Daily Archives: November 30, 2008

No wonder banks are in trouble

If this tale of bank ineptitude in California is typical of what’s going on around the country, the real estate market is in for a rough ride. Banks can’t get their act together to accept short sales – sales that are less than what is owed – and end up letting the property going to foreclosure and then selling for less than was offered originally. Everyone loses: the home owner has a bigger liability, the bank has a greater loss and housing inventory remains on the market far longer than is necessary. Will the situation improve? Not as long as people like this banker are in charge:

The investor asked for $24,000 credit for the repairs, essentially making the offer $401,000. Countrywide said no dice.

The house went through foreclosure in late August. The owners and a tenant in the second unit had to move. The bank put the home on the market a couple of weeks ago, after spending $7,500 for painting and new carpets, according to the new listing agent, George DeSalvo, a Realtor with Frank Howard Allen in Greenbrae.

The new price? $374,900 – about 6 percent less than the rejected short sale offer.

“I wish I could say this was unique, but I had three other properties with the same situation,” Harris said.

A Countrywide representative said it followed due process in weighing the short sale offer.

“At the time the offer was considered, the market value of that property was shown to be somewhere closer to $425,000,” said Rick Simon, a spokesman for Countrywide, which is owned by Bank of America. “The value is determined by appraisal.”

Unlike most of Marin County, Novato is an area where foreclosures are increasing and prices are on a downward spiral. Did Countrywide consider that the property’s value might be falling by $10,000 or more every month?

“We don’t try to engage in speculation as to where the market is going when considering the offers,” Simon said.

Maybe they should.

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He qualifies to sell real estate in Greenwich

Dublin truck driver strikes two bridges within a half hour. If you’ve ever watched Greenwich real estate agents attempt to maneuver at broker open houses, you might think this guy taught them, and you’d probably be right.

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Stop digging

Woman in Metrodome sex incident claims she was drugged, wants an investigation.

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Who Knew?

elephant-polo3 New York has an elephant polo team and it’s off to India to compete!

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Submitted with (almost) no comment


Returning home from the mall

Returning home from the mall

From today’s Greenwich Time:

Second Congregational Church to screen Christmas movie

“The Christmas Cottage,” a PG-rated family film inspired by the early life and art of painter Thomas Kinkade, will be shown on a theater-size screen at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Second Congregational Church, 139 E. Putnam Ave.

The screening is free. Runtime is one hour, 43 minutes.

I once stopped into a Kinkade store at the Stamford Mall with my young son John so that he could learn the meaning of kitsch. Your taste may differ, of course.

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Schadenfreude with a twist

The Yellowstone Club, gated enclave for the very, very rich, has filed for bankruptcy. Greg LeMond and a bunch of far richer types won’t be able to ski there this winter and, presumably, will lose out on the fun of keeping out trespassers – who wants to trespass where nothing’s happening? 

But what struck me is the attitude of the locals who were pushed out of the way to make way for this playground. They sound a lot like some folks in Greenwich witnessing the fall of Wall Street:

“It’s kind of like a double-edged sword for a lot of people around here,” said Greg Thomas, a 31-year-old construction worker from Bozeman. “It’s pretty grotesque and ridiculous, but at the same time, a lot of people depend on going up there for jobs.”

Bill Hopkins was more to the point.

“I can kind of gloat on one hand, but I’m not really happy about it.”

Maybe we Greenwichites can sell our hovels here for pennies and head west to take advantage of what’s sure to be a new Montana land rush.

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Tesla’s battery drain

From time to time, this blog likes to check in on the progress of the Tesla, a battery powered go-fast car that’s supposed to go 0-60 in under 4 seconds and have a range of 144 miles. The company sold a number of prototypes at $110,000 per and one of these days may actually deliver them. 

But maybe not – Tesla is now trying to grab a chunk of federal bailout money and says it can’t go forward without our money. As a taxpayer who is unlikely to receive one of these two seater sports cars and frankly has no use for one, I’m inclined to think that Tesla, like Chrysler and GM, should be left to power up, or down, without a forced contribution from me. Varoom!

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