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.

36 responses to “Poll: You have $900k to buy a home in Seattle. You buy…”

  1. me

    Three beach houses in spain, renting them out and staying in one whenever time permits :)

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  2. David Losh

    This is a very odd poll. Of course every one would buy something else with $900K.

    Even a person who is in the market for a downtown condo would prefer to buy something else for $900K if given a choice.

    The fact still remains that in order to do business, even if you think that person is retired, you need to have an address that carries a certain prestige.

    OK, you don’t like the idea, but it is exactly why we have a Beverly Hills, and watch TV shows about 90120(?). You need an address of Park Avenue if you have that desire.

    It’s nothing personal.

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  3. gardener1

    I was thinking the same thing. I have $900,000 to spend? I am so outta here.

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  4. toad37

    I voted something else even though I did buy a condo in downtown Bellevue last summer.

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  5. Kary L. Krismer

    By toad37 @ 5:

    I voted something else even though I did buy a condo in downtown Bellevue last summer.

    That isn’t in Seattle either! ;-)

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    RE: toad37 @ 5

    Of the 27 people who bought condos between $850k and $950k in King County in the last 6 months, 14 bought in Seattle, 8 bought in Bellevue and 5 bought in Kirkland.

    2 of the 5 in Kirkland were larger than a condo townhome-homes, not attached. Condo due to no separated land parcel. Not sure you would count those two.

    All 8 in Bellevue were Lincoln and Bellevue Tower buildings in 98004

    Of the14 in Seattle only 6 were Downtown, so more people bought in that price range in “Downtown Bellevue” than in “Downtown Seattle”.

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  7. whatsmyname

    RE: toad37 @ 5
    Did you go high-rise or low-rise? Do you feel you got a good deal? What would you say are the biggest plusses and minuses of your decision? I am not a realtor; this is not about marketing, and I don’t want to get too into your business. But I am curious.

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  8. robotslave

    Tim, your poll is broken; I can’t see the button for “both.”

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  9. wreckingbull

    I can’t find the “Loshese” button on google translate. Can someone translate and summarize post #3 for me?

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  10. Ira Sacharoff

    if I have 900,000 to spend on a dwelling, it’s not going to be a condo, downtown or otherwise.
    900,000 gets you a pretty nice house in Seattle. Maybe I’d buy a house in the North Admiral district or Madison Park…..Can I then sell that and buy four houses in Skyway?

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  11. Leanne

    I would enjoy living in a condo downtown in certain circumstances, but given dogs prefer something with a yard.

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  12. David Losh

    RE: wreckingbull @ 11

    There are people who will live downtown, in luxury condos, the same as there are all over the United States, and the world.

    It’s just not what you would choose.

    There again, as Ira points out, $900K, in anybody’s sand box, can give you a better return if you do something else with the money.

    The poll is just odd.

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  13. David Losh

    Let me give you some links Miami New York San Francisco Seattle

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  14. ray pepper

    I would buy Millionnaire Mikes home for the 900k and start a web documentation with a time line of how to blow a 1.5 mill and document every stage of the loss.

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  15. StillRenting

    I’d get a house with a nice yard and unobstructed view of the sound and olympic mountains.

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  16. minitheden

    Many of the well-heeled buyers of these downtown condos live in them during the week and have a second home for weekends, often in the San Juans.

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  17. ARDELL

    RE: David Losh @ 15


    Not sure whose site that is advertising Escala in the link you put up. There are two typos in the first sentence. Must be a bottom feeder site. I doubt Escala would have hired writers who can’t spell.

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  18. David Losh

    RE: ARDELL @ 20

    It’s a Windermere site.

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  19. ess

    With that type of money, I would purchase a home with a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains. With our weather – it would make for a most enjoyable view at least one third of the year

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  20. David Losh

    How about this, have you done a comparison on costs of owning a $900K house to a condo?

    To have a comparable life style it seems to me that having a condo downtown is a better deal. Between landscaping, maintaining, furnishing, the commute, the amenities, like a gym, access to restaurants, cocktail lounges, and social gatherings the cost of the condo seems like it would be cheaper.

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  21. Peter Witting

    Looks like I’ll have alot of SB neighbors, because a home with a sound and mountain view sounds lovely to me, too!

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  22. Dave0

    My something else would be this home:

    Lake Washington Waterfront beats Downtown Condo any day.

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  23. Nicholas Beaudrot

    I’m trying to figure out what this would buy you on North Capitol Hill. When I lived on the Hill and walked to Saint Mark’s, I always thought that when my ship came in (aka never) I’d try to move into the clutch of homes and townhouses north of Roy. The only Active listing I can find below $900K is this 4 BR/1.75 BA with what looks like a good interior, but it’s not my style on the exterior. But everything else is much much more expensive.

    PS I hope The Tim doesn’t mind if I use estately instead of redfin :P.

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  24. Dave0

    By David Losh @ 23:

    Between landscaping, maintaining, furnishing, the commute, the amenities, like a gym, access to restaurants, cocktail lounges, and social gatherings the cost of the condo seems like it would be cheaper.

    And that is why I live on a boat on Lake Union, access to those amenities (within walking distance) and lack of yard maintainance without the high cost, plus I live on the water…

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  25. No Name Guy

    RE: The Tim @ 10

    Given those constraints, I’d buy a home some where in the U District with a pile of BR’s that I could rent out to students. I’d hire a management company to do the day to day work of renting it out for a cut. I’d take the resulting income (since I’d own the place free and clear) and use that to retire on. Meanwhile, I’d live in my paid off small rambler in south Sno Co.

    There….met the letter of your law on this one but expressed my opinion that only a complete dip “steaming pile of bovine solid waste” would blow 900k on a down town condo, especially if they come with enormous HOA dues. Something about a fool and their money parting……

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  26. softwarengineer

    Now if a Person Had Like an Extra $5M Cash in the Bank

    They might like the easy living $900K condo style with no yard upkeep, just HOA dues and pay for the condo in cash.

    I’m sure this group is a very small minority of the super rich, and like one blogger put it….they’d buy it and live in it as a quasi-vacation home a few weeks or months a year. Spend most of their time at their mansion.

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  27. Matt the Engineer

    I’m having a really hard time deciding this one. A $900k condo has to be really sweet. And I’m not sure I want the huge house that the $900k would buy me. But then maybe that’s why everyone’s choosing the view, to keep from ending up in the mansion you’d have to deal with for $900k without a view.

    Maybe that’s why this is so tough – you’re asking me which is heavier: a ton of rocks or a ton of feathers. Both home options are worth $900k to their prospective buyers, and if I had $900k, I’m the type of person that would consider either.

    I’d probably choose the condo, but my wife would probably ask me to choose the house. I usually let her win, so I voted house.

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  28. Tim McB

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 12

    Slumlord!!! ;)

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  29. Ron

    The Condos have taken on average a much bigger Hit on price… period.

    I purchased a condo recently that was a 10 year building.. it sold back in 2008
    for 158,000. I purchased it for 60,000. Cash.. no Mortgage no yard work (get to stare at people do that for me) sure it cost me 200. a month HOA and the Utility bills come in around 90.00…

    Its 700 feet and it forces me not to buy more stuff… for the long haul I will be much wealthier than the individual that goes out and buys a big house and all the trappings.. this is how you get wealthy you gain control of your finances paycheck which enables you to invest… big house overlooking the water is about Looking Good it doesn’t make you wealthy just the opposite it makes you poor in most cases.

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  30. Dweezil

    $900k condo?
    Taxes + Insurance + HOA = Me working full time, never retiring, just to pay for a free home.

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  31. Ron

    There is no such thing as free home- Taxes Insurance Maintenance isn’t free it doesn’t matter which direction you take there is no such thing as free..

    Theres always a cost, you just have to measure which cost you prefer…

    Even having someone else paying your mortgage, that isn’t free either just the cost doesn’t take dollars out of your pocket.

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  32. Ron

    even after being Free and Clear on a 900,000. property, Free of Mortgage.. its still going to cost you 9,000. year property tax and insurance and if you have a large place Heating/water maintenance

    easily cost 1,200. month for your paid off place… Thats Not Free.

    My monthly cost is about 300. property tax Hoa dues.. its at probably the minimum cost of housing. My Hoa dues take care of the maintenance and Garbage.. I laugh when people say thats a lot of money $200. dollars, seriously when/if those same people would sit down and do the math on what there really spending they would in almost 100% cases take back there statement.

    Theres always the Duplex where someone else pays for your property, Rentals take work and being a landlord in Seattle, lets just say Renters don’t always work out and it comes at a different sort of cost.. with proper screening etc. you can eliminate a lot of those problems. However it still costs you..

    I do agree that many of the Condo associations have crazy dues.. $600. and up is pretty common- in those conditions I would tend to believe and agree with a lot of the statements here about the Hoa Dues..

    There Is No Such Thing as Ownership… Its only and idea that the middle class aspire to is doesn’t exist- only thing thats exists is control.

    Whether you Rent or Own- The only thing thats different is the Level Of Control.. Renting is just a different level of control with a Limited time frame of Control.

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  33. Tim Appelo

    You have $900,000 to buy a home in Seattle. You know the teabag Taliban maniacs, Mad Angela Merkel, Supreme Corp. whores, and Mugabe-like Wall Street job gobblers will demolish the economy with a foam-flecked grin. You avoid gambler banks and house prices resembling the Falling Wallendas, bury $900,000, sew a yurt, and equip it with Gatling guns fore and aft to ward off perma-unemployed zombie armies. You trust, in short, no Seattleite or Seattle institution. It’s over, Seattle. You’re dead meat sizzlin on the griddle.

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