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.

133 responses to “18-Months Later, Reflections on “A House By The Park””

These comments are paged! This is page 1. Navigate the pages here:
1 2
  1. jesus christ

    over a million dollars of course! nice house. probably would have been vaffordable to do for most people thirty odd years ago. Not now,so sad 99,rs.ordinary people priced out of the American dream forever I guess.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. David Losh

    I had to come back, because I got lost in his web sites. This guy is amazing.

    I’m going back to read more of the blog.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. David Losh

    The guy hates Real Estate agents, and screwed his agent around mercilessly, what a maroon.

    He’s in the Internet Business so he does internet business design, so maybe some internet brokerage will hire him. MY GAWD!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. Jonness

    RE: Mike D. @ 4 – Mike, you chestnut! Just kidding. You did a great job on the site. I ran across it a few months back via a google search and proceeded to devour it. I really appreciate the hard work and level of detail you provided. Awesome stuff!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. David S

    I have to agree with the first poster that a little extra money spent can buy a little bit more happiness for certain.

    I also have to agree with Mike about the Kohler Flipside. I’ve upgraded with a few Kohler fixtures before and they’re remarkable. Kohler employs skills of artisans, sculptors and computational fluid dynamics scientists when they create their products and it shows.

    Nice blog.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. joe dirt

    Great house and great blog. I love modern.

    I wasn’t clear why his wood siding won’t have the aging problem or his cement floor won’t crack again (I was in a modern house with a floor like that last summer and it was full of cracks).

    The urbnlivin article claims it’s “sustainable”, whatever that means. Most of the construction is the same as other homes, at least geothermal heat would be green, but was cut to save maybe 20k out of 1 million.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. joe dirt

    RE: Mike D. @ 8
    Mike, I’m not clear how a large area of thin concrete won’t crack over time and can’t tell from the picture how well the cracks blend in. If you were starting over would you still go with concrete?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. Ray Pepper

    Mike whats the home worth now? It appears you love Zillow (at least their mortgage market referral system)..What kind of price you get there on Zillow? Or this site: http://www.eppraisal.com/home-values.mvc

    I was very impressed when I watched your video awhile back but one of the most important aspects of taking on an endeavor like this is having the cash for unforseen events like your low appraisal..etc. I know you don’t want to sell…Nobody does but then..BOOM you have to for some unforseen reason! How upside down are you? You have been so upfront on everything and maybe I missed out where you reported this. Its good for potential builders to be prepared to be buried at close..Don’t you think? I just see so many of these stalled projects everywhere in different states that I do NOT recommend anyone build while the prices of standing inventory (especially in this price range) will AT BEST remain flat but most assuredly come down further…Maybe its the Nevada (Reno) and California (Sacramento) in me and the 80% drops that make me REAL WEARY of the only 30% drop up here….

    My contention is that going forward, in this market, its ALOT more financially lucrative to BUY someone elses endeavor via short sale or foreclosure then taking on ANYTHING like this..Unless of course someone has cash to burn and they don’t care..However, you made it perfectly clear you were cost conscious. Do you wish you never built and tucked all this cash away? Or, quite possibly, do you feel home is at or near value?

    Going to the Trustee sales every Friday I see an unyielding supply of homes like these coming on the market for many years to come thats why I ask..

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. David Losh

    RE: Mike D. @ 4

    Uhhh, I said you hate Real Estate agents.

    Russel is one of the best agents you could’ve gotten, but then you ran him around, didn’t listen to him, then went around him directly to the seller.

    He brought you a side deal, he did an excellent job. He got you the deal before it was listed, or on the market.

    You jacked him, is that love?

    Then you nickle, and dimed the commission because you could. Come on, what’s that? How’s that love?

    It’s OK though because most people here hate Real Estate agents also.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. joe dirt

    RE: Mike D. @ 10

    Thanks for the info, and congrats on the project.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. Scotsman

    Mike- thanks for your blog- I follwed it weekly during the construction period. It was a great learning experience and invaluable for anyone who wants to build a custom home.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. Ray Pepper

    RE: Mike D. @ 12

    oh I disgree..There are alot of ways to tell prior to selling….You should know better then that…Is it more that you desire to not know at this given time? ….If nothing else it will assist you in fighting your property tax evaluations. Part of good financial planning is always knowing where you are at throughout your life on all your financial investments. You do agree your home was an investment don’t you? Surely spending a mill+ was an investment for your life that you chose to undertake.

    You see Mike your endeavor was documented splendid but you left out a MAJOR DETAIL for people who desire to undergo such a project. In the end when all was done, and all the costs of your time and labor were recognized, are you upside down? Consumers should take note this could and DOES happen! Can you tell us what Zillow says so the final piece of the story can be told?

    I must admit I did NOT dig through your story to see if address was divulged. If you did I apologize and I would simply tell you what your home was worth today or at least what a bank would loan on it. Furthermore you could track its appreciation/depreciation throughout the years ahead because I’m here to tell you Mike, sometimes you will be forced to sell for reasons you never saw coming!

    Always know where your at Mike! ALWAYS!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. Scotsman

    RE: David Losh @ 13

    Sounds like business to me. Or are real estate agents exempt from the laws of economic competition? When it comes to agents the term “trust, but verify” always pops into my head. Sorry, but it’s hard to love when there’s little or no transparency and a big old heaping spoonful of self interest underlying the relationship. Agents, like hookers, are used and serve a purpose but are rarely truly loved.

    I can’t help but think how Ardell challenged Tim back in the day, telling him he should listen to professionals. OMG, the pride . . . before the fall. All that’s changed is that the pride has been tucked away into its secret spot, where it waits.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. Ray Pepper

    RE: Mike D. @ 18

    You know Mike, I have been in the business nearly 20 years in 4 states. Do you know how often I hear that? So many NEVER want to sell…but, then life happens.

    Mike, I have been with Seattle Bubble since Tim started this outting and I believe I had the same avatar. Why does that bother you? Did I touch on a nerve?

    You have been so upfront with everything yet not what the value is today based on a simple Zillow search. You documented every dollar yet do NOT give us a value in January 2012. May I ask why this offends you when you discuss costs so much throughout this entire ordeal.?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  15. Scotsman

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 19

    Ray, you’re just being a pri@k. Who cares what it’s worth. Some people can afford to drive expesive cars and live in $M homes, some can’t. Should those who can spend time listening to those who can’t?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. Azucar

    By Ray Pepper @ 19:

    RE: Mike D. @ 18

    You have been so upfront with everything yet not what the value is today based on a simple Zillow search. You documented every dollar yet do NOT give us a value in January 2012. May I ask why this offends you when you discuss costs so much throughout this entire ordeal.?

    So, are you saying that you think a Zillow search will give him an accurate assessment of the value of his home?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. Ray Pepper

    RE: Azucar @ 21

    of course not Acuzar but he had mentioned he was a fan of Zillow and their “mortgage mkt” so I offered that resource.

    But, since I had time this early am (taking wife to airport) I dug a wee bit more and now I understand why Mike does NOT want to discuss current value with taking into consideration what he paid for the original house on location. Good Lord Almighty!

    Lets, just say I’m truly happy Mike had cash to burn and kept so many people working throughout that time frame. This was a god send to so many it appears..

    Tim, this reminds me of a new segment you should instill..You have the “Bad Listing Photos” and such..Why Not “Biggest Real Estate Blunders” or something like that. I thought you started a segment like that awhile ago..maybe not…This would be a good one to kick-start the segment off with. I know, I know…He bought it as a place to live…..He is a tech guy so you have a special bond with him…..I understand….but this one is a monster in all aspects of the term..

    Good Luck on the Condo Mike! I wish you a speedy sale……those condo dues, assessments, taxes, and payments can be excruciating for sellers!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. Jason

    Mike,

    Just wanted to let you know that I had bamboo floors installed in my house based on your posts and pics from your blog. My wife and I didn’t even know that such a thing existed! We’ve been really happy with how it turned out, both from the look and the lack-of-maintenance aspects, and we owe it all to your blog.

    http://www.ahousebythepark.com/journal/archive/2010/06/27/the-bamboo-floor-saga/

    Thanks again!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. Kary L. Krismer

    By Scotsman @ 20:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 19

    Ray, you’re just being a pri@k. Who cares what it’s worth. Some people can afford to drive expesive cars and live in $M homes, some can’t. Should those who can spend time listening to those who can’t?

    I do find it a bit ironic that a real estate agent is asking the owner of a house what they think it is worth. It would have taken Ray less time to just do a search of his own and develop his own opinion.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  20. Dorothea

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 22 – Zillow? Really?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  21. Kary L. Krismer

    By Ray Pepper @ 22:

    But, since I had time this early am (taking wife to airport) I dug a wee bit more and now I understand why Mike does NOT want to discuss current value with taking into consideration what he paid for the original house on location. Good Lord Almighty!

    Lets, just say I’m truly happy Mike had cash to burn and kept so many people working throughout that time frame. This was a god send to so many it appears..

    I’m going to go Losh on your ass and say that you don’t understand real estate.

    When you put money into a house to live in, there are two returns. First, there’s the daily enjoyment factor that you get every day you live in the house for as long as you live in it. Second, there’s the return when you ultimately sell it.

    As to the first, I could make the same type arguments you are making about luxury automobiles, because I get little pleasure out of such things, and consider them a waste of money. I could ridicule those who own luxury cars, but I understand that those who buy them enjoy them, and hopefully have enough in resources that they can afford them. The same is true of houses of this type being discussed.

    Also, as to the first point, on our prior house about 15 years ago we did a $35,000 remodel on a small house in Skyway. At the time I realized that it only made economic sense if we lived there for at least three years, to get some enjoyment out of the improvements. It wasn’t the type of thing we would have done prior to sale.

    As to the second, most people who are not interested in selling don’t really care what their house is worth. That was perhaps different 5 years ago, when learning about what your house was worth might give you a warm fuzzy feeling, but other than that it really didn’t matter to most people. While a few did, most didn’t rush out to sell their homes because of its increased value. In reality, the only time it matters what your house is worth is when you either want to sell, or have to sell.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. Peter Witting

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 22 – Okay, Ray, that’s enough.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  23. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Jason @ 24 – The nice thing about bamboo is it is relatively impervious to water compared to other wood flooring.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  24. Passed Doo

    You know, most of you posters responding here on this topic (the first useful one this year IMO) are really rude, jealous little petty individuals.

    Here is a successful, smart, motivated individual who created a custom liifestyle for himself, and then took the trouble to document it (beautifully I might add) in the hopes of helping anyone else in a similar situation, and all you rubes can do in response is piss on every detail and argue over ‘what its worth’.

    You F@$%ing SUCK. So does this blog. Mike D, you would be well off never coming back to this POS and trying to have an adult conversation with these useless dullards. I’m through with these clowns. I am a small investor and at least have learned some dupes to steer well of in the future, not a total loss of time.

    Mike D, Congratulations on your project. You did an amazing job.

    Shakespeare was Right.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  25. Kary L. Krismer

    By Passed Doo @ 30:

    Shakespeare was Right.

    Kill all the lawyers?

    Oh, and welcome to the Internet. I assume this is a new thing for you. ;-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  26. Kary L. Krismer

    One thing I’m not seeing is mention of the roofing material.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. sally buttons

    RE: Passed Doo @ 30 – go away,
    take Mike witch ‘ya.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. Ray Pepper

    I hope this will clarify for you Mike and Kary:

    Mike, your story is very entertaining and informative. We also have the same opinion of the real estate profession and the insanity of 6% but I will NOT get on my pedestal and begin preaching that here now because Kary has heard enough of it. Furthermore, we are both fans of Steve Liesman and I have been a junkie of CNBC for 25 years and a week doesn’t go by that I don’t think of the late Mark Haines. You seem to be an educated homeowner who dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s throughout this entire production.

    Your story invites questions and you answered everyone with honesty it appears throughout the process. Last night when Tim ran your story it just made me wonder what you were into this project. I noted 1.1mill and simply asked a question that millions of Americans are asking themselves each and everyday…”Am I upside down?”

    When you came back at me with ” It may be worth a lot more or it may be worth a little less. No way to tell until you sell” I had to correct you with the fact that you are wrong. There are many ways to know what your home is worth prior to selling. Furthermore, I do believe you know what your home is worth based on your relationship with your Agent (who is a good friend) and a possible equity extraction/refinance that was done on the property. Surely the “institution” did an appraisal?

    So I’m left with this impression..”this guy does not want to divulge for it darkens the story” ” this guy is saddened/embarrassed by it” “this guy is in denial ” or… Either way, when I detect deception it sickens me. Surely, I’m not the first to tell you that you are down BIG TIME? I don’t think so..

    So I was hoping for an honest answer provided to me like you provided everyone else with factual data based on your keen knowledge of your area, business sense, and the current market conditions in an effort to help others who may find themselves in the same scenario as you. When you became “hostile” and attacked my lousy avatar it just stirred the pot and made me wonder why.

    When Tim began Seattle Bubble it was perfectly clear that this was the place for honest info to buyers and sellers. There was no patting on the back and kudos here or there. Even when we advertised on Bubble there was never a push to use 500 Realty, Red Fin, or??

    Again, because of my opinion that you were less then truthful in your remark “No idea. It may be worth a lot more or it may be worth a little less” that I came out you with guns slinging. Mike do you play poker? I have played since I was 18, while in nursing school, and then in the Army. For 25 years I have played and one thing for sure…If there is never a Sheriff at the table then deceipt is sure to follow…

    Mike..I have no axe to grind. I never met you. I only sell about 12 homes a year because of my incessant Coaching of youth sports, family, nursing obligations, and weekly time spent at Trustee Sales.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  29. Ray Pepper

    RE: Passed Doo @ 30

    please stay off the inhalants..

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. David Losh

    RE: Scotsman @ 17

    I agree, It’s just business, and there is always another deal to do, so you move on.

    Actually it’s a great project, and beautiful blog. My suggestion is that the Real Estate agent portion should reflect the happy ending. The Real Estate agent turned out to be the hero here.

    The Real Estate agent did leg work the Internet failed to do. The agent successfully negotiated the transaction in spite of interference from his client. Hey, it’s OK, we all do it. We all get anxious, and think we can do it better. Some times it works, other times not so much. I’ve done it.

    In the end the agent did the deal he was dealt. He worked in his clients interest flawlessly from what Mike has written.

    In my opinion Mike’s posts about his agent should be more positive, because it’s how the system should work. There are a lot of bad agents out there, but when some thing goes right, I think it should be high lighted.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  31. softwarengineer

    RE: Scotsman @ 20

    There’s Two Sides to This “Tax the Rich” Conundrum

    The billionaire Buffet side is the rich don’t pay enough taxes, including Romney at $41M income [BTW, Clinton is $73M]….the Republican politicians allege don’t raise taxes, butcher ax government [real estate interest tax deduction too?]….

    I hate all politicians….especilly the ones alleging butcher ax federal spending on them, not me….

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  32. David Losh

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 34

    I did the calculation in my head while I read the blog.

    It makes no difference what the property is worth. It’s a well documented project of considerable value to a lot of people. It is by far the most informative blog post, or anything written, about new construction practices.

    There’s a project over in Elford Park, in Seattle, that cost millions to produce, and is still worth millions based on it’s vision. You just never know, and you can’t put a price on your own desire.

    I know that sounds strange coming from me, but I personally think this particular project has a value, that’s yet to be realized.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  33. ARDELL

    RE: Mike D. @ 10

    Thank you for all of the time you spent blogging on your wonderful home and the full experience of building it.

    I sent the link to a client of mine who bought a similar modern style of home for about the same price with a roof top deck and view of Lake Washington. They were so happy to have the link to your blog as a reference for some of the smaller details like your doorbell, house numbers and smaller accents that they wanted to address on the their home in the future, and possibly change.

    Apologies if this is on the blog, but what did you put on the roof deck? We were contemplating these large “eco-rubber tiles” to protect the roof surfacing, but easily lifted for roof maintenance.

    http://www.ecosmartinc.com/catecorubber_tile.php?fr=er

    Walking directly on the roof, especially for large parties, concerned me. Did you use wood? Consider other materials like large rubber or other type of pavers?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  34. Kary L. Krismer

    Tim, for tomorrow can you do a piece on Bill Gates house? Ray can then ask him what it’s worth and point out that he probably can’t sell it for what he put into it, but we’ll be able to interact with Bill Gates!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  35. softwarengineer

    RE: David Losh @ 38

    Its a Proven Science

    If we took this T#1 custom home and replicated it in a large home development, we could cookie cutter ‘em on a 70% Learning Curve for home construction.

    This means the second copy will cost 70% of the first, the fourth copy will cost 70% of the second [about half the cost of T#1], etc, etc….

    Everytime we double the cookie cutter units built we reduce costs 70%….wake SWE up when they built like the 100th like unit, otherwise ya pay way too much, IMO….

    And as far as rich wanting to spend money anyway….ask Buffet, he drives a modest priced 2006 Cadillac [loves it BTW] and lives in a cheap lower middle class home he kept over the decades without trading up….how the Hades do you think the rich got rich? Being gullible dummies? LOL

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  36. Ray Pepper

    RE: David Losh @ 38

    David…I assure you..the losses have been realized…most likely many many times over..

    “but I personally think this particular project has a value, that’s yet to be realized. “…wrong again…the value WAS realized in 12/2010

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  37. Ray Pepper

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 40

    I’m IN for that!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  38. Ray Pepper

    RE: The Tim @ 43

    again Tim…WFC lent money on this property in 12/2010….Surely an appraisal was done…Mike says he had no clue. It could be more or less. I disagree with this. I believe he does know based on his hostile answers, his good real estate friend, and his appraisal…

    Its in my opinion he is BURIED up to his eyeballs in that house and only him, me, and WFC appear to know the truth..The truth will set you free Mike..Unload your pent up emotions now Mike and you will be FREE from this burden…(not the financial losses) just the burden..

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  39. Pegasus

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 45 – Ya Ray. Think about all of the money he wasted building that albatross that could have been better spent dining at the Claim Jumper restaurant.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  40. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 45 – A refinance appraisal isn’t likely to be any more accurate than Zillow. The only difference is, unlike a refinance appraisal, Zillow might be low.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  41. Howard

    Thanks Mike for the informative blog.. I read it before I was reading the bubble. Your attention to detail helped contain costs and got it done for as close to on budget as can be expected. You time is money though, and that is not factored in. Labor of love..

    If everything in the world made economic sense:
    There would be no movie theaters
    There would be no concerts
    There would be no luxury cars
    There would be no boats/yachts
    There would be no hunting rifles (People spend FAR FAR more hunting than going to the grocery store )
    There would be no Starbucks
    There would be no cameras to document the fun things in life

    Shelter/Food/Clothing…. Oh wait Mike took care of the shelter part… Maybe he doesn’t have a BMW and rides the bus!

    Thanks for all the information Mike!.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  42. Dirty Renter

    Great house, Mike.
    Better yet, you’re happy in it.
    It looks to me like you got first rate quality at a very reasonable price…and what a view!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  43. wreckingbull

    Great site, Mike. Someday when I sell my 130 year old farmhouse, I would like to build a passively heated modern place.

    I will say that I take a different view than you on “laying as much Ethernet as you can”. If it were me, I’d lay as much conduit as I could, then as technologies change, you simply pull the new cable through, using the old cable as your fish-tape.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  44. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Mike D. @ 51 – Re the standing seam, does the main part of the house have a slope to the roof? Is there a picture of it on your page?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  45. Ray pepper

    Enjoy your home my friend and all the pleasures it should bring you in the coming years. I think your “crazies” term is misdirected and should b placed on our huffing specialist Mr Doo who apparently is no longer with us.

    Absolutely taking that cash out at these rates was the correct financial decision based on the circumstances that you were presented with post construction. But, seriously. Just between you and I what did appraisal come back at?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  46. wreckingbull

    Wow, nothing makes people testy like seeing what the Jones’s have done next door. Relax, everyone. Sure, there is a faint whiff of narcissism, but look at the invaluable tips you get from a well-written blog like that. For anyone who plans to build, I’d keep that site bookmarked. Heck, it was even enough for Sally Buttons to join us again with one of her bitter one-liners.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  47. ChrisM

    Hi Mike, to echo others, excellent blog. Gorgeous house!

    You stated you preferred induction to gas stove – can you elaborate? I’ve never had an induction, but I cook w/ cast iron and thought there would be a good chance of me destroying the stove.

    Also, I’m rather forgetful & it is easy to tell if the gas stove is on or not!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  48. Kary L. Krismer

    By wreckingbull @ 55:

    Sure, there is a faint whiff of narcissism, . . ..

    No! Not on Seattle Bubble.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  49. ARDELL

    RE: ChrisM @ 56

    I’m going to add to ChrisM as I am listing a home in Lakeridge with an Induction Stove, and it is the first I will have one in a home I am selling.

    I’m thinking that the fact that all pots cannot be used on this stove is something we need to disclose beyond merely saying it is an “induction stove” and providing all of the manuals and paperwork that came with it.

    The owner is going to put something on the Form 17 Seller Disclosure form, but not sure what potential buyers of the home need to know before they try to cook on it with “the wrong” pots and pans, or what might happen if they do.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  50. ARDELL

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 42

    “A Man’s Home is His Castle.”

    A car is just something you drive until it croaks, or you get a new one to replace it.

    When I worked in Manhattan Beach CA…many a rich man paid millions to have the right piece of land…and tore down the expensive home on it…to build his Castle exactly where and in the way he wanted it.

    Being “smart” sometimes includes not treating your home as “an investment”.

    I do think first time buyers and people with transient job opportunities DO need to be conscious of the potential for loss in value. Not try to guess that either as you don’t know when you will sell and what the market will be like at that time. You should buy something you know you can improve come time to sell, if you worry about loss of value. The perfect new house will always be worth less, later, in a flat market.

    But the Rich Man…can afford to treat his home like a home, Ray. Not everyone has that luxury, but if everyone DID…their home would NEVER be looked upon as “an investment”. No one I know buys a home because it is the essence of accumulated wealth they will leave their children when they die.

    In fact anyone thinking about dying…shouldn’t be buying a house at all.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  51. Kary L. Krismer

    By ARDELL @ 59:

    In fact anyone thinking about dying…shouldn’t be buying a house at all.

    Why not? If you die owning a house, you don’t need to worry at all about the 9% costs of sale!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  52. Peter Witting

    RE: wreckingbull @ 50 – Great idea on the conduit!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  53. Jeff Jennings

    That’s the awesomeness of buying custom homes!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  54. softwarengineer

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 29

    Yes Kary

    That nice looking oak flooring everyone flocked to the last decade or so leaks water and can easly damage glueboard subflooring [the glueboard subfloors puff up from too much moisture with chronic leaks, destroying the oak floor] contractors tell me.

    When ya got glueboard subfloors [or newer soft lumber for that matter], paint it with oil base paint to water proof it or better yet cover it with linoleum before putting the rug or oak floors down…how many quality home builders/remodelers do this? My guess, very few.

    Same with glueboard exterior panels, totally goop the seams/cracks with water proof glue during construction, then paint it. How many quality home builders do this? Probably hardly any. I redid my exterior glueboard that way years ago and I haven’t had to repaint it every year to stop rot [BTW, that stops working after about 10 years anyway]. My neighbors all had major remodeling costs I avoided with $500 worth of plastic goop, they’re jealous too.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  55. ARDELL

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 60

    Good one, Kary!!!

    The most memorable custom house I’ve seen belonged to “show dog” owners. The finished basement had six dog showers and doggie grooming tables. They did have trouble getting their money back on all that when they tried to sell though. :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  56. ARDELL

    RE: Mike D. @ 51

    Thanks Mike! BTW…I am in total agreement with you on the way you treated the agent arrangements, and I’m sure your agent is/was as well. Not sure what David’s gripe is about the agent arrangement or Ray’s about value. I think you did an awesome job from start to finish!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  57. Peter Witting

    RE: ARDELL @ 65 – Ray probably hasn’t realized yet that not everything in life (certainly not the most important things) can be adequately measured in dollars and cents.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  58. Marc

    I live in the same neighborhood and bought a home in ’07 with an extra parcel and dreams of building a home so I followed Mike’s blog very closely as he built his house. It’s been an invaluable resouce. I’ve directed several clients considering custom construction to the site and discussed induction stoves with several more based on what I read there. For the life of me though I can never remember the word induction and routinely refer to it as convection knowing full well that’s incorrect.

    I’ve even cribbed some language recommended by Mike’s attorney regarding a city required indemnification agreement and passed it along to yet another attorney.

    Thanks for the great resource Mike.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  59. David Losh

    RE: ARDELL @ 65

    Read the blog post about Real Estate agents. It’s typical Seattle Bubble stuff.

    The bottom line was he couldn’t find a place on his own, hired an agent, refused to sign a Buyer’s Agency Agreement, the agent finds a place another guy in his office is working on.

    Before there is any agreement in place the agent shows it to Mike, and Mike loves it.

    Then Mike decides he’ll take over.

    The end result is Mike got the property.

    However he has left standing this scathing account about how Real Estate agents are worthless than Mike’s own time.

    He spent, I think, a year, before he hired the agent he loves.

    Read the blog posts, it’s a hoot.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  60. joe dirt

    RE: David Losh @ 68

    That was not my impression. Unless the blog dates and entries were altered later, Mike had stated his position on agents months before he ever saw the place he bought. He said 3% commission was too much for something anyone can find on internet, but was fair if an agent brought him a good deal off market. That is exactly what happened, and he was willing to pay the full 3% to his agent, though it sounds like 0.5% may have gone to the other agent.

    That 0.5% didn’t matter anyway, because Mike has continued to work with his agent and has since listed a condo with him.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  61. David Losh

    RE: Mike D. @ 51

    Because I don’t care about your house. I really, really like the blog. That’s your talent.

    I take it by *I* you mean you negotiated the purchase.

    Hmmm, let’s see, you used the CMA prepared by the “other” agent for your negotiating terms, you presented a low ball offer, against your agents advice once again then you “decided to put my first offer in at $100,000 less than the bottom of the range my agent gave me, $300,000 less than the top of the range, and $150,000 less than what I’d feel 100% comfortable with.”

    In 48 hours with no reply the seller said “thanks, but no thanks.”

    Then you decided to take charge!!!! Because the other agent was wrangling for a commission.

    Wowser!

    Let’s see the last deal fell apart because you were on some other strategy, but you saved $100K, now this one is sideways. But hey! You are negotiating!

    Alright, I wasn’t going to spend any time on this at all, but now I’m just curious as heck about what Ray Pepper was talking about.

    I’m glad you put a link to Russel Katz, on your blog http://www.russellkatz.com/ , because he is a good agent, and deserves a lot more credit here than you give him.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  62. lecadidupe

    Many thanks to The Tim for the link to Mike’s extraordinarily interesting blog. Somehow it had escaped my notice in the five years I’ve been reading Seattle Bubble. I don’t doubt that his gorgeous place (and this is speaking as a “tudor” aficionado) would likely Zillow for faaaar less than what Mike’s put into it. My sister and brother-in-law built a house on five acres of Joshua Tree Nat’l Park-adjacent land; it’s a sprawling place with stone-clad walls, a big courtyard, workshop, garage, “eco,” “green,” (I’m still a bit skeptical) and passive everything…and Zillow has it at $134,000. As with any custom-built house, the place is sui generis and thus thoroughly resistant to any algorithm thrown at it.

    Mike’s blog may just give me the gumption I need to build my own place. Maybe I should print the whole thing out before lest it get hacked by sinister RE industry forces ;).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  63. David Losh

    RE: joe dirt @ 69

    I does matter, a lot, now that I know where the house is.

    The old house, I’m sure, was on a lot of people’s radar. It was old, and out of place. An agent made contact with the trust, and presented a Comparative Market Analysis, which Mike refers to, in detail, so he looked at it. That was the basis of “his negotiations.” He was willing to pay full price. The seller is the one who objected to paying a commission, so Mike’s big play was to cut out the original agent.

    The agents made this deal happen, and Mike’s a good talker.

    His big play was over the $90K in commissions. That sounds like a lot doesn’t it? In the scheme of things the sellers sold for $1.5 Million dollars, and Mike tore it down to spend another $1.2 Million?. So in this grand blogging scheme, Mike saved $45000 in the middle of spending $2.7 Million for a house, by cutting out the agent who did the original leg work. Then he left his agent to deal with that mess, that he made.

    It is a very typical story.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  64. Jonness

    By David Losh @ 13:

    RE: Mike D. @ 4

    Uhhh, I said you hate Real Estate agents.

    Russel is one of the best agents you could’ve gotten, but then you ran him around, didn’t listen to him, then went around him directly to the seller.

    He brought you a side deal, he did an excellent job. He got you the deal before it was listed, or on the market.

    You jacked him, is that love?

    Then you nickle, and dimed the commission because you could. Come on, what’s that? How’s that love?

    Losh, you of all people should know when you build a house, it’s imperative you kick and scratch for every cost cut you can get your hands on. And even if you do that well, the chance of not going over budget is 0%. So what gives? This guy did a fantastic job, and his RE agent made a ton of money with more on the way if he does his job well.

    And to Ray Pepper, I’m not sure what you are getting at? I’ve never seen you go pit bull before. What’s up? Apparently, this guy either makes more than both of us put together or came into a large inheritance. Either way, I’m envious of his experience. You only live once, and designing and building your own home is something we all dream of doing at least 1x before we die. It sounds like with his time frame, he’s got nothing to worry about if he prefers to think of other things than money all the time.

    Eventually, the Fed will manage to reflate, and then everything will run out of control for a while. In the meantime, you and I have a lot of intelligent investing to do. :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  65. ChrisM

    RE: ChrisM @ 56 – Ah, looks like the induction stove info is here:
    http://www.ahousebythepark.com/journal/archive/2009/02/02/thinking-about-induction-cooking/#comments

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  66. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: lecadidupe @ 72 – Zillow has problems with houses which have never been sold (built by the current owner) or haven’t been sold for decades. All they have to go by then is the tax records and what neighboring houses have sold for.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  67. ChrisM

    Awesome post — from Nov 2007!!!

    http://www.ahousebythepark.com/journal/archive/2007/11/01/on-real-estate-agents-and-finding-properties/

    “My opinion on real estate agents is that, as a whole, they are about 25% as useful as they were before the internet came along. That is not to say the best agents are not 100% or even more valuable than they once were, but the simple truth is that people need less from their agents nowadays because buying or selling a home can involve a degree of self-service that wasn’t practical or possible in the past.”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  68. Kary L. Krismer

    By Jonness @ 74:

    You only live once, and designing and building your own home is something we all dream of doing at least 1x before we die.

    Not me, but perhaps that’s because I lived through my parents doing that a few times during my life. Between my father and step-father, they built four houses after I was born. Yes it gets you exactly what you want, but it’s also takes a lot of time and work. So no, I’m not that eager to ever do that, and would actually avoid doing that.

    The one thing I remember about one of the houses my father built is the light switches were all right where you would expect them to be. That’s a small thing, but something that will constantly annoy you about a house if it isn’t right. A lot of custom built houses are a total mess in that area. When we did the remodel of that house in Skyway, I missed one new switch location necessary after a slight change in floor plan. It required a wireless X-10 switch to compensate.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  69. Ray Pepper

    RE: Jonness @ 74

    Oh yes, he does make more then us combined…I’m sure of that….But, my problem is not with all the work he has done, the glorious tracking of the whole experience, or his slamming of my Avatar…

    I went “pit bull” on him because he lied…Go back to post # 11 when I asked a simple question..”whats the home worth now?” Surely an intelligent man must have the answer or at least plugged it into Zillow for kicks…Instead I got this: No idea. “It may be worth a lot more or it may be worth a little less”

    So this of course got me digging and I observed he refinanced the property in 12/10 and took a mill out…Well, surely an appraisal was done so that WFC would lend the mill right? But, noooooooooooo “No idea….maybe worth alot……”

    So there you have it.. I wished him luck on the sale of his condo and expressed a warning to any potential people out there like Mike, you can lose ALOT of dough in building your own home and live in denial as well that “I have no idea” what the value is…

    But, I also did give him kudo’s as to his opinion of the worthlessness of real Estate Agents and how the 6% remains a complete and utter SHAM..I believe he still over values their “worth” but I will fight that battle another day.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  70. HappyRenter

    I like floor heating. This is achieved by installing pipes inside the floor. Warm water circulates inside the pipes and heats the entire floor and room. Your feet will never be cold. I have only seen it in Europe so far, but it must exist here, too:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underfloor_heating#Hydronic_systems

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  71. lecadidupe

    By HappyRenter @ 80:

    I like floor heating. This is achieved by installing pipes inside the floor. Warm water circulates inside the pipes and heats the entire floor and room. Your feet will never be cold. I have only seen it in Europe so far, but it must exist here, too:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underfloor_heating#Hydronic_systems

    Floor heating is a dream. We installed marble flooring on the first floor of our house in Japan because it’s generally warm-to-hot here, but in the winter, you just turn on the floor heater for an hour or two and the house is good for the evening. We installed floor heaters under the hardwood on the second floor as well, but hardly ever use it, and now I wish we hadn’t, because we lost a couple of inches in ceiling height on the main floor due to all the piping that needs to go in.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  72. Hugh Dominic

    By Mike D. @ 71:

    Tim, if you could place a simple reading comprehension captcha in this comment form, it might eliminate some of this nonsense. A simple question like “My dog has fleas. What does my dog have?”

    Ok, that was hilarious, and perfect.

    I feel like I must apologize to you, our guest, for your treatment by some of the residents of this blog. Mostly what you have here are a bunch self-deprecating real estate agents and vengeful pundits who endured their gloating, equity-soaked neighbors from 2004-2007. Now we all relish a good mockery of the failed I’m-gonna-get-rich-quick bubble buyers. Perhaps someone has mistaken you for that, if so, I apologize.

    Then there are some who have made real estate investment their trade. They are unable to understand any other motivation for buying a house other than to find one that “pencils”. To them, you are welcome to blow $200,000 on fast cars and exotic vacations, but if you were to blow that same amount on a house that you enjoy then you are a fool. And then there’s Losh, who is like that but also illiterate.

    My advice: just skip ahead to the Ira posts.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  73. David Losh

    RE: Mike D. @ 71

    Nice try, but I am really busy, and don’t have a lot of time for your blog.

    You refer to a CMA, repeatedly, and in depth. If you could read my comment, you’d recognize those are your words.

    So it’s good you corrected me about you signing a Buyer’s Agency Agreement. Every agent should get that from a buyer, as you have demonstrated.

    So insulting me doesn’t work. I’m used to it.

    You have a great Real Estate agent, who goes up in my admiration ever day that I have intercourse with you.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  74. Ray Pepper

    David, how about this plan???………..You get us over to Mike’s house for a tour of the premises…You can both engage in further intercourse together while I shoot some nice pics of the premises and give him a FREE CMA, a 500 Realty T Shirt, a 500 Realty Pen, and a 500 Realty seat cushion that can be used at Husy Games. He will then FINALLY know the value of his home before we leave, have some gifts, and we will all leave satisfied in our own special way…….

    Just a thought……….???????

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  75. David Losh

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 84

    Ray, you promised that 500 Realty would have hoodies. Instead you have pens? and seat cushions?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  76. David Losh

    RE: ChrisM @ 77

    This post from 2007 is exactly the point. Since that time Mike has shown the traditional Brokerage model to be the most effective for his plans.

    This is the second time in a week that the Seattle Bubble has demonstrated traditional agents are much more effective.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  77. mukoh

    Mike,
    Your process was amazingly well documented, and the whole job was well done, with a lot of thought and throughput. Congrats on getting into something that you value for yourself for a long time to come. Its amazing what people can do when they go outside of the spec box, or the chocolate box remodel.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  78. MacroInvestor

    By Mike D. @ 12:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 11

    No idea. It may be worth a lot more or it may be worth a little less. No way to tell until you sell, which I’m not planning on doing. To me, it’s the best house for me, on the best street for me, in the best neighborhood for me, in the best city for me, so it’s hard to put a price on that. I would never build a house for the sole purpose of profits… it’s too much work. Build for the love, and profit later if and when you sell.

    During the bubble, every agent said houses never ever go down — so buy at any price and profit later. When that didn’t work out they all started saying exactly what you quoted here. Everyone knows what their house is worth, and they (at least secretly) are hoping to profit. Nothing wrong with that. Those who say otherwise are simply justifying a bad turn at the card table.

    Nothing personal, Mike. I wish you the best of luck. I just find it slightly insulting of our intelligence that you would parrot the agent sales jargon and expect us to swallow it. This is Seattle bubble, not some children’s web site where people don’t know what’s going on.

    I am quite sure you are under water. I get no pleasure from that, but a more honest answer might have been that you prefer to keep your personal finances private. Then no one would have asked again and harassed you over and over.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  79. Kary L. Krismer

    By MacroInvestor @ 88:

    By Mike D. @ 12:
    RE: Ray Pepper @ 11

    No idea. It may be worth a lot more or it may be worth a little less. No way to tell until you sell, which I’m not planning on doing. To me, it’s the best house for me, on the best street for me, in the best neighborhood for me, in the best city for me, so it’s hard to put a price on that. I would never build a house for the sole purpose of profits… it’s too much work. Build for the love, and profit later if and when you sell.

    During the bubble, every agent said houses never ever go down — so buy at any price and profit later. When that didn’t work out they all started saying exactly what you quoted here.

    He was clearly focusing on building a house. As I mentioned a few posts above, that’s involves a lot of time and work, not to mention risk. It’s entirely different than just buying an existing house, or even a house built by a builder.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  80. joe dirt

    RE: David Losh @ 73

    Owners of old tear downs in a hot location get approached by agents all the time. You admit it was probably on a lot of peoples radar. The other agent failed to get them to sign anything, probably like other agents they had turned down in the past. Who wants to pay 3% when you have something easy to sell? On the other hand Mike and his agent were able to put a deal together that worked for the owner – its unfair to say Mikes “big play” was “cutting the other agent out”.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  81. Macro Investor

    RE: Mike D. @ 91

    Great comeback. I’m thoroughly impressed by your million dollar vanity license plate. You must be a real hit at parties, dazzling everyone with tales of the “extreme awesomeness” of your toilet bowl washers. And, no — your stories would never get tedious!

    On another subject… aren’t you one of the actors from this TV show:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077097/

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  82. Ray Pepper

    RE: Macro Investor @ 92

    Macro, the more Mike talks the more he resembles Peter:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iqFO-Udq6s

    (seems I post this video here at least 1x per month for the next buffoon that seems to roll in-Tim, caught a ripe one with this guy..but the difference is this guy has dough…!!…Mike reminds me of Steve Tytler btw…He was one of my favorites that swam away dammit!)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  83. Ray Pepper

    Scotsman, you continue to miss the entire point of what started this entire “attack.” Has nothing to do with money, a beautiful home, his story….I will sum it up for you here quickly:

    “No idea. It may be worth a lot more or it may be worth a little less” this is a post appraisal remark from a supposedly “smart” guy.

    and Macro nailed it when he said this: ” Everyone knows what their house is worth, and they (at least secretly) are hoping to profit. Nothing wrong with that. Those who say otherwise are simply justifying a bad turn at the card table”…the only competent remark on this entire thread!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  84. David Losh

    RE: joe dirt @ 90

    I agree his agent did a masterful job. Mike points out another agent does show up in the NWMLS report. The seller obviously realized some value in that agent.

    The fact still remains that this is how agency works, and why we hire Real Estate agents.

    The agent found the dirt. Without the dirt there would have never been a project.

    As to the rest of the exchanges, Mike has some resentments that I don’t understand. What he is expressing is typical.

    In terms of procurement, I think he should shed some of his negativity, and be more positive about his experience with his agent. He is resisting, but begrudgingly admitting his agent did the job he was paid for.

    The other thing I don’t get is he spent a year on his own looking, I suppose, “on the internet” and came up with butcus. Then he turns around and says his agent only has 100 hours into the deal.

    Well the agent goes out every day, also. The agent brought him a property that worked, that was off market. The agent then wrote the transaction, dealt with the “other” agent, before Mike comes in.

    The way I read it, and for my own transactions, as a Principle, the transaction closed in spite of us. We can have all the pleasantries in the world, but cooler heads usually get the deal together.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  85. Scotsman

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 95

    Alas, you’re the one who misses the signals:

    ““No idea. It may be worth a lot more or it may be worth a little less”

    Most of us see that as the polite way to tell an ass that the price isn’t the central issue, and that it really doesn’t matter- to the owner, or to the central topic of the discussion.

    But I can see how an “investor” who has already let several “investments” go back to the bank because they weren’t working out, and has now set his sights even lower (on future Tacoma crack houses) would be very, very sensitive to price above all else. Sorry, my bad, as they used to say. Carry on.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  86. Ray pepper

    RE: Scotsman @ 97

    I don’t believe “most if us view” it as a polite way. I believe MOST of us view it as embarrassed or denial. Unlike our investments which I publicly address that we gave back and will continue to give back due to the rules of the game being changed. There will never be embarrassment just business decisions that are made in the best interests of our LLCs.

    You see Scotsman I don’t join the rah rah crowd and clap when I sense deception. You and Tim remain the clapping monkey while many Bubbleheads just shake their heads at the continued farce that Mike illustrates.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  87. David Losh

    RE: Scotsman @ 94

    I don’t know why you Republicans throw out the class warfare card in any discussion.

    My message has been consistent for years. Good Real Estate agents are some of the hardest working people on earth, and the most dismissed.

    Every one thinks they “saved” the deal. Every one thinks it’s so easy. The procurement, and Real Estate agent parts of the blog are all I’ve addressed, the rest of it I’ve praised.

    I’ve tried for several years now to promote the positive side of Real Estate. There are good agents, and when you find one, or have that experience, I think that gets over shadowed.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  88. Macro Investor

    RE: Ray pepper @ 98

    “There will never be embarrassment just business decisions that are made in the best interests of our LLCs.”

    Ray is one of the very few who understand business on this site. If you think walking away from a bad deal is somehow immoral, you need to de-program from the brainwashing you’ve been fed from the media, or the gov-provided education system. The banks made the rules and wrote the contracts. If you fail to use the few advantages we individuals have, they won’t thank you as you work well into your senior years, never able to retire.

    “I don’t join the rah rah crowd and clap when I sense deception.”

    You tell em Ray. Maybe it’s part of the west coast culture, but political correctness has gone way overboard. I say this is a blog for grown ups. If you can’t take some heat, stay outta that kitchen. Coming here with lame falsehoods is going to insult people, and that deserves to be called out. Accepting it meekly is the worst kind of insecurity. Man (or woman) up.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

These comments are paged! This is page 1. Navigate the pages here:
1 2

Leave a Reply

Do you want a nifty avatar picture next to your name, instead of a photograph of Tim's dog? Just sign up with Gravatar, and make sure to use the same email address in the form below. It's that easy!

Please read the rules before posting a comment.

You have 5 comments remaining on this post.

Archives

Find us on Google+