Daily Archives: August 23, 2012
Apparently even a guy like Frankie has his limits and this super-secret, double-dare probation agenda for the Democrat’s convention has gone over the line, so he’s sent it along to me for exposure. I always knew that, deep down, Fudcuker was a patriot.
2012 Democratic National Convention Schedule — Charlotte , N.C.
4:00 PM – Opening Flag Burning Ceremony – sponsored by CNN
4:05 PM – Singing of “God Damn America ” led by Rev. Jeremiah Wright
4:10 PM – Pledge of Allegiance to Obama.
4:15 PM – Ceremonial ‘I hate America’ led by Michelle Obama.
4:30 PM – Tips on “How to keep your man trustworthy & true to you
while you travel the world” – Hillary Clinton
4:45 PM – Al Sharpton / Jesse Jackson seminar “How to have a
successful career without having a job.”
5:00 PM – “Great Vacations I’ve Taken on the Taxpayer’s Dime Travel
Log” – Michelle Obama.
5:30 PM – Eliot Spitzer Speaks on “Family Values” via Satellite
5:45 PM – Tribute to All 57 States – Nancy Pelosi
6:00 PM – Sen. Harry Reid – 90-minute speech expressing the
Democrat’s appreciation of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and
George Soros for sparing no expense, for all that they have
accomplished to unify the country, improve employment and to boost
8:30 PM – Airing of Grievances by the Clintons
9:00 PM – “Bias in Media – How we can make it work for you” Tutorial
– sponsored by CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the Washington Post and the New
9:15 PM – Tribute Film to Brave Freedom Fighters incarcerated at
GITMO – Michael Moore
9:45 PM – Personal Finance Seminar – Charlie Rangle
10:00 PM – Denunciation of Bitter Gun Owners and Bible readers.
10:30 PM – Ceremonial Waving of White Flag for IRAQ , & Afghanistan
11:00 PM – Obama Energy Plan Symposium / Tire Gauge Demonstration /
You too can get rich with Green Investment bankruptcies
11:15 PM – Free Gov. Blagovich rally
11:30 PM – Obama Accepts Oscar, Tony and Latin Grammy Awards
11:45 PM – Feeding of the Delegates with 5 Loaves and 2 Fish Obama
12:00 AM – Official Nomination of Obama by Bill Maher and Chris “He
sends a thrill up my leg” Matthews
12:01 AM – Obama Accepts Nomination as Lord and Savior
12:05 AM – Celestial Choirs Sing
3:00 AM – Biden Delivers Acceptance Speech
Nah, just kidding. Thirty-five Club Road has, as rumored, sold privately for $8.450 million. That makes twice it’s sold since it was built in 2006 (2007?) and while it is true this time it sold for less than it did in 2008, I’d describe the difference between the 2008 price of $8.675 and this one as a rounding error.
This house has never been exposed to the full market, which attests to its desirability. If I have the story right, it was custom built by Doran Sabag (Sound Beach Partners) and the owners had barely settled in when their agent was approached by another agent: she had clients who wanted the house – would the new owners consider …? They would and they did and now, it seems, it’s happened again.
By the way, the listing shows an asking price of $8.950 but that’s just a made up figure – this house was never for sale to the public, at any price. Beautiful place.
Just a handful on today, but I liked this one at 79 Valleywood Road in Cos Cob, asking $895,000. It’s pretty small: a master with bath and two small bedrooms sharing another one, but it was added to and bumped out in the rear in 2000, with central air and a new kitchen installed. And it’s on a great street. Because it’s in the R-7 zone, there’s plenty of room to expand the kitchen and add a new master bedroom suite upstairs, which I’d recommend; I think the street will support any (reasonable) amount of money you might spend in that regard. (For Minnesota Peg and other readers far from the lunacy of Greenwich prices, just drop a few zeros from this one and you’ll get the picture – this would be a great house at, say, $89,000 in another town.)
Valleywood has always been a desirable neighborhood and the houses on this side of the street have nice, flat yards, unlike those on the other side, which are carved into the hill. I overheard another agent saying that she was going to send this listing to a client she’s been working with for ages and if he didn’t buy it, she was going to fire him. I have more patience than that but I did send it to a couple I’m working with myself. A tidy house, great potential, and a good location. That’s a decent combination.
UPDATE: From what I’m hearing, this will be all over Monday except the opening of the bids. Testimony to the thin inventory in quality offerings in this price range. It’s also a reaffirmation of what I think we’ll adopt as the new firm motto: “Price it, sell it”.
Half of all recent college graduates are employed in jobs that require only a high school education to perform. It was once the case that a high school graduate could read, write and perform mid-level math. That’s no longer true, just as college degrees no longer attest to any particular in-depth knowledge, so employers hire college grads in the hope that they’ll have the skills and proficiencies a high school grad had two generations ago.
Tough luck on those with just a high school “education” – no wonder the (false) promise that the government will find them good-paying jobs holds such appeal.
Down in the polls, Elizabeth Warren’s come up with a new sympathy ploy: her opponent Scott Brown is being mean to her and once told her to “stop talking”. “I won’t stop talking,” she weeps in the ad, “I won’t! I won’t!”. Leaving aside the question of whether a weak, petulant sissy is an attractive image for a would-be senator or why that image would appeal to real women, it turns out that Liz’s ad is as phony as she is (quelle surprise) – she doctored a Scott Brown sound clip so it would appear he said what he didn’t. I’d call her a pussy but that’s an insult to felines everywhere.
A friend of mine (who insists on anonymity so that no one will know he knows me) sends along this bit of market information:
- Zillow reported that negative homeowner equity slipped to 30.9%, or 14.9M people in Q2, down from 31.4% in Q1. The decrease was attributed to home value appreciation in many markets across the US. However, it added that negative equity was still slightly elevated from 30% in the year-earlier period.
- Zillow noted that in total, underwater homeowners owe $1.1T more than their homes are worth. It added that over 40% of underwater homeowners owe between 1% and 20% more than their homes are worth. It also said that more than 2.2M underwater homeowners owe more than double what their home are worth, while on average, US homeowners in a negative equity position owe just over $75K more than what their homes are worth.
Dryvit is a plastic, stucco-looking exterior wall coating that once promised to be an answer to maintenance and, so important in Greenwich, “keeping up appearances”. Dryvit and other “EIFS” – Exterior Insulation and Finishing Systems” products were most popular in new construction, commercial and residential, in Florida and other southern states but the product also found its way up here. I don’t like the stuff and steer customers away from houses that have it. Here’s why:
Dryvit seals out moisture: it also seals moisture in, and if water infiltrates beyond it – usually through faulty or failed caulking, improperly flashed window, chimneys and other joints, it’s trapped there, slowing rotting the sheathing. And you can’t necessarily tell, just by looking or even using a moisture meter, how extensive that damage is without tearing off the siding – try doing a destructive home inspection and see how the homeowner reacts.
Experts recommend annual inspections of a Dryvit house* to detect problems, but do you want to go through this, every year?
“Installed properly” Dryvit is supposed to be trouble-free. But of course, the devil is in the details. Who installed the stuff on the house you’re looking at? And can a house inspector detect problems? You, the buyer, probably won’t know. Can you even get homeowner’s insurance if you live behind Dryvit walls? In many cases, no.
Here’s a brief discussion on the subject from Trulia, “does the presence of Dryvit affect a home’s value?” One guy says it doesn’t but he identifies himself as the manager of a real estate firm (which is honest of him), and what’s he supposed to say, especially if he’s got listings to sell that have the stuff on their walls? Most of those responding don’t like it and advise against it – I’m with them even if, as Dryvit claims, they fixed the problems (after massive class-action suits against them) in the 1990′s. The stigma lingers on, and I’d avoid it if I were buying a home.
*We recommend annual inspections if your home is clad with a “barrier” EIF system. Water-managed or drainage EIF systems and homes clad with cultured stone, stucco or thin brick should also be inspected periodically, depending on your geographical location. For example, homes in the Midwest experience an extreme weather cycle with rain and sleet in the fall, snow, ice and temperatures below 0°F in the winter, rain in the spring and lots of sun with temperatures over 90°F in the summer. These extremes can cause excessive structural movement of many of the different materials on a house (wood, aluminum, vinyl, stucco, brick, stone, etc.) which in turn can cause sealant joints to fail, as well as ice damming, flashing failure and structural cracking.
In most cases water intrusion problems are not apparent from a visual inspection of the exterior. However, we have the methods and tools necessary to detect any problems or potential problems.
Some of these methods may be more invasive than others and some are non-invasive. They include a thorough visual inspection and various types of meters that can measure the moisture content of the building components behind the exterior. One of these meters can detect moisture through electronic impedance technology, by scanning the surface of the wall (although this type of meter is not 100% reliable). Use of a scan meter should always be coupled with a probe or pin-type meter. Do not allow any inspector to convince you that they can perform a thorough assessment of any EIF System without invasive testing of some kind.”
UPDATE: A response from the manufacturer’s spokesman: Lengthy, but I wanted to append it here so that someone stumbling across this post while searching for EIFS product information will have the opportunity to get both sides.
[Dear Mr. Fountain]:
I want to follow up with you after I caught your blog post entitled “Dryvit stucco—bonus or plague?”yesterday with some newer information that you might not have on EIFS.
I’m sure you know Dryvit is a manufacturer of EIFS just like STO, ParexUSA, and BASF Synergy. I’m assuming the reason you’ve dealt more with Dryvit, hence referring to it as Dryvit, is that their main headquarters is in the Northeast, whereas another manufacturer is located in Florida.
EIFS is not only popular in new construction but there is a very strong market in retrofit projects for it as well. The design flexibility for EIFS is much larger than with other exterior wall claddings. Manufacturers, such as Dryvit, have designed new brick, limestone, and metallic finishes; these along with lower cost for construction have made this a very attractive system. As you mentioned in your post, up keep is important with EIFS as it is with any exterior wall cladding. This is true for all exterior wall claddings as proven by the fact that at least 20 major cities have façade inspection requirements. On our website, we discuss the topic and we always recommend people check out websites such as AWCI.org for information pertaining to certified inspectors and contractors from the “EIFS Doing It Right” course. We even did a blog post of our own, back in May, on the topic of maintenance.
This obviously, for good reason, is a concern of home and building owners alike. Because of that, research has recently been done by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and supported by the Department of Energy, validating EIFS as the “best performing cladding” in relation to thermal and moisture control when compared to brick, stucco, and cementitious fiberboard (commonly known as fiber cement) siding.
A couple of the reasons that EIFS is performing to these standards is the addition of a drainage cavity that permits the evacuation of any incidental moisture accumulation to be removed. In addition, it provides protection to the substrate by the use of a liquid applied water resistive barrier (WRB). A water-resistant base coat has also been added that is applied on top of the insulation to serve as a weather barrier.
These are some of the advancements the EIFS industry made to address previous issues that arose.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Better Building Challenge that the current Administration has been promoting. As part of that there is the 2012 Better Building Federal Award Program, that’s looking at energy reductions in federal buildings through a 12 month period. This past month there were several write-ups about the current standings of this competition, with results expected next month. Currently, the building with EIFS as a exterior wall cladding has seen energy reductions of 47% over the last year, more than 15% better than the building currently in second place.
Additionally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have completed a life cycle analysis of EIFS, pertaining to energy efficiency, determining it outpaces other exterior cladding options.
I believe there was a comment about insurance and I’d point you to our insurance page of our website. Over the last year, with the advancements being made, several more providers are coming to the table with insurance coverage with others going back to review their older policies.
I hope this information provides helpful update to you and any of your clients it may get to. Hopefully we continue to see positive signs in the housing market, for all of us.