Daily Archives: March 24, 2011

Straight stuff from the real estate industry

 “Consumers agree: now’s the time to buy real estate”. It’s distressing to see that, according to this bogus poll, half of all home sellers expect to sell their house at its list price. The national brokers that support this ridiculous “news’ service only feed into that delusion.

Earlier today a reader asked why I cared about the quality of houses that I sell. I guess it’s because I’d like to take some pride in what I do.

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Gideon Gartner found dead in penthouse, but don’t despair

 You can still buy the place for $29 million, just $19 million over what he paid for it in 2005, but now it comes with a stuffed Mr. Gartner in a Lazy-Boy.

UPDATE: check it out, especially the guy’s right hand. Here in Greenwich, the worst Realtors (that would be all of them, these days) use  Photoshop to insert  fluffy clouds in their listing photos. In NYC, they add corpses. What a market, what a town.

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Come back with $28 m more and let’s do it

Parents pledge $1 million towards GHS auditorium project.

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Rationed osteporosis drug 17X more effective

But 6X more expensive, so too bad for you, Granny. Remember, according to Paul Krugman, England has the finest health care system in the world, with the very best treatment.

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They never quit

Prudential opens another real estate mutual fund. It’ll be different, this time.

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Guess who’s coming for dinner?

I was playing around with that little site visitor globe meter on the lower right side and noticed that since November, this site has recieved visitors from a ton of hot spots:

Iran: 583

Saudi Arabia: 243

UAE: 149

Russia: 132

Egypt: 82

Tunisia: 25

Bahrain: 15

Syria: 14

Yeman: 12

Libya: 5

Cote D’Ivore: 3

Plus many more from less troubled areas, of course, but this does make for an interesting indicator, perhaps, of who wants to get the hell out of Dodge.

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New theme for ipads

I couldn’t figure out what you folks were complaining about but the beauty of WordPress, as opposed to Google’s blog host, is that there are actual human beings at WordPress to answer questions. It turns out, they just released a new theme for iPad users yesterday. In view of the complaints, I’m resetting the appearance as they suggest below and, if they improve the iPad appearance, maybe I’ll go back.

It’s pretty easy to turn off and display your regular theme to iPad users instead. Just goto Appearance > iPad from your site’s Dashboard and disable the “Display a special theme for iPad users” option.Hope that helps!

UPDATE: so I’ve disabled it, but here’s the announcement (that I never received) announcing yesterday’s release. It seems to promise some nifty features for iPad users but in view of the number of complaints I got, I think I’ll leave it off. Still, if there’s any interest in trying it again let me know and I can switch it back on – turns out it’s just as simple as clicking a box.

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Say goodbye to the Indians as first settlers

Italian posing as chief

Pre-clovis tools discovered in America, pre-dating arrival of Indians from Siberia. This may, eventually, put an end to “Native American activists” screwing up archeological digs on the premise that it’s their ancestors’ bones were messing with. Turns out we don’t know who these people are, only who they aren’t.

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How to save on your kids’ gas bills

Forbid them to turn left. UPS does, and has cut its mileage 20,000,000 per year while delivering far more packages. Your results may vary.

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Why housing optimists are “nuts”

So says this banker.

Societe Generale’s Albert Edwards.

Edwards notes that, yes, those involved in the housing market are traditionally positive, but questions whether or not current participants have lost their minds.

From Albert Edwards:

I don’t normally write about monthly data releases but I want to make an exception this week regarding February’s shock 16.9% mom decline in US new home sales. With sales languishing at a record low, I had to laugh when I read the Reuters story. The phrase that made me chuckle was “despite the surprise plunge in sales, economists do not believe a new downturn is underway” Are they nuts?! We are plunging to new all time lows for many housing indicators (see chart below) and we are not in a new downturn? I know this industry has a consistent bias towards optimism about which one gets rather blasé, but this really does deserve some sort of special award. I’m going to think of a name.

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Not all publicity is good publicity

Skakel’s boarding school to close. Skakel was the star graduate of this school for troubled boys and  I’m guessing that his conviction didn’t help.Maybe the schools owners can sue Mickey Sherman for his fumbling defense. The man is a nice guy, so long as he isn’t defending you, but i definitely agree with the reader who suggested that Mickey mailed this one in. Truly an awful performance, and inexcusable.

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Thusday open house tour

I saw a couple of decent listings, one of which l’ve recommended to a client in the $2.5ish range. Having turned down a classic house because of its location – not everyone likes Riverside – he might like this one’s location better. But quality? Not in the same ball park. Real estate is compromise.

Similarly, a far more expensive house had all the essential wants of another client and again, I’m putting it on the suggested list. But notwithstanding the broker’s claim that it was built by “one of Greenwich’s finest builders’” quite frankly, it was not. It’s hard to place a finger on where a builder drifts away from top quality but, like obscenity, you know it when you see it. Then again, a lot of buyers don’t care, as evidenced by the fact that all these houses sell, eventually.

Down in Riverside, I stopped by what was once a classic home, jut to see whether it was large enough to accommodate a client’s family. Damned if I could tell. If there was ever a case for “de-staging”, this one is it. It is so cluttered with furniture (I etimate 3X too much, in each room, messy desks,children’s rooms that had seen whirlwinds,and every square inch of wall space covered with photographs that it was nearly impossible to see the merits of the house itself. I’m sure this house will sell because it’s on a nice street and someone will be able to see through the clutter but I’m guessing it will take far longer and sell for far less than had the owners rented a (very large) storage room and moved things out.

Deeper in Riverside was another compromise. Great street, lousy builder from the 80′s. Just from the outside, I judged it had to have been built by one of two worst builders from the past two decades. Sure enough, it was one of them.  The fellow was a nice guy, and a good sailor, but nice-guy-sailors don’t necessarily translate into decent builders, especially when they’re inclined to cut every corner they can. He’s now retired leaving just one remaining purveyor of crap but, Greenwich being Greenwich, his place will soon be taken by another opportunist. Both builders I’m thinking of, by the way,  have always sold their projects and I’m sure this one will too.

And in Old Greenwich, the king of bad modulars was displaying his wares. Ugh. There are builders who know how to build modulars but this isn’t one of them. But he does price  his muddles as if he were. And this will sell too. It depressed me so much I returned home.

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He’d have to pay me to download it

Tiger Woods has an iPhone app that’ll teach you to swing (a club) like him. Let’s talk after the Masters, fella.

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Bottom story of the day (so far)

Two shot at Toad’s Place hip-hop concert. Isn’t that what one does at such places?

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I’m glad he’s okay, but one question:

Was he charged with failure to keep right? Greenwich cop drives his patrol car off the road and into the woods. To grandmother’s house he goes?

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