Daily Archives: February 8, 2010
Marching orders for our government-owned mortgage lenders: keep defaulters in their homes and damn the cost. That sucks if you’re either a taxpayer who will be charged with funding this scheme, a young person who will be paying off this debt in the decades to come or a would-be homeowner hoping to find an affordable house.
Best advice from here, by the way, if you can’t pay your mortgage: threaten to declare bankruptcy – lenders already know they’re screwed, but fear bankruptcy judges will give them nothing tow years from now – they’re better off, from a bookkeeping perspective, writing off your mortgage now.
They claim it’s a crime scene, which (a) puts a more sinister air to the original story that it was an accident; and (b) is totally illegal. Not that that’s ever stopped local cops before.
More on phoney sales order rumors. Standard operating procedure for penny stocks is the false claim of huge new orders, which never materialize, from the likes of CVS and Walmart. So this sounds familiar.
My earlier post on building costs is beginning to draw comments from builder types who dispute the low numbers but there’s this to consider: I ran a post a few months ago (and I might be stirred to look it up) citing various new houses for sale in Ridgefield, Wilton and those northern fringes that offered houses the size and quality of Greenwich’s new construction at prices two-thirds or less than Greenwich’s. Even accounting for land value differences, it was clear that Greenwich builders were charging double, or more, for their building costs than contractors twenty minutes away. And that’s nonsense. They all buy from the same suppliers, and if Greenwich contractors are really paying their workmen so much more, hire a northern Fairfield County contractor and let him bring his workmen in – they need and want the work and will doubtless commute for free.
Nothing of interest to report on real estate news today – 17 price changes that still leave the properties in question over-priced, an equal number of new listings just as uninspiring, so no comment on either.
But I’m working with a client who is either going to find what he likes or build new and, to assist him in the latter effort, should it come to that, I’ve been calling around to see what a realistic price for new construction should be in this market. The answer is, a lot less than you’re being quoted. Try $115 p.s.ft. for run of the mill, basic construction, $250 for great stuff and $350 for over-the-top, sperm whale-foreskin leather-covered walls and field stone exteriors. Yes, there are builders charging twice that and more, but if you agree to pay them what they demand, you’re a chump.
This ought to give you an idea on valuing existing houses, too.
Lots of good memories here, if you ever spent time in Vermont or Maine and hung around general stores.
My own favorite story from hanging around Miller’s General Store in East Holden Maine involves the deer weigh-in station, which every genuine general store operates during hunting season:
Out -of-stater brings in his dead deer to be weighed and registered. It’s just barely legal, with little two-inch stubs of antlers on his head.
“What’cha got there?” one of the regulars asks.
“We call them ‘button-bucks’ in New York,” the proud hunter replies. “Plenty of good eatin’ in a button-buck.”
“Weeelll,” the regular drawls, looking over the carcass, “up hehra, we call’em babies.”
John Murtha dead at 77. Except for people like those two Chesire rapist/murderers, I wish no one ill, even politicians I disagree with, so I’d have preferred to see this man quit, like Dodd or better yet, be defeated for reelection. But as a taxpayer, I can’t say I’ll miss him.
UPDATE: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed-man is king. Five-foot-two Dennis Kucinich calls Murtha a “Congressional giant”. Murtha betrayed his fellow Marines by calling them murderers, raped the country while enriching himself by awarding military contracts to his brother’s clients, built an airport for no one in his home district and would have soon been indicted for corruption had he not dropped off the planet and headed for lower regions today. He was Nancy Pelosi’s most trusted advisor according to Politico, and that says all one needs to know about him and Nancy Pelosi.
In the case of the President of the National Organization of Women, it’s when she sees the Tim Tebow ad and sees the playful tackling of his mother as an act of violence against women.
NOW president Terry O’Neill said it glorified violence against women. “I am blown away at the celebration of the violence against women in it,” she said. “That’s what comes across to me even more strongly than the anti-abortion message. I myself am a survivor of domestic violence, and I don’t find it charming. I think CBS should be ashamed of itself.”
With zero real estate news to report this morning I’m off to work on client matters. How dull. I’ll check back in in a few hours to see whether my colleagues were busy over the weekend.
NOAA: Major snowstorm to hit area Wednesday. So far it’s been a thin winter of gruel and canned vegetables put up from the garden for Cos Cob and its snow plow teams, so promise of gainful employment has its denizens hopeful and expectant.
“It’s fine for us to let Cos Cob kids drop out after Sixth Grade,” Skool Superintendent Sydney Freund told FWIW’s Scusie, “as long as we know they have the vocational training skills we’ve taught them by then to rely on. But part of that package involves revenue during the months when construction’s shut down and without snow, well – there are only so many garbage collection routes to go around.”
Cos Cob residents Jimbo Himes, Peter Tesei and Frankie Fudrucker were all unavailable for comment as they were busy putting chains on their pick ups.
AP: Engineering marvel draws near to completion. I am always awed by great human achievements like this, probably because I have a hard time changing my bicycle’s tires.
When crane operator Kevin Raines first heard that a new bridge would bypass the roadway over the dam that his late boss helped build in the 1930s, he said, “I want to be part of it, it’s historical,” recalled the 56-year-old from southern Utah.
For about eight months, Raines teetered on the edge of a steep canyon in his crane, high above the river carrying 20-ton boulders excavated from the canyon walls and the miners who were hired to blast them out. The work was to help support the arches for the bridge.
“It was a real unique one-of-a-kind type job,” said Raines, who has helped build 36 casinos and high-rise buildings in Las Vegas. “Not many people get that chance.”
Last week the NY Post reported on the typing teacher (and lawyer and real estate man) who’s been sitting in the union”rubber room” for almost a decade collecting his $100,000 salary after being removed from the classroom for molesting young girls. The paper’s back today with another “teacher” who impregnated a 16-year old student in 1978, abused more girls in 1988, and again in 2002 before, finally, being sent to the rubber room. He’s getting paid $94,000 a year (plus benefits and a retirement pension) because again, he can’t be fired. I wonder how young, competent teachers who are being laid off by the city because of budget cuts feel about their union protecting these guys? I can guess how tax payers feel.
The favorite at my house was Google’s. (The Audi eco-police ad just about equal). We also decided that the right team won, although most of us (well Pal Nancy and I) were still hoping to see the Minnesota Vikings make a last minute appearance in the game. Gotta support Greenwich’s John Sullivan, don’t you know.