Daily Archives: June 19, 2009

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From a real estate auction house: Advice on pre-qualifying sellers.

A word of caution: Just because you read this in its’ entirety does not mean you will be successful in the auction world. Most people who are new to this business are excited about being in the profession, and often approach it the same way a real estate agent would book a new listing. The difference is that auctioneers are in the business of selling property, and not about obtaining new listings. Successful auctioneers will turn away more business than they will accept. We are not interested in catching as many listings as we can book, or conducting auctions that we know have little hope of selling. Thinking differently is the key to your success. After all, the biggest and most important aspect to any auction really comes down to the seller.

There is a down and dirty way to determine if in fact we, or in this case you, can be of any help to a particular seller. The following are “Red Flag” statements from a seller, potentially disqualifying them from even entering an auction sale;

  1. I don’t have to sell!
    Then why are you talking to me? What they mean is I am not desperate to sell.
  2. I need an out of town buyer.
    Almost all real estate is local. What he/she means is the locals know my property is not worth what I am asking and I need a bozo from out of town. Good luck with that one.
  3. I’m looking for an investor.
    Same as number two above, just worded a little different.
  4. I won’t sign a listing agreement.
    Yeah, and I don’t like seeing the dentist but I still need to.
  5. Don’t use the word auction.
    Then we obviously should not be talking. Some auctioneers try not to bring up the “A” word right away in the conversation. Not my suggested approach here – but hey, whatever works.
  6. I won’t sell unless I get “MY” price.
    The market ALWAYS sets the price for your property. Now if “your” price is in line with the market then we might be able to help. But believe it or not, you don’t set the price.
  7. My property is worth more than market price.
    See number six above.
  8. I would never consider breaking the property into smaller pieces.
    It might very well be that the only way to achieve the highest and best possible price is to sell the property in smaller parcels.
  9. I don’t want the auction made public.
    If you have to ask why this is a problem, then you are in the wrong business.

Just because a seller may make any of these statements does not mean you should not continue to explore listing the asset for auction. Consider it a deal killer when you hear 3 “Red Flag” statements when talking to a seller.

Other deal killers include unrealistic reserve selling prices and sellers who are unwilling to pay auction expenses at the signing of the listing. Why have them pay for auction marketing expenses? It comes down to making sure your seller is motivated to sell. Asking for the seller to pay for the marketing expenses up front is a good way to tell that your seller is motivated. It may be appropriate to credit back half of the marketing fees at closing if the reserve is low enough and the property is highly likely to sell successfully. Auctions never close 100% of the time. Expect a 75% to 80% closing ratio if you do a great job prequalifying each asset and seller.

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The law is a ass

A couple of homeless shelters charged “residents” who stayed more than 45 days a dollar a day for food and lodging. If they didn’t have the buck, they work it off doing chores. The idea was to instill a little discipline in the bums but it turns out that charging any fee for food violates federal law, so the shelters have been cut off from federal aid.

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“Ya know, a good goat’ll do that.”

This is a family blog, so you’ll have to ask Attorney Jeremy Kaye for the joke that belongs to that punchline. Be sure to make him throw in the accent. In the meantime, it says here that the demand for goat meat is rising. I used to eat it, occasionally, when I lived in Crete. It’s better than old sheep, at least.

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George Mitchell still likes Fred Bourke

Three weeks into the trial, the government has yet to lay a glove on Mr. Bourke. Today, former Senator Mitchell did that Sergent Schultz thing he does so well (“I know nuttin!”)  From what little coverage I can find of this trial on the web, not a single witness has said anything that links Bourke to the bribes paid to Azerbaijan officials. They had better have something to offer, or Mr. Bourke might wonder why they have tied up his life and cost him millions (? a lot, anyway) in legal fees. I love a Greenwich scandal even more than most residents but the only scandal I’ve seen here is a waste of taxpayer money and the harassment of an innocent man.

But the trial’s not over, so we’ll check in from time to time to see what’s happening.

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Fly Angler speaks (No, not Catherine Hooper, Fly)

This may not make me popular,

But since when has that stopped me?

I just read the below on the train ride home. I like Moore (he’s frequently on CNBC for those who can’t place the name) and learned that we graduated from college in the same year. Unless he was really dumb or really start, that means we were both born in 1960, the cusp of the baby boom generation. Candidly, I have always been somewhat ambivalent about being considered a boomer but I guess I (and many of you) fit the birth date definition.

Anyway, I found myself in general agreement with Moore: enough is enough already. Enough soul-searching, blame attribution/assumption, whipping ourselves with a cat-o-nine-tails and wearing of hair shirts. Things are tough right now and more than a few of us had a hand in it, not just the evil Wall Street facilitators (in my mind, the bartenders being blamed for everyone’s collective hangover). In my blame attribution, I include all of you who took out or refinanced a mortgage and/or extracted equity in the past decade. Those of you who spent more and saved less than you “should have”. And all of us who shopped at big box stores buying goods made cheaply offshore rather than more expensive American-made wares (assuming you could find them). Most of us had some part in how we got to this place and state, directly, indirectly or by lack of action. Oh, and then there’s the political class and the Media.

But enough already! This is taking the cult of victimization to an extreme. Apparently, boomers are both the perpetrators and the victims which feel narcissistic to me. I am with Moore and will not be apologizing. In fact, I will be sure to share this piece with my 14 year old who is similar to those Moore describes below.

My advance apologies if I offend anyone’s sensibilities or feelings of guilt.

T

 

WSJ OPINION: DE GUSTIBUS
JUNE 19, 2009
This Boomer Isn’t Going to Apologize
By STEPHEN MOORE

Last weekend I attended my niece’s high-school graduation from an upscale prep school in Washington, D.C. These are supposed to be events filled with joy, optimism and anticipation of great achievements. But nearly all the kids who stepped to the podium dutifully moaned about how terrified they are of America’s future — yes, even though Barack Obam a, whom they all worship and adore, has brought “change they can believe in.” A federal judge gave the commencement address and proceeded to denounce the sorry state of the nation that will be handed off to them. The enemy, he said, is the collective narcissism of their parents’ generation — my generation. The judge said that we baby boomers have bequeathed to the “echo boomers,” “millennials,” or whatever they are to be called, a legacy of “greed, global warming, and growing income inequality.”

And everyone of all age groups seemed to nod in agreement. One affluent 40-something woman with lots of jewelry told me she can barely look her teenagers in the eyes, so overcome is she with shame over the miseries we have bestowed upon our children.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that graduation ceremonies have become collective airings of guilt and grief. It’s now chic for boomers to apologize for their generation’s crimes. It’s the only thing conservatives and liberals seem to agree on. Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, told Butler University grads that our generation is “just plain selfish.” At Grinnell College in Iowa, author Thomas Friedman compared boomers to “hungry locusts . . . eating through just about everything.” Film maker Ken Burns told this year’s Boston College grads that those born between 1946 and 1960 have “squandered the legacy handed to them by the generation from World War II.”

I could go on, but you get the point. We partied like it was 1999, paid for it with Ponzi schemes and left the mess for our kids and grandkids to clean up. We’re sorry — so sorry.

Well, I’m not. I have two teenagers and an 8-year-old, and I can say firsthand that if boomer parents have anything for which to be sorry it’s for rearing a generation of pampered kids who’ve been chauffeured around to soccer leagues since they were 6. This is a generation that has come to regard rising affluence as a basic human right, because that is all it has ever known — until now. Today’s high-school and college students think of iPods, designer cellphones and $599 lap tops as entitlements. They think their future should be as mapped out as unambiguously as the GPS system in their cars.

CBS News reported recently that echo boomers spend $170 billion a year — more than most nations’ GDPs — and nearly every penny of that comes from the wallets of the very parents they now resent. My parents’ generation lived in fear of getting polio; many boomers lived in fear of getting sent to the Vietnam War; this generation’s notion of hardship is TiVo breaking down.

How bad can the legacy of the baby boomers really be? Let’s see: We’re the generation that spawned Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, ATMs and Gatorade. We defeated the evils of communism and delivered the world from the brink of global thermonuclear war. Now youngsters are telling pollsters that they think socialism may be better than capitalism after all. Do they expect us to apologize for winning the Cold War next?

College students gripe about the price of tuition, and it does cost way too much. But who do these 22-year-old scholars think has been footing the bill for their courses in transgender studies and Che Guevara? The echo boomers complain, rightly, that we have left them holding the federal government’s $8 trillion national IOU. But try to cut government aid to colleges or raise tuitions and they act as if they have been forced to actually work for a living.

Yes, the members of this generation will inherit a lot of debts, but a much bigger storehouse of wealth will be theirs in the coming years. When I graduated from college in 1982, the net worth of America — all our nation’s assets minus all our liabilities — was $16 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Today, even after the meltdown in housing and stocks, the net worth of the country is $45 trillion — a doubling after inflation. The boomers’ children and their children will inherit more wealth and assets than any other in the history of the planet — that is, unless Mr. Obama taxes it all away. So how about a little gratitude from these trust-fund babies for our multitrillion-dollar going-away gifts?

My generation is accused of being environmental criminals — of having polluted the water and air and ruined the climate. But no generation in history has done more to clean the environment than mine. Since 1970 pollutants in the air and water have fallen sharply. Since 1960, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh have cut in half the number of days with unsafe levels of smog. The number of Americans who get sick or die from contaminants in our drinking water has plunged for 50 years straight.

Whenever kids ask me why we didn’t do more to combat global warming, I explain that when I was young the “scientific consensus” warned of global cooling . Today’s teenagers drive around in cars more than any previous generation. My kids have never once handed back the car keys because of some moral problem with their carbon footprint — and I think they are fairly typical.

The most absurd complaint of all is that the health-care system has been ruined by our generation. Oh, really? Thanks to massive medical progress in the past 30 years, the chances of dying from heart disease and many types of cancer have been cut in half. We found effective treatments for AIDS within a decade. Life expectancy has risen and infant mortality fallen. That doesn’t sound so “selfish” to me.

Yes, we are in a deep economic crisis today — but it’s no worse than what we boomers faced in the late 1970s after years of hyperinflation, sky-high tax rates and runaway government spending. We cursed our parents, too. But then we grew up and produced a big leap forward in health, wealth and scientific progress. Let’s see what this next generation of over-educated ingrates can do.
—–
Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.

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Another attorney who couldn’t pass the bar

Jefferson lawyer found sleeping in trash can.

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The surprising thing is that it has one at all

Moodys may cut California’s credit rating.

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Maxine Waters, genius at work

Everyone’s favorite lunatic Congressperson, Maxine Waters, wants to stop vulture funds from buying debt on the cheap and suing for full payment. And it does seem a bit unfair. The African countries Miss Waters seeks to protect borrow this money with no intention of repaying it and until now have been confident that no one would actually, you know, ask them to dip into their Swiss bank accounts and give some back. If we’re changing the rules in the middle of the game, some advance notice seems appropriate.

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It was a bit floury, and stuck to our teeth, but we liked it okay.

Nestle recalls Toll House cookie dough.

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Waterfront condos arrive

Well, the first two of the new Manero condominiums on Steamboat Raod have hit the market, asking $7.5 million (for 5,000 sq. ft) and $5.995 million respectively. This is a great looking building, and the location is pretty good, but I can’t help but wonder whether the market for this price range is still around. Time will tell. The website for the project is here. I haven’t seen the units yet but the website sucks. Maybe it will improve as the building progresses. (Until then, here’s a better one).

Update:All the units are now on the MLS. Top price $8.750 (for 9,000 sq. ft.) lowest in the 4’s. Here’s a plus, if you’re planning on entertaining Russians: there are more toilets in these units than Olga’s proposed bungalow on Simmons Lane. We’re talking acres of porcelain here, 3 bedrooms, 6 1/2 baths for the more expensive rooms and not much less on the cheap ones. Maybe they come with (salt) water views?

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News from the Noel side of things

Tatiana Boncompagni, sister-in-law? former daughter-in-law? Some kind of relation to Walt Noel’s first partner in Fairfield Greenwichl Group (the one who “retired” years ago and kept cashing the checks generated by Bernie Madoff’s cheating) has written a distressing tale of the sorrows of hedge fund wives. The poor bastards have lost their money and at least one bitter wife confides to Tatiana, “I didn’t get married for this. Do you know I have to take the subway now?” Truly horrifying. If you have nerves of steel and a stone-cold heart, you might want to read it for an insight into how your neighbors are suffering.

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When times are tough, the tough go shopping

Congress increased spending on itself 7% last year, beacuse of the poor economy. Private companies cut spending when the economy tanks, Congress spends more. It is the latter who wants to run our car companies, banks and medical care. But this time, they’re going to introduce efficiency and thus expand services while costing us less. Amazingly, some people actually believe this.

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What’s the point of having a badge if you can’t get decent service?

Cops pull badge and gun on slow-moving MacDonald’s worker, drive off without paying. My guess is that they mistook the place for a donut shop and got annoyed when the kid had to duck next door for a glazed cruller.

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70% rule lives!

126 Cat Rock

126 Cat Rock

This house on Cat Rock sold new in June, 2001 for $3.595 million – full asking price. It sold yesterday for $3.2 million. Town’s 70% assessed value = $3.110 million.

I’m a little surprised that someone would buy this instead of the Pecora’s brand new one on Cat Rock at 137 for $3 million, but taste is always personal.

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