“Not quite time to celebrate”

From the Press of Atlantic City:

Sales of existing homes rise in January by 4.3%

Housing sales increased in January over the same period last year, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday, with sales of existing homes up 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million sales.

Sales of single-family homes rose 3.8 percent; the number of first-time homebuyers, a key element for a housing recovery, went up slightly and represented 33 percent of all sales. A healthy market usually shows first-time buyers making up 40 percent of sales.

“Things are actually going well. I’m kind of excited about how the year is starting off,” Anthony D’Alicandro, president of the Atlantic City and County Board of Realtors and owner of Coldwell Banker Casa Bella Realtors in Linwood, said Wednesday.

Atlantic County saw a 1.3 percent increase in the sales of existing homes last month, D’Alicandro said, when including single-family dwellings, condominiums and townhouses.

Sales had declined sharply in the fourth quarter of 2011, not because of a lack of buyers, but due to a shortage of homes on the market, D’Alicandro said. That is because New Jersey was slower than other states to allow foreclosures to continue after the “robo-signing” scandal of late 2010.

“New Jersey is just starting to see a pickup in inventory,” D’Alicandro said.

Prices are likely to remain flat for some time, as a glut of foreclosures starts to hit the market, D’Alicandro said. Banks will work aggressively to get the distressed homes off their lists, and some have not been well-maintained.

Real estate agent Hader Rivas of Re/Max Atlantic in Northfield said he is getting busy showing homes to prospective buyers. In fact, he just sold a unit earlier Wednesday, he said.

“They’re finally coming off the fence and (realizing) there are a lot of great deals out there,” Rivas said. “Phones are ringing and people are looking.”

Sales declined somewhat in Ocean City, but a lot of people signed contracts to buy homes, D’Alicandro said. Once the deals close, the increases will show up in the February and March numbers, he said.

But an increasing number of contracts are being canceled, D’Alicandro said. Sometimes the buyer can’t get financing or an appraiser says the home is worth less than the agreed-upon price. But the biggest reason for ending contracts is that short sales — or selling the home for less than the money owed on it — either don’t get approved by the bank or the buyer becomes frustrated at how long the process takes.

In the remainder of Cape May County, 110 housing units of all types were sold in January, compared to 86 in January 2011, said Brian Groetsch, president of the Cape May County Association of Realtors and an agent with Re/Max At the Shore. The median sales price was down slightly, from $315,000 last year to $307,500 this year.

While the report is good news, it’s not quite time to celebrate, Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors of Holland, Pa., and Margate, said Wednesday in a statement. Many of the homes being sold are “distressed,” or foreclosures and short sales, and some segments of the market are still not doing well.

A continuing supply of distressed homes should keep prices low, Naroff said. Also, nearly 25 percent of sales were to investors, not people planning to use the unit as a primary residence. That is good for a growing demand for rental housing, but won’t give a boost to the industry as a whole.

“While the housing market is slowly improving, there is little reason to think that the non-distressed segment of the market is poised to take off,” Naroff said. “Until the housing problems are resolved, which could take another three or more years in some regions, don’t expect sales or construction to pick up rapidly.”

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

161 Responses to “Not quite time to celebrate”

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Housing’s Dilemma: There’s Not Enough To Buy

    Last week I wrote about how fewer foreclosures up for sale in the housing market could actually mean lower overall home prices.

    That may sound counter-intuitive, given that we always talk about how distressed sales deflate comparable home prices.

    My reasoning is that foreclosures are in high demand right now, and organic, non-distressed sellers are still not coming back to the market. Without the foreclosures, there really is no competitive market.

    I hate to say, “I told you so,” but … today the National Association of Realtors reported that inventories of homes for sale in January fell to 2.31 million, the lowest supply since March, 2005. Rather than pushing home prices higher, they are still down, 2 percent, from a year ago.

    The Realtors noted that 35 percent of all home sales were distressed (either foreclosures or short sales). Investor demand is high, they say, even claiming that a recent program initiated to sell the foreclosures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in bulk to investors is unnecessary.

    “Based on the swiftness of how REO (bank-owned) properties are moving in the market, it may not be needed,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. He did admit that such a program would also take away thousands of potential listings from Realtors.

    If you look at sales distribution by price, 69.9 percent of homes sold in November were under $250,000. That moved up to 72.2 percent in January. Given that there is just a two month difference, seasonality, i.e, higher priced homes selling at different times of year, doesn’t apply.

    As I wrote last week, organic, non-distressed sellers are making up less and less of the overall housing market. That does not a healthy housing market make. Without good, move-up homes available, the market cannot see real price appreciation.

    “The main limit on sales volume now is willing sellers, not willing buyers,” says Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, a real-estate brokerage.

  3. Mikeinwaiting says:

    I call bullsh*t!
    We should know better, this info comes from the NAR. Last month they reported “annual rate of 4.61 million sales in December, a 5 percent increase over a month earlier.”
    This was December their hook: “Existing home sales increased 5 percent in December, the fastest pace in a year.”
    In fact, they fell half a percent in December on the revised number. Now they revise this number and give us sales rise 4.3 % when based on their unrevised number is only up 08. You can not have it both ways NAR, next month they will revise this one also to whatever makes RE look good.
    You can get to all the info from this link: http://www.oregonlive.com/front-porch/index.ssf/2012/02/realtors_existing_home_numbers.html

    Here is some other info to digest.
    “Sales have risen in three of the past four months. But they remain well below the 6 million that economists equate with a healthy market.

    First-time buyers, who are critical to a recovery, are increased slightly to 33 percent of sales. In healthy markets, first-time buyers make up at least 40 percent.

    Homes at risk of foreclosure made up 35 percent of sales last month, up from 32 percent in December.”

  4. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Million-dollar foreclosures rise as rich walk away

    Five years after the housing bubble burst, America’s wealthiest families are now losing their homes to foreclosure at a faster rate than the rest of the country — and many of them are doing so voluntarily.

    Over 36,000 homes valued at $1 million or more were foreclosed on — or at least served with a notice of default — in 2011, according to data compiled by RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosures. While that’s less than 2% of all foreclosures nationwide, it represents a much bigger share of foreclosure activity than in previous years.

    These properties are accounting for a bigger piece of the foreclosure pie,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

    Out of all foreclosure activity, the share of foreclosures on properties valued at $1 million or more has risen by 115% since 2007 while the share of multi-million dollar foreclosures — or homes valued at more than $2 million — jumped by 273%. Meanwhile, the share of foreclosures on mid-range properties valued between $500,000 and $1 million fell by 21%.

    Until recently, many homeowners at the high end of the housing market were able to postpone the foreclosure process, Blomquist explained. With other assets and alternatives, “they had more financial means to hold out against default.”

  5. Mikeinwaiting says:

    All statements from the NAR should be considered lies until proven otherwise.

  6. grim says:

    3 – Ignore everything but the unadjusted year over year numbers. Why? Because we know month to month comparisons are simply unnecessary in the housing market, it moves too slow, so why attempt to come up with a seasonally adjusted monthly number at all? How many sales were there last January, how many sales were there this January? Done. Don’t try to compare January to December or earlier, we know there are significant seasonal patterns in play that make this all but impossible. Not only that, but we want to know what those seasonal patterns are looking like this year, we don’t want to adjust them away.

    January EHS Data

    All we need to know is over on the right hand side. Sales up year over year by 4% nationally, and up 7.1% in the Northeast. No adjustment wizardry in these numbers. (although we’ve seen the numbers be entirely incorrect before).

  7. grim says:

    … and the SAAR number? Ugh, forget that entirely.

  8. yo says:

    I see alot of movement in Atlantic County,EHT at least.But the movement is in the brand new homes not the resale.Developers are giving away many upgrades with finished basements for the price of a almost new 5 year old resale.

    Why buy a resale unless the owner can beat what the developer is giving away.

  9. grim says:

    January Residential Sales (GSMLS)

    Bergen (NJMLS)
    2009 – 284
    2010 – 381
    2011 – 387
    2012 – 402

    Essex
    2009 – 130
    2010 – 196
    2011 – 204
    2012 – 194

    Hunterdon
    2009 – 50
    2010 – 65
    2011 – 69
    2012 – 54

    Morris
    2009 – 178
    2010 – 236
    2011 – 223
    2012 – 206

    Passaic
    2009 – 119
    2010 – 127
    2011 – 113
    2012 – 135

    Somerset
    2009 – 122
    2010 – 147
    2011 – 176
    2012 – 133

    Sussex
    2009 – 52
    2010 – 89
    2011 – 75
    2012 – 84

    Union
    2009 – 152
    2010 – 191
    2011 – 171
    2012 – 170

    Warren
    2009 – 37
    2010 – 43
    2011 – 54
    2012 – 43

  10. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim in light of the source of the info source for your # 6 I will REVISE my post 5 to
    “All statements, numbers or info of any kind coming from the NAR should be considered false in respect to casting a positive light on housing until proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be factual.”
    As we have seen sometimes it takes years for them to admit the real numbers.

  11. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim 9 so overall we are down 51 houses in total sales and 6 out of 9 counties show declines. Quick get out the party hats.

  12. grim (2)-

    The article should’ve mentioned willing, QUALIFIED sellers.

    “The main limit on sales volume now is willing sellers, not willing buyers,” says Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, a real-estate brokerage.

    Sell? Sell to whom????

    Gary, please feel free to add your .02 AUM.

  13. Brian says:

    Bad news never stopped me from celebrating. I still plan on having a drink this morning.

    As long as prices keep dropping like a stone it’s all good. Whatever we can do to help me grieve my taxes.

  14. Mikeinwaiting says:

    NAR release: Sussex County up over 11% year over this January.

  15. News flash: Sussex Co being given to PA.

  16. Mikeinwaiting says:

    year over year , more coffee!

  17. Mikeinwaiting says:

    They would not take us!

  18. Brian says:

    That’s sales but how are prices trending in Sussex County.

    Mikeinwaiting says:
    February 23, 2012 at 7:35 am
    NAR release: Sussex County up over 11% year over this January

  19. Mikeinwaiting says:

    New Jersey needs some people with no teeth for diversity.

  20. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Brain , Grim has access not me so can’t say.

  21. Mikeinwaiting says:

    I put my money on down, Grim you got that info?

  22. Shore Guy says:

    Coming to a town near you?

    http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-13/pennsylvania-s-scranton-strains-under-ruling-cutting-fiscal-repair-measure.html

    Scranton (9664MF) Mayor Christopher Doherty is blunt when asked about a court order forcing his Pennsylvania city to pay about $30 million in wages withheld from police and firefighters under a state-approved fiscal recovery plan.

    “I don’t have the money,” said Doherty, 53. As for the chance of borrowing the cash, more than half of the city’s projected general-fund revenue, he added, “there’s no financial institution that’s going to give me $30 million to pay it.”

    The effect of a state Supreme Court ruling that put contract-arbitration awards ahead of fiscal recovery plans under Pennsylvania (STOPA1)’s Act 47 law may reach beyond Doherty’s city of 76,100 by removing a tool for communities in distress. The order probably will mean higher taxes, said Brian Jensen, whose nonprofit group counsels local governments. The decision also underscores the difficulty U.S. cities have in handling mounting labor costs without resorting to bankruptcy protection.

    “This highlights a real gap between what’s available under a lot of the state recovery acts such as Act 47, and Chapter 9,” James J. Holman, a bankruptcy lawyer at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia, said by telephone, referring to U.S. municipal bankruptcy law.

    “If the issue of insolvency relates fundamentally to collective-bargaining agreements, Chapter 9 has a fairly swift and fairly effective provision” to resolve those, Holman said.

    Bankruptcy Option

    Officials in other states have chosen bankruptcy. Robert Flanders, the receiver in charge of Central Falls, put Rhode Island’s smallest city in bankruptcy after failing to win concessions from unions last year. In California, the Bay Area city of Vallejo emerged from court protection in August, three years after entering Chapter 9 proceedings to cut labor costs.

    Scranton’s Act 47 plan in 2002 barred raises for employees and capped longevity pay for three years, according to Matt Domines, a specialist in the state Local Government Services Center. The city, where 19 percent of residents live in poverty compared with less than 14 percent nationwide, is 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.

    An arbitrator awarded raises to police and fire unions, and the dispute ultimately was decided by the high court in October.

    “Someone’s going to have to pay that freight,” said Jensen, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern Pennsylvania LLC in Pittsburgh. “That’s going to come down to real estate taxes, and they will escalate.”

    snip

    Scranton violated collective-bargaining law by withholding raises, said Thomas W. Jennings, a senior partner at Jennings Sigmond PC in Philadelphia.

    snip

  23. grim says:

    Sussex Snapshot

    January 2011
    Active Listings
    Total – 2254
    Average LP – $310,113

    New Listings
    Total – 262
    Average LP – $292,057

    Under Contract
    Total – 59
    Average LP – $243,821

    Sold
    Total – 75
    Average SP – $226,608

    January 2012
    Active Listings
    Total – 2042
    Average LP – $304,107

    New Listings
    Total – 292
    Average LP – $317,413

    Under Contract
    Total – 125
    Average LP – $224,779

    Sold
    Total – 84
    Average SP – $257,216

  24. grim says:

    I put my money on down, Grim you got that info?

    Sussex sale prices in Jan? Up to $257k from $227k, on higher volume to boot.

    Mike – You sure it’s armageddon out there? Look at the damn January contracts number, that’s up over 100% year over year, up to 125 from 59 last year. Big jumps in Sparta and Vernon contracts, both more than doubling from last year (could be the reason that county level prices higher this year).

  25. Mike says:

    Mikeinwaiting 19 Such as Porchboy playing Dueling Banjos?

  26. Brian says:

    Uh oh. I better get the tax appeal paperwork together quick!

    BTW, I think my parents have decided to take their Sparta home off the market for a while. They’ve had plenty of people come look at it but no offers in quite a while. They’re not paying any property taxes anyway so, it’s not like it costs them anything but upkeep. I think a lot of people where scared off by the septic not verified thing in the listing (even though the sepitc is fine. it was upgraded). My dad thinks this is the towns way of punishing him for not paying property taxes.

    They would have liked to have moved to a townhouse in Sparta commons but it’s looking easier just to hire a plow guy for the snow, and a landscaping guy for the lawn, etc.

    24.grim says:
    February 23, 2012 at 7:51 am
    I put my money on down, Grim you got that info?

    Sussex sale prices in Jan? Up to $257k from $227k, on higher volume to boot.

    Mike – You sure it’s armageddon out there? Look at the damn contracts number, that’s up over 100% year over year

  27. grim says:

    Let’s take a look forward instead of back..

    January Contracts (GSMLS)

    Bergen (NJMLS)
    2011 – 669
    2012 – 839 (Up 25%)

    Essex
    2011 – 198
    2012 – 241 (Up 22%)

    Hunterdon
    2011 – 55
    2012 – 61 (Up 11%)

    Morris
    2011 – 244
    2012 – 274 (Up 12%)

    Passaic
    2011 – 126
    2012 – 165 (Up 31%)

    Sussex
    2011 – 59
    2012 – 125 (Up 111%)

    Somerset
    2011 – 147
    2012 – 185 (Up 26%)

    Union
    2011 – 170
    2012 – 224 (Up 32%)

    Warren
    2011 – 45
    2012 – 70 (Up 55%)

  28. JJ says:

    So the REO I looked at BAC came back with final price. So owner purchased it in 1997 for 150K and bank wants 179K. Which means an appreciation rate of around 1.5%.

    Compare that rate of return to munis, investment grade bonds, metals or stock market and pretty sad.

    Also all this talk about depriciation I can’t get math to work. If I bought a 26 year muni for 200K at 4% interest vs. financing a rental property for 200k with a 4% mortgage at end of 26 years with house I have a time bomb it I sell recaputuring the 26 years of depreciation. It seems the rental house is a slam dunk if home prices we assume rise over time, if not the muni is the slam dunk.

  29. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Mike 25 yes!
    Grim 24, could not say with more certainty than just my observations. But the numbers are the numbers so I guess it is getting better. I do watch houses sit & sit for years sometimes, can not explain it.

  30. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim 27 Wow that is a jump, now if we get that 4-5 dollar gas they will give it all back. You live here you burn fuel, a lot of fuel.

  31. Brian says:

    Man you really are a masochist. You just love bad news and making fun of yourself.

    30.Mikeinwaiting says:
    February 23, 2012 at 8:05 am
    Grim 27 Wow that is a jump, now if we get that 4-5 dollar gas they will give it all back. You live here you burn fuel, a lot of fuel.

  32. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Brain you have not been around that long Meat & I have a running joke going on for years about Sussex County. Yes I love bad news sold all my homes in 05 & 06 to some poor bast*rds, and rent since. You sit where you stand.

  33. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Off I go, by all.

  34. Mikeinwaiting says:

    by=bye

  35. grim says:

    Jobless claims stick at 351k, 4 week average now down to 359k, lowest since March 2008.

  36. JJ says:

    If realtors were wooden puppets ladies would spread eagle on their noses before they begain their sales pitche.

  37. JJ says:

    “While the U.S. expansion shows some signs of greater strength and durability, 4Q
    2011 earnings were weaker than we expected, even excluding financials. Noncyclical
    areas accounted for much of the shortfall versus our own expectations. This
    combination leaves our outlook for S&P 500 Operating EPS at $101 in 2012 intact,
    though now requiring a higher 3%-3½% growth rate. We continue to expect $105.50
    in 2013.”
    — Steven Wieting

    funny this guy who is now an economist or something at morgan stanley recently gave this press release. funny like the time I reviewed a report he did for me for a client. you have to read it three times to figure out what it means.

  38. gary says:

    I want my f*cking pony! Where’s my f*cking pony!?

  39. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [22]

    The lesson of Scranton is that if your muni is starting to crack under the fiscal strain, you either GTFO fast or lever up so you can walk and leave the bank holding the bag.

  40. Shore Guy says:

    Gary,

    With all the steaming piles around here, there must be a pony somewhere close.

  41. yo says:

    I filled up a form,hoping to get a pony from Wells Fargo from all this settlement 2 weeks ago.It said in the form somebody will contact me with in 2days.2 weeks later,still waiting for the call.I guess if you are current and paying,you don’t get pony.

  42. All Hype says:

    Grim (27):

    That contract stat is a little misleading as I have followed a few houses in Montclair and Glen Ridge that have not gone through to full sales due to assessment and home inspection issues.

    Most if not all of the reasonably priced houses that are out there are estate sales. Most occupied houses for sale will never sell because the owners are clueless about price.

  43. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    A pretty decent AP article on the tax proposal:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CORPORATE_TAXES_ECONOMY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-02-23-07-29-09

    “WASHINGTON (AP) — Cutting corporate tax rates and deleting loopholes is just what most economists prescribe for the tangled U.S. tax code.

    So why isn’t everyone cheering the plan President Barack Obama unveiled Tuesday to slash the top corporate tax rate and end breaks that let some companies pay little or nothing in taxes?

    Economists note that Obama’s plan would upturn the very playing field the administration says it wants to level. It would give manufacturers preferential treatment: Tax breaks would effectively cap their rate at 25 percent. Other companies would pay up to 28 percent.

    The current top corporate tax rate is 35 percent.

    Some say such varying rates can distort the economy by diverting investment into some industries and away from others that might pack a bigger economic punch.

    “The administration is not making sense,” says Martin Sullivan, contributing editor at publisher Tax Analysts. “The whole idea of corporate tax reform is to get rid of loopholes, and this plan is adding loopholes back in.”

    Other economists oppose a separate plank of the Obama plan: a minimum tax on foreign earnings of U.S. multinational companies. No other country imposes such a tax on its companies, they note. U.S. businesses would face a competitive disadvantage.

    Facing resistance from Republicans and many businesses, Obama’s plan is in any case a longshot proposal so close to Election Day.

    “For anything that Obama recommends during an election year and with a divided Congress, the best one can say is, `Good luck,'” says Henry Aaron, senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “Those who stand to lose are really upset and will work hard to defeat it.”

    Just about everybody agrees something has to change. When Japan enacts a corporate tax cut in April, the United States will be left with the highest tax rate in the developed world.

    That puts the U.S. companies that actually pay the official corporate tax rate at a disadvantage against their foreign competitors. (Many U.S. companies effectively pay lower rates because of tax breaks.)

    The loophole-riddled U.S. tax code now benefits numerous industries over others. One tax break, for example, lets oil companies write off drilling costs immediately instead of over time, as most businesses must.

    In the end, different industries can pay far different effective rates. The Treasury Department says U.S. utility companies pay an average effective tax rate of 14 percent. By contrast, retailers pay an average 31 percent.

    The administration says the point of its tax plan is to make the system fairer and more efficient – not to squeeze more overall tax revenue from corporations. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner calls the current tax code “fundamentally unfair.” But the administration also needs to end some loopholes to help pay for a lower corporate tax rate.

    The White House argues that tax breaks for manufacturers could ultimately pay off for the economy. When factories expand, for example, the benefits tend to spill into other businesses: Shipping companies and warehouses must add jobs, too, to transport and store the goods that manufacturers are producing.

    Economists also note that manufacturers account for a disproportionate amount of the research and development that create innovative products and new ways of doing business. The National Science Foundation has found that manufacturing companies are nearly three times likelier to introduce a new or significantly improved product than other companies are.

    “Does manufacturing deserve special treatment? This is a hot debate,” says Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the Industrial Performance Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “A case can be made that there’s a reason to encourage more manufacturing in the United States because of its links to innovation.”

    Other economists say that argument is overstated. Among the skeptics is Obama’s own former economic adviser, Christina Romer, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In a column this month in The New York Times, Romer argued that there was no economic justification for the government to favor manufacturers over service-oriented companies.

    “Our earnings from exporting architectural plans for a building in Shanghai are as real as those from exporting cars to Canada,” Romer wrote.

    Analysts are also divided over Obama’s plans to impose a minimum tax on companies’ foreign earnings.

    Sullivan of Tax Analysts says the current system allows some companies – especially technology and pharmaceutical firms – to avoid U.S. taxes by shifting their earnings to tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Other multinationals can indefinitely avoid paying U.S. taxes by keeping their earnings overseas.

    Lacking such tax breaks, companies that do all their business in the United States suffer a competitive disadvantage.

    The minimum tax proposal, Sullivan says, “would level the playing field.”

    But big U.S. companies complain that they already pay taxes to foreign governments on the income they earn in those countries. A U.S. tax on that income, they argue, would amount to double taxation.

    That would raise costs for U.S. companies operating overseas, making them less competitive. Instead, the United States should move toward a “territorial” tax system, business groups argue. Tax would apply only to income earned within the United States.

    “No other developed country imposes such a `minimum tax’ on the foreign earnings of their corporations,” said the Business Roundtable, a trade group of chief executives of large U.S. companies.

    Some economists agree.

    The minimum tax proposal for international earnings “is totally misguided both from a competitive standpoint and a jobs standpoint,” said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Obama’s plan, if enacted, will shrink the U.S. footprint in world markets and lose jobs.”

    +++++++++++

    The take away from this article (besides the fact that the writers didn’t do so well in English class) is that there is more agreement among economists than I would have expected as to core issues. The arguing seems to be at the margins over things like whether we should be favoring manufacturing.

    Also, the conspiracy theorist in me sees further validation for the premise that the Obamunists are actually trying to remake the economy by favoring capital intensive, immoveable (and labor oriented) manufacturing and reining in multinationals. Of course, Obama actually said as much so it isn’t really a conspiracy. But I see that effort as doomed to fail because it follows the socialist model of fostering equality by making everyone poor. Aside from the manufacturing break, I see nothing in this tax plan that would lead to job creation, and a fair amount that would actually lead to demand and job destruction. Perhaps that is deemed an acceptable risk—after all, can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

    Problem is, we are the eggs.

  44. grim says:

    43 – Nothing quite like trying to negotiate with a bunch of children on an estate, with strong emphasis on the word children. Yes, I agree, some estate sales can be good value plays, especially of you are handy enough to update. The best of these tend to be properties where they owner kept up on maintenance and general upgrades (heating, cooling, roof, siding, windows, but generally left the rest of the house untouched. These tend to show terribly as everyone fixates on the velvet wallpaper and embeded glitter vinyl tile. Bonus points for original shag.

  45. Brian says:

    This was also the problem with my parents place. People expect to see sub zero fridge, granite countertops, brand new bath and fixtures etc.

    It’s kinda dumb if you think about it. As a buyer, knowing you might have to spend money on a place, wouldn’t you want the new furnace, abover ground oil tank, new roof, septic, or sewer main etc? If you’re going to spend money on a place, wouldn’t you want to do it in the more sexy places like the kitchen and bath? Seems like more fun to spend it in the kitchen and bath. You can make those rooms exactly as you want them. Nobody brags about their new roof or how their oil tank was remediated by an environmental company.

    45.grim says:
    February 23, 2012 at 9:20 am
    43 – Nothing quite like trying to negotiate with a bunch of children on an estate, with strong emphasis on the word children. Yes, I agree, some estate sales can be good value plays, especially of you are handy enough to update. The best of these tend to be properties where they owner kept up on maintenance and general upgrades (heating, cooling, roof, siding, windows, but generally left the rest of the house untouched. These tend to show terribly as everyone fixates on the velvet wallpaper and embeded glitter vinyl tile. Bonus points for original shag.

  46. Mike says:

    Just saw the front page of the Ledger, Headlines read : Inside NYPD’S Newark Spying A 60 Page Report Reveals The Extent That Muslims And Places They Go Have Been Under Survailence, Mayor Says He Was Unaware & Disturbed By Profiling. TAKE A WALK BY GROUND ZERO YOU F*CKING DIP SH*T!

  47. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Tax news of the day: In tax, as in investing, pigs get slaughtered.

    “8th Circuit Denies Accountant’s Use of ‘John Edwards Sub S Tax Shelter’ — Is Warren Buffett Next?

    The Eighth Circuit yesterday affirmed the district court’s denial of an accountant’s attempted use of the ‘John Edwards Sub S tax shelter’ and required him to treat $91,044 per year as his compensation (and thus subject to the 15.3% Social Security and Medicare taxes), rather than the $24,000 he claimed as wages. (During the years in question, the accountant treated $175,470 and $203,651 as Sub S distributions.) David E. Watson, P.C. v. United States, No. 11-1589 (8th Cir. Feb. 21, 2012):

    (1) Watson was an exceedingly qualified accountant with an advanced degree and nearly 20 years experience in accounting and taxation; (2) he worked 35-45 hours per week as one of the primary earners in a reputable firm, which had earnings much greater than comparable firms; (3) LWBJ had gross earnings over $2 million in 2002 and nearly $3 million in 2003; (4) $24,000 is unreasonably low compared to other similarly situated accountants; (5) given the financial position of LWBJ, Watson’s experience, and his contributions to LWBJ, a $24,000 salary was exceedingly low when compared to the roughly $200,000 LWBJ distributed to DEWPC in 2002 and 2003; and (6) the fair market value of Watson’s services was $91,044. Based on the record, the district court did not clearly err.

    Warren Buffett famously draws only a $100,000 salary from Berkshire Hathaway — although he does not avoid the 12.4% Social Security tax because this is roughly the amount of the FICA wage base ($110,000 in 2012), Buffett is avoiding the 2.9% Medicare tax on the value of his services in excess of $100,000.”

    +++++++++++++

    I like how the author used the story to call a little further BS on Warren. But Berkshire isn’t an S Corp so it really doesn’t apply.

    What is evident is that IRS is trying hard to prevent professionals from casting income as unearned income subject to lower tax rates. It’s the same point as with carried interest. Paradoxically, Congress wants to pass a law (the NEWT Act) that would impose an arbitrary rule that would deem some S corp dodges legal and others not legal. Should it pass, I already have a workaround in mind.

  48. grim says:

    46 – General lack of knowledge around the importance of strucure and mechanicals.

    Let me tell you, spending $1600 on a new vanity, countertop, and sink is fun. You can see it, you can show it off, everyone LOVEs it.

    Spend $1600 on new fascias and gutters, or to have the chimney masonry repaired, let me know how that one feels.

    Even better, spend $8,000 on a new furnace unexpectedly. Whole lot more expensive than that sub zero.

  49. 30 year realtor says:

    I’ve got an estate listing right now that will expire within days. Been shown more than 100 times in 3 months. Got 2 market value offers and they rejected them both. Made suggestions to the (kids) sellers to enhance value and they rejected those as well.

    House is a wreck. Unconventional style, substandard ceiling heights, under sized lot, no back yard, partial basement and bad floor plan are just some of the inherent issues.

  50. gary says:

    Even better, spend $8,000 on a new furnace unexpectedly. Whole lot more expensive than that sub zero.

    Ahhh… the things the little fawns don’t budget for when they sign on the dotted line. They want to tell friends and family they bought in West Haughtyville and they want them to see the fancy back splash and faux crown molding. Forget about the furnace or that spot on the upstairs bedroom ceiling or the soft spot on the wall by the shower.

  51. Ben says:

    46, Brian

    There’s the flipside. Walking into some kids parents home, I fully expect to see a home that hasn’t been updated since the 1960s. I would love to take it off their hands. The problem is, the children usually insist on a price that pretends there’s no difference between a beatup 1960s kitchen and a kitchen that was updated 2 years ago.

  52. Anon E. Moose says:

    Re [2];

    The Realtors noted that 35 percent of all home sales were distressed (either foreclosures or short sales). Investor demand is high, they say, even claiming that a recent program initiated to sell the foreclosures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in bulk to investors is unnecessary.

    I wonder how necessary they’d think it is if they were paid their customary vig?

  53. Anon E. Moose says:

    Re [4];

    Squeeze the juiciest fruit. Why spend 3x the money foreclosing on houses that will sell for $250k, when for the same effort you can foreclose once and put back $750k in capital?

  54. gary says:

    30 year [50],

    Awww, they just want a pony. Throw in a buy one/get one dinner at Red Lobster and they’ll probably consider the market value offers.

  55. Anon E. Moose says:

    Brian [18];

    That’s sales but how are prices trending in Sussex County.

    Like I said yesterday, reporting sales trends without price trends should be actionable journalistic malpractice.

  56. Brian says:

    Exactly. It’s funny because when I first posted here, I was trying to figure out what my parents should price their place in Sparta at. It had been on the market for a while with few bites.

    Interestingly, when you helped me, you compared thier house to another sale that happened up the street. It had new appliances in the kitchen, granite countertops, new cabinets etc.

    I asked my mother about that place and apparently, everyone in the neighborhood knows about it. It was practically underwater during hurricane Irene. Also, the guy that owned it, dug out the basement (there wasn’t one originally) and rumor has it, it leaks like crazy.

    Also, my mother told me that someone almost bought it once for a bit more money than it recently sold for. She said, it was wierd, one sunny day, there was a lot of water flowing down Shawnee trail. She thought it was wierd that somebody would be washing their car for that long. Turns out, a pipe burst in the place and flooded it out again! Needless to say, the deal fell through.

    Now, the new owners of the place are in for some surprises! At least they’ll be able to save some money on take out and cook their own dinners in their new fancy kitchen.

    My mother is seriously thinking of taking her place off the market and just living in it for a while. I told her to renovate the bathrooms and kitchen and enjoy them your self for a while. Let the Landscaping guy and the plow guy take care of the outside. In a few more years, if she feels the time is right, she can try to sell it again and it will have the fancy kitchen/ baths, etc and show a lot better.

    49.grim says:
    February 23, 2012 at 9:36 am
    46 – General lack of knowledge around the importance of strucure and mechanicals.

    Let me tell you, spending $1600 on a new vanity, countertop, and sink is fun. You can see it, you can show it off, everyone LOVEs it.

    Spend $1600 on new fascias and gutters, or to have the chimney masonry repaired, let me know how that one feels.

    Even better, spend $8,000 on a new furnace unexpectedly. Whole lot more expensive than that sub zero.

  57. Shore Guy says:

    When we purchased our house, we opted to go with what for our town is third-tier housing, instead of stepping up to the next level; at that next level, the houses were, larger, newer, had higher ceilings, etc. Our concern at that point was biting off too much for our comfort level (we did not want to have to rely on more than a portion of one of our salaries to afford to pay for the place). As a consequence, in fairly short order, in addition to the general updating that we knew we would have to undertake, we ended up replacing the furnace, the roof, the AC, and some other hidden things.

    The bottom line, we would have spent less (except for tax considerations) buying the larger and newer places that we discounted because of price.

  58. Shore Guy says:

    “House is a wreck. Unconventional style, substandard ceiling heights, under sized lot, no back yard, partial basement and bad floor plan are just some of the inherent issues.”

    And your point is?

  59. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [44] redux,

    I did a quick bit of research and I know have to wonder who will be left to tax in the energy sector if the Obama changes go through? Since Obama was elected, a number of large names in drilling have “redomesticated” offshore. Noble, Transocean, Nabors, Weatherford, Greenfield, Tyco, Foster-Wheeler, and others all used to be Delaware corporations. Since 2009, they have become Cayman or Swiss corporations.

    Halliburton moved its HQ to the middle east a couple of years ago. I expect that was a prelude to their moving offshore. And I don’t think Schlumberger is a US corporation (not sure, have to check).

    Now its true that foreign companies pay through the nose on US earnings (unless washed through a treaty country first), but if those earnings are segregated, then the tax cost is simply passed along. If you hire one of these companies to drill and produce a field in Texas or Bakken, then they factor in taxes, and that gets factored into price. What it does is raise the break-even point for drilling/production in the US so if the price of energy is below a certain level, there is no drilling/production. We’ve seen that before.

    Hard to say who got jobbed here. The administration by companies that beat feet ahead of the tax hike, or the voters by an administration telling them that they’ll spank some companies that they know are no longer around to be spanked.

  60. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [56] moose

    “journalistic malpractice”

    We live in an age where that definition applies to objective reporting.

  61. All Hype says:

    Gary (51):

    I saw a house that had a furnace that was originally designed to run on coal. It was converted to oil. The oil tank was buried in front of the house with no insurance written for it.

    I saw another house that had the push button light switches with a fuse box. That house may have a tough time passing inspection.

  62. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [44] redux,

    And for anyone wanting to do their own research, I googled “redomesticate, Delaware, Cayman.” A fair amount of garbage, and not a ton of names but remember it’s only the publicly traded companies that have to disclose.

  63. Anon E. Moose says:

    Shore [58];

    we opted to go with what for our town is third-tier housing, instead of stepping up to the next level; at that next level, the houses were, larger, newer, had higher ceilings, etc.

    The shoe (economy) is still decidedly cold. When the count turns against you, you hunker down at the table min., and/or squirrel some money off the table, right?

  64. The Original NJ Expat says:

    grim [6] – I would maintain that January Y-O-Y increases in sales indicates a trend, but doesn’t give you the direction of the trend. I bet Y-O-Y stock sales in October 2008 were way up over October 2007.

  65. The Original NJ Expat says:

    [65] and because of mix-shift you can’t necessarily tell even with price data. I think most telling would be neighborhood, not town, data year-over-year with a mortgage interest rate factor and property tax factor applied.

  66. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Oh, snap! From right in the Messiah’s backyard, too!

    http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20120115/NEWS04/301159983

  67. Shore Guy says:

    “and because of mix-shift you can’t necessarily tell even with price data. I think most telling would be neighborhood, not town, data ”

    All RE is local and THIS neighborhood is different.

  68. Ben says:

    I don’t know why they keep trying. Corporations have beaten the tax system for about 100 years now. Obama can institute whatever policy he wants, they’ll still pay no taxes. In the meantime, us normal folk can look forward to paying more.

  69. The Original NJ Expat says:

    Moose [56] Even with price trends you don’t necessarily know anything. Grim will rue the day he gave me the term, mix-shift, for something I know is happening but didn’t know there was a term for. Take a hypothetical blue ribbony town with two sides of the tracks (it’s blue ribbony, after all, it has to have a train). One side of the tracks are $1.5MM houses, the other side is all $500K houses. In a rising market the number of $1.5MM houses that actually come on the market and sell are few and far between, but the $500K houses turn over at reasonable rate. When all of a sudden the owners on the good side of the tracks start running for the exits (and downsizing with their captured equity) the average sale price for that town goes way up along with the volume. If you’re just looking at price and volume for the town it looks all good when, in fact, it’s all bad. Factor in taxes and you’ll find you’re really trying to polish a t@rd with a stanky stats rag.

    Like I said yesterday, reporting sales trends without price trends should be actionable journalistic malpractice.

  70. obviously like your website but you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome to inform the reality then again I’ll definitely come again again.

  71. The Original NJ Expat says:

    [72] Is this a clever robot joke:

    “rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome”

  72. JJ says:

    On those old coal to oil furnances pretty much a handy man coverted it and tank shoved in front yard most likely with no permit. Or none needed so many years ago.

    If there is no record of tank in front year what is to stop homeowner from coverting to gas, pumping oil out of tank, filling it up with sand cutting off nozzle and calling it a day. Who will know, who will care and how will it matter? When new owner sells home in 30 years would there even be anything more than a few rusty scraps in ground. Plus you could abate those tanks with sand in most places prior to 2000 with no permit. How would anyone know.

    Only confusing part is if I had a tank or absetos why not rip it out before showing house. The mexican took out my Moms asbsesto for like $50 bucks. Just throw wet old towels or sheets to wrap pipes take a razor cut it out and throw it out. really why wait till inspection day. My furnance is almost 60 years old and so is my oil tank. Big deal.

    All Hype says:
    February 23, 2012 at 10:08 am
    Gary (51):

    I saw a house that had a furnace that was originally designed to run on coal. It was converted to oil. The oil tank was buried in front of the house with no insurance written for it.

    I saw another house that had the push button light switches with a fuse box. That house may have a tough time passing inspection.

  73. gary says:

    Hype [62],

    And the sellers will accept nothing less than the asking price. After all, it is North Jersey and this area is bleeding wealth. That’s what a professional member of the NAR told me. :o

  74. freedy says:

    I was in a retail store yesterday in Paramus. Parking was a problem and goods were
    flying off the shelves. Long line to check out. What recession ?

  75. JJ says:

    549 Woodbury Rd
    Cold Spring Hrbr, NY 11724
    $549,000

    By far my favorite nightmare shortsale horrific horror story any bank has ever faced. look at the history of this house and I cant see how loan officer who approved was not fired and drawn and quartered.

  76. Brian says:

    What’s the advantage of having oil burner vs coal? Isn’t coal plentiful in the US? You think that would be cheaper to operate.

    75.JJ says:
    February 23, 2012 at 10:38 am
    On those old coal to oil furnances pretty much a handy man coverted it and tank shoved in front yard most likely with no permit. Or none needed so many years ago.

    If there is no record of tank in front year what is to stop homeowner from coverting to gas, pumping oil out of tank, filling it up with sand cutting off nozzle and calling it a day. Who will know, who will care and how will it matter? When new owner sells home in 30 years would there even be anything more than a few rusty scraps in ground. Plus you could abate those tanks with sand in most places prior to 2000 with no permit. How would anyone know.

    Only confusing part is if I had a tank or absetos why not rip it out before showing house. The mexican took out my Moms asbsesto for like $50 bucks. Just throw wet old towels or sheets to wrap pipes take a razor cut it out and throw it out. really why wait till inspection day. My furnance is almost 60 years old and so is my oil tank. Big deal.

  77. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Do spambots dream of electric sheep?

    Listen when your sales are practically zero your going ot see improvement. Like Grim and others stated long ago. Even in bad markets people still buy.

  78. JJ says:

    My moms house when we bought it still had coal room. A corner of basement maybe 10×12 was just wooden walls to ceiling and the window opened and coal truck just dumped dirty coal through window. You then had to shovel it into coal burner. Then burnt coal is called Coke, guy used to dump the coke behind garage over fence on empty plot behind house which at time was back of a farm and side strip.

    When we bought house it was alreadry coverted to oil but we had filty coal room to disassemble and no matter how much you mopped scrubbed and painted the black from coal dust came though. Plus coke hunks would appear up through grass. Pretty much after living there 20 years we got rid of the dirt in basement and hunks of coke in yard that shot off. Also chimmney cleaning was constant as coal was very dirty.

    Brian says:
    February 23, 2012 at 11:32 am
    What’s the advantage of having oil burner vs coal? Isn’t coal plentiful in the US? You think that would be cheaper to operate.

  79. Mike says:

    One of the contractors working with us from Tenn. took a ride with my coworker and coming back through the local neighborhood he gave him a rough idea of what some of the homes were going for and one was a cape for about 300K. Dam he said that’s about the size of a chicken coop. Here’s a house from the town he lives in. http://haroldlong.weichert.com/41361333/?cityid=6166&view=gallery

  80. JJ says:

    81 Recession is old news. Unemployment for qualified people is at zero. mainly slackards are unemployed. It is a bull market!!! Seven figures is the new six figures.

    Go ask you boss for def comp, Long Term Incentive money, cash bonus, restricted stock and while you are at it make him rub your feet!!!

    People in 2009 were throwing around nickles like they were manhole covers, today they throw around 100 dollar bills like toliet paper!

  81. Brian says:

    Yes but his home is not in NJ. That automatically means it sucks and sells for much cheaper.

    Or, they treat their chickens in Tennisee like royalty.

    83.Mike says:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm
    One of the contractors working with us from Tenn. took a ride with my coworker and coming back through the local neighborhood he gave him a rough idea of what some of the homes were going for and one was a cape for about 300K. Dam he said that’s about the size of a chicken coop. Here’s a house from the town he lives in. http://haroldlong.weichert.com/41361333/?cityid=6166&view=gallery

  82. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Brain the term chicken f*cker comes directly from Bristol Tenn, hence the need for a cape sized coop.

    My BIL just bought 3500 sq/ft on an acre in NC. Two car garage updated price was the same as my 1500 in morris county. My wife’s response why would you want to clean that every week and live in NC. I then showed her the taxes. her response would still not want to clean it.

  83. 3B says:

    #83 JJ: It ain’t over on Wall St.

  84. freedy says:

    13 million unemployed,46 million on food stamps, and about 30% of homes are
    underwater. Other than that things are fine. Go NJ

  85. Anon E. Moose says:

    Pain [85];

    If I could find work that would let me live someplace like research triangle, even at a haircut, I’d be there in a heartbeat. That’s the backside edge to the double-edge sword of being in a parochial industry.

  86. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Moose so your a Catholic School teacher who can’t find work in the land of the baptists?

  87. scribe says:

    JJ, Chi

    What do you think of the TRUPS market right now?

    I know there was a period of time last fall when some were selling below par, but is the moment still right for TRUPS as income-producing?

    Fully valued or over valued by now?

  88. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Ben,

    Obama’s plan can be implemented but I see the following externalities: First, it will produce more deadweight loss as more companies find it feasible to redomesticate. Second, the resultant tax costs and costs due to reallocation of capital will cause consumer prices to rise. Third, it will not result in any improvements to the economy. Fourth, I think the revenue increases will not, in the aggregate, materialize.

    It’s like Newton’s Third Law of Motion. (at least I think it’s third. Someone google it for me).

  89. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Shore – here are my thoughts on teacher evaluations aren’t pricipals managers?

    So like all good managers shouldn’t they set goals a specified by the school board superintendent, approve/oversee teachers work, and provide an informed performance assessment.

    So in essence they should review and approve lesson plans for effectiveness, set performance goals for the year, measure them based on grades, and comprehension. While observing in class methodology for delivery of concepts and classroom engagement. All the while retaining the right for hiring and firing of teachers who do not meet or improve upon their performance.

    Sure I used a lot of corporate buzzwords, but my memories of prinicpals are old dudes and chicks who sit in their office all day acting as an arbitor of justice. It can’t be that hard to implement something effective. The only thing standing in the way are the status quo and the unions

  90. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    and another thing from shore’s posted article this statement bothered me

    “Teaching is multifaceted, complex work. ” So is f*cking plumbing. The difference one removes sh!t the other creates it.

    Like they have the market cornered on difficult jobs. You work a mandated 6hrs/day, 180 days a year get the whole summer off plus multiple weeks during the year for a full years salary. Is your job hard sure it is. That doesn’t make you special nor does it curry any favor with the rest of us in the private sector who may make more but certainly do not get the perks.

  91. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    and f*ck Bill and Melinda Gates too

  92. mikey (19)-

    That’s ok. We have lots of people with no brains instead.

    “New Jersey needs some people with no teeth for diversity.”

  93. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Final word on the tax issue before I go out.

    I left the TV on in the background, and it was on Fox Business this morning. They are hammering the same points I made, and one expert is on right now, making the argument that this proposal will cause companies to redomesticate abroad.

    But the argument she is making is sooooo simplistic it isn’t funny. She presents only the base argument, not addressing the countervailing arguments or the fact that the tax would only lower the tipping point, not cause widespread corporate expatriation. She infers but does not develop the point that the tax is intended to drive multinationals to produce here instead of abroad but that most multinationals could not afford to relocate manufacturing back to the US for reasons other than tax.

    I know FB plays to the lowest caste of business news consumers, the individual small unsophisticated investors, but this so-called expert’s presentatoin was so bad that if it represents what she knows, Fabius would utterly savage her in a tax argument.

  94. hype (62)-

    Can’t get homeowners’ insurance anymore on houses with fuse boxes.

  95. All Hype says:

    Doom (100):

    While we were looking at this particular house there was a contractor taking notes. My guess to fix up this wonderful place will cost in excess of 250k.

    A. New elecrical
    B. New Plumbing
    C. Furnace
    D. New heating sytem
    E. Kitchen
    F. Bathrooms

    The current taxes = 20k.

    This had to be a drive-by tax assessment. The basement was right out of the Freddy Krueger design motif.

  96. Jill says:

    Brian #46: Because most buyers are morons. You see them on the home shows; they fall in love with tray ceilings and MDF crown moldings and granite countertops and they don’t give a rat’s @ss that the roof is 25 years old already, the furnace is 15, and the windows leak in winter.

    I’ve sunk about $60K into my house, which had nothing updated from the previous owner. I had to upgrade the electric to 200 amp, got new siding (with removal of asbestos shingles), windows, gutters, driveway. Had the front steps repaired, the basement remodeled to add insulation…and the inside still looks like cr@p. My kitchen is going to be old stick-built cabinets refaced by me, new laminate countertops, and a new floor installed by me. When I sell, I’ll price it aggressively.

  97. grim says:

    $250k to fix up? You can build new for $75 a square. Just how big was this place?

  98. All Hype says:

    Grim (103):

    Let me see if I can find it and send you the link.

  99. grim says:

    100 – $2k and you’ve got a new 200 amp service and panel, all set.

  100. grim says:

    Had two fence companies come out and give me a quote.

    The first was $5k, the second was $9k, absolutely no difference in materials.

    I priced the exact same materials online for $3k.

    And you guys think realtors are criminals? Almost as bad as the siding guy who gave me a $24k estimate for a job that should have been under $8k.

  101. Mike says:

    Brian 84 No different from South Jersey

  102. gary says:

    grim [106],

    The guy who quoted you at $9K is because you’re prestigious now and he only does prestigious fences for prestigious people.

  103. Brian says:

    You shopping for a fence? Funny, me too. I have a quote in my pocket from New jersey fence. The little one nearly gave me a heart attack last year when he ran out into the street to chase the neighbors R/C car. Grabbed him by the collar before some dopey teenager came screaming through the neighborhood with his stereo blasting.

    newjerseyfence.com

    $3900 for half my property. I’ll double check the linear feet.

    It’s 4′ high vinyl by “illusions” vinyl fence.

    107.grim says:
    February 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm
    Had two fence companies come out and give me a quote.

    The first was $5k, the second was $9k, absolutely no difference in materials.

    I priced the exact same materials online for $3k.

    And you guys think realtors are criminals? Almost as bad as the siding guy who gave me a $24k estimate for a job that should have been under $8k.

  104. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Grim we had four quotes ranging from 12.kK to 17K for our fence (aluminum wrought iron looking thing) went with the guy for 13.5K long time family business thew in some extras. Happy with the end product but when I priced the materials, I was like f*ck it is not hard to put in a fence. Then they did it in two days. I on the other hand would still be working on it

  105. grim says:

    Worst part about the siding guy is he just kept insisting that he talk with the lady of the house to pick out siding and trim styles and colors before he would give me the price. I told him if he stepped one foot in, my two dogs would tear him apart, and I’d have no problem burying him in the basement and selling his car for scrap.

  106. Fabius Maximus says:

    #106 grim,
    I had a quote from Anello fence that made me laugh. We ended up using Bergen Fence to put in some small link black PVC chainlink.

  107. JJ says:

    Schliler just called the bottom today in 2015. I am sure if NAR leaves the last two words off that press release it would make a good quote

  108. Brian says:

    Huh, i would too if he called me a lady.

    112.grim says:
    February 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm
    Worst part about the siding guy is he just kept insisting that he talk with the lady of the house to pick out siding and trim styles and colors before he would give me the price. I told him if he stepped one foot in, my two dogs would tear him apart, and I’d have no problem burying him in the basement and selling his car for scrap.

  109. JJ says:

    Trups are great for coupon clipping. Some have 8%. But the capital appreciation part is gone and when they get calledin two years you will just get back par. But hey 8% coupon for two years is not bad when bank pays less than 1%. If you believe BAC will be ok these three trups trade at par and have a nice coupon.

    BANKAMERICA CAP II INCME PFD 8.00000% 12/15/2026

    MBNA CAP A CAP SECS-A 8.27800% 12/01/2026

    NB CAP TR IV CAP SECS 8.25000% 04/15/2027
    scribe says:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm
    JJ, Chi

    What do you think of the TRUPS market right now?

    I know there was a period of time last fall when some were selling below par, but is the moment still right for TRUPS as income-producing?

    Fully valued or over valued by now?

  110. grim says:

    Both neighbors have existing chain link, so I don’t need a significant length, only around 170 feet. The previous neighbor put up a single section of chain (5ft privacy) on the previous owners land, but the current neighbor doesn’t give a damn if I tear it out and replace it. Thinking I’ll just keep it since replacing it is adding another 2k and means losing the privacy fencing). I’m not really a fan of the vinyl stuff, and I don’t need the maintenance associated with wood.

  111. JJ says:

    I say 99% of people I started work with on wall street have been fired, laid off, fed up, retired, died, freeked out in 9/11, could not stomach crash of 87, got killed in crash of 2008 or did not survive the internet bubble popping.

    I love it, every recession and black swan event trims the dead branches from the trees. I love young smart people. If wall street had steady employment it would be like a govt job where you stare at the same old tired faces year after year. Kinda like my town the tired old deadbeats who bought from 2003-2008 are being pushed out and young nice couples are buying these re-priced homes. My old neighbor him and wife working six days a week whining about taxes, mortgage losing money on their house. It gets old. Nice young couple gets house for song it improves morale. Just like work. The cranky tired burnt out 44 year old making 300K is easily replaced by a fresh faced happy 25 year old making 90K.

    Sometimes I do wonder where those cranky old people go. Since I am either at work or on vacation I really don’t know.

    3B says:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm
    #83 JJ: It ain’t over on Wall St.

  112. JJ says:

    I have a six foot six inch sold fence around my property. Only problem is it could be higher. But the parts near neighbors house I have 20 foot shrubs so that helps. How is a five foot fence a privacy fence> My nieghbors are at least five foot then inches. How is five foot better than no foot?

    grim says:
    February 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm
    Both neighbors have existing chain link, so I don’t need a significant length, only around 170 feet. The previous neighbor put up a single section of chain (5ft privacy) on the previous owners land, but the current neighbor doesn’t give a damn if I tear it out and replace it. Thinking I’ll just keep it since replacing it is adding another 2k and means losing the privacy fencing). I’m not really a fan of the vinyl stuff, and I don’t need the maintenance associated with wood.

  113. grim says:

    It means it’s got aluminum slats running through it so when I walk out my side door with no pants, you can’t see my ass. Previous owners were nudist midgets, worked just fine for them.

  114. Brian says:

    I’m in a corner lot so, there’s no such thing as privacy for me. Town only allows 3′ high fence in front of the setback. Since I’m all front and side yard, thats most of the yard. Strategy for me is to put 3′ high, then plant some bushes that grow 6’….some fertilizer water sunshine and voila 6′ high fence.

    119.JJ says:
    February 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm
    I have a six foot six inch sold fence around my property. Only problem is it could be higher. But the parts near neighbors house I have 20 foot shrubs so that helps. How is a five foot fence a privacy fence> My nieghbors are at least five foot then inches. How is five foot better than no foot?

  115. Brian says:

    huh just noticed the contractor quoted me 4’…..

  116. scribe says:

    JJ,

    Thank you.

  117. Ben says:

    94, Nom

    It’s like Newton’s Third Law of Motion. (at least I think it’s third. Someone google it for me)

    Newton’s 3rd law deals with force pairs. For example, if you push the rich with a certain force, they would at the same time, push you back with the same exact force. The rich won’t bother. They’ll just get out of the way of the oncoming force (i.e. relocate to corporate headquarters to the Caymans) and let the force hit the middle class like always.

  118. Ben says:

    Shore/Pain

    teacher evaluations are a joke. They are a formality. Often they are performed by an administrator who is not an authority of the subject material. In NJ, non-tenured teachers have 3 evaluations per year. It’s hardly a reflective indicator of how the classroom is run for the school year. Teachers always plan special lessons for the observation and the kids routinely put on an act the second an administrator is in the room.

    As far as teacher evaluation goes, it’s a lot simpler than everyone would have you believe. It’s no secret to the administration, the parents, or the students as to who the good and bad teachers are in a school.

  119. cobbler says:

    ben [124]
    I actually volunteered for the committee that had been set up by the BOE to put together a plan for schools’ improvement for the next 5 years or so. From observing various participants it is very clear that the strongest pushback against putting anything quantitative as an objective (which is what parents and some BOE members are trying to get) comes not from the teachers’ union but from the district and school administrators. They want to keep ambiguity of the appraisal as their tool.

  120. JJ says:

    My elementary school does that. They push a boat load of work on parents and harrass you if you don’t work with your kids enough. The kids scorre effect hte teacher rating. Also my school district years ago was place where parents of autistic kids or just plain stupid kids would move to as good special ed stuff. Now nobody wants them. Also they carved out 1/3 of kids as high performers, sometimes easier to focus on the 91 average student and make him or her a 99 student then waste your time on johnny snot nose picker c+ student. So in end school focuses on brighest one third of students, pushes out stupid kids into BOCES, or trade schools and pushes much more work onto parents and in increased home work at night.

    Yep grades and test scores have gone way up but only a fool would have thought the teacher would be making house calls after work to be doing free tutoring.

    Funny a teacher is like a drug dealer, ask for home phone number, their cell phone number, personal email or home address and you ain’t getting it, they make it clear come 3 pm I am done. I give unclear impossible home work on Friday that is due on Monday good luck.

    cobbler says:
    February 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm
    ben [124]
    I actually volunteered for the committee that had been set up by the BOE to put together a plan for schools’ improvement for the next 5 years or so. From observing various participants it is very clear that the strongest pushback against putting anything quantitative as an objective (which is what parents and some BOE members are trying to get) comes not from the teachers’ union but from the district and school administrators. They want to keep ambiguity of the appraisal as their tool.

  121. 3B says:

    #17 JJ Blah blah, blah blah. But as I said it still ain’t over on Wall St.

  122. Ben says:

    I actually volunteered for the committee that had been set up by the BOE to put together a plan for schools’ improvement for the next 5 years or so. From observing various participants it is very clear that the strongest pushback against putting anything quantitative as an objective (which is what parents and some BOE members are trying to get) comes not from the teachers’ union but from the district and school administrators. They want to keep ambiguity of the appraisal as their tool.

    Yeah, that’s the case in every district. Personally, I couldn’t care if they put in a standardized test. The weighting of the significance of scores should obviously not be the be all end all assessment of the teacher. Generally, the performance of a class can vary upwards of 8% depending upon the individual abilities of a class. It’s very common to have an extremely smart College Prep class because the scheduling constraints forced all the kids in Honors Math to be scheduled for the same period elsewhere. You’ll see the same effect for the weaker students. They tend to get grouped into classes inadvertently because of another class they all take. As a result, I’ve had College Prep Science classes where one can literally run circles around the other because of the disparity in their abilities. Generally, what ends up happening is one class average is an 85% while the other is an 80%. Obviously, if you have teacher’s in a suburban district who’s kids consistently score in the bottom 20%, there is a problem. What many teachers worry about is a decline from 85% to 78% or something similar would indicate a decrease in performance when it might simply be a result of your students not being as good as the previous year. Generally, the union tries to bring up this point (mind you, they fail miserably in conveying the message), but then they take the attitude that standardized testing is unacceptable as a result, which is wrong. It just needs to be more carefully thought out and implemented.

    For example, the idea that we are going to give each student in Physics a universal standardized test (which is what this state is currently experimenting with in Bio) is ludicrous. We would bore the AP Physics students to death and put the Regular Physics students through torture.

    In general, you are right. The union has this hard headed “no test” mantra and you’ll never convince them otherwise. The union’s position on every issue has never changed in 30 years.

  123. Ben says:

    As far as administrations go, every one is different. Some are completely for it and others would fight it tooth and nail.

  124. HP Pre 3 says:

    I enjoy your blog.The content is very informative and interesting. Thank you,Guys!

  125. Shore Guy says:

    “The content is very informative and interesting”

    Despite most of us post around here.

  126. JJ says:

    Only thing wall street needs if for retail order flow to pick up as volume is low. that will happen soon enough. Why greed and greed is good. people on sideline have been severely punished. As neighbors go to Atlantis, Beaches, Disneyworld, buy new SUV, BMWs and start going out to fancy dinners and remodeling homes. The folks in cash will sit and stew, eventually they will jump in at peak as usual bring back volumne and then get burnt once again. The cycle has been going on since Tulip mania. Also people forget that although bonuses were low this year, remember, Feb 2009, Feb 2010 and Feb 2011 bonuses were paid mainly in stock and normally in three year vesting. I have friends who have boat loands of citi, BAC, MS stock that they moaned and cried about when they got stock instead of cash in 09,10 and 11 and now are bragging about the vestings coming up. Until all the stock grants from the crisis pay-off the folks will be able to survive.

    3B says:
    February 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm
    #17 JJ Blah blah, blah blah. But as I said it still ain’t over on Wall St.

  127. Confused in NJ says:

    Obama apologizes to Karzai over Bagram Koran burnings

  128. JJ says:

    Teachers who have good students are lucky. I perhaps was the only kid smart enough never to do my homework. Why should I. Think about it. If I get good grades I work like a dog and teacher gets all the credit, if I don’t do any work, teacher gets nailed not me and teacher wont fail me as I will pull down grades again in the school. This theory worked from K-12 grade. College was diffferent. I had to study occassionally, except it did work on the one Indian teacher. I drove him nuts and I had a session with him and told him I think he is an excelent teacher and I already registered for the same class next semester with him again and I am looking forward to another 16 weeks of this. It was almost like it was first night in prision and I had him pinned to the floor. I got I am not supposed to do this but how about if you stop coming to class right now we call it even. I was like what does that mean, he was like I will pass you. I saw that teacher a few times afterwards and I felt like the pitcher who struck out Babe Ruth. I owned him. I promised one day I will read his text book, Dr. Bansel hello hello. I beat you. Actually he did the smart thing. I would still be taking that class to this day. It was going to be a stallmate or a clean kill by me. Sadly when I did teach a class I had a student just like me. In my old age I don’t want to deal with younger versions of myself.

    Ben says:
    February 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm
    I actually volunteered for the committee that had been set up by the BOE to put together a plan for schools’ improvement for the next 5 years or so. From observing various participants it is very clear that the strongest pushback against putting anything quantitative as an objective (which is what parents and some BOE members are trying to get) comes not from the teachers’ union but from the district and school administrators. They want to keep ambiguity of the appraisal as their tool.

  129. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    I want to start a website with stereotypical images of Muhamed with a weekly koran deficating episode (kind of like the traveling gnome), and a forum

    you would have to make a fortune on click thru, while the forum would be for sheer entertainment

  130. Shore Guy says:

    How many sorties does it take to crush Iran?

  131. 3B says:

    #33 JJ: I won’t argue with you.

  132. Shore Guy says:

    I’ll take enhanced radiation devices for $100, Alex.

  133. joyce says:

    In the fine print of the 400-plus-page document — which Parliament members had a weekend to read and sign — Greece relinquished fundamental parts of its sovereignty to its foreign lenders, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    “This is the first time ever that a European and probably an O.E.C.D. state abdicates its rights of immunity over all its assets to its lenders,”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/world/europe/euro-zone-leaders-agree-on-new-greek-bailout.html?_r=1

    Yea, this will end well.
    I can totally see the Greek people letting this happen, peacefully as always

  134. Juice says:

    re: # 138 – Shore more interesting part is Iraq has no air cover whatsoever and only 2 civilian radars now that US forces are out. Whatever they are planning in Israel most likely involves and air base capture in Iraq to perform the hundreds of sorties needed. We sent in Turkish commandos to take Bamarni Airport in Northern Iraq in 2002 and that was when there was Saddam’s army, who could hit back. It will be easier now than it was in 2002, the Iraq Gov has no air force to speak of and won’t get anything air defense related like f-18s from US for three more years.

  135. cobbler says:

    ben [129]
    I might have been unclear… I meant to say that the administrators are the worst part of the group, not the teachers… We’ve been suggesting as quantifiable outcomes not standardized testing results but other stuff, and not for the individual teachers but rather school as a whole.

  136. chi - at the Cornell Club says:

    Most of the Trups are trading to the call at this point, and they will quickly be gone. That said, each instruments needs to be assessed on a case by case basis reviewing the credit, the dividend, the call and the the behavior by the issuer. It is not cut and dried how each bank is going to handle the call. BOA basically back-doored everything and has left behind a bunch of stubs…..I think Wells is likely to be out front taking everything out. As a result, Wells Trups trade strong, but most of the BOA stuff is still at a discount.

    The biggest risk is buying something at a premium and having it called quickly in 2013 out from under you….my opinion is that people wait for a market dislocation caused by Europe or Iran. You have to have an event to soften up the prices. If nothing happens in 2012, then too bad. I still think there is opportunity though…..

    scribe says:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm
    JJ, Chi
    What do you think of the TRUPS market right now?
    I know there was a period of time last fall when some were selling below par, but is the moment still right for TRUPS as income-producing?

    Fully valued or over valued by now?

  137. Fabius Maximus says:

    I’m confused. I thought it was the Dems job to attack the Bush record.
    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/23/10487866-george-w-bush-and-last-nights-gop-debate

  138. Fabius Maximus says:

    Interesting to see if the smaller countries can get a equitable share of this or would China and Russia have full control.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-23/india-said-to-propose-brics-bank-to-finance-developing-nations-projects.html

  139. Juice Box says:

    Meat your Liquor Store made it on TMZ. Just saw them showing your “No Snooki” sign.

  140. Fabius Maximus says:

    Strange the don’t mention JJ’s Fiat Strada at Stonybrook!
    http://jalopnik.com/5887658/the-ten-colleges-with-the-hottest-cars/gallery/1

  141. Ben says:

    I might have been unclear… I meant to say that the administrators are the worst part of the group, not the teachers… We’ve been suggesting as quantifiable outcomes not standardized testing results but other stuff, and not for the individual teachers but rather school as a whole.

    Nah, you were clear, I just skimmed…

  142. You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really one thing which I believe I would by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely wide for me. I’m looking forward for your subsequent put up, I’ll try to get the grasp of it!

  143. WickedOrange says:

    TMZ spoke to the GM at the wine shop … who tells us, “Even if Jwoww shows up at our front door she will not be let in.”
    He adds, “The only thing they are good for is ridicule and amusement. There is no upside business wise, and the potential downside is God knows what. Why feed the embarrassment?”

  144. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [153] orange,

    I’ve seen the sign. Handwritten and says “No Snooki”

  145. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [122] Ben,

    I’m a lawyer, not a physicist.

  146. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [147] juice,

    Yep, that’s the place. Guess ill have to drop in on Meat this Sat and get a couple more cases.

    If you do visit meat, I recommend the Peyrassol and the Sileni.

  147. seized goods says:

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  148. Juice Box says:

    Re: # 156 – next to Grim’s press in the NYT I have never been more proud of njrereport.com

  149. Shore Guy says:

    Nj escapee ,

    I need a recommendation for a place to get a great meal in KW as well as a place or two that know how to mix a drink well.. Do you have any thoughts ?

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