Property Grunt

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Responding to Readers' comments

It has been a bad week so far. I got screwed over at an open house, and then I had to get a full body cavity search from someone who wasn’t going to buy an apartment and then got in trouble for something that wasn’t even my fault. And this all happened in the span of one day. I just want to crawl into bed a with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and watch back to back episodes of Desperate Housewives.

But I feel I need to address some comments that have made to my blog.

I can appreciate the honesty and anecdotal nature of this blog, especially given that the topic is Manhattan Real Estate. But don't the poor writing and (to a further extent) the generally flawed analysis bother anyone else?

I like this blog, but I feel that many of the conclusions made by the author are based on anecdotal evidence and half-baked logic. I would think that more commentors would be calling the author out on that, but most of the comments are of the "Yeah! Me too!" variety

I am going to make this very clear to you right now. AGAIN! I am not a guru, and I am not an expert. All I am doing is reporting what I see in the field and presenting my analysis of articles and issues that occur within the real estate industry. That is why I call myself a Grunt. Not Mr. Real estate expert know it all.

I am going introduce you to a new term. It is called due diligence which is defined as the process of investigation, performed by investors, into the details of a potential investment, such as an examination of operations and management and the verification of material facts. Bottom line, what it means is to give a through once over on an investment, which also applies in real estate. That means looking at the tile, checking if there are any problems with the property. In airplane jargon they call it a walk around which is to check a plane before flight. One should always look at every angle of an investment to see what other benefits and risks can be uncovered.

I feel the same way about blogs. I think that you should get as many perspectives as possible to get a better understanding of the real estate market. And I will be the first one to recommend other blogs that provide a variety of information about the market.

These include Curbed, Inman news, Realtygram blogger, Brokered and Loftninja. Frances has also got a whole platoon of real estate bloggers, which I highly recommend. Those of you who are buying and investing should also get into the field, go to open houses, talk to brokers, property agents, even doormen to get a better perspective.

Please do not mistake my honesty as a lack of self-confidence or weakness. I am very aware of who I am and I am damn proud of this blog.

Certain aspects of my entries are anecdotal but the ones that aren’t I make the effort to back up with other sources of information that I feel are quite legitimate. Yes. My writing needs work. Like Columbus, you are not the first one to discover that. Joyce has always pointed that out and has been helpful in giving me tips to be a better writer. Perhaps you should take your own advice

But don't the poor writing and (to a further extent) the generally flawed analysis bother anyone else?
That should be doesn’t not don’t. You boob.

Although I did not create this blog to get compliments I do not mind them at all. It is nice to know that I am appreciated since I am not compensated for my words.

I welcome all criticism as long as it is constructive. Anything that deals with personal taste e.g the way I write or the look of the blog itself is going to fall on deaf ears.

As for the flamers and haters, depending on how I feel that day I will either, ignore you, delete your comment or mash you into paste.

I fully reserve the right to cerebrally assassinate anyone who attacks me with malice in his or her heart. You want mercy? Show some first. Slice me with a word and I will hit you with a carload of venomous verbal rage. Make no mistake. I will not engage in flame wars. I will simply end them.

Now that I have concluded tonight’s Ultimate Fighting Championship event I would like to move on to other reader’s comments

I agree completely that it's hard to know where the market is right now. I think it's a little dramatic to be quoting Alien ("Game over, man") after two bad open houses. And what evidence do you have, Grunt, that the market will "implode?" At the very least, I think most people expect a correction because that's the cyclic nature of most markets. Keep in mind that in the long run, there's equilibrium. So to say "implode," I think, is a little extreme. And when you say that the aftermath will not be pretty, what exactly do you mean?

Dude. If you read my blog you would know that my analysis of this market is not simply based on two bad open houses but on my observation of the local and national market. I agree that the market is cyclical in nature but I believe that it will be a lot worse when everything bottoms out. Please just read my blog and go to the other sources of information that I have provided and you will understand where I am coming from when I say it will not be pretty.

You think I am a little dramatic? Once interest rates start to kick up and people realize the true cost of interest only mortgages, a little dramatic is going to be a walk in the park.

I think it's hard to know where the market is right now. Summer/Fall is usually a slow season. Then a pick up around the holidays with contracts and deals being finalized around the New Year. After New Year's Day is when we will know. That is when the market is usually the hottest. If the buyers aren't out in force by that time then next year will be a bust.

I think we might even know earlier watching the open houses and other real estate related activity. However I do agree New Year’s is an excellent benchmark to see where things are going.

I think that's because so many of us are fed up by this ridiculous market and are going to cheer on anyone (especially an insider) who suggests that there will be a return to sanity someday.

Well, thank you. Even though I am considered an insider there are times when I feel as clueless as the next person. I do believe life will get back to normal. It will take sometime, but it will happen.

The Property Grunt is much loved for his honesty and plain talk in what is a (justifiably, in many cases) despised profession. He received honorable mention in Curbed's "hottest real estate agents" competition, including this quote: "I don't know his real name, but I know that there is a contest for leadership of The Property Grunt Fan Club. He inspires motherly, sisterly, and other genuine affection from coast to coast."’

I see you have been reading my press. Thank you. I equally adore Frances and Janis. I was going take issue with the word despised. But sometimes I am surprised by the treachery that occurs in this business.

We 'closed' in June (Upper West Side of NYC) and even though we felt it might be the 'top,' we wanted and needed a we went ahead and bought. Timing may be everything... who really knows when the top or bottom arrives?What does burst/pop truly mean?A leveling of prices....longer time to sell........a decline of 10%...20% in selling price............more units on the market for longer periods of time?In any event, it will be good for everyone, in the long term, if prices level off........30% to 40% declines could hurt the economy big time.

All this has happened, to some significant extent, because of too low interest rates for too long and too much growth in the money supply for too long......too many people overlook the money supply growth, even Greenspan seems to ignore it.....but it creates easy money....too much money chasing too few properties.What will happen in places like California and Florida and Nevada? Same as NYC? What does your first hand experience tell you about price declines....step out on a limb!I enjoy your blog....keep it (well, in a perverse way nowadays) to read.

Congratulations on your new home. Perverse? I was shooting for twisted. But I will take what I can get. You are the asking the right questions regarding what is the top or bottom of the market. No I do not have the answers. Anyone out there willing to take a crack? All comers welcome.

I'm a little suspicious of the consistency of the reader comments that tend to jerk off the author of this blog.

Stop being so jealous. Create your own happy ending.

I don't know, maybe the comments are consistent because the readers LIKE the blog? Duh.

Yeah. Readers do like me so back off.

I find Craigslist next to useless because the listings are so disorganized and the content so poorly written. Make fun of Corcoran/Elliman all you like but if Craigslist FSBO could evolve into something like the content on Corcoran/Elliman, then the market will be truly transformed. At the very least, I need a street address, floorplan, good pictures, open house dates, how long the property has been on the market, co-op requirements, and perhaps a link to comps. And it would be great not to have duplicate listings. If Craigslist could do this and perhaps a comment section from people who've gone to see the open house ala Brownstoner, the brokers would be out of business tomorrow.

That is the dream for consumers and nightmare for brokers. However, there is a solution that can save the broker profession, which is simply to embrace this change. It will hurt at first but I guarantee if the effort is made to adapt to the new world, brokers will be rewarded. I plan on presenting another entry on this in the future.

All right. Back to the salt mines.