The Tim’s Top Ten of Twenty-Eleven

Here’s the last post in the “Top 10 of 2011” series: Tim’s Ten Favorite Posts of 2011 (in no particular order).

Friday Flashback: Why Second-Guess Forbes & Moody’s? – As you can probably guess, I love pretty much the entire Friday Flashback series. It’s a near-endless supply of amusement to me to look back at the over-confident nonsense spewed by real estate professionals before the bubble burst, despite all of the obvious signs that were practically screaming that prices were headed for a crash.

Real Actual Listing Photos: Mega Mountain Edition – Again, I’m a big fan of the entire Real Actual Listing Photos series. Seriously, I can’t believe people pay agents 3% for this crap.

Terrible at Math, You Poor, Filthy Renter? YOU CAN OWN! – Polygon Homes’ new home ad claiming that “if your rent is $800 or more, YOU CAN OWN” wins the prize for most grossly misleading real estate advertising of the year.

Proposal: Replace the Mortgage Interest Deduction with a Flat Homeowner Deduction – Also, the follow-up: Running the Numbers on the Flat Homeowner Deduction. Personally, I’d favor eliminating the homeowner mortgage interest deduction entirely, but that’s clearly not politically feasible, so I proposed this as the next-best option.

Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick Any Two – I liked this one so much I wrote a national version for my favorite personal finance blog, Get Rich Slowly, which included a sweet Venn Diagram, because Venn Diagrams are awesome.

Fly the Real Estate Cheerleading Skies with Alaska Air – It’s like 2008 all over again on the Seattle-based airline’s planes, with such classic lines as “I don’t think there has ever been a better time” and “I don’t think you can beat this moment.”

There is no such thing as “a great time to buy.” – “If home prices are at rock-bottom, interest rates are at one percent, the economy is booming, is it a great time to buy? Not if you’ve got a hundred thousand dollars of school debt and you’re working part-time at the Sizzler, it isn’t!”

Big Picture Week 2011 – I like taking a step back and looking at a variety of local real estate charts spread back over the last two decades to get an idea of where we’re at today. Probably the biggest surprise this year was affordability, which thanks to ridiculously low interest rates, soared to a 30+year high in 2011.

On the Radio: Walk Aways and Puyallup Condos – I’m generally a fan of Dave Ramsey’s anti-debt schtick, but in this segment he ended up advising a caller with a condo in Puyallup to “let this market recover” and “sell the condo in one year.” Um, news flash Dave. The real estate market—especially for condos in Puyallup—is not going to “recover” in any substantive way in just a year. Actually that segment was back in February, so we’re now just a month away from Dave’s predicted recovery. Good luck with that.

Even More Delightful NAR Propaganda – Actually pretty much everything the National Ass. of REALTORS® publishes is comedy gold. I also quite enjoyed their 2011 Voting Guide, and watching their ads over the last five years back to back is a riot.

Well, that’s it for my 2011 list. What were your favorite posts?


About The Tim

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

24 comments:

  1. 1
    tomtom says:

    Of the eight properties in the Mega Mountain Edition, only one sold.

  2. 2

    My favorite Posts?

    So many classics but the dialogue between MichaelB and YOU in/re to crime stats and sex offender stats in the area where you purchased I found comical. Between the bashing and the defending of the purchase I was WILDLY amused. But, it became hysterical when that REAL SEX OFFENDER dude from California chimed in with all the pictures of him and young teens at rock concerts partying. He was a real work of art and I found myself reading that topic day after day…

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    RE: raymond pepper @ 2 – That dude from CA was seriously messed up. And somehow living a lot more than two miles away from him didn’t keep me from being exposed to his creepiness. Go figure.

  4. 4
    ChrisM says:

    Actually, Ray brings up a good point – my favorite was the entire series you did about your purchase, Tim, except for driving the crazies out of the woodwork. Did you finish the series, or decide to not continue, or not enough material? I thought there were additional topics not covered – going through signing.

  5. 5
    The Tim says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 4 – Yes, I did have a few more posts planned (inspection, financing, agents, etc.) but I lost interest in continuing when it seemed like nearly every post just turned into a pointless flame-fest contest to talk about how stupid it is to buy now or how stupid it is to buy in Everett.

  6. 6

    RE: The Tim @ 5

    no no no..don’t lose interest…Personally, I’ve been chompin at the bit waiting for it………..But, please be accurate and what you paid to who and when…Please contrast with what you PAID up-front and what CURRENT customers would have to pay UP-FRONT for the exact same service..I understand you were NOT forced to pay the balance due at 6 months but if you were would you have been ready to cut a check for 4500? ( WOW, apparently they raised their minimum up 1000.00 !) I DOUBT IT!!! Also your thoughts about these upfront fees and should the vast majority of people who enjoy looking for homes on their own PAY this 500 and 4500 UP FRONT not to mention be limited to Search hours..

    “Try to use us and not the listing agent or some other agent – the flat fee includes 20 hours of tours! If you use another agent for the home tour, there may be a reduction in your commission rebate.”

    With what you learned from your transaction and the time consuming nature of short sales would you recommend clients to Wa Law for a short sale? An REO that could result in multiple offer scenarios, and tours that could easily surpass 20 hours and 6 months.. Would you recommend the same client to pay 4500 if their home fails to close and their 6 months is up? Would you pay it yourself because I do not know ANYBODY on this planet that would pay it!…They would simply go onto a Red Fin or a Findwell when faced with cutting a check for 4500..

    Furthermore, with inventory coming to market so slowly I see many many people facing this dilemma at 6 months and how could a Brokerage TAKE money (4500) from a client or even expect to do it when a home is NOT purchased…If they are in fact NOT taking this payment from the consumer then this is a TACTIC being utilized to pressure a client into possibly buying something they do NOT want. Horrible Practice!–I can see it now “Sweetie..We have to hurry we only have 3 weeks left!” or ” we used 18 hours…we have to hurry up or its 75.00 an hour!!

    Furthermore would you pay the HIGH listing fees with this same agent or utilize a MLS4Owners type Brokerage and their (in-house) attorney to limit your sales expense to about 1000.?

    Thoughts?

    I know Wa Law is an advertiser but the TRUTH WILL SET U FREE!

    Lastly, this is NOT a slam on WA LAW…I hate up-front fees on anything. A guarantee by a Brokerage that when you pay the balance of 4500 that they will continue to represent you (NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES) does not guarantee the business will be open by the time you buy. Case in point-Health Club Memberships and most recently the lovely warranty by new Saab purchasers..

  7. 7
    Hugh Dominic says:

    One of my faves: “Who Is Home Will U Steal Today?”

  8. 8
    Peter Witting says:

    Any of the Real Life Listing Photos posts – I love those. I also enjoy the “guess the price” contests; it is interesting to follow the commentary and observations contributing to the thought processes behind a prediction.

    I would also like seeing the rest of your house-purchase posts; the flame-war about location and timing was a wee tiresome, but it certainly also brought out some of the year’s more colorful commenters.

  9. 9
    Pegasus says:

    RE: The Tim @ 5 – Actually your personal story of buying your first home was excellent especially for first time home buyers. The problem is in a blog that has mostly been negative about the real estate industry it opened you up to criticism when you crossed over into homeowner land. You experienced the same thing when you went to work for a real estate firm. I think since it was your own personal experience you did not handle the criticisms objectively. I think MichaelB had some valid questions that many of us had about your purchase. Once you summarily rejected those items I think he escalated his attack. I know I did until I realized we had attracted a real pedophile. At that point I stopped. I guess my point is when you run a blog it comes with the turf whether or not it becomes personal. You are normally above that. Maybe since you were in the process of adopting you were more sensitive about your new residence? I think if you blog about your financing and especially closing costs you have some professionals that post here that can add to that in a constructive way. Those closing costs for either buyer or seller have a lot of room for abuse. Somewhat less than before with new regs but still an arena that needs examination. As I told another blogger shortly before he became famous that exposure whether good or bad in the blogosphere is the key(unless of course you are a pedophile). Unfortunately he had to leave the country since his fame made him a wanted man. Rumor has it he is hiding in South America. Not because he did anything wrong, he just exposed the truth. Conflict, different opinions and a good sense of humor are the keys to a good blog.

    P. S. Hopefully by now you have figured out that since I left Kary alone for two months and then returned to pressing his buttons that it is a dirty job but someone had to do it. It is also a lot of fun when you realize that some people always have to have the last word no matter how silly it is.

  10. 10
    The Tim says:

    RE: Pegasus @ 9 – I’ve got no problem with criticism. I’ve dealt with it on here since day one. Some commenters were engaging in conversation, but some people were making mean-spirited, personal attacks and basically just being dicks. I just wasn’t interested in continually opening up the floor to the topic if that’s the kind of response it was going to generate.

  11. 11
    Pegasus says:

    RE: The Tim @ 10 – When you label your posters as “obtuse” they will become “dicks”. Maybe they were “dicks” before you labelled them. Who cares. You were much more sensitive when it became personal for you. Try it again as an objective blogger like you normally are now that some time has elapsed. You have a lot to offer with your personal experience and additional posters here can also add so that many can use the info. Don’t let us “dicks” shut you down.

  12. 12
    The Tim says:

    RE: Pegasus @ 11 – Whatever, we’ve already had this conversation. Yes, when someone repeatedly ignores my reasoned arguments and calls me names instead of engaging in intelligent debate, I might say that they are “either being intentionally obtuse or have essentially nonexistent reading comprehension skills.” Because that’s what it is. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a personal topic or not, I don’t mind calling people out.

    That said, it wasn’t just the jerks that led to my quiet discontinuation of the series. After six posts in as many weeks, I was getting the general feeling that people were getting tired of me continually talking about my personal experience. Comments like yours that I was “milk[ing] the purchase for all he can here” were certainly part of that.

    And since I stopped posting about it, today is the first time I’ve heard anyone even mention it. The complete lack of anyone asking for me to finish the series pretty much confirmed my impression that people were getting tired of it.

  13. 13
    Pegasus says:

    RE: The Tim @ 12 – Let’s just post my complete comment so that it does not appear out of context:

    “Buying a home, especially your first one, should be an exciting experience and not a situation where everyone criticizes your every move in the process. Hopefully he gets to enjoy it after he milks the purchase for all he can here. Unfortunately that opens his entire reasoning and methods up for critique. One should note the proud home owner does not handle opposing views very well. Perhaps it’s time for new material here instead of Tim’s house. I do believe though that he is providing a service especially for first time buyers. Every home I ever purchased was an exciting time for us and not muddied with applying an acid test on each and every detail of the purchase. We liked the houses, the areas for many reasons, could afford the house and we bought. End of story. I truly hope Tim and his wife are as excited as we were on our first home purchase and will be on all their subsequent purchases. I am sure there will be many and I hope they get to enjoy them all.”

    I did not intend for you to stop posting forever about your personal experiences . Just a break and a more open mind to criticism. I am done. Do what you are going to do and forget I ever posted about it.

  14. 14
    Jonness says:

    Tracking prices in Tim’s neighborhood might prove to be fun. We could include a chart of Ardell’s annointed “Education Hill” area in the series. Maybe we could throw in a Federal Way neighborhood as well. I realize it wouldn’t be entirely meaningful, but it would be fun to track these neighborhoods as time goes on and see what kind of patterns develop.

  15. 15

    By Pegasus @ 9:

    P. S. Hopefully by now you have figured out that since I left Kary alone for two months and then returned to pressing his buttons that it is a dirty job but someone had to do it..

    Thank you for admitting you’re a troll.

  16. 16
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – Its not trolling to point out a poster’s fallacies, board bullying and shortcomings. But thank you for being you.

  17. 17

    RE: Pegasus @ 16 – Do we need to rehash the last time, where you completely made up claims about what I was saying? Troll on someone else. Maybe you can hit on Tim for his decision to purchase a house.

    Or better yet, quit your trolling.

  18. 18
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: The Tim @ 10 – Maybe the up-down comment rating feature now available would suppress (or at least fade to grey) the personal attacks and tirades this time around.

  19. 19

    RE: The Tim @ 12

    Blog Ethics

    Its an unwritten rule in persuasive/legal blogging never to call another blogger abusive names, or abusive descriptions. Yes, I’ve been incorrectly labeled racist, nuts, and other such abusive nonsense by uncaring bloggers on Seattle Bubble [and watched it happen to many others too on Seatlle Bubble].

    If it chronically continues, the good bloggers leave for more friendlier and intelligent sites. Its lose/lose.

  20. 20
    ChrisM says:

    RE: The Tim @ 12 – “And since I stopped posting about it, today is the first time I’ve heard anyone even mention it. The complete lack of anyone asking for me to finish the series pretty much confirmed my impression that people were getting tired of it. ”

    Au contraire. I thought I had e-mailed you about it.

    I was very interested in the series, except for the over-the-top attacks. I’d love to see further posts. As Peter says, hopefully the rating system would make it a more enjoyable experience.

  21. 21

    One possible topic for Tim’s experience would be home maintenance since buying. There would be the routine things (what he does himself, what he pays for), the things he knew he was going to do going into the transaction, and the unexpected surprises. The one year anniversary of the purchase would be a good time for that topic.

  22. 22
    ricklind says:

    By The Tim @ 5:

    RE: ChrisM @ 4 – Yes, I did have a few more posts planned (inspection, financing, agents, etc.) but I lost interest in continuing when it seemed like nearly every post just turned into a pointless flame-fest contest to talk about how stupid it is to buy now or how stupid it is to buy in Everett.

    There was a lot of useful content in those posts that even experienced home owners find interesting and useful.
    I got tired of reading all the bashing about your choice of Everett and pedophiles and bridges and finally tuned it all out so I guess I missed the visitation thing from the person down south. No loss there.
    SWE is right, if some bloggers resort to name calling rather than discussing issues, eventually people leave, or else just lurk and never post. Having real content on this site, and good discussion, is why I visit.

  23. 23
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 21 – Good suggestion, Kary, I’d like to hear that aspect, too. Not only would it be interesting to me, but posts relating to his home maintanance experience – from routine to substantial, if necessary – would also broaden the content and discussion of this site away from being purely a “bubble blog”.

    Although…wasn’t there a “shadow bubble” in the home maintanance/repair/remodeling industry that occured alongside the real estate bubble? It seems alot easier to get a contractor to return your calls, make time to visit, and provide a more affordable bid than in 2006-7.

  24. 24
    New Kids on the Block says:

    By ChrisM @ 20:

    RE: The Tim @ 12 – “And since I stopped posting about it, today is the first time Iâ��ve heard anyone even mention it. The complete lack of anyone asking for me to finish the series pretty much confirmed my impression that people were getting tired of it. ”

    Au contraire. I thought I had e-mailed you about it.

    I was very interested in the series, except for the over-the-top attacks. I’d love to see further posts. As Peter says, hopefully the rating system would make it a more enjoyable experience.

    I would be interested in seeing further posts as well. Specially your opinion on hindsight, on the different usecases of using WAlaw since I am considering that as one option as well.

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