A bird after my own heart

I admit, I hadn’t heard of the Circling Vulture Blog before Ms. Martin asked me about it, but after a few clicks I knew that I was in love. Didn’t know how I could have missed it, but I’ll tell you that I’m sorry I had. Piss off an entire town’s worth of real estate agents? Kudos my friend, kudos! Reminds me of some of the enemies made during the early days of this blog, when we ran under the “Northern New Jersey Real Estate Bubble Blog” title. I sure miss some of the battles we fought back then.

One of the primary reasons for starting this blog back in 2005 was because of the lack of access to real estate data. Market and property information, critical to a buyer, were closely guarded by the real estate industry and only doled out in carefully calculated servings, and even that rare. As a buyer during this period, this refusal to open up market data to the public infuriated me. The reason was simple, information asymmetry, the party with less perfect information in any market is more likely to be on the losing end of a transaction. This was especially important during the Summer of 2005, when the New Jersey real estate market began to deteriorate. Market statistics began to show a weakening market, an alarm bell for both buyers and sellers. Instead, the industry continued to spin, ignoring the negative data and instead only focusing on those dwindling indicators still left showing some signs strength. Just as I’m accused of cherry picking today, the real estate industry cherry picked overpriced sales during the 2006 market in order to continue the cheer leading. The result? Agents persuaded buyers to pay more for properties than they could afford, planting the seeds of the mortgage crisis. Likewise, agents convinced sellers to hold on to exorbitantly high asking prices, while the market fell apart around them, leaving them unable to sell. The goal was simple, do whatever necessary to maintain the illusion of rapidly rising prices.

When I came across C.V.’s comments on Zillow, it reminded me of just how critical that market information is. Realize folks, this uproar by Short Hills real estate agents isn’t because of a few snarky comments, it’s because someone is making data available to the buyers. Once the data is public, it becomes impossible to use that data to persuade buyers. Just look at the outrage caused by someone making a few numbers public? Just as the financial media today talk about transparency being necessary for a functioning market, these agents would prefer to operate in their own mark-to-myth world where only they know the state of the market, and can profit from that.

Just a quick aside regarding the hacker label, I assure you it was nothing of the sort and a bit of the story was lost in translation (my fault, no doubt). As a geek who grew up watching War Games, while the title is one of nerdy honor, I lack the skills necessary to pull off such a feat. Oh I admit, I could get into the role of a spandex-clad Robin Hoodesque super hero stealing information from the evil real estate empire and providing it to the poor, the reality is much less romantic. Someone inside (whether at the MLS, or at the company that writes the software) had set up a set of web links that simply wouldn’t ask you to log in. Not really hacking at all, I mean, they just never asked you to log in. The links were available to the public and were widely know before I came onto the scene in 2005. Unfortunately, for the public, they no longer exist. When you read that paragraph, I’ll ask that you use an alternate form of the definition, “one who is technically proficient at solving problems”, where the problem is lack of market information and transparency. I never intended to become a real estate agent when I got my real estate license.. I did it so that I could gain access to that data, and make it public here for other buyers like me. Of course, after 3 years immersed in the world of real estate, I realized that I could provide a service and a sense of trust that many buyers find valuable.

Ok, maybe it wasn’t so quick at all, so back to the point. Information. This kind of data is critical to a well functioning market. Sidelined buyers are refusing to get into the market because they no longer trust the market and it’s participants, and rightfully so. The real estate industry threw buyers under the bus over the past few years. Sure, you can blame the bankers, the lenders, and Wall Street, but I don’t think there is enough blame being put on real estate agents for facilitating the mania that precipitated this crisis. When I say there is a strong anti-Realtor trend developing, I mean it. Fixing the very broken real estate market is going to require rebuilding trust and enhancing market transparency, and this means visibility into numbers. Spin and manipulation will not fix the market, sellers and buyers do not need to be lied to. All this does is extend the pain, longer than necessary, as the industry tries its damnedest to keep the market from finding it’s natural bottom.

Kudos to CV for pissing off the Realtors. Well done!

Caveat Emptor!
grim

From the NY Times:

A ‘Vulture’ Preys on Short Hills
In the Region | New Jersey
By ANTOINETTE MARTIN
Published: February 13, 2009

THERE is a Circling Vulture casting its shadow over Short Hills real estate — virtually speaking, at least.

Last spring, a blogger by that name set up a nest at the real estate Web site Zillow.com, and started posting reports about declines in asking prices and unraveled deals. Short Hills is a community where such things were once unheard of (and still are not much spoken about, at least by real estate agents promoting properties for sale).

The Vulture has his facts straight, according to those who know — that is, the licensed brokers with access to multiple-listing-service data.

But several agents from Short Hills insisted in telephone interviews that the mysterious C.V. presents a warts-only picture of the local market, which is actually “slow, but not dead,” as Marc Paolella, a Century 21 broker and appraiser, put it.

Furthermore, declared Karen Eastman Bigos of the Towne Realty Group, “this C.V. person is just plain mean” toward real estate professionals.

The blogger — who did not reveal his or her identity, or comment for this article — indisputably employs a mocking tone. Written under a picture of a buzzard on the Web site is the motto “Capitalizing on the greed and stupidity of others.” In the Q. and A. section of the site, C.V. tartly advises home shoppers, “Remember: always offer full asking price so as not to ‘insult’ the seller.”

Such snarkiness is emblematic of a rising “anti-Realtor movement,” said another blogger about New Jersey real estate, James Bednar. Known online as Grim, Mr. Bednar blogged about the real estate “bubble” before it burst, and currently provides gimlet-eyed market commentary at njrereport.com.

“This provides counterpoint to the entire spin of the real estate industry,” he said after a look at the Vulture’s work.

Mr. Bednar said he began blogging after becoming disillusioned during a house hunt in Montclair in 2005 and 2006, when bidding wars would break out on houses with already inflated asking prices.

Several Short Hills brokers theorized that C.V. is motivated by spite, perhaps stemming from a bad experience trying to buy into one of New Jersey’s most exclusive communities.

Short Hills, part of Millburn Township, is a well-established haven for the well-heeled. For decades it has been popular with Wall Street professionals, because of its easy train commute to Manhattan, not to mention the fact that it offers top-rated schools and a glittering temple of fashion, the Mall at Short Hills.

Of course, Wall Street is not supplying as many well-heeled buyers these days. It is still too early to judge the extent of the impact on the Short Hills real estate market, analysts say.

So far, median home prices have fallen about 15 percent since the boom times of three or four years ago, according to Mr. Paolella. But Ms. Bigos, who has been selling real estate in Short Hills for 24 years (following in her mother’s footsteps), conceded that the last quarter of 2008 was “by far the worst” that she had ever seen.

This entry was posted in Housing Bubble, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

126 Responses to A bird after my own heart

  1. DISSIDENT HEHEHE says:

    DISSIDENT HEHEHE says:
    February 15, 2009 at 8:08 am
    Clot,

    Mike Morgan also forgot family D: No credit card debt, have 20% downpayment, but unfortunately missed a credit card payment 14 months ago. Sorry no mortgage for you. No wait, we can work with you, but your mortgage rate is going to be 10%. Sorry most of our money went to modify all the family A’s mortgages, that’s the deal, 10% take or leave it. Maybe come back in a year when the late payment is off your credit record. Maybe we can knock that rate down to 9%.

  2. Essex says:

    Rock on Mssr. Bednar………..Rock on.

  3. DISSIDENT HEHEHE says:

    Frist

  4. CAIBC says:

    Winners and loosers – Stimulus Bill

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/13/stimulus.winners.losers/index.html

    since when are families making more than 150K considered rich???? tax credits for families making less than 150K only!!! that goes for the first time homebuyers credit too…doesnt this mean that homes have to be priced accordingly too?

    this is really absurd…..

  5. DISSIDENT HEHEHE says:

    Grim you are the man. Now who is this CV character? It’s good to see the Short Hills realtors believe in the power of positive thinking. Fly on vulture!!!

  6. Pat says:

    Mike Morgan’s comparisons might go down better with middle-of-the-road folks if he at least made an attempt to flow chart the other side.

    Yes, if we do X, we will screw a bunch of families.

    However, if we do Y – r , then ….

    He doesn’t have to predict the complete outcomes of every variable, but some sign of awareness might temper the feeling that his only purpose is criticism.

  7. DISSIDENT HEHEHE says:

    CAIBC,

    I didn’t get any of the first stimulus and won’t get any of this one. Having said that, $8 a week is a joke.

    I also like how these government give-a-ways never include cost of living adjusments. If I made 76K here I’d be nowhere near being wealthy, you could debate if I was even middle class, more like lower middle class.

  8. Cindy says:

    Pat – Loved your comments about renting yesterday. I was thinking, too, that a child would be happy in a rental if it meant her/his family wasn’t fighting/worrying about money.

    From what I’ve seen, a kid just wants to be with their parents – no matter where they are…

  9. Stu says:

    Pat,

    I agree with your MM comments.

  10. grim says:

    Prepare for the onslaught of trolls.

  11. CAIBC says:

    grim,

    looks like you are getting some publicity on the vulture’s site….bloggers are recommending they also read your site before they buy..

    good job to both vulture and you….i always hoped a day would come when i could tell a snobby realtor to go pound salt when they told me that i have to probably come in over asking price to even have a chance at the house…..

    i hope most of these snobby realtors loose their jobs and be never allowed to sell to unsuspecting buyers again…

  12. Cindy says:

    http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Who-is-the-circling-vulture-A-realtor/195632/

    Jeepers Grim. I get a blank page when I try to bring this up @ Zillow.

  13. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Down economy creates tough sell for age-restricted housing

    When Dennis Gabinelli decided to try his hand at building age-restricted townhouses, he was thinking of himself.

    The Bridgewater developer, who builds upscale homes, wanted to provide the kind of place he would consider retiring in — “Not big, but nicely appointed,” Gabinelli said. “A nice place that you and your wife could enjoy and not be embarrassed that, ‘Oh, I live in a townhouse.’”

    It was 2003. Age-restricted housing was a sure thing. Aging baby boomers promised high demand, while age-restriction was music in the ears of local planning boards: tax-paying residents without expensive school kids.

    “We thought we couldn’t lose,” Gabinelli said. And for a while it seemed that way. Gabinelli won approval to build Martin Village, 22 age-restricted townhouses in Flemington. But permitting delays dragged the project into 2006 — the year housing experts say the market started to turn.

    “The party was over. Nobody showed up,” Gabinelli said.

    By July 2007, nothing had sold. Gabinelli went back to the planning board to have the age-restriction requirement removed. The board, wary of a vacant development in the borough, agreed.

    “In this market, if I didn’t get the age-restrictions removed, the bank would have taken it back,” Gabinelli said. “It would have been blighted.”

  14. stan(channelling John) says:

    The Vulture? The Swallow is a bird after my own heart……

  15. grim says:

    I’m actually kind of surprised that Zillow doesn’t delete all the Vulture comments.

  16. jamil says:

    so what is the status with getting access to MLS information? Wasn’t there some sort of settlement between NAR and DOJ antitrust division?

    Clearly, that kind of information should be easily available to everybody (just like stock market related info).

  17. grim says:

    so what is the status with getting access to MLS information? Wasn’t there some sort of settlement between NAR and DOJ antitrust division?

    Has more to do with web-based competitors accessing information, not necessarily making that information available to the public.

    Complaint: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f211000/211009.htm

    Clearly, that kind of information should be easily available to everybody (just like stock market related info).

    Clearly, but the real estate industry doesn’t feel that to be the case. Nor do they feel that they need to be held to the same strict fiduciary and disclosure standards that other asset salespeople are.

  18. George Soros says:

    Some years ago, …

    I was interested in a house in Parsippany. My realtor showed me a table about the selling prices of surrounding houses. The table started with the house number and the selling price like this:

    Street Selling Price
    13 Smith Road, Parsippany, $240,000
    15 John St, $230,000
    .
    .
    14 Vale Road, $200,000
    Street, Asking Price
    15 Next to My House Rd $250,000

    I knew the house next to mine was just sold and now $250,000 showed up in a table that started with selling price. I just assumed that house was sold for $250,000. I paid $250,000 to my first house.

    I only found out the trick 5 years after I purchased my house and later I also found out my next house was sold 7% lower than that askiing price.

    The realtor is very smart, or too smart, to trick the buyers.

  19. JBJB says:

    Excellent post Grim. If they gave out medals for improving consumer awareness, you would have to be in the running for gold. I have sent the post to my realtor and some other friends who are either looking or selling. Information just wants to be free…

  20. Rich says:

    Can anyone tell me the buyers name and buyers agents name for 275 East Bradford Ave, Cedar Grove NJ ?

  21. crossroads says:

    #8 Cindy
    I’m in my 2nd rental in 3 years w/ 3 kids. best moves of my life. sold a house in spring of 06 no financial stress. kids adapted. wife started a blog and now makes enough to stay at home. replaced part time nurse $. I don’t have to work tons of o.t. to make the bills. renting is still cheaper where i am w/ %20 dwn on house equal to my rental.

    however we are eager to put roots down but we didn’t come this far to make a mistake so on the sidelines we sit. when we put roots down they will be deep enough to live on one salary and let my wifes entrepreneurial spirit continue

  22. was_looking says:

    18 – that list of comparable’s – or comparisons is very popular still, my realtor popped it in front of me just a month ago, i felt she was trying to justify the asking price of a home i viewed. To her credit she did point out that it didn’t necessarily mean the homes sold for those prices. Scratching my head now, why didn’t she show me a list with the actual sale price…hmm, i wonder why? You do feel so stupid because you do trust these people but now that i think about just that tactic it’s really enraging. Thanks Grim.

  23. George Soros says:

    22 – my realtor inserted one house asking price into a table with selling price.

  24. Hobocondo says:

    Last weekend, I was pretty shocked how many people were being shown apartments in our building. There was a ton of real estate traffic. (The winter had been dead.)

    Yesterday was an absolute zoo, as well.

    I’m not sure if anyone is buying, but I haven’t seen this many people looking in a long time.

  25. 3b says:

    #23 was: Maybe the ones that actually sold were form 3 to 6 months ago,and would not be reflective of far the real estate market continues to deteriorate.

  26. Cindy says:

    (21) crossroads – Awesome.

    Time with the kids, wife at home doing her dream job – just buy cheap when you’re ready.

    I bought at 2 1/2X’s salary – 1150 sq. ft. in 1999 plus we have low R/E taxes here. My goal is to own it when I retire.

    I kept watching the rents go up in those days and felt I had to lock into a fixed housing cost if I was ever going to retire. I only pay $804. a mo. plus taxes/ins. of $200. a mo. Still, I will have to pay my place off in the next 4 years and I have a long way to go…. I have pushed my retirement date out one more year already. With the new cuts to education in CA, $8.6B over two years, I may need to push it out further…

    BTW – They are still working on passing the State budget. The vote was supposed to be at 5:00PM last night but still no word yet.

  27. Cindy says:

    (22) was_looking – Is that you Still?
    You have a 3-year old don’t you? I just spent 5 days with my 4-year old granddaughter. My, with your job and all – you must have your hands full.

  28. Rich says:

    My 30yr ARM is adjusting from 4-3/8 down to 3-3/8, not bad. It follows the 1 year T-Bill. No refi yet, maybey next year.

  29. Joe says:

    Only 1 ingredient in this recipe: GREED

    Trust yourself & your own instincts before you believe in anything a R.E. agent tells you. they are sales people not your friends. The only time they want to be around is when your selling or buying. I won’t be buying from any RE agent in the future. Auctions or For Sale by owner only. Congrats to Grim & the vulture on a job well done.

    After watching the re-run of House of Cards last night Wall Street, Gov’t, investors, buyers, R.E. agents, morgage companies ALL had a hand in this mess. It it wasn’t for GREED things might be different.

    I really hope they raise the standards back to 20% down minimum, documented income, and 2 – 3 years of a W-2

    sit & wait this thing is going to collapse hard & fast. Maybe not this year but it’s coming.

  30. PeaceNow says:

    JB—In my own limited experience, reporters often misstate facts in an attempt to make their stories better. I had my occupation changed in a story once, which led to getting many surprised phone calls from my co-workers and employer. In your case, it was just more exciting to make you a hacker. Don’t sweat it. And great work.

  31. JBJB says:

    “I won’t be buying from any RE agent in the future. Auctions or For Sale by owner only.”

    In my experience, FSBO’s are more delusional than sellers using agents. They are often way too emotionally invested in the property and think their POS is special.

  32. yikes says:

    http://thisiswhyyourefat.com/

    reinvestor, you strike me as the type that needs to check this site out

  33. was_looking says:

    27 cindy – i don’t comment often but have had that handle for a few years, no don’t have a 3 year old.

  34. Joe says:

    In my experience, FSBO’s are more delusional than sellers using agents. They are often way too emotionally invested in the property and think their POS is special.

    –> Pt. well taken.

  35. Cindy says:

    (33) was_looking – Oh….I thought maybe you were “Still” and just gave up.

  36. still_looking says:

    Cindy 35

    Nope… I’m still the only (AFAIK) “still_looking” :)

    …but every time I see the “was looking” I always chuckle, figuring that someone would think it’s me…

    Yep 3+ yr old… full time ER and some part time “other misc work” but overall… to busy to even schedule a fart sometimes….

    and sometimes – on occasion – with too much time on my hands.. :)

    sl

  37. still_looking says:

    * too (not “to”)

    sl <– and closet grammar/spelling freak.

  38. still_looking says:

    Besides…. in this housing market they’ll pry my cold dead body from my “rental” before I go into life ravaging, gut macerating, spirit deadening hock.

    My intent is to keep myself and my family OUT of wretched servitude and crushing debt.

    sl

  39. JBJB says:

    Just be glad you don’t owe money in Dubai, default on debt is punishable by prison.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/world/middleeast/12dubai.html?_r=1

  40. still_looking says:

    On a happier note… yesterday:

    1) there were very few VD related issues…

    2) I had the privilege of taking care of a critically ill patient who turns out to be the brother of a surgeon who help save my husband’s life when my husband was hit by a van on a bike at age 13!

    (really cool and a bit freaky all at the same time!)

    I tell folks and you gotta believe me: It’s a round world… what goes around comes around…and usually in just the right way. :)

    sl

  41. Barbara says:

    speaking of media coverage of the stimulus breakdown, the obvious omission after what individuals/families stand to get, is what families stand to eventually pay out and who will do the paying. Such an obvious omission feels suspect to me.
    Put out there in clear, comparative form (i.e. all in one article, easy to read and understand) by a mainstream news source (Yahoo Headlines, etc) would be, well…..provocative to say the least.
    I wish it would happen.

  42. Barbara says:

    BTW Grim,
    congrats on the deserved exposure. I love the fact that we were both looking and scratching our heads in Planet Clair in 2005. I’m betting we went into many of the same houses. Oh the tales I could tell. The squirreled away 3 generations of family in the big Victorian multi, with only one functioning toilet, 13 cats and 50 years worth of hoarding and filth. 650K please!

  43. sas says:

    Grim,

    since you will be getting a heck of alot of traffic in the next few days because of the exposure…

    if i have to ask, should I turn it up a notch, or turn it down?

    i can easily do both :)
    SAS

  44. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    9,000 Business Reporters just report what they are told by the government.

  45. sas says:

    opps:

    that should read:

    “if i have to ask, can I turn it up a notch, or turn it down?”

    as usual, i always have alot to say.
    :P
    SAS

  46. JBJB says:

    Cindy

    Thx. Man, Cali is a real mess. I knew things were bad when I left 7 years ago, but it’s getting ridiculous. I think this is what we have to look forward to here in NJ, if not the entire US with this boneheaded congress and new administration that is proving to be hardly much better.

  47. BC Bob says:

    “5Gs – God, grub, guns, gold and grape juice.”

    Clot,

    Classic.

  48. BC Bob says:

    JB,

    Excellent! Love the main post. Who is this Vulture guy/gal?

  49. Seneca says:

    grim, what was KC’s comment on Summit comp #356 in previous thread? I somehow don’t think your final post about the original asking price being even higher was what she wanted you to add.

  50. bajanyankee says:

    I bought at the top of the market so I’m hurting right now, however, there is a silver lining that I’m seeing in this market. At the lower end of the market (under 500k) there has been a whole scale weeding out of overpriced “junk.” I spend alot of time looking at asking and closing prices (under 500K) in my town to get an idea of how much my house has fallen in value and I’ve noticed that smaller, under maintained, not updated homes have fallen in value almost 50% more than houses with resonable updates. Also, expensive at that price point don’t seem to have an advantage over basic or medium range improvements.
    My take is that since I’m in the hole already, I’ll continue making small improvements by saving extra and paying cash. That way, I will hopefully be ahead in 5 or 7 years when I think my house will be worth what I’ve paid for(and put into) it.
    I know this is a bit off from your typical post here …and I haven’t posted for some time, but i’d appreciate any views and perspectives on taking this approach.
    btw – Grim, I see that you are still in the news. Congrats. Are you still running this site as a non-profit? You should really just register as one and do some large scale grant applications and fund raising.

  51. Hubba says:

    #36 SG

    Thanks for the post. Probably the best explanation as to why we are doomed. Too much focus on bad debt and not good debt in the porkulus.

  52. XoXo says:

    Just wanted to share this for anyone who would like to see the year-by-year public data of assessed values, last sales date and price, as well as real estate taxes.

    You need a street address and town, or just a street name if you want to see public records for an entire street.

    Then go here:
    http://www.nj.com/news/bythenumbers/

    Under the category “”Home Sales”" and “”Property Taxes”" is a lot of valuable information for the last seven years.

    You have to play around with the search features and spelling (it’s no Google!)
    but great info at your finger tips.

    The price increases in the bubble years should have made anyone cautious. Moreover, property tax increases went hand in hand with the increases in assessed valuations. It will be interesting to see IF property taxes come down now that the bubble has burst. (I am not holding my breath).
    Folks, these property taxes are outrageous. Talk to anyone who is retired, on fixed income, and has lived in the same house for the past 20 years ….It is a sad story. School funding must be addressed urgently.

    My gut says average home prices will be at year 2000 levels again before too long….

    Cheers.

  53. Sean says:

    Spread this Bill Moyer’s interview around folks.

    “High Noon: Geithner v. The American Oligarchs.”

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02132009/watch.html

  54. Hubba says:

    Anyone who can stand Moyer must be in Fidel’s living room.

  55. JBJB says:

    Baja

    I wouldn’t think that you are hurting unless you HAVE to sell, or if you were planning on a cash-out refi or something.

    I totally agree with your observations, the junk out there is really getting crushed, of course that helps in dragging everything down. From a buyers perspective, I wouldn’t even consider an offer at this point on a house that needs a lot of repair or updating. Why would I? It’s a buyers market. I too am seeing in my area that houses which are updated and well taken care of will sell if priced aggressively (meaning ~10-20% below peak). The junk and the overpriced just sits, as these delusional sellers think they can get what their neighbor got by simply listing it and waiting for a sucker.

    I think your strategy is probably about the best way to play the hand you have. Make smart investments and upgrades w/o taking on more debt and hope to ride out the storm.

  56. XoXo says:

    Anyone who has obviously NOT been watching Bill Moyers in a long, long time should not comment on his show……

  57. JBJB says:

    “It will be interesting to see IF property taxes come down now that the bubble has burst.”

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  58. bajanyankee says:

    JBJB, it’s good to get some positive reinforcement. Thanks for the observations from your area.

    The property tax thing is an interesting question although as you say, “we all know the answer” already. I’m anxiously waiting for the results of a recent reval in my town.

  59. Barbara says:

    62.
    your taxes will never go down significantly in NJ. The valuations will go down, so the local govt will just jack up the rates. Its old hat in this state.

  60. Cindy says:

    (57) Sean – Excellent – Did forward it yesterday all over the place…

    Did you see this?

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/120572-starting-the-geithner-resignation-pool?source=email

    Starting the Geithner Resignation Pool

  61. BC Bob says:

    “When people ask me: ‘Didn’t anyone see it coming?’ Sure, anyone with half a brain saw it coming. But we didn’t know exactly when,” he says.

    From SG’s post #36.

    That’s the problem. The majority doesn’t have half a brain. The others are simply comatose. The remainder, Frank, still haven’t come down from Ableson’s tree.

  62. bajanyankee says:

    Barbara,
    I think the best I ever saw was an increase of $40 or so.

  63. chicagofinance says:

    XoXo says:
    February 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm
    Anyone who has obviously NOT been watching Bill Moyers in a long, long time should not comment on his show……

    why?

  64. chicagofinance says:

    Sean says:
    February 15, 2009 at 1:47 pm
    Spread this Bill Moyer’s interview around folks. “High Noon: Geithner v. The American Oligarchs.”
    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02132009/watch.html

    S: and BTW congrats……just because someone is intelligent, experienced and candid does not mean that their thought process is free of being fundamentally biased, illustrated by their career choices….Johnson likely went to the IMF and academia BECAUSE he thought the financial services industry was fraught with arrogance, hubris etc……

    I don’t appreciate this interview. It posits specious arguments….

  65. Cindy says:

    (68) Chicago – What exactly is suspect to you? Motive? Content?

    I’ll go back and watch it again…Saw it yesterday…

  66. Sean says:

    Chicago – thanks….

    The reason for post of the Moyers interview. Many of us here we feel their is a dearth of good Journalism. Like the Mother Jones article linked above, how is it that nearly everyone here saw the housing bubble for what is was and took actions to protect ourselves against the mania yet the press did not report it and at the same time the government deregulated all oversight.

    Like you I rent and I do not want to be a debt serf. I am a capitalist first and a centrist on most issues, but when it comes to the craziness of what has transpired in housing bubble, then I had to take pause and actually think that we as a country are heading down a very slippery slope.

    History sometimes rhymes as you may have heard. I will pose a little historical rhyme for you here and now.

    Back in 1933 there was an attempted coup d’etat by corporations and the then prevailing wacko wealthy oligarchy against our Government. The only thing that saved this country from turning towards a distinct Facist Nazi slant was one honest man. A retired Marine General Smedley Butler, who refused to lead the coup and instead stood up for all Americans.

    So here we are in 2008 and now a similar small group of prevailing oligarchy that have tremendous influence down in Washington DC are trying it again without a military junta but a cabal of lobbyists and bankers.

    The question is will our FDR figure and our Congress be complicitous this time?

    If folks like us don’t speak up and spread the word to our elected leaders and shout it from the mountains and talk to our neighbors about these issues then we may very well be doomed as a democracy, and many of us and our will end up as debt serfs.

  67. rhymingrealtor says:

    they are sales people not your friends. The only time they want to be around is when your selling or buying

    Joe,

    I have made many friends since I have been a realtor. People who come to my home to share in holidays such as super bowl and including christmas, while it’s true the relationship with all clients does not turn into friendships, many have, I have made no enemies. I have had however many clients I would not want as friends but that is true in any type of work environment. As I write this I am sitting for a one time clients dog, because we are friends.

    KL

  68. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Chi,

    What are the specious arguments?

  69. lostinny says:

    71 KL
    If only people like you were agents near me.

  70. Hubba says:

    #70 Sean,

    One big problem, today, govt & corp are the same. Ever notice the representation of GS in the the Fed and Treasury? Multiply by n, where n is a very large # for every other industry out there.

  71. Clotpoll says:

    Allow me to channel Jim Rogers:

    The Fed has gotten it wrong. Every time, every crisis, every day…for over two years now.

    The Treasury not only has gotten it wrong ever single time, but they have also abetted the biggest inside bank job of all time (and no, after seeing Moyers Friday night, I no longer feel a pang of insanity when I say this).

    The President? Bum-rushed by Pelosi & Reid, like a drunk on the 7 train. Who paid for the inauguration again?

    Congress? Yeah, right. Swilling in bacon-wrapped porkulus now. If you think anybody in Congress- except maybe Ron Paul in his lucid moments- has any clue as to what’s going on, go back to the House Bank Scandal. 80% of these fools can’t balance a checkbook.

    The banks? Insolvent, the whole scurvy lot. Their rotting entrails are being consumed by giant parasites, aka the CEOs.

    Do our riots start once the weather warms up?

  72. Clotpoll says:

    kl (71)-

    I prefer that everybody involved in a RE deal be a little pissed at me at the closing (not a lot…just a little).

    The best deals are always win/win, but the flipside of that is that all the parties should feel they gave up something big, too. At the time of closing, it’s easiest to transfer blame for that stinging feeling to one of the agents, rather than a principal being able to own it.

    I most value the kind words and thank-yous that I get a year or so after the closing.

  73. Hubba says:

    XoXo says:
    February 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Anyone who has obviously NOT been watching Bill Moyers in a long, long time should not comment on his show……

    A wise person once told me a long time ago:

    Don’t assume.

    This advice would be lost on you it seems.

  74. BC Bob says:

    “The banks? Insolvent, the whole scurvy lot.”

    Clot,

    The financial rust belt.

    Disclaimer: Picked this up from an article. Wish I had thought of this one.

  75. Cindy says:

    From 57

    “These people would like to come in and buy these re-privatized banks. You would attach antitrust provisions to this, so the banks are broken up as part of the transaction. Senator Sanders has a great saying. He says “Any bank that is too big to fail is too big to exist.”

    And he’s exactly right. so, in this transformation, you’re bringing in private equity. You’re using, I think this is, to me, the right idea, and what we’ve learned in our country, is you’re using part of the powerful financial lobby against another part.
    You’re using private equity, that would do very well in this, against the inbred insider big bankers. And you’re doing this in a way so that the taxpayer decides who the new owners are.”

    Chicago – Are you thinking that you would maybe be trading one “boss” for another “boss?” Blackstone – some hedge funds etc???

    Are there credit default swap problems to consider in a government-supervised bankruptcy process?

    Just wondering what you are thinking….

    None of it is pretty – none of it. But Geithner does not inspire confidence.

  76. Qwerty says:

    It’s different here?

  77. Pat says:

    Where are all the trolls?

    It’s pretty pathetic if we’re at such an obvious capitulation point.

    This will necessitate some revisions to my calculations.

    I still want my ten thousand dollars.

    Duck
    Pret
    Re
    Bi

    Are they figments of an imaginary viewpoint? Personalities already or soon to be monorailed to unsigned stops in JB’s cerebellum?

  78. Qwerty says:

    From the NY Times article:

    Furthermore, declared Karen Eastman Bigos of the Towne Realty Group, “this C.V. person is just plain mean” toward real estate professionals.

    Written under a picture of a buzzard on the Web site is the motto “Capitalizing on the greed and stupidity of others.”

  79. rhymingrealtor says:

    Clot,

    I may have mentioned this before, and you as a broker may trash me for this … but I never work both sides. Never.

    KL

  80. Cindy says:

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article8880.html

    More on Geithner – This time from Market Oracle – Mike Whitney

    “Geithner’s Bank Bailout Plan Gibberish “Not Ready for Prime Time”

  81. yikes says:

    CHI-FI, care to take a whack at this??

    BC Bob says:
    February 14, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    “Do you really beleive we are a 3rd world country?”

    Rich,

    Just look at our exploding treas auctions. More that 50% of our treas are bought from outside our borders. Given the fact that they are all in shambles, how confident should one be regarding future auctions. China is still present with a twist. They are moving out, and continue to do so, of long term sec and into bills and s/t notes. No reports from O and Timmy regarding this? China is nobody’s dummy. This reallocation protects them from inflation and currency debasement risks. In addition to this, they don’t have to sell one single treas sec. Suppose they become less active. Who picks up the slack? Europe, they are imploding at the seams. Russia? SWF? Is the only solution to print and monetize debt.

    We are teetering on the brink of a deep black hole. To counteract this, we are relying on a Pres, a VP and a Treas sec that have a combined ZERO years of exp within the private sector. Comforting? Illusions that the govt will pull us out of this mess are ludicrous. 99% hope that the govt will solve this dilemma. 1% fear the long term implications of this powerless attempt. My *ss is parked on that 1% bench. Beware of untintended consequences.

  82. yikes says:

    Homebuyers: First-time homebuyers who purchase this calendar year get an $8,000 tax credit which does not have to be repaid like a similar measure last year. This phases out for people making more than $75,000 individually or $150,000 jointly. “First-time homebuyer” is defined as someone who has not owned a home for the past three years. Cost: $6.63 billion.

    q: let’s say you and your wife make more than 150k when you file your taxes (jointly). BUT, only one of you could qualify for the loan (the other owns a small business).

    since just one name is on the mortgage … and that person makes less than 150k … could you STILL try to get the 8k tax credit?

    i know, i know … sounds greedy to even ask. but 8k is 8k.

  83. BC Bob says:

    Sorry, Dookie.

  84. JBJB says:

    We popped in an open house today while out running errands. The realtor actually told me that “houses in this Lincroft neighborhood will never sell below 500K”. These people still exist and the spin never stops despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  85. meter says:

    @ Clot, 75

    Not sure who is more dangerous to this country over time: the incompetent, self-serving government drones or the wily, self-serving uber-capitalists (e.g. Wall Street).

  86. meter says:

    Disclosure: I work for a Wall Street firm.

  87. sas says:

    just discovered a new yogurt.
    goes by the name “siggi’s”
    flavor Orange & Ginger.

    give it try.

    SAS

  88. sas says:

    BTW:
    about some of the economic warfare:

    “long” investors in Sidley target clients such as Merrill Lynch, are being destroyed by `stimulus’ or `pump-and-dump’ bonds where kickbacks from `short’ positions are shared with one of more of Sidley’s insider clients such as RBC-Dexia.

    Sidley lawyers destroyed Merrill Lynch with a bond.

    I do love this Siggi’s yogurt.
    SAS

  89. Cindy says:

    http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/1627216.html

    Grim -Oh bother…

    “Lance Armstrong’s $10,000 bike stolen in Sacramento; three teammates lose theirs”

    There is a 5min. clip if you want to catch a peek of the bike before it was STOLEN.

  90. sas says:

    “Bill Moyers”

    ha ha, what a putz!

    can anyone say “Operation mockingbird”?

    SAS

  91. sas says:

    “Europe’s economic slump deeper than expected”
    http://tinyurl.com/cpzbph

  92. sas says:

    “Japan’s GDP slumps an annualized 12.7% on-quarter in Q4″
    http://tinyurl.com/bb2gx4

    -steep fall reportedly represents the biggest drop since 1974

  93. chicagofinance says:

    Cindy says:
    February 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm
    Chicago – Are you thinking that you would maybe be trading one “boss” for another “boss?”

    C: The teacher from Cali runs circles around the elite from the Northeast….bingo..
    You are a gift to your students, because you are shrewder than you will ever know….

  94. chicagofinance says:

    yikes says:
    February 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm
    CHI-FI, care to take a whack at this??

    y: we have China by the tight and curlies not vice versa……regardless of the fact that we have much farther to fall…..

  95. chicagofinance says:

    Dissident HEHEHE says:
    February 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm
    Chi, What are the specious arguments?

    Did you see Indiana Jones IV? This dude would have us drop the nuclear bomb on the Street and we will survive by hiding in the lead lined fridge…..the guy is out to grandstand….you have had the benefit of watching prima facie evidence of how government and business are intractibly intertwined. So what? It is the history of this country.

    If you want to shoot your perps, fine. I’d rather have these c@cksuckers identified and tagged behind the ear so we can track them.

    This academic is a pontificating and ineffectual windbag…..ivory tower bloviator…..it is laughable watching Moyers jizz in his pants on TV….

  96. Joe says:

    Joe,

    I have made many friends since I have been a realtor. People who come to my home to share in holidays such as super bowl and including christmas, while it’s true the relationship with all clients does not turn into friendships, many have, I have made no enemies. I have had however many clients I would not want as friends but that is true in any type of work environment. As I write this I am sitting for a one time clients dog, because we are friends.

    KL

    —> KL, always an exception to every rule. I was refering to the majority. When you remove the friends & bottom feeders your average ends up being your typical sales person. We can all be friend again when prices return to normal.

    Cheers!

  97. sas says:

    how many times are we heard this story in these type of stories in the past few months?

    “Colorado Springs man facing eviction commits suicide”
    http://tinyurl.com/as9czv

    -Unemployed, awash in debt and hiding an October foreclosure from loved ones, the 55-year-old shot himself Wednesday morning as a sheriff’s deputy stood outside.

  98. chicagofinance says:

    To be clear, the last thing you want to produce is a power vacuum. When you exterminate roaches, the ones that survive are immune, and they will breed again to the same extent as previous…..

  99. chicagofinance says:

    chicagofinance says:
    February 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm
    yikes says:
    February 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm
    CHI-FI, care to take a whack at this??

    y: remember…put your money where your mouth is…

  100. sas says:

    “A Fraud bigger than Madoff
    -misuse of $125bn”

    whats 125bn when the DOD has over a trillion accounted for?

    similiar stories will come out.

    but don’t worry, omama is here.
    now go back to watching the latest episode of house and eat your Hg containing HFCS Doritos.

    :)
    SAS

  101. All Hype says:

    Japan’s GDP Shrinks 12.7%, Most Since 1974 Oil Shock

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=acYH_ZqAefdw&refer=home

    The USA recovery is just around the corner!

  102. sas says:

    “The USA recovery is just around the corner!”

    better buy RE now, or be priced out forever.

    ha ha
    SAS

  103. Matthew says:

    Grim – great to see you getting some recognition in the mainstream media again. I have checked in here over the past few years as we’ve sat on the sidelines, and have been enjoying the posts more and more lately. Sucks how the NY Times tried to portray you as a “hacker” (my friend used the same trick with the old MLS links) but it’s clear that label was misapplied.

    Thanks for all the works you’ve done on the site over the years.

  104. NJGator says:

    Another comp for the Gator family tax appeal:

    73 Christopher (GSMLS 2640586)

    2 family with boarder apartment 3440SF. 2 blocks to Midtown Direct train.

    Tax Assessed: $751,900
    LP: $498,000 (ouch!)
    Sold 12/23/03: $464,300

  105. Cindy says:

    (98) Why thank you Chicago – But honest, I’m no rocket scientist.

    Just thought about it for a while when I didn’t hear back from you. Looked up Simon Johnson to begin with but decided to check on Peterson Institute – they had helped back the I.O.U.S.A movie…That made sense…fiscal conservatives.

    Looked up Peter Peterson – there it was – Blackstone Group – 149th on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans in 2008. Somebody has skin in the game.

    Just got me to thinking…Simon Johnson said, “So in this transformation, you’re bringing in private equity….The new owners come in and do a lot of restructuring….

    You get the picture…

  106. sas says:

    “Nassau budget cuts: A worst-case scenario”
    http://tinyurl.com/c7235f

    -lay off hundreds of county employees, cut services and shut county facilities to close a predicted $150-million budget gap if county workers do not agree to a permanent 7 percent reduction in their salaries.

    -Some 320 employees will be laid off to save $10 million

    -layoff of 250 police and 100 corrections officers for a savings of $21.7 million.

    -proposed $12 million in social service cuts

  107. Frank says:

    “The remainder, Frank, still haven’t come down from Ableson’s tree.”

    Hey, I believe that home prices in NYC area are overpriced by at least 60%+, but so far I don’t see them dropping much. So let’s get the story straight.

  108. Frank says:

    #122,
    Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is one politician that can think straight, in a recession you cut, cut and cut, not raise taxes to keep a park open.

  109. chicagofinance says:

    Cindy says:
    February 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm
    (98) Why thank you Chicago – But honest, I’m no rocket scientist.
    Just thought about it for a while when I didn’t hear back from you. Looked up Simon Johnson to begin with but decided to check on Peterson Institute – they had helped back the I.O.U.S.A movie…That made sense…fiscal conservatives.
    Looked up Peter Peterson – there it was – Blackstone Group – 149th on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans in 2008. Somebody has skin in the game.
    Just got me to thinking…Simon Johnson said, “So in this transformation, you’re bringing in private equity….The new owners come in and do a lot of restructuring…. You get the picture…

    C: you missed your calling; you have the chops and the stones to work on the Street…

  110. NJGator says:

    Here’s another potential Montclair Comp Killer priced below 2004 sale:

    GSMLS 2639379 (9 South Brookwood)

    LP: 625,000
    Tax Assessed: 708,000

    Sold 4/30/2004: 650,000

  111. Rick says:

    Damn, he’s got embedded videos!

    I’m outtie

    p.

  112. yikes says:

    chicagofinance says:
    February 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    chicagofinance says:
    February 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm
    yikes says:
    February 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm
    CHI-FI, care to take a whack at this??

    y: remember…put your money where your mouth is…

    my mouth is in my pocket. and i take my cues from some of the “pros” here, anyway. win with them, ready to lose with them (although they dont seem to be losing, which im cool with).

    i only asked you because that was one of BC’s most negative posts in awhile … and i needed someone not named bi/frank to respond with ANYTHING to counter it and briefly remove my mind from doom and gloom …

  113. yikes says:

    Frank says:
    February 15, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    “The remainder, Frank, still haven’t come down from Ableson’s tree.”

    Hey, I believe that home prices in NYC area are overpriced by at least 60%+, but so far I don’t see them dropping much. So let’s get the story straight.

    you spend too much time mocking other ethnicities and paying attention to the lines at Abercrombie. look at the numbers you dolt

  114. chicagofinance says:

    yikes says:
    February 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm
    i only asked you because that was one of BC’s most negative posts in awhile … and i needed someone not named bi/frank to respond with ANYTHING to counter it and briefly remove my mind from doom and gloom …

    yikes: you just bought a home and it appears that you are doing well….you are nervous, but you should be nervous, as should everyone….that said, if you had the means and the need to buy a home now, it suggests that you are fundamentally unfcuked financially right now……that means that under the scenario that we cascade toward doom, you are better equipped to deal with the unexpected. I take a NYC-centric view on this…..we have a good 20-30 more months of this shite. However, I am talking about people lives, not investments. The time to take a chance is going to be much sooner….

  115. Hobart Gapp says:

    CV- your bullet proof conviction in your catastrophic market view is impressive. It reminds me of the super confident bulls of 2005. Any chance at all that you could be wrong?

    I think it was Paul Tudor Jones who said, “The best thing the market does is punish people.”

    Try to be a bit more humble so you don’t get punished.

  116. Qwerty says:

    Hobart Gapp @ 2:00pm:

    Would you say this vulture has a “catastrophic market view” or that, like this site, simply documents an actual catastrophic market?

    Could he/she be wrong? Such questions are out of date by several years. In February 2009 there is little debate as to the state of the economy and the real estate market among those who don’t have a commission check to chase, or equity to protect.

  117. jersey girl says:

    As a real estate agent in NJ, I’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot agents who don’t treat their clients well. But as far as doling out information in bits and pieces, I guess I don’t understand. Our mls (the one that Millburn/Short Hills, Montclair, etc is in) allows us to send all the information about a property to clients except the address and the owner’s name(s). And realtor.com has most of the listings also. If I have a client interested in a particular property, it’s quite easy to look up the past history and tax information on that property. To me, that’s just basic information that my client needs to make a good decision when bidding on a house. If your realtor wasn’t giving you that info, then he/she wasn’t doing their job. I never withhold information from my clients; it’s counter-productive.

    As far as the housing bubble is concerned, I got into the business when it was at it’s most frenzied. Believe me, realtors with buyers didn’t like it; but when 6 people want the same house, things get crazy; when 20 people want the same house, it’s insane. I’m not sure you can blame realtors for that. Demand is created by lots of factors; realtor hype is only a small part of it. the banks who approved the mortgages, the desirability of certain towns, the media and the buyers themselves all had a part in it.

    Any one can go to my website, and create a search that will bring up all the properties that every realtor has access to. So where’s the problem?

  118. jersey girl says:

    As a real estate agent in NJ, I’ll be the first to admit that there are agents who are less than diligent. But as far as doling out information in bits and pieces, I guess I don’t understand. Our mls (the one that Millburn/Short Hills, Montclair, etc is in) allows us to send all the information about a property to clients except the address and the owner’s name(s). And realtor.com has most of the listings also. And it’s really in the real estate agent’s interest to send all the listings in a particular category to the client.

    If I have a client interested in a particular property, it’s quite easy to look up the past history and tax information on that property. To me, that’s just basic information that my client needs to make a good decision when bidding on a house. If your realtor wasn’t giving you that info, then he/she wasn’t doing their job. I never withhold information from my clients; it’s counter-productive.

    As far as the housing bubble is concerned, I got into the business when it was at it’s most frenzied. Believe me, realtors with buyers didn’t like it; but when 6 people want the same house, things get crazy; when 20 people want the same house, it’s insane. I’m not sure you can blame realtors for that. Demand is created by lots of factors; realtor hype is only a small part of it. the banks who approved the mortgages, the desirability of certain towns, the media and the buyers themselves all had a part in it.

    Any one can go to my website, and create a search that will bring up all the properties that every realtor has access to. So where’s the problem?

  119. True. This kind of functional information is important for people dealing with real estate agents. But, the concern however is not limited to real estate. Be it IT, media or any other industry, such information is necessary.

  120. maxrep says:

    The real estate agents should be angry. The whole profession is just smoke and mirrors. Working in the real estate industry for a number of years, and purchasing multiple houses, I found no need for a real estate agent. Having one just caused more problems and delays in getting the deal done. Not to mention the fee you pay is crazy when selling a home. With more empowering tools available to the buyer and seller the need for an agent is becoming history… and I cant wait.