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.

51 responses to “Knife-Catcher: Year Two Recap of Tim’s Home Purchase”

  1. Erik

    Seems like you are doing pretty well. Those old houses break down, so i’m sure you are in for an occasional cost nuisance. If you don’t mind living in North Everett, I’m sure your housing price won’t go down any. My guess is that they develop your area and you are bought out for a very fare price before you pay off your mortgage. I would have stayed there if I could have tolerated the area. I know a guy that lived by the community college. When they expanded, they gave him a really good price for his place.
    There is a another retired guy I knew that had been developing his entire life and made a lot of money at it. He told me that the North Everett area will be developed and I would be bought out when I lived in that area.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  2. Jacob

    Tim
    How do you like the Nest Thermostat, is it as great as marketed?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  3. Alan Ford

    That’s what is so great… You pay as much to bank as you pay for house itself.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  4. No Name Guy

    By The Tim:

    The current market is officialy nuts.

    Yes, yes it is.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 8

  5. Tim McB

    Good move on refi’ing, that’s definitely helping out quite a bit on avoiding interest paid to the bank. Refi’s seemed to get a bad name after people started using them to take equity out but they can actually be very beneficial towards long term debt repayment if done right, as you are doing. Quick question on the sewer line replacement, was there a reason you opted not to go trenchless when you had your line replaced? Seems like you might have saved some money going that route as well as avoided landscape damage. Was that an option for your situation?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  6. Jeffrey Chang

    Do you mind me asking where you got your original home loan from? I’m in the middle of shopping around for home loans at the moment. :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  7. ray pepper

    so basically if you had to sell your upside down about 10% (which is about the cost to sell) or quite possibly in this market down 5% after shelling out about 60k in 2 years. If you would have stayed in your rental ( i think you said your rent was 500) you would have blown through 12k.

    So in essence it cost you about 40-50k ( assuming a break even if you had to sell due to divorce, illness, job, etc.) thus far to buy this home instead of staying put…

    I know, I know, you needed this house for your family, preservation of marriage, and you lived in a crap box rental but this is a strong arguement for renters to STAY RENTERS. You also purchased at or near the bottom so as we like to say………….BUYERS BEWARE!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6

  8. Erik

    RE: ray pepper @ 10
    I agree. Assets always need to be evaluated at present worth. That is standard practice. When assets are not evaluated in present worth, it brings feelings into it and warps people’s judgement.
    When people say it is different because its a home or if they say it hasn’t lost anything because they haven’t sold yet, this is false logic.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  9. Tim McB

    RE: The Tim @ 7

    Thanks for the response. It makes sense when you said your line was only 38′ long. Is it correct to assume you paid $3320 for the line replacement ($8820-$5500 for heat pump)? Even though your line is short that’s a pretty amazing deal based on my research on the matter. We also have a line that may eventually give way and need to replace it. We are expecting about a 10k-15k price (though the line is 105 feet from the street also under the driveway). The last sewer cam last month looked really good though so hopefully not soon. Also, if you don’t mind me asking what ultimately lead to its failure and your replacement root infestation, line collapse?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. ray pepper

    “What ultimately lead to its failure and your replacement? ” ..From observation of his eating habits it was obviously an EXPLOSIVE bowel movement that triggered final destruction in the line. The actual meal itself was.. The Shepards Pie at Cheesecake Factory Bellevue. 40 minutes after Consumption Tim was racing straight up 405 and the beads of sweat were pouring down. He then arrived home and the explosion occurred rattling the plates in the Curio and shattering the line. …https://www.google.com/search?q=shepards+pie+cheesecake+factory+picture&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ZayaUbdtha2KAumzgcAK&ved=0CDEQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=673#imgrc=iYTUzgu-2qCNVM%3A%3BwquPSbuAnGxrDM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdistilleryimage6.s3.amazonaws.com%252F551f5e7485e611e1abb01231381b65e3_7.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fweb.stagram.com%252Ftag%252Fshepards%252F%3B612%3B612

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  11. Erik

    RE: ray pepper @ 13
    This is off topic Ray. Why do you not flip more properties if you make a lot of money at it? Maybe you do a lot of flips, but you stated once that you don’t do it alone and you don’t do more than one at a time. If it is such a good deal, why don’t you buy it yourself and run multiple projects at one time?

    Also, do you think it’s accurate when Vestus estimates the purchase price and the sale price? You mentioned to do my “due dilligence” by visiting the property and doing my own comps. I don’t trust myself to do my own comps because I’m not a real estate agent and I don’t have much experience in estimating values. I go visit properties I think will be in my price range earlier in the week to try and guesstimate how much it will take to fix the place.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. Ira Sacharoff

    When you had just purchased, there were a number of comments about how dangerous the neighborhood was and how it was full of violent love predators. Having lived there two years, how’s the neighborhood been? Do you know your neighbors? Does the neighborhood feel safe and quiet?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  13. Charlie Rogers

    How much are you paying for utilities? Your nifty rent v. buy spreadsheet has the rent and own options with the exact same utility costs, but these can vary quite a bit. It would be interesting to compare your rental utility costs to your costs now pre- and post- heat pump installation.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  14. whatsmyname

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 15
    “When you had just purchased, there were a number of comments about how dangerous the neighborhood was and how it was full of violent love predators. Having lived there two years, how’s the neighborhood been? Do you know your neighbors? Does the neighborhood feel safe and quiet?”

    Tim is fitting in very well. Did you see the accompanying photo? Taken from the bushes, and very close to the window.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 10

  15. ray pepper

    ok tim…So the value of your home today is 225k (per zillow) and you paid 225k for the home. I did not know there are bidding wars in Everett that would drive your value above that currently…..It costs about 10% to sell leaving you at about 200k today or -25k………..you spent about 60k in payments, repair, and upkeep thus -85k..you state you paid down -20k of your principle thus we have…-65k…….your rent for 2 years if you left your dwelling (because you had to) would be about -30k because you are sharp and could negotiate a good lease.

    It appears to me you are still negative 30-40k assuming your home sells for 225k..I did NOT know you were forced from your RENTAL but what a great position you would of been in if you held onto ALL YOUR CASH and could of kept paying your 500 a month rent. At the very least you would have 80k in cash assuming your same payment of 500 rent, +20k you spent on improvements. Tim you would be liquid 100k plus!!!!!!!!!!! But, as long as your happy..I’m happy!
    ___________________________________________________

    Erik if you do NOT trust yourself to do your own comps then you do NOT buy at Trustee Sale. You will be a “1 and done” if you catch my drift. Furthermore if you listen to Vestus, Data Snap, or any of those other dog and pony show outfits at Trustee Sale you will again be 1 and done! Trust nobody. All they want is your 3% of tax assessed value…

    I do not buy more because I’m far too busy Coaching youth sports. When my daughter gets 18 I will spend more time and possibly loosen up the purse strings. Thats 7 years from now. Its also a VERY difficult time at The Trustee Sales. Everyone has cash and the GEMS are few and far between. Starting to spend more time looking at seller contracts again with mixed use commercial that nobody can get loans on and sellers are eager to unload.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5

  16. Kroger

    How did you know you needed to replace the sewer? Did your driveway start to slump?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. softwarengineer

    RE: The Tim @ 7

    Good Numbers Tim

    Your practicality [perhaps its related to being an engineer?] in your home investment speaks well of you….about half interest and half principle pay down…..wowza, great numbers Tim!

    And only $2000 for your home repair…looks more like a $5000 job, the way you described it. You have a natural ability to pich pennies and now-a-days that’s real genious.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. David B.

    RE: ray pepper @ 19 – For one, you seem to be valuing the improvements Tim chose to make as nothing but money down the toilet. But he made them because he wanted to, because they have value to him. Life is about more than just minimizing costs.

    I hope you live in, say, a 40-year-old single-wide under power lines right next to the freeway. Because otherwise you’re spending more on housing than you could, making you a fool by your own standards.

    No, owning isn’t the great bargain that the cheerleaders of ownership make it out to be. But there are still valid reasons to own. Being able to make your home just the way you want it, without having to beg a landlord’s permission for everything, is one of those reasons. Stability (not having a landlord that can ask you to leave because s/he wants to do something else with the property) is another. To pick just two examples.

    Tim obviously knew pretty much what he was getting into before he bought his home, he’s not having any difficulty affording it, and he’s pleased with his decision. I’d say he did the right thing.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 10

  19. ray pepper

    David B u r absolutely correct but somebody has gotta be the Sheriff here and I elected myself.

    Tim don’t go bashing Zillows “black box guess”…They have YOUR golden ticket at RedFin and if the time ever comes that RedFin gets gobbled up Zillow will be at the front of the line!…….http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=z&ql=1

    Even housevalues.com (LEDR) got gobbled up. Talk about junk…Good God! Red Fin has a shot and hopefully you negotiated shares in your job offer. In this market, with cash bulging in everyones pockets, RedFin is getting ripe!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  20. Peter Witting

    RE: whatsmyname @ 18

    “Tim is fitting in very well.” Ha! Okay, now *that* is funny.

    Congrats on your house, Tim. It’s a cute place with nice details, and I am liking north Everett more and more. Beats the condo-nization of a place like Ballard, which used to be alot like north Everett is now.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  21. wreckingbull

    RE: Peter Witting @ 28 – Good observation. I have made this comment before, that N Everett reminds me of Ballard before Ballard was ruined. Along with that comes some frayed edges, but that is the typical trade-off. Ballard was a bit gritty in the 70′s and 80′s too.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  22. 3rd Generation

    “26. ray pepper
    May 21, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    David B u r absolutely correct but somebody has gotta be the Sheriff here and I elected myself.”

    More like the stubborn binary-thinking mule aunt in the basement.

    I wonder how Millionaire Mike is doing these days, Sheriff ?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  23. Ray pepper

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 30 – he’s most likely rich as hell laughing at our despair!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  24. corndogs

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 15 – Actually, it’s kinda scary and coincidental, today the city of Everett was trending on Google News. In addition to the guy they found in a crawl space down the street from ‘The Tims’ house, they also found one of those crazy Nutter guys up in a tree. I’ve seen this in some neighborhoods with possums or raccoon. I recommend ‘The Tim’ to get a rabies shot and keep an eye out for large scat trail…if it’s larger than a dog but less than an elephant he may be at risk.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  25. corndogs

    RE: softwarengineer @ 21 – ‘You have a natural ability to pich pennies and now-a-days that’s real genious’.

    SWE…… there is one word that you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER want to misspell in blogs… that is the word genius. (well, two words, you don’t want to misspell the word misspell either; I think it looks good with a hyphen though). The reason you don’t want to do that is because it takes away your credibility as an assessor of geniusness. On the other hand, it’s completely OK to make up a new word with the word genius in it, that shows boldness and creativity.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 8

  26. Rhonda Porter

    Congrats, Tim!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  27. Jay

    3401 Wetmore Ave was only sold for $110,000 on Mar 26, 2013. It has the same lot size and is a little bit smaller than Tim’s house. So I don’t think the bidding wars are that crazy!

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Everett/3401-Wetmore-Ave-98201/home/2684971#property-history

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. David Losh

    RE: Jay @ 38

    The house sold before in 2004 for $189K. It will hit $200K+ again.

    The best part of Tim’s purchase, in my opinion, is the location to the urban center. There is low income housing, it is close to the court house?, I think, and it may be closer to crime than if it were in the suburbs, but the value is pretty solid.

    You can walk to just about anywhere in town. It’s close to transit, and events. In time I think the core of Everett will develop to be more sophisticated.

    As far as paying off the house I look at these times as a good time, and good lesson, about paying off debt.

    All of this talk about 3.5% money being a smart move to make doesn’t address the fact that there are virtually no other returns in the market place that are this secure, at this price.

    I don’t know where you would get returns on invested dollars greater than 5%, let’s say, that are this assured of paying a higher return in the future.

    BTW, did they cut through the middle of your driveway, and how will they repair that?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  29. softwarengineer

    RE: corndogs @ 36

    Corndogs

    You remind me of an “inept” FEMA inspector of the Oklahoma tornados, the destruction and lives lost aren’t important, just a blog’s spell check feature….

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. corndogs

    RE: softwarengineer @ 42 – Corndog doesn’t worry about spelling, typically it is a trivial thing…. but since you were talking about ‘The Tims’ housing finances with a total monthly outlay, without exaggeration, approximately equal to what Corndog spends on happy hour snacks…. i thought it was pretty much on par.

    Corndog doesn’t follow FEMA issues… undoubtedly, it’s another story of uninsured Democrats getting some other persons hard earned dough…… Corndog considers himself an absentee hero for providing the financing… as most true heroes, Corndog remains anonymous, although he should rightfully have a parade in his honor. He should follow the floats in a convertible Lincoln waving to the teary eyed and appreciative in a blizzard of ticker tape.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  31. Erik

    RE: corndogs @ 43
    Yeah, grammer isn’t that important. Unfortunately, you keep switching from speaking about yourself in the third person and then switching to the first person. It’s difficult to follow.

    Also you refer to yourself as “Corndog” when your title Name is “Corndogs” with an “s.” Now add in your twisted logic and negative viewpoint and it makes for a tough read to figure out what you are trying to say. I wouldn’t complain except it’s difficult to follow broken english + broken logic.

    Even you can understand that, right?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  32. corndogs

    RE: Erik @ 44 – “Now add in your twisted logic and negative viewpoint and it makes for a tough read to figure out what you are trying to say.”

    Negative viewpoints make things tough to figure out? Talk about a logic failure. That was weak Erik.. try harder…….. and put a shirt on.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  33. Erik

    RE: corndogs @ 45
    The “negative viewpoints” comment was a bonus just for fun. But it’s mostly your illogical comments and grammar that we have difficulty following.
    Yes, i will put a shirt on. This photo is not doing anybody a favor. I didn’t have any other good photos. I wanted people to have to look into my eyes when they were slamming me on this site. An attempt to bring humanity into play.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  34. corndogs

    RE: Erik @ 46 – “I wanted people to have to look into my eyes when they were slamming me on this site”

    Actually, you look like you have two black eyes and you’re sitting on the floor of the boxing ring after someone just knocked your mouth piece into the second row and you got KTFO’d. When you say ‘WE’ is that the majestic plural or are you bleating a cry for help again… Remember, you are not part of a greater whole here, it’s just you, the canvas and the smelling salts…. well, there is your mama in the crowd… but she’s looking around as if she doesn’t know you.

    So how was Corndog illogical again?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  35. Azucar

    RE: corndogs @ 47

    He is also right in that your login name is “corndogs” but you keep referring to “Corndog” (with an ‘s’, and I also note that it’s not capitalized in your login but it is when you refer to yourself).

    It’s almost like it’s really not your name and you’ve just made it up to hide behind in here. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  36. Jonness

    By Jeffrey Chang @ 8:

    Do you mind me asking where you got your original home loan from? I’m in the middle of shopping around for home loans at the moment. :)

    Give William Doom of Columbia mortgage in Gig Harbor, WA a call. He went above and beyond and landed me the cheapest loan in the nation (I put 35% down and had an 800 FICO. I’m not sure how much that factored in). At any rate, he can take care of everything through fax, phone, and email so you don’t actually have to meet with him.

    I’m guessing his current 30-year 0-point fixed is at 3.5%, seeing that rates have gone up about a half a point since I locked last November.

    http://www.myequitypro.com/

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  37. Jonness

    By Erik @ 11:

    if they say it hasn’t lost anything because they haven’t sold yet, this is false logic.

    I disagree. IMO, many investors tend to consider assessed value during periods in between the buy and sell points and feel elated or depressed depending on the number of the month. But this is false logic. What matters is the buy point, cash flow or loss along the way, equity taken out of or put into the home, and the sell point.

    That being said, there is value in a personal residence that goes beyond the basic flop house vs. mansion cash outlay formula. You could live on the street for free but instead choose to pay money not to. If you put a tent near your place of employment, you wouldn’t need to waste all that money on a car that will eventually wear out and be worth nothing.

    Unfortunately, life is way too short to live in a tent and walk everywhere you want to go until the day you die. At some point, you save up enough money to be able to afford to pay for a better lifestyle, and you pay a certain amount of money to live that way. If you’re smart, you don’t get in over your head and you you remain comfortable along the way.

    Where people get tripped up is, they put all their eggs in one basket, lever into a huge mansion they can’t afford, and consider it their retirement account. This is simply foolish and breaks one of the cardinal rules of investing–diversify your portfolio.

    So live in a house that makes you happy, but keep enough money aside to do some legitimate investing into your future. If you make a fortune off buying and selling your personal residence, then more power to you, but I wouldn’t hold my breath or cross my fingers in the meantime. It will most likely turn out to be a cash drain as opposed to a cash cow. But so will all those cars you drive along the way.

    IMO, one should aim at living in a nice home while simultaneously building other investments. If you can’t afford to live this way, then live frugally and work hard until you can.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  38. wreckingbull

    By corndogs @ 43:

    Corndog remains anonymous, although he should rightfully have a parade in his honor..

    You posted a link to your newly purchased home when you first stumbled across this blog, presumably in an attempt to impress. Oops.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

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