Property Grunt

Friday, February 26, 2010


Damn, what a night. Kim Yu-Na gets gold and John Park stays on American Idol.

Did anyone notice Mao's body language when Kim Yu-Na hugged her? She was obviously pissed about getting Silver.

I have to admit. I am a little bummed out. I would have loved to see an all Asian sweep.

Thursday, February 25, 2010



Vancouver is freaking out as bills begin to pile up for the Olympics. No sympathy here. It is not as if this was a big surprise.

Natavia Lowery murderer was found guilty. You already know where I stand.

An MBA student wrote a pissy email about being kicked out of a class for coming in late even though he was just sampling the class. The Professor responded by ripping him a new set of orifices and parading it out to the world.

If the MBA student is reading this, there is something called "Due Diligence." It does not just apply to business but life as well. All he had to do was send an email or call to know what the rules for attendance were. Remember, professors are like judges and the classroom is their court. The professor in this situation was more than fair.

I was just reading this article on the Greece debt hole and how the parties who helped them out with the debt are now trying to bury them in that hole in order to make a profit. A whole country being destroyed and not a single shot being fired. If this is not an example of "Business is War" than I don't know what is. What makes this ironic is that Ancient Greek history is studied all over America and is considered as one of the foundations of Western Civilization. I wonder if their financial woes will be covered on the exam.

This reminds me of an IM conversation I had last year.

Me: Even the rich are going ghetto
Family Member: um if you're selling your gold you're not wealthy, just saying

Wednesday, February 24, 2010




Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And now a word from Alan Greenspan

Greenspan: U.S. Recovery "Extremely Unbalanced"

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday the U.S. economic recovery was "extremely unbalanced," driven largely by high-income people benefiting from recovering financial markets and large corporations.

Greenspan, speaking to a Credit Union National Association conference, said small businesses and lower-income people are still suffering from the aftermath of a credit crunch that was "by far the greatest financial crisis globally, ever."

Greenspan said he believed that staffing levels at U.S. firms remained below what was sustainable in the long run, pointing toward a modest recovery in job creation. But he added the unemployment rate may remain stubbornly high.

Thank you so much. The people of America are grateful.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Craigslist comes to Scarsdale but not in a good way.

It is as funny as it is real.

This is the story.

Here is the Lo Hud version.

Family scammed by online 'house for rent' ad

SCARSDALE — A Stamford, Conn., man thought he had found a great deal on Craigslist — only to be surprised — and out $3,000 — when it turned out be a scam.

He saw a house at 956 Post Road on the Web site and wired $3,000 — half for a month's rent and the other half for security — to someone in Nigeria who said he owned the house.

He showed up on Super Bowl Sunday with his family set to move in. He realized he'd been duped when he was met by Anne Moretti of Sotheby's International Realty, who was setting up an open house on behalf of the real owner.

"They were really sort of in shock," said Moretti, the Scarsdale agent.

The would-be tenant could not be reached for comment, but Moretti and Scarsdale police Detective Lt. Bryant G. Clark related this account:

Village police were called to the Dutch Colonial house at 1:12 p.m. Feb. 7 on a report of suspicious people there. That was the Stamford family, who had a key and a van full of furniture, but no lease.

"Needless to say it was a difficult situation," Clark said.

The key may have been stolen and copied by a former worker at the house, investigators said.

Moretti said she felt sorry for the family and called them, "a nice young couple." She noted that people should be wary about renting or buying items off Internet venues like Craigslist.

"This should be a warning to people," she said. "Unfortunately, it happens way too often."

Pelham Manor police this month reported that a resident there had sent three payments totaling $1,495 to someone in London to secure an apartment she saw listed on Yahoo.

By Feb. 9, after seeing the apartment still listed and not able to reach anyone about it, she reported the apparent fraud to police.

Moretti, an agent for 14 years, said people should meet the person they are dealing with before giving them money.

Prospective buyers should research who owns the property, and use a legitimate real estate agent who can help them bypass scams and frauds, she said.

"If there is a deal out there and it sounds like it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true," she said.

Congratulations Scarsdale, you have now joined the Craigslist scam club.

You can read the articles but my take is so much more entertaining: a realtor was holding an open house when a family from Connecticut rolled up to move into the house. This is obviously a worst nightmare for any realtor especially in this market.

The Rube, I mean the Father told the realtor he had answered an ad in Craigslist and sent $3000 for the first month rent and security deposit to Nigeria. In return received a spare key which worked. Here's f**king hint that this business transaction was not kosher. NIGERIA.

The Realtor called the owner, who I assume no longer lived in the house, who's response was "Watchu talkin about Willis." The realtor did some further digging around for the spare key which was nowhere to be found. Can we say inside job? If I was the owner of this home, I would demand a full investigation to determine how the hell that spare key got loose. If I was the realtor I would backtrack and figure out who was in the house.

The cops were called and told the father what was common knowledge at that point; he got scammed and they had not rented the house. So the family turned the keys over, mover their stuff out and left.

I can only imagine how long the bats**t insanity that ensued. I envision the family moving in during the open house while the realtor is screaming at them to stop. It would not surprise me to see the guy blowing his top and the police repeatedly telling "Dude, you got ripped off. Take your s**t and leave."

Seriously, it is easy to ridicule this guy, but honestly, we are all targets. To any of you who own vacant homes, keep track of your spare keys, get an alarm system and would not hurt to invest in a remote surveillance system which would allow you to watch your home via the internet.

Oh Canada. You lost at a sport you are supposed to be good at.

Waking Its Neighbors, U.S. Upsets Canada

Perhaps this karma for being such douchebags

I am actually not a fan of hockey but I have met more than my fair share of arrogant, obnoxious Canadians whot think their hot s**t because of their free health care and Mike Myers. So if this hurts them in any way then I am happy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

This is the now.

I take absolutely no satisfaction in saying this but if you read my previous entries, this is something I was I was extremely afraid of and why I was annoyed that Wall Street did not show more humility.

Man Crashes Plane Into Texas I.R.S. Office

From what I can tell, this guy was not some nutjob hiding in a shack in the woods. He was an intelligent, normal guy who had his own business. He got a hit with a combination setbacks which literally set him off.

“The main thing I want to put out there is that this is an isolated incident here; there is no cause for alarm,” said the Austin police chief, Art Acevedo, in a televised news conference at midday. Asked how he could be sure, Mr. Acevedo said, “You have to take my word at it, don’t you?”

Actually there is a cause for alarm because this economy is not forcing peoples back to the walls, it is putting them through it.

Below are two articles that are another indication of the economic mood in this country.

Police say man who jumped from bridge was unemployed Rye resident

Rye's Highland Hall resident found dead.

Rye is a very prominent area. It requires a tremendous amount of capital just to even buy a home. And now some residents in these areas are starting to lose their f**king minds. It used to be the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But now everyone is getting hit. Let's be frank. The poors are better prepared for this type of TARFU. The riches have no f**king clue what to do now that they are waist up in the s**t. And what is even more f**ked up, these articles probably represent a fraction s**tstorm that is hitting everyone.

It's not terrorism, it's not Y2K, it's not a flu pandemic, it is the lives we are living that we should in fear of. This is now a George Romero world and the zombies are people who have been beaten down by the economy and their own personal finances.

I have no solutions. No advice. Just watch your backs, your bank accounts and be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Keeping It Handy


Awhile back, I had a conversation with a well know real estate photographer. The subject of the 9/11 came up and he told me that his preparation for emergencies were some energy bars and a couple thousand dollars in cash.

Cash in its physical form does nothing. It is just money in suspended animation. It does generate interest when it is in bank accounts or marketable securities. The ROI is not much but the advantage is its liquid state.

Which brings me to this classic movie of the 1990's

NSFW for language.

One of my favorite quotes from that movie is from Clarence when his friend asks him why he is bringing a gun to a drug deal. It occurs near the end of the clip.

If there's one thing this last week has taught me, it's better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.

Clarence Worley

I am not promoting drug dealing or guns. However, if any of you are involved in either of those two subjects, that's your business and please keep it to yourself.

Right now cash is the gun. Any financial jam that we are now in, cash will solve it becasue credit sure as hell won't. We have countries like Greece that need a bailout and Iceland is now applying to the EU because their financial system is completely screwed.

Which begs the question, if you have a large amount of cash on hand and a mortgage, should you pay off your mortgage?

Honestly, it depends on your situation. But for argument's sake, let's say everything is secure in terms of employment, costs are under control and there is a reasonable rate on the mortgage. I'd be a little hesitant. First of all I am not a big fan of debt but we live in very uncertain times. I don't care what the experts say, whether we are in a recovery or depression, s**t is just bad.

That money used for the mortgage might be needed for something else that comes up. And even if you have perfect credit, loans are very, very hard to come by these days.

It all comes down to the basics, which is to look at the numbers. Can you survive making the monthly down payments? Would you breathe easier without the debt or without the cash at hand? What are your options if you need cash but there is none available.

I'll be the first to say that I hate any debt. Mortgages, credit card and student loans are on my hit list. I am all about the clean slate. But sometimes a clean slate will just clean you out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This is not bad customer service. This is just plain bad.

Bank of America forecloses on house that couple had paid cash for

SPRING HILL — Charlie and Maria Cardoso are among the millions of Americans who have experienced the misery and embarrassment that come with home foreclosure.

Just one problem: The Massachusetts couple paid for their future retirement home in Spring Hill with cash in 2005, five years before agents for Bank of America seized the house, removed belongings and changed the locks on the doors, according to a lawsuit the couple have filed in federal court.

Early last month, Charlie Cardoso had to drive to Florida to get his home back, the complaint filed in Massachusetts on Jan. 20 states.

The bank had an incorrect address on foreclosure documents — the house it meant to seize is across the street and about 10 doors down — but the Cardosos and a Realtor employed by Bank of America were unable to convince the company that it had the wrong house, the suit states.

"Their own real estate agent told them, and nevertheless Bank of America steamrolled right ahead," said Joseph deMello, an attorney in Taunton, Mass., who is representing the couple. "This is a nightmare for anyone, and it affected my hard-working clients a lot."

The Cardosos are seeking unspecified damages from Bank of America. The company showed negligence, trespassed and caused the couple emotional distress and financial hardship, especially because a tenant renting the home at the time got worried and left, according to the complaint. It's still unclear if the couple's credit rating has been affected, deMello said.

This is the type of bulls**t that gives me nightmares. Some rubber stamper just follows procedure even though it is plainly obvious that there is something dreadfully wrong.

This is not an oversight. This is not a simple mistake. Someone just did not give a f**k and went forward because it was standard operational procedure.

BOA doesn't give a s**t. Why? Because what will happen is that they will cut a check to settle which won't even cover the pain, suffering and loss the Cardoso family experienced. And of course that money has TARP written all over it.

I get pissed off at this type of indifference besides the fact it is just wrong, it gives more creedence to ideas like, revolution, overthrowing, scape goating other ethnic groups which leads to massive amounts of violence.

America maybe a civilized country, but it has a very tragic history of violence and the banking industry better understand past performance may not be a factor investing but this is not investing. These are people's lives you are dealing with.

Year of the Tiger

God. I miss you John Belushi.

America got hit pretty bad and now the Greeks are leading the charge their own financial fubar as Europe is trying to figure out how to bail them out. Of course Wall Street had a roll in the Greece's current position.

If you got to Recessionwire and click on the Screwed tag, it looks like the layoffs will never end.

I do not think it is coincidence that 2010 is the year of the Tiger.

Year of the Tiger

The coming 2010 year of the metal Tiger is around the corner. It looks like we've got mood swinging, vigorous and hard-working year ahead. As you might guess, coming 2010 year of the metal Tiger is passionate, honest and modest. Sun sign horoscope for the 2010 year of the Tiger like his animal sing is naturally forgiving, rarely holding grudges for long, it symbolizes eternal family values, rate highly friends support and care. Yearly 2010 forecast and horoscope 2010 for your zodiac sign.

The attributes listed above will needed not just survive but to succeed for the New Year. We have to be willing to take the world by the balls but at the same time not be reckless and watch for ourselves and our own. We have to be straight with ourselves and other people. Modesty should be exhibited for more than just respect but for survival.

One big ball of suck out there. And it is easy for people to get sucked into it and letting circumstances take control. But circumstances are just circumstances. You may not think you have control but you have a say. A huge say in what goes on in your life. So you can be like the rest of the world and be bitter about life or Tiger up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

3 Strikes you are out

In a previous entry I talked the about my customer service experience at this coffee joint I went to.

Since then there have been a series of incidents of bad customer service. The third one happened this morning. So I am done with them.

I have had better service from a Starbucks and despite the fact their coffee sucks, I will probably take my business there. Actually, I think I will switch to tea which I can make on my own. I will save a lot more money in the long run.

Eventually what is going to happen is that place is going to have a major incident. It is only a matter of time before one their idiot employees f**ks with the wrong person. And then the owner is going to have send this guy in.

I am not joking. There are people who specialize in tightening up failing businesses and they do not suffer fools. These are not Ryan Binghams, they are Blakes and they will not cut their nose to spite their face, they will cut their own heads off.

So best of luck to you a**holes amd have fun being reamed. And thanks again for the douchebag customer service. Because of that I will be able to save my 5 bucks and invest in something that has a real ROI other than a head rush.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


There have been some changes in my life. Good changes. The kind of changes that you welcome. Hence, the lack of blog posts. I will be back shortly. I have a lot to say.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


New Rewards for not walking away.

When I read this, I was like, now this is beyond ridiculous unfortuanetly is another indication of how f**ked up things are.

Banks are not in the real estate business. Their infrastructure is not designed for that type of industry. They are in the lending business which is their core profit center. Unfortunately playing the landlord is becoming more of a cost center for the lending industry.

There is also another angle regarding these foreclosure prevention programs that seem to do more harm than good.

Top TARP Cop Warns: The Bubble Is Back

SIGTARP -- not a Bond villain but Barofsky's shorthand title -- sums up all the sundry spending in one handy place. The Federal Reserve has been buying mortgage-backed securities and other mortgage-related debt in enormous volume, projected to reach $1.2 trillion by the time the effort expires at the end of March. Treasury is spending hundreds of billions more to capitalize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so the agencies can continue to finance home mortgages. Congress has extended the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers and added a $6,500 credit for existing owners buying new homes. And while Treasury's $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program is designed to forestall foreclosure for homeowners, its direct (and intended) effect is to keep home prices high.

I have been hearing a lot of chatter from one individual who works in the finance industry who claims that the Obama administrationjust are artificially propping up housing prices as long as possible. That perspective is starting to gain more creedence.

What this means is that we haven't reached bottom at all. And this recession/depression is going go a lot longer than we actually thought.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Walk away

Back in November of 2009 I mentioned this article where a college professor argued for homeowners who are barely treading water to jump ship and walk away from their homes.

I was a bit shocked when I read this considering this came from an academic. I also view foreclosure as the atom bomb of real estate. It puts an end to everything and the financial ramifications can be present for years. A foreclosure pretty shows up anywhere credit checks are required.

There is also a huge social stigma attached to it. The F in foreclosure pretty much means failure. And losing a home to foreclosure says the world that you have no idea how to control your life.

However, it looks like no one give a flying f**k.

I'm walking from my underwater mortgage

I stopped paying my $1,450-a-month mortgage on my 200-year-old, four-bedroom home in September 2008 -- after making the hard decision to walk away from my mortgage because it is hopelessly underwater.

It is not an easy decision to walk away from your home, and in the beginning I actually felt like a loser. That was the hardest part.

You see, I was raised to live up to my financial responsibilities. I was taught plenty about personal responsibility. But in this case I had no practical solutions to my financial dilemma -- I lost my job, was turned down for a mortgage modification and owed a lot more than the house is worth.

From what I can gather Ms. Speer is a responsible person who got slammed with unemployment, medical bills and being a single parent. Basically stuck in the proverbial rock and hard place. And she has no shame. And why should she? A lot of these factors were completely out of her control.

Tishman Speyer Walked Away From Its Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village Mortgage. Why Can't You?

NEW YORK — Tishman Speyer Properties walks away from 11,232 Manhattan apartments because it can't pay its mortgage. That's good business.

Rick Gilson, a college custodial supervisor in South Dakota, wants to walk away from the mortgage on his mobile home. If he does, he'll be a deadbeat.

Back in the late 1980's when the last real estate bubble popped, a lot of commercial owners simply walked into the bank and turned in their keys. Professionally speaking, a lot of these owners never recovered. Personally, they were fine since they were protected by an LLC or had the proper legal protections in place so their lenders could not go after them for their personal assets.

This looks bad for Tishman, but the way the deal was structured, a fraction of the money that was put in was their own while the rest was OPM. Of course, the investors could slap together a lawsuit but it would probably be futile at best because Tishman probably put the proper fail safes in place so any legal fall out would not come their way.

That is why personal homeowners like Rick Gilson are more at risk because they have no protection at all if they decide to walk away. They can either lose money on a rapidly depreciating asset or face the reality of never being able to get a credit card or cell phone service if they walk away.

Ditching your home.

As indicated from the link above, walking away from a home has become an industry unto itself with companies providing kits in how to properly give up your home. The only reason why a company like this would exist is if there is demand for these types of services. And demand is waaay up.

So what does this tell us?

Any recovery is going to long, slow and painful.

This is a buyer's market.

This is a great time to talk to the real estate department in any bank.

If you are not one of these people who are walking away, be thankful.

If you one of these people walking away, keep your head up. You are not alone.