Daily Archives: April 10, 2010

Mortgage rate hikes are not helping you sell your house

Greenwich home sellers who are holding out for their desired  price now have a new enemy: interest rates are scaling up. Buyers are controlled  by monthly payments: they can pay you more, or their lender more, but the size of the pie stays the same. Someone wins, someone  loses. Keep your price where it is and see what happens.


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Kinda what I’ve been thinking

The horrible crash that killed Poland’s leader and nearly 100 of  its top people came when their Soviet TU- 154 crashed, an airplane so unsafe that even the Russians won’t fly them. A bad plane when made, it’s pure junk now, and, budget concerns or not, you don’t load your entire top command into just one of them lest, as Poland has just so sadly discovered, disastrous results occur.

SUNDAY UPDATE: It seems possible that the President may have ordered the plane to attempt a landing.

During the Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia, Kaczynski flew to Georgia to show support for the Georgian leader. The president, as the supreme commander of the military, ordered the pilot to land near the breakaway republic and the military pilot respectfully refused, saying it was too dangerous and that Kaczynski may be his supreme commander on the ground, but not in the air.

Eventually, he landed at a safer airport and the president had to take a really long drive in a motorcade. Upon arrival, an angry Mr. Kaczynski told reporters that it was unacceptable for his orders to be ignored like that and decisions about his travel be made “on such a low level.”

Many today have asked me how it’s possible that Poland, a country that can easily afford whatever airplanes it wants for its officials, thoughtlessly packed so many officials into a single Soviet-era aircraft.

Unfortunately, it’s insanely normal. When Tusk was flying to Moscow, he took with him a very prominent group of officials that included several cabinet ministers and chief executives of two major refineries, PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos, as well as executives of gas company PGNiG.

Now the Soviet-era fleet is grounded and the safety rules for the travel of public officials will probably change. Too late.


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I’ve said this before, often, but when the NY Times says it …

Public open houses don’t sell houses. Brokers hold them to placate sellers and make it appear that they’re doing something to move your over-priced P.O.S. Really – Bill Raveis once showed us the statistics: open houses sell about 1% of the time. It’s all about finding potential buyers, not selling your house, the same as advertising. Those glossy ads in Greenwich Magazine are placed to soothe your ego but, more importantly, to attract other sellers  who are thinking of listing their homes. The ads don’t sell your house.

Think about this: a listing agent who shows your house has, one hopes, spent time with his people and has determined that they are serious buyers with the financial wherewithal to buy a home. If he or she shows up at your house with those people in tow there’s a damn good chance that they have selected yours from a dozen competitors and are seriously interested in yours. A public open house, on the other hand, draws lookers, idle people with nothing better to do with their day and, at best, serious home buyers who have no particular interest in your house. You’ll clear out of your house for this? Fool.

If you doubt any of this, consider how often your own agent doesn’t conduct an open house but instead consigns it to a novice. That’s because she knows no real buyer is going to show up (and her commission is protected in the rare instance one does, because she’ll flip the sucker fifty bucks, if anything at all, for her services that day) and the novice attends solely in the hope that she’ll meet buyers she can turn into clients of her own.

Nothing wrong with that – it’s how I gained some of my best clients when I was starting out – but if you, the homeowner, think that a public open house is accomplishing anything useful for you, think again.


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Doesn’t anyone read the news these days?

Swim coaches molested,  filmed naked students. Turns out, swim coaches make Catholic priests look like choir boys (and wouldn’t the priests love that!) but that’s not too surprising. What amazes me is how one coach, now doing 33 years in prison, was busted:

FBI agents became aware of the pictures after a North Carolina woman bought the coach’s computer on E-Bay and discovered a video clip of a young girl in a locker room appearing to be taped without her knowledge. A subsequent search of Hindson’s home turned up more locker room footage and a large selection of child pornography.

Really: is there anyone out there who doesn’t know that you don’t sell your computer or send it in for repair if you’ve got child porn on the hard disc? How clueless are these people?

Comments Off on Doesn’t anyone read the news these days?

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I hate to give Chief Ridberg ideas but …

Is that a taser in your holster, officer, or are you just glad to see me?

In Greenwich, we usually send our cops to get their own blow jobs from the Korean massage parlors in town, but here’s an entertaining story from Pennsylvania, where the cops supplied money to an independent under-the-covers informant and let him have all the fun. I’m thinking that our Chief might want to provide a little distance between his troops and the whores, now that we have a new set of commanders and, supposedly, a regime transformation under way.


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Dan Malloy – just another disappointment

I have a slight acquaintance with Dan Malloy  – we both toiled in the trenches of the local courts back in the 80’s – and I always found him to be a likable, competent guy. And, from this side of the border, I watched and  respected his service as Mayor of Stamford because he seems to have done an excellent job keeping that city in order – no easy task. He’s now running for Governor, and since he’s a Democrat in a Democratic state, I was thinking of voting for him as the best man who has a chance of winning.

But I was hugely disappointed to go onto his campaign website today and discover that he’s just a hollow, tax the rich, Demmerkrat populist like the rest of his crowd. We’re really doomed here, because, if I’m right,  Malloy is the best of this sordid lot destined to rule our state, and he’s just another redistributionist, determined to drive successful people from our state. Here’s his policy on taxation, for instance: boil off the lard, and he’s promising to raise taxes on Greenwich and the richer of his own Stamford residents. There’s no mention of the state’s having doubled its payroll in twenty years, no suggestion that we cut spending. Malloy is playing to his base, and will tax non-state employees to the hilt and make them squeal, damn it!  Time to move, but until I do, I think I’ve just found a new project: defeat this man!

As Governor, I will initiate long overdue comprehensive tax reform for our State. Establishing comprehensive tax reform will be a multi-year endeavor that I will begin pursuing immediately upon taking office. Reform will be guided by 5 key goals. Real tax reform must:

Be sustainable, comprehensive and address the balance of state and local taxation

Provide for a fairer and more progressive sharing of taxation

Ensure a greater and more equitable state share of local funding for schools

Strategically generate job growth and encourage business development

Relieve the local property tax burden on low and middle income seniors, veterans, and individuals who are disabled


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So why aren’t houses selling?

Following up on the  previous post, I was thinking: I’d guess that buyers (and I) consider the houses currently for sale to be, on average, 20% overpriced. Sellers probably think their own house is just 5% off the true value, and that 15% difference is keeping buyers and sellers apart. You wouldn’t think that such a relatively small spread would prevent sales from happening, but it is, especially because the sellers respond with venom when presented with a “low” offer.

So I am showing distressed sales almost exclusively these days. They take months to consummate because of the convoluted structure of our banking system, but at least the sellers – banks – realize that the game is up. The ordinary Greenwich homeowner does not, and is still insisting on cashing the paper profits he thought he’d accumulated in the past decades.


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