Daily Archives: August 6, 2009

Foreclosures via Google maps

Krazy Kat sent me a nifty tip that I was unaware of: Google maps offers free details of foreclosures. I’m just beginning to play with it but, for instance, here’s a bank-owned property at 50 Havemeyer Lane for $532,000 that I was unaware of. It’s not listed on the GMLs that I know of and I suspect there are many more like it. I’m off to prowl. In the meantime, if you want to play Google for yourself, go to Google.com, click “maps”, select “real estate” as a search option, then type in a specific address or anything broader, such as “Greenwich” or Old Greenwich, CT” and see what you get.

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It’s coincidence, I tell you!

Nothing to see here, move along, move along

Nothing to see here, move along, move along

Edolphus Towns, the Democrat chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Corruption who has quashed all subpoenas of Countrywide Mortgage’s loans to congressmen turns out to have received two such loans himself.

And in an unrelated matter, I posted yesterday that Congress was spending $200 million to treat itself to three new Gulfstream 550 jets; I was wrong. Congress is spending $550 million to treat itself to five new jets, three Gulfstreams and two 737s. These are the same people who are going to pay for ObamaCare by weeding out waste and inefficiency. But give them this: their junkets are doled out on a strictly bipartisan basis. Everybody gets to go to (Paris) Disneyland!

This month, for example, 11 separate congressional delegations will swing through Germany. House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio is leading five other lawmakers on a trip around the world. Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) is taking a group of senators and their spouses to Europe for three weeks.

A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said he couldn’t comment on the trip for security reasons. A spokeswoman for Mr. Shelby said the same.

They may be worried about their security – frankly, I couldn’t care less.

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What a wuss – Jim Himes a no-show at health care town hall meeting

Yeah, but at least I never voted for Jim Himes!

Yeah, but at least I never voted for Jim Himes!

So after receiving this invitation from the Himes camp today:

chris –

I wanted to send you an urgent invitation to an important town hall with Rep. Jim Himes this evening, Thursday, August 6th. He’ll be talking to constituents and gathering feedback — this is an ideal opportunity to make sure your support for health insurance reform is seen and heard at exactly the right time.

Our congressional representatives are back home this month, and they’re facing more and more pressure from special interests on health insurance reform. It’s critical that we get out there and show them where we stand.

I went over to see for myself what these special interests looked like. Not a Brooks Brothers suit in sight, unless you count all the Himes staffers, and they spent all their time explaining to an increasingly irritated crowd of older (35-70, I’d guess) constituents that no, the Congressman wasn’t here, that if he did show up he was planning to talk about the FAA and wasn’t going to take questions from anyone. Uh huh.

Now it’s always possible that Himes, as his staff said, was planning to speak about the FAA – nothing better suited for a talk at the Senior Center than FAA matters – and that his crew got a little too enthusiastic urging supporters to show up and drown out the special interest insurance company flacks (they didn’t show up either). But if the man were truly our representative and came across a crowd of a hundred-and-fifty  or so people all of whom wanted to talk about ObamaCare and none of them there to discuss airplanes, wouldn’t you think he’d change his plans and address their concerns?

Himes changed his plans alright, as well as his destination. I don’t know where he is but my guess is he headed back to Washington where he and Harry Reid can cuddle and whisper soothing sounds to each other about those ungrateful, nasty voters who don’t appreciate what the Democrats have in store for them. They can rail all they like but I wonder if they realize there’s a grass roots rebellion out here beyond Washington. An awful lot of people seem to have finally grown fed up with Washington spending, oppression and hypocrisy and all the blather about astro-turf manufactured opposition won’t put that rebellion down.

Darn – I’m going to have to turn myself in to the White House guard for this post. I’ll go do that now.

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There’s one born every minute

23 West End Avenue in Old Greenwich, the short sale pre-fab with no appliances (stolen by the builder), no quality (rotting trim, lousy workmanship, etc) but enhanced by a sewer pump station on one side, railroad tracks behind and a busy road in front, has not only sold but fetched the astounding sum of $1,087,500. I wish the buyers well.

But that’s just my opinion – others disagree, including the town, who gave an assessed value to this place of $1.306, and the buyers’ agent Suzanne Armstrong, who saw value where I did not.

UPDATE: Zillow.com says this house is worth $1,618,500. So if the buyer had listened to me, he wouldn’t own the house. If he’d listened to Zillow, he’d have overpaid by $600,000. I guess he was lucky he listened to Suzanne Armstrong, eh?

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There’s land value, and then there’s house value

I was selecting a couple of houses to show clients tomorrow and we had to dismiss two, sight unseen, because they had just one bathroom. Both houses claimed to have been recently renovated and in “move-in condition” so presumably their $ million plus price tags reflect some value attributed to the dwelling, but a one bathroom house for a million bucks?  Even at the height of the market Greenwich prices weren’t that crazy. I think that the American Psychological Association might have more fun classifying current Greenwich sellers than global warming deniers. They’re crazier and far more numerous.

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Bank owned property sales might not hurt the market after all

So says Jim Klein, the guy who should know since he operates out of California, REO kingdom. The stuff’s coming on market in a flood out there but it’s priced well and most of it is selling at list price with some (15%) selling higher. Just as here, California has a large pool of eager buyers who just want to buy a house at a reasonable price. Present that to them, and they’ll buy. Novel concept, that.

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Finally, staging I’d be good at

634 North Street?

634 North Street?

I’ve never thought much of staging houses – in fact, I think it’s a complete waste of money – but here’s a new trend, from California, naturally, that’s bound to work and would be fun to do: trashing a house to convey what a cheap deal it is. Toss some used mattresses in the front yard, a couple of broken bicycles and a rotted-out RV and presto! Instant Cos Cob! And where is real estate cheaper than there, eh?

Seriously, apparently the idea is to suggest tha were you to clear away the clutter you’d have yourself a real deal – and you’re smarter than all those folks who can’t see that, right? Might work. Then again, people might just mistake the place for my house, and I’m not selling. Worth a try, though.

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How many are left, and what are they dying of?

First Japanese-American Federal judge dies

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Well okay, then

Lawyer for (dead) Wrong Way Momigan says she was diabetic, “may have had a drinksie poo or two to raise her blood sugar”.  Some folks eat a Snickers bar to achieve the same effect but who are we to judge?

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Global warming denial is now officially a psychological disorder

So say the shrinks: you’d have to be crazy to disagree with Al Gore. Remember the good old days of the Soviet Union when dissidents were locked away in mental institutions under the same theory, namely that to disagree with communism was prima facie proof that you were nuts? Thank goodness that, with the new White House initiative calling for loyal citizens to report suspicious behavior of malcontents, there will be a readily accessible list of people to lock up when we’ve finally had enough, damn it!

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No contracts, no sales, no notable price cuts or new listings

Nothing much out here today, although I did hear of a multiple bid situation on Lucas Point. Interesting to me, I spoke with a couple of agents today and we all seem to have at least one client in the $2 – $2.1 range but what we’re showing them, they don’t like and what they like, they can’t buy. We’re still stuck in the standoff between buyers who think the $3 million houses are overpriced and the owners of those houses who like their price just where it is. I’ve been waiting for one side or the other to blink since last September and so far, no one has.

As for the $2 million houses, I’m with the buyers – they’re overpriced.

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Himes is coming to town! (well, Stamford anyway)

Jim Himes will be in Stamford tonight and we’re all invited!

chris —

I wanted to send you an urgent invitation to an important town hall with Rep. Jim Himes this evening, Thursday, August 6th. He’ll be talking to constituents and gathering feedback — this is an ideal opportunity to make sure your support for health insurance reform is seen and heard at exactly the right time.

Our congressional representatives are back home this month, and they’re facing more and more pressure from special interests on health insurance reform. It’s critical that we get out there and show them where we stand.

I hope you can join us.
What: Health Care Town Hall with
Rep. Jim Himes

Where: Stamford Senior Center
888 Washington Blvd.
Stamford, CT 06901

When: Thursday, August 6th
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

 
Our representatives are under attack by Washington insiders, insurance companies, and well-financed special interests who don’t go a day without spreading lies and stirring up fear. We need to show that we’re sick and tired of it, and that we’re ready for real change, this year.

Please come to the town hall, and make sure that the most powerful voices in this debate are those calling for real reform, not angrily clamoring for the status quo.

RSVP here:

http://ct.barackobama.com/StamfordTH

Thanks,

Jennifer

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Message from POTUS

chris —

Members of Congress have been home for just a few days, and they’re already facing increased pressure from insurance companies, special interests, and partisan attack organizations that are spending millions to block health insurance reform.

These groups are using scare tactics and spreading smears about the President’s plan for reform, trying to incite constituents into lashing out at their representatives and disrupting their events.

The goal of these disruptions is for a few people to get a lot of media attention and hijack the entire public discourse. If they succeed, all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — will continue to struggle under the broken status quo.

It’s up to us to show Congress that those loudly opposing reform are a tiny minority being stirred up by special interests, and that a huge majority strongly supports enacting real health insurance reform in 2009.

Your representative, Jim Himes, has been fighting hard for real health insurance reform. Can you call the local office in Stamford? Let the person who answers know that you’re a constituent. Then tell them: “Thanks for working to enact real health insurance reform this year. Voters like me support your efforts.”

According to our records, you live in Connecticut’s 4th congressional district. Please call:

Rep. Jim Himes at 866-453-0028.

I’m going to call Mr. Himes because I’m surprised and delighted to hear that the president has a plan for reform – I wonder what it is, and whether Jim has read it?

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Would somebody please release O.J., right now? He’s got work to do!

Only yesterday Jacko’s mother was demanding a third autopsy on the flayed remains of her hybrid to determine “the real killer”. Now the Palestinians are setting up a truth commission to find out who killed Arafat. Can the Spanish be far behind in their own demand that we see if Generalissimo Franco is still dead?

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Bernie might welcome it but Walter Noel’s damn lucky he wasn’t born Chinese

Sunrise on Mustique

Sunrise on Mustique

China executes two con artists

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Oil at $147 a barrel?

That’s what Goldman Sachs predicts. When the global economy recovers, oil supplies won’t be able to match demand and prices will soar. Business Insider isn’t concerned though, pointing out that GS has already forgotten that Congress has solved the problem by banning oil speculators. Whew!

I would add that even the usually astute Insider missed the other source of salvation, the free, renewable energy sources that are going to be discovered by Obama once he puts Big Oil and Big Coal out of business. It’s those bastards, along with the auto companies, that have kept solar powered beanies off the market, as well as that secret carburetor that yields 1000 mpg for family cars.

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Is Glenville pointless?

That’s the description used by Old School Grump, who used to live there. Interesting question; what, after all, is the reason to live there? It’s far from town, even farther from Tods Point, and kids can’t even ride their bikes to Byram Beach. When the felt factory was doing its thing then the location made sense for factory workers but now that the factory’s an Italian joint, what’s left? Just asking …

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North Street land values

634 North Street, discussed below, was originally a 2 acre lot with a little house on it that sold for $595 in 1998. In ’03, it was put up for sale for $749,000 and after 1000 days, enjoyed a bidding war and sold, to the builder of the new Disneyland castle, I think, for $860,000. He must have had some regrets about his good fortune in winning because he put the land back up for sale for $2.195 and finally, when no one else agreed with his assessment of value, proceeded to sink more money into the place by building what he did.

If, like me, you didn’t think there was any land between 634 and the Merritt Parkway ramp, you were wrong. Number 638 is holding an open house today and I’m heading up there soon, ear plugs in place. Asking price, $1.299. It’s my prediction that this time, there won’t be a bidding war.

If I were the astute realtor Walt knows I’m not, I’d say of both these opportunities, “they’re not overpriced, they’re just in the wrong location!”

UPDATE: Well it’s a little noisy. More “rushing torrent” than “babbling brook”.  So what’s a so-so two acres worth in this spot? $575? Maybe. The builder next door, by the way, showing that he doesn’t know when to quit, is building a stonewall with gated entrance. It’s not my call, but I think he’d be better off applying that money to another price reduction.

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Salvation comes in all shades of polyester

A young Sam Romeo on his way to the prom

A young Sam Romeo on his way to the prom

With justifiable pride, Cos Cobber has sent along the link to this story announcing the grand opening of a Jos. A. Banks store where Minute Man Cleaners used to remove spaghetti stains from ties. The “Walk to Everything Neighborhood” once again demonstrates its ability to attract businesses that enhance that quality. CVS offers Pringles and Pepsi, one hundred forty-two banks launder cash for the snowplowers and now there’s a place to buy dress up clothes for Uncle Benny “The Belly”‘s funeral. You wouldn’t want to disrespect the Don.

Anything left to complete the shopping paradise that is Cos Cob?  Perhaps we can bring back Dairy Queen so that after dining on those Pringles, local families can grab a desert. And if “Packages Plus” were replaced by a  “Sizes are Plus” woman’s store, the ladies of Cos Cob could look as sharp as their husbands. Chicken Deep Fry Joe’s is there to help you fit into your new larger clothes, should you need assistance. You want extra barbecue on those thighs?

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Will this do the trick?

634 North Street

634 North Street

This Merritt Parkway house dropped to $7.950 million from $8.950. That’s a big cut, but the Merritt Parkway entrance ins still to the left, the Parkway itself is right behind it and North Street traffic still whizzes past the front door. There are buyers out there who don’t mind that kind of activity, surely, or half the big houses on North Street would never sell (come to think of it, half the spec houses on North Street haven’t sold – hmmm) but I’m pretty sure most buyers will prefer to spend $8 million on a quieter location. So either the builder of this one better hope that odd-ball buyer shows up soon or he’ll want to lower his price to attract someone willing to put up with noise in exchange for a real bargain. It’s solely my opinion, of course, but I don’t see this as bargain priced right now.

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