ;-) But its extremely difficult to prove unless, of course, the person admits to it.

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  150. 150
    pero says:

    My condolences.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  151. 151
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 144

    I must have inadvertantly hit the reply to Tim’s comment at #130. My reply was to Ray’s comment at #132 about a mother and daughter who never made a payment on their mortgage, not about Tim’s house.

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  152. 152
    Lurker says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 146

    I was looking at the county parcel viewer and it said 2/1. I think it was one of your posts on here about the house being upgraded which made me curious about if there was permit information.

    I wasn’t trying to be too nosy but I’ve been interested lately in public records vs listing information and how often remodels, finishing basements, etc. are permitted and recorded.

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  153. 153
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 147

    David…you are missing the point. He couldn’t buy that house there in it’s current condition for this price in 2005. His money would not have bought this then.

    I’ll give you apples to apples. He could have bought this house, on the same sized lot, in July of 2005 for $286,000. That same house sold for $185,000 less than a year ago.

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Everett/3415-Rockefeller-Ave-98201/home/2686913

    There are areas where 2005 and today are not that much different. I’ll give you that. But not where The Tim chose to buy. He bought in an area that has had substantial change since 2005. This is his blog. It was right for him, in the area he chose to buy.

    There is no universal truth. Every blog is correct from the standpoint of its author. For Everett in a 4 ranked elementary School…2005 was WAY different than today. Not the case where you live. Not the case where I work. But for The Tim…it is. Don’t look for your truth on someone else’s blog.

    “Real Estate is local”.

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  154. 154
    Mr. Ed says:

    Congratulations, Tim!!!! The house looks great, and North Everett is a nice place to live.

    Seems like there is a majority consensus that it is a defensible decision for a person to buy a house now, if the person intends to live in the house for a long time (10-15 years at least), if the loan payments are easily affordable, if the person can get a really low fixed interest rate, and if person can get a pretty good deal on the house.

    Once again, congrats!!!

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  155. 155
    ARDELL says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 149

    Got it! While I’ve got you, I had an odd scenario the other day. Owner can sell for what they paid for the house. They want to sell due to a divorce. At peak in 2007 they did a refinance rolling their Student Loans and their Car Loans into the mortgage.

    The sale price won’t be less than they owed on it at time of purchase, even with zero down. They are not behind in their payments. But if they short sell, they will drive off in their cars free and clear with their degrees intact, and the “shortage” of what they owe on the house vs what they can pay to the lienholder at closing giving them a free ride on both of their cars and their student loans, which are now part of the mortgage.

    I can’t make any sense of that. I didn’t list the house. They’ve called me out twice now. I just can’t make any sense of that.

    Anyone?

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  156. 156

    RE: ARDELL @ 153 – I’m not sure what your question is, depending on the value of the cars though, I could see that might affect the ability to get the short sale approved.

    I think what you might be getting at is the nature of the original debt. For example, if you pay taxes with a credit card which would have been non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, the credit card issuer can contest the discharge of their debt in bankruptcy. But I’m not aware of anything that gives special rights to creditors that helped pay off student loans (or car loans).

    I guess I would also ask why you think that is somehow different than where someone might go out to a bar or club every night, and over time runs up $40,000 of credit card debt and then refinances their house to pay it off. Not all short sale debt is purchase money debt, or even debt related to prudent transactions.

    Was there something else you saw in that fact pattern?

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  157. 157

    RE: Lurker @ 150 – One thing–if the county doesn’t know about the remodel work, then their assessed value is even more incredible!

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  158. 158
    Macro Investor says:

    I finally figured out something that’s been in the back of my mind… Where have I seen Tim before? Got it — He looks like one of the actors in “Revenge of the Nerds”.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0035664/

    Congrats Tim, if indeed that is your real name :)

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  159. 159
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 153

    Unfortunately, I don’t keep up with the short sale issues at this time, so I’m not the person to ask. But I only see the two classic short sale issues in that situation:

    First, will they pass the lender’s test for lack of available assets so that the lender will grant them a release on the remaining balance?

    And second, are they protected from recognizing income due to relief from indebtedness. I don’t recall the terms of the tax legislation that granted the temporary exception from certain short sales so I don’t know if their cash out refi would qualify. I also don’t know if the income on a cash out refi is definitely income from the sale of a personal residence that would qualify for the 250K/500K exclusion, although I always assumed that it was.

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  160. 160
    Lurker says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 156

    You can call him Booger

    (I love that movie)

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  161. 161
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 156

    So, The Tim looks like Booger from “Revenge of the Nerds”. No Ramen for me, thanks!

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  162. 162
    Jonness says:

    By The Tim @ 112:

    RE: Jonness @ 110 – I think that’s a bit harsh on Ms. Grind…

    I admit it’s harsh Tim. Six years of experiencing life from the side of a house buyer has not exactly trained me to win any popularity contests or be invited to join in industry-sponsored social functions. If people think I’m a bad person because I tell the truth about the housing market, then I’m a bad person. Do you suggest that I change my behavior and start being a good person? That’s an interesting proposition. Let’s consider the merits of becoming a good person:

    1) Be seen as an optimistic person.
    2) Fit in at dinner parties at rich people’s homes.
    3) Be seen as a success in the community.
    4) Invited as expert guest speaker at industry social functions.
    5) Never experience pain.
    6) Make lot’s of money.
    7) Never have to admit Santa Clause doesn’t exist.

    Now let’s look at the merits of being me.

    1) Despised by greater society.
    2) Wear the wrong kind of clothes.
    3) Say all the wrong things.
    4) Always experience pain.
    5) Forever pissed off that parents lied about Santa Clause.

    OK, so it’s easy to see why it’s much simpler to become a bubble blower than an economic realist. But it’s still shocking to me how many people have lost touch with the terrible suffering that has occurred in the lives of the people who have read fact-free fluff pieces on how it’s a great time to buy and then ended up bankrupting their family. Then again, in Nazi Germany, life was great as long as you were a German. Thus, I expect the fact-free bottom calling to continue every passing month despite it being in direct contrast with macro-economic reality.

    But I must point out there is a terrible price that must be paid down the road for becoming a good person. History will judge these events in a much different manner than people currently judge the present. So when people are out there printing opinions, I suggest they choose what they say extremely wisely.

    http://www.beefheart.com/walker/lyrics/tmr/dachaublues.htm

    And I do apologize for being nothing more than a horse’s rear end.

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  163. 163

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 157 – If there are tax consequences and a divorce, it’s likely they might need separate representation.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  164. 164

    RE: Lurker @ 158 – Wouldn’t it be The Booger?

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  165. 165
    Pegasus says:

    By Macro Investor @ 156:

    I finally figured out something that’s been in the back of my mind… Where have I seen Tim before? Got it — He looks like one of the actors in “Revenge of the Nerds”.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0035664/

    Congrats Tim, if indeed that is your real name :)

    The look on Tim’s face in the picture reminded me of a Nicholson moment in the “The Shining” when he yells “Here’s Johnny” as he busts through the door or perhaps the look on Nicholson’s face after he returns from electric shock treatment in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND31PWVW-TQ&feature=related

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  166. 166
    LocalYokel says:

    Nice house and deal, Tim. Seriously, quick close.
    Hope you tell us why you used an attorney versus an agent who deals with shorts.
    I have heard both sides from the peanut gallery here.

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  167. 167

    By LocalYokel @ 163:

    Nice house and deal, Tim. Seriously, quick close.
    Hope you tell us why you used an attorney versus an agent who deals with shorts.
    I have heard both sides from the peanut gallery here.

    If I could answer, Craig gives a rebate like Redfin. I’ve recommended Craig in other situations.

    Also it’s the listing agent and short sale negotiator (possibly an attorney) that are important on a short sale, not the buyer’s agent. Other than warn a buyer that the sale might not close, I’m not really sure what more an attorney would do representing a buyer on a short sale than they would representing a buyer on a normal sale.

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  168. 168
    LocalYokel says:

    By Jonness @ 110:

    Apparently house prices are not the only thing falling off the edge of a cliff in Seattle. Try regressing from a Pulitzer Prize finalist to grossly misquoting optimism and becoming a horribly irresponsible journalist.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2011/05/seattle-area-housing-market-at-bottom.html

    Missing from the piece is Ellis’ statement that he believes prices will continue to decline. Instead we get “The recession is over” from a poster nobody even recognizes. The final blow to her career is, “seattle-area-housing-market-at-bottom.”

    RE: Jonness @ 160

    Come on, do you think people who read the PSBJ are fooled by her dimples and
    cheerleading antics? Sometimes, I think these types of folks are doing a “Trump”
    to stay relevant by being controversial and getting clicks/links on the website.
    All part of the game, friend. No worries.

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  169. 169

    The name of this thread is “Guess What” and it’s now past noon the next day. Maybe what we’re supposed to guess is that Tim will no longer be posting topics. He’s bought his and until he wants to sell he doesn’t care what the market does! ;-)

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  170. 170
    David North says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 164:

    Also it’s the listing agent and short sale negotiator (possibly an attorney) that are important on a short sale, not the buyer’s agent. Other than warn a buyer that the sale might not close, I’m not really sure what more an attorney would do representing a buyer on a short sale than they would representing a buyer on a normal sale.

    Actually a savvy buyer’s broker (or attorney) can make a very significant difference in two fundamental ways. There are reasons that some buyers’ brokers successfully close all or nearly all of their buyers’ short sale deals, while others successfully close none or nearly none of their buyers’ short sale deals.

    A buyer’s broker who knows the short sale ropes is able to identify more of the important characteristics of a short sale listing (involving the property, the seller, the bank(s), the broker, and if there is one, the third party negotiator) that materially affect the probability of success or failure, and advise the buyer accordingly. This gives the buyer much better ability to filter out potential short sale deals that have the odds stacked against success.

    When the buyer’s broker is more experienced and skilled with short sales than the listing broker and/or third party negotiator (a common occurrance), the buyer’s broker can influence the listing broker and/or negotiator to do the things and stay on top of the details necessary to improve the probability of success. The buyer actually has some negotiating leverage with the seller and listing broker in most short sale deals, and the smart buyer’s broker will use that leverage to keep the listing broker and/or negotiator on track to maximize the chances of success.

    It is just as important for a buyer who is open to buying a short sale to shop for a buyer’s broker with a track record of success in closing short sales for buyers, as it is for a short seller to shop for a broker (and third party negotiator if the broker doesn’t have the skills or interest) with a track record of success closing short sale listings.

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  171. 171
    The Tim says:

    It seems like some of the commenters here didn’t read all the way through the post to this part:

    Rest assured that I will continue to deliver your regularly scheduled programming right here (same Bat-time, same Bat-channel) despite this particular incidence of moral weakness.

    The site is not ending or changing at all. Programming will continue as usual.

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  172. 172
    S. Marty Pantz says:

    You also got something I enjoyed as a kid, and that virtually all new homes today lack: an alley. I grew up in Everett (from 5th grade through high school) many, many years ago, and rode my coppertone-colored Schwinn Stingway bike all over town and down many an alleyway.

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  173. 173
    David North says:

    By S. Marty Pantz @ 172:

    You also got something I enjoyed as a kid, and that virtually all new homes today lack: an alley.

    Nice observation! I lived in houses with alleys when I was a kid, too, and they were pretty cool. I didn’t realize it until I read your comment, but I miss a good alley.

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  174. 174

    RE: David North @ 170 – I would agree with the first part (that an agent can help check out the record of the listing agent), but here Tim had already picked the house, and thus it came with the listing agent and negotiator already. So at best all that could be done is advise the buyer as to what they thought the probabilities were. Absent something extreme showing up (e.g. 20 short sale listings in the past year, none of which closed, and the listing agent not being willing to switch negotiators or take advice, etc.), I’m not really sure a buyer’s agent could do much other than warn after a long search to find a house and having found a short sale.

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  175. 175
    The Tim says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 167:

    Also it’s the listing agent and short sale negotiator (possibly an attorney) that are important on a short sale, not the buyer’s agent.

    Thankfully there was no “short sale negotiator” involved in this deal. From what I hear they’re very often just dead weight that costs the buyer a few thousand dollars. When we saw any reference to a required short sale negotiator on a listing, we stayed away.

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  176. 176
    David North says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 174 – Kary, my reading of your comments was probably more general than your intent. I wasn’t commenting on Tim’s particular case. Judging by the result, the listing/negotiating arrangement appears to have been fine. But in cases where it’s not, the buyer’s broker (or attorney – this isn’t a broker vs. attorney argument) can make the difference between success and failure, to a far greater degree than people probably realize.

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  177. 177
    David North says:

    By The Tim @ 175:

    Thankfully there was no “short sale negotiator” involved in this deal. From what I hear they’re very often just dead weight that costs the buyer a few thousand dollars. When we saw any reference to a required short sale negotiator on a listing, we stayed away.

    I agree almost completely. If the listing broker isn’t a competent short sale negotiator, they probably shouldn’t be taking short sale listings at all. But if they do anyway, it’s better to have a competent short sale negotiator involved, being paid out of the listing broker’s commission for doing part of the listing broker’s job. So-called negotiators charging fees to the buyer, often with comments such as “ask seller to pay as closing costs” to make it appear that the buyer really isn’t paying, scare off smart buyers.

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  178. 178
    Scrawny Kayaker says:

    RE: The Tim @ 68

    Agreed with the “parents more important that the school,” to a point. If there are enough low-expectation families, you’re more likely to have a poor environment for learning, but a mix of zealous and average students is not necessarily bad. I went to an average suburban school, and while I was considered “a brain” even though I’m no genius, there were no real social consequences for it.

    If you get to that point, I’d suggest starting in the public school and really get the feel for it for a couple of years. It’s hard to believe that any non-dangerous 1st grade is worth >$10,000 to avoid. You can always switch later. I’ve always considered middle-schoolers to be the most idiotic beasts on earth (by which I mean, “since I was one”) so it might be best to save your money for a few years and jump ship then.

    Admittedly, I’m biased since my kid’s SPS elementary is good enough that we (and quite a few others) opted to go there outside our attendance area back when that was allowed, and the kids and parents are great. But we looked at all the nearby schools, and none were unacceptable. Our kid did have a crummy math teacher last year, so we hired some private math tutors over the last 14 months, with good results. The point being, the money not spent on private school can be directed to extra education, sports or hobbies, travel, etc.

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  179. 179
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Scrawny Kayaker @ 178RE: The Tim @ 68

    Missed this first time around. I’m a product of public schools up until college. Both my kids have been in private schools or home schooled since kindergarten. Parents- their expectations, personal attitudes toward learning, and the time they are willing to devote to their children are the greatest influence/contributors to success. But their job is harder if they’re fighting a poor school and peers who don’t share their values and expectations.

    I’m often asked if I think the money spent of private school was worth it. I would say absolutely- through fifth or sixth grade. By then the patterns, attitudes, and expectations were well established and my kids pretty much ran on their own. Middle school and high school, I’m not so sure. At that time many of their friends (and ours) left private school (Seattle Country Day) and moved into the public system. The bigger public schools offered resources and diversity that our chosen path didn’t. And by that time it really seemed it was more the kid’s drive and intelligence that determined college admissions. You can be the best parent in the world, but if your kid goes off on rebellion. etc. there’s not much you can do to bring them back to the level of performance top colleges expect. My kids both went on to top 5 schools, one a university, the other small liberal arts. Would we have gotten the same result if we’d skipped the private school from grade 6 on? Probably. If we had it to do again, would the choices be different, saving a couple hundred grand? I couldn’t tell you. But I have no doubt the first 5 or 6 years were worth every penny.

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  180. 180
    deejayoh says:

    By Scotsman @ 114:

    RE: Jonness @ 110

    Yup, that’s completely over the top.

    Stupid facts. None of the larger macro issues that were there before the bubble have been corrected. If anything, they are all pretty much worse now than they were 4 years ago. Housing is going to take two hits. The first is from the credit collapse- no more liars loans, 80/20s, negative amortization, etc. We’re about 3/4 of the way through that one. The second will be from a hit to income. Stagnant or falling wages, higher taxes, less governmental support for medical and retirement expenses, higher energy costs, all these and more will lead to a smaller percentage of income available for housing and other consumer functions that have traditionally supported and grown our economy. The initial hit may be over, but we’re in for a long, slow, slide down to some as yet unknown equilibrium. The true recession hasn’t really begun, let alone ended.

    Scotsman – I found the perfect listing for you! Points go to whoever can find the reason…

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  181. 181
    deejayoh says:

    Whoops! Adding link would have helped…

    This one is for you Scotsman

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Olympia/5727-Kinney-Rd-SW-98512/home/15749185

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  182. 182
    ChrisM says:

    Congrats, Tim!

    This is scary – Both Seattle & Portland bubble bloggers purchased homes this month:
    http://portlandhousing.blogspot.com/2011/05/buying-farm.html

    Clearly the bottom is in! :-)

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  183. 183
    Scotsman says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 181

    Hmmmm. Commute would be a bit long, but I like the style and the space. And that’s one nice bear.

    For the record, I’m a bigger bear than that. ;-)

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  184. 184
    BillE says:

    Wow. First they got Bin Laden (allegedly) and now this!
    All the best for you in your house.
    It will be interesting to see how much media attention this gets.

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  185. 185

    By David North @ 177:

    By The Tim @ 175:
    Thankfully there was no “short sale negotiator” involved in this deal. From what I hear they’re very often just dead weight that costs the buyer a few thousand dollars. When we saw any reference to a required short sale negotiator on a listing, we stayed away.

    I agree almost completely. If the listing broker isn’t a competent short sale negotiator, they probably shouldn’t be taking short sale listings at all. But if they do anyway, it’s better to have a competent short sale negotiator involved, being paid out of the listing broker’s commission for doing part of the listing broker’s job. So-called negotiators charging fees to the buyer, often with comments such as “ask seller to pay as closing costs” to make it appear that the buyer really isn’t paying, scare off smart buyers.

    Part of the reason I don’t take short sale listings is that I hate having contact with banks as a result of my bankruptcy attorney days, so if I were going to take them I would definitely use a negotiator. As a buyer’s agent though, I would much prefer there be a short sale negotiator than having the agent do it. There are simply far too many lenders out there, and a short sale negotiator is much more likely to have more experience than an agent dealing with Bank X.

    I would even question how Tim knows there was no negotiator. Simply because they don’t ask for a contribution for the negotiator’s fees doesn’t mean that there wasn’t one. With the bank directing escrow I could see how one wasn’t that necessary because the contact with the bank had apparently already been well established, but I do wonder who established that contact–the seller, the seller’s agent or a negotiator.

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  186. 186

    By BillE @ 184:

    Wow. First they got Bin Laden (allegedly) and now this!
    All the best for you in your house.
    It will be interesting to see how much media attention this gets.

    I can see now why Tim seldom links to some Seattle Times articles. They didn’t seem to cover this. ;-)

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  187. 187
    wreckingbull says:

    Congratulations Tim. I kicked the Seattle Bubble habit, but I had to relapse one time to come back and give my regards. The fact that a newspaper article led me back here is a sign of the times.

    What a long strange trip it’s been. I vividly remember the first time I found your blog in 2006, and it was a great moment, since it helped me realize I was not the only one who felt the real estate market had turned into a zoo.

    Good to have you up north. I’ll buy you a beer at the Conway Pub anytime. Best of luck with your plans for a family. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

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  188. 188

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 185 – Thinking about this further, it would be nice if the short sale negotiator was a required field on short sale listings. That way in researching an agent you could also research whether or not they used a negotiator, and if they did, you could then separately research the record of the negotiator. Alternatively, if it was an agent with a slight record, you could have some confidence if they were using an experienced negotiator.

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  189. 189

    RE: BillE @ 184

    I am predicting here that there will be an “unexplainable” rise in closed sales in Seattle area homes for June 2011. The “experts” will claim that the market has turned around, and that Seattle is special after all.
    But we’ll know better. We’ll know that it’s simply ” The Tim effect.”.

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  190. 190
    deejayoh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 183 – That’s why I picked the place with the bomb shelter ;-)

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  191. 191
    Scotsman says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 190

    Growing up in Spokane in the ’60s with Fairchild AFB up on the hill, air raid siren tests were a common event. My family had a couple of friends with bomb shelters. One friend owned a culvert rolling business and diversified first into bomb shelters, then decided grain storage was easier- all you had to do was stand that big tube on end. I was never convinced the shelters would be that effective- after all, it was the nuclear Holocaust we were afraid of.

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  192. 192
    Bopek says:

    I used to live up the street. I trust that you insisted on good field of fire. You’re going to get a chance to return fire!

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  193. 193
    David Losh says:

    RE: Bopek @ 192

    Does that mean gang activity? It’s been years since I’ve been to Everett.

    At least this house is of some substantial quality, close in, and at a similar price to new construction carp in South Everett.

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  194. 194
    BillE says:

    I’m more curious how many real estate folks will be pointing out The Tim’s purchase in the media.
    Something like…
    “The market is really looking up. We’re looking at future job growth blah blah blah. Rates are still historically low blah blah blah. Pent up demand blah blah blah. And Tim Ellis even bought a house.”

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  195. 195
    Ross says:

    By BillE @ 194:

    I’m more curious how many real estate folks will be pointing out The Tim’s purchase in the media.
    Something like…
    “The market is really looking up. We’re looking at future job growth blah blah blah. Rates are still historically low blah blah blah. Pent up demand blah blah blah. And Tim Ellis even bought a house.”

    That’s a dangerous gamble though, because the potential buyers might also start reading things on this blog and figure out that now is not the best time to buy.

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  196. 196

    […] bought this house [3601 Wetmore Ave, Everett, WA; 1,620sqft SFH on 6,098sqft lot] for $225K. [Seattle Bubble blog, 27 May 2011]. He expressed concern that the act of buying would be seen as “moral weakness” and […]

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  197. 197
    Absinthe says:

    Congrats! Seems to me you’re got a really well valued, beautiful home.

    Long-time Vancouver reader: obviously I don’t know your market but, for your skeptical readers, The Tim’s house would be worth at least a million in most neighbourhoods here and only slightly less in the outskirts/suburbs.

    (.. I feel like Crocodile Dundee – 224K’s not a bubble price, THIS is a bubble price…)

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  198. 198
    The Tim says:

    Did somebody say Vancouver?

    Sorry, I just saw that this morning and I couldn’t resist.

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  199. 199
    Scotsman says:

    RE: The Tim @ 198

    I really didn’t need that right now. I do, however, need a drink.

    Vancouver Cougar?

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  200. 200
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Absinthe @ 97

    “The Tim’s house would be worth at least a million in most neighbourhoods here ”

    Instant equity!

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  201. 201
    The Tim says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 200 – Genius! I just need to invent a home-teleportation device and I’ll be rich!

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  202. 202

    RE: Scotsman @ 199 – That should have been done in a rap style, perhaps with some Canadian Mounties as backup dancers. Her choreography wouldn’t need to change.

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  203. 203

    […] TimelineKnife-Catcher: The Tim’s Home Search TimelineBy The Tim on June 10, 2011 | 5 CommentsAs promised, I’ll be taking up some space on these pages over the next few weeks to share some of the […]

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  204. 204

    […] 203 comments, 05/27: Guess What […]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  205. 205

    […] 5,366 pageviews, 05/27: Guess What […]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  206. 206

    […] to the thesis that real estate was over-valued, have mostly bought homes, in New Jersey, Portland, Seattle, San Diego and Santa […]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  207. 207

    […] a full year of home ownership/debtorship under my belt as of yesterday, I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights, stats, and […]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  208. 208

    […] news yesterday from our mailman: Randy Stupey, the 30-year-old husband and father of two that we purchased our house from last year, passed away last month in a hiking accident in the north […]

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  209. 209

    […] two full years of home ownership/debtorship now behind me as of yesterday, it’s time to share some more highlights, stats, and thoughts […]

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