Mid-Week Open Thread (2010-05-19)

Here is your open thread for the mid-week on May 19th, 2010. 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.

53 comments:

  1. 1
    BillE says:

    First time I’ve seen this in a listing.
    “Seller may not be able to convey possession at closing.”
    Surely there’s a good reason and it can be overcome. It just sounds bad.
    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Snohomish/1115-145th-Ave-SE-98290/home/2567621

  2. 2
    Herman says:

    I’d like to get started as an RE agent, but just informal and part-time. Can someone help me figure out what the process and fees are?

    It looks like you need to take a course and pass a test before the rules change on July 1st. That part will cost ~$500.

    But then things get hazy. It looks like I’d then have to affiliate with a broker. There may be some fees and things to register for there (MLS? Lock Box fees? Background check?). Are there any brokers out there who would let me sign up, given my intent to work only infrequently?

  3. 3
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: BillE @ 1 – Looks to me like they have not evicted the current occupants yet. Probably backlogged.

  4. 4

    RE: Herman @ 2 – I would recommend the Rockwell course on-line. It’s convenient and prepares you well.

    It shouldn’t be too hard to find a broker that would let you join (surprisingly easy considering that they have to pay L&I worker’s comp for each agent), but I would suggest one that has some sort of mentoring program. The costs of associating with such a brokerage can be relatively low–under $100 a month. But many such firms require that you join NAR, WR, SCKAR (roughly $600 a year) and there’s also the NWMLS fee (roughly $180 for 6 months).

  5. 5
    Masaba says:

    The active listings tracker is now over 11,000. Intuitively, there is good reason to believe that this number is valid. It is highly conceivable that sales volume plummeted after the tax credit expired while at the same time the recent headlines about the market picking up are causing many sellers to think now is the right time to get into the market. However, I have also heard that NWMLS changed their system recently and that this is the reason for the increase in active listings. Does anyone have a more definitive word on the accuracy of the active listings?

  6. 6

    RE: Masaba @ 5 – Unfortunately the NWMLS hasn’t added the statistics function to Matrix yet, and I can’t do anything over 500 listings. But the last time I did a search looking at the net change in a week (searching for new actives and subtracting new canceled, pendings, etc.) it did seem like the listing tracker type data was off.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 Are you an independent broker, Kary? I’ve always wondered.

  9. 9

    Dino Rossi profiting from foreclosures?

    http://horsesass.org/?p=27079

  10. 10
    The Tim says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 9 – Hah, I saw that on OregonLive (weird place for it) yesterday. It is hilarious to me how much Goldy loves to hate Dino Rossi, even when Rossi isn’t even running for anything! I guess everybody needs a hobby.

    The claim of “consistent 50% YOY returns” sounds pretty unlikely to me, but otherwise I don’t see why this would be a problem. Is it somehow inherently evil to try to make a profit off foreclosures?

  11. 11

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    Based on All the Closed Down Realtor Businesses I See in the Seattle Area

    I’d also have a backup job, something like the starving artist or new stage actor needs, so they can eat and pay the rent too.

  12. 12

    RE: wreckingbull @ 3

    Yes, Tennant Rights Out Number Landlord Rights

    I do hope the buyer got a sweetheart deal too, but if the tennants stay and tear the place apart, the seller’s gonna have to relist lower.

  13. 13

    RE: The Tim @ 10

    1.There’s nothing inherently evil about trying to make a profit from foreclosures. But folks in the real estate industry are often seen as less than honest, glorified used car salesmen. Dino Rossi is in the real estate business. I wouldn’t not vote for someone just because they were in the real estate business, but a lot of people would have a healthy wariness.

    2. I’d bet cash money than Dino Rossi takes on Patty Murray. Or a lunch at The Claim Jumper:)

  14. 14
    The Tim says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 13:

    I’d bet cash money than Dino Rossi takes on Patty Murray. Or a lunch at The Claim Jumper :)

    I’m not gonna take that bet, but I sure hope not. How sad for the WSRP if the best candidate they can come up with is a guy who has failed two times in a row to win a statewide race.

  15. 15

    RE: Herman @ 2
    I’ll elaborate a bit on what Kary said. Many brokers would be happy to have you affiliate with them. With some of the more well known brokerages, they will provide you with mentoring/training, and will expect you to produce as a result. With those, until you achieve a certain amount of sales, they will split the commission with you 50/50…( The John L Scotts, Windermere’s. etc) Some of them require you to do a bit of telemarketing. And they fire agents who don’t cut it.

    Then there are the desk fee agencies like Skyline Properties, where you pay them every month and you keep a larger percentage of the commission( from 70%-100%, depending on how much you pay them, usually between 70-200 per month. They provide some classes, but not to the extent the JLScotts or Windermere’s do.

    Then there are tiny no frills brokerages like Better Properties.I work for them. I keep a larger percentage of the commission, but they just have crummy little offices, and most of their agents work exclusively from home.

    Then there’s discount brokerages like Redfin or 500 Realty. Redfin actually pays their agents an hourly wage, but they don’t hire newbies.
    Renting an MLS Supra key costs about 12 dollars per month, and subscribing to the MLS is about another 30. Some of the smaller shops make you pay for some of your own L&I insurance ( I think I pay about 8 dollars per month).
    In addition to the required real estate class, you also have to pay to take the test, which is about 175? dollars.
    Most community colleges offer the basic class, North Seattle has a full array.

  16. 16
    Pegasus says:

    Tim @ 10

    Even Madoff wasn’t stupid enough to claim compounding at 50 percent a year returns and we now know how that worked out. Maybe Dino can jack those returns to 250 percent by employing leverage? I wonder if they will be throwing around the word “guaranteed” at their presentation?

  17. 17
    Flotown says:

    The dems are getting really sloppy in their monopolistic position. Id’ kill for a Dan Evans-esque centrist to take on Murray. Someone who has some environmental cred, embraces key urban investment issues like transit investment and urban infill development, and at the same time has a reasoned fiscal discipline absent the typical Dem’s cancerous ties to unions. Oh, and throw the social wedge issues on the back burner too.

  18. 18

    By The Tim @ 14:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 13:

    I’d bet cash money than Dino Rossi takes on Patty Murray. Or a lunch at The Claim Jumper :)

    I’m not gonna take that bet, but I sure hope not. How sad for the WSRP if the best candidate they can come up with is a guy who has failed two times in a row to win a statewide race.

    I’m not sure that Rossi will even get the GOP nomination. Just that he’s going to go for it. But the GOP has changed. I may ardently disagree with the Tea Partiers, but it’s fun to see annointed party candidates get taken down. Wouldn’t surprise me to see a Tea Party supported candidate for Governor at least prevent Rossi from getting it…..But I also don’t see Patty Murray as all that vulnerable. There’s a general dislike of most politicians of both parties, but Patty doesn’t come off as quite the hack as some of her counterparts. She’ll get re-elected. You read it here first.

  19. 19

    By Hugh Dominic @ 8:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 Are you an independent broker, Kary? I’ve always wondered.

    I’m not even a broker–under current law. I’m an agent with Keller Williams SE Sound (Renton).

    The idea of being an independent broker has a bit of appeal, but the record keeping requirements of the DOL would keep me from doing that.

  20. 20

    By softwarengineer @ 11:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    Based on All the Closed Down Realtor Businesses I See in the Seattle Area

    I’d also have a backup job, something like the starving artist or new stage actor needs, so they can eat and pay the rent too.

    No matter what the market, becoming a real estate agent isn’t something that you should do unless you can bankroll it for quite some time or start part time and continue working elsewhere.

  21. 21
    Pegasus says:

    Ira @ 18
    Patty Murray is Bozo the Clown times ten. Talk about a useless and incompetent Senator who has done nothing for Washington State other than assist in destruction of the state. You may be right about her re-election though. Washington State voters are not real bright.

    “But I also don’t see Patty Murray as all that vulnerable. There’s a general dislike of most politicians of both parties, but Patty doesn’t come off as quite the hack as some of her counterparts. She’ll get re-elected. You read it here first.”

  22. 22

    RE: Pegasus @ 21 – I wish it was Cant(doanything)well up for election this time. I’m not a Murray fan by any means, but Cantwell is worse than useless IMHO.

  23. 23
    Pegasus says:

    Kary.
    Cantwell after being useless for many years is at least stepping into the Senate fights these days. She still has a long way to go but Patty has done absolutely nothing for longer and does not have the intelligence to form her own opinion about anything. She should wear a dunce hat when on the Senate floor.

  24. 24
    Scotsman says:

    One out of fourteen mortgages in WA is seriously delinquent? Let the “recovery” roll on:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pMscxxELHEg/S_Q9oBgao_I/AAAAAAAAIUk/4s6uoA2KZhY/s1600/MBAQ1State

    “the largest category of delinquent loans are fixed rate prime loans”

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Get Yer Paper says:

    By Pegasus @ 21:

    Ira @ 18
    Patty Murray is Bozo the Clown times ten. Talk about a useless and incompetent Senator who has done nothing for Washington State other than assist in destruction of the state. You may be right about her re-election though. Washington State voters are not real bright.

    “But I also donâ��t see Patty Murray as all that vulnerable. Thereâ��s a general dislike of most politicians of both parties, but Patty doesnâ��t come off as quite the hack as some of her counterparts. Sheâ��ll get re-elected. You read it here first.”

    “Washington State voters are not real bright.” Agreed.

    As demonstrated by individuals who haven’t aligned themselves with the pro-Constitution movement, yet. Not sure what a Tea Party is, as that is a media-created term for the long-standing Christian Patriot / Libertarian / Pro-Constitution / God-loving / John Birch movement. Not to be confused with white racists (as reported to you by our “trustworthy” media), the socialist Earth-goddess movement (aka fanatical Earth Nazis), or the China-hugging neocon communists (the dems and repubs comprise the last two groups, which have embraced each other and joined into a single shadow party, because their financial backers are the same exact people).

    Studies have shown time and again that when people record their beliefs on paper, invariably the vast majortiy of them are Christian Patriots / Libertarians. Yes, the media mouthpiece of the central bankers is in full attack mode for a reason.

  27. 27
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 25 – Thank you. That was a great essay. The final caption had me in stitches. Hopefully people will begin to realize that when they come here dumping a pile of Krugman, Bloomburg news wire, and Forbes articles, they are really doing more harm than good to their case.

  28. 28
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 25

    OK, I agree with the author who also misses all of the best points about the economy. If you are looking at the government, or your employer, or a Wal Mart, McDonalds, Exxon oil, or General Motors for the good news you’re already lost.

  29. 29
    TK says:

    When Dow was trading down to 666, I remembered one of my co-workers almost in tears talking about her retirement account. Everyone at work was bailing on their positions.

    For the last few months, I have friends that don’t follow the market advising me buy stocks. Uhmmmm …

  30. 30
    patient says:

    It’s going to be highly interresting to see how Germany acts. Are they going to bailout their financial institutions and risk going down the Greek path of sovreign ruin with civil unrest or will they let their financials ( and many other countires ) crash and burn or will they be able to come up with another plan? The ban on naked shorts is a good first attempt to do something different imo. Hopefully they will not choose the path of bancrupting the country in favour of the banks, I’d like to see a fresh approach that more favours the people.

  31. 31
    patient says:

    Just heard Barney Frank on cnbc. Seems like supporting the housing market is quickly falling out of favour. He know loudly proclaimed that he has always been against the push for home ownership and that they are now working on changing the support to be more for decent housing in form of rentals instead of ownership. Sounds to me like quite a change in tone and message.

  32. 32

    By patient @ 30:

    Sounds to me like quite a change in tone and message.

    That’s putting it very politely.

  33. 33

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 31

    They Just Want to Get Re-Elected IMO

    Even McCain [the American workers won’t pick lettuce for $50/hr politician], is reversing his politics and now acting like former Congressman Tancredo lately, to keep his Senate seat…..LOL

    IMO though, if we’re fools enough to re-elect them with their shady pasts, then we shouldn’t complain when they all go back to their corporist wiley ways, faster than “are the votes all counted”.

  34. 34
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 24:

    One out of fourteen mortgages in WA is seriously delinquent? Let the “recovery” roll on:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pMscxxELHEg/S_Q9oBgao_I/AAAAAAAAIUk/4s6uoA2KZhY/s1600/MBAQ1State

    “the largest category of delinquent loans are fixed rate prime loans”

    lagging.

    that is like saying at the top, delinquent loans are at record lows, some real estate crash going on!

  35. 35
    pfft says:

    the Euro is up today.

  36. 36
    patient says:

    By pfft @ 35:

    the Euro is up today.

    Yes, this must have been a good day for bulls like yourself.

  37. 37
    pfft says:

    By patient @ 36:

    By pfft @ 35:

    the Euro is up today.

    Yes, this must have been a good day for bulls like yourself.

    but now the futures are off by 3%. not good.

  38. 38
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 37

    Doesn’t mean a thing. Europe is dead- throw ’em in a box and bury it. USA to follow- sure, we’ll be the last man standing, but then we’re gone too.

    DOWn is off 350+ but I hear it’s a lagging indicator. No, wait, it doesn’t mean anything. Jeez, this is so confusing. What’s Cramer saying?

  39. 39
    Scotsman says:

    Here we go- this should help- another $200+B in deficit spending to buy those votes just before the November elections. I’m sure this will “jump start” that old economy!

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/20/democrats-ready-to-push-big-tax-and-spend-bill-before-memorial-day-recess/

  40. 40
    David Losh says:

    Scotsman, you got your wish today that Obama is on his way out of the White House. Calderon made the worst mistake of his political career, in front of our Congress no less, and Obama has done nothing for damage control.

    Attacking the Arizona Immigration Law was fine. I think a lot of people resent the fact that the ditsy governor would use illegal immigration to get attention. She also signed the ban on ethnic studies http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/arizona-ethnic-studies-cl_n_558731.html so she kind of showed herself as a racist, no big deal, it’s Arizona.

    Fine, he made a point, and could have gone home with his head held high.Then he starts in on drug violence, in his country, for which he blames the expiration of the assault weapons ban. Maybe he was following a liberal theme, but says 9 out of 10 weapons used against his armed forces come from the United States. He made the same claims with Obama in Mexico during their meeting last April.

    OK, let’s seal the border, problem solved. No more drugs coming into the United States, and no more illegal arms going into Mexico. Everybody’s happy, right?

  41. 41
    Daniel says:

    By pfft @ 34:

    that is like saying at the top, delinquent loans are at record lows, some real estate crash going on!

    Wow that comparison shows your intelligence level. Basic logic isn’t your strength, is it?

  42. 42
    Daniel says:

    By Scotsman @ 38:

    Doesn’t mean a thing. Europe is dead- throw ’em in a box and bury it. USA to follow- sure, we’ll be the last man standing, but then we’re gone too.

    Where do you get that from? All we see in some parts of Europe is the bank bailout that we already had in the US, in the UK, etc. It is not a bailout for Greece it is a bailout for German banks and insurances. This game will just swap back and forth. And if the system falls the one with a system closer to what is going to replace the old ways will be better off. Guess what: That won’t be the US.

  43. 43
    pfft says:

    By pfft @ 37:

    By patient @ 36:

    By pfft @ 35:

    the Euro is up today.

    Yes, this must have been a good day for bulls like yourself.

    but now the futures are off by 3%. not good.

    not sure I was right on that.

  44. 44
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 38:

    RE: pfft @ 37

    Doesn’t mean a thing. Europe is dead- throw ’em in a box and bury it. USA to follow- sure, we’ll be the last man standing, but then we’re gone too.

    DOWn is off 350+ but I hear it’s a lagging indicator. No, wait, it doesn’t mean anything. Jeez, this is so confusing. What’s Cramer saying?

    what about the last year? doesn’t matter?

  45. 45
    pfft says:

    By Daniel @ 41:

    By pfft @ 34:

    that is like saying at the top, delinquent loans are at record lows, some real estate crash going on!

    Wow that comparison shows your intelligence level. Basic logic isn’t your strength, is it?

    I don’t follow you so I guess so.

  46. 46
    David Losh says:

    RE: pfft @ 44

    No, last year doesn’t matter.

    Today, this week actually, was very telling. It really got rolling with Germany stopping short selling http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/business-news/german-shortsell-ban-sends-markets–tumbling-14813120.html
    Then you had the Dow reaction, and mortgage interest rates dropped a lot.

    Now you will have another bunch of idiots stepping up to refinance, and those purchase loans on over priced housing units will be looking really sweeeeeet.

    The global Real Estate market place is correcting. The United States Home Owner is walking away from over priced properties, living in fear, and buying gold, solid gold.

    The week started with Greece, but the big news tomorrow will be the Dow below 10,000.

    By the way Banking Reform Passed, so watch out for that reaction.

    No, last year was a Trillion Dollars of Government Money, this week it was the demise of the Euro after promising a Trillion Dollars they don’t have.

    A Trillion here, a Trillion there, and after a while you start talking about real money.

  47. 47
    Pegasus says:

    pfft @ all

    We await your turning bearish at 8000 after wipe out. ((((PANIC)))). You were bearish for 8 years while the market ran to 14000. Turned bullish after the market ran from 6600 to about 9000. Did you buy a house in 2006 or 2007? Try anticipating the future and not reacting to market extremes after the fact. Good luck grasshopper!

  48. 48
    pfft says:

    By Pegasus @ 47:

    pfft @ all

    We await your turning bearish at 8000 after wipe out. ((((PANIC)))). You were bearish for 8 years while the market ran to 14000. Turned bullish after the market ran from 6600 to about 9000. Did you buy a house in 2006 or 2007? Try anticipating the future and not reacting to market extremes after the fact. Good luck grasshopper!

    anticipating the future but not reacting to the market is a fool’s game. I’ve been there and done that and I’m never going back again.

    “Turned bullish after the market ran from 6600 to about 9000”

    not following you here.

    as for 8,000, I doubt we’ll get there. corrections like this are common. we’ll have to see how this plays out fundamentally and technically. 8,000 would be 20% more from here. that would be a lot.

  49. 49
    David Losh says:

    RE: pfft @ 48

    It took 80 years to hit 1000 and 20 years to hit 12000. In 1995 it was 4000 today it’s 10000. I think if you average it all out 8000 should be about normal for tomorrow.

    http://stockcharts.com/charts/historical/djia1900.html

  50. 50
    Pegasus says:

    pfft @ 48

    ““Turned bullish after the market ran from 6600 to about 9000″

    You said you turned bullish after being a bear for years and years. I think you said about June or July of 2009 which puts you in the 8500 to 9000 range for your buy point. That is why I think you will only turn bearish once you have lost your gains from 9000. You just gave away 1/2 of it in the last 2 weeks.

    Oh and you are a reactionary and not a forward visionary. Too bad. Are you the talking dog?

  51. 51
    Scotsman says:

    Japan is dead. I can’t believe this- a government with a national debt of 200% of GNP thinks it’s going to “fight deflation and spur recovery” by offering loans to banks at one tenth of one percent interest. Take a look folks- this is the last act of desperation for an economy that is about to implode. Since we are following the same line of reasoning/action the U.S. can’t be far behind.

    So Pfft- do you think this will work? Please compare and contrast with special attention to the long term and short term consequences.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aOPYQf1jiTOk&pos=3

  52. 52
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 48

    Who is this guy, “Roubini?” He says 20% down is about right. I think he’s a crazy optimist.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/37259541

  53. 53
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 52:

    RE: pfft @ 48

    Who is this guy, “Roubini?” He says 20% down is about right. I think he’s a crazy optimist.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/37259541

    did you enjoy reflation friday? did you have enough money to take the bus home?

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