Daily Archives: August 25, 2008

So you’re thinking of buying a house
Okay, perhaps you aren’t, but maybe you should be. As I mention below, there are a lot of houses out there that have been on the market for a long time. Some of them have come down enough to represent decent values (for instance, a house on lower Lake Avenue originally listed in June, 2006 at $1.585 million is now asking $1.099 million. Offer $995 and grab it), others still have some room to drop but their owners might be willing to listen to, and accept, a low price – I know of one that has been on for 18 months and has dropped from $3.5 million to $2.9 million. I’d want to see it at, say $2.45 before I called it a good deal, but maybe ….

In any event, this is a good time to pull the records (or have your realtor pull the records) and examine houses that have lingered through a falling market. Look above your price range – a $2.7 house might actually be a $1.8 house and if $2’s your limit and the house suits your need, try it. Do some drive-bys, narrow down your search further by actually entering the house and, if you come up with a handful of picks, rank them in order of preference and put in a bid on one. If that doesn’t work, move on to the next, and so on. It may all be an exercise in futility but you could end up with the house you want, for a very good price.

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A letter from Nigeria
You loved their emails – relative lost in horrible plane crash, secret fund that can only be removed from the country with your assistance, please send all private banking information most hastily – now there’s another chance to quintzupple your money in that wonderful country: real estate!. read the whole thing, of course, before you invest, but here’s just a teaser:

A new report has predicted more buoyant time for operators in the real estate sector and urged investors seeking bountiful returns to look in that direction.

The report coming from the nation’s foremost credit rating and research agency, Agusto & Co, the report ranked real estate as one of the fastest growing sectors in the country.

It quoted the firm’s Analyst-in-Charge, Mr. Dolapo Oni, as saying, “The real estate market is one of the most viable alternatives to investing in the stock market that can give comparable returns.”

It also said, “Real estate tends to mostly appreciate. Prices of land and property rarely fall. In the last one-year alone, prices have appreciated in some areas of Lagos by over 200 per cent. On the average across all observed locations, prices appreciated by over 30 per cent.

“As such, investors are guaranteed to a large extent that their capital will appreciate significantly, if they invest in the right real estate properties.”

“Guaranteed to a large extent”? Who can resist that kind of opportunity? Please send your banking information directly to me – I’ll pass it on.

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Does the Back Country get a pass in the Police Blotter?

Greenwich Divaposes this question today because, while the blog’s author knows of several instances of domestic abuse, with arrests, among her neighbors, she never sees the incidents reported in our fair paper. My experience has been the same; I know of drug busts and horrendous abuse cases yet they don’t seem to see publishing daylight (except for George C. Scott and his wife – the Greenwich Time loved reporting on their spats when the unhappy couple lived in town).

So do our police keep certain incidents from the blotter or does the Greenwich Time protect wealthy criminals? Or neither – are people like the Diva and I just missing the news. One thing I’m sure of: bad things occur all over town, even in wealthy households.

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The World’s Smallest Violin
Our local daily reports that a young boy named Conor Holliday “has broken his ribs, wrist, ankle, shattered a bone in his left foot and fractured the Lisfranc joint in his foot – all in the name of the adrenaline rush that is skateboarding.” Mr. Holliday now complains that he dislikes paying a $10 fee to use the town’s skateboarding park, which costs taxpayers $40,000 annually to operate, and threatens to take his business elsewhere.

My question is, who’s been paying this idiot’s medical bills? If he’s a ward of the state, then it’s our tax dollars being used to patch him up and send him out to do it again. If it’s private insurance, then it’s our rising premiums achieving the same thing. Either way, maybe his parents should concede the obvious – the kid can’t skate – and take away his board so he doesn’t hurt himself, or our wallets, again. Failing that, make the kid pay the damn admission fee. Hrrmph!

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They’re back!

Okay, they may not be as welcome as the swallows of Capistrano (when I Googled that term to check spelling I was asked, “did you mean swallows of cappuccino?” – er, no)) but buyers are finally stirring, poking around after the storm to see what’s still here. Before you sellers get your hopes up, you might want to know that the buyers I’ve been talking to are ready to buy and have cash but they’re not planning on paying full asking price – quite the contrary. Their general consensus, if I can extrapolate from a small sample, is that the market is flattening out and probably will start recovering in the Spring, so perhaps now’s a good time to buy. I won’t disagree.

I’m also hearing rumors of a couple of very large pending deals that, if they come to fruition, should cheer up spec builders considerably. So don’t despair but do be prepared to hear offers well below what you’ve been counting on. As of today there are 37 single family homes actively listed since at least August 2007 (and that’s not counting listings that have expired and withdrawn with the intention of returning to the market in a few weeks). So if you won’t listen to a low offer, there’s probably somebody else out there who will.

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