Daily Archives: October 2, 2010

News you can use

BBC: U.S. considering warning Americans to avoid “crowded places” in Europe. So ah, where do we go? Grindelwald? Nice place but fairly limited unless you’re climbing the Eiger.

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The 20 most expensive houses in Connecticut?

So claims this article. The reporters missed a bunch of even pricier homes currently on the market, but perhaps they didn’t want all twenty properties to be from Greenwich; as it is, almost all are. I feel safe in predicting that not one of the Greenwich homes will sell for its asking price.

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Singapore Math?

Interesting article this week on an education math program imported from Singapore. The latest fad or a great pedagogical tool? What am I, a philosopher? But I’m glad to see any new (to this country – Singapore’s used it for 30 years) approach to teaching dreaded math. Part of the process is going s-l-o-w-l-y, which could only have helped one of my girls, who had real difficulty in the subject when very young because she’d panic and her brain would freeze when pressured. So frustrating because, working with her on homework, it was clear she had grasped the subject – she just needed more confidence. This program might have helped in that regard.

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If you can’t insure it, you can’t (or probably shouldn’t) buy it

Another title insurer backs off on insuring foreclosure properties. Not all title companies and not all properties, yet, but I’d expect this to spread far beyond just GMAC loans. Without title insurance, buyers won’t get financing so the pool of buyers will shrink to cash customers only. That won’t help prices. And, if a title company won’t go on the line for a court-ordered foreclosure, why should you?

Yesterday I hazarded a guess that this would spur short sales, but there’s this quote in the article from a Florida attorney that seems right. If he is, we’re going nowhere for awhile:

Mark P. Stopa, a lawyer in Florida who represents defaulting homeowners, said that if more title insurance firms began to shy away from insuring foreclosed properties, the entire housing market could suffer. The prices of foreclosures would plummet, because lenders will not issue a new mortgage without title insurance.

“Judges have to force banks to do foreclosures correctly,” Mr. Stopa said. But that would require a significant increase in staff, he said, and “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

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