Million Dollar Decision Making

In the spirit of this 2007 post… let’s say you have a million bucks that you’re going to use to buy some real estate…


1415 Nob Hill Ave N Seattle, WA 98109Option 1: A 3,150 square foot “beautiful, well maintained Craftsman” sporting an “open floor plan with designer touches,” located on a 4,584 sq. ft. (0.1 acre) lot in the idyllic 47th parallel north right here in Seattle.

Craftsman not your cup of tea? Take your pick one of 33 Seattle homes in the same general price range, including this 1,815 sq. ft. condo or this 3,200 sq. ft. beast of a house described in the listing as “magnificent,” “expansive,” “elegant,” and “stunning.”


Cui Cui Island, ChileOption 2: Your very own 25-acre private island. Two two-bed, two-bath cottages, one with a hot tub. Located in the 40th parallel south in Chile, considered one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations (by Wikipedia anyway).


Hmm…

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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.

73 comments:

  1. 1
    Trigger says:

    I would take the Seattle home anytime because it is better value. Here is why:
    – Chile is a developing country. As such there is a good chance it is unstable. It might have laws which do not make sense. And in the future those laws will turn against you.
    – Job market in Seattle is not too hot anymore but there are still jobs that make sense. Why are they located in Seattle and not in Hyderabad? Because MSFT and others are very careful. In developing countries murky laws can screw a company completely. As such it is better to outsource some work but keep the company rolling in a stable place like WA state.
    – I do not know Chiles climate but Seattle climate is one of the best in the world. You don’t have to sweat the whole summer. And in the winter you have skiing. And you can hike, bike and go to nice islands like Orcas. Overcast days are kind of dreamy – you can go to Cannon Beach and listen to the rain, waves, ocean – beautiful.
    – You will have an island and after 2 weeks you will get bored. It is better to live in a community.
    – And if you have kids – man you are screwed. What schools will you send them on this island?
    – In Chile they don’t speak English at all. So if you don’t speak Spanish I am sure you are screwed. I have been to Mexico 3x and I cannot imagine living in Mexico without any Spanish.

    Maybe the US turned more fishy after this banking mess. But – in developing countries which are ravaged by wars, unstable dictators and whatever – the US still looks ok. Instead I would focus on getting top talent from developing countries (which is normally wasted over there) so that the people can innovate more and focus on having fun.

    Look even at China and Google. It is not a rosy place over there. You have a regime that is dangerous. I hope China never becomes as modern as the US because it would be a world hazard. They are unpredictable over there. Sentence people to death on an arbitrary basis. I will never want to visit even.

  2. 2
    Pndscm says:

    I too am uncomfortable around dark skinned persons who do not speak english. ‘Merika RULZ!

  3. 3

    I Agree With Scotsman

    Money in the bank is a much better investment than throwing it away on real estate, even paying off your principle….a caveat though, I’m one of those old fashion ethical types that signed a contract [with my hand figuratively on the Bible] and it would have been hard for me to walk away [unless the loan was under-water, it wasn’t…..yet, LOL].

    Meanwhile as real estate crashes [it will some more], my paid off house is one Hades of a lot easier to trade for another paid off house [or cash], than begging the broke Chinese to please lend us more for mortgage loans….LOL

    Today, I’d take the million dollar home/farm with lots of fertile open land and potable water….if you’ve read my past worst case scenario blogs, you’ll know why I pick this choice.

  4. 4
    Trigger says:

    RE: Trigger @ 1 – Oh. And even Europe is a worse place than the US. You have a socialist place that taxes the hell out of business owners. Business owners take risks to innovate and they get subjected to really rough taxes. Labor unions paralyze the economies and try to up the wages all the time. People work there for 35 hours a week, need to be paid over time etc. A total mess.

    I think the US is the only stable place that still does not have the socialist problems. It is simply an efficient economy. I only hope that Obama does not create a socialist twist and start introducing EURO style VAT type taxes that are killing businesses and killing consumption.

    So one thing when considering what real estate to have is the govt that you will have to work with. I have never been to Chile but I am sure it is much worse than in the US and possibly worse than in Europe.

  5. 5

    RE: Trigger @ 1

    Yeah

    Its good California has a 12% unemployment rate and 10% of the state’s jobs are sucked dry by undocumented immigrants….LOL

    I’m sure Washington State is in pretty much the same shape already too, you got your wish.

  6. 6
    Trigger says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 5 – See I am saying that you need to bring top talent from those countries to help them innovate and then create jobs here in the US.

    This is off the topic. But immigration laws that are complex and often unfair do not discourage unskilled people from coming here. No wall, no fingerprinting will discourage them.

    The top talent though is able to make contributions. I worked for MSFT for many years and some of the top people over there that I saw were from abroad. You do not need to fingerprint people from MSFT and create problems for those people.

    Many patents are filed by foreign people. Many companies including google have founders from foreign countries.

    People who pick stawberries etc – they are good and ok but they are not key to get an economy moving. They only help keep goods and services more affordable but can also create other problems.

  7. 7
    AMS says:

    How much to rent that island?

  8. 8
    singliac says:

    By Trigger @ 4:

    I only hope that Obama does not create a socialist twist…

    Everybody do the socialist twist!

  9. 9
    patient says:

    I’d buy the island and then setup a “survivor” camp and sell “survivor” vacations. Individual vacations with competitions much like the tv-series and corporate team building packages. It could expand to pay per view live webcasts if allowed by copyright type of laws.

  10. 10
    Geek says:

    I’d rather live in New York (upstate). Call me unadventurous but it’s the state I grew up in :)

    http://www.privateislandsonline.com/newyork.htm

    Still, you can get a lot for < 1 mil.

  11. 11
    EconE says:

    Looks like the $3,000,000 house from the 2007 post finally sold for $1,900,000

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/3020-Magnolia-Blvd-W-98199/home/125822

    I’d vote “none of the above” WRT the choices presented this time.

  12. 12
    Maracuya says:

    The island would appreciate much more than the house in Seattle over 20 years. Once Americans realize they can no longer afford to retire in the US and that they do not have access to decent healthcare, they will begin moving to developing countries, such as Chile. Then the property values in those countries will mercilessly rise, as the indigenous folks take advantage of the “rich” gringos.

    the first post above states: “Chile is a developing country. As such there is a good chance it is unstable. It might have laws which do not make sense. And in the future those laws will turn against you.”

    This person does not seem to realize that America is now a “has-been” country that is now experiencing a controlled collapse, and is approaching greater instability than most third world countries. US laws also do not make sense. In fact, we have more laws that do not make sense, and we incarcerate more people due to these laws. And our laws are turning against us right now, in a big way.

    People in Latin American countries are also much friendlier, more honest, more spiritual people than Americans are, on average — in my experience.

    I would go for Chile. It’s a no-brainer. It’s nice a warm there, too. Look how beautiful that island is. You could sell most of the rest of the island after developing it, and the island would be worth several million.

  13. 13
    HappyRenter says:

    By Trigger @ 4:

    RE: Trigger @ 1 – Oh. And even Europe is a worse place than the US.

    The US has the highest criminality rate among western countries. Also, the US is the only western country to still have the death penalty and the two go together: high criminality rate and having the death penalty. Europe is a safer place and has a much higher quality of life. Add to that the HUGE amount of debt college graduates have in the US and it all points to a broken social system which in turn leads to criminality (and the public opinion wanting to keep the death penalty). The US might be the wealthiest country but that wealth is definitely not equally distributed.

    I would go for the Island in Chile. In the US, you have to drive your kids to school anyway. There, I would take them by boat. Sounds better to me. And probably a better social system, too. I know people who live in Chile and are totally happy.

  14. 14
    HappyRenter says:

    RE: Trigger @ 1

    Oh, yeah and skiing. Ever thought that the Andes go through Chile?

    http://www.chileanski.com/

    Sorry, I forgot, Americans learn only about American history and American geography in school.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    singliac says:

    RE: HappyRenter @ 13

    You’ve got some interesting correlation/causation issues in that argument. I especially like the picture of college grads getting so overwhelmed by their student debt that they turn to violent crime (and then we all want to execute them).

  17. 17
    Cheap South says:

    RE: HappyRenter @ 13

    I know; I love when people trash Europe. Hysterical. These folks do not understand quality of life, HEALTHCARE (they have healthcare!), social safety, education, etc. (most have never been there anyway; but Glenn Beck told them it suck). But when I read the comments he made about Chile..(and Mexicans not speaking English in Mexico…priceless!!!)

  18. 18
    Maracuya says:

    Cheap South: “But when I read the comments he made about Chile..(and Mexicans not speaking English in Mexico…priceless!!!)”

    I agree. What’s preventing anyone from learning Spanish? It’s not that hard. Most foreigners I meet when travelling speak at least two other languages.

    Glenn Beck is a tool of the one-party political establishment. He reveals half-truths that are true enough to keep people interested, but not complete enough to keep them educated. Taking Glenn Beck at face value is a real mistake, IMO.

  19. 19
    Trigger says:

    RE: Cheap South @ 17 – CheapSouth –
    The best healthcare is in the US whether you like it or not and definitely not in Europe. The biggest breakthroughs happen in the US in healthcare and are then copied in Europe.

    The access to healthcare is better in Europe than in the US. But it comes AT A BIG PRICE! Employers have to pay more taxes. So people who work hard to produce sthg have to pay more taxes. Is that fair? General population gets free health care at the expense of people who run businesses and start businesses. Most people think this is okay because if you earn 10 million dollars you can pay 60% tax on this and you will still have 4 million to yourself. But they forget how hard it is to earn the 10 million and what risks you need to take.

    Healthcare is state managed in Europe. As such if you have cancer – good luck! You will be waiting in line. Waiting. Hoping it does not eat you. Bureaucracy will eat you alive.

    Education is again the best in the US and not in Europe. What universities can compete with Harvard or MIT? But in Europe education is more affordable. Again this comes at a big expense. Places like Princeton need a lot of money to be able to attract top talent and do cutting edge research. This money could be distributed to average Americans to help them pay for college. Instead we choose to do cutting edge research to be the top of the top in the world.

    The fact that the US pursued free market policies created such a wealthy economy. Europe because of socialist policies does not have this edge and is poorer overall and weaker. As such it is a worse place to live.

    Probably the only thing the US could do is to slightly scale back on military spending to give more benefits to average Americans. Average Americans do not see any benefits from bombing new countries. But you have to be careful with this. You have a lot of rogue states and crazy countries out there. Places like North Korea, Iran are unpredictable at best. So the best thing you can do is to make sure you can respond if push comes to shove. So you still need to invest in building the top army in the world. Ideally we could all disarm BUT ONLY if everybody is stable. I don’t think all the countries are stable. And even Western countries like Germany were building concentration camps and creating soap out of people not long ago.

    When you move to another country and you do not speak Spanish this is a bummer. Learning a new language is a drag and if you do not have to – why bother?

  20. 20
    gitano says:

    RE: Trigger @ 19
    You need to read a little bit more. The students who can’t get into Indian Institute of Technology get a full ride to MIT, Stanford and the medical care is much better than and half the cost of US. That is if you have US dollars!!

  21. 21
    gitano says:

    Seattle is so overrated! There are so many great places to live in the world and if I remember right Ecuador was voted the best country to retire to.

  22. 22

    I just wish $1,000,000 was enough money to go off an live on some remote island.

  23. 23
    David Losh says:

    The island is probably a better investment for quality of life. The house on Nob Hill not so much. It would cost more to maintain the island with very little upside, but it would be a good use of your time.

    Nob Hill housing for a million dollars is a bother, the same as the WAMU house selling for it’s price, and the $11.5 million dollar house in Laurelhurst.

    When you start talking about unstable there is something about the Real Estate market that should be examined. We are talking about residential Real Estate selling for millions of dollars. There is some commercial use from entertaining, and having the correct address, but residential housing is also a drain on resources. The money comes out of your spending, your living expenses. At some point that must be a huge drain on the economy.

  24. 24
    Racket says:

    “The students who can’t get into Indian Institute of Technology get a full ride to MIT, Stanford ”

    That could be because Indian Institute doesn’t have any quotas to fill, or the funding is less. It doesn’t mean that it’s a better school.

    Schools like MIT and Berkley will find money for talented individuals.

  25. 25
    Trigger says:

    RE: gitano @ 20RE: Trigger @ 19 – You are right on. The competition is building up from emerging economies like India. The best way to counteract this mess is through brain drain. Lots of countries are disfunctional and cannot take advantage of the talent that they have. So you need to be able to take this talent and get this talent to build a strong country. This is also fair game. Places like Mexico will say this is an unfriendly practice but this is only allowing all people in the world to excel at what they want. Places like Harvard should be winning 1-2 Nobel Prizes per year.

    At least the US does not have to worry about Europe. They are taxing the hell out of their top people – no worries there.

  26. 26
    Ray Pepper says:

    Forget the Island! Too many dropped calls and I bet internet access stinks. I also don’t see any Claim Jumper there.

  27. 27

    By Ray Pepper @ 26:

    Forget the Island! Too many dropped calls and I bet internet access stinks. I also don’t see any Claim Jumper there.

    No , no Claim Jumper in Chile. You don’t need to go south of the border to get intestinal distress.

  28. 28

    RE: Trigger @ 6

    Tell That To the Minions of Unemployed College Educated in America and Seattle

    That can’t find work [and many aren’t tracked by unemployment], or IMO, MSFT doesn’t want to pay a living salary so won’t hire ’em?

  29. 29

    RE: softwarengineer @ 28

    Even the Democrats Running for Office Are Wising Up

    A good way to lose your job during high unemployment of American college educated to a Republican is support H-1Bs….LOL

    Now, add in health care with too much socialism.

  30. 30
    WestSideBilly says:

    I smell a troll. Or a myopic and racist byproduct of American public education and Fox News.

    By HappyRenter @ 13:

    By Trigger @ 4:

    RE: Trigger @ 1 – Oh. And even Europe is a worse place than the US.

    The US has the highest criminality rate among western countries. Also, the US is the only western country to still have the death penalty and the two go together: high criminality rate and having the death penalty. Europe is a safer place and has a much higher quality of life. Add to that the HUGE amount of debt college graduates have in the US and it all points to a broken social system which in turn leads to criminality (and the public opinion wanting to keep the death penalty). The US might be the wealthiest country but that wealth is definitely not equally distributed.

    Your causation is wrong. The last sentence in this paragraph is the driver; there is an immense amount of wealth in this country but there is a large segment that has been excluded from that prosperity. Relative poverty creates criminals.

    A big part of the reason we have so many “criminals” is that we incarcerate everyone. Minor drug possession isn’t a crime in most of Europe; here it accounts for 1/5 of our prison population. We also incarcerate a disproportionate number of minors and non-violent offenders. The U.S. is just starting to try rehab programs; most European nations have been using them for a long time. And of course, once incarcerated, our secondary punishment system kicks in and ensures that populace has almost zero chance at having a normal life once they’re out. Try applying for a few jobs, check the box that asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, and see how you do. Getting caught with an ounce of weed can turn into a lifetime punishment and create a lifetime criminal.

    Student debt, corporal punishment (a lot of countries use corporal punishment with much lower requirements)… these things do not cause crime.

  31. 31
    WestSideBilly says:

    Tim, a better comparison might be a British Columbia island.

    http://www.privateislandsonline.com/bute-island.htm

    Obviously not as big or nice, but you get first world perks with having your own island. I’m guessing the taxes are a wee bit higher.

  32. 32
    Tim McB says:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 31

    Or heck why not compare apples to apples ala Washington State style. Here’s an island down near Gig Harbor for 1.3 m.

    http://www.privateislandsonline.com/tanglewood.htm

    If comparing these two I’d take the island in a heart beat. If comparing the Chilean Island with the Seattle Craftsman I’d take the Seattle Craftsman hands down. You know the whole work/family/friends thing. Though I will admit it would be pretty cool to brag about owning a Chilean Island; just not as a primary residence. I might end up doing a good impersionation of Tom Hanks and the volleyball in Cast Away otherwise.

  33. 33
    The Tim says:

    By Trigger @ 1:

    Chile is a developing country. As such there is a good chance it is unstable. It might have laws which do not make sense. And in the future those laws will turn against you.

    Wow, stereotype much? So basically in Trigger world any country that isn’t USA, Canada, or in Western Europe is a dangerous risk worthy of fear?

  34. 34
    Tyler says:

    RE: gitano @ 20

    This is not accurate. The Indians who come to study at MIT et al. on scholarships are mostly grad students, and have already gone through their undergraduate program at an Indian (or other foreign) university. Foreign students very rarely get scholarship money from an undergraduate program in the US that competes directly with American students. Those scholarships are targeted at countries or regions and they only compete with the local talent.

    When talking about quality of education, a distinction needs to be made between undergraduate and research-based programs.

  35. 35
    mukoh says:

    People don’t go to Chile to live. They go there to die. End of story

  36. 36
    deejayoh says:

    has anyone on this thread ever been to Chile?

  37. 37
    patient says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 36 – Didn’t you go snowboarding last year?

  38. 38
    Trigger says:

    RE: The Tim @ 33 – You are right The Tim. I have not researched Chile extensively. But just by looking at other developing countries – I drew the conclusion. And maybe this was entirely unjust.

    But in most instances this is correct. There are generally reasons why a given country is not yet developed. I am not sure why this happened with Chile but their GDP per capita according to CIA Factbook is 14.9K https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ci.html

    Maybe Chile will become a shining star. But also when there is poverty usually things do not work or appear to work and then don’t really work. So even if Chile is doing things right the population might have suffered a lot and as such will make the wrong decisions when electing the govt and then the govt might screw you on that island. Or the govt might screw your business in Chile etc. Otherwise if the developing world was so hot – why bother having MSFT headquaters in Redmond when you could have them set in Hyderabad or Beijing or somewhere even more exotic like Russia. I am sure also that people in Chile deserve a lot of respect and there are a lot of nice and talented people etc. But I would definitely take into account the shortcomings of developing nations.

  39. 39
    mukoh says:

    Tim are you censoring posts now to be as PC as possible with the current political environment?

    It sounds beautifull, Chile is great. Try to check into any hospital in South America with a compound arm fracture. Then you will be calling a charter headed for US within minutes.

  40. 40
    The Tim says:

    By mukoh @ 39:

    Tim are you censoring posts now to be as PC as possible with the current political environment?

    I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.

  41. 41
    Trigger says:

    Also the only time that I have learned about a 3rd world country or what we call developing country to become really developed is Ireland and maybe Spain. And even Ireland did it because of European Union. Part of the package of being in EU is you have to respect EU laws especially tied to tax laws and how you do business. As such EU laws trump local laws. So even if the local population makes a wrong decision – the govt cannot break too many things. On top of this people living in those countries get free labor movement and they can work and study anywhere in Europe. As such people can learn what is right and what is wrong. On top of that countries admitted to EU get a bailout package and EU helps build infrastructure like roads.

    This is really evident with the striking differences in Eastern Europe. Some countries like Poland and Czech were admitted to EU and others like Russia or Ukraine have not. Corruption in countries like Russia is just on a rampage and their economy is based on selling natural resources. People get killed in murky circumstances. You have business people sent to Siberia if they disagree with the govt etc.

    And then in countries like Poland or Czech – roads are being built, there is less corruption although it is still higher than in Western Europe, citizens of those countries can see how economies in the West do work, those countries had to to implement EU laws and probably those countries have a chance to join the Western Club in 10-20 years time. I seriously doubt that Poland or Czech will be 3rd world countries in 10-20 years time but I am not sure about this when it comes to Russia or Ukraine.

    Given what I know about Europe itself – I find it hard to believe that a nation can just become a Western nation without any help from outside.

  42. 42
    Scotsman says:

    Of the two I’d take the island- Chile is better than most here realize, they have cruising grounds similar to our San Juans, and there’s a business opportunity of some sort associated with that island.

    But… There are a lot of much better values all over the U.S. for that kind of money, you just have to get away from Seattle. Heck, you could probably get 2 or 3 decent homes in a variety of climates for that money.

  43. 43
    patient says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 42 – “Chile is better than most here realize”. I agree, we have an office in Santiago it’s one of our more popular locations and the expat turnover is very low. Unfortunately I have not visited myself yet.

  44. 44
    deejayoh says:

    By patient @ 37:

    RE: deejayoh @ 36 – Didn’t you go snowboarding last year?

    Yep. My experience was that it’s a pretty modern country. Still south america, but entirely livable for the average american. most people speak english. and the healthcare system is just fine.
    This survey has it ranked dead even with Sweden as a place to live
    http://www1.internationalliving.com/qofl2010/index.php

    Most americans are totally ignorant about south america.

  45. 45
    The Tim says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 44 – If it’s not the USA it’s obviously a crumbling backwater hellhole.

  46. 46
    anonymous says:

    FYI, the World Health Organization has ranked countries by health care systems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHO%27s_ranking_of_health_care_systems

    Chili came in with the 33rd best health care system in the world, while the USA ranked 37th.
    If I count right the USA had the 6th best health care ranking in the Americas.

  47. 47
    HappyRenter says:

    By Trigger @ 19:

    RE: Cheap South @ 17 – CheapSouth –
    The best healthcare is in the US whether you like it or not and definitely not in Europe. The biggest breakthroughs happen in the US in healthcare and are then copied in Europe.

    At a much lower price.

    Education is again the best in the US and not in Europe. What universities can compete
    with Harvard or MIT?

    ETH in Zurich, EPFL in Lausanne, Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, La Sapienza in Rome, Max Planck Institute in Germany, Cambridge, Oxford, … do you need more?

    Places like Princeton need a lot of money to be able to attract top talent and do cutting
    edge research.

    They need a lot of money because they are set up inefficiently. I give you an example: I’m a researcher at the UW. In my office they had to replace my desk. It costed 600$ charged on a federal grant to do that. I told them I would get a similar desk at Office Depot for 100$. No way. Forbidden. Every office must look the same and the furniture has to be bought from a specific company. Everything is expensive around campus because they hire companies to do everything and these companies have the monopoly and can charge whatever they want.

    Another example: Healthcare. You go to the pharmacy with a prescription. It takes in the US 20-30 min. to get your medicine because they have to go and check whether your provider covers the drug and how much you have to pay out of pocket. In Europe, they give you your medicine right away. The US has a lot more administrative layers to go through. That makes everything slow. Healthcare is only one example.

    Healthcare in the US is the most expensive in the world, not because it’s the best but because it’s the most inefficient.

    True, there is a lot of money spent in biomedical research in the US but then there is very little spent in water and air quality research. European countries are leading in those areas.

    You have a lot of rogue states and crazy countries out there. Places like North Korea, Iran are unpredictable at best.

    Unfortunately, the latest US led wars have not made the planet a safer place (in my opinion).

  48. 48
    WaDOc says:

    RE: Trigger @ 19

    You have no idea how good the health care in Europe is, or how bad ours is getting, For what it’s worth, i’m a doctor and see it every day…

  49. 49
    fabuladocet says:

    I saw a documentary a while back about a place like this one in Chile. It looked great, but then it turned out to be infested with velociraptors and almost everyone ended up dying violent, ironic deaths.

    Queen Anne is closer to downtown Seattle, anyway. Which is why I’m closing on a place there now… Can I still come to Seattle Bubble now that I’ve made the jump from renting to buying?

  50. 50
    The Tim says:

    By fabuladocet @ 49:

    I saw a documentary about a place like this once. It looked great, but then it turned out to be infested with velociraptors and almost everyone died.

    I declare fabuladocet to be the winner of this thread.

  51. 51
    mukoh says:

    RE: WaDOc @ 48 – I love europe. Would love it more if it wasn’t for RE being priced through the roof, $10 cup of coffee, $10 bottle of water, and $21 vodka tonic and oh the 57% tax rate that I could live without.

  52. 52
    WestSideBilly says:

    Can’t compete against velociraptors. Smart, fast, vicious.

  53. 53
    HappyRenter says:

    RE: The Tim @ 50

    Tim, why are you considering property in Chile? Did you get tired of us?

  54. 54
  55. 55
    HappyRenter says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 54

    I’m definitely moving to Chile and read Tim’s blog on ChileBubble.cl :=)

  56. 56
    anon says:

    By anonymous @ 46:

    FYI, the World Health Organization has ranked countries by health care systems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHO%27s_ranking_of_health_care_systems

    Chili came in with the 33rd best health care system in the world, while the USA ranked 37th.
    If I count right the USA had the 6th best health care ranking in the Americas.

    And the WHO is entirely unbiased…

  57. 57
    deejayoh says:

    By The Tim @ 50:

    By fabuladocet @ 49:

    I saw a documentary about a place like this once. It looked great, but then it turned out to be infested with velociraptors and almost everyone died.

    I declare fabuladocet to be the winner of this thread.

    +1

  58. 58
    David Losh says:

    Is Trigger the one who says chill out, go hiking?

  59. 59
    The Tim says:

    RE: HappyRenter @ 53 – I’m not seriously considering it. Note that this is posted under “humor.” I just find it sad how some people will immediately disparage the quality of life in other countries that they really know nothing about.

  60. 60
    Scotsman says:

    RE: fabuladocet @ 49

    Ain’t that the truth- nasty vermin!

    If you’re going to try a trap, make sure it’s chained down to something really solid.

    Early Barbara Streisand music has been known to drive them away.

  61. 61
    Yaj says:

    Anyone who thinks that the WHO rankings are objective measures of clinical efficacy has never read the study. Subjective assesments of equity – yes. Clinical efficacy – no.

    I mean, I personally don’t care whether or not the care I’m getting is effective so long as what everyone else is getting is just as bad….

    And please spare me the rebuttal with the life-expectancy/infant mortality stats. What constitutes a live birth differs massively from one nation to the next, and the US registers the live births of thousands of premature babies that are too young, small, and light to even make it onto the data-set as live births elsewhere. Once you control for things that happen to people, people do to themselves, or do to one another that no doctor or hospital can do a thing about – like drownings, homicides, etc, etc, etc the US actually has the highest life expectancy in the OECD.

  62. 62
    David Losh says:

    RE: The Tim @ 40

    There’s a delay in comments. It may be if multiple comments come in, or you have to approve them.

  63. 63
    David Losh says:

    RE: Yaj @ 61

    Spare me the health care debate, it’s all about money, equipment, and patents. The United States health care system is profit based.

    In terms of quality of life and death the United States is one of the best places, because we have choices other countries just don’t have.

    The post is about property, the way I read it. Then we had some of the most ridiculous comments about life outside of the United States.

    We top it off with the winner being some one who bought a house on Queen Ann, in today’s market, because they saw a movie that told them it’s scary out there.

    It’s scary some one bought a house on Queen Ann in a really, really hot market. I know it’s really hot because my Real Estate agent told me so.

    If you wait, if you kill the deal you have on the table, you will save thousands, mabe a hundred thousand, or more, by waiting just a little while longer.

  64. 64
    MooseGH says:

    By Tim McB @ 32:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 31

    Or heck why not compare apples to apples ala Washington State style. Here’s an island down near Gig Harbor for 1.3 m.

    http://www.privateislandsonline.com/tanglewood.htm

    So funny. When I moved to Gig Harbor in 2000, for sale was a 1/4 share of this same island (the share offered in the ad is also 1/4 share) for 250k. I looked and at the time thought “gee, that’s an aweful lot for an island with no bridge access for a daily commuter” LOL!! Silly me then bought a regular house which was conservatively within my price range. Sigh, I’ll have to be content with probably less than 50% appreciation as opposed to the 500% I “could have had” on the island LOL!

    BTW, as I recall the “clubhouse” stated in the ad is actually an old boys camp building or something which was condemned. I drive past it in my boat every summer, and if it’s not still condemned now, it should be….

  65. 65
    One Eyed Man says:

    I don’t have anything bad to say about South America. I’ve only got one relative who moved there and he’s never come back. But then again, they never found his body so he pretty much had to stay.

    One of the family businesses was mining and he’d gone down to prospect for gold. It was the 1950’s and he was flying around in small planes so its not hard to see why they wouldn’t ever find him. Heck, I’ve got a college buddy who left for Reno in a small plane in the late 1970’s with 3 other guys and no one’s ever seen any of them since either.

    Before my dad’s cousin left for South America he tried to get relatives to invest in the venture. When he asked my grandmother (his aunt) if she’d like to invest, she said that if she did, she’d invest with Lloyd’s of London. Ironically, her’s was the only investment that would have paid off.

    As for Chile, it’s pretty nice from what my friends who’ve been there say. And hey, we haven’t had to de-stabilize a government there for over 35 years. And unlike Iran where we backed a dictator who ended up the loser, I think they like us. But then again, they got to keep the copper mines that had been owned by US companies before Allende(?) nationalized them without having to pay for them.

    I know, I’m old and times have changed. Lot’s of people have great vacation places in Viet Nam and Nicaragua now too.

    As for all those great schools in foreign countries, its true, there are a lot of great schools around the world. But according to dozens of foreign nationals who worked for Microsoft that I did legal work for, in general, almost all of them said education is better in the US once you’re at the university level. And according to a Boeing executive I know who spent a month in India evaluating the talent, of the approx. 500K engineering and computer science grads from their universities each year (about 7 times the number of US grads), only a few percent would meet the criteria for hiring by Boeing vs a much higher percentage for US grads.

    As to where to how far you have to go to find great waterfront at a great price, one of my friends found one of Ray’s GEM’s last spring. I still don’t believe he got this deal: 2500 sq ft, furnished, waterfront log home on North Pender Island, with 2 story true river rock fireplace in the great room facing west toward Vancouver Island on a private lot with lots of trees, situated about 30 ft from the waters edge with an unblocked 180 degree view for $430K US. It’s hard to find a decent Ballard shit box for that price.

  66. 66
    zippygc says:

    Paying more than 600K for most buyers includes a hidden but agreed premium — you are buying (selecting) your neighbors, who in turn are buying you.

    The island is absurd without considering where you are docking from and buying items from. Likely not million dollar affinity neighbors.

    I live (happily) in a mixed, fairly high crime neighborhood, but came from Mercer Is. — yes, your neighbors matter, especially the more money you have. Saving a ton here will eventually get me to the point of being selective, of willingly paying a premium, for neighbors I desire.

    The natural bias of class mobility puts few million dollar homes next to 150K abodes, especially in the suburbs of any city.

  67. 67
    AMS says:

    RE: zippygc @ 66 – “Paying more than 600K for most buyers includes a hidden but agreed premium — you are buying (selecting) your neighbors, who in turn are buying you.”

    An association of some sort? When those in an association go bankrupt, the bailout comes from those who are solvent.

    In any event, if the number of buyers drys up in that 600k+ price range, which I expect, we’ll find out just how much that hidden premium really is worth. Maybe your “hidden but agreed premium” theory is why the property taxes are so high in Marin county?

  68. 68
    pmseatac says:

    RE: Trigger @ 1
    I am posting this right now from Santiago, Chile, where I am visiting and where my wife is from.
    The property appears to be in or around the Gulf of Ancud near Puerto Montt, which has a climate very similar to Seattle’s ( look at a map and you’ll see why ), perhaps a little more cool and rainy. Chile is very stable and the laws are more simpler and more transparent than in the US. Also government in general, both national and local, is far less corrupt than in the US, especially when it comes to the police. The economic policy promotes the development of business in general, as opposed to the US policy of looting the populace for the sole advantage of a few gargantuan banks that contribute less than nothing to the overall economy. The country has developed rapidly during the last twenty years and the infrastructure is new and in very good condition.
    I would feel more comfortable living in Seattle ( which I already do ). To live on your own island here, you would have to be very rich, more so than you would in the US. Getting to the island would be a problem without your own boat. Areas in the south of Chile can be very remote, and if you had an emergency it might be a long time before you could get help. For a person who doesn’t speak Spanish, it is very difficult to communicate since very few people speak English, especially in the far south. Also the accent is peculiar and difficult to understand for someone who speaks school Spanish. While the main highways are in pristine condition, side roads are very rough. Unlike most countries in South America, the cost of living here is high, similar to the US.

  69. 69
    pmseatac says:

    RE: pmseatac @ 68 – eek! “more simpler” = “more simple”.

  70. 70
    Researcher says:

    Quality of life is more than simply health care and material possessions. It’s about happiness and purpose. When I visit Mexico for several weeks at a time each year, the one thing that always stands out in my mind is how happy the people are. Sure, some cities there have more introverted people (Oaxaca City comes to mind), but overall the people in Mexico are much more family-oriented, multi-generational in the home (seniors aren’t having to worry about a bankrupt govt taking care of them), they respect their elders, and people seem to have their priorities straight by focusing more on integration with their culture, than making money on the corporate hamster wheel. Y

    es, there is poverty in Mexico, but even the people I have meet who have a dirt floor and no shoes always have a smile on their face, and seem to quietly and humbly make due with what is in front of them — with dignity. No sense of self-righteousness whatsoever. They seem to have a greater connection to reality and how fragile life really is. I don’t hear any of them lamenting about how they can’t afford healthcare or a flat screen TV.

    In essence — life is what you make it. Quality is not in the longevity or the homogeneity or the sterility. It’s in the connection to what is around you, and to your family and community. That is what makes life better.

  71. 71
    Tim McB says:

    RE: MooseGH @ 64

    MooseGH,

    Yeah, I saw that it was a multi parcel island after I clicked submit. 500% apprecation sounds great but of course they have to sell it at that price not just list it. As for the commute, since we’re living in the land of the hypothetical I would assume if I had 1.3 m to spend on an island I would have enough to buy a sweet boat to shuttle me back and forth. At worst my wife and I have a kayak we could paddle to and fro but I think she’d veto that idea. My point was that one needn’t look overseas to find a similar comp (though its technically not since its a multi parcel island.)

  72. 72
    Peckhammer says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 44

    I recently posted a series of interviews I did with a Seattle Chiropractor who sold almost everything he owned to spend the next 5 years traveling the globe via motorcycle. He’s been in South America for some time now, and has pretty nice things to say about it, which largely parallel your comments (as long as you are in the big cities). Here are links for anyone interested in learning more:

    http://www.mikesglobaladventure.info (interviews)
    http://www.mikesglobaladventure.com (Mike’s on-going travel blog)

  73. 73
    Dan Ramirez says:

    I’ve been to China, both rural and urban. They don’t arbitrarily execute people. The people don’t have our level of freedom, but they’re much more free than they used to be. Give it time.

    RE: Trigger @ 1

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