Daily Archives: January 26, 2012

Especially over Pakistani neighborhoods – makes some folks nervous

Real estate at fire sale prices?

LAPD to Realtors: stop flying drones over the city!

(Hat tip to the Old Mick)


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But it was spent for the greater good!

$118 million of your money down the rat hole as electric car battery supplier goes bust. Will Joe Biden, who went to the factory last year for a photo-op, return to attend the bankruptcy hearings?


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Darker than a mummy’s tomb

A real estate agent will do anything for a sale

We’re just minutes away from the closing bell and no real estate activity in the way of new sales has been reported. In fact, for all of this week there have been exactly three accepted offers: Hilton Heath (Cos Cob!), $1.698 ask; 5 Sicklebar (NOPO), $969,000; and 3 Ct. Ave (multi-family), $595,000. Last week was a bust too, if you’re counting.


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I’m guessing the whole industry will follow suit, and fold


A bicycle made for few

First folding electric car is coming.

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The stingiest man in the world

But he's such a cute old man!

Warren Buffet, Obummer’s richest friend and one of the richest in the world, pays his secretary just $60,000 per year. Holy crap, executive secretaries for high-end executives were pulling in more than $100,000 when I was in the business world twenty years ago. $60,000 a year and this man wants to take money from me? Charity begins at home, you old fraud. Oh, by the way: that 37% tax bracket of hers that Obummer and he are so worked up about? Totally bogus. What? Theatre and fraud? Who said that?


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A good house in Riverside

Or at least I thought so – certainly it was the stand-out in the otherwise-sparce open house list today. 16 Lake Drive South – purchased for $1.8 million in 2003, asking $2.1 now. The previous owners punched out the back and added a master bedroom/bath upstairs and a very nice kitchen below and, while these sellers may not have done anything since then, they’ve certainly maintained it and it looks great. A little choppy upstairs with a couple of three-step platforms to different rooms but perhaps that was the 1920’s version of a split level. Not objectionable, to me, just something to get used to.

Far more charm than anything built in the past fifty years and a good location. I think Shore & Country has priced it fairly and I’m sure other agents will think so too. In the $2 million market and looking in Riverside? So are a hundred other buyers and I bet this one goes quickly..


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Paper cuts won’t do

828 North Street (across from Conyers Farm) has cut its price from $4 million to $3.895. I’m pretty sure, and I’ve shown this house to prospective buyers, that a buyer in this range wouldn’t be put off by a mere $105,000 difference of opinion on its value: there are other factors (distance from town, in my own buyers’ case, perhaps others in other cases) that have prevented this house from selling>. However, the right price cures all so if I had a house that hadn’t sold in four years, like this one, I’d take a meat axe to the price.

Which the owner has done, but only via the death by a thousand cuts approach. In 2008, the price was $6, 495,000 – $3.895 is an improvement over that. But imagine if that cut had come in perhaps two big chunks rather than an endless series of nibbles. I’d guess that the house would have been sold by now and probably for a better price than it’s now asking.

All that said, this is a beautiful four-acre parcel and if you’re looking to build in the back country, I’d consider it.


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One of the troubles with the market is that people are having difficulty trading up

37 Ridgeview Ave

I have no idea of the personal finances of the seller of this home on Ridgeview Avenue that sold yesterday for $1.087 but I notice that there was an $885,000 mortgage on the place. In many instances, if not here, that kind of margin between debt and sales price wipes out the initial cash paid when buying and often means the seller has to show up at closing with extra cash to satisfy the bank. In the good old days (that would be pre-2008, pretty much), a homeowner could sell off his house, pocket a tidy profit and roll it, with more leverage, into a bigger one. That’s not happening today and our sales reflect it.


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Open House Thursday!

Oh dear, more dregs, for the most part, but a couple of houses of interest so off I go. I’m not heading up to the Cheslock property at 309 Taconic but only because I’ve seen it a couple of times now and, while it’s a great, fun place to visit, I don’t think I have any clients who’d want to live there. It’s 24,000 sq. feet, for heaven’s sake, on 20 acres. Started out, oh so long ago, at $31 million and six years later, after a dozen different agents and even an unsuccessful attempt at an auction, it’s down to $13.9 million. Where’s a basketball player when you need one?


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Bring back those deep-fried Twinkies!

Is that a pack of Newports she's holding?

From the New York Times: Study: no correlation between junk food on school menus and childhood obesity. Will this change meddlesome liberals’ minds? Of course not, no more than have the dozens of studies proving that hand-held cell phones are no more likely to cause an accident than listening to your radio. Something must appear to be being done and the hell with whether that “something” actually works.


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Government explained

I heard a guy on the NPR business report this morning complaining about Google’s latest tracking system and he complained that companies like Google and Facebook come up with a great idea and start a company based on that idea. People like the ease and simplicity of what the geniuses have developed so they use it and the companies grow. So, flush with cash, the companies hire all sorts of bright people and they, in turn, having nothing better to do, start tinkering, making things more complicated and generally screw things up. “Leave well enough alone”, the commentator plead.

With the exception of the term “bright”, that description of the process of entropy is also apt for government. Lots of people come to the centers of power, they hire huge staffs and appoint bureaucrats and they all sit around, wondering what to do. So they set about  “fixing” things. And this explains why 43,000 new laws were enacted just this past January 1 (hundreds of new ones in Connecticut alone), regulations now consume tens of thousands of paper and normal life activities like breathing, driving a car or running a business become increasingly difficult. It’s too much to hope that this same energy will be devoted to removing old laws and regulations – it’s never happened and never will – but wouldn’t it be nice if we really did see a do-nothing legislature once in a while? Don’t hold your breath.


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