Drinking the Kool-Aid

This is just too (unintentionally?) funny for me to pass up. On Tuesday, Ardell over at RCG made a post about the online alternatives to “full service” brokers that are available in increasing numbers to help people buy and sell houses. Here’s the part that I got a good chuckle out of (emphasis hers, as usual):

Redfin, Zillow, Zip Realty, For Sale by Owner in the MLS companies, these all represent the newer “alternative” business models… Why should “Traditional Brokers” HELP the Alternative Business Models to succeed? Because WE NEED them, now more than ever, all of us. The consumer needs them. The industry needs them. We need a whole lot more flavors of Kool-Aid out there.

That’s right, you read it straight from the agent’s keyboard: traditional brokers, real estate websites, discount brokers, FSBO tools… they’re all just different flavors of Kool-Aid! So drink up, consumers. Drink up!

In other RCG-related news, contributor Galen Ward has finally launched his fancy real estate search site ShackPrices.com. I have to admit, it’s got a sharp interface on top of zippy functionality and lots of nice features. I could definitely see it becoming my favorite real estate search tool.

Now if only there were some real estate out there worth searching for…

(Ardell DellaLoggia, Rain City Guide, 12.12.2006)

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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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    MisterBubble says:

    Hey all…didja hear? Bellevue is the new Brooklyn!

    (I’m posting this absurdity here b/c there’s no open thread for the day…)

  2. 2
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    When I read the RCG post, I thought Ardell was just being snarky in her use of the term kool-aid. I didn’t get any nefarious and/or brainwashing intent out of it.

  3. 3
    Richard says:

    Hey all…didja hear? Bellevue is the new Brooklyn!

    I can see the parallel between Crossroads and Bed/Stuy. But where is the artist population hiding over there?

  4. 4
    PugetHouse says:

    Hi All,

    It’s nice to have a little Bubble time. Tangentially, I would like to mention something GMAC Bank is cooking. On first inspection, it seems to be a very good development. They are offering a “mortgage accelerator” HELOC. My article links to their multimedia brochure.

  5. 5
    PugetHouse says:

    Here is an additional video that gets into the mechanics of the mortgage. It takes a good quarter-hour. I found it very well worth the time.

  6. 6
    Alan says:

    I think the overall spirit of Ardell’s post yesterday was extremely positive. As a real estate professional she seems genuinely interested in improving her industry instead of building walls in an attempt to keep money inside the fortress. Why did she use kool-aid as a metaphor? Who knows. I had zero impression that it had anything to do with brainwashing. She might as well have said, “we need as many dishes as possible at the Thanksgiving dinner table of real estate.” But then that might have given the impression of people getting fat off the largess of real estate the past few years.

  7. 7
    Ardell DellaLoggia says:

    Lake Hills Renter…define “snarky”, before I agree :-)

    It was more of a “Baskin Robbins” concept.

  8. 8
    Ardell DellaLoggia says:

    Thanks Alan. We all have an “Achilles Heel” if someone’s look really, really hard for it.

  9. 9
    Anonymous says:

    Umm, as someone sitting in Brooklyn right now let me just clarify that Bellevue is about as far from Brooklyn as you can get.

    Brooklyn is similar to parts of Fremont (hipster yuppies). It’s similar to parts of White Center too (knife fight anyone?). But alas, in Brooklyn we don’t even have a single proper mall :-( Want jcrew or A&F? You’ll have to trek to into the “city”. But that’s fine since we actually have public transportation that gets you somewhere.

    My fiancee and I are moving to Seattle in January and are sitting on the real estate sidelines. We tried to buy a house through Redfin and ran into a seller that thinks Zillow is accurate. WOW! Lets just say that was a fun combination and we are going to keep renting when we get out there :-)

    Keep the great data coming!

  10. 10
    wansuiclay says:

    “We are currently experiencing the worst of the market freeze, which is being exacerbated by the gap between the buyer’s desire for bargains and the seller’s fantasy of what they once thought their homes would be worth,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist for Chicago-based Mesirow Financial, who forecasts a rebound in early 2008. “The good news is that there are some signs of stabilization. The bad news is that a substantial backlog of unsold homes still exists.”


  11. 11
    Anonymous says:

    “Why did she use kool-aid as a metaphor?”

    I have two theories:

    1.) She has a sardonic sense of humor; or
    2.) There is a vacuous space where language capacity typically resides.

  12. 12
    meshugy says:

    Home buyers take break at holidays

    Not sure where they’re getting their #s, but they seem to suggest that sales are greatly outpacing new listings.

    But numbers show that agents might not be giving December enough credit. While December averaged 37 percent as many new listings as the other 11 months over the past four years, pending sales were a much more respectable 64 percent as much as the remaining months.

  13. 13
    Wanderer says:

    Hi there, Shug. Your point is interesting if I understand it correctly. It seems from your use of the present tense “are outpacing” that you are trying to draw some conclusions about THIS December. You understand that the article is merely pointing out the historical relationship between December sales/new listings the rest of the year over the last 4 years… right? They ae not referencing any data from the current month.
    I defend you andthen you make that post? you are making my job difficult.

  14. 14
    seattle long term owner says:

    I wonder if all these “not typical” weather is going to make buyers very weary come spring buying season…

    Near a river… let’s move farther away.

    Up on a hill… landslide?

    wooded and quiet … have seller throw in a generator and cut down all trees within striking range…

    but overall… I love my move to the Pacific Northwest

  15. 15
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Hope everyone is faring well during the power outage. Lost a treetop in the front yard that took out the power lines. They’re saying Tuesday before we get power back. Down to 40 degrees in the house so far. Thankfully, I have access to heat and warm showers (!) at work.

  16. 16
    Anonymous says:

    Does anyone have a comment on the following item in a recent Businessweek article:

    Seattle and Raleigh, N.C., with healthy job growth, should also do O.K. The biggest losers will fall into one of these groups: cities like Detroit that are suffering economic contractions; cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and others in California where prices are extraordinarily high and have barely begun to adjust; and cities like Miami, Las Vegas, and Phoenix that have a huge overhang of unsold houses or condos.

    I’ve been reading this blog with great interest over the last week after stumbling upon it in a search of Seattle real estate. Coming from LA (not equity rich – just coming for a degree at UW) initially I couldn’t help but be tempted by Seattle prices. 600K in LA gets you an absolute dump in a not-so-very-attractive neighborhood, so Seattle looks like a discount.

    Thanks to all the helpful posters, my wife and I will almost surely rent for a few years when we arrive next summer, but this article caught my eye.

  17. 17
    Alan says:

    I used to live in Raleigh and still have family there. Housing in Raleigh is much more affordable than here. I would not be surprised if their housing prices are safe.

  18. 18
    vfsv says:

    We’re not Seattle but the latest set of Silicon Valley RE stats are now posted at:


  19. 19
    wreckingbull says:

    Good call Lionel, 2009 will probably be a much better time to buy. 600K does buy you a little more here…. a dump in a safer neighborhood, but certainly nothing to get excited about.

    As far as the article is concerned, I agree that things did not get quite so crazy up here, but the job growth argument is worthless. Any time job growth is discussed, in needs to be discussed in conjunction with affordability. (which is pretty low at the moment)

    If those new workers can’t afford to buy, (expecially with the sub-prime mortgage offerings going bye-bye) prices won’t be supported.

  20. 20
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks, wreckingbull, and a broader thanks to everyone who has posted on this blog. My finding it might have saved my wife and me a lot of money and an equal amount of heartache.

  21. 21
    stephen says:


    Don’t take any of this too seriously. Buy what you can afford, when you can afford it and you will do fine. Once you buy, don’t worry about it. If it goes down you save taxes and if it goes up don’t ‘tap’ into a 30 year loan on a vacation…

  22. 22
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your insight, Stephen, but to honest, coming from LA, it’s difficult NOT to take this stuff seriously. It is absolutely staggering what has occurred here. The story that seems to have made a number of these blogs about the couple in Garden Grove who paid 900K for a tract home is a fine example. Knowing the area, it’s nearly impossible to express my bewilderment at the price. Graden Grove is awful. There’s no reason to live there, yet… 900K. On the other end, I recently noticed a house down the street from where my mom lives in Pacific Palisades, a modest house (albeit on a half acre lot, which for here is huge) selling for 5.5 million. It seems unlikely that if I bought a home soon in Seattle that it would be in a trough. I’m betting it will go down at least a little over the next few years. Bt again, I appreciate your tempering the information.

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