Monthly Archives: September 2011

Passport

Someone I know, who may or may not have birthed me in 1964, calls me this morning and says that she is going to Italy at 7PM and has a problem. Problem is, an expired passport. Oh, and this person is on an island in the Atlantic. What to do?

Unbeknownst to me, the Norwalk Passport Office is one of only 10 places in the nation where you can get a passport issued in an hour. This person shows up at 11:30 after a ferry ride and a top speed drive down I-95 (apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there), and with proof of travel, a picture and $170, the passport was ready after lunch.

Take that, anywhere else! Fairfield County sure does have some useful stuff.

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Ya Gotta Live Somewhere

Five sales, two contracts reported so far today on open house day. I refer to these as “shelter” deals, because no matter how bad the economy, no matter whether there is a 20% confidence gap, ya gotta live somewhere, preferably somewhere that can be purchased on an insured mortgage. One, 446 Valley Road in Cos Cob, actually sold in a bidding war – asking $525,000, got $540,000 or $270 a square foot.

423 Stanwich, on the market since Warren Buffett was a little boy, is in contract today. Originally asking $5.7 million back during the Sydney Olympics, will likely be south of the current $2.4MM ask. Nice land, the house……….a bit confusing

Can you build in Greenwich for less than $270 a foot? (Valley Road)

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Washington DC

As opposed to the rest of the nation, Washington DC is having some kind of real estate growth explosion. No real secret there, its stimulus writ small. All the federal spending attracts businesses, people, jobs, etc. Lots of good capitalists have made tons of money in places ranging from Petworth in the deep urban core of the District, to the Dulles toll road corridor. While an effect of government, it’s mostly private enterprise that fuels the growth of DC. No doubt it is a success, but it would seem to me that some believe this to be wrong, solely because it’s in the capitol area. I used to live there for a while, its amazing what success has done there. I think it’s an example of what government and private enterprise can do to stimulate the nation as a whole

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Still no news

But this house, at 2 Broad Road “in the association” at Belle Haven, is owned by someone with the best name I’ve seen in a while. The owner is Yonsuk S. Derby.

I love interesting names. Gotta be great to live life named Majestic Mapp and Scientific Mapp 

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Real Estate News?

It’s not like I’d rather shove liberal propaganda down your throats, I’d rather sell real estate. Today we have about 15 open houses (for Gideon, none on Club Road so he can take it easy on this rainy day). I had an agent last night at an event tell me its not the lack of sales that worry her, its the lack of showings. Is price driving demand, or is there just no demand. Strange days indeed.

Next stop housing options

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Its good to have a hobby

And lets not forget a memorable nickname.

So what did you do down in the Ozarks?

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New i-Phone next week?

Gideon Fountain writes:

Can this possibly be accurate? If so, whoa!

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Non-lethal protection

The Kimber Pepper Blaster, also available in discreet gray.

Gideon Fountain writes:

With the likes of multimillionaire, overweight agitprop movie producer Michael Moore calling for violence against “the rich”, it’s certainly a good time to think about personal protection, because, more than likely, it won’t be rich guys like Michael Moore who get threatened by members of the lunatic fringe, it will be regular schmoes like you and me.

After much research and personal experience, I can whole-heartedly endorse the  Kimber Pepper Blaster* as the best solution to the problem of what to carry for protection against everything from muggers to grizzly bears, and, lately, mountain lions.  More than likely, you’re never going to use this thing, but you should have something on your person at all times.  At the very least, make sure your daughter carries one.  They are cheap (around $39.95 or less), lightweight, they won’t go off accidentally in your pocket or purse, plus they have a shelf-life of at least 6 years.

Best of all, unlike a pistol, if you’ve made a mistake, and it was just your brother sneaking into the house, not a burglar? He’ll be really pissed off about getting sprayed but he won’t be dead!

*Chris continues his (confounded, nonsensical) “no advertising” policy so of course this is a free plug for the Kimber Company of Yonkers, New York. There are other, similar products out there that may be just as good, so do a little research.

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If you think this is Socialism……

“I hear all this, ‘well, this is class warfare, this is whatever’. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear:

You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.”

- Elizabeth Warren

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Ok To Despise Warren Buffett?

Gideon Fountain writes:

All thinking humans properly despise scoundrels like Michael Moore, but what about Warren Buffett?  Most of us have grown up hearing this avuncular, chubby-cheeked, Benjamin Graham disciple referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha”. Seemed like a nice guy.  And, after all, he appears to have come to his billions honestly, albeit, these days, using less Graham and more political-insider methods. But reports like THIS force you to recognize what a typical, double-talking hypocrite this old fool really is.

And if he were merely a double-talking, hypocritical old fool, it would be one thing, but he is actively working on behalf of the re-election of President Obummer. Having learned nothing from the last 2 1/2 years, he wants more of it. And he and his President vigorously advocate for higher taxes for “millionaires and billionaires” knowing full well that these higher rates will be applied to a much larger, more financially useful group known as “hundred-thousand-aires”.

So, are we allowed to despise a multi-billionaire whose company fights the IRS tooth-and-nail over every nickel owed and, at the same time, calls for higher taxes for those really rich guys, the ones making $300,000/year? Yes, indeed, yes.

And his tax arguement is PHONY, anyway.

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Bombs Away

Four houses closed and were reported today. 242 Pemberwick Road, north of Comly, sold for $920,000 after 3 years on the market, originally listed for $1,575,000, or 58% of ask. Meeting a more realistic fate was 35 Terrace Ave in Riverside, a 4 BR, 2 BA Riverside Tudor. It was listed at $1,795,000 and sold for 75% of its ask – $1,350,000 – in a short 6 months. On a rosier note, 9 Lockwood Drive in Old Greenwich sold quickly, very well priced at $1,299,000, out in a couple of months for $1.2MM

We’ll see how these lessons play out at 297 Round Hill Road, purchased just a year ago for $5.2MM after on the market for 2+ years, down from an original ask of $7.5MM. This gem on sale for what appears to be a breakeven amount of what-I-paid plus what-I-pay-the-broker plus what-I-pay-in-closing-costs.

297 Round Hill

242 Pemberwick

 

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Yo Gideon

The liberals are taking over, pretty soon Walt will be going with me, Nancy Pelosi, Rev. Wright and all the top Solyndra execs to an organic retreat in San Francisco. Anyone have a sighting? FYI, each of the 5 Scooby Doo characters represent one of the schools of Western Mass. Shaggy is Hampshire, Velma is Smith, Daphne is Mt. Holyoke, Fred is Amherst and Shaggy is UMass. I think Walt got kicked out of Amherst and graduated UMass

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Capitalization Rates

There are a number of objective ways to value a rental or commercial building. One, the “capitalization rate” is determined by taking the net operating income (income after paying everything), and dividing it by a rate of return, say 7%. So, if you net $40k, the place should sell for about $575K. I ran this by a broker today and they looked at me like I was just making it up. I tried rent multiples. Bridgeport usually trades at 4 times gross rent, Greenwich as high as 12x gross. So, gross was $51,000, we were up to $610,000. Broker looked at me like I was just making this s*@! up. Finally I said we couldn’t pay the $995,000 they were asking for, and the broker said “we are not going to consider any lowball offers”. I ask how they got to their sale price, the answer was “he paid less for this in 2008″. Uh, duh. Its going to be a long 2012

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Throw Them All Out

C’mon, can’t these people get a grip. Someone should ask them whether they deserve their pay, much less their jobs. Obama’s right, you can’t wait 14 months

Compromise is an american art, so why can’t 535 people, earning $95,765,000 plus benefits figure this nonsense out, and expect us to reelect any of them in 14 months? That goes for both sides. Tom Suozzi ran against Elliot Spitzer in the 2006 Democratic primary in New York on a platform of 1) Spitzer’s bad news and 2) throw out all the incumbents in both parties. He got crushed 80% – 20%.

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Hello Ladies……

By popular demand. I was going to post the Men of ACORN, but I figured you would be far too awed to comment

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Tax Credits

I’ve always been surprised by the support of tax credits on the right. I think that the idea of giving away free tax deductions feels better than giving away the same money after you collected it. There surely would be no cash money for a 40% film tax credit to film  this show in Old Greenwich, or turn Thataway on Greenwich Avenue into a gay bar for the day, but who notices if its tax credits. And believe it or not, you can give them away – write on your napkin “I give you $500 in Connecticut bottom line tax deductions” and you can pay your dinner check.

I’ve been involved in writing applications for Low Income Housing Tax Credits in a few states, nobody whines about the tax credits, just the people who use them. But this one, even the haters have to give the Governor credit. Who can complain?

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I have been given direction

Spoke to Chris briefly today, he gave me the following advice on what to post on the blog.

 

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My Idea of Judicial Activism

This guy really knows how to use the power of the judiciary. Can’t find out his political party and, without any reference to diapers or wide stances, he’s probably a Dem.

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Kind Gideon

I have nothing against Gideon. I can’t help that his view of real estate is wrong, or that his politics are so far around the bend I expect him to come all the way around the curve and be to the left of Saul Alinsky by next month. I don’t expect fisticuffs, he’s too much of a gentleman for that. But I am getting prepared.

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Alas

Alas, Gideon, while my misguided and dangerous liberal beliefs may have steamed the vegetables of the true-Conservative set reflected in your brother’s mad rantings, your – dare I say rose colored view – of real estate surely has starched the shorts of the bearish among this readership as well. I too tell clients to view their property as “shelter”, not worrying so much about turning a profit for many years. But if you overpay $1 million, then sell five years later, you just paid $547.94 a night plus utilities and maintenance. That’s a pricey night out, even with this friend. You are correct that Club Road and associated Riverside are selling well, but I would suppose the old fashioned notion of scarcity (waterfront land) has contributed somewhat to making the place a little more fashionable. Just like her

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