Seattle Bubble: Hindering the Market?

Seattle Bubble scaring away buyers, sellers and refinance consumers?

I’m really not convinced Marlow Harris of Coldwell Banker Bain feels that Seattle Bubble is all about fear mongering and scaring the public away from buying a home.  I know she mentioned it, but I don’t believe it.   Marlow and many other agents and loan officers have not had a chance yet to meet several of the commentator’s and readers as I have.  I think most agents and brokers would find that the readership at Seattle Bubble and those active in looking to buy, sell or refinance are very similar to, well, any other client they’ve ever had—pretty well rounded in housing issues.

You see, I have tangible evidence to the contrary that Seattle Bubble is fear mongering.  In fact, I have referred numerous Seattle Bubble readers to loan officers and agents.  Some have worked out, some have not.   When is the last time an agent or loan officer generated business from title and escrow referrals?   They do at Legacy Escrow Service.    As I recall, we even had one transaction where a referred Seattle Bubble reader obtained financing from Rain City Guide’s Rhonda Porter, who was gracious to turn around and have our office close the transaction.  This is what goes on behind the scenes. One client who bought a home remarked on the way out of my office that he really enjoyed the discussions at Seattle Bubble, but felt it was the right time for his family to purchase.  You can’t argue with that.  It is a very personal decision to buy.

Why does Seattle Bubble inherently rub the real estate community the wrong way?

  • Gives a counterpoint to claims by NAR and others in the real estate community both nationally and locally.
  • Provides open data, opinions and …open for criticism.
  • From time to time points out miscues, miscalls, and gaffs from local professionals  and economists.
  • An amateur citizen is providing data in a meaningful manner, more comprehensive than much of what I’ve ever read by agents and local brokerages.
  • Key:  Tim Ellis was sounding the alarm, among other minions, myself included that we were in a Bubble.   When 2/3rd of your purchase business was financed 100%, it was pretty obvious to me.  For example, many in the real estate business remarked that Seattle was not in a real estate bubble.   We keep hearing, for example, that all real estate is local.  We’ll, tell that to the several thousand local WaMu employees that will lose their jobs by year’s end.  Where were most of WaMu’s loan’s originated?  Outside of Washington State.
  • Blogging was not around during the last major correction.  Information is now instantly available for dissemination.

How has Seattle Bubble helped consumers?

  • Tim Ellis has built his community where consumers are residing.  And it’s growing as he evolves the blog.
  • This blog has, at minimum, given consumers pause prior to entering into a purchase.  For some, it may have saved them tens of thousands in possible financial losses if they are buying with a short ownership horizon or were to suddenly have to move for whatever reason.  In a declining market, you can’t put a price tag on that.
  • Likewise, the blog has warned sellers, to their benefit, that they should not sell if they don’t have to—this has to be a tremendous gift to the local real estate establishment in keeping inventory somewhat stable. We’ll see how inventory goes after the Holidays are over.
  • Earlier this year I warned about the advantage of reduced interest rates.  It helped several save money by refinancing.   A few even sent me thank you’s.  One even sent me a gift certificate (thanks Angie!)

There are probably countless examples from the readership where Seattle Bubble has been helpful.  We are all rascals at Seattle Bubble, myself included, but my commentary and others here and at Rain City Guide is never intended to hinder the real estate community, put off sellers who believe the website is hurting their chances at selling,  but to shine a light on what goes on in the business in a public way, so that professionals in the business can become better agents, better loan officers and better escrow owners.  Much of this is to help build a foundation on solid ground as opposed to the dry-rot we have now discovered was under our feet.

Those frustrated at this blog, the market or their listing agent, should direct their frustrations at those who perpetrated fraudulent transactions that impact communities across the country.  Perhaps they should look in the mirror themselves.  They should direct their frustration at those loan officers and lenders who engaged in putting people into toxic loans, many times because the yield spread premiums “were so good.”   Direct your frustration at the ratings agencies, Freddie and Fannie and their corrupt leadership in recent past years or the excessive greed that had a choke hold of CEO’s souls.

Nobody wanted this result, but collectively, we are all responsible for this mess.   A frank conversation I had with a very long standing managing Sno. Co. real estate Broker this past Friday was almost therapeutic for me and the Broker—the Broker spoke of the real estate market correction as a “crash.”  That Broker get’s it.

Nothing discourages me more than seeing the financially destructive (self inflicted or not) nature of this correction destroy families and marraiges of those whom we have worked with over the past 5 yrs.  It really sucks…and I’m constantly trying to think of ways to get title and escrow people back to work, even part-time.   Perhaps I’m naïve.

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About S-Crow

"S-Crow" (Tim Kane) is co-owner (with spouse Lynlee, LPO-Designated escrow Officer) of Legacy Escrow Service, Inc., an authentic independent escrow firm closing residential purchase/sale and refinance transactions.

49 comments:

  1. 1
    magnolia44 says:

    Lets not give this site that much credit, there are plenty of people who have never heard of this site. Want to be scared away from buying? Turn on the news.

  2. 2
    Herman says:

    I give this site tons of credit. By the time the newspapers report a housing trend, the trend is old news here.

    I want to buy a house at the best time, for the best price. This site has the most timely and most objective information and discussion about whether we’ve reached that point.

    As I’ve said before, the success of this site will hinge on whether Tim can make a transition out of the “bubble” talk and into unbiased real estate reporting, once the bubble is over. Someday Tim will have to report on how incredibly low prices are, and how it’s definitely, definitely time to buy. If he gets that right, then his future is secure.

  3. 3
    anony says:

    God forbid people should know the truth.

    Why shouldn’t people sell now? It seems they will get a higher price than if they sell next year. Why put off whatever life plans they have to keep chained to that particular depreciating asset?

  4. 4
    Herman says:

    I should add, Tim has to get that right *and* he has to resist selling out.

    No RE institution will pay Tim to recommend DON’T BUY. But they will pay him to recommend BUY and by the way CLICK HERE for an agent. The temptation will be there.

  5. 5
    shawn says:

    Where is the debate, in the press, about NAR misleading the public into buying?

  6. 6
    mike mcc says:

    I guess the thing that bothers me most about this site is the personal attacks on many real estate agents on this site, often in cases where the agent was simply quoted in some media article, and SB decides to talk about that article, but not interview that agent.

    It’s sort of like a mob attack, and doesn’t seem fair to me. If SB is so purely analytical, they would never do that. By stooping, they have lost crediblity, except with the group that enjoys the attacks.

  7. 7
    Scotsman says:

    Umm, Mike- help me out: If the agent said it, why isn’t it fair game? I think Tim and others go to great length to give most agents the benefit of the doubt. But when they’re saying things that are clearly inaccurate, dishonest, misleading, or just plain ignorant and uninformed, then the discussion begins. I don’t recall any really nasty personal attacks. But I can recall several very embarrassing, obviously self-serving statements that have been made. Those deserve the responses they get.

  8. 8
    buyStocks says:

    mike mcc,
    What exactly is wrong with an open discourse regarding published material, especially when it strays from reality. Are you trying to say that people shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions? Using this to then somehow leap to your argument of “lost credibilty” is flawed at best.

  9. 9
    TheHulk says:

    mike,

    We only discuss the articles on SB to point out the plainly obvious FUD put out by the local RE media mouthpieces. As if, you havent called b*shit when some politician makes a remark that is so much out of sync you dont know whether to laugh or cry.

    Considering mainstream opinion on SB (including the media) I would only like to ask someone to choose among the following:
    A. Getting advice from someone who has a vested interest in getting you to spend as much money as possible without personal risk for themselves
    VS
    B. Getting advice from someone who puts forward facts and statistics, makes a qualified forecast and then politely asks you to consider everything before making your own decision (and yes, has no skin in the game since the only benefit is in being as transparent and truthful as possible).

    From my own personal experience, I have saved at least 10%, more likely by the time its all over 30% on what would have been without a doubt the biggest financial disaster in my life. I am eternally grateful to Tim and his fellow bloggers for providing all this information without expecting anything in return.

    I have also seen a few comments where people are criticizing Tim for encouraging Redfin. Its not as if Redfin asks you (a potential client) to put up money simply to look at houses online. Especially with their recent changes (like prices lowered in last n days), I don’t see any reason to use any other service to find listings. I do wish they could spot scams better (people relisting houses repeatedly) but thats another story.

    Better information and better disclosure lead to efficient markets. SB accomplishes that perfectly and people can disagree, but thats my opinion.

    After all the excuses that RE shills have come up with. this one takes the cake. Blaming SB and Tim for hindering a market. Why dont you try dropping prices and see what that can do instead?

  10. 10
    Jeff says:

    Information technology should bring about new efficiencies: when people don’t see new efficiencies, they often find or press for it anyway. Seattle Bubble is helping create new efficiencies by giving people a different perspective, with less positive-RE spin. That’s the way I see it, and I thank Tim and others for not being afraid to get the word out.

    Compare life today to 15 years ago for a car salesman, music industry executive, and, yes, real estate agent. This is a natural progression, and some old markets and business practices are just going to change.

    Would you honestly go to purchase a car without looking at the invoice price online? Without consulting consumer forums? Would you buy a musical album without accessing reviews, or considering purchasing or finding just a single track?

    I don’t wish tough times on anyone, and hope that every trustworthy person in these industries can get back on their feet – but flipping houses, the joy of 6% for such little work, those things were reckless. Here’s to hoping the industry can innovate and grow after this is behind us all.

    Undoubtedly this site has been ahead of its time, but look, even traditional media sources are starting to make predictions and inform their readers: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/HomeFinancing/why-the-surge-in-home-sales-is-bad-news.aspx

  11. 11
    aman says:

    If this site really had so much power to affect buyers’ behavior, then why didn’t we see any effect of that during the bubble period? The warnings about unsustainability of price run ups have been ignored for several years, so why should it hold so much sway now all of a sudden?

    Let’s face it — for the past few years realtors were getting ridiculous sums of money, not for doing any actual work or having any knowledge, but simply for repeating the mantra “real estate only goes up”. Now that those days are gone, they obviously need to try and make a scapegoat out of someone, so I guess this site is as good as any for them.

  12. 12
    jcdk says:

    This site encouraged me to buy a home in Seattle… for the right reasons and with sober expectations.

  13. 13
    davidb says:

    I like the summaries and links to the local and national stories on this site that I may have missed on my own. Tim and many of the other people here have a good understanding of economic theory and the graphs are a good visual representation of what’s going on.

    The real estate industry is always overly optimistic about home prices increasing and they predict a turn around will happen soon because of course that’s what they want to happen. They’re trying to influence consumer behavior to their benefit and information that is contradictary to this message is seen as a threat to them. They will attack any comments that are not in line with their optimistic message even though they have no data to back up what they’re saying.

    I’ve regularly posted comments on the Seattle PI real estate blogs and I’m frequently attacked by other bloggers there because they don’t agree with my comments that Seatle real estate prices will go down further and now is not a good time to buy. My message has been consistent that if you can, wait until the market stabablizes before buying a home. I’ve posted links to local and national stories to support what I’ve said and frequently people (especially the real estate agents) will argue against anyone believing stories from sources like the Wall Street Journal or CNBC.

    The purchase of a home is the biggest investment that most people will ever make. Some people who bought a house during the bubble years or past year are now starting to realize that they made a mistake. I’m sure it’s very difficult for these new home owners to know that they’re not building the equity that they thought they would and they may owe more on their home then it’s now worth.

    These are very scary times for many people because there is so much economic uncertainty so when people read stories that don’t support what they want to hear they lash out at the message carrier and try to discredit them in hope that this will help turn the market around soon.

    Thanks for the website Tim. I appreciate the links to stories and the informative discussion. I agree with most of the comments by people here but I also enjoy reading people’s opinions that disagree with others too.

  14. 14
    DaveyDave says:

    I’m more of a listener than contributor to the site, but I have to say ‘Thank You’ to The Tim and other contributors here. I very much appreciate the raw data as well as meaningful opinions. You deserve a well earned pat on the back if not more.

    As to real estate agent bashing, it seems pretty well controlled. I have to admit to some pent up anger at agents at what appears to be overly self-serving behavior. In my experience, Redfin being the exception here as they offer very useful information at a good price upon closing.

    Ignorant question aside: Could someone respond as to what the legal time limit is for relisting a property once it’s been taken off the market? I see all the time ‘New Listing’ on Redfin knowing that just yesterday the same property has been on the market for something like 107 days. If there is a time limit that’s being ignored, it’s another reason I have trouble trusting real estate agents in general. Sorry to those that are ethical.

  15. 15
    cheapseats says:

    I took a look at Marlows blogs on the 360 blog, it looks a little like the pot calling the kettle black. She has several snarky flames on there about Redfin. I really did not see much there that added to my knowledge about real estate. Thats fine, she uses blogs for things she seems to find entertaining. As far as RE blogs are concerned I use them to educate me about the market in Seattle, I currently read SB, Redfin and RCG. From these blogs I also have identified RE agents that I will consider using when I do decide the time is right. I now have also started a list of agents that I will not use, thanks for your now useful contributions Marlow!

  16. 16
    SeattleREguy says:

    I appreciate this post, probably more than most. As a real estate agent, I come to this site to find out what the ‘worst’ objection I will face will be on any particular day. Sometimes I post, sometimes I don’t, but when I do, I am usually insulted as I offer a counter point of view.

    I will be the first to say that I didn’t expect the market to *crash* this steeply. We didn’t see the 27-35% appreciation schedules California or Florida were seeing, and so while I did expect we would go down in price or even better, remain stagnant, I didn’t expect to see a double digit drop. I wonder, however, how much of that drop is due to job losses, rather than overappreciation.

    I figured our unemployment would rise… with regard to the building sector. I didn’t expect to see WaMu collapse and be sold out from underneath them. I didn’t expect that Boeing would have a 60 day strike. I didn’t expect gas to rocket up to $4.85 a gallon, which I feel, hurt consumer psyche more than anything else. In fact, I would love to see a post on how the gas prices have affected buyers and sellers and if there is any quantifiable data to support my theory. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to conduct such research. I do know, however, that even though prices have come down, the feeling is that prices will be up there again next week and people are bracing for such.

    I still respectfully disagree with the arguments that job growth and job losses don’t equate to appreciation/depreciation. I can find all sorts of lies, damn lies, and statistics to argue either way, but the general thought process has to be that if you have significant job growth, pricing will go up, or supply will need to be increased to match it.

    Rents continue to rise, up 7% from a report I read in the DJC. Commercial real estate is about to hit a wall, but out of the 50 states, Washington is still ranked as the #1 place to own commercial real estate.

    People still want to live in Seattle, and no one is turning out the lights. Truth be told, Seattle is one of two places that I would live in the United States (would live in many places outside of the US). I believe that I am not alone in that assessment.

    I have to agree with Mike… I would love for the Tim, or Crow, to send an email to the agent that was quoted in a story before lambasting them. If they don’t respond, or fail to respond in a reasonable amount of time, then so be it… paste his often misquoted quote across the headlines of Seattle Bubble.

    I am interviewed quite often, and rarely do they take what I really am trying to convey in context… though I am a optimistic realist, I know that my business relies that people have to buy or sell in order to continue my career. However, I shy on the realistic side of things when interviewed.

    Thank you, bubblers, for increasing my talking points. We may not always agree, and on some days, we never agree, but I do appreciate your comments. Especially the constructive criticisms!

    :)

  17. 17
    mike mcc says:

    Quoting an article is one thing — but extrapolating and adding commentary on what someone has said without actually interviewing them is biased when handled in an inflammatory way.

    Is that any better than the typical media bs?

  18. 18
    Tim says:

    Maybe reality is currently a hindrance to the market?

  19. 19
    DavidB says:

    If Seattle Bubble is a hinderance to the market than isn’t it cancelled out by pro realty sites like Right Time to Buy.org?

  20. 20
    Sean says:

    I’m an SB reader and the wife and I closed on our first home about a month ago. Combination of good rates and a good price ended our year and a half of looking. SB only played a positive role as another tool. I have a hard time laying blame to one website for the doldrums in the current RE market. The world’s economy is suffering for a myriad of reasons and blaming a blog seems a bit short sighted.

    As a bonus we also used Redfin and we have no negative things to say about them.

  21. 21
    softwarengineer says:

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH

    Why is it that America now has a group of elite conservative media types and even a percentage of the recent elite liberal progressive types that want freedom of speech muzzled?

    Don’t these folks have a brain? If they got their way, i.e., the Fairness Doctrine became law, their opinions would likely be next on the Fascism chopping block too.

    No, freedom of speech is as American as apple pie. God bless it!

  22. 22
    Please Buy My House, Idiot Renters! says:

    Face it Tim – you are the personification of Evil.

    Go over to Marlow’s blog and start apologizing for providing accurate information to consumers, thereby ruining her business model.

  23. 23
    Euro says:

    This site is great. It’s just that the message isn’t always ;-) Keep up the good work!

  24. 24
    David Losh says:

    I didn’t read all of the scrow advertisement but I do know that Marlow is an excellent Real Estate agent who has done a lot for the professionalism of Real Estate blogging.

    If you do come to the internet for information about a home purchase or sale you are in the wrong place. This site has excellent financial crisis dialog, but is very short on Real Estate information. It does provide much more information than a Ruin Sity Gaide, but still this is just entertainment.

    The internet Real Estate sales business model is a very long way off if it will ever be viable. radfun hired the expodia.com sales person to push the Real Estate sales agenda on line. Sellers with problems flock to the online Real Estate sites along with the week end warrior home shoppers. It’s a mish mash of confusion that radfun happily collects fees for. In time it will be obvious this was just a continuation of a problem rather than a solution.

    Be very careful of what you think you will learn about Real Estate online. These are sales people looking to collect your money for doing nothing, that’s the business model.

  25. 25
    tomtom says:

    If the blog mentioned in the original post is an example of the Professionalism of Real Estate blogging, I think they still have a long way to go.

    As mentioned above, the NAR and local REALTOR(R)s expend huge real estate marketing budgets with the message:

    “Buy Now at Today’s Prices. Your home is your best investment.”

    However, they fail to mention that the return on investment is dependent on the initial price paid, especially when overinflated prices reduces the amount one can save and invest in other vehicles.

    The housing industry is only beneficial to the economy when it is sustainable. The current bubble was good times for a while, but now we are paying for the excess. Was it worth it? Not to me.

  26. 26
    EconE says:

    Oh please.

    We saw this coming for years and were labeled “bitter renters”, “loser renters”, “basement dwellers”, “scrubs”, “chicken littles” while continually being goaded and taunted by the REIC.

    Then…as our predictions came true, there was the “be careful what you wish for” crowd.

    Are people losing their homes because bubble bloggers pointed out the obvious flaws in the system…

    …or the toxic loans that the RE agent had their loan broker “buddy” set them up with?

    Don’t say job loss…all those people can just go out and get another job and a second one to go with it.

    Remember?

    That was what we bubble bloggers were told to do in order to be able to purchase a home. Get a better job or a second job.

    RE profession not paying much these days? Having trouble paying the bills? Feeding the kids?

    Well….

    get a better job.

  27. 27
    Joel says:

    Quoting an article is one thing — but extrapolating and adding commentary on what someone has said without actually interviewing them is biased when handled in an inflammatory way.

    You just commented on what The Tim has said in an imflammatory way without having interviewed him therefore you are biased. And a hypocrite.

  28. 28
    S-Crow says:

    Seattle RE Guy,

    I think it is great you are coming here for the conversations. I’ve asked quite a few agents why they don’t chime in here, because they should. Same for loan officers.

    One thing that you mentioned was the idea of coming here to find out some of the worst “objections.” I am of the belief that instead of trying to overcome objections that clients may have, it really is an opportunity to find out why consumers think the way they do.

    What really makes me concerned is that agents routinely get their pocket’s-picked by real estate guru’s who’s primary target is to “sell” you on tapes, systems and cd’s and scripts to overcome client objections. But this has been the culture of real estate for some time now. At some point, the industry has to take a step back and understand why consumers have routinely found certain aspects troubling. What real estate companies should be doing, in my opinion, is having their agents focusing on providing superior service and hiring experts to give seminars on the very best ways to foster long term business relationships. A common denominator of the top producing agents our office works with is that “objections” are rare, because they have such a trusting relationship that it is moot.

    Again, just one guy’s opinion.

  29. 29

    […] reading all different perspectives and I take in a lot of material on a daily basis. Even today, Seattle Bubble published a manifesto of sorts which may help you understand where they’re coming from. Paper Economy gives a bubble history […]

  30. 30
    EconE says:

    What really makes me concerned is that agents routinely get their pocket’s-picked by real estate guru’s who’s primary target is to “sell” you on tapes, systems and cd’s and scripts to overcome client objections.

    More evidence pointing to the general lack of intelligence within the RE community.

    I’ll admit that many of you have wonderful writing skills and are probably even “better” in person…even though your logic and critical thinking skills are seriously flawed.

    RE professionals have proven themselves over the last few years to be one of two things. Stupid or dishonest. Take your pick. I vote for both.

    It’s no wonder so many people are in the dire financial position they are in today.

  31. 31
    The Tim says:

    I think “mike mcc” has at least somewhat of a good point. I like the idea of actually doing some interviews myself of these folks. I just sent interview requests to Todd Britsch, Dick Beeson, and J. Lennox Scott.

    If anybody has any other suggestions of some prominent members of the “it’s a great time to buy” crowd that they’d like to see interviewed, let me know here. Also, if you have any specific questions for these folks, let’s hear them.

    Edit: Actually, now that I think about it, I think I’ll make this into a post of it’s own, to get it a little more attention.

  32. 32
    Brian Irwin says:

    I can’t say that from my perspectve (as a realtor) that I find the blog all that offensive. This is a free country and we should be encouraged to share our opinions and interpretations of the data — whether we agree or not. Do I agree with everything that is said on this site — not always — but is there need to feel anger or fear in this? I really don’t think so. If anger or fear is the response generated it shows only the insecurity of the person reacting. To me this is more of an intellectual debate in how we choose to interpret the data. We aren’t calling eachother names and debasing eachother’s families ya know? Anyways that is my 2cents.

  33. 33
    S-Crow says:

    Econe,

    I wouldn’t go that far regarding intelligence. There are a lot of agents that are very bright, highly educated and share a passion for housing as much as I do, if not more. A problem, as I see it, is a cultural one. An entire sub-set within the real estate business is to profit off of the agents themselves. The sub-set takes on many different things: one local example is HouseValues.

    Instead of financial resources going towards inefficient areas to build business, and being siphoned off in other pockets, it would be possible to allocate more resources in training, even so far as instituting programs where agents could enter internships in other aspects of a transaction, like lending or escrow. Trying to build more efficiencies within a transaction has the potential to lower transaction costs for consumers which would allow for more transactions to take place—unsticking the illiquid aspect of housing.

    Unfortunately, from what I understand, the existing training is highly geared towards (while very important) purchase and sale agreements, basic real estate fundamentals and other related topics. And that is where it essentially stalls and the sales pitches to agents picks up steam. You know, the yellow brick road to riches, except there are tolls all along the road.

    When the market changes the pitch changes. For example, now we have agents getting commissions fleeced by third party short sale coordinators. That is a topic my wife (if I can talk her into it) is going to address very soon over at Rain City Guide.

  34. 34
    David Losh says:

    Tim you changed your hat, very business like.

    “What really makes me concerned is that agents routinely get their pocket’s-picked by real estate guru’s who’s primary target is to “sell” you on tapes, systems and cd’s and scripts to overcome client objections.”

    Real Estate is NOT a commission sales position. The ABCs of Real Estate should NOT include the phrase “Always Be Closing.”

    It is unfortunate that the Real Estate business got out of hand with these cheap sales gimmicks. There again having an internet based business model use the same techniques isn’t a solution.

    Yes there needs to be positive change in the way Real Estate is conducted. I do go back and forth about that. A part of my business has been to educate people about Real Estate. I have a set of presentation from years back that I made to groups before finding each person has a seperate set of needs. Consulting became kind of another sales gimmicky thing so I started just focussing on my own deals.

    It’s really hard to help a client who has been badly beat up in the home buying process. People need encouragement while calming fears. Any suggestions?

  35. 35
    EconE says:

    Of course S-Crow…it’s all about getting the customer to sign on the dotted line. When the market crashes (more appropriate than the word change), all the tricks are used.

    Agents getting commissions fleeced?

    That’s wonderful to hear…although off topic.

    I guess it makes up for all the agents that you told us about who brought their clients to the closing table and you…as an escrow agent…even knowing full well that the purchasers were going to be hanging themselves financially…had to keep your mouth shut.

    Tell me S-Crow…what would you say to those people now? Especially the ones that lost their houses?

    “I’m sorry…I knew you setting yourself up for financial suicide and that you’d most likely lose your house…but I had to keep my mouth shut…you know…rules being what they are and all”

    Sure…you can use the argument…”Hey EconE…why are you being so hard on me? I have been a SB blogger for a long time now”.

    Did you ever tell the people sitting across the table from you that you blogged here? Did you even tell them about the site?

    So…I’ll add unethical to my list. “Ethics” trumps “Rules” in my book.

  36. 36
    SeattleREguy says:

    Econ E – I like you, and I like what you have to say. For you to say that I am either stupid or dishonest is exactly the reason why the Bubble gets a bad name. I don’t think (no, I know) you would tell me that in person.

    I am not saying that I have to get a new job. What I do is not a job, it’s not a 9-5pm sort of thing where I punch a clock, or have a trust fund that I can draw upon. What I do is a career. When you have a career, you don’t sweat the small stuff, you take it in stride and you move on.

    A normal real estate salesperson’s salary is close to $40k. Certainly, that isn’t a whole lot of money. If I were making that, I would be out of the industry. There is no way I could pay for everything I do, including the time and energy I put into every listing and every buyer, at $40k per year. I would be making $10 an hour, barely above minimum wage. Real Estate agents live the American Dream of capitalism. Some make it, some don’t, but you better provide excellent service to survive.

    Sadly, over the last five years, many people that had no business getting into real estate got into real estate, diluting the talent pool and even the expectations on behalf of consumers. Dare I say this only helped models of low service, such as Redfin. Although there will always be discount brokerages in the community of real estate, they, in my humble opinion, will always be a minority.

    Many of my clients use Redfin’s search engine. Most of my clients are referred to me from someone that has used me in the past. Most of my clients refer me, and most of my clients write glowing recommendations talking about the analytical side of things and how I saved them more money than they would have saved via Redfin.

    Sadly, the mortgage companies are the ones that have also been defrauded. People applying for loans have produced fraudulent rental agreements on their current home, a promise that they will be living in the home themselves when they fully intend to rent the home out as an investment, inflated incomes, deflated expenses, etc. These aren’t the lenders fault, these are the buyers fault. I don’t feel bad for them, as they should have done a bit more research on each consumer, but they are not the only ones to blame.

    By no means is Seattle Bubble responsible for hindering the market… but sites such as Seattle Bubble certainly help keep buyers on the fence. I am glad to hear there are buyers out there that make up their own opinions after reading visceral comments of EconE. I am neither proud nor unhappy with the industry of my career, but I do know there is a place for me in this society, that would prefer the Nordstrom’s customer service brand, strenghtened by technology, and encapuslated with ethics and morals.

    Respectfully…

  37. 37
    mukoh says:

    I think SB is greatly informative for buyers who did not have it before nor were willing to have a competent agent and or escrow officer/title provide them with it. However it doesn’t reach far enough with just a few hundred uniques a day.

  38. 38
    Monica says:

    I like Seattle Bubble and read it every day. It’s informative.

    We bought and sold a house this year without any fear. Everything went fine- as I expected. The information here is just that- information- people do with it what they choose. I don’t think it incites any fear unless the fear is already there.

    People who are ready to buy will buy- Seattle Bubble or no…and those who are not going to were probably of that mindset before. Information is power, and SB gives us information. I don’t think SB has negatively affected the market.

    Also, we had very good experiences with honest, hard-working Real estate Agents. We had a few duds along the way, but the ones we ended up buying or selling with were good people.

  39. 39
    The Tim says:

    mukoh @ 37,

    However it doesn’t reach far enough with just a few hundred uniques a day.

    Not sure where you’re getting that data, but our Google Analytics account shows average uniques per day in excess of 2,500, with “absolute unique visitors” per month coming in just shy of 30,000 the last few months.

    The audience definitely has room to grow, but we’re definitely reaching more than just a few hundred people a day.

  40. 40
    mukoh says:

    Getting it from quantcast/compete/alexa and a few others. 30k uniques a month is roughly 1k a day. I call that a few hundred, as that is without scrapers/rss/robots/ etc. Just a realistic guestimate.

    Compared all of those to sites that my partner corp owns of 50k a day and just came guessed.

  41. 41
    jonness says:

    A large part of the reason the housing bubble took off is due to the homeownership rate having skyrocketed to 69% as a result of lending standards having gone into the toilet. However, the homeownership rate is going to plummet back to 64% or lower due to our nation’s return to sensible lending standards. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to look at this chart, then look at how home prices have skyrocketed in your community during the bubble to understand where house prices are headed.

    U.S. homeownership rate

    IMO, any “expert” who fails to disclose the above chart should be put in jail. :)

  42. 42
    jonness says:

    One last thing to consider. If 64% of U.S. families can afford to own a home when the median home price is 3x median income, how many can afford to own homes at the current Seattle bubble price of over 6x median income? What effect will this have on Seattle house prices as the recession continues to beat up Washington families?

  43. 43
    WestSideBilly says:

    I think Tim gets a lot of flack from RE “professionals” because it’s his site, even though most of the radical and/or inflammatory statements come from contributors. And since Tim has largely refrained from censoring, a casual reader could get the impression that anything anti-Realtor goes. The only real criticism I would view as fair is that Tim sometimes throws in a bit of cynicism, snide comments and the like. This can make it seem like he’s out to get the big bad RE machine, when in truth it’s just his nature and in response to how outlandish some of the articles are.

    SeattleREGuy – there are a handful of really helpful agents who post here (Ira is a good example). There are also some real a-holes whose presence here, often times, is to gloat about how much money they made during the bubble or tell us we’re all losers. And I think the reason is very simple: there are people like you, Ira, David, et al who view real estate as a long term career. Knowledgeable clients are an asset to them. Then, there are the agents who saw a get-rich-quick scheme and jumped in, and lash out at anyone (those of us who are happily renting at a 50% discount) or anything (RedFin, Zillow, et al) who threaten their easy income.

    EconE – I don’t think stupid is fair. Dishonest, yes, as there are plenty of agents and other people in this business who make used car salesman seem like saints. Most of these would fall into the get-rich-quick column, however.

    David – I don’t see how Marlow’s blog could be viewed as improving the professionalism of RE blogs. A lot ff her posts are ragging on Redfin and Zillow, and the bulk of the rest seem to be links to funny/amusing things only mildly related to real estate.

  44. 44

    S-Crow, thanks for the nice nod. :) I’ve enjoyed working with your company whenever I can.

    I’m amazed when I see agents or other “real estate professionals” shun the Seattle Bubble as a whole. I would say a majority of SB readers are people who may be considering buying a home one day or all ready own one. I would bet that a majority of my clients include SB as one of their RE blog reads.

    Overall, I’ve welcomed the conversations I’ve had with fellow commenters here.

    SB is a great site to help balance out other RE sites.

  45. 45
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Count me as one of the loyal SB readers that wants to buy a home. That’s how I got interested in all this in the first place. Now, several years later, I’ve learned an incredeible amount about real estate, finance and not least of all, what I want out of an agent (and of course, what agents in particular I will refuse to use). But the biggest thing I learned was that this has not been the time to buy for me, which saved me from potential financial suicide. The time will come, but it has not come yet.

  46. 46
    SpongeBrad says:

    I have nothing but thanks and high praise for the contributors here. As a potential buyer, in-depth information about the real estate market is amazingly hard to come by, and I’ve been drawn back to this site time and time again because it’s one of the few places I can find it. Thanks to all.

  47. 47
    David Losh says:

    Real Estate blogging became a popular way to promote lead generation. Mortgages, in my opinion, have benefitted the most, and been paid well from those leads.

    You have to pay attention to the information you get. People promoting themselves or a web site have a mass appeal. Tim is no different in that regard, by the way Tim I noticed you changed your hat back and are now looking more rebellious.

    Real Estate is a very personal choice. You are an individual. There is no one size fits all. You’re you. You may have a family, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Be careful here or anywhere that you are in front of a computer getting broad strokes of advice.

    Marlow has a very in depth style. You can find almost anything by expolring her web sites. These are lead generators that allow you to get to know her as a person and an agent. You can like it or not, but she is a three dimensional person by the time you finish perusing her sites. I have talked to people who feel they know her even though they have never met or corresponded with her. In the world of Real Estate it’s all belly to belly. Business is done with the person you trust. After reading through Marlow’s sites you can see she is a trustworthy person.

    That’s what blogging is ultimately about. It’s so we can share ideas and get to know each other.

  48. 48

    If potential buyers have accurate information and different persperctives, they can make a better informed decision about buying. Seattle Bubble helps provide accurate information, thus helping reasonable decision making. As an agent, I always guide clients and potential clients to this site. Why? Because, frankly, most agents will feed them the usual tripe about how now is a great time to buy. That makes them look less credible. If Seattle Bubble is the cause of the crash, then The Tim must be pretty powerful. I thought S-Crows post was great, and agents and lenders ought to do a little self examination and own some of the responsibility themselves.

  49. 49
    jonness says:

    “SB is a great site to help balance out other RE sites.”

    SeattleBubble readers are a bunch of gearheads. I mean that in a nice way as gearheads tend to obsess on the minute details missed by many other logicians.

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