Daily Archives: July 13, 2011

Just to be mean

Do you know that under our real estate board rules lady realtors (and men too, I suppose) are forbidden to bring purses into broker open houses? It’s true – it seems that a few agents – known individuals, I hear –  were coming into houses and slipping valuable items (and drugs from bathroom cabinets) into their purses, so the Board, rather than file charges against these criminals, imposed a blanket ban against purses. So far as I know, no one was ever brought up on even a simple grievance before the Board, let alone referred to the police.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive, having been through the process twice because of this blog, but thieves and drug addicts would seem to me to be proper targets of censure for the Greenwich Board of Realtors. And idiot realtors who don’t know about FAR regulations or zoning laws might also be properly ordered to attend reeducation, but no, everything is swept under the rug.

So I guess I’m still cheesed that, out of 27 of my colleagues who attended yesterday’s open house, a few of whom I consider friends and all of whom I know, someone out there must know who smashed my client’s lamp post, yet won’t report her, either to me or to the board. That’s just rotten.


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House painting

I don’t know if anyone in Greenwich still paints his own house but here’s a decent article on how to do it. I learned how to paint when I worked for Charley Ford back in high school and college and probably painted at least fifty houses with him and under his tutelage. Here are a few things I learned:

Preparation of the surface is 85% of the job. When Pal Nancy and I moved to Maine into an 1835 farm house, she seemed a bit impatient when I spent 3 weeks apparently doing nothing but in fact I was sanding, filling nail holes, replacing rotten bits of trim, etc. etc. and, finally, priming.  I promised her that the final coat was going to take just a few days and by gosh, it did. That was an extreme example – the house hadn’t been painted in decades, I suspect, but still, it’s all about prep work, if you want the job to last.

Use quality equipment. A cheap paint brush is an abomination. It won’t hold paint like a good one will, so you’ll be slowed down, it will drop bristles into your paint job and in general, drive you friggin’ crazy. Buy the very best brushes you can find and you won’t go wrong. Natural bristles for oil, nylon for latex, but pay the money for the best. And, while you’re at it, buy a brush cleaning spinner so that at the end of the day when you clean your brushes (and you must) you can spin them dry and either return them to their cute little covers or wrap them tightly in newspaper to hold their shape. Proper clean up at the end of the day will reward you hugely the following morning. Don’t just dump your brushes in a can of turpentine or water overnight – treat them well and they will return the favor.

Use quality paint – or stain. I always had good luck with Benjamin Moore paints and Cabot stains, but these days I see that Consumer Reports top rates Baher (sp) products, sold at Home Depot. Use what you like, but for heaven’s sake, if you’re going to go through all the effort of painting your house, don’t cheap out at the end and buy some discount crap that’s going to fail in just a few years.

Do all this and you’ll have a nice job that will save you a ton of money. But now, a confession: I was up on a ladder painting Pal Nancy’s and my house maybe fifteen years ago, and looked down at the hard asphalt driveway thirty feet below and started figuring, “hmm, I make my living using my brain and if I fell and hit my head …” As a teenaged painter, I was always falling off ladders, reaching just one step too far off the rail, trying to cover a spot before I had to climb down and move the ladder, but you bounce pretty well at 17, not so well later. I finished that job but I haven’t done a house job since. Still, if you’re young and ambitious or, better yet, have teenagers, you can get decent results following these simple tips and those in the NYT article I linked to above.


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There’s still some freedom left in this world, thank goodness

You may no longer be allowed to buy a working light bulb in Europe (or in this country, next year), but at least in Austria, you can still wear a pasta strainer as religious headgear. So we can all just relax, eh? Phew!


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Can we please have a little professionalism and responsibility here?

We had a broker open house at 8 Round Hill Road yesterday and someone smacked into the lamp post at the entrance and drove away. This hurts the reputation of every real estate agent. I’d urge the offender to send an anonymous postal check for, say, a hundred bucks to us here at EBT and we’ll forward it to the owner. You owe it to your profession, your conscience and your own sense of self-worth, so do it. Or give up your license – you don’t deserve it.

UPDATE: unbelievable – there are actually real estate agents commenting here blaming the homeowner for not providing a turn-around space large enough to accommodate idiot drivers (there is space here for six cars to run laps, by the way). There may be no correlation between driving ability and selling skills but there certainly is one between morality and representation of buyers. Seriously – the person who did this and anyone who has written in to support her should resign from the GMLS immediately – they are unfit to represent anyone.


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Round Hill Road tag sales, coming up


Round Hill Rd, 2015

FBI has 97 active wire taps running on fund managers. If you ever wanted to golf at RHC, your chance may be coming.


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I keep saying, this is when the revolution will start

The incandescent bulb is dead. I’ve been predicting this revolution for at least three years (search this blog for “CFLs”) but I’m telling you, when the average American discovers that he can no longer buy a light bulb that works, he’s going to discover exactly how far his government has intruded into his life and will go apeshit. The 15% ethanol requirement that ruins his lawnmower’s engine will just be icing on the cake.


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Everyone hates lawyers (including me, sometimes) until they need one

JPMorgan Chase completely screwed this poor black man, had him tossed in jail for five days, cost him his job, his car and his dignity and refused to acknowledge their wrongful actions for 13 months. Then the victim found a law firm to represent him and bingo! Chase is now very, very sorry, has paid what I hope is a huge settlement and promised to change its ways.


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