Property Grunt

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Greece is the word: For Junk

S&P downgrades Greece ratings into junk status

This is going to be an affordable place to have a vacation. That is if the food riots don't break out.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rich on the Run Part 2

More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship

WASHINGTON — Amid mounting frustration over taxation and banking problems, small but growing numbers of overseas Americans are taking the weighty step of renouncing their citizenship.

“What we have seen is a substantial change in mentality among the overseas community in the past two years,” said Jackie Bugnion, director of American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group based in Geneva. “Before, no one would dare mention to other Americans that they were even thinking of renouncing their U.S. nationality. Now, it is an openly discussed issue.”

In a previous entry I discussed how the rich are staging a tactical retreat due to taxes. Usually this sort of thing is temporary. But with taxes and confusing anti-terrorism rules that are being applied to honest hard working people outside of the United States.

Anyone who thinks that this is temporary and that things will change for the better have to stop getting high on their supply.

Just read the article below.

Hundreds Wait Days For Elevator Tech. Job Applications

These types of stories began popping up 2 years ago and they are just an indication that things have clearly not changed.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Carl Macek

For those of you who are not Anime Fans, Carl Macek is a pivitol figure in the world of Anime. His mark on the American Anime scene. Shows like Pokemon, Digimon, Naruto and pretty much the first programming line up of Adult Swim is because Carl Macek when he brought Robotech.

Go to this link to see episodes for free.

I have many happy memories of waking up early in the morning watching this anime. And I every time I watch these episodes, I still feel the same way as I did as a kid.

Godspeed to you Carl Macek.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't get mad, get even.

When people get pushed too far, they push back. And they push back hard.

Learning How to Fight the Collector

A former bill collector himself, Mr. Katz rebelled after a debt buyer damaged his credit score with what he says was a bogus bill. Mr. Katz sued, and in 2003 he collected his first damage award, a $1,000 check that he now keeps framed behind his desk.

“The bill collectors, when they call, make you feel like the only option you have is to lay down and play dead. That’s not true,” said Mr. Katz said, who does not charge for his advice. “Nothing validates this more than getting a check.”

Call this movement revenge of the (alleged) deadbeats. Even as collectors try to recoup debts from millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills, a small but growing number of lawyers and consumers are fighting back against what they describe as harassment, unscrupulous practices — and, most important to their litigiousness, violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In fact, 8,287 federal lawsuits were filed citing violations of the act in 2009, a 60 percent rise over the previous year, according to WebRecon, a site that tracks collection-related litigation and the most litigious consumers and lawyers on behalf of debt collectors.

What did you expect? People are losing their homes, losing their money and losing their s**t. The debt collection industry is booming these days as debts are being bought and sold.

In the real estate industry the circumference of debt collection ranges from mortgages, foreclosures to property liens. Property tax liens is a multi-billion dollar business and if you think your run of the mill debt collector is a pain the ass, a person who specializes in property tax liens is far more vicious.

As the story of Job has shown us, we can everything right in life and still be severely punished. Even if we avoid the financial pitfalls of life and maintain fiscal responsibility, s**t happens. So it is good to know the rules of the game in case someone breaks them and tries to get take advantage of us.

Mr. Katz said his Web site was not intended to help people avoid paying legitimate debts. But if they do so, so be it — he feels no need to apologize.

He said Congress gave consumers certain rights, and he is simply making people aware of them, sometimes colorfully.

We are always going to have douchebags who use the rules of the game to their advantage. How do you think we got into this mess in the first place?

Same fight. Different street.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Amen to that Brother

Funky Winkerbean

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fighting the Good Fight

"He’s given up everything to do this over the last six or seven years," he said. "He has no block left. He has a family to look out for.

Last Atlantic Yards Holdout to Leave for $3 Million

Honestly, I can't blame the guy. The fact that he lasted this long and was able to blockade the Atlantic Yards project shows how much of a badass he is.

For those of you who think he sold you can go f**k yourself. This was always going to be a lost cause the moment the word "billion" was mentioned. Hats off to you Goldstein.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Deal Reached That Averts a Walkout by Doormen


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I just watched V. I don't know why. I always thought the original was far more superior. Jane Badler's Diana was the Queen of the lizards.

Within the next hour we are going to know if a doormen strike is going to happen. Go to Gothamist for more background on the situation.

If you read the two entries below you will know my opinion of doormen.
Doormen: The Gatekeepers of a building

Not my problem.

What it basically comes down to is that RAB wants to pass as many costs as they can to the building workers as much as possible. Same s**t, different day. However the current state of the economy is being used as leverage.

There is a bit of grumbling amongst the public that doormen and building workers take in more than their fair share of their bounty due to holiday tips and other gratuities. Now I am sure there are a number of workers who make bank by exploiting this arrangement to their advantage but in my experience all those building workers deserve those tips. What they do is physically and mentally demanding work. It also requires a very cool head and a high aptitude for problem solving. And the bigger the building, the bigger challenges. And they do this every day.

The last thing anyone wants is a strike. Unlike the UAW, the union for the building workers do not provide a very large stipend for striking workers and they are definitely not collecting their pay during a strike.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rock on!

Because that is all we can do.

I attempted to blog last weekend but the entry I was cobbled together at best, I decided to let it go for now.

Besides the fact that I am determining the next phase of this blog, it is just that I see no change with the current trends in real estate. Everything is f**ked.

I am not panicking. I am beyond panicking. I am pretty much numb at this point. It is like living in a desert.

What's on the ground?


What will be on the ground tomorrow?


Next week?


Next year?

My guess, sand.

I guess what is amusing is how this is transpiring.

For instance, Nicholas Cage has been dealing with a ton of financial troubles and joined the growing throng of the foreclosed.

One of his mansions were put on the chopping block but guess what? No one could afford to bring a meat cleaver.

The same thing happened to this genius. What do you expect from an Orioles fan?

Remember the days of cheap money where all you needed was a pulse to qualify for a loan? Remember when you could gang bang your house with enough refis that could make Paris Hilton blush? Those days are long gone.

Interest Rates Have Nowhere to Go but Up

And whatever the government does to help, it does not seem like it is working.

Defaults Rise in Loan Modification Program

Want to see more? Go here.

Now the SEC is going to toe to toe with Goldman Sachs.

U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud

The most fascinating part of this article?

Mr. Paulson is not being named in the lawsuit.

I am sure this will be resolved by the next boom/bust.

Friday, April 09, 2010


Cops Investigate Attacks Targeting Asian Women In L.E.S.

Here's the rundown. A group of punk ass kids are jumping elderly Asian women on the L.E.S. Here's the sickening video.

To the pieces of trash who are doing this. I suggest you turn yourselves in. No one likes it when elderly people are beaten and if you are caught in action by wrong crowd, your family will be on TV news crying their eyes out saying what good kids you are and it is a damn shame that such young lives were taken away.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Even the comic book industry is not safe from foreclosures.

Bruce Wayne would have been proud.

Back in 2004, Stephen A. Geppi, the head of Diamond Comic Distributors Inc., bought the place $4.8 million and then things got hairy.

One of the Baltimore area's most historically significant residences is headed for a foreclosure auction today, more than two years after owner and prominent businessman Stephen A. Geppi put it up for sale for $7.7 million amid the slumping housing market.

The mid-19th-century mansion in Green Spring Valley known as Cliffeholme, with eight bedrooms and nine fireplaces, is scheduled for sale at the Baltimore County Courthouse with an outstanding mortgage debt of $3.25 million, court records show. The Maryland Historical Trust includes the house in its Inventory of Historic Properties, a catalog of notable properties at least 50 years old.

It should not be surprising that he is heading towards foreclosure, after all he is an investor in the Baltimore Orioles.

3 shots to the drum and cymbal crash.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


With the MTA service cuts, token booths have have also joined the casualty list.

Recently, I was in the downtown area when I saw the footprint of a token booth that once was, when I noticed something very, very odd.

Do you see it? Here's a closeup.

It appears the crew taking down the booth did a good job. Too good of a job because they LEFT A GAPING HOLE FOR ANY TURNSTILE JUMPER TO JUMP THROUGH.

And let's just say that they actually put up a barrier to fully cover up that hole, well THEY SHOULD REMEMBER THAT PLYWOOD IS THE ALUMINUM FOIL OF WOOD!

Now the MTA has been doing a big song and dance that they need to cut costs to save money. Note to MTA: LACK OF COMMON SENSE CAN WASTE MONEY RATHER THAN SAVE IT!

The location of this turnstile will not be revealed for the following reasons:

1. Why make it easier for turnstile jumpers?

2. Why make the MTA's job any easier? This will force to them to look at every token booth they have taken down to find where this gaping hole exists and hopefully evaluate themselves in doing a better job.

And they wonder why we are angry.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Tuff Turf

This is my life.

The original objective of this blog was to educate people about real estate, particularly about the nuances of New York City real estate. It is 2010 now and the past 5 years have been a helluva ride. One thing I have learned about real estate is that it is not what it appears to be.

The cliche has always been "Real Estate is always local." As the past two years have demonstrated, that is not the case. Actions that taken place in Washington D.C and Wall Street have had huge ramifications on all real estate markets across the globe. And those are not the only theaters where economic warfare is being waged.

This realization is one of the the main reason why this blog seems so schizophrenic.
We are all connected in some way whether we like it or not. Tea baggers and militia are on the rise? Blame the recession. You have a lot of free time on your hands when you have no job. Drywall turning your home in a death trap? Probably got a newly built home courtesy of China. Good luck in getting restitution from that economic powerhouse. Wonder how they got so rich and powerful? Look at the drywall. During the real estate boom the cost of goods skyrocketed and developers had to figure out cheaper alternatives in order to keep their margins in check. So they knocked on the door of Mao's homeland. You want to buy canned American sardines. After April you won't be able to. Blame globalization and outsourcing.

Ideas have circled around my head in how leverage this blog into a profitable business model. Some of the ideas are now in play by other people. Am I kicking myself? No. Upon doing my own feasibility study, I realized that there was no barrier to entry for my concepts and I also did not have the capital nor the manpower to pull them off successfully.

In fact I have strongly considered pulling the plug on this blog and letting it be a reminder of days gone past when real estate was shiny and new. But a little voice in my head is telling me the following.

"You've only just begun."

Which brings me to this link.

I can't justify killing this blog because I can't call it a failure. How can you say you failed at something when you never even tried.

The game has changed drastically in the last 5 years. There are more real estate bloggers on the scene and some of them do not even work in the industry. Despite that they are putting out a high quality product.

The only resource I have is myself. That's it. It is kind of overwhelming. But I remember something my martial arts teacher once told.

"You are always going to be the last line of defense."

When he first told me that, it really scared the s**t out of me. Because the reality is that you have no one to rely on other than yourself. And when you can't rely on yourself, you fail yourself.

However, if you succeed. It is your success. No one can take that away from you.

I will be maintaining this blog but there there will changes in the near future. I can't say what and when they will be but it will happen.

To all of you who read my blog, thank you. I really appreciate all of you.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Breaking News! Propertyshark has been bought out!

I just got an email from Brian Scully over at PropertyShark that they have been acquired by Yardi Systems.

Who? What? Where? How? Why? When? This should answer everything.

Yardi Systems Acquires PropertyShark for Real Estate Data

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yardi Systems announced today that it has acquired PropertyShark, creators of, the premier real estate data website.

“Yardi acquired PropertyShark to expand the service nationally, strengthen our suite of products, and provide our clients with fully integrated access to detailed property information.”

Yardi acquired the New York-based company to integrate deep property data into the Yardi suite of real estate investment management and property management software.

"PropertyShark’s aggregation of real estate data from hundreds of sources into a single property research website has changed the way real estate investors, professionals, and consumers educate themselves and make decisions about property in hubs like New York and Los Angeles,” said Gordon Morrell, Yardi’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Yardi acquired PropertyShark to expand the service nationally, strengthen our suite of products, and provide our clients with fully integrated access to detailed property information.”

“When I founded PropertyShark in 2002, I wanted access to the hard-to-reach property information held by sellers, city agencies and brokers so I could make informed decisions about real estate investments I was considering,” said Matthew Haines, PropertyShark’s founder. “To see the concept taken from one neighborhood in New York City into the hands of one of the largest and most successful real estate software companies is a victory for everyone involved in buying, managing, and selling real estate based on transparent and comprehensive research.”

It sounds like a match made in heaven. It is a very, very smart move on Yardi's part because there is no barrier to entry for the product they provide. Having Propertyshark as part of their portfolio will bring more added value to their products.

The good news is that Yardi is keeping everyone. Brian was very kind and gracious in thanking me for the coverage I gave for Propertyshark. It is very much appreciated. However, I have to acknowledge that there were bigger and better sites that shined the light on Propertyshark.

Propertyshark also had their own special fire which never got snuffed out, even with the appearance of Zillow. In fact Propertyshark just got stronger and better.

I wish Brian and his team the best. They are a good crew that put out a quality service.