Daily Archives: October 23, 2008

Don’t blame me, because it was “Retired IB’er” who broached the topic of bad limericks using Nantucket, St. Barts and Gay Head. He took the easy way out and chose Nantucket but has yet to touch upon the latter two. If he’s so retired, what the heck does he do with his time? Oh well, nature abhorring a vacuum, I offer the following:

There once was a man on St. Bart’s,
Who dined only on beans and his ….
His girlfriend said geeze, if you’ll just eat some cheese,
we can swim at our ease,
drink wine as we please,
and the natives won’t whack our rear parts.

Pretty bad, but for top of the head stuff, it’ll have to do. How about,

There once was a girl from Gay Head,
whose boyfriend was desperate for er, you know -
He begged and he pleaded, she felt she was needed but said Darling, I’d rather be dead.

Your turn!

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A reader asks, “any figures for us?” I have no idea what he means but this is a full service blog, so here you go:Female Figure

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The Brooks Brother’s set on a rampage – hate spills over. Racism!!

Obama supporter beaten, robbed and face mutilated

Windows shot out at Obama Campaign Manager’s home

McCain supporters attack female Obama volunteer worker, strike her in face, body, throw her to ground. “It’s this god damn election,” one attacker explains. “It’s made me so angry!”

Home, car of
Obama supporter vandalized in Maryland

Obama campaign bus shot, defaced in New Mexico

And on and on. Will this violence never end? Must we endure such hatred just as we approach the promised land? Oh, when will we learn? When will we ever le- Oh – all those reports are about attacks on McCain supporters? Well then, never mind!

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Foreclosures in Greenwich?
Not a huge problem yet, and perhaps it never will be, but the Realtytrac.com site seems busier than before (hard to say because it lumps in Stamford and Port Chester when you just want to search Greenwich). It shows 525 pre-foreclosure an foreclosure properties right now which, if memory serves (and it often doesn’t) is about 150 more than when I checked a month ago. Some are stale – 7 Dwight Lane has come and gone, and others were resolved. But some are recent: On October 18, a house on Tomac Lane in Old Greenwich had a lis pendens filed against it signalling foreclosure on a $2,750,000 debt (I found the exact address of the house by combining the limited information RealtyTrac provides non-paying visitors with the Greenwich Tax Assessor’s on-line data base, but I won’t provide further details – the owner obviously has enough problems). There’s another fresh one on Dialstone Lane, in Riverside ($925,000) Havemeyer Lane, etc. Some of these debtors have a real problem: comparing their debt to the value of their homes, there may be no equity in the place, in which case you can probably expect the foreclosure to proceed.

My guess is that things are going to get worse from here because too many folks earning large-figure paychecks lived too close to the edge. Come bonus time, if there is no bonus, how is the mortgage going to get paid? I hope I’m wrong, both because I see no need to rejoice in another’s misfortune and because foreclosures drag down the value of all houses in the neighborhood: $220,000 according to one report I read, and that was comparing things nationally – there’s probably a worse effect on high-end towns like Greenwich.

So that’s gloomy enough. We had one contract reported today, which makes three for the week. That should cheer you up.

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Demmerkrats considering killing 401 (k) plans. But don’t worry – they’ll take care of your money for you and will pay you 3% a year. That should work every bit as well as the Social Security Trust Fund. But remember, “socialist” is just a code word for black – you criticize this plan, you ain’t nothin’ but a racist.

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70 Pecksland

This was listed in July for $3,750,000 and sold yesterday for $3,002,000, or 80% of asking. That’s a smart move from a realistic seller, I think. As an aside, you never know about personal taste in real estate. There’s another house, right up the road, listed for $3.195 million. I saw both houses the same day and thought the second superior to the first. Of course, that day there was a $550,000 difference in the second house’s favor, which would certainly have affected my judgment, but since either house could have been bought for $3,000,000 (I assume), clearly this buyer liked house number 1. As I said, there’s a large element of personal taste in these matters.

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Courtesy of a reader

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OwlGore bundled up
You give me some real estate news to write about – buy a house, sell a house, sign a contract, anything – and I’ll write real estate. Until then, you’re stuck with fun filler; you have only yourself to blame.
Gore Effect comes to Harvard. Dictionary definition of that:

The phenomenon that leads to unseasonably cold temperatures, driving rain, hail, or snow whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global warming. Hence, the Gore Effect.

Addressing the efforts of the Harvard nitwits (I use their stupidity to remind myself that high SAT’s are no guarantee of sound thinking – certain readers, were they to see my own test scores, would agree wholeheartedly) to keep warm during Gore’s speech on global warming the author of the piece I link to says,

Cute! The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain but the best thing one can do when it’s warming by 0.6 °C per century is to fight the climate, to redesign the Harvard logo, to unravel the modern industrial civilization (if you allow me to exaggerate just a little bit), and to serve people hot soup and cider so that they won’t freeze during the celebration of their heroic fight against warming. ;-)

To think that these kids will be running the hedge funds of tomorrow.

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The Quality of Gossip is Certainly Strained
By Amanda Von Stuckle

Look: who was it who first reported a Kathy Lee sighting at CVS?. Moi! Now that Greenwich Post’s gossip reporter has taken to staking out my snooping grounds and – big whoop – she says she saw that poor old former baseball player, Lee Mazzilli at the same place, buying Grecian Formula 101 or something. Look, bitch, I’ll give you Valbella’s but stay the F off my turf! CVS is mine, all mine.

Regis’s house, by the way, is on the market for $5.4 million not, as a CVS clerk must have told you, $2.5. Of course, given that it’s not selling, maybe that clerk is on to something. Does she wanna sell real estate on the side? It would mean a cut in pay,of course, but she would get free tours of our celebrities’ homes.

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The Professor, Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, is worried about another Brooks Brother’s riot if McCain loses the election:Police prepare for unrest on Election Night

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Long on scary headline, short on fact
The NYTs reports that Investors are fleeing hedge funds. It makes sense, and we’ve discussed this possibility here before, but, perhaps because hedge funds aren’t public reporting companies, there’s no data on how many investors are fleeing, how much they’re taking with them and how many funds won’t be around to pass out bonuses next year. Everyone’s most cuddly hedge funder, Steven Cohen, is said to be sitting on the sidelines with a large pile of cash, but, speaking only for myself, I’d prefer to sit on a cushion of cash than on the cold, hard ground.

Anyway, the story should ruin some folk’s train ride to NYC this morning and will certainly disturb realtors’ morning coffee meditations.

(attn. BC: you’ll notice that I waited until 5:50 to post this – who says I have no life?)

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Woohooo!

Are you growing scared yet?

Al Franken is on his way to the U.S. Senate and this looney is already there. Worse, she’s gone off her meds and is screeching about that vast, right-wing conspiracy again. We’re doomed.

“Al Franken was taking on the vast right-wing conspiracy before other people even admitted it existed,” she told a crowd of 2,000 supporters on the University of Minnesota campus, urging them to give her rival, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, a filibuster-proof margin in the Senate. “Al Franken, with your help, can be our 60th vote.”

I don’t know what Hillary’s doing in this picture – measuring Bill for the guillotine?

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Is now a good time to buy a home? This article says, yes, sort of, then backs off. Raises the appropriate issues for you to consider, anyway.

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I’m not messing around!

Look sharp on the unemployment line:
The Extreme Banker look is back! (although that’s not what the man in tights is wearing – I just thought it an amusing picture from last month’s Fashion Walkway) Most pathetic line from a dumb article? The lawyer quoted below has my vote:

Some designers and retailers say formal, double-breasted or three-piece suits and contrast-collared shirts make sense even in an economic slump. These styles, they say, can help men appear serious and competitive at the office and on job interviews. Chicago attorney Francis Kowalik, for one, doesn’t think that’s far-fetched. A double-breasted suit “has a little more authority to it, a little bit of weight,” says the 44-year-old, who owns a number of double-breasted suits and plans to buy more. “It says you’re not messing around.”

What a yo yo.

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From the Wall Street Journal, which home improvements pay off?

Most don’t, which I’ve said here before.

GENERALLY SPEAKING, there are two ways to go about making home improvements. Either you splurge for something purely for the sybaritic pleasure of having it — the Italian marble bathroom you’ve dreamed about; that skylight that your spouse has been hinting at for the last six years — or you take a pragmatic approach, buying an energy-efficient furnace or repairing a leaky roof because you want to increase your home’s market value.

Don’t expect to score on both counts. “Just because you pour $20,000 into your home doesn’t mean that your house is worth $20,000 more,” says Frank Dell’Accio, a real-estate broker in Lindenhurst, N.Y. “I had a guy who invested $100,000 in a $130,000 home after he lived there for four years. He put it on the market at $225,000. He was offered $170,000.” His mistake: spending money on amenities that were only peripheral to the value of the house. “He wanted phones in the bathroom,” says Dell’Accio, “but [who else is] going to pay for them?”

But there is one important area that you should pay attention to:

Basic Improvements
It may not be all that enjoyable, but it’s the basic improvements that may have the greatest return on your home’s value. “You could have a beautiful new kitchen, but if your roof is leaking, you have a real problem,” says Cory. So if you’re thinking of putting your house on the market in the next year or so, be sure to tackle any problems with the home’s structure or mechanical systems before you, say, install that hot tub you’ve always dreamed of.

My advice parallels this article’s: fix the important things and add the fun stuff only if you plan to stay in the house long enough to enjoy them. And oh! Pools? Pool sellers will tell you different, but here’s another area where the Journal and I agree:

Swimming Pools
It’s commonly agreed that a swimming pool has no resale value at all. “I’ve had clients spend $300,000 and fill in the pool,” says one agent. The main reason pools repel more prospective buyers than they attract is that they require expensive upkeep. Running a close second is the fear of liability: Pool accidents are a quick way to end up the subject of a negligence suit. “A lot of people don’t want the responsibility,” says Cory.

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