Daily Archives: July 12, 2011

Either the world has changed or I’m losing my mind or both

I just hung up on a representative of my health insurance carrier who wanted to discuss certain follow-up care programs for my heart attack. I was okay with the first thirty seconds or so but then she said that the call was going to be monitored “for quality control purposes” and all I could think of was Miranda – anything you say can and will be used against you” etc., so I said no, I would not be recorded, and ended the conversation.

I have no problem with that same procedure when,say, discussing a problem with a retailer, but I really, truly don’t trust the medical insurance industry and consider them to be pretty much like the police – you just don’t answer their questions and certainly don’t let them record you. So now I’ve probably been flagged as a nut case,but there it is.

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It’s no way to make a living but as long as we’re passing out pats on the back …

Dear Christopher:

My wife and I wanted to extend a HUGE thank you for your assistance. I called you in April, and requested your unbiased and extremely professional opinion on our purchase of  [XXX] Road. We did purchase the home and are extremely happy to be in Riverside! Your blog is extremely informative, and your candid disclosure of the real estate market really helped us with our transaction.

Many Thanks, [XXX]

Of course, I can provide this kind of information to actual clients, too.

UPDATE: In view of some of the comments to this post, I’ll point out that, in fact, I appreciated the note of thanks from this reader. I write this blog partly because it attracts clients but just as important, it’s fun, and I enjoy passing along my view of the real estate industry here in Greenwich – gossip, tales of wrong-doing but also what I hope is useful information. I don’t expect to represent every buyer in town  and, if I did, I’d get so rich that I’d quit after a year and there’d go my blog, so yeah, here’s an open invitation to any buyer, or seller, to send along questions. If you’re working with someone else, fine- no hard feelings at all. After all, it’s your loss, not mine!  : )

 

 

 

 

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What’d I say?

Challenge to anti-poligamy law, based squarely on recent rulings in favor of gay marriage. It’s the only logical extension of what is now the law, so if you and that Great Dane of yours have been longingly eyeing the wedding chapel, start measuring her – or him – for a nice outfit.

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(Still) more on Ferdinand Steyer, builder extraordinaire

(Just to remind readers, I don’t accept advertising or kick-backs, or free meals or whatever) from those I occasionally recommend here. I just enjoy discovering and then publicizing  people who do an exceptional job, whether it’s running a restaurant, doing great plumbing or electrical work or, in Ferdinand’s case, building and renovating houses). Ferdinand can be reached at (203) 216-3329 or ferdinand@mountainworks.biz [sorry, but I can't get a direct link to this but copy and paste- it should work]. Here’s his website, at any rate.

Dear Christopher,

I wanted to thank you for recommending Ferdinand of Mountain Works. We hired him because of the good reviews we found in your blog and we couldn’t have made a better choice.

We bought a house in Old Greenwich in December 2010 and he started an extensive renovation right away in a record time, taking care of getting all the necessary permits. We can describe him not only as an excellent and reliable contractor but also as a very organized manager for big projects. We remodelled three bathrooms, changed the layout of an entire floor with a great job in framing, new staircase, new windows, redirect some of the AC ducts andcentral vacuum, put a new insulation, new lighting, hardwood floors, molding, painting and all the extra work that a big project involves. He was always on top of everything taking care of every detail regardless how hard he had to work. Also, the quality of the job from the subcontractors he hired contributed to make this process fast and smooth. He passed 8 different inspections in record time.

As a person, he was very kind, patient, honest and reliable. In the beginning when I was choosing materials, I used to call him more than 6 times a day and he was always in a good mood giving me the best advice. And when we were making some decisions, he used to say to me “just tell me what you want, I just want to make you happy”.

We are so happy with his job and that is why I wanted to thank you for recommending Ferdinand.

Best, [I've omitted the writer's name because I didn't want to use it without permission]

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Businesses flee California in droves

Texas, Utah and Arizona are top destinations. Here’s what interests me: California is actually trying to do something to keep businesses within its borders. Here in Connecticut Dan Malloy, fresh from raising every tax and fee he could think of, is off on a speaking tour to business groups touting his success. Hmm: Higher personal income taxes, restoration of the estate tax, new fees, more regulations: that ought to do it, Danny Boy. Maybe Malloy should just pass out Stetsons and ask the last one out to shut off the lights.

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Cool! Riverside friend makes good (better, actually)

Chase Carey

My closest childhood friend, Chase Carey, may be next in line to take over the Murdoch empire. I’ve mentioned Chase’s huge success here a couple of times as an object lesson for parents not to sweat too much about providing their kids with their own bedroom suites and tumbled marble bathrooms. Chase grew up in a very small house on Summit Road in Riverside (in fact, it’s still very small) with the three Carey kids and the parents sharing one bath, and the boys doubled up in one bedroom. If I recall, his sister had her own bedroom about the size of a closet. For all that, Chase, and I presume his siblings, went on to prosperity (his successor at his old job as head of Direct TV was paid $36 million last year – I don’t know what Chase made, but I understand he’s a hard bargainer). Chase was already one of the most influential executives in Hollywood and it seems that he may go even farther. Good for him.

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Real estate opportunity in Florida

Under a peculiarity of Florida law, “investors” can snap up Home Owners Associations’ foreclosed houses for peanuts (how’s $10,000 for a $1.2 million house sound?) and then rent them out for years before the bank with the real mortgage can foreclose. Even better: the new landlord is under no obligation to warn the renter that they can be evicted if and when the bank foreclosure is complete. If your heart is black enough, there’s some real money to be made here.

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A cautionary tale from Rhode Island

Central Falls looks headed for bankruptcy, primarily because of pension costs owed to its cops and firemen. How did a city of 19,000 end up paying salaries and pensions equal to those paid in huge cities? Binding arbitration. Just like Connecticut, Rhode Island requires it and the results are always in the employees’ favor. Here in Connecticut, Republicans have tried to get rid of this law for  decades and have been thwarted, every time by the Democrat majority. The chickens are coming home to roost.

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