Mid-Week Open Thread (2009-04-15)

Here is your open thread for the mid-week on April 15th, 2009. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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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
    The Tim says:

    I guess everybody’s busy doing their taxes…

  2. 2

    I haven’t been doing my taxes( did ’em two whole days ago), but I have been gardening.
    Peas and broccoli and beets and onions are in the ground, and I’ve started tomatoes, peppers, melons, and eggplant in the Renton public greenhouse to be moved to the garden in a month or so.
    My gardening is probably not good for property values. The neighbors try to have well maintained lawns, and then there’s our house, which is seemingly occupied by the Beverly Hillbillies.

  3. 3
    Joel says:

    Ira you’re destroying the economy by producing your own vegetables. By not buying your vegetables you’re hurting:

    – The grocery store you should have bought from
    – The truckers that transport the vegetables
    – The gas stations that supply fuel to the truckers
    – The farmers that grow the vegetables
    – The chemical companies that produce fertilizer and pesticides for the farms
    – The farm machinery companies that make tractors and whatever else they use on farms

    I bet you’re even one of those people that cooks their own food. I cringe to think of how many lives are destroyed by your not eating out everyday.

  4. 4
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Since it’s slow, I’ll mention the soon to be coming NWMLS rules on disclosing short sales, REOs, etc. A check box will be used, which should make getting statistics on these things much easier.


    The debate seems to be centered on whether the information should be posted on public sites, like Redfin.

  5. 5
    TheHulk says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    Nice to know that the NWMLS is promoting more transparency. More information should result in better price discovery mechanisms, thus causing us to find the bottom more quickly, leading to more sales volume at realistic prices leading to more revenue for the agents (and the NWMLS). See how a virtuous cycle feeds on itself?

  6. 6
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I’m ot sure it will help us find the bottom better, but we’ll know where we are better at any given time.

    What I’m not sure of is whether existing listings will need to be changed. I suspect not, and if so, it may be a while before the statistics generated are terribly useful. But a year from now it will be good no matter what the market is like.

  7. 7
    Scotsman says:

    Taxes are done, the check is in the mail. God bless America.

  8. 8
    S-Crow says:


    Here’s my real estate Haiku.

    Taxes, extension filed.
    Dreaming of 2005.


  9. 9

    More haiku

    IRS speaks now.
    Your taxes are overdue.
    Please remit or else.

  10. 10
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    “I guess everybody’s busy doing their taxes… ”

    No, I have the flu. =(

  11. 11
    mukoh says:

    Geez, another year and another check to mail.

  12. 12
    bbraddock says:

    Even more tax haiku:

    taxes done, breathe deep
    Uncle Sam gone, a distant breeze,
    or perhaps a fart…

  13. 13
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By mukoh @ 11:

    Geez, another year and another check to mail.

    It’s worse than that for those of us having to make estimated payments. Because they don’t want you to have to make the first payment until tax day, it’s not due until 4/15. But rather than have it be every three months thereafter, it’s 6/15, 9/15 and 1/15, so between 4/15 and 6/15 you have to pay 50% of your taxes (plus whatever you owed for the prior year. Back when I practiced law my malpractice insurance was due 5/15, which made it even worse.

    Anyway, I wish the government would make the schedule 4/15, 7/15, 10/15 and 1/15. But it’s been the current way for years.

  14. 14
    tomtom says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 13:

    It’s worse than that for those of us having to make estimated payments.

    Boo freaking Hoo.

    I get paid twice a month and started paying this year’s taxes on January 10.

  15. 15
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: tomtom @ 14 – Fair enough, but your withholding doesn’t have a safe harbor provision that requires withholding at last year’s rates even if you’re earning less this year. Or the possibility of having a huge safe harbor that in effect leaves you no safe harbor, requiring you to over-pay your estimated taxes by thousands of dollars to avoid penalties.

  16. 16
    Magnolia44 says:

    Taxes done here as well we left witholding the same as an expirement to see what we get back with the new deductions.

    Looks like 8k plus refund, comapred to our average 1 to 2k. I know its a free loan, I know its paying interest for a deduction. In the end It covers property taxes and thensome.

    Witholding has been changed going forward.

  17. 17
    One Eyed Man says:

    Did the taxes a month ago. I’m almost always on extension if business is good so that’s a sign of the economy. Blew out my achilles tendon last Friday playing basketball and had surgery yesterday. Had complications and the leg may never be the same but I’ll survive. Can’t drive for 6 to 8 weeks. So much for death and taxes. At least I don’t have any bullet loans on commercial real estate to refinance. Now that the commercial mortgage backed securities market is dead, which government program will take up the slack for the 800 billion in commercial loans that need to be refied in the next couple of years? Kary, maybe we should go back into the Chapter 11 business.

  18. 18
    Scotsman says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 17

    Ouch. Sorry to hear about the leg- best of luck. The not driving is the biggest hassle. I know, as I just spent 2 months driving my daughter around after her foot surgery.

    As my 92 year old dad says- “you’ve got to be tough to get old, it’s not for sissies!”

  19. 19
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 17 – I think Chapter 11’s had been pretty dead, with a lot of people opting for receiverships instead. That will probably change with the commercial financing issues.

  20. 20
    G4George says:

    Has anyone else noticed there seems to be a bit of a capitulation going on in the high end over on the Eastside (Redmond and Woodenville in particular)?

    Quite a few houses over $700K have dropped significantly in the last week and there seems to be an awful lot of houses over $1m dropping by ~$100k and several by $150k in the last few days.

  21. 21
    Romwo says:

    So the stock market is sizzling like crazy and people making lots of reloads for free. What does that mean? What does it mean for real estate?

  22. 22
    WestSideBilly says:

    By Romwo @ 21:

    So the stock market is sizzling like crazy and people making lots of reloads for free. What does that mean? What does it mean for real estate?

    It’s largely an illusion. The financial accounting changes basically allow the banks to hide their toxic assets right up until they’re foreclosed on and written off. Makes the books look good, but the losses will still come. JP Morgan posted a $2.1B profit today, but casually mentioned they added $4B set aside for covering writeoffs in ’09, and they plan to repay their $25B TARP funds depending on when the Fed wants to do it… except their total capital reserve is only $27B (after adding the $4B). In other words, without TARP, they were bankrupt before this quarter began.

    The stock market reacted positively to this news.

    Baseless optimism. :-)

  23. 23
    Sniglet says:

    Here is an interesting analyses of housing prices. It looks like there are a handful of people out there (like me) who think things could still go MUCH lower…

    Why a 50% Drop in Housing Is Not the Bottom


  24. 24
    bi renter says:


    Thanks for the link. I remember renting in a house in CA in the ’90s that was around 125k – it eventually was in the 600s just as the graph depicted. Now, sunshine aside, how is that possible/sustainable? Did wages go up accordingly?

    Housing BUBBLE – oh yeah. We’ve got a ways to go, or as Eluea says, “when people stop talking about houses…” OR or when this site is as antiquated as … hissssssss, modem connects, You’ve Got Mail….then maybe it will be time to get interested in buying a roof over one’s head.

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