Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

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

211 responses to “Knife-Catcher: The Tim’s Home Search Timeline”

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  1. Kary L. Krismer

    As to the third bank owned, where the bank had already accepted an offer, that happens because of the way REOs usually function.

    They’ll take your offer, tell you it’s the one accepted and that their addendum is on the way back, but that it might take a couple of days. You then have to sign and return the addendum, typically within 24 hours, even though it took the bank longer. Some agents will take the offer pending at the time the bank orally accepts, but others wait until the paperwork is actually signed. Technically you don’t have a contract without having had an opportunity to review the bank addendum.

    Bottom line is with REOs it’s even more important to call the listing agent before drafting up an offer. Nothing worse than drafting an offer, getting it signed, transmitting it to the listing agent, all just for practice. ;-)

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  2. ChrisM

    Looking forward to the rest of the series. In your first post, you promised a future post on WaLaw. I spoke to them shortly after their first post on your blog, and came away impressed. I’m hoping to do something similar, but I’m probably going to buy either in Oregon or southern WA. I’d appreciate hearing a contrast of them vs. traditional RE agents.

    Also, how much contact did you actually have with the sellers? I thought with typical RE agent involvement the buyer & seller didn’t get any face time. All my purchases have been repos, so I’ve never had a seller with an agent…

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  3. Ethan

    It still seems like you didn’t get a great price given your area and sq footage. Thoughts on what you finally paid? You’re way more into this stuff than I am, but from this vantage it seems like that was a lot of work for what ended up being a pretty middle-of-the-road price on a small home.

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  4. Kary L. Krismer

    By Ethan @ 3:

    It still seems like you didn’t get a great price given your area and sq footage. Thoughts on what you finally paid? You’re way more into this stuff than I am, but from this vantage it seems like that was a lot of work for what ended up being a pretty middle-of-the-road price on a small home.

    You need to compare it to other older houses in similar condition (e.g. nicely remodeled kitchen, exposed wood, etc.). If that’s what you’re looking for you’re very unlikely to get a “great price” compared to other types of property.

    What you’re doing would be like finding out a friend bought a 1967 Mustang for $10,000, and then looking through the want ads and deciding that was a lot of money for a used car.

    I would add that without going inside it would be difficult to determine what kind of a deal it was. So I’m not expressing an opinion on that.

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  5. Scotsman

    Did you have this conversation? Is that Ardell’s voice on the answering machine?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubsd-tWYmZw

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  6. Kary L. Krismer

    As opposed to this older house (the picture of which some of you people outside the industry didn’t understand):

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  7. Tim McB

    RE: Ethan @ 3

    Real Estate as with beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Its tough to simply look at a location of a home and an outside photo and come up with an estimation of value. I know based on interior views of the home my wife would have approved. Some value lots of land over proximity to job centers or original detailing (classic homes) vs. square footage (modern homes). To each his own.

    Overall, I think from photos it looks pretty good. And I think no matter what the Tim ended up buying there will be a contingent of people who scrutinize the buy no matter where it ended up being, what the price, how large/nice the home etc.

    Tim, I am curious though about what role, if any, did current interest rates play into your decision to buy? I remember many times you mentioning you’d rather purchase a home with a smaller price tag at higher rates than a home with a higher price at lower rates. This made me think all along that you were going to pull the trigger later than this since QE2 will be ending soon and the consensus has been that rates will begin to climb. I hope at one point you’ll talk a little about that.

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  8. softwarengineer

    From Your New Home’s Pictures Tim

    I agree with you, it appears very likely the old homeowner remodeled it for their own use, then for what-ever reason backed out.

    I completely remodeled a Bellevue home with wood floors and put in a completely new kitchen [albeit I went one step further and put in new designer solid oak, bathroom too]. I could kick myself back then though, I found out a local company in Woodinville could have made custom solid oak cabinets for me for equivalent designer cabinet quality and half the price too, live and learn. I completely refinished the oak floors too.

    Tim, you got a rare jewel from SWE’s experience being his own contractor….

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  9. NewHomeOwnerInFremont

    Tim, I really like the interior of your new home. It is obvious that the previous owner put a lot of care and work into it.

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  10. Angie

    I’m most interested in hearing detail about the start to finish process/experience of buying a short sale home, then maybe work backward to the storyline about the three different homes you put offers in on didn’t get.

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  11. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Angie @ 13 – I don’t think Tim’s experience with a short sale is typical. It closed quickly. Also, if I recall correctly, the bank specified the escrow, so they were perhaps involved with the sale before Tim was.

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  12. ARDELL

    RE: Scotsman @ 6

    Couldn’t be me…the area in which he purchased is not in my defined “service area”. I’ve never been a “Suzanne”, but there is a funny RE/MAX commercial that sounds a lot like me, even though it’s a guy talking.

    I thought the stereotypes of male – female were quite offensive in that as to the considerations of the wife vs the husband. As if the guy only cares about his garage. Clearly not the case for most of my clients.

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  13. ARDELL

    RE: Ethan @ 3

    That brings up the issue in the post saying the appraisal “went through”. Given there are many sold properties nearby at half the price, I’m wondering how much attention was given to the detail of the appraisal vs the mere fact that “it appraised”.

    Perhaps Tim could give us some insight on how closely he reviewed the actual appraisal vs merely noting that it “passed” for the lender’s purposes.

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  14. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: ARDELL @ 16 – I would find the selection of comps interesting, so if Tim could post them that would be great.

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  15. cotomwed

    I’m interested in hearing more about the short-sale process in general and how you made it work for you (your last “era”). They sound appealing to someone who went the traditional route, but I’ve heard enough RE agents comment that they really are a bad idea….

    Thanks!

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  16. jesse

    Out of interest, let’s say you bought your house in 2005 25% down at 2005 prices with VRM. How different are the situations financially (owning 6 years vs renting 6 years), and what could you have done with your time over those 6 years if not bear blogging? :)

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  17. Eastsider

    On short sales, I have seen many questionable (fraudulent) listings in the past 3 years. Some properties cannot be viewed/toured. Some listings go straight into pending status immediately. Some sellers demand side deals. Some “approved” price is higher than market. Even for an above board transaction, you have to deal with so many parties that a final deal is not a sure thing. You may still wait for months or a year before you hear back from the lenders. (By that time, you offer might have been too high.) Of course in many cases, you end up with a house without a fridge, a stove, a washer/dryer, or even hot water tank! Maybe you can provide some statistics on short sales, e.g. percent closed/foreclosed, days pending, closed/listing prices.

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  18. jffj

    I second Kary’s request to see the comps.

    Also, I find it interesting that you made an offer the day after seeing your house. Did you feel pressure from multiple offer sudden death? And how much did it influence your decision to offer quickly, if at all?

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  19. LocalYokel

    Tim,
    Did you make offers on “MLS” listed homes from the bank or did you approach
    the bank directly when you found out a house foreclosed? Looking forward to your
    thoughts on using an agent versus an attorney for shorts.

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  20. ray pepper

    I just wanna know about:A) The 500 you paid up front to Wa Law ( would they take cash or check )
    B) How did it feel cutting the check for 3495.00 when you didn’t buy at 6 months.
    C) No Agents appear to work for their Brokerage so who gave the tours? Were you cognizant of the 75.00 an hour clock that was running on you if you exceeded 10 hours in searching?
    D) At what point did they start the clock on you? When you both arrived at the residence or when THEY left their homes or place of work? Did you ever feel if you used about 30+ hours in touring you would end up owing them money at close based on the commission paid?
    E) Were you cognizant of the clock and did you keep track of your time?
    F) Did you pay the extra 250.00 in fees because it was a short sale?
    G) Were you given the customary school ratings and crime profile of the neighborhoods prior to tours?
    H) What did they advise you in/re to the high kitten kicker rating of the area? School rating?

    ahh so many questions I have…..http://walawrealty.com/fees/

    If it sounds like I’m a jilted lover I hope not. I know they will change their business model pricing soon if they desire to exist but I’m shocked at the property you bought.

    Its completely different then what you described to me that you wanted.

    Lastly, did you get a WALAW mug, t shirt, hat, bandana, sweatshirt, or at least a pack of Swisher Sweets, or Wa Law pen?

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  21. Terence

    Could you elaborate on this:
    “Realized that the market insanity was being driven not by sound underlying economic fundamentals, but essentially by mass hysteria.”

    What are the details in terms of underlying economic fundamentals?

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  22. Linux Fool

    RE: Ethan @ 3 – I disagree. We are in the middle of buying a home in North Everett using a Streamlined 203k and The Tim’s price is very reasonable. It all comes down to what you can afford, what you will put into the home. The home he got seems to have a lot of work done on it. It is very surprising what people want for homes, even if they have major problems such as structural, mold, electrical, and HVAC issues. There are plenty of scary houses out there. BTW The Tim..if you want to upgrade from ramen..I highly recommend Jade Garden. North Everett Rocks!

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  23. David Losh

    I’m also interested in the WA Law choice. In your case it appears to have been a good choice, and an appropriate role for them. You do your own searches, and keep your own counsel. In my opinion short sales have become complex. Attorney review would always be my recommendation to any buyer, or seller, of a short sale.

    The fee schedule also bothers me. In my opinion WA Law has a market niche as an attorney. It seems strange to me that they are projecting an image of a discount, rather than a boutique Brokerage.

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  24. ray pepper

    RE: The Tim @ 25

    “D) The clock starts when they leave the office. No, I was never concerned that my tour costs would result in fronting more money at closing.”

    Thanks Tim for the response, I was adding items as you responded..

    When THEY leave the office? hmmm? Traffic??

    If their current pricing structure existed when you engaged their assistance initially would you still have chosen Wa Law?

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  25. ray pepper

    RE: David Losh @ 28

    David, don’t you find it interesting that Attorney’s are giving home tours? Or Attorney’s sit through 3 hour inspections (which they are required to do as we know) because we cannot pop open the door and leave.

    I give it 12 months or less and we will see a radical change in Wa Law.

    There is NOBODY and I REPEAT NOBODY that will cut a check for 3495 if they haven’t bought their home for whatever reason.

    The 500 (up front) apparently is for their gas consumption no doubt…..Hope they have a Prius…….

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  26. ray pepper

    RE: The Tim @ 30

    Tim, if you hadn’t bought at 6 months would you have cut a check for 3495.00 or would you have walked to another Brokerage?

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  27. ray pepper

    RE: The Tim @ 32

    ok ok..I can go on for hours on that business model . I will wait and pounce later…..

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  28. Marc

    RE: ray pepper @ 31

    Ray,

    Actually our clients routinely pay the balance due at 6 months even if they haven’t closed on a home yet. That’s the reason our model works. If they didn’t then we’d be essentially the same as any other agent whose compensation is dependent upon a successful closing except that we’d be earning a pittance for taking on so much risk. There’s a reason why the 6% model has endured substantially unchanged for so long, it compensates agents for accepting significant risk by having successful buyers and sellers subsidize all those sellers with ridiculous pricing expectations and fickle buyers who can’t decide on a house.

    Our model is ideal for people who are confident they’re going to buy or sell a home in the near future (although to be clear, there is no time limit on how long they have – 30 days, 6 months, nearly a year and a half like Tim, or longer is fine by us). People who only want to test the waters for a “make me move” price are better served with a more traditional agent.

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  29. David Losh

    RE: ray pepper @ 31

    Those are excellent points that concern me. At the same time, after reading some of the exchanges between Craig, and Ardell I really wonder who would be better, an attorney or a Real Estate agent.

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  30. David Losh

    RE: Marc @ 35

    I also agree that a flat fee, or 6% makes no sense in today’s market. There needs to be, there has always needed to be, a more fair compensation for Real Estate services.

    In today’s market I am seeing a growing need for attorneys in Real Estate. It will be interesting to see how your practice grows.

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  31. ray pepper

    Sorry Mark..I don’t buy it…

    People (in masses) will never pay 3495 UP FRONT on a home they have not bought yet!Good Luck on that one!Many things can delay closing of a property that will end up killing a deal. Especially short sales where the waiting time for a reponse can be 30+ days. Thereby eating up precious time.
    I also do NOT ever see people paying 75.00 an hour for home tours. They will terminate the relationship at 10 hours or when the 3500 is due and then WE, Red Fin, Findwell, Shop Prop, or other alternative brokerage will get the call because the buyer is already ahead of the curve and educated.

    You maybe able to get the 500 to cover gas over the series of months your showing but the GOLDEN CARROT of 3495 will NOT be paid at 6 months if they have not bought!

    Enough of all that. Off to Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue tonight then Spielbergs Super 8…Sitter is in place and I’m rollin!

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  32. Voight-kampff

    RE: ray pepper @ 38
    Jilted indeed! :-)
    Your previous posting jousts with Marc made me giddy with excitement to see how you would respond to the Tims choice of representation.
    I have thought about using either 500 or walaw for my next purchase as you both seem to offer a nice alternative to someone who does there own legwork.
    I think It’s great that that you guys offer alternatives…kudos!
    Oh yeah, I have To point out that my wife found it hilarious that $500 realty actually costs about $4000.00

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  33. Scotsman

    “JPMorgan Chase is forecasting another 4 to 5 percent drop in home values over the next 12 months. ”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/43354054

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  34. David Losh

    RE: Voight-kampff @ 39

    What? $4K? Lucky I got my form fitting T-Shirt before it became a part of the service package.

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  35. David Losh

    OK, fun’s fun, but there is a chance that housing prices may stabalize this year. As much as I think they are over priced there are arguments to be made that we do, or will, have inflation in the coming year that would off set any decline in prices.

    $225K on Wetmore seems high to me. I’d like the reasoning for Everett, at that price.

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  36. Cascadian

    By Voight-kampff @ 39:

    RE: ray pepper @ 38
    Jilted indeed! :-)
    Your previous posting jousts with Marc made me giddy with excitement to see how you would respond to the Tims choice of representation.
    I have thought about using either 500 or walaw for my next purchase as you both seem to offer a nice alternative to someone who does there own legwork.
    I think It’s great that that you guys offer alternatives…kudos!
    Oh yeah, I have To point out that my wife found it hilarious that $500 realty actually costs about $4000.00

    In Ray’s defense the $500 is referring to a seller’s cost if using $500 realty, which as far as I understand is $500.

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  37. Ira Sacharoff

    By Scotsman @ 40:

    “JPMorgan Chase is forecasting another 4 to 5 percent drop in home values over the next 12 months. ”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/43354054

    And Ira Sacharoff is forecasting that JPMorgan Chase will be wrong, but it won’t matter. The CEO will still get a bonus of a few extra million dollars, and depositors will still get a quarter of a percent in interest.

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  38. Jonness

    By The Tim @ 20:

    I’m quite comfortable in saying that we are in a far, far better financial situation today than we would have been had we bought any time 2005 – 2009.

    Although I haven’t bought yet, I’m in a very similar situation as you. I started looking in 2005 and had very little down payment saved. The sticker shock sent me in search of answers on what the heck was going on. In the meantime, I’ve been saving a nice down payment and then some in anticipation of lower and lower prices. IMO, the last six years or so have represented an unprecedented opportunity to save a down payment and free one’s self and family from a lifetime of debt slavery and indentured servitude.

    For those who think they missed the boat, don’t worry. The opportunity for saving will most likely remain alive and well for several more years. During these times, doing things the old fashioned way will reward savers handsomely.

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  39. LocalYokel

    By David Losh @ 42:

    OK, fun’s fun, but there is a chance that housing prices may stabalize this year. As much as I think they are over priced there are arguments to be made that we do, or will, have inflation in the coming year that would off set any decline in prices.

    $225K on Wetmore seems high to me. I’d like the reasoning for Everett, at that price.

    Unless someone is planting non-services, job creating beans, the forecast is cloudy
    with chance of severe thunderstorms.

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  40. Jonness

    By ray pepper @ 34:

    RE: The Tim @ 32

    ok ok..I can go on for hours on that business model . I will wait and pounce later…..

    Face it Ray, you are a jilted lover. WA Law took down the big score when they landed Tim as a client. But don’t fret, you still have me as your consolation prize. :)

    Your agency has already saved me a fortune, because every time I get emotional about a house and start to pull the trigger, your agent brings me back to earth with his savvy RE investor mindset. He and I have become pretty good friends over the course of the last couple of years. I’m going to be sad when I finally pull the trigger and buy a house, because I really enjoy discussing buying houses with him.

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  41. David North

    Tim, I’m a big fan of your approach. And as long as the weeds have been trampled just a bit here, I’m also a big fan of diverse business models to match the differing needs of various real estate buyers, sellers, dreamers, etc. I find the notion that there is any right or wrong model, to be silly.

    I’m interested in what things if any, trivial or otherwise, that you discovered along the way were not as black and white as you thought.

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  42. Leanne

    I’d be interested in your experience looking for, at and bidding on REOs.

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  43. ray pepper

    RE: Voight-kampff @ 39 -Glad you like Nik, Joness…Hes a good guy! And yes 100, 500, 3900, 4500, or 4900…You will be charged one of those by 500 Realty…100 or 500 to SELL! and a 3900 minimum to Buy with us….

    As I like to say…………If you can find a better deal with the same customer service TAKE IT and run!

    Also Buyers do NOT forget about Skyline…Those independents will cut you 50% + of YOUR commission and all you must do is ask…Hundreds if not thousands of Agents will give you 50% back now, but when you desire the 75-80% rebate you gotta start digging!

    Maybe I am jilted but he was outta my service area anyway and Tim would have been assigned to Eric or Chris…They never read Bubble or even know about Tims celebrity status. They would have gotten an email from me saying we got a WHALE here…Take care of him…Hes the King of the Bubbleheads….

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  44. sallybuttons

    RE: ray pepper @ 50 – Thank God for yer input Ray…Redfin-guy is mush.

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  45. Kary L. Krismer

    By David Losh @ 36:

    Those are excellent points that concern me. At the same time, after reading some of the exchanges between Craig, and Ardell I really wonder who would be better, an attorney or a Real Estate agent.

    If you want an opinion on what the contract means, or how the contract operates, clearly you’re better off with an attorney. Ardell has demonstrated that over and over again with her inability to understand even basic terms in our standard NWMLS forms. And generally attorneys are underutilized in this state in real estate transactions, but it does seem to work because both sides typically want the same thing: A closed transaction. Where things get off track though, there’s a potential for a huge mess.

    I think WaLaw has an interesting business model. It’s not right for everyone, but it is right for some, and I’ve referred some buyers to them in the past where I thought the fit was better than what I could offer. Alternatively, I’ve also given one reader here the name of multiple real estate attorneys where that was the better fit.

    It’s somewhat interesting that Ray is so opposed to the 6% model, but is also opposed to other alternatives that aren’t his model.

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  46. Kary L. Krismer

    By Voight-kampff @ 39:

    Oh yeah, I have To point out that my wife found it hilarious that $500 realty actually costs about $4000.00

    She probably hasn’t been to a Motel 6 for quite some time. ;-)

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  47. Lurker

    RE: David North @ 48

    Fantatic question

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  48. Kary L. Krismer

    By Leanne @ 49:

    I’d be interested in your experience looking for, at and bidding on REOs.

    Isn’t that already covered above? He bid on three, was out bid on two of those and one already had an offer the bank had accepted.

    Unless you’re going for fixers, that can be rather typical of bank owned because they do tend to get listed at a discount. Although again, if circumstances allow the buyer’s agent should call the bank’s agent prior to drafting an offer so that time is not wasted making an offer on what is in effect a pending offer. So the making an offer on a house not really on the market isn’t necessarily what I would call “typical.”

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  49. Lurker

    RE: Lurker @ 54

    Fantastic even!

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  50. ray pepper

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    “I think WaLaw has an interesting business model”

    Kary what do you find interesting about Wa Law? I mean TRULY interesting…They are just two guys over there with a 4000 minimum per transaction. 500 Up Front, 3500 due in 6 months ( which nobody will pay) . 75.00 an hour to tour homes ( which nobody will pay) They charge ALOT to list. I can go on and on..

    “It’s not right for everyone” –I AGREE with that…BIG TIME!

    “It’s somewhat interesting that Ray is so opposed to the 6% model, but is also opposed to other alternatives that aren’t his model.” TRUE! BINGO!!

    6% is a SHAM…The ERA of 6% (the buffet-golden carrot) is in a death spiral anyway. Soon we will be under 20k agents at the NWMLS and as the numbers continue to dwindle and the collapse of the MLS data base becomes evident, what emerges it what we ALL have been waiting for…………

    History will dictate Red Fin was a game changer and so was MLS4Owners. 500 Realty and all these other small alternative Brokerages will have adapated to the new data base and pricing will be completely different.

    It took a Bubble in real estate to trigger this change and left ALOT of carnage along the way but our society truly does need more workers in alternative employment other then paying members of a database that bring NOTHING to the table.

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  51. Kary L. Krismer

    By ray pepper @ 57:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    “I think WaLaw has an interesting business model”

    Kary what do you find interesting about Wa Law? I mean TRULY interesting…They are just two guys over there with a 4000 minimum per transaction. .

    Assume a $1,000 value for attorney representation, and that gets them to $3,000 minimum. Just because most people don’t opt for attorney representation, don’t think it’s not valuable. It could be particularly valuable on an REO transaction, where attorney representation is even more advised.

    But to answer your question, when I have someone call me up out of the blue and say they want to make an offer on a certain listed property, I’ll most often refer them to Craig. They don’t need my services in finding a property, and he’s set up to do it for them cheaper. More to the point though, I’m uncomfortable with that type of transaction, because in my opinion putting that transaction together is more in the line of practicing law, not being a real estate agent. While I am both, I am not actively practicing law (although I am actively licensed), and never was a real estate attorney (although I did do some transactional work).

    Change the hypothetical a bit, and make the call from a buyer who has reached a deal with an unlisted property owner. There I would probably give them Craig’s name and one or two other real estate attorneys (after getting some idea that the price reached was reasonable). There is no SOC to capture in that situation.

    You seem to be like pfft analyzing health care, where he judges the quality of health care solely by the percentage of people which are insured. You seem to judge a real estate model solely by how closely it fits your own. The thing you both also have in common is that you’re supporting systems that are unstable. You act like discount brokerages are something new and the waive of the future. They aren’t either. Craig, on the other hand has developed a system that sets him apart both from full service and discount brokers, and I find that interesting.

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  52. Kary L. Krismer

    By Lurker @ 56:

    RE: Lurker @ 54

    Fantastic even!

    So it’s not merely “fantastic” as you declared in post 54, it’s actually “fantastic?” ;-)

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  53. ray pepper

    “But to answer your question, when I have someone call me up out of the blue and say they want to make an offer on a certain listed property, I’ll most often refer them to Craig. They don’t need my services in finding a property”

    Do you actually get calls from people asking you to search for a property for them? Does ANYBODY EVER make this call anymore? Your grasping at VERY SMALL numbers of people who need assistance “searching” for a home. Please do NOT tell me you put them in your car too?

    If you REVERT your calls to ANYONE who has already found their home and keep only those who need assistance searching or the biggest SCAM of them all **LISTING** then Kary……………. YOU ARE RETIRED!

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  54. David Losh

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 58

    I agree.

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  55. Kary L. Krismer

    By ray pepper @ 60:


    Do you actually get calls from people asking you to search for a property for them? Does ANYBODY EVER make this call anymore? Your grasping at VERY SMALL numbers of people who need assistance “searching” for a home. Please do NOT tell me you put them in your car too?

    Are you that out of touch with reality? Maybe there’s a reason you charge less? ;-)

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  56. David Losh

    RE: ray pepper @ 57RE: ray pepper @ 60

    Good Morning Ray!

    Your business model is John P.Nagle. He was the original game changer who was flat fee, and hated the Multiple Listing Service. When the business sold to the agents John was disappointed when they made the choice to join the Multiple.

    I can’t speak for John, but I also know that one of the top producing agents in California also doesn’t belong to the Multiple there. In his case he was asked to relinquish his membership.

    In both cases the belief is that buyers, and sellers should have an open forum to exchange property as they choose without the interference of a bunch of weasels. If you put the gimmickry aside you are talking about a price for the property.

    The game changer today is the internet, even craigslist to a lesser extent. In terms of a business model John L. Scott, Microsoft, and Zillow brought much more to the table. Online presence, and promotion of property is complex. Online presence is more of an art than it is a given. In my opinion it’s why this year Crate, and Barrel looking listings are selling readily, with multiple offers. Buyer’s are choosing online presence over, in some cases, substance.

    Alright, I’m getting off track there.

    Craig, and WA Law, are providing a unique service. It’s an attorney service that has a very well established place in Real Estate, at a fee structure that is defined. That’s hard to beat. I agree that I doubt it is sustainable, but it does make sense. It makes more sense than other brokerages that only promise that if you pay them less they will do less for you.

    As far as the Multiple Listing Service goes it is a great resource. It’s cheap, and efficient. If you’re claiming people can get specialized knowledge of real estate on line, then they never need to call you. They would just do transactions themselves, probably with the help of an attorney.

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  57. ray pepper

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 62

    Again, you actually get calls to help people Search? Seriously? Listing maybe? But, search?

    Yes, I must be WAYYY out of touch…From everywhere I go and everyone I talk to nobody wants needs assistance searching.

    Can you please tell me the last time you placed someone in your car for a tour? Is this still happening out there?

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  58. Kary L. Krismer

    By David Losh @ 63:

    As far as the Multiple Listing Service goes it is a great resource. It’s cheap, and efficient. If you’re claiming people can get specialized knowledge of real estate on line, then they never need to call you. They would just do transactions themselves, probably with the help of an attorney.

    That’s the problem with Ray’s thinking. He’s critical of the MLS system, but fails to realize that virtually the only reason people would come to him is because of the SOC offered by the listing. Remove the MLS from the equation and there if you have a buyer who has found a property they would be much better off in all regards to deal with an attorney only. The attorney could have a list of inspectors, or the buyer would find one on their own. Without the MLS rules, the attorney would not need to be there during the inspection (which raises other issues though). The main problem would be the attorney probably wouldn’t have as good of tools to determine whether the price was reasonable, but Craig and Marc do have access to those tools.

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  59. ray pepper

    RE: David Losh @ 63

    No David Wrong!

    People need assistance getting INTO the homes and guidance through the transaction and close.

    They need facilitators. Agents who believe they are anything more then a facilitator to assist Buyer and Seller through a transaction are dinosaurs.

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  60. ray pepper

    ” but fails to realize that virtually the only reason people would come to him is because of the SOC offered by the listing”

    We realize this 100% and we are OK with it. But, remember in turn, we decide who we represent. If they do not fit our criteria they go off to Red Fin, Findwell, ShopProp etc.

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  61. ray pepper

    gotta go Coach Final BBall game and Soccer game of season..Wish I could engage with you guys for hours just for the comedic value………….

    enjoy the day.

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  62. Kary L. Krismer

    By ray pepper @ 67:

    ” but fails to realize that virtually the only reason people would come to him is because of the SOC offered by the listing”We realize this 100% and we are OK with it. But, remember in turn, we decide who we represent. If they do not fit our criteria they go off to Red Fin, Findwell, ShopProp etc.

    Which also only exist because of the SOC. I’m not so sure you do realize it at any percent.

    If you go to a model where the information is somehow magically provided on Craigslist, you go to a system with attorneys, not agents.

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  63. David North

    By ray pepper @ 66:

    RE: David Losh @ 63

    Agents who believe they are anything more then a facilitator to assist Buyer and Seller through a transaction are dinosaurs.

    I will respectfully disagree with you on this point. While it is true that there are plenty of dinasaurs, there are also brokers who bring far more value to the transaction and their client than facilitation.

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  64. David North

    By ray pepper @ 50:

    They never read Bubble or even know about Tims celebrity status. They would have gotten an email from me saying we got a WHALE here…Take care of him…Hes the King of the Bubbleheads….

    Why does celebrity (and pretty minor celebrity at that – meaning no disrespect toward Tim or the value of what he does) warrant any different treatment than a typical client would get?

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  65. Ira Sacharoff

    By David North @ 71:

    By ray pepper @ 50:
    They never read Bubble or even know about Tims celebrity status. They would have gotten an email from me saying we got a WHALE here…Take care of him…Hes the King of the Bubbleheads….

    Why does celebrity (and pretty minor celebrity at that – meaning no disrespect toward Tim or the value of what he does) warrant any different treatment than a typical client would get?

    It shouldn’t, and it probably didn’t in Marc and Craig’s case, but…Over the years The Tim has done his share of making fun of agents ( justifiably so), and there are some regular posters here who view real estate agents as some kind of sub human filth, so if the brains behind the Seattle Bubble decides to have you represent them, wouldn’t you view that as a feather in your cap and do everything possible to ensure that he was pleased with your service?

    For that matter, do you think most real estate agents work harder for clients looking at million dollar homes as opposed to two hundred thousand dollar homes? I think most of them do, and it’s because of the commission.
    Me, I’m crazy. I work at least as hard for the clients looking for 200,000 dollar houses. It’s that deeply ingrained sense of fairness that doesn’t help the bottom line.
    If I’d been brought up conservative instead of liberal, maybe I’d have gotten rich:)

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  66. David Losh

    RE: ray pepper @ 66

    You are so right, people are making very bad mistakes every day.

    Ardell said in a comment that she sees people after the transaction, so do I. People pay way too much for crumby houses. I went to look at one yesterday.

    The buyer is another really, really smart guy who hired a discount broker to “write it up.” I know the broker to be one of those that waits for other agents to do all the work of preparing the buyer, then “writing it up, for less.”

    The house is bank owned and needs an immediate $20K worth of work to make it safe. The inside is all dolled up with new paint, kitchen, and bath remodels from the sale in 2004.

    The problem is that as the house was built, and where it sits on the lot, it has mildew, and in my opinion, potential rot issues that are clearly visible on the back of the house. The lot is a little swampy.The visible rot has been disclosed. The new paint inside, I think, by the smell, is covering some issues with a continuing mildew problem.

    You may say an inspection would disclose everything, but it doesn’t, especially what is covered. The second issue is the property placement on the lot.

    The smart guy is paying 10% less than was paid in 2004. Before that the house was owned by what looks like the original owner.

    I have conversations with people all the time about what can be done with a property, what makes sense, and what needs to be sold, so you can purchase something better suited to your needs. In my opinion people need those people who deal with property.

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  67. toad37

    Cool post Tim. That shows a lot of patience and smarts on your behalf. Your house looks awesome too!

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  68. D. in Ballard

    RE: ray pepper @ 64 – I have to agree with Ray on this one. I don’t need an agent to find me houses. I need an agent to take me to the house and then make the deal happen.

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  69. P J

    I would be interested in knowing more.

    We recently made an offer on a short sale. BoA holds 2 reverse mortgages on the house. It was a multiple offer situation, and our offer which was at list price was accepted.

    After appraisal, BoA sent us a counter offer at 10% above our offer. Not sure why they think they have a negotiating position since we already know our offer was the best:D We re-countered back at list, and are currently waiting.

    Would be great to know more details of how your transaction went.

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  70. Scotsman

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 72

    “If I’d been brought up conservative instead of liberal, maybe I’d have gotten rich:)”

    Well I knew you couldn’t reason your way into a liberal mindset, so it’s good to have it confirmed- you’re just running on habit and momentum.

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  71. Kary L. Krismer

    By D. in Ballard @ 75:

    RE: ray pepper @ 64 – I have to agree with Ray on this one. I don’t need an agent to find me houses. I need an agent to take me to the house and then make the deal happen.

    So just out of curiosity, how’s that going for you? Found it yet? If not, maybe you’re not as good as you think you are. ;-)

    Not to say some people aren’t good at finding ones on their own. I had one client who was excellent at it. They were the exception, not the rule.

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  72. Kary L. Krismer

    By P J @ 76:

    After appraisal, BoA sent us a counter offer at 10% above our offer. Not sure why they think they have a negotiating position since we already know our offer was the best:D

    Doesn’t matter. They don’t have to approve any short sale, so they have all the negotiating power. That could be a good decision or a bad decision, but it’s a common decision (especially if you consider no action as being a “no.”) And the person making the decision for the bank probably doesn’t care either way.

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  73. D. in Ballard

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 78 – As a matter of fact, I closed within days of Tim’s purchase.

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  74. Pegasus

    Hahaha. What a bunch of self-serving real estate wimps. Attack and attack back. Shame on the bunch of you for being unprofessional here. You are giving real estate “brokers” a worse name(if that is possible) by bad mouthing the competition and manufacturing reasons as to why the 6 percent is justified when clearly the market has changed forever. Here is a little something to put it all into perspective as to what is at work here…..

    A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.

    Enter the three Witches.

    1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
    2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.
    3 WITCH. Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!
    1 WITCH. Round about the caldron go;
    In the poison’d entrails throw.—
    Toad, that under cold stone,
    Days and nights has thirty-one;
    Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
    ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
    ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    3 WITCH. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
    Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
    Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
    Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
    Liver of blaspheming Jew;
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew
    Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
    Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
    Finger of birth-strangled babe
    Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
    Make the gruel thick and slab:
    Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
    For the ingrediants of our caldron.
    ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    2 WITCH. Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
    Then the charm is firm and good.

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  75. Jonness

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 78:

    So just out of curiosity, how’s that going for you? Found it yet? If not, maybe you’re not as good as you think you are. ;-)Not to say some people aren’t good at finding ones on their own. I had one client who was excellent at it. They were the exception, not the rule.

    Anybody who sucks at finding homes and has been out looking for any portion of the last 7 years should thank their lucky stars. Pity the fools who hired agents who were good at finding homes (or conning people into purchasing homes they should have never bought). These expert home finders should consider giving free scuba diving lessons with each purchase in order to prepare their clients for a decade of being underwater on their mortgages. I mean, at a minimum they should throw in a complimentary set of mask, snorkel, and fins into the deal. The more high-end firms should include a free wet suit and a set of freshly filled oxygen tanks.

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  76. Jonness

    By David North @ 71:

    By ray pepper @ 50:
    They never read Bubble or even know about Tims celebrity status. They would have gotten an email from me saying we got a WHALE here…Take care of him…Hes the King of the Bubbleheads….

    Why does celebrity (and pretty minor celebrity at that – meaning no disrespect toward Tim or the value of what he does) warrant any different treatment than a typical client would get?

    Because he out forecast 99.9% of professional RE agents at a time when most were leveraging their life savings into a soon to be depreciating asset class. Then he built a website and warned people of the dangers in believing in the RE industry propaganda and taught people the importance of reading charts when making the most important financial decisions of their lifetimes. In the process lives were saved.

    For that, Tim deserves the absolute highest quality red carpet treatment. For instance, if Ray had landed him as a client, he would have treated him to numerous free meals at the Claim Jumper and provided 500 Realty T-shirts for all. I mean, to heck with the 75% refund on the commission, I want a free meal at Claim Jumper and a complimentary six pack of Gas-X.

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  77. Voight-kampff

    Ray you also have a $4000 dollar minimum?

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  78. Kary L. Krismer

    By Jonness @ 82:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 78:
    So just out of curiosity, how’s that going for you? Found it yet? If not, maybe you’re not as good as you think you are. ;-)Not to say some people aren’t good at finding ones on their own. I had one client who was excellent at it. They were the exception, not the rule.

    Anybody who sucks at finding homes and has been out looking for any portion of the last 7 years should thank their lucky stars. Pity the fools who hired agents who were good at finding homes (or conning people into purchasing homes they should have never bought). These expert home finders should consider giving free scuba diving lessons with each purchase in order to prepare their clients for a decade of being underwater on their mortgages. I mean, at a minimum they should throw in a complimentary set of mask, snorkel, and fins into the deal. The more high-end firms should include a free wet suit and a set of freshly filled oxygen tanks.

    You make the same mistake as Ardell, thinking agents are somehow responsible for predicting the future and telling their clients when to buy or sell.

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  79. Scotsman

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 78

    “So just out of curiosity, how’s that going for you? Found it yet? If not, maybe you’re not as good as you think you are. ;-)”

    Wow. That’s the way to win clients. Are you really that blind, Kary? Or does the smiley make it all OK?

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  80. Voight-kampff

    Ive been drinking, but The WA law and $500 realty models seem very similiar to me
    So as a buyer maybe it’s just a choice of if you want a lawyer or an agent,
    Or maybe…
    THE FUTURE OF REALESTATE WILL BE DECIDED HERE!!!
    SEATTLE BUBBLE SMACKDOWN 2011!!! BE THERE!!!!
    Marc “the esquire” Holmes
    V.S.
    “Reno” Ray Pepper

    Sorry I broke the golden rule of posting on blogs after several beers.

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  81. Kary L. Krismer

    By Scotsman @ 86:

    Wow. That’s the way to win clients. Are you really that blind, Kary? Or does the smiley make it all OK?

    Do you really think my goal was to get someone like D. in Ballard as a client? I don’t have a problem with people having choices in brokerage services (unlike say Ray), but I also don’t try to convert those who want a different choice to pick me. To me that makes about as much sense as trying to convince someone to buy a house.

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  82. David Losh

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 85

    Let me introduce you the Neale, and Harry Obedin http://www.nealeobedin.com/

    Neale told me last week that you just know when a property is right. You just know. It’s not something they teach in schools, it comes from practice, mistakes, sleepless nights, and being wrong enough times to get it right. She also said that the numbers never work.

    Neale is the Real Estate agent, and Harry is a property manager. Harry actually has the capacity to manage property so that it gave a return on those investments.

    This is what Real Estate is about. Real Estate is about knowing. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just hard work, and repetition. It’s making being stupid look smart.

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  83. David North

    By Jonness @ 83:

    Because he out forecast 99.9% of professional RE agents at a time when most were leveraging their life savings into a soon to be depreciating asset class. Then he built a website and warned people of the dangers in believing in the RE industry propaganda and taught people the importance of reading charts when making the most important financial decisions of their lifetimes. In the process lives were saved.

    With all of the above I completely agree, except I don’t know whether the percentage cited should really be 99.8%, 99.99%, or some other percentage very, very close to that range.

    For that, Tim deserves the absolute highest quality red carpet treatment.

    For that, Tim deserves exactly the same quality of treatment that every other real estate client or prospect deserves. Nothing more, and nothing less.

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  84. ARDELL

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 85 -“You make the same mistake as Ardell, thinking agents are somehow responsible for predicting the future and telling their clients when to buy or sell.”

    Kary,I don’t know how much of your time you spend with actual buyers and sellers, but if no one ever asks you, as the professional in the room, whether they should sell now or later or whether they should buy now or later, it can’t be many.

    Every day someone asks if they should rent their house or sell it. Sell it now or sell it later. Had a call like that this morning. Every day someone asks if they should buy now or wait until…

    What do you answer? “Beats Me! I haven’t a clue.”?

    Not sure why you have to drag me into your fights. Are you lonely tonight?

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  85. ray pepper

    Wow, what a comedt thread..Just a few random thoughts:

    1. David real estate is not hard..Working back to back on 6 North at Madigan was hard.

    2. Pegasus, I think you missed a dose tonight.

    3. Yes, we have a 3900 minimum if your a Buyer. if you can find better then 75% take it. Just please do NOT pay for tours or allow yourself to be on a time line to buy.

    4. Craig and Marc will surely change their model or abandon it altogether in the coming slow grinding years ahead. Red Fin will not make it either in their present state however, they can remain viable if they focus more on Lead Generation then sales commissions.

    5. Nobody needs help searching for a home. They need guidance throughout the transaction and a facilitator to assist along the way. Anyone who tells you they have superior search techniques then you is lying.

    6. If you pay more then 500 to list your home I hope you get an itemized print out of what exactly the LA is going to do for you. After getting that info compare to MLS4Owners or a comparable 500 fee service. I could careless if you list with us. Just don’t GIVE your money away thinking you are getting more by paying more.

    7. Confused? Read 5 and 6 over and over until you understand it.

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  86. ray pepper

    RE: David North @ 90

    David, in all due respect, your new here so I will be easy on you.

    You bring nothing to the table that the other 20k Agents slowly dying on the MLS bring. If you do have something new to offer PLEASE tell us!! PLEASE!! I want to see something FASCINATING and something that will be a GAME CHANGER! NO BS PLEASE! You will get crushed here.

    At least that one agent that got scared off RCG brought a book or something about the best places to visit in Seattle, or dine, or make out.. It was something like that. 100 places to do something. She blasted me and stated well its better then “jammin a 500 Realty Movin Van with president Bush on the side” down our throats. I liked that!

    But, you will soon realize how much of a WHALE Tim is and you MUST respect him, buy food for him, and offer to change his oil during property tours if he requests it. I had 5 cans ready and the funnel but still lost out. golly Marc and Craig who I will forever BASH because of my lost whale.

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  87. ARDELL

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    “Ardell has demonstrated that over and over again with her inability to understand even basic terms in our standard NWMLS forms.”

    LOL! Is that what you call it when someone disagrees with you?

    Seriously Kary, you’re like the kid in grade school who liked to pull on my pony tails. Calling me out twice in one comment stream. Be careful, you may start calling my name out in your sleep, and that might get you into a lot of hot water at home.

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  88. David North

    By ray pepper @ 93:

    RE: David North @ 90 -David, in all due respect, your new here so I will be easy on you.

    No need. I’ve got a thick enough skin.

    You bring nothing to the table that the other 20k Agents slowly dying on the MLS bring.

    You’re wrong.

    If you do have something new to offer PLEASE tell us!! PLEASE!! I want to see something FASCINATING and something that will be a GAME CHANGER! NO BS PLEASE! You will get crushed here.

    I could say anything I want to say here, and you wouldn’t know whether it was true or not. My clients know what I offer and whether or not it’s valuable. That’s what matters, not whether it’s new, fascinating, or a game changer. I’m not here to show off, I’m here because I fundamentally agree with the content and purpose of the site, and I’m not worried about being crushed.

    But, you will soon realize how much of a WHALE Tim is and you MUST respect him,….

    Celebrity does not impress me in the least. Tim does impress me. A small portion of his analysis is flawed, and most of it is excellent, orders of magnitude more credible and meaningful than most of what the industry’s spokes-spindoctors spew. I have a great deal of respect for that. And if he were my client he would get exactly the same level of service and respect that all of my celebrity and non-celebrity clients get. If I understand how Tim thinks, I seriously doubt that he would expect to be treated any differently than anyone else.

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  89. Scotsman

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 88

    Wow. It’s not about D in Ballard, it’s about the other 2-300 (or so) people a day who read this site but never comment, some of whom might be looking for a traditional realtor. It’s basic marketing sense. You are in marketing, aren’t you?

    It must be getting tough out there. I agree the traditional 6% model is done, perhaps dying a slow death, but it’s done, along with the concept of real estate as anything but shelter. By the end of this year it will be clear to even the most obtuse that real estate is no more of an investment than buying a car.

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  90. BillE

    June 5th.
    By ARDELL @ 3:

    When does all of this “Great time to buy!” talk enter the conversation?

    Is it in response to a question from the client?

    June 11th.
    By ARDELL @ 91:

    Every day someone asks if they should buy now or wait until…

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  91. Real World Express

    Not that I don’t think you’re a real person and all…but your sudden purchase reminds me of the other famous real estate market hound…Patrick (of patrick.net). After years of lambasting housing, a few months ago he suddenly “called bottom” and pulled out all his chips. Everyone was stunned…but then it occurred to me…was the whole thing an elaborate setup….take a group of people and use Pavlovian conditioning to get them to listen to a “regular guy…fighting the market”…then, when the iron is hot, slice through ‘em, grill ‘em and roast ‘em by making them think it’s time to buy. I mean let’s face it, “Tim” as he likes to call himself even has his own personal Ed McMahon-slash-Godfather in the form of Krismer who could probably sell an igloo in Ballard to a Aleut.

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  92. Pegasus

    Real estate agents spotted migrating from Seattle to Spokane

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110610/D9NOPLUG0.html

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  93. Kary L. Krismer

    By ARDELL @ 94:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    “Ardell has demonstrated that over and over again with her inability to understand even basic terms in our standard NWMLS forms.”

    LOL! Is that what you call it when someone disagrees with you? .

    I’m not sure what your “that” is referencing, but if “100% wrong” what you were thinking, then yes.

    You single-handedly are the best example of why agents are not allowed to give legal advice. You’re horrible at interpreting the language used in contracts, statutes or just about anything else that communicates using the English language. You are to interpreting language as Cramer is to picking stocks.

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