Are Seattle Homes Being Purchased With Income, Or…

Gene Balk posted an interesting piece on the Seattle Times last week that explores how the number of low, middle, and high income households have grown or shrunk around King County since 2000:

Mapping King County’s disappearing middle class

Seattle-Times_high-income-map

The map is cool (click through to the article for an interactive version), and Gene’s overall point is interesting (that the middle class is stagnating while low and high income households are both increasing), but this is the part that jumped out to me as particularly relevant to the local real estate market:

investment returns — which many of the ultrarich live on, rather than salaries — are excluded from household-income calculations by the Census Bureau

Strong increases in high income households will certainly drive up home prices, but I think investment returns may be causing some of the recent disparity between incomes and home prices. The Seattle area is strong market for tech and startup jobs where equity is a big part of compensation. Since this equity is not considered in median or per-capita income data it stands to reason that when the stock market (and in particular the tech market) is doing well local home prices are likely to rise more quickly than local incomes.

Unfortunately no good data exists (that I know of) on the source of money that poeple are using to buy homes. There is data on all-cash purchases, but our last look at that data (through 2011) showed that most of those were focused on the low end of the market, probably mostly rental investment properties or flips. The best proxy I can think of would be to look at what percentage of homes are being bought with more than twenty percent down, but not all-cash. I would hypothesise that those purchases are likely to represent people buying expensive homes to live in with the help of a large investment return.

Two thirds of the 31 percent that Seattle-area home prices fell after the bubble (per Case-Shiller) came between November 2007 and March 2009, when the Nasdaq fell 54 percent. I think it’s likely that good times in the tech stock market has a greater effect on Seattle-area home prices than most other areas (the Bay Area being the other obvious candidate for such a correlation).

I’ll be digging into this to see what kind of data I can dig up on this topic. Let me know if you’ve got any ideas in the comments below.


About The Tim

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

60 comments:

  1. 1

    Pretty clearly most cash transactions are not financed by income, but instead savings (or inheritances, etc.) And to a lesser extent you could say the same thing about transactions of more expensive homes where the loan is kept within the conventional limit by making a large down payment.

  2. 2
    Anonymous Coward says:

    The visualization really tells us only where the growth is. Go back and take a look at how many tracts show growth more than 1 income segment.

  3. 3
    Marc says:

    I like the question you’re trying to answer but I don’t think down payments over 20% will be a reliable indicator for estimating the role of investment returns. We’ve represented a lot of tech buyers who have liquidated stock options and the like for down payments. Most, if not all of them, sold only enough to get to the 20% mark rather than higher. I presume they expect their stock to appreciate more rapidly then the real estate so only sell what they need to get to 20% and eliminate mortgage insurance or a second mortgage.

    Admittedly, we’re a teeny, tiny fraction of the market so our clients may not be very representative of larger trends.

  4. 4
    A says:

    Capital gains income are not included in the Census data Gene Balk uses. But interest, dividends, and trust income are included. Also, income brackets, as reported by the census, are not equivalent to income trends of households. There is currently no method of tracking the flow between income brackets and income trends of households. You can get a rough idea of the relationship when you go to national aggregates and support your model with other national level information. But neighborhood by neighborhood detail is impossible without strong, but unsupported, assumptions.

  5. 5

    RE: Marc @ – They might also have tax consequences on the exercise of the options which might impact how much they want to liquidate.

    But that brings up something I cannot quite recall, from back at the original dot-com bust. Some people were doing something with their employee options and ending up insolvent (with non-dischargeable tax liabilities) due to the combination of the decline in value and the tax consequences of what they had set into effect. Maybe the details will come to me, but if anyone else recalls, please post.

  6. 6
    J says:

    @5 I think the issue during the dotcom was that people were exercising non-qualified stock options (NQSOs), then assuming the stock price would keep rocketing upwards. The difference between the market price at exercise and the grant price (typically, a large spread) at exercise time is taxable at standard income rates. People would exercise the options, then plan to hold the stock for a year in order to get long term capital gains treatment of any further gains. Unfortunately, when the market cratered, they were left with worthless or near worthless stock. They still had to pay their tax bills from when the options were exercised, but they had no assets to come up with the money. The wise thing to do would have been to sell enough of the stock immediately after exercising the options to pay the tax due.

  7. 7
    boater says:

    RE: J @
    Thats exactly it. The other side of that coin is folks who sold stock early vs letting the stock continue to appreciate leading to the $200,000 honda prelude. The technique I’ve seen used more often is to just borrow from you’re broker with the stock as collateral. The loan rate currently is less than 1%. You dont sell so no capital gains tax.

  8. 8
    Basho says:

    The recent sales in my neighborhood ($800,000 range) have all been purchased by people that work for large companies where the equity compensation is not going to appreciate by a life-changing amount (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft).

    I think the main driver of recent price increases is just higher confidence among buyers that a) homes will continue to appreciate and b) the labor market will continue to be strong. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard someone tell me they were worried about being laid off. What shocks me is how safe many people feel working for businesses that are not cash flow positive.

  9. 9

    RE: J @ – Thanks! I think that is it. Rather than liquidate a part of the stock to pay the estimated tax, they held onto it all. Then when the stock crashed they weren’t left with enough funds.

    BTW, Cantwell did something similar during her first election. She borrowed from a bank using her stock as collateral. After the stock crashed she had money she couldn’t repay, and I think the IRS was somehow involved too.

  10. 10
    Blurtman says:

    I think the stock market’s continual rise and the intended wealth effect may also be contributing. Folks intuitively calculate the odds and magnitude of a market crash, thereby equating unrealized gains with real money. And as Basho said, the belief that homes will continue to appreciate may also be contributing, but if so, that is a very real element of a bubble.

  11. 11
    Blurtman says:

    Erik and those of your ilk: Stay out!

    Research site names Sammamish safest city in state
    March 9, 2015
    By Staff
    NEW — 6 a.m. March 9, 2015
    Sammamish topped the list of the 2015 Safest Places in Washington, according to a study from ValuePenguin, an online personal finance research site.

    The study looked at crime metrics from 113 cities and towns with populations over 5,000. Three of the top five safest cities are in King County, with Duvall at No. 2 and Snoqualmie at No. 3.

    The study determined that Sammamish has the fourth-lowest rate of violent crimes, and the second-lowest rate of property crimes per capita in the state.

    http://sammamishreview.com/2015/03/09/research-site-names-sammamish-safest-city-in-state

  12. 12
    Erik says:

    RE: Blurtman @
    When I own land in sammamish, I will bring my Alki beach mentality with me. On alki, we take what we feel is owed to us. For fun we go programmer basing where we look for shifty introverts and beat them up.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ – To expand on this, you may also be referring to ISO grantees getting caught up in the AMT net.

    They exercise their options (but don’t sell stock) and they now owe taxes on the ‘bargain element’ of the grant. So if I recall, they have a big tax liability, but no cash to to pay it. I’m not a tax pro, but this is my recollection from those ‘fun’ times.

  15. 15

    RE: wreckingbull @ – There a cash element involved to an employee exercising employee options, right? I think the thing I might have been forgetting is that they were borrowing against margin on their company stock to pay the option price (and not making any estimated tax payments). Stock falls in value, margin call comes in, and all they were left with was a tax liability.

  16. 16
    boater says:

    There’s a way to avoid the AMT tax if your company allowed it. Some companies allowed you to exercise your stock options before you vest. You then file and 83b election within 30 days and pay the tax on the difference between the Fair Market Value and the exercise value. Usually that is 0 since the FMV and exercise price in pre-IPO options are often the same for any 30 day period. Then you just hold the stock for 2 years from the date of option grant and one year after the exercise date. At that point you just pay long term capital gains.

  17. 17
    Blurtman says:

    Snoqualmie media household income is $123,955. I was a bit shocked to learn that. Microsoftie commuters?

  18. 18
    Jonness says:

    By Erik @ :

    RE: Blurtman @
    When I own land in sammamish, I will bring my Alki beach mentality with me. On alki, we take what we feel is owed to us. For fun we go programmer basing where we look for shifty introverts and beat them up.

    And when one of them gets tired of being picked on, he simply pulls out a gun and shoots you in the groin. So you fly to Africa and get some corpse’s penis.

    http://www.people.com/article/penis-transplant-success-south-africa

    But now you no longer have enough money to buy that next condo to flip. So you apply for a higher paying job. Low and behold, an introverted little freak you beat up the previous year is on the hiring panel. So you decide to get food stamps instead.

  19. 19

    RE: Jonness @ – Great, a new verse to Calling Mr. Welfare.

  20. 20
    Azucar says:

    By Erik @ :

    RE: Blurtman @
    When I own land in sammamish, I will bring my Alki beach mentality with me. On alki, we take what we feel is owed to us. For fun we go programmer basing where we look for shifty introverts and beat them up.

    This comment makes me think of that verse in the video to “pretty fly for a white guy”

    Now cruising in his Pinto, he sees homies as he pass
    But if he looks twice, they’re gonna kick his lilly….

    I can picture Erik rolling up the window of his Pinto as real West Seattle-ites glance in his direction while walking through the crosswalk.

  21. 21

    By Erik @ :

    RE: Blurtman @
    When I own land in sammamish, I will bring my Alki beach mentality with me. On alki, we take what we feel is owed to us. For fun we go programmer basing where we look for shifty introverts and beat them up.

    And this guy thinks he wouldn’t fit in in New Jersey?

  22. 22
    ronp says:

    Older article here — https://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/cmayer/Gifts%20Downpayment.pdf – they use title company surveys of first time home buyers. Shows increasing use of gifts for downpayments, older ages of first time buyers, longer time to save up down payment, lower percent down. I’ll look around a bit for post 1993 survey data.

  23. 23
    Erik says:

    RE: Jonness @
    Although it may be fun to make fun of programmers, I feel like I should stop because one of those programmers may be my boss someday. I wanna do some electro mechanical stuff and I would be working directly with programmers and electrical engineers.

    I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering myself. Pretty sure that makes me a nerd. I just bash you programmers because this website is full of them and they are an easy target to get a reaction from.

  24. 24
    Cap'n says:

    Sold at $570,000, 70k over list, for 1240 sq.ft. on two levels and a 3300 sq.ft. lot. In a census tract that added 65.9 percent low “income.”

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/719-N-74th-St-98103/home/301729

  25. 25
    Cap'n says:

    Or scratch that, 100 percent low income if it’s in tract 28.

  26. 26
    Erik says:

    RE: Azucar @
    It’s a old lowered Nissan Frontier, but same idea.

    Sugar thinks I’m pretty fly for a white guy.

  27. 27
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @
    I would go to a bar in jersey and I would start shooting my mouth like I do in seattle. In Seattle people get angry and maybe bump chests if it’s real serious. In jersey I would do the same thing and get stabbed or severely beaten. That’s the same reasons I dont like living in poor areas… In those areas I have to be respectful, which doesn’t come natural to me.

  28. 28
    Jay says:

    Yes, Eric, please get a real job. Your comments are very annoying recently which pollute this nice blog.

  29. 29
    Jonness says:

    By Cap’n @ :

    Sold at $570,000, 70k over list, for 1240 sq.ft. on two levels and a 3300 sq.ft. lot. In a census tract that added 65.9 percent low “income.”

    70K over list, and half of this tiny little house is in the damp basement. Are we experiencing the second wave of the bubble?

  30. 30

    RE: Erik @

    Just an FYI “I just bash you programmers because this website is full of them and they are an easy target to get a reaction from.”

    That is pretty much the textbook definition of “a troll”. #justsayin #educate

  31. 31
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – His avatar was a troll (the mythical being, not the fishing technique). Even if he does not seem to understand the origin of the word, he is still proud of it. I actually have gained quite a bit of respect for you Ardell, in that you were able to manage him as a client. It’s enough that I would consider you as an agent. If you can handle that, you can likely handle whatever comes your way.

  32. 32
    Blurtman says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ :

    By Erik @ :

    RE: Blurtman @
    When I own land in sammamish, I will bring my Alki beach mentality with me. On alki, we take what we feel is owed to us. For fun we go programmer basing where we look for shifty introverts and beat them up.

    And this guy thinks he wouldn’t fit in in New Jersey?

    New Jersey welcomes all souls. The Jersey shore used to be an OK place to go to during the summer. I liked Belmar and Island Beach state park, but even Sandy Hook had some great bars. I’d recommend that Erik check it out, if he is ever there. Best sausage onion and pepper heroes anywhere. I think it was the oil (olive, that is, not Exxon.)

  33. 33
    Erik says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @
    I appreciate the feedback. I suppose I have been trolling a bit. I do laugh a lot while I’m trolling, so is it so bad to be a troll?

  34. 34
    Erik says:

    RE: wreckingbull @
    Ardell has a way of spinning something negative into something positive.

    When she got 5 full price or better offers in 5 days on my condo, she layed out the path and kept me busy making last minute improvements. I was smart enough to know I don’t know a fraction of what Ardell knows about real estate. You should respect her, I know I do.

  35. 35
    Erik says:

    RE: Jay @
    I was just trying to have a good time. I will try to improve my comments moving forward.

  36. 36
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ – You must be made to worship the sanctity of real estate. On your knees, blasphemer!!!

  37. 37

    RE: Blurtman @

    Hmmm…how does targeting people to hate because of the type of job they do equal “real estate”. Asking for respect for people generally is not asking someone to bow to the real estate gods…I don’t think. Maybe it is if the group being chastised is also a protected class.

  38. 38

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ – The job is critical. I think Blurtman’s response would have have been entirely different it Eric had been critical of bankers! ;-)

  39. 39
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @
    Blurtman hates on bankers because he knows he is in the majority. He administers a beat down with no rebuttle. I hate on programmers because I know I am the minority and I want a response. As Ardell noted, that is the definition of a troll. I’d talk about real estate more, but I don’t know a a lot about that topic.

    What I can tell you from the data tim provides is that this upward price trend will likely continue for the foreseeable future. I came here to help me forecast the future and then I started having fun. Now I just comeback for a good time until tim shuts us down.

  40. 40
    Erik says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @
    I mean no disrespect. I am doing these programmers a favor by rattling their cage. It’s the highlight of their week.

    Imagine writing code and drinking diet coke everyday for years. Then all of a sudden some arrogant real estate mogul wannabe comes along and rattles your cage. I got their blood pumping. The code monkies have a common enemy and they are having fun and bonding thanks to me.

  41. 41
    Jay says:

    RE: Erik @ – Please do improve your comments, like writing something that is actually meaningful! Thank you.

  42. 42
    Kevin K says:

    With cheap interest rates and fed reserve purchasing mortgage back securities is resulting in no price discovery and has re-fueled the housing bubble along with stock market. The housing stocks are rolling over and it’s the same trend that happened in 2006. Foreign sovereign funds are purchasing like crazy, Chinese are buying like crazy, and only thing that is not crazy is first time home buyers.

    Don’t kid yourselves again. Housing 2.0 will pop soon along with everything else. Get out of debt!

  43. 43

    RE: Erik @

    Who you mean “us” Kimosabe? :) I really miss David Losh on nights like this. RIP, Davd.

  44. 44

    RE: Basho @

    Data Reported in Your Neighborhood

    Is just that, data reported by a home owner in his neighborhood. Is it real or reliable, general data throughout the Eastside? Only the tooth fairy knows.

  45. 45

    RE: Kevin K @

    Yes, Boeing Makes Commercial Planes Now and All the Aluminum Parts are Mostly Foreign Too

    That has to be good for Seattle too, the Chinese and Japanese will be grabbing up Seattle homes like hotcakes…..the problem with this is proving it with general sales data. Then you find out its just a data less allegation. Ahhhhh….but Amazon’s new warehouse on Lake Union next to the $2200/mo 1 bdrm apartments with no place for a car won’t be hiring mostly warehouse $10/hr poor folk, noooooo….its all $250/yr software developers and CEOs….LOL

    Microsoft doesn’t need laptop sales to survive selling Operating Systems for them, that’s just being negative. The X-box game is more than enough to carry the Eastside real estate prices.

    We don’t need general data we just need to say it and its true. After all, my neighborhood is special ;-)

  46. 46

    RE: Blurtman @

    Believe Everything Ya Read

    “….The median income for a household in the city was US$52,697, and the median income for a family was US$58,889. Males had a median income of US$40,645 versus US$30,917 for females….”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snoqualmie,_Washington

  47. 47

    RE: Blurtman @

    Sammamish is only 20 sq miles big with 15,000 households. Dinky and a joke to use as a Seattle norm. Hardly any renters [working folk]….its less than 1% of the Seattle Bellevue Everett work force, hey, we now know where the 1% lives…..LOL

  48. 48
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ – US census vs. Wiki. Hmmmm……

    Median household income, 2009-2013 Snoqualmie – $123,955, WA state – $59,478

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/53/5365205.html

    And perhaps related, homes aren’t exactly bargain priced in Snoqualmie. BTW, the city has a killer Italian restaurant – Gianfranco’s.

  49. 49
    Weasel says:

    RE: ronp @ – We qualified for the WSHFC downpayment assistance, we had to show the bank we had about $4k sitting around until the loan closed, clean credit record and evidence of other investments (401k, daughters college fund, stuff like that), With Redfin’s commission rebate, the seller picking up all the closing costs, going from paying rent in advance to paying a house in arrears, the $500 “gift card” from the bank as an employee benefit/perk from the company I work for, we basically came out of it all with more money than we started with, a better house and $500 a month better off vs renting. With out WSHFC it would of taken a very long time to save the downpayment, short of being “gifted” it from someone.

  50. 50
    Mike says:

    By Weasel @ :

    RE: ronp @ – We qualified for the WSHFC downpayment assistance, we had to show the bank we had about $4k sitting around until the loan closed, clean credit record and evidence of other investments (401k, daughters college fund, stuff like that), With Redfin’s commission rebate, the seller picking up all the closing costs, going from paying rent in advance to paying a house in arrears, the $500 “gift card” from the bank as an employee benefit/perk from the company I work for, we basically came out of it all with more money than we started with, a better house and $500 a month better off vs renting. With out WSHFC it would of taken a very long time to save the downpayment, short of being “gifted” it from someone.

    I highly doubt this was in Seattle. A house that would cash flow positive as a rental with minimal down payment is a pipe dream. You could find them 3 years ago, maybe 2 years ago after building picked up, but certainly not now.

  51. 51

    I keep going back to the map. As Spock would say ” Fascinating.” If you go to some census tracts in popular areas where houses cost a ton of money( Capitol Hill, Ballard), the middle class is well represented in new households. How come? Is it because home buyers are exercising stock options or selling stock? No. I think it’s because in those areas, they’ve been building tons of apartment buildings.
    In some other areas, sure. It has to be more than just income that’s buying houses. I’ve had clients buying expensive houses where they had a large enough down payment to not require a jumbo loan, over 20% down. Maybe they were able to save it. My own census tract has zero new high income households, according to the map, but plenty of middle income. so maybe the map is an indicator of both high house prices in the census tract, and an influx of apartment buildings.( Not saying that high income folks don’t rent. They do. But a lot of the newer apartment buildings are focused on middle income earners.)

  52. 52
    JWS says:

    Keep in mind that large investment returns don’t have to be from stock options in this environment. Anyone who was opportunistic in 2008/2009 and put money into the stock market has seen HUGE gains.

    The S&P 500 is up 250% from the lows in 2009 and the Nasdaq composite is up 350%.

    And even if you didn’t invest at the low point, a 100% gain during the last 4-5 years is a very real possibility for many, many people.

  53. 53

    RE: JWS @
    True. I wonder what percentage of home buyers tapped into their 401(K)s? That could be part of it too, if investment income is not counted as income.

  54. 54
    Jonness says:

    By Erik @ :

    RE:
    Imagine writing code and drinking diet coke everyday for years. Then all of a sudden some arrogant real estate mogul wannabe comes along and rattles your cage. I got their blood pumping. The code monkies have a common enemy and they are having fun and bonding thanks to me.

    Assertion: No code monkeys have had their cage rattled by Erik’s statements in this thread.

    Fact 1) In order for a code monkey to get his/her cage rattled by Erik’s statements, he/she first needs to respect Erik’s intelligence.

    Fact 2) No code monkeys on this blog respect Erik’s intelligence.

    Conclusion: Assertion = true
    QED

  55. 55
    Jonness says:

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ :

    I really miss David Losh on nights like this. RIP, Davd.

    I was about the only person on this blog other than Tim (and maybe Ira) that was ever nice to David. Most everyone else treated him like he was a person of low intellect who had lost his sanity. But at the end of the day, those decades of experience in remodeling, flipping, buying, selling, and cleaning meant something to me, and I respected him for it.

  56. 56
    Erik says:

    RE: Jonness @
    Assertion: I rattled Jonness the code monkey

    Fact 1) In order to show Erik rattled a code monkey’s cage, a code monkey must reply with anger toward Erik.

    Fact 2) Jonness and Wreckingbull are 2 little code monkeys that reply with anger toward Erik.

    Conclusion: Assertion = true
    QED

    ….Anywho, Ira once told me that I am a troll and there is nothing wrong with that and I should accept it and move forward. I am a troll and you are a code monkey that got his cage rattled by the troll(me).

    I have united you introverted little code monkeys over a common enemy. I recommend you and wreckingbull go get a diet coke and talk about how much you dislike my comments.

  57. 57
    Erik says:

    RE: Jonness @
    I was nice to Losh until he told me the city was going to turn my home into a garbage dump because that was about all it was worth.

    Now run along and write us a code to bring back the thumbs up and thumbs down button on this site. When Tim started adding rules like limiting our comments and taking away our right to vote whether or not we like a comment made this site less fun.

  58. 58

    By Jonness @ :

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ :

    I really miss David Losh on nights like this. RIP, Davd.

    I was about the only person on this blog other than Tim (and maybe Ira) that was ever nice to David. Most everyone else treated him like he was a person of low intellect who had lost his sanity. But at the end of the day, those decades of experience in remodeling, flipping, buying, selling, and cleaning meant something to me, and I respected him for it.

    I respected David. I didn’t always agree with his views, and some of them seemed to be out of left field. But I never trashed him, and sometimes he was absolutely brilliant. I met him a couple of times at the Seattle Bubble meetups( one in Wallingford, one in Columbia City), and in person he was really a breath of fresh air. Funny, intelligent, and charming. I showed one of his listings on Queen Anne to a client. It was a million dollar house that wasn’t worth it. A lot of times when you show a house, the listing agent will call the agent who showed the place to find out how the client liked the place, and whether the agent who showed the place thought it was priced right. I told him I thought it was overpriced by about 200,000 dollars. He laughed hard, and said something like ” You’re totally right. Try convincing my clients that. I told them to ask 800,000 for it, but what do I know?”
    Eventually the listing expired, and Losh chose to not be the listing agent for that house anymore . It stayed on the market for over a year, eventually selling for 750. As a real estate agent, Losh was refreshingly honest, which is a pretty rare commodity among real estate agents.

  59. 59

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @

    My clients who use 401k for downpayment are usually the ones who buy first and then sell. In that case the use of the 401k is a temporary borrowing until their current-former home is sold. I think the time limit to return the funds is 60 days, or possibly rolling over into a different fund may be required. Not sure of the specifics as that is handled through their financial-tax planner, but I think they are using the 60 day IRA rollover feature. With two different retirement accounts, that gives them 120 days to move out, sell and close on the property they are leaving to return the funds without interest or penalty. Again the particulars are not clear to me, as once I verify that the primary lender is ok with source of funds for downpayment, I do not go deeper into people’s personal financial decisions, except to verify that their thinking is correct.

    So while you might be able to track that at time of purchase 401k funds were used as downpayment, that could be equity from the sale of their previous residence. 401k used as a “bridge” loan on a temporary basis until that home is sold.

    I would call that “source” equity from previous residence and not 401k borrowings, if the monies are returned to the 401k from the sale of the house within 60 days.

  60. 60
    Jay says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ – I was sad when I heard that David passed away. I thought his advice was always honest, even to a total stranger, like myself. He told me many times not to get involved in a bidding war, and he was right! I am glad that I have followed his advice. Now, I wish more people would listen to him.

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