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.

37 responses to “Weekly Open Thread (2013-11-11)”

  1. Kary L. Krismer
  2. redmondjp

    Interesting article about Black Diamond vs. Master Builders Association, election-style:

    The issue of who pays for the necessary infrastructure, if it even gets built, is huge. Go up to Redmond Ridge for example – sure, there are five lanes out in front, traffic signals, the works. But you have to drive up a narrow, winding, 2-lane country road to get there!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  3. redmondjp

    City of Snohomish snafu with uncollected development and connection fees makes the news again:

    This has got to be one of a new homeowner’s worst nightmares (along with mold, foundation issues, chinese drywall, etc). One would assume that title insurance would cover this!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: redmondjp @ 3 – I wouldn’t assume title insurance would cover anything. They always seem to cover what they shouldn’t and not cover what they should! ;-)

    What’s interesting about the capacity charge is the preliminaries I’ve seen lately have had an “informational note” rather than an exception that says something like:

    “Potential charges, for the King County Sewage Treatment Capacity Charge, as authorized under RCW 35.58 and King County Code 28.84.050. Said charges could apply for any property that connected to the King County Sewer Service area on or after February 1, 1990. Note:These Snohomish County Cities lie outside the King County Sewer Service areas: Arlington, Darrington, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mukilteo, Stanwood, Sultan and Sultan. Note: If property located in city other than listed above it may be subject to the King County Sewage Treatment Capacity Charges.”

    I’m assuming they’re trying to exclude such items, but it doesn’t say that and unless the policy jacket also has some language I’m not seeing that they’re accomplishing that task. (Exclusions are strictly construed.) Also, there are city connection charges, which seems to be what the article is dealing with, and this language only deals with King County’s charges.

    Anyway, bottom line is I wouldn’t care to express an opinion of whether the title insurance would cover it or not.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. redmondjp

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 – I was being somewhat facetious when I said that – just pointing out that most homebuyers have absolutely no clue that this kind of hidden liability could be present. I know that I didn’t when I bought my house (on a private street, with privately-owned and maintained pavement, sidewalk, storm sewer, and sanitary sewer lift station). If I knew that I’d have to deal with a failed grinder pump at 2:30 in the morning (more than once!!), well, I’m pretty sure that I would have passed on this house.

    Serious question: with as screwed-up as the city was (and still is?) in Snohomish, what should a homebuyer do (if anything, besides hope & pray) to protect themself against this kind of situation? Given that the city’s own people apparently didn’t know who owed what, even if one was proactive and asked them about any potential financial obligations associated with a specific parcel of land, would one have been able to get the truth out of them? And how in the blankety-blank-blank does the developer get off the hook here???

    It’s pretty scary to think that years after the purchase is done, you could suddenly find out that you owe thousands of dollars, and to pay up now! Do you think a class-action lawsuit by the residents may be their salvation?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: redmondjp @ 5 – I’ve seen a possibly worse situation. A four unit townhouse complex in Seattle where the units were all sold (with bank loans) without the construction getting the final inspection or an occupancy permit. So you couldn’t legally live in the units (although one did seem to be occupied). At least three of them got foreclosed.

    I don’t remember whether there was more than one bank involved, but there was more than one REO agent. If I recall correctly, it was also set up as a condo form of ownership, rather than townhouse, so it would take group action to fix the issue.

    As to the owners you mention, I don’t know what their best solution would be.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  7. softwarengineer

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    Making Real Estate Predictions Now-a-days

    With a government on the verge of another sequestration…
    The federal government clammorring for a a $10.10/hr minimum wage….
    Our engineering manufacturing force largely “outsourced” now…
    China enterring the large commercial jet production….
    VISTA, version 3, the new Microsoft flagship….

    Makes reading tea leaves more scientific.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: softwarengineer @ 7 – Still mocking real estate predictions, particularly by companies that cannot even tell you the value of properties today!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. softwarengineer

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    SWE Wouldn’t Do That ;-)

    Sometimes real estate predictions remind me of that statement before the the ACA passed the Supreme Court blessing….”don’t worry, you can keep your old insurance plan”…LOL

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. softwarengineer

    In the News and Seattle Area Real Estate Applicable

    Japan Eyeing 777 Wing Production….
    Boeing Engineering Thinning Its Seattle Ranks….

    Then I read this article this morning, makes me TOTALLY wonder how anybody in their right mind can “wildly” assert more “job seeking” population insourcing into America is good for the economy:

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. Blurtman

    Why the jacuzzi tub? Do folks actually use them, and are they preferred to regular tubs? Inquiring minds need to know.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. Jillayne Schlicke

    JP Morgan decides to take direct questions from customers via twitter. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. Blurtman

    RE: Jillayne Schlicke @ 12 – The general public is undeniably angry about the two-tiered justice system in the USA. But both parties shield this criminal class. Why even the Tim applies a double standard towards criminal organizations. My solution is to advocate killing the bankers, but as that is so far generally viewed as a radical solution, might this anger by the voting public be an opportunity for an enterprising politician to get elected?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. softwarengineer

    RE: Blurtman @ 13

    They Already Tried That During the Salem Witch Trials

    McCarthy’s attacks on Communism in America too. The problem historically is the haughty accusers are wrong a lot of the time and the innocent get sacrificed [probably a lot more than the really guilty too].

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  15. softwarengineer

    To Understand Today’s Economic Chronic Degradation

    You need to focus on the trees through the forrest. Don’t look at somewhat useless short-term improvement hype; but compare the existing jobs situation today to what it used to be like in America.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. Scotsman

    New taxes kicking in soon! “If you are single with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or file jointly with an income of $250,000 or more, you may be impacted. Once you sell your home, any profits over the first $500,000 are already subject to a capital gains tax. And now those profits will have an additional 3.8% tax to fund Obamacare.”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Scotsman @ 16 – I wonder how much money that’s expected to raise.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. softwarengineer

    RE: Scotsman @ 16
    The Real Kicker Scotsman

    Is the “hidden tax” MASS insurance rate increase mostly heaped on the young healthy Millenials to make them pay much higher rates so the high rate users or chronic sick pay less. Now, can Obama pull the rabbit from the hat and get the youth to sign up anyway…..looks “slamdunk” grim on that front right now. The $99/yr fine looks much more palatable to them.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. Blurtman

    RE: softwarengineer @ 14 – Yes, good analogy because banking execs did not knowingly launder Mexican cartel drug money. Oh wait, they did. And bank execs did not misrepresent the risk of garbage securities that they sold, i.e., fraud. Oh wait, they did.

    You are experiencing analogy failure. In the event that your analogy lasts longer than 6 hours, please seek the help of a licensed apologist.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  20. Plymster

    RE: Blurtman @ 19 – So in other words…
    Department of Justice enforcing the law != witchhunt
    Law Enforcement != McCarthyism

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  21. softwarengineer

    RE: Blurtman @ 19
    The Problem is Prosecution Identification Based on American History

    Was Made-off the only Wall Street Crook? Hades no.

    Was Martha Stewart the only inside trader? Hades no.

    The masses of Wall Street criminals ran scott-free….so yes, I agree with you that we must uphold laws….but does this country have the backbone to prosecute all the law breakers, even a small percentage? IMO, no. Our immigration law breaking is a great example.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. Blurtman

    RE: softwarengineer @ 21 – Yes, of course, if you have enough money and influence, you can break the law with impunity. But the undocumented did not crash the economy, and folks who will do shyte jobs to make a better life are a lot better folks that scoombags who look to fill their pockets and fook everyone else in the process.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  23. softwarengineer

    Hey, My 25 YO Daughter Moved Out of the Seattle Area, Met Her True Love and Bought a House

    But she cheated, she worked for her dad and left with a pile of loot….

    The rest of the “cash strapped” mainstream Millenials:

    “…U.S. mobility for young adults has fallen to the lowest level in more than 50 years as cash-strapped 20-somethings shun home-buying and refrain from major moves in a weak job market.

    The new 2013 figures from the Census Bureau, which reversed earlier signs of recovery, underscore the impact of the sluggish economy on young people, many of them college graduates, whom demographers sometimes refer to as “Generation Wait.”

    Burdened with college debt or toiling in low-wage jobs, they are delaying careers, marriage and having children. Waiting anxiously for their lucky break, they are staying put and doubling up with roommates or living with Mom and dad, unable to make long-term plans or commit to buying a home — let alone pay a mortgage.

    Many understood after the 2007-2009 recession that times would be tough. But few say they expected to be in economic limbo more than four years later.

    “I’m constantly looking for other jobs,” says Jeremy Bills, 27, of Nashville, Tenn., who graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2011 with a master’s degree in human and organizational development. Originally from Tampa, Fla., Bills has stayed put in his college town in hopes of finding a job in management consulting or human resources. Instead, he has mostly found odd jobs like pulling weeds and dog-sitting….”

    BTW, I warned the Bubbleheads that parents should get their college age kids in a longterm job experience first, college second….they thought I was nuts in 2005 for my prediction….LOL

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  24. Blurtman

    RE: softwarengineer @ 23 – But he can develop humans. By Zeus, has that no value?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  25. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: Blurtman @ 13
    In order for a politician to get elected, they need a lot of money. In order to get a lot of money in order to get elected, the politicians allow themselves to get possessed by large corporate interests. As long as they’re tall and have thick hair, and have the support of the wealthy puppetmasters behind the scenes, they’ve got a good shot of being elected. It doesn’t serve the puppetmasters to support only one party over the other, they’ve got to cover their bases.
    The public’s angry, we know we’re not being represented. But while only 9% of those polled approve of the job congress is doing, the majority think that their own congressman is doing a good job.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  26. softwarengineer

    RE: Blurtman @ 22

    I Was Referring to Illegal Immigrant American Employers Blatantly Breaking the Law

    They should be prosecuted and put in prison.

    The IAs should be left alone, they can return to their motherlands the same way they enterred America illegally, on their own…..and if the IAs are “scumbags” abandonning their children in America if deported back to their motherlands….why would we want them as immigrants?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. whatsmyname

    By Blurtman @ 13:

    … My solution is to advocate killing the bankers,

    Pretty good idea, but you misspelled “baggers”.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  28. Plymster

    This is interesting:

    Lenders must now verify and document at least eight specific criteria, including income, assets, credit history, other debt obligations, and employment status, to determine whether a borrower has a reasonable chance of repaying the loan. If the lender doesn’t do all that, a homeowner who has trouble repaying the loan has grounds for a lawsuit.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  29. redmondjp

    RE: redmondjp @ 3 – Update on the Snohomish uncollected-fees issue: state auditor looking into it.

    Speaking of nightmare homeowner issues (continuing my theme in this week’s thread), here’s an update on the Everett landslide fiasco:

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. Sarah

    RE: softwarengineer @ 26
    We are here to talk about Real Estate. Please stay on topic! This is a Real Estate blog.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  31. Erik

    RE: Sarah @ 30
    i agree. some people here know a lot about real estate. They are old and they like to ramble. Keeping them on real estate has been a continuos challenge.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  32. Scotsman

    So Seattle has elected the first openly socialist city council member. Among her stated goals is a $15/hr minimum wage. Why would she hate low skilled and poor people? Now fewer and fewer of them will be able to get jobs as employers are forced to cut back their workforce. And those that do, even if both partners work, still won’t be able to afford Seattle housing on the $60K a year they make. She should push it up to a minimum of $25/hr with mandates addressing the minimum number of employees any company operating in Seattle must have.

    I’ll bet she ends up being Seattle’s first female mayor!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  33. Scotsman

    RE: Sarah @ 30

    Sarah- I think you’re underestimating the importance of immigrants to the Seattle housing market. Not only does their presence have an impact of pricing when they pool resources and live communal style in the larger homes ordinary folks can’t afford but- they also buy now and then. Immigrants have a well defined impact on inventory absorption- especially that troublesome shadow inventory. And by day, when not living in those homes, they facilitate the cost effective and timely construction of new homes. Some suggest the housing boom of 2001-2007 would never have been able to happen without a ready supply of immigrant Mexican labor. If we ever hope to get back to those go-go- levels of real estate happiness a ready supply of immigrant labor will be required. Even now their importance to the remodeling and home improvement markets can’t be underestimated. Have you ever watched a MSFT PHP or JAVA coder try to make a straight cut on a 2X6? Not a pretty sight. We need those immigrants to do the jobs Americans can’t- or won’t- do.

    Lots of younger people on this site- many looking at buying their first homes. But there’s sooooo much they don’t understand about the world around them. And so little patience for the learning process. Sure, Family Guy and Jon Stewart manage to get a few solid ideas across the old brain/knowledge barrier, but not often enough. So open your mind to the fullness- the “Gestalt” as we geezers used to say- of the problem and keep looking for that bias confirmation that will make you happy!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  34. Ira Sacharoff

    By Erik @ 31:

    RE: Sarah @ 30
    i agree. some people here know a lot about real estate. They are old and they like to ramble. Keeping them on real estate has been a continuos challenge.

    What have you got against old people? Did your grandfather beat you for bad spelling? Are all old people here the same? And they all ramble? Not me, I won’t ramble, it’s all about real estate. Just be careful. A house could land on you.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  35. Blurtman

    RE: Scotsman @ 32 – Where does she stand on killing bankers?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  36. Scotsman

    RE: Blurtman @ 34

    I’m sure she was for killing initially given her Occupy roots, but now that she’s an elected politician with access to all the bennies that entails she may be rethinking her position. And of course the bankers are busy negotiating a “favorable payment schedule” that will eventually win her over. I hear it includes a house on the sunny side of Orcas Island for her eventual retirement.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  37. Jillayne Schlicke

    HaHa Blurtman-35 and Scotsman-36 you are both on fire this weekend cracking me up :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

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