Daily Archives: October 14, 2010

Questions that answer themselves

What, me worry?

Roger Simon: Is California insane? The voters on the left coast seem ready to elect Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, the Demmerkrat candidates for governor and senator, respectively, and Mr. Simon wonders why. Here’s why: We as a nation, and certainly Californians, still believe in a free lunch. You can have a green economy, clean air, free medical care, great schools and well paid union workers, all at no cost. All that’s needed is to cut “fraud and waste” and presto! We’ll witness the restoration of the garden of Eden.

So, it would seem that we’re still a few election cycles away from bellying up to the reality bar. Hard to believe, but things will have to get even worse before voters get it. And things will get worse.

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If we just pass enough laws, we can make a perfect world

NYC Council orders dual flushing mechanisms for toilets, one for caca, the other for pee. You want to save water? Install water meters. This sort of insanity is going to kill New York – slowly but surely.

A study by the non-profit Urban Green Council estimates that simply by changing some of these commonly used fixtures could knock that down by 5-7 gallons per person, per day. More efficient cooling systems could potentially save between 150,000 and 200,000 gallons per year, it found. And changing water fountains would also encourage the use of reusable water containers, thus saving the city millions in the cost of recycling plastic bottles, the study said.

Council Minority Leader James Oddo (R-Mid-Island), who voted against the water fountain and “toilet” bill, along with colleague Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore), said some of the measures reach too far.

“When does it stop? Does it stop when we micromanage every minute facet of our lives? I want people to drink water as much as the next guy, but to make it part of a law so that someone does not have to tilt a water container to fill it up?” Oddo said.

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But, but …

Our president promised to save us money! Connecticut insurer granted fee hikes of 41-47% to cover additional costs of ObummerCare. Someone should coin a phrase along the lines of,”there’s no such thing as a free lunch”.

Jim Himes was unavailable for comment.

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Slowly, oh so slowly

28 Windrose Place

This Mead’s Point home started off two years ago asking $17.5 million and has been falling ever since. Today it got a new broker and a new price: $9.85 million. At least that’s closer to the assessed value of $8.3. What were these people thinking?

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Contracts

47 Shore Road

There was not much wrong with this new construction in Old Greenwich except, perhaps, its back-lot location. But it wouldn’t sell at $4.990 back in August ’08, and it lingered, gradually dropping to a final asking price of $3.695, which was probably closer to the mark. I see that the seller has also contracted to sell his late mother’s place on Meadowcroft (to Mariani, I hear, but I don’t know that). Has he given up on Greenwich? I wouldn’t blame him if he has, but this was really more about poor pricing in a soft market than anything else.

163 Old Church Rd

Here’s another loser in the pricing game. This started at $3.750 million in 2008 and is finally pending after dropping to $2.495 (assessment is just $1.669). The trouble with silly pricing is that the seller eliminates all the advantages offered by the multiple listing service. Yes, you have a thousand agents all working to sell your home, but we can do nothing for you when you’re being stupid.

9 Hillside Drive

Asked $3.495, 2009, dropped to $2.395, now pending. See comments above.

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This looks like a pretty good price

63 Winthrop

I haven’t seen this house yet – it just came on today, but at $1.649, on 0.4 acre and renovated back in 1992, it seems to be well priced for the street and the neighborhood. Assessment is $1.2 so given Riverside’s premium over that number, I think it’s well worth checking out. It’s owned by a relocation company, and they tend to be more realistic than private owners.

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Now we get into the fraud part

 

Debtors' Prison

You really have to read the underlying article, Reuters’ Felix Salmon’s report, to get the full flavor of what’s about to explode, but Business Insider has a nice summary: basically, banks like Bank of America hired a third-party to spot-check the loans it was buying and learned that, on a sample of perhaps 5% of the total package, 45% were fraudulent. Fine: BOA forced the sellers to make good on that slice of loans, but then proceeded to sell off the remaining 95% without warning the buyers that probably 45% of the loans were no good. And B of A was just one of the major banks engaging in this scam.

 

Really – it’s time to resume practicing law. Real estate used to be easy, compared to lawyering, but this stuff? Shooting fish in a barrel.

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