Biliruben's House – $639,950

Hello everyone! Welcome to Biliruben’s new home.

Now don’t get excited, because Biliruben doesn’t want to sell this beautiful home.  He loves it.  It is over 3,000 square feet.  It has four bedrooms and two and a half baths.  A fabulous new gourmet kitchen with maple cabinetry and granite countertops.  A MASTER suite of which Biliruben himself is the master, oversized bedroom with a full five piece bath including a jacuzzi tub. 

How’d I do Bili?  Close?


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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

58 thoughts on “Biliruben's House – $639,950

  1. Welllll…

    Not quite.

    I’d take it, if you dropped it east of Lake City Way or Sandpoint Way, north of Magnuson Park along the lake (Mathews to Sheridan Beach) with a view, but it isn’t ideal. Location is extremely important. I want to spend my time with my family, not on I-5.

    Here are some hints:
    I am not much for being greeted with a garage.
    I would prefer between 2000-2500 sq ft, (excluding basement)
    A big yard (an active dog).
    Lots of light.
    A very quiet road is essential (4 outdoor cats and a kid).
    I do like the kitchen and the open floor plan.
    2 baths are plenty.
    An older house is fine.

    We are very picky. Sorry.

  2. Did you like growing up there, Galen? The area seems like a good place for kids.

    I’ve been watching the area for some time. I’d use your site if you supplied more info on past sales, time on market, price reductions and more specific lot sizes. Also taking the 50 houses at a time limitation out. I really like “Sold Shacks”, but that’s the only think that tempts me.

    Any plans to add these features?

  3. View is less important than the rest. More a proxy for a good neighborhood.

    The garage isn’t necessary at all. My car. It needs no house.

  4. Price? – Depends on the house, but 600K is probably about as high as we would want to go, and I would prefer closer to 500K. For the perfect house, we would probably go closer to 6, but that would begin to effect our lifestyle, and goal of being able to pay the mortgage with 1 salary, if push came to shove. That’s important, given my wife’s currently 4 days overdue (thanks for the distraction, btw), and she’s the top earner.

  5. How many of those things do you already have where you are, and what would that sell for? How much would you gain from the difference between what you would sell for and what the new home would cost?

    I think your are correct though. You need a bubble to burst to get what you want where you want it 🙂 You would have to be pretty unhappy where you are to suck up the deficiences with that price and location.

    If it did happen to come on market, it would probably go so fast that you wouldn’t be able to sell first. You should do one of those “Rhonda Letters” by walking around and seeing houses that might fit the bill, checking for assessed values of less than $400,000 and sending them a letter saying “if you are thinking of selling” my family and I would appreciate a heads up. Include a picture of the dog 🙂

  6. We have most everything except size and sun at our current place.

    We probably have 140-150K in equity if we sold tomorrow. We have twice that again in cash or equivalents, plus some retirement accts we wouldn’t touch. We would want to keep our mortgage and taxes and insurance combined under 2K/mo. We would be willing to carry two mortgages for a month or 3 (which makes a fixer possible), and would be willing to price our current house to sell.

    It’s just startling to contemplate that with our flexibility, great credit, cash and avoidance of the hotter neighborhoods, that there wouldn’t be anything out there that we could get without stretching too far. Are you seeing a lot of buyers with better financial situations than ours that our pushing the houses we would want into the 700-800K range, or are they just stretching?

    We should be happy enough in our current, extremely cozy home for a few more years, until our down-payment gets larger or seller’s expectations get smaller. Or we get frustrated enough to stretch beyond what we are willing to do now. 😉

    Thanks for taking a peak around, though!

  7. Biliruben, I did enjoy growing up there, although there weren’t many other kids in my neighborhood, so my parents ended up driving me around to my friend’s houses.

    We have dozens of feature plans and those are among them, although they aren’t at the top of the list. Do you want to be able to search for lot sizes more specifically? We show the square footage of the lot for lots up to an acre in size. Price reductions are definitely on the horizon.

    The 50 houses at a time limitation is something we’re unhappy with, but we’ve found that when you get to 100 or 200 homes on the map at once you end up with a very cluttered map and slow load times. We’re working out something for people who are willing to wait. Also, it seems like with a search as specific as yours, there are at most 20 houses on the market at any given time.

    You can sort your search by days on market (which is actually days on our website) and we show that information for every ‘shack.’ We should probably report that in a more obvious place.

  8. Biliruben,

    Size is easier than sun. Sun usually comes with garage in front 🙂 Older houses weren’t built for sun, newer ones ar,e and have garages in front usually. If an “in city” townhome is up to $450,000, not likely single family in a good neighborhood with all that you want is going to be under $500,000, unless it only has two bedrooms on one level, third bedroom in basement.

    “Are you seeing a lot of buyers with better financial situations than ours that our pushing the houses we would want into the 700-800K range, or are they just stretching?”

    There are a lot of missing links in the City, as for the most part you have to deal with whatever was built at the time the area was built out…and Seattle was clearly “built out” much earlier than Eastside.

    The options on Eastside are much better all the way around.

    Same with every City really…it is what it is and teardowns are townhomes or very, very expensive homes.

    My limited experience of that area says affordable equals very dark home. So sun is the big kicker.

  9. I can’t “see” stretching on a broad scale, as that involves knowing the person’s income, and I don’t see that on all sales. I can tell you if anything in that area sold at zero down or not much down. But I can’t see what the person’s income was. I haven’t seen as many zero downs lately for sure. But that could just be me, and my clients seeming to have downpayments.

    If I have a client putting 20% or more down, I often don’t ask them what their income is. I just show them the income they SHOULD have to match the payment and they nod yes. They can in fact make much more than that…but that is none of my business. I do a conservative estimate of income to match payment, and if they make at least that much, I stop there with questions.

  10. Yeah, I know. I know! Sun is a perpetual problem in Seattle. 😉

    This is a sensitive topic around my UCLA educated wife.

    Townhome is a non-starter. Privacy is way way up on our list, and not particularly negotiable.

    I know there is a lot of wealth in Seattle. Baby boomers in particular have a ton of jack, and they may be funnelling a lot of that into conservative, long-term real estate investments. I’m sure that’s happening to some extent, and in fact I know first hand about several.

    I also know that there is a lot of people using interesting financing and getting in over their heads investing in highly leveraged real estate investments. I also know first-hand of several of these.

    The percentages of each probably are the key to the future of the Seattle housing market, and therefore the key to how much we will end up paying for our next house and how soon we will be able to get a bit more space.

    Galen – I don’t find your lot sizes particularly useful. A standard lot size is 5-6000 feet, in city. I am looking for 9000-15000 ft lot. Enough for a bit more privacy and a place where my dog can get a significant huff.

    Hopefully someone will soon figure out how to do in end-run around the MLS and get true days on the market out from behind it’s veil of secrecy. All you’d have to do is track by address (instead of MLS #), incorporating sales data, and keep a database. Given your “Sold Shacks” data, you should have everything you need. That really bugs me, and probably is a signficant contributor to general agent distrust we see.

    Nice job on NPR this morning, BTW.

  11. Biliruben – thanks for the feedback. We’ll work on fixing the days on market problem – right now it is time in our database and the MLS puts rules on how much we can disclose about a property’s past trips onto the market.

    We just updated the square footage so now there is an option for 7,500 square feet. A quarter acre is 10000 square feet, so you should now be able to search for properties with between 7,500 and 20,000 square feet.

    I think you want to be even more exacting, so I’ll let you in on our little disclosed full-text feature: just type “lot_sqft > 9000, lot_sqft < 15000" into the text search box and you'll find only houses in that range.

  12. Nice trick, Galen. Thanks! Is there some hindrance to just building the flexibilty into the menus?

    I figured there was some proprietary nonsense that prevented you from providing useful info on days on the market. I personally think they are just shooting themselves in the foot, but I understand your need to play nice.

  13. biliruben, in an effort to make a clean and easy to use yet powerful site, we want our menu options to be manageable and accessible. We have found that looking a a side bar full of empty text boxes can be a little intimidating and is less inviting, so we provided drop down menus. I personally prefer sliders, which are highly customizable and precise, but doing them well and keeping the user interface clean is a pain and we’re focusing on features that we think will better help our users over spiffy interfaces right now.

    Just so you know, we’re doing as much as we are comfortable with in pushing the limits. We’re a 3-person self-funded startup, so we don’t have quite the legal staff that some of our competitors can afford.

    Information is king and it belongs in the hands of consumers. It’s silly to put barriers in the way of distributing it. It certainly doesn’t help home buyers or home sellers.

  14. Maybe instead of a comment, this should be a new post “Biliruben Finances His New Home!”

    This is based off a sales price of $650,000 with 20% down, loan amount of $520k (jumbo) and priced at zero origination/discount points (except for the interest only at 0.125% discount fee). Rate quotes are based on a 45 day lock. Typically, 1% in discount/origination equals 0.25% to rate (I priced these at 0 discount).

    30 Year Fixed = 6.25% Note Rate, APR = 6.304%
    P&I = $3201.73

    40 Year Fixed = 6.375% Note Rate, APR = 6.422%
    P&I = $2998.19

    30 Year Fixed with 10 Year Interest Only (at 0.125% discount)
    6.25% Note Rate, APR = 6.309%
    P&I = $2,708.33

    There are no prepayment penalties (I’m opposed to prepays and avoid them whenever possible). Probably more information than you wanted…but I just couldn’t help myself.

    Of course there are lower payment options, Biliruben, you strike me as a more conservative person. On our home, we currently have a 7 year interest only product.

    I promise I won’t quote rates all the time…I’m just following your lead on your great post, Ardell.

  15. I love it! Biliruben’s new loan to go with his new house. It’s all hypothetical anyway. I keep singing that old song “Bili, don’t be a hero, don’t be a fool with your life” 🙂

  16. Too funny. Thanks, Rhonda!

    I have to be careful. It appears increasingly likely I could buy a house by mistake. Y’all are good.

    2K/mo tops, however. We are looking more towards 50-60% down, in that case. I don’t want to commit every last dime to a house, but maybe it will have to come closer to that then I want, if the market stays stupid-expensive for the next few years. Fortunately, I am patient.

    I’m not particularly conservative, except when it warrants it. We have a 7-1 ARM now, as I was extremely confident that was about the limit of the number of years we could take while living in 1200 sq ft.

    I just want neither me nor my wife to be a slave to our mortgage. I’m pretty sure we could qualify for a loan that would get us into a million dollar house, be we would have to work harder than we want to work, and would be forced to sell if either of us even contemplated a change to our careers. That wouldn’t be risky. That would be bone-headed. Flexibility and time for ourselves is more important than an extra 1000 sq ft, or a bit of a view.

    Galen – it’s an excellent product for such a small staff. Now I have to go google your taco truck mashup.

  17. Sandy – My new house is in Newcastle. Sorry, though. The offer’s in, pending inspection.

    Told you I would buy a house by mistake!

  18. I was only playing with Biliruben. It is a real house, but it is sold, not for sale. It was in Kirkland somewhere either near Finn Hill or Bridal Trails, I think.

    We can’t really put properties on a blog…only Redfin can do that 🙂 It was a joke…but I used a real property. That one sold sometime near the end of 2006 season…July…August maybe.

  19. Really? I really thought I’d found it (or them) in Newcastle.

    “A Gorgeous 5 Piece Master Bath…” and the identical price was what tipped me off. I’d never heard a bathroom discussed as pieces before. Maybe I it’s common in New Home Land. Huh.

  20. Hah!

    I guess that was inevitable.

    Fun, but I little bit sad at the same time, given that in a different market I really would be seriously looking.

  21. Biliruben,

    Five piece master bath is not a “builder” term, it is a description of a bathroom with both a shower and a tub as separate pieces. Full bath has a tub (with shower in it) 3/4 bath has no tub.

    Five Piece bath is Toilet, Shower, Tub and two sinks – 5 pieces. The tub is often a jacuzzi and the shower sometimes has two shower heads.

    A newspaper article recently said jetted tubs are going out of style. I was doing high end this weekend and saw a tub with no jets BUT for the first time ever, I saw jets in the kids bathtub.

    I guess kids want to play in Mom and Dad’s jacuzzi, so now they have their own. It was pretty cool actually.

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