Posted by: 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 responses to “Guess What”

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  1. Pegasus

    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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  2. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  3. JimN

    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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  4. Ross

    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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  5. Ross

    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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  6. Rhonda Porter

    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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  7. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  8. WillyNilly

    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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  9. magnolia44

    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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  10. Jonness

    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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  11. Scotsman

    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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  12. HappyRenter

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

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  13. Scotsman

    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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  14. Scotsman

    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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  15. David Losh

    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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  16. GrizzlyBear

    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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  17. HappyRenter

    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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  18. GrizzlyBear

    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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  19. Crashcadia

    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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  20. corncob

    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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  21. ARDELL

    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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  22. David Losh

    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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  23. magnolia44

    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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  24. Ray Pepper

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

    Congrats!

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  25. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  26. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  27. Ray Pepper

    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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  28. Scotsman

    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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  29. Ray Pepper

    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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  30. Kary L. Krismer

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

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  31. ARDELL

    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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  32. Ray Pepper

    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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  33. Lake Hills Renter

    Congratz, Tim.

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  34. MichaelB

    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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  35. Leanne

    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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  36. Voight-kampff

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

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  37. One Eyed Man

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

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

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  38. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  39. David Losh

    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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  40. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  41. Ray Pepper

    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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  42. ARDELL

    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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  43. ARDELL

    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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  44. Lurker

    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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  45. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  46. David Losh

    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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  47. One Eyed Man

    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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  48. pero

    My condolences.

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  49. One Eyed Man

    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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  50. Lurker

    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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  51. ARDELL

    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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  52. Mr. Ed

    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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  53. ARDELL

    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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  54. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  55. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  56. Macro Investor

    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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  57. One Eyed Man

    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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  58. Lurker

    RE: Macro Investor @ 156

    You can call him Booger

    (I love that movie)

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  59. One Eyed Man

    RE: Macro Investor @ 156

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

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  60. Jonness

    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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  61. Kary L. Krismer

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

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  62. Kary L. Krismer

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

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  63. Pegasus

    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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  64. LocalYokel

    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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  65. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  66. LocalYokel

    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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  67. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  68. David North

    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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  69. S. Marty Pantz

    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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  70. David North

    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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  71. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  72. David North

    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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  73. David North

    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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  74. Scrawny Kayaker

    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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  75. Scotsman

    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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  76. deejayoh

    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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  77. deejayoh

    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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  78. ChrisM

    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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  79. Scotsman

    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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  80. BillE

    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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  81. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  82. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  83. wreckingbull

    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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  84. Kary L. Krismer

    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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  85. Ira Sacharoff

    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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  86. deejayoh

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

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  87. Scotsman

    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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  88. Bopek

    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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  89. David Losh

    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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  90. BillE

    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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  91. Ross

    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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  92. Bubble Bear Bloggers Buy… in Seattle and New Jersey | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

    [...] 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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  93. Absinthe

    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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  94. Scotsman

    RE: The Tim @ 198

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

    Vancouver Cougar?

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  95. Scotsman

    RE: Absinthe @ 97

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

    Instant equity!

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