Living Room vs. Family Room?

Being a person always willing to highlight my real estate ignorance, this interesting article (and associated slideshow) from Slate on a town being built in a former cornfield outside of Philadelphia made me realize I don’t know the difference between a family room and a living room. Wikipedia says the difference is one of formality and highlights the fact that the differences are blurred for those of us who grew up in homes with only one such room. To confuse matters more, we always called our room the den, which (according to a wikipedia redirect) is the same thing as a study.


Commercial Real Estate Transaction Using Your IRA

[photopress:pensco_trust_logo_200x150_1.jpg,thumb,alignright]For those of you who listen in on the Pensco Webinars, this week’s promises to be outstanding as Jim Wilson discusses commercial investing with Self Directed Retirement accounts. You can use your self directed IRA’s or 401K’s or the new Solo 401K to buy apartment buildings and/or take part in development projects, purchase blocks of pre-built housing developments, etc. This company produces webinars and seminars that are always top notch.

Webinar Date: Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 Webinar Time: 11 a.m. PDT / 12 p.m. MST / 1 p.m. CST / 2 p.m. EST

Topics Include:

  • How to Perform Due Diligence When Buying Investment Properties
  • How to Lend Your IRA to Developers
  • Get safety first preferred positions in development and re-development projects like small shopping centers.
  • Triple-Net Lease Considerations
  • How to Get into Larger Projects with Less Money
  • How to Get Mailbox Money for Your IRA

Directions for participating in this ‘Wednesday Webinar’:

Webinar Telephone Number: 1-212-990-8000 Participant 4-Digit PIN Code: 2090 #

This is my participant number. If you’d like to register and get your own number so you can listen, go to and go to the webinar information on the right.


More Bed Hopping with the Competition

  1. Matt Goyer, of Urbnlivn fame, just accepted a position at Redfin. I wonder if he’ll keep up urbnlivn, or quit in favor of the Redfin blog like Rob. Just reading that article about Rob reminds me how much things have changed in the past six months…
  2. Anthony Allan put together a nice post on five steps to Realtor nirvana.
  3. Tim shows the Seattle Bubble is more popular than Rain City Guide! And wants a front-page link from RCG in the same post! I like Merv’s approach to giving site stats better (i.e. keep me out of it!) 🙂
  4. Meanwhile, the classic over-achiever (who happens to be a damn good writer) follows Tim’s lead today and shows me up by taking my idea (list of 10) and doing it better
  5. Niki let me know about the massive updates that he just unrolled at HomeThinking. He’s got a pretty comprehensive database of sold listings and my understanding is that he is attempting to get people to review agents for as many transactions as possible. It might sound unintuitive for agents to support a site that allows users to comment on them, but Nike (and Mike of Altos Research) seem convinced. Niki also mentioned a bunch of interesting features including a GeoRSS feed of his data so that it can be syndicated far and wide.
  6. I also noticed that HomeThinking is syndicating Real Time Pricing Trends from Altos Research in selected markets. Here’s their chart for Seattle:
  7. Prices for SEATTLE

  8. Osman writes about an interesting “green” development in Aurora, CO that would “encompass nearly 3,000 housing units, 1.7 million SQFT of retail, and 2.8 million SQFT of office space” if fully built out!
  9. Remembering Katrina.
  10. Google now allows you to download and print out old books that they’ve scanned from some of the nations largest libraries. Very cool. Not only that, but they recently introduced a news archive search that has scanned 200 years worth of news. Wow!
  11. Not only is Noah is off enjoying a trip in Europe at this moment, but he should be officially mawwied by now. Congratulations!

When is it appropriate to use environmentalism to stop developments?

Editor’s note: Today, I’d like to welcome Jon Ribary as the newest contributor to RCG. With one of our other contributors, Eileen, he owns LTD Properties in Seattle. When I first started blogging, Jon was an early follower of RCG and began developing an online mapping tool around the first time I started gHomes. Jon’s take on real estate is from a slightly different perspective in that, first and foremost, he is a developer of land as oppose to an agent. In a constant effort to explore new areas of real estate, I look forward to seeing where Jon takes us!

A recent article from the Snohomish County’s Herald Newspaper got me thinking about the fine line between “preserving the environment” and NIMBYism (Not in my back yard!). I find that rather than really caring about preserving the environment, people use environmentalism as a hammer to slow down or stop projects that will “ruin” their view or preserve some favorite local property from being developed.

In the case of the Lake Stickney, the county says that the proposed development meets all applicable environmental laws, and yet one local, Chris Lloyd says “This is all about salmon habitat.” I’m not convinced.

To bring it to a personal level, if the house I live in has a sweeping view of the sound. Between me and my view was a 1940s rambler that just sold. The buyer, a builder who is planning to demo the house to build a 3 story home that would block my view. Do I have a right to stop that development, just to save my view, or is it an individual’s (or company’s) right to do what they wish on the property as long as they are abiding by development standards? If I wanted to keep the property from being developed, is my only right to buy the property to ensure it is not changed (or negotiate a view easement)?

If environmentalist’s #1 goal is to make sure projects are being developed properly, then I am on board. With land use and building codes where they are today, my past experiences tells me the proper precautions are being taken. If the opposition are anti-development and are using this tactic as a way to slow down or trump the development of the land, then I think environmentalism is simply being used as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to stop developments…