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
    AndySeattle says:

    You forgot: Other, while crying because inventories are so low that nothing that I really want is out there.

  2. 2
    Ron says:

    I find the amount of construction around Seattle to be shocking. It is as though every single project that was put on hold after the crash is up and running now.


  3. 3
    wreckingbull says:

    Tim, I think you missed a viable option to the poll, and that is by driving around. There are times that approaching someone about selling their non-listed property can be a good technique. It is usually a long shot, but the payoff can be good.

  4. 4
    mike says:

    As good as the RedFin iPad app is, the website has more features and is easier to use. Same could be said of most apps…

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Ron @ 2 – Yes. Out Sammamish way, long dormant developments re-animated a few years back, and new ones were rushed to completion.

  7. 7
    Jay says:

    How do you approach someone? What is the technique?RE: wreckingbull @ 3

  8. 8
    Erik says:

    RE: mike @ 5
    “As supply and demand are brought back into balance bidding wars will ease and price gains will moderate.”

    Kinda what I was thinking. I don’t think prices or affordability for that matter will ever be as good as it was in 2011/2012.

  9. 9
    Matthew says:

    ….in the nude.

  10. 10
    Kyle says:

    RE: Ron @ 2

    Home construction in my neck of the woods (Ballard) sure seems to be booming right now. Aside from the big apartment projects, seemingly every fifth house in Loyal Heights (below 65th) will soon be a new townhouse. Not uncommon to see 2-3 projects going on in the same block.

  11. 11
    Jay says:

    RE: Erik @ 8 – How long do you need to live in your primary residence for not paying the capitol gain tax? Thanks!

  12. 12
    Judy B says:

    RE: Jay @ 7
    Jay, I’m a buyer not an agent. I approach people in their yards, send letters, any way that I think might work since I am looking for a very specific type of property. I tell everyone I know to let their friends know that I am looking.
    I also have an agent farming.

  13. 13
    erik says:

    RE: Jay @ 11
    2 years in the last 5 years. For example, you could live at the house you buy for 2 years, rent the house for 2 years and sell without paying capital gains tax. Residency in real estate is 2 of the last 5 years. When I short sold sold my house it was the same thing. I lived there and rented 2 years. No tax cause I was there 2 of the last 5 years. This seems to pop up in real estate occasionally.

  14. 14
    sam says:

    I would like the SFH inventory to hit 5000 by the end of the year. we are at 3800 now. We have 5% growth in the inventory for the first 17 days of June.

  15. 15
    Jay says:

    RE: erik @ 13 – Thank you for telling me the information. If you own the house for 2 years, and live there for 2 years, are you eligible for the tax exemption? Thanks a lot!

  16. 16
    Erik says:


  17. 17
    Jay says:

    RE: Judy B @ 12 – Thanks for your advice! I’m a buyer and looking for a house in a specific neighborhood too. There are so many bidding wars, so I want to contact owners directly. What is your success rate?What is your agent’s success rate? Did you have more success than your agent? We are not good at talking to strangers, so I gave my agent a list of houses that I am interested in, and hopefully she can get one of the owners to sell the house to us! Are people less scared of buyers than agents? Do they prefer to deal with buyers directly or agents? How many houses have you bought by just knocking on their doors? What do you say to people when they open the door for you?

    Also, has anyone else bought a house from owners directly? I would appreciate any input on this topic! Thanks a lot!

  18. 18
    3rd Generation says:

    Looks like they let the patients play with the computers again.

    Tax advice now.

    Paging Nurse Ratchett. . .

  19. 19
    Erik says:

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 18
    Lawyers are expensive and I had to study tax law on my own to navigate the system. You don’t understand this because you didn’t have to do those sorts of things. You were handed a huge head start and you didn’t have to understand this process, so you don’t get it.

  20. 20
    Blurtman says:

    I do most of my home searching…

    when the occupants are fast asleep.

  21. 21
    Erik says:

    Individuals can exclude up to $250,000 in profit from the sale of a main home (or $500,000 for a married couple) as long as you have owned the home and lived in the home for a minimum of two years. Those two years do not need to be consecutive. In the 5 years prior to the sale of the house, you need to have lived in the house for at least 24 months in that 5-year period. In other words, the home must have been your principal residence.


  22. 22

    Ron – Agreed. The construction is surprising…but with the Seattle rain most of the year, the Summer is when construction ramps up. It will be interesting to see how it plays out!

  23. 23
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jay @ 17

    I advocate approaching owners also, by knocking on the door, and talking to however answers.

    Today it’s easier to get tax data online to find the owner, and much easier to do a transaction with companies like WaLaw to do the paper work.

    I like the idea of giving a list to an agent, but most agents can’t figure out the process. I have represented clients in the past who have wanted to me to “farm” an area for them, like the eastside of Greenlake. It can work out well for an agent to have a qualified buyer to show a potential seller. An agent may be finding more listing this way, but in my opinion most agents today would rather play with the computer.

    Getting out in the neighborhood is an excellent way to find a house. It’s simple to stop, get out, and knock on the door. The fact is most people don’t do it.

    To be honest though, you will probably end up working with an agent. Even people who haven’t thought about listing have a calendar, or e-mails from the local agent who they will turn to.

  24. 24
    Jonness says:

    By Erik @ 19:

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 18
    Lawyers are expensive and I had to study tax law on my own to navigate the system. You don’t understand this because you didn’t have to do those sorts of things. You were handed a huge head start and you didn’t have to understand this process, so you don’t get it.

    Coming up from the bottom teaches one how to appreciate the things that come to you through hard work, self sacrifice, and perseverance. Your father gave you a gift the spoiled little rich boy in the high-end neighborhood will never get to have.

    It’s you who got the greater of the free gifts. So stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and use the additional time to maximize your potential.

  25. 25
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Jonness @ 24 – Beware the power of the dark side, Luke.

  26. 26
    Jay says:

    RE: David Losh @ 23 – Thank you so much for your tips! We approached the owner, and he said that he might plan to sell next year. He was surprised that we would be interested in buying his house because of the condition. But the neighborhood is perfect for us, and obviously, we can’t wait till next year because of the interest rates! So what should we do next? Would it be ok to go back and ask him again? What would you if you were me? Thanks!

  27. 27
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jay @ 26

    There are properties that get vultured by investors; where they sit, and wait. The interest rates make no difference because the seller is tied to the same market conditions as you are. You are giving them the money, and if they need to sell, or want to sell, the price will reflect the changes in the market.

    You should make an offer based on what you think your numbers will be. Ask to see the property, take a note book, make your plans, get to know the owner a little bit, and try to be fair, but low in your offer.

    This year or next year for the seller may be a way to delay, but they are thinking about it. You can make your offer with any number of options to the seller. They may be concerned about how to make a transition, or when to close. I try to be a solution for the sellers concerns.

    Many times the condition of the property can be a big factor, or having cash up front to make a move. Find the motivation, nicely, and become a solution.

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