Daily Archives: April 24, 2009

Buying distressed mortgage notes at auction?

It’s the new boom industry. I’m going to check it out and will report back.

UPDATE: well that’s a bust. The two sites linked to in the NYT article don’t have Connecticut mortgages available. If you are familiar with Florida and California, you might want to prowl around but I’m not and wouldn’t consider buying anything I didn’t know the value of. Maybe they’ll get approval to expand into Connecticut.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Stealth health

I asked a few minutes ago why the Democrats were afraid to have an open debate on global warming. Now the NY Times reports that they’re going to muscle through a radical reworking of our health system without debate, so I ask the same question.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Only 52% of Americans consider television a necessity

Well I’d count myself in with the 48% who don’t if I could only get Hogan’s Heroes reruns on the internet. Next year, perhaps.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

So what are they scared of?

Demmerkrats refuse to let climate warming skeptic testify at hearing. I do believe that Obamaites rejoiced at his election because now we could have science, not religion guiding our country. I always thought that the hallmark of scientific inquiry was a probing analysis of facts and assumptions and a search for truth. As practiced in Washington, scientific inquiry is what Democrat showmen decided should be televised. This is hardly reassuring.

Washington, DC – UK’s Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing on Friday April 24, 2009 at 10am in Washington. Monckton told Climate Depot that the Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. Monckton said he was informed that he would not be allowed to testify alongside Gore when his plane landed from England Thursday afternoon.

“The House Democrats don’t want Gore humiliated, so they slammed the door of the Capitol in my face,” Monckton told Climate Depot in an exclusive interview. “They are cowards.”

According to Monckton, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Energy & Commerce Committee, had invited him to go head to head with Gore and testify at the hearing on Capitol Hill Friday. But Monckton now says that when his airplane from London landed in the U.S. on Thursday, he was informed that the former Vice-President had “chickened out” and there would be no joint appearance. Gore is scheduled to testify on Friday to the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment’s fourth day of hearings on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The hearing will be held in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

According to Monckton, House Democrats told the Republican committee staff earlier this week that they would be putting forward an unnamed ‘celebrity’ as their star witness Friday at a multi-panel climate hearing examining the House global warming bill. The “celebrity” witness turned out to be Gore. Monckton said the GOP replied they would respond to the Democrats’ “celebrity” with an unnamed “celebrity” of their own. But Monckton claims that when the Democrats were told who the GOP witness would be, they refused to allow him to testify alongside Gore.

Update: 1:55 PM ESTA GOP House source told Climate Depot that the Democrats on the Committee said “absolutely not” to allowing Monckton to appear during today's Gore hearing. The GOP committee “pushed at multiple levels” to bring Monckton in to testify but the Democrats “refused,” according to the GOP source. Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich was called in to testify after Monckton was rejected by the committee Democrats, according to the Congressional source.]

 

Comments Off

Filed under Uncategorized

Here’s some encouraging news for sellers

Just heard from another agent. Of the seven houses he hoped to show today in the mid $2 range, three had accepted offers. These days, there’s no certainty that an accepted offer will translate into a sale because of the lack of financing, but buyers making legitimate offers are a good sign.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Brokers who aren’t worth spit

I was talking to someone recently who bought a house here in town for half its original asking price. She was still ticked, though, at her agent, who she says (and I believe her) resisted her every effort to buy the house cheap, even refusing at one point to convey the offer because, “that’s not very nice”. The buyer finally took over, negotiated the deal with the relocation company herself and brought the deal home. The agent’s one bit of effort was to show up at closing and collect her commission check. 

Stories like this cheer me up to no end. I don’t really care what’s nice to a seller if I’m representing a buyer and I’m just mean enough to go for the jugular if I smell blood. Hey, what the heck are you using a buyer’s rep for, if not to have someone on your side? I am obviously not the only agent in town with this philosophy but I’ll bet half the competition is more concerned with hurting the feelings of their fellow Garden Club members than they are in representing their client to the best of their ability. Any time you can outdistance half your competition, you’re half way home, I figure.

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I can’t say I’ll miss them, but the 1960 models were neat

GM eliminating Pontiac

 

Al downhill from here

Al downhill from here

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The lights are going out all over Europe

I doubt we will see them go on again in our lifetime. Coming to our very own United States of America, Land of the Free, the same idiotic ban on incandescent light bulbs. Not a popular move across the sea but our own tree huggers will no doubt bless the darkness.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Life in the slow lane

10 Kent Place in Cos Cob was listed a year ago for $699. You wouldn’t think there’s a huge room for error at that low price but it finally sold today for $576,000. If you wonder what harm a bit of padding on your price can do in this market, ask yourself whether you want to sell now or sometime in the distant future.

One builder who didn’t conduct that self-examination is the guy who bought 136 Cat Rock for $1.4 million four or five years ago, spent a fortune building a new, three bedroom septic system and a smaller fortune redoing the house. He ended up with a so-so, 3 bedroom house on one acre in a two acre zone without room for a garage and, compounding his original stupidity, priced it at $3.625 million back in September 2006. That lunacy was rewarded with a slow descent, as his resources disappeared and the asking price dwindled until finally he lost the place to Webster Bank. They had to drop the price even lower, to $1.699 and today it went to contract. No word on its sales price yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone paid the cost of the land as it was in 2005 and accepted the house and that septic system work for free.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Well, this isn’t nice

Says here that foreclosed homeowners are having tag sales before the sheriff shows up to evict them and are selling everything including, literally, the kitchen sink. I don’t think that’s a problem in Greenwich, yet.

Comments Off

Filed under Uncategorized

Walter can breath a (small) sigh of relief

Madoff’s lieutenant, Frank DiPascali, is spilling the beans in exchange for a lighter sentence but apparently can’t come up with any dirt on Walter, Ruth, or the boys. I’m sure that will make the Noel’s last days at 175 Round Hill more pleasurable, knowing that, while they’ll be losing the cottage to creditors, Walter won’t be exchanging his digs for federal concrete, but what value is this guy? I mean, great, he’s providing details of how the fraud worked, but big deal: Bernie’s plead guilty and who cares, really, how he did it? If I were a federal prosecutor I’d want names and dates from this slimeball before agreeing to any plea deal otherwise, why bother? Come on, Frank, make something up if you have to – we’re starving out here in Greenwich.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Riverside Contract

41 Jones Park Drive, listed for $5.995 million, is under contract. Good address and the house is nice, but nicer still is to see something moving in the $6 range. I recall beating Timmy Conway’s father in billiards at this house, long ago, when it was just a mere hint of the house it was to become. I can’t say I’ve noticed the same improvement in either myself or my pool game, but what the heck.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I’m off to Wyoming to find a new home

Well not really, alas, but I did leave Raveis Real Estate last Friday and have moved three doors down to join forces with my friend and fellow scum-sucking bottom feeder, Frank Farricker and his “EBT Realty”. The lawyer in me finds EBT ominous because it’s what they call depositions in New York: examination before trial. With luck, and to the best of my knowledge, there are no such unhappy sessions in my immediate future, so I’ll assume Frank has some other explanation for the acronym.

So why’d I leave? In large part, it’s because I really like and admire my former manager, Beckie Hanley and I took pity on her. Beckie has been a mensch – providing friendship, advice and great negotiating tactics when I asked for them, and she has had my back for years while pressure from the real estate community grew. Turns out, most of my peers are scared of me (and I’m a pussy cat, so go figure) and would complain to Beckie every time I offended one of them. So I got the benefits of this blog: great readers, some new friendships, and a crowd of buyers, while Raveis and poor Beckie got all the liabilities: existing Raveis clients who can’t sell their over-priced houses and blame this blog for destroying the market, furious owners of old fashioned firms who don’t understand that the secretive world of Greenwich real estate has evaporated, and just plain old back-biting, jealous incompetents who are stuck in a down market and can’t figure out what to do about it and decide that I must be the cause of their misery. I won’t miss any of them – but from now on, children, you’ll have to call me direct.

Frank Farricker is a terrific local boy who is the perennial Democratic sacrificial lamb in local elections. First Selectman, Dog catcher, State Rep, you need a sharp mind who will take losing gracefully and wittily, Frank’s your man. I blame his Cos Cob upbringing for his politics, but I was looking for someone who could enhance my real estate practice, not a debate partner, so I’m delighted with the move. Frank knows everyone in town worth knowing, all the lenders, and most of the builders. His role on the P&Z adds his knowledge of land use regulations to my own legal experience in that field, and I think we’ll make a great team. And, since any decision on the P&Z is guaranteed to anger half the town, he’s used to being yelled at.

Besides, he’s very, very funny and that’s absolutely essential these days, surrounded as I am by people who just don’t get the joke.

So off I go to bigger and better things, I hope. But Wyoming still calls.

23 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Get real, folks

I toured a house yesterday that was nice enough: renovated within the past few years, pool, decent, if small yard, etc. But I was struck that its price, in the mid-threes, was what I would have expected to see in 2005 or 2006, when it would have probably produced a buyer in the low threes. Today, I’d have priced it for a million less. I’ll be curious to see how far off I am.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Hope on Dingletown

There are now five (or more – who can count?) houses for sale at the western end of Dingletown, at various prices, and none are moving that I know of,despite some heavy price discounts. Now #9 has joined their ranks, at a price midway between a couple of the non-sellers, so perhpas its owners will have more luck.

Number 9 sat for over a year when it was built in 2003 and finally sold for $4.3 million in 2004. The buyers tried reselling it for $4.995 a year later but couldn’t pull it off so they pulled the house, instead. Now they’re back at $6.250. They’ve added a pool, and no doubt some landscaping, but I don’t think I’d have advised that price in this market. But I’m just one man, with one opinion. Millions more where mine came from and no doubt all of them differ.

Comments Off

Filed under Uncategorized