Daily Archives: January 26, 2010

New Blogger

 

Katharine Fountain

 

My daughter Kat is deep in the Peruvian rain forest for the next six months studying monkies (or “Monkeys”, if you’re Irish and worried about offending your grandparents) and blogging. A link to her blog, “Amazon Adventure” is over to the right. I find it great but of course I would, I’m her dad. Nonetheless, any girls (or boys) who want to know what life in the Amazon is like for a grad student would probably enjoy it, too. Sort of like an extended Career Day at high school, but far more interesting.

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Apple tablet vs. Kindle – I don’t think so

Seems as though Apple’s trying an end-around on Amazon’s Kindle by allowing publishers to charge more for books sent to tablets.I’ve been an Apple fan since 1988 and would never bet against them but I’m also  Kindle owner with what I’d guess (I daren’t look) is at least a thousand bucks sunk into the reader and downloaded books. If a publisher tries charging more than Kindle, and requires me to buy another reader, I sure as hell will resist til the bloody end. I suppose the result will depend on how deep a market penetration Kindle’s achieved before Steve Jobs awoke. Either way, I love my Kindle, I love the cheap downloads and I won’t buy this particular Apple product until they pry my Kindle from my cold dead hands.

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I’d say the Muslims got off cheaply on this exchange

Alu akbar, baby!

Muslims shocked by pigs heads left at mosque after (Muslims, not pigs) firebombing Christian churches.

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No, no no – this is not how to write a blog

I stumbled across a new (to me, at least) blog on Greenwich real estate just now, “Inside Greenwich Real Estate”. The post I saw was on fixing up houses and it seemed better written than I remember the agent/blogger as being capable of,  so just out of curiosity I copied the first few paragraphs and dumped them into Google. Lo and behold, the exact same article, word for word, was first posted by a Syracuse blogger, Chris Gmyr, where it was picked up, and credited, by Trulia.com. Trulia did it right; this guy did not. Here’s what I searched for: see for yourself:

Americans love a good deal. We also, if the popularity of HGTV and DIY cable channels are any indication, love the idea of being able to fix up our homes with minimal professional help. Buying a fixer-upper can be a great way to save a little money, and have the chance to make a neglected home into your dream home. But it’s not for everyone. Before you purchase a fixer-upper, here are a few things to keep in mind.

The first thing to consider is how fixable the home really is. Some things (such as location or the size of the lot) can’t be changed. Other things, such as foundation or major electrical problems, can be fixed, but they are very costly and don’t offer a lot of improvement in the resale value. An ideal fixer-upper doesn’t require thousands of dollars worth of work that will go largely unnoticeable; look for a home that can be improved with a few coats of paint, a few new appliances, and some drywall repair.

What will the total cost of the home be? This is an often over-looked aspect of buying a fixer-upper; by the time you buy the home and do any renovations it requires, you may very well have spent considerably more than market value for the home. If the home is your dream home, and you don’t plan on selling for a very long time, that might not be a concern for you. However, if you are hoping to regain the cost of any repairs, and then make a profit on top of that, you need to consider what the home may actually sell for.

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Readers

That ClusterMap over on the right is kinda fun because it shows where readers of this blog come from. The stats from November 2008 to 2009 are archived (you can find the link) but just since this past November, readers have come from all over:

United States (US) 75,361
United Kingdom (GB) 2,011
Canada (CA) 1,486
Australia (AU) 466
Germany (DE) 412
France (FR) 310
Switzerland (CH) 306
Netherlands (NL) 276
Ireland (IE) 243
Italy (IT) 219
Brazil (BR) 214
India (IN) 184
Sweden (SE) 154
Turkey (TR) 146
Philippines (PH) 146
Spain (ES) 144
Mexico (MX) 124
Denmark (DK) 121
Chile (CL) 103
Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR) 96
Poland (PL) 93
Greece (GR) 92
Malaysia (MY) 86
Singapore (SG) 80
Belgium (BE) 79
Hungary (HU) 78
Hong Kong (HK) 78
Czech Republic (CZ) 77
Bermuda (BM) 75
Finland (FI) 71
Indonesia (ID) 70
New Zealand (NZ) 69
Romania (RO) 67
Japan (JP) 67
Israel (IL) 64
Thailand (TH) 59
Korea, Republic of (KR) 59
China (CN) 59
Norway (NO) 58
Argentina (AR) 55
Saudi Arabia (SA) 49
Austria (AT) 48
Bulgaria (BG) 47
United Arab Emirates (AE) 41
Peru (PE) 41
Slovakia (SK) 39
Vietnam (VN) 37
Croatia (HR) 35
Pakistan (PK) 34
Taiwan (TW) 31
Colombia (CO) 30
South Africa (ZA) 30
Portugal (PT) 30
Serbia (RS) 27
Puerto Rico (PR) 24
Bahamas (BS) 24
Russian Federation (RU) 24
Virgin Islands, U.S. (VI) 22
Lithuania (LT) 21
Slovenia (SI) 21
Estonia (EE) 18
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VC) 18
Ukraine (UA) 17
Bangladesh (BD) 17
Costa Rica (CR) 15
Egypt (EG) 15
Asia/Pacific Region (AP) 15
Macedonia (MK) 14
Jamaica (JM) 14
Saint Kitts and Nevis (KN) 13
Latvia (LV) 12
Venezuela (VE) 12
Dominican Republic (DO) 12
Jordan (JO) 11
Uruguay (UY) 11
Iceland (IS) 10
Barbados (BB) 10
Sri Lanka (LK) 10
Trinidad and Tobago (TT) 9
Luxembourg (LU) 9
Morocco (MA) 9
Anguilla (AI) 8
Netherlands Antilles (AN) 8
Georgia (GE) 8
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA) 7
Bahrain (BH) 7
Cyprus (CY) 7
Cayman Islands (KY) 7
Ghana (GH) 7
Guatemala (GT) 6
Tunisia (TN) 6
Malta (MT) 6
Nigeria (NG) 5
Ecuador (EC) 5
Lebanon (LB) 5
Vanuatu (VU) 5
Reunion (RE) 4
Aruba (AW) 4
Montenegro (ME) 4
Antigua and Barbuda (AG) 4
Tanzania, United Republic of (TZ) 4
Guam (GU) 4
Qatar (QA) 4
Kuwait (KW) 4
Kenya (KE) 4
Cambodia (KH) 4
Kazakstan (KZ) 3
Mauritius (MU) 3
Oman (OM) 3
Uganda (UG) 3
Macau (MO) 3
Panama (PA) 3
Turks and Caicos Islands (TC) 3
Paraguay (PY) 3
Virgin Islands, British (VG) 3
Myanmar (MM) 2
Nicaragua (NI) 2
Honduras (HN) 2
Guadeloupe (GP) 2
Isle of Man (IM) 2
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (LY) 2
Iraq (IQ) 2
Brunei Darussalam (BN) 2
Algeria (DZ) 2
Djibouti (DJ) 2
Grenada (GD) 2
Albania (AL) 2
Mongolia (MN) 2
Faroe Islands (FO) 1
Jersey (JE) 1
Botswana (BW) 1
Lesotho (LS) 1
New Caledonia (NC) 1
Belarus (BY) 1
Bhutan (BT) 1
Martinique (MQ) 1
Sudan (SD) 1
Northern Mariana Islands (MP) 1
Yemen (YE) 1
El Salvador (SV) 1
Ethiopia (ET) 1
Liberia (LR) 1
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the (CD) 1
Cote D’Ivoire (CI) 1
Belize (BZ) 1
Nepal (NP) 1
American Samoa (AS) 1
Armenia (AM) 1
Mozambique (MZ) 1
Monaco (MC) 1
Gibraltar (GI) 1
Zambia (ZM) 1
Bolivia (BO) 1
Palestinian Territory (PS) 1
Syrian Arab Republic (SY) 1
Zimbabwe (ZW) 1

From inception, November 2008

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(Some) real estate deals explained

I just learned that the buyer of 17-19 Nawthorne in Old Greenwich is the same person who paid $5 million plus for the adjoining property, 11 Nawthorne, a couple of years ago. Wise move, because when my clients and I were looking over 17-19 it became obvious that whatever was built was going to ruin the view of Number 11. “Screw’em”, said I, “they should have bought their view.” Now they have.

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Vancouver: no snow for Olympics, but it does offer 250 sq.ft. apartments

$675 a month for a “micro-loft”, complete with fold up Murphy bed, galley kitchen and bathroom with showerhead directly over the toilet.

Next door to drug half-way house and a number of flop houses. Makes Greenwich look cheap, eh?

Chief Ridberg visits Vancouver

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Loughlin Avenue contract

97 Loughlin Avenue

This is a redone (2007) house with a new expensive kitchen that’s gone to contract very quickly – listed in December for $895,000. It’s close to the noisy end of Loughlin but some people don’t mind that and others are willing to put up with that if the price is right. Considering the excellent condition this house is in, I’d say the price was right. Assessment is something like $795 so, assuming some sort of negotiations took place between buyer and seller, it sounds like a good deal.

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Nobody likes me, everybody hates me I’m gonna go eat worms

Having deserted the Republicans, Arlen Specter discovers that the Democrats don’t want him either. The end of a long, unprincipled career – good riddance.

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Great Wall of China

Commies tear up letters of credit and freeze all new lending. Imports frozen. This should be fun.

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Teamster snow plowers: pay us weather it snows or not!

The amazing thing about this Chicago tale is that, until now, they were paid - show up every day during the winter and sit around in case it snowed. It’s taken this long for the city to even try to end that practice (and yes, Hiram, the headline’s spelling is a bad pun)

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Contract in Old Greenwich

1 Sylvan Lane

I liked this house very much when it sold for $1.750 in 2003 and the buyers made it even nicer after their purchase. In 2007 they listed it for $2.595 and when they couldn’t get that, rented it until 2009. They took a number of price cuts over that time, finally ending up at $1.699 before finding a buyer today. Final price is not disclosed but the assessed value is $1.560 and I believe it will be lower than that. A cautionary tale, perhaps: pulling your house off the market and renting it “until the market returns” isn’t a surefire solution.

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Nicholas Kristof’s column, for starters

What could you live without?

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Another spec house goes rental

416 Davis Ave

This is a beautifully built house that never sold at its 2007 price of $6.975 million and has, I believe, sat empty since that date. Today it was rented for $17,000 which, on a mortgage of $5.5 million, would seem to be a better deal for the renter than the builder. He turned down $5.5 for this place over a year ago – I wonder whether he regrets that now?

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“We were both at fault”

Woman fair after accident.

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Scusie can chow down again

“Who ordered the sweetbreads?”

Arson damage repaired, owner unshackled from the rafters where the Albanian Mafia hung him, Valbella’s is back in operation. This is a huge relief: one can only live so long on Susie’s Dish reporting on sightings of celebrities at CVS and it will be a relief to hear about Frank and Cathy and Regis dining at the restaurant again.

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New market reality

2 Weston Hill Road

This new listing was last sold in 2002 for $1.950 million. The current owners performed unspecified “renovations” in 2006 and have put it back up for sale today at $2.295. With inflation, that’s probably a loss. Assessment is $1.485 which I think is low, but with the neighboring house under contract at, I’m guessing, somewhere around $1.4, this one will probably go for less than ask. 

UPDATE: I referred to “unspecified renovations” because they are in fact unspecified on the listing. My working theory is that if an agent has anything nice to say about a house she will, so when she doesn’t, I figure “renovations” means a good going-over with Formula 409. But I now have learned that those renovations include three of the 4 bathrooms and a completely re-done basement. I’ll report more after I see the place Thursday but I do like its location and to be mean but honest about the house next door (going for $1.6, not the $1.4 I thought it was), this one wasn’t furnished by Home Depot. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Cos Cobber, you might regret not taking me up on that bet.

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Price reported

42 Midwood

This Deer Park property started at $11.950, sold yesterday for $6.850. A nice chunk of change, and well above its assessment of $4.240 million, but it must have been a tad disappointing for the seller.

Also disappointed, perhaps, but surely relieved, the owners of the new spec house at 88 Glenville Road have reported a contract. They first asked $3.6 million but had to drop its price to $2.595 before finding a buyer.

Update: sold for $2.491 million. It’s a good time to have cash.

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Hope and change doesn’t last long when it comes to Anti-Americanism

Indonesia considers tearing down Obama statue erected just last month. Oh, why do they hate us?  I blame Bush.

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