Dems pound Christie on HomeKeeper mismanagement

From the Record:

Democrats say NJ’s foreclosure prevention program falls short

The state’s main foreclosure prevention effort – the HomeKeeper program – has used less than 10 percent of its federal funding since it was started in May 2011, drawing criticism that it is doing too little to help struggling homeowners.

A state official acknowledged the shortcomings, and said he has taken steps to improve HomeKeeper by adding staff and expanding homeowners’ eligibility.

The HomeKeeper program, which is funded with $300 million in federal money, makes zero-interest loans to help unemployed homeowners pay their mortgages. The program’s most recent quarterly report says it assisted 498 homeowners and rejected almost 2,000 requests for help from May 2011 through June 2012.

U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both Democrats, say that record needs to improve. In a letter sent Wednesday to the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, they cited U.S. Treasury figures showing that the HomeKeeper program had used only $22.5 million of its funding as of Aug. 31.

“It is unconscionable that approximately $270 million in federal funds has been sitting unspent for two years,” said the letter.

A letter to the HMFA from the U.S. Treasury in May also criticized HomeKeeper, saying the program was taking more than six months to process applications.

“New Jersey consistently lags well behind other states on key measures,” the Treasury said, calling on the state to “take immediate action to improve its performance.”

A spokeswoman for the DCA did not dispute the Treasury’s figures on how much funding has been used by HomeKeeper. But she said that the loans are paid over time, and that HomeKeeper has already committed $46 million to homeowners who have been approved for loans. That’s the amount that would be paid if all the approved homeowners use the maximum loan amount of $48,000.

Two state assemblymen also raised questions about HomeKeeper’s performance this week and said they plan to hold hearings on the program.

“The list is long – and growing – of people in desperate need of assistance,” said Assemblyman Gary Schaer, D-Passaic. “Something is just not working the way it should be.”

The question of whether the state has done enough to help troubled homeowners erupted into a testy exchange earlier this week between Governor Christie and a television reporter who asked him about HomeKeeper. Christie told the reporter that the program had been delayed because of a legal moratorium that held up most foreclosure activity in the state throughout 2011, after reports of documentation abuses by mortgage servicers. When the reporter tried to ask follow-up questions, Christie cut him off and told him to “get your facts correct.”

However, there does not appear to be any connection between the moratorium and problems with HomeKeeper. The Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency has never cited the moratorium as a reason for HomeKeeper delays when the agency answered earlier questions from Menendez and Lautenberg. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

And many struggling homeowners sought help from the HomeKeeper program and were turned away, during the foreclosure moratorium, said Arnold Cohen of the Housing and Community Development Network, a group of organizations that promote affordable housing.

This entry was posted in Economics, Employment, Foreclosures, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

140 Responses to Dems pound Christie on HomeKeeper mismanagement

  1. grim says:

    “You’re going to see a dramatic uptick in the number of people that are being serviced,” Constable said. He said that HomeKeeper would act much more quickly on loan applications, and expects it to start making at least 250 loans per month in the next six to eight months.

    Did I read that right? It’s going to take them 6-8 months to fix the program?

    What a joke. Christie, where did the money go?

  2. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Manhattan Sales Continue to Climb

    Sales in the sizzling Manhattan apartment market hit a post-boom record during the third quarter, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public sales records.

    There may be uncertainty in Washington and high unemployment in New York and across the country. But in the past few quarters, more and more Manhattan buyers have been competing for a dwindling numbers of listing, brokers say.

    Overall sales in the third quarter were up 9.3% from a year earlier, the highest sales pace since the third quarter of 2008, when a financial crisis was triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

    Laura Lawrence, a broker at the Corcoran Group, said that high Manhattan rents and low mortgage rates were driving sales higher. “The market is phenomenal for sales, rents are ridiculous,” she said.

    The strength of the market extended from lower-priced buyers to those seeking luxurious apartments selling for $1 million to $4 million.

    Median prices climbed 2.1% from the second quarter and were up 2.7% from the year-ago third quarter, but average prices were down, the analysis found. The decline in average prices reflected improving sales of lower-priced apartments and more sales of co-ops, which tend to sell for less than otherwise comparable condominiums.

    Noah Rosenblatt, a broker who tracks market trends on the website Urbandigs.com, said that with strong contract-signing activity in recent months and shrinking inventory, he expected pricing to continue to strengthen in the fourth quarter.

    “Buyers are getting no break from competition,” Mr. Rosenblatt said.

    “There is a deep pool of buyers,” said Wendy Maitland, a managing director at Town Residential. “The velocity in the market is authentic.”

    Ms. Maitland said there were more multiple bids on apartments than she had heard of since 2008. When Susan Green, a Town broker, listed a SoHo artist loft in need of a gut renovation at 476 Broadway for $2.895 million in May, “the neighbors laughed,” Ms. Maitland said.

    But in two months the loft was in contract, and it sold last month for $3.05 million, 5.3% above the asking price. “We got eight offers from highly qualified buyers,” she said, even though buyers in the building were required to prove that they were artists.

  3. grim says:

    Lesniak plays the nuclear option, accusing Christie of squandering the HomeKeeper funds for political reasons… From NJ Newsroom:

    Christie ducks hard question on state’s failure to help homeowners save their houses

    In a phone conversation with NewJerseyNewsroom.com, New Jersey Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (D-20th Dist.) points out that the HomeKeeper Program is a “use it or lose it” proposition, meaning that undistributed funds will revert back to the US Treasury eventually.

    Lesniak has introduced legislation to “open the spigots” on this reservoir of mortgage relief funds. “The need is now,” Lesniak says, “we’ve already had tens of thousands of homeowners who could have had their homes saved.”

    Lesniak added that he hoped the current presidential election race has nothing to do with Christie’s apparent indifference to the benefits that the HomeKeeper program might bring to distressed homeowners.

    Lesniak noted that the governor has spent a good deal of time during the month of September campaigning out of state on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Housing is an important part of the state’s economy and a bad economy is an important part of the Romney message regarding why he would be a better choice than the incumbent.

    Lesniak declined to speculate that there was any connection between the governor’s stance and the Romney message, simply saying, “We all know that Chris Christie is a political animal.”

  4. Essex says:

    GOP is a complete joke.

  5. Mike says:

    Good Morning New jersey

  6. Essex says:

    GOP mantra: I got mine….and yours.

  7. Brian says:

    5 –

    I know right? They’re almost as bad as the DEMs. They squandered 7.5 Billion in tobacco settlement money.

  8. Comrade Nom Deplume in PA says:

    I see that prole-essex is back today. Where ya been? We were wondering where you go off to.

  9. Comrade Nom Deplume in PA says:

    I feel for the Fat Man. I think he should run for Senate. If he makes it, Lesniak and his ilk will have to kiss his fat ass.

    But hey, no dog in that fight anymore.

  10. Painhrtz - Vote Obamney! says:

    Nom and you keep rubbing it in. got your email saved I’ll let you know when I’m heading down to DC. Hopefully my boss doesn’t want to tag along and I can stop by.

    As far as Christie is concerned he has always been a Whitman republican, eyes more on DC than Jersey. Other than his opening his large food hole for smackdowns what has he done. Absolutely zilch. Rhetoric is all well and good but you have got to have something to back it up. That is why I really wanted Lonnegan to win. Not the Rhino sized RINO who is beholden to the Hudson County Machine

  11. Ernest Money says:

    I feel sorry for the poor sap who thinks that any gubmint program or politician is on his side.

    Anyone in gubmint, at any level, is a vicious member of organized crime. You are the target of the crime, and the crime won’t stop until somebody starts shooting these people.

  12. Confused in NJ says:

    9. Surely not Corslime? He wouldn’t do anything wrong, would he?

  13. JJ's B.S says:

    NYC is coming back strong. Young People, mid-life people and old folks all want to live in the city or Brooklyn. Jersey and Long Island is a cultural wasteland with long commutes and low paying jobs. When you have multiple kids and make under 200K a year you are forced to buy there.

    My two oldest widowed aunts long ago moved to city. Best move they ever made. Doorman, panic buttons. valets, everyone delivers. No snowshoveling, no big home repairs, no roof or furnance or windows to deal with. And best hospitals in world. My aunts building has a canopy and taxi light. She pushes taxi button as she leaves coop and by time she is downstairs tax is wating and doorman has door and if raining she is covered. Her NYC place she bought in 1990s has tripled vs her old house staying flat. Plus she has something to leave to kids they actually want.

  14. 3B Buying says:

    #14 JJ: True. The only problem with that is a lot of thse young people are in their mid to late 20’s and are living 3, 4 or 5 to one apartment. Seems like a high price to pay.

    I read somewhere that Manhattan residents are the most stressed out of any city Does not suprise me. The one thing that does bother me is all of these out of state people from places like Who Cares Iowa, who move to the city and then consider themselves native NY’ers. I had one tell me once that I was not a native NY’er as I grew up in the Bronx (although born in Manhattan), so I had to deck him.

  15. Brian says:

    I think the tobacco settlement thing happened under James ManGravy’s watch

  16. Essex says:

    9. I’m pretty good actually. Just watching the wheels go round. Payin’ bills, takin’ pills, gettin’ chills. The debates should be riveting.

  17. grim says:

    Ugly GDP revision, ugly durable goods, better jobless claims, but that won’t matter.

  18. Essex says:

    Stagflation anyone?

  19. chicagofinance says:

    You should see the credit ratings of some of the tobacco bonds….

    Brian says:
    September 27, 2012 at 8:56 am
    I think the tobacco settlement thing happened under James ManGravy’s watch

  20. reinvestor101 says:

    You people make me sick with your taunting and your socialism. Yeah, let your stinking pride swell your heads. I don’t give a damn what the polls say, you stinking liberals can still lose and I for one will be making damn sure you don’t cheat even if I and my friends in True the Vote have to go into the damn voting booth with people to make damn sure that they’re not tricked and understand what the hell they are doing. We found some damn cheating in Florida and we know that there’s some damn cheating going on elsewhere. Stop your damn crowing, this thing isn’t over by a long shot.

  21. Juice Box says:

    re: #19 – more like a modern depression.

  22. raging bull jj says:

    Personally and Professionally James ManGravy’s mishandled white butts.

    chicagofinance says:
    September 27, 2012 at 9:18 am
    You should see the credit ratings of some of the tobacco bonds….

    Brian says:
    September 27, 2012 at 8:56 am
    I think the tobacco settlement thing happened under James ManGravy’s watch

  23. Ragnar says:

    3b,
    I’d be stressed out too if I was living in the city in the US most likely to be hit by a terrorist’s nuke.
    That’s why I live in a home outside of Manhattan’s blast radius. Sorry Bergen County, you won’t be feeling too haughty after nuclear radiation passes through.

    Now I’ve finally out-doomed Clot.

  24. From Patrick.net says:

    FALSE. The value of a house is constant. It just sits there. You get shelter, but you have to pay property tax and maintenance and the loss of alternative uses of capital. A house is a dead asset. The price of a house rises with salary inflation, but house prices cannot increase more than incomes in the long run. This is obvious if you think about it. If house prices go up more than people can afford to pay, buying stops, like it has stopped now.

    For example, prices in the Netherlands are about the same as they were 350 years ago, in terms of how many years of work it takes to buy a house. Warren Buffett and Charles Schwab have both pointed out that houses don’t increase in intrinsic value. Unless there’s a bubble or a crash, house prices simply reflect current salaries and interest rates. Consider a 100 year old house. Its value in sheltering you is exactly the same as it was 100 years ago. It did not increase in value at all. It did not spontaneously get bigger, or renovate itself. Quite the opposite – the house drained cash from its owners for 100 years of maintenance, taxes, and insurance – costs that never go away. The price of the house went up about as much as salaries went up, which is about the same as the number of dollars printed by the Federal Reserve went up.

    My grandmother always used to complain about the cost of milk. “Why, when I was a girl, a gallon of milk cost a dime! Just look at how much people are overcharging for milk now.” I asked her how much people got paid back then. “Oh, about $15 a week”, came the reply. Hmmm, sounds very much like the reasoning people use now when they talk about how much their father’s house appreciated “in the long run” without considering that inflation and salaries rose a proportional amount as the Fed debased our currency.

    I don’t see any salary inflation in our future for years to come, and that’s the only kind of inflation that boosts house prices. Inflation in everything else (food, energy, medical) just takes away from the money people have to spend on housing.

  25. From Patrick.net says:

    ^

    Based on “houses always increase in value in the long run.”

  26. Ragnar says:

    Chifi,
    That South Park was ok, but my wife ruined it by wanting to watch with me. She didn’t understand much of it, especially what was happening with Butters at night.
    Plus I don’t really care about football. It was more about wussing out sports than the referee situation.

    I look forward to finding out what they will make of the election situation. Probably similar their “Giant Douche” vs “Turd Sandwich” showdown of the past.

  27. raging bull jj says:

    So if you dont usualy watch southpark and you dont like football and you were watching with your wife, would that make you a lesibian?

    Ragnar says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:11 am
    Chifi,
    That South Park was ok, but my wife ruined it by wanting to watch with me. She didn’t understand much of it, especially what was happening with Butters at night.
    Plus I don’t really care about football. It was more about wussing out sports than the referee situation.

    I look forward to finding out what they will make of the election situation. Probably similar their “Giant Douche” vs “Turd Sandwich” showdown of the past.

  28. reinvestor101 says:

    >>>Essex says:
    September 27, 2012 at 9:01 am

    9. I’m pretty good actually. Just watching the wheels go round. Payin’ bills, takin’ pills, gettin’ chills. The debates should be riveting.<<<

    Don't get your hopes up liberal. The debates won't be as important as my work with True the Vote. This fight will continue up until each and every damn lever is pulled. We will make damn sure there's no cheating. That's what you stinking liberals like to do.

  29. joyce says:

    Question for the board experts:
    Can anyone recommend a couple places in Westfield (I mean, the brig) for a drink or two? Or a neighboring town is fine as well

    Thanks

  30. xolepa says:

    (26)
    So, anyone know how rents have faired over the last 350 years? It’s hilarious how some people try to egg you about how owning a home is such a unworthy investment. Here are some things I could never do if I rented:

    Piss in my backyard without anyone seeing or caring.
    Jump in my swimming pool (summers only, of course) and not have to worry about contaminants or repulsive people nearby.
    Go into my sauna or hot tub without those same worries.
    Make bad smells all day long without a care.
    Not hearing other people argue or toilets flushing or smell cigarette smoke or act like I’m a living sardine in a sardine can (reference to Manhattan).
    Plant my own garden and rejoice when the raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, spices, peas,beans,beets, you name it are picked and eaten fresh. That reminds me, more radishes to be picked today.
    Run my dogs free all day long, as long as they’re up to it.
    Living at the end of a long cul-de-sac – walk to the mailbox at the street in my boxers.
    And all for less than a 2br rental at Haughtyville.
    You do only live once, and you may not notice, but time passes by. Caring about those ‘investments’ is not what life is all about.

  31. xolepa says:

    Talking about Haughtyville, my wife drove through it yesterday as she passed to visit her aunt. Streets were clogged with police along with the masses walking to the Temples. Do Jewish people show up at temples just once or twice a year for the big religious days and stay away the rest of the year. It’s sort of like Soviet era people who showed up just for Easter and Christmas services, or am I wrong?

  32. JJ's B.S says:

    How is any of that related to an investment? Funny I do notice that that lesser a job or career one has the importance of housing increases. My cousins who sit in cubes all day in crappy jobs both have homes on over an acre with multiple bedrooms, huge living rooms, dens, new cars, the are basically clerks in cubes, make peanuts and once they come home they want home offices, mancaves, big oak desks, fireplaces etc. I can see it.

    If one has a huge waterview corner office and staff and an expensive account and a good title I noticed their homes are often crappy. Kind of jewish dentist with a small pee pee needs a new porsche. Men can only brag about two things. Job, House. Kids are wife bragging. Plus people with careers and good jobs are rarely home. If I did buy the big house. It would just add to my commute and would be no enjoyment for me. It would be nice for wife and kids. I also like being a regular guy. Well semi regular since I am sitting next to an unnamed celeb on Sunday at the Jets game as taking family to Coaches Club for 49ers game. Hope it is not an annoying celeb. Also wonder is they will bother me for autographs or pictures, I hate when the fans bother me during a big game.

    xolepa says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

    (26)
    So, anyone know how rents have faired over the last 350 years? It’s hilarious how some people try to egg you about how owning a home is such a unworthy investment. Here are some things I could never do if I rented:

    Piss in my backyard without anyone seeing or caring.
    Jump in my swimming pool (summers only, of course) and not have to worry about contaminants or repulsive people nearby.
    Go into my sauna or hot tub without those same worries.
    Make bad smells all day long without a care.
    Not hearing other people argue or toilets flushing or smell cigarette smoke or act like I’m a living sardine in a sardine can (reference to Manhattan).
    Plant my own garden and rejoice when the raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, spices, peas,beans,beets, you name it are picked and eaten fresh. That reminds me, more radishes to be picked today.
    Run my dogs free all day long, as long as they’re up to it.
    Living at the end of a long cul-de-sac – walk to the mailbox at the street in my boxers.
    And all for less than a 2br rental at Haughtyville.
    You do only live once, and you may not notice, but time passes by. Caring about those ‘investments’ is not what life is all about.

  33. blog says:

    Great article, I enjoyed reading it.

  34. Juice Box says:

    South Park had some classics.

    And It’s Gone!

    Anyone here who did not watch that Emmy Award winning episode back in 2009?

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/222624/the-importance-of-saving-money

  35. xolepa says:

    I guess JJ, once on his death bed, will express regret that he should have spent more time at the office.
    BTW, I work mostly from home, where I am now, with my boxers on. And any talk of how this inhibits my chances of promotion, blah, blah, blah is not relevant. Higher level managers for this company also work from home.
    And there is also a converse relationship. People who state their successes often live in crapshacks and pos. Do you hear the words ‘4 level split? My god. Don’t invite many guests over. You will have lawsuits after each one trips over the steps going from one room to the next. Split levels here in Hunterdon are scorned and usually take a year or two to sell. Mostly NY/northern NJ types buy them.

  36. Juice Box says:

    re #33 – Strange day for me too, I was at the ATM last night and a Jewish man walked in and started singing Teshuvah song very loudly. I wasn’t sure if he was going to rob me or cut the line.

  37. 30 year realtor says:

    reinvestor101 – Have you seen the betting odds on the election? For the uninitiated the minus number means you must wager that amount to win $100 if you bet the democrat. The plus number means you win that much if you bet $100 on the republican.

    1351 Democrat -425
    1352 Republican +355

  38. chicagofinance says:

    If you were up here, I would invite you to the below event….

    reinvestor101 says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:01 am
    You people make me sick with your taunting and your socialism. Yeah, let your stinking pride swell your heads. I don’t give a damn what the polls say, you stinking liberals can still lose and I for one will be making damn sure you don’t cheat even if I and my friends in True the Vote have to go into the damn voting booth with people to make damn sure that they’re not tricked and understand what the hell they are doing. We found some damn cheating in Florida and we know that there’s some damn cheating going on elsewhere. Stop your damn crowing, this thing isn’t over by a long shot.

    http://www.chicagobooth.edu/alumni/events/showEvent.aspx?eventId=3811#Event

  39. From Patrick.net says:

    Every single thing on your list can be done by someone renting a home (provided it has the amenities mentioned).

    Make bad smells all day long?

    xolepa says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Piss in my backyard without anyone seeing or caring.
    Jump in my swimming pool (summers only, of course) and not have to worry about contaminants or repulsive people nearby.
    Go into my sauna or hot tub without those same worries.
    Make bad smells all day long without a care.
    Not hearing other people argue or toilets flushing or smell cigarette smoke or act like I’m a living sardine in a sardine can (reference to Manhattan).
    Plant my own garden and rejoice when the raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, spices, peas,beans,beets, you name it are picked and eaten fresh. That reminds me, more radishes to be picked today.
    Run my dogs free all day long, as long as they’re up to it.
    Living at the end of a long cul-de-sac – walk to the mailbox at the street in my boxers.
    And all for less than a 2br rental at Haughtyville.
    You do only live once, and you may not notice, but time passes by. Caring about those ‘investments’ is not what life is all about.

  40. chicagofinance says:

    Depends on the style of the Temple….probably not an overly conservative one, but yeah, your observation is close to the mark….if you blow off New Year’s and Yom Kippur, then your ain’t the Tribe…..

    xolepa says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:36 am
    Talking about Haughtyville, my wife drove through it yesterday as she passed to visit her aunt. Streets were clogged with police along with the masses walking to the Temples. Do Jewish people show up at temples just once or twice a year for the big religious days and stay away the rest of the year. It’s sort of like Soviet era people who showed up just for Easter and Christmas services, or am I wrong?

  41. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [10] Nom – Take a look at the Trulia estimate on your (old) house in the brig. ??

  42. xolepa says:

    (41)
    But the renter will have no motivation to do it, nor will he/she be allowed to do some of those things, per lease agreement.

  43. chicagofinance says:

    Mistake…..if you wear tighty-whiteys, you can hang some sac…..

    xolepa says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:52 am
    BTW, I work mostly from home, where I am now, with my boxers on.

  44. reinvestor101 says:

    >>30 year realtor says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

    reinvestor101 – Have you seen the betting odds on the election? For the uninitiated the minus number means you must wager that amount to win $100 if you bet the democrat. The plus number means you win that much if you bet $100 on the republican.

    1351 Democrat -425
    1352 Republican +355<<<

    Bullspit. The odds have NOT factored in our efforts on election day as we go into democratic stongholds to prevent cheating. Yeah, if cheating is allowed, Obama and the damn democrats will try to steal this damn thing. They'll do that over my dead body. I and millions of other True the Vote American patriots will go anywhere we need to go, do any damn thing we need to do to make sure that NOT ONE SINGLE VOTE IS COUNTED WHERE THERE IS CHEATING. NO VOTER ID IS NOT ENOUGH BECAUSE THE LIBERALS WILL MAKE FAKE ID. More must be done and that's why I'll be in Philadelphia and Newark to make damn sure that not one cheating vote is counted.

  45. JJ's B.S says:

    I love going to work. Always had. Everyday I get up and go it is great. I like what I do, like meeting people at lunch, like going to gym, like going for drinks. Even when I was single and doing MBA I would sometimes stay after work to study. When I was single staying home for what, I was in an empty house, now with kids, stay home for what, screaming kids. Plus I cant really work from home in jobs I had as I always had staff and in jobs I dealt with clients for c-level people. I stay home I noticed staff does fine for a certain amount of time. My friend who worked at chase told me once if you are sick never put it in system claim you are working from home and dont use up all your vacation days, always leave one on table. If it appears things function fine without you too much come layoffs ouch.

    Sometimes the best days are when we had the huricanne or something and 95% of company cant come in. Nice to have office to myself, no staff to babysit, put feet up and relax. I came to work day of black out, blizzard of 93, 9-12-2011 and latest hurricane. I also came to work with pink eye, walking pnenunia and a host of other stuff.

    xolepa says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I guess JJ, once on his death bed, will express regret that he should have spent more time at the office.
    BTW, I work mostly from home, where I am now, with my boxers on. And any talk of how this inhibits my chances of promotion, blah, blah, blah is not relevant. Higher level managers for this company also work from home.
    And there is also a converse relationship. People who state their successes often live in crapshacks and pos. Do you hear the words ’4 level split? My god. Don’t invite many guests over. You will have lawsuits after each one trips over the steps going from one room to the next. Split levels here in Hunterdon are scorned and usually take a year or two to sell. Mostly NY/northern NJ types buy them

  46. JJ's Neighbor says:

    Thank god JJ goes to work every day! I get to show his wife what a real man is like during that time. I also get to piss in his yard…because he owns it.

  47. Brian says:

    You’re late to the game here Patrick. I don’t think anyone is arguing that houses are good investments or always increase in value anymore (at least not on this blog). It’s sort of like arguing that a car is a good investment. I think people look at it more as a durable good here and try to minimize costs. Some decide to rent and some buy. I do wish I really understood what a business cycle was and read Grim’s blog in 2006. I probably would have rented for two or three more years in a house. My wife and I wanted kids and we really couldn’t do that in an apartment.

    I have to say though, there’s one thing about the renting argument that bothers me. I always hear how people who rent SFH’s, don’t have to worry about maintenance costs. However, I do somtimes read comments here from bloggers bellyaching about fixing the house they’re renting in. Are their landlords giving them a discount on their rent for this work? Don’t the tenants still have to mow the lawn/ clean the gutters etc?

    27.From Patrick.net says:
    September 27, 2012 at 10:08 am
    ^

    Based on “houses always increase in value in the long run.”

  48. Essex says:

    Work can be fun. Really depends on who you are working with. I would always choose home over work though. Love being with my wife and child. Neither of which are “screamers”.

  49. xolepa says:

    I guess JJ, on his death bed, will wish he spent more time at the office. It is what it is.

  50. JJ's B.S says:

    I am not looking forward to retirement, never want to work from home. Always have days at end of year and once went 20 years without a single sick day.

    God it feels good to work. Religion, Children. Wives, Families come and go. But work, now that is forever.

    xolepa says:
    September 27, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I guess JJ, on his death bed, will wish he spent more time at the office. It is what it is.

  51. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [43] expat,

    Wow, that is so off, it isn’t funny. It isn’t even close to what I paid just post peak. Boy, if I got that number or anything remotely close, I’d be a really happy camper.

    We had two pricings done and they were 19K apart. Also, nothing in that hood sold for near what we got (are getting). I think they lumped us in with Wychwood, or are doing it by zip code.

  52. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [31] joyce,

    Depends on what you are looking for. You want a nice place for a glass of wine, there’s 16 Prospect or Jeffery’s. You want a watering hole where the game is on, there’s The Office. Acquaviva has a bar I think but it is a restaurant. In fact, there aren’t a lot of bars in town and if there are more, I don’t know of them.

    Cranford has the Hotel Cranford, which is not as upscale (and downstairs tends to be locals) and Kilkenny’s, an Irish Pub themed restaurant with a large bar.

  53. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [31] Joyce,

    Dillon’s Publick House in Mountainside is also nice but can be a tad loud.

  54. Libtard in the City says:

    Ahhh, Kilkenny’s. Home of the most sparsely attended blog GTG. Well, at least the real playaz waz there.

  55. chicagofinance says:

    Brian: I try to kiss my landlord’s ass as a matter of sound business practice. I don’t nickel and dime him, because I want to think twice about life without me.

    Brian says:
    September 27, 2012 at 11:51 am
    You’re late to the game here Patrick. I don’t think anyone is arguing that houses are good investments or always increase in value anymore (at least not on this blog). It’s sort of like arguing that a car is a good investment. I think people look at it more as a durable good here and try to minimize costs. Some decide to rent and some buy. I do wish I really understood what a business cycle was and read Grim’s blog in 2006. I probably would have rented for two or three more years in a house. My wife and I wanted kids and we really couldn’t do that in an apartment.

    I have to say though, there’s one thing about the renting argument that bothers me. I always hear how people who rent SFH’s, don’t have to worry about maintenance costs. However, I do somtimes read comments here from bloggers bellyaching about fixing the house they’re renting in. Are their landlords giving them a discount on their rent for this work? Don’t the tenants still have to mow the lawn/ clean the gutters etc?

  56. JJ's B.S says:

    The rise of bond and money market funds, including institutional assets, is a remarkable turn of events for Fidelity. The company built an empire in the 1980s and 1990s on stock funds and star stockpickers like Peter Lynch. Fidelity’s stock mutual funds held $761 billion at the end of June.

    But investors continue to pull money out of stock funds, a holdover from the dotcom bust and the financial crisis that peaked in 2008. Investors have flocked to bond funds and other investments deemed more safe or less expensive. During the first seven months of 2012, investors pulled $40.4 billion from U.S. stock funds while taxable bond funds attracted $144.2 billion in net new flows, according to the Investment Company Institute.

    At Fidelity, bond funds this year have attracted $18.3 billion in net flows from customers. Meanwhile, Fidelity stock funds have experienced net outflows of $3.6 billion, according to Lipper Inc, a Thomson Reuters compan

  57. joyce says:

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  58. Ragnar says:

    JJ,
    Are you implying that people should do the opposite, and buy equities, sell fixed income? At current interest rates, it seems like the best possible result is that you barely keep up with inflation, the worst case, that you lose a meaningful amount. Much like buying a house, after counting maintenance. Equities you could make a lot or lose a lot in the short term, but have a reasonable chance of positive results over the next 10 yrs.

    BTW, I’ve watched all the South Park episodes, ever. Parker and Stone are the Jonathan Swift of our time.

  59. Brian says:

    It would be interesting to hear what Patrick says about it. I see he has a website dedicated to the pitfalls of homeownership and just published a book this month to that end…

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Housing-Trap-Captured-Yourself/dp/1479156213/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

    http://patrick.net/

    58.chicagofinance says:
    September 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm
    Brian: I try to kiss my landlord’s ass as a matter of sound business practice. I don’t nickel and dime him, because I want to think twice about life without me.

  60. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [47] JJ

    “I also came to work with . . . a host of other stuff. ”

    Well, since you probably got it at work, why not keep it at work?

  61. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Is it my imagination or has the market punditry turned decidedly bearish in the last 2 weeks?

  62. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [49] Brian – in my pre-2002 renting years of SFH’s I would often do little jobs around the house and include a note every month with my rent check indicating the improvements I made (plane off doors so they close, replace washers on leaking sinks, etc.). This would increase my worth as a valued renter and also they would readily agree to pay for all the parts if I offered to pitch in the repair labor (new thermocouple or fan for the fridge, new Delta washerless faucet for the kitchen, etc. Landlords would also give us free stuff when we moved out if we liked it and was more of a pain in the ass to them to leave it. Our master bedroom set is still the one that came with our house in Long Island in ’97. It belonged to my attorney landlord who moved his family to Arizona as his wife was making a killing in the title insurance business and her company was relocating there. They didn’t want to move the big furniture cross country and we didn’t have much so we said they could leave theirs. When we were moving out the new renters had their own MBR furniture so my landlord just gave us his set rather than pay someone to move it out or sell it for him. I also was gifted a nice BBQ grille from that landlord. I cleaned gutters on that house, my girlfriend planted flowers in the window boxes. We kept it like owners would and he got good rent for it when we left. Win-win. I did use (and pay) his landscaper (stipulated in the lease) for the lawn and major plantings, but it was worth it as it was a big yard and I was making a good consulting income that paid for it with a couple extra hours of work in the office instead of sweating in the yard.

    However, I do somtimes read comments here from bloggers bellyaching about fixing the house they’re renting in. Are their landlords giving them a discount on their rent for this work? Don’t the tenants still have to mow the lawn/ clean the gutters etc?

  63. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [65] clarification – “My attorney landlord” was an attorney, but he wasn’t my attorney.

  64. xolepa says:

    Sign of the times. Unfortunately, my kids here and there fall into this bracket:

    Just came out of DMV office in Flemington renewing registration
    20ish kid at receptionist with mother nearby, getting some paperwork done. Receptionist asks kid is he is registered to vote. Kid turns around ‘Mom, am I registered to vote?’ Mom says yes. One less potential Obama voter.The kid, that is.

  65. JJ's B.S says:

    Bond marker is overbought, only shoeshine boys are buying.

    Greed is Good. Soon people will get a slap down in bonds bought in last few months and they will see the equity side making stacks of cash and come on over.

    I am in “run-off” on bond side. Taken my 5k monthly interest and buying stocks. I cant replicate the rates I was getting. For example I bought Dave and Busters bonds 11 coupon at 95 12 months ago now it is trading at 116 for a yield of 5.75%, that is almost a 1,000 bp compression in 12 months. Dave and Busters is using IPO money to call high yielding bonds so come 2013 I will get called. Where else am I going to find a 11% coupon. Nowhere but stocks. I have bank bonds issued in late 2008 and 2009 with 8-9% coupons, new ones have a 4% coupon. Yet folks are plowing in. Muni bonds finding above 4% is hard, in early 2011 I could find 6%. When the bond market bottomed in early 2009 Ford Bonds were paying like 40% today like 5%. Yet more folks are buying Ford bonds today.

    Ragnar says:
    September 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    JJ,
    Are you implying that people should do the opposite, and buy equities, sell fixed income? At current interest rates, it seems like the best possible result is that you barely keep up with inflation, the worst case, that you lose a meaningful amount. Much like buying a house, after counting maintenance. Equities you could make a lot o

  66. Juice Box says:

    re# 64 – Nom those whiny bitches are already calling for more QE.

  67. Ragnar says:

    JJ,
    In my 20 years in the market, I’ve found that few investors, and not so many professionals, can tell the difference between “what HAS gone up” and “what will go up”. People chase momentum, that is documented.

  68. Ann says:

    Around here, from all of the houses I see turning into rentals, the landlords usually keep the landscaping/snow service. I assume they are rolling the cost into the rents. Same for gutters, etc. Which is good for everyone else in the neighborhood as well as the tenants.

    Don’t the tenants still have to mow the lawn/ clean the gutters etc?

  69. Ann says:

    Maybe I always lived in shitholes while I was renting, but I’d always prefer owning over renting from some scumbag landlord. No thanks. Just need Obama to lower my interest rate and I’ll be happy.

  70. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    This has always been a favored technique of the wealthy, but now that the whales are surfacing, look for the IRS in a Obama second term to start taxing the imputed gain on stock pledges.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/49194482

  71. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [74] Ann – You should look into working for the NAR, applying your marketing skills. “There’s never been a better time to buy, plus isn’t your family tired of renting shitholes from scumbags? ”

    Maybe I always lived in shitholes while I was renting, but I’d always prefer owning over renting from some scumbag landlord. No thanks. Just need Obama to lower my interest rate and I’ll be happy.

  72. JJ's B.S says:

    You don’t own a house. You rent from the bank. Forget about getting your rate lowered just get some fat stacks and pay off that sucker so you can join us folks who actually own homes.

    Ann says:
    September 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Maybe I always lived in shitholes while I was renting, but I’d always prefer owning over renting from some scumbag landlord. No thanks. Just need Obama to lower my interest rate and I’ll be happy.

  73. Brian says:

    patrick.net’s reply in his own forum:

    Brian1 says

    We all need a place to live

    See http://patrick.net/bogus.php#1216954

    Brian1 says
    Yet I continually hear bellyaching from renters who are fixing up their rentals.
    Patrick says
    “Not me! I don’t do squat that the landlord is supposed to do.”

  74. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    I bet home “ownership” rates would drop very quickly if we just started universally replaced references to mortgage and property tax payments as bank rent and town rent.

  75. Libtard in the City says:

    I know landlords who drive 3o minutes each way to take the garbage out for their tenants. I simply stipulate certain activities must be performed by my tenants. My former tenants of eight years nearly rebuilt their unit as I paid for the materials, but they installed them. They renovated the kitchen and the 3rd floor flooring as well as put up wainscoting and installed carpeting. I even gave them $40 an hour off the rent for the major stuff with a cap of 40 hours per year. If they wanted to paint, I bought the paint, but had to approve of the colors. Man they were awesome tenants. Now they’ve been replaced by neurotic fools who don’t know how to change a lightbulb. Of course, I’m getting $600 a month more of which $150 goes to the landscaper. I use some Polish guy named Ted from Paterson to clean the gutters. He’s cheap and awesome if anyone in the area needs a gutter cleaner.

  76. raging bull jj says:

    What if those tenants got injured doing that work, they could sue you. Also you should have paid FICO, unemployment insurance, disability insurance etc. Also you should have issued a 1099 to them. Your old deal sounds great, but RE has a lot of unexpected risks. If they fell off ladder painting and I was on jury I would have gave them the house.

    Libtard in the City says:
    September 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm
    I know landlords who drive 3o minutes each way to take the garbage out for their tenants. I simply stipulate certain activities must be performed by my tenants. My former tenants of eight years nearly rebuilt their unit as I paid for the materials, but they installed them. They renovated the kitchen and the 3rd floor flooring as well as put up wainscoting and installed carpeting. I even gave them $40 an hour off the rent for the major stuff with a cap of 40 hours per year. If they wanted to paint, I bought the paint, but had to approve of the colors. Man they were awesome tenants. Now they’ve been replaced by neurotic fools who don’t know how to change a lightbulb. Of course, I’m getting $600 a month more of which $150 goes to the landscaper. I use some Polish guy named Ted from Paterson to clean the gutters. He’s cheap and awesome if anyone in the area needs a gutter cleaner.

  77. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [80] Lib – My wife and I always supplied a “renters resume” providing address, landlord contact info, starting rent, ending rent and prominently at the bottom of each entry “Full deposit returned”. The last place we rented I overheard the realtor presenting to the owner and heard him say, “You’re not going to find any better tenants than this couple.” I doubt anyone ever called a single one of our landlords and not all of them loved us, but they all did return full deposits and we were never late on rent.

  78. raging bull jj says:

    Gutter cleaning is like $40 bucks.

  79. JJ's B.S says:

    My last landlord tried to kick me out when I was leaving anyhow. What a schmuck. Anyhow dope hires some gumshoe lawyer and I was supposed to just show up at rent stabilization board and voluntarily give up my place. I agreed as landlord gave me the two months extra I needed. Anyhow idiot lawyer all at once starts badmouthing me to lawyer, pulling all types of legal mumbo jumbo out to make me look bad. Really, Schmuck. So when my turn comes I say I am staying, I mount my defense, made the lawyer look stupid I win case and after judge bangs gavel to say I win I turn around and tell lawyer in front of judge, lets fill out the paperwork I am leaving. No body backs baby into a corner. I met the owner who gave me back my full deposit. He was proud of me, he was like never let a lawyer or a landlord try to make a fool out of you. I am proud of the man you are, I am like great. We shook hands. Turns out was a LLC never met owner, but found out afterwards some rich orthodox jew. Wanted to meet the man who could beat him any day of the week but chose to let him win anyhow. He said he would rent to me again. However, I think when he told the story it might not help.

    The Original NJ ExPat says:
    September 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    [80] Lib – My wife and I always supplied a “renters resume” providing address, landlord contact info, starting rent, ending rent and prominently at the bottom of each entry “Full deposit returned”. The last place we rented I overheard the realtor presenting to the owner and heard him say, “You’re not going to find any better tenants than this couple.” I doubt anyone ever called a single one of our landlords and not all of them loved us, but they all did return full deposits and we were never late on rent.

  80. Libtard in the City says:

    JJ,

    I don’t pay much more and I have solid homeowners and a brother who is a personal injury lawyer. The tenant was a carpenter by trade. Wife broke ribs falling down stairs (which they carpeted) and didn’t say boo.

    Yes, gutter cleaning is cheap, but the size of the home and the difficulty accessing the gutters does impact price. My 3rd floor gutters require a ladder to be places on the 1st roof. It’s a major PITA. My rental is not a cape.

  81. Libtard in the City says:

    Eh,

    I’m just happy if I get called to the house less than twice per month. As unhandy as my two new tenants are, they pay way more than I though the place was worth and for the most part are pretty easy to satisfy. I am not a slumlord. There is nothing more expensive and annoying than replacing tenants every year. Would much rather spend a couple of extra bucks keeping them happy rather than lose twice as much filling vacancies.

  82. 3B Buying says:

    #71 Jill: I heard that place is great, does not look like much from the outside, but who cares.Full onslaught starts begining of Oct to find a place to live. Wash T is high on the list, but would prefer Midland Park, lower taxes,(due to I am told their frugal Dutch ancestry). I just want it over at this point. But I still truly believe prices will continue to fall. I won’t change my mind when I buy!!

  83. joyce says:

    JJ

    You owe nothing. You rent it from the government.

  84. joyce says:

    owe = own

  85. Essex says:

    I like my house. Stay long enough it may be worth something. Two years from now if all goes according to plan I will get the chance to find out.

  86. Painhrtz - Awaiting Clot's Apocalypse! says:

    Lib you don’t happen to have another brother in the entertainment industry by any chance : )

  87. JJ's B.S says:

    Actually I am the 47%. With three kids in the public school I get back 8x the school taxes I pay. If only I was lucky with income taxes

    joyce says:
    September 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    JJ

    You owe nothing. You rent it from the government.

  88. joyce says:

    You get back nothing.

  89. JJ's B.S says:

    short sale people drive me nuts. So I put a bid in and it is accepted so cause it is a short sale I need a fully executed contract so seller has to pay her attorney to draw it up. My guy is slow as a snail, said he would look at it sometime in next week or two. Now wife is like I need to see house again. Agent is now harassing me. I am busy with other stuff. So agent calls wife to make an approintment to see house and she checks calender and she if free in around one and 1/2 weeks. Agent is like cant you come sooner. She is like I come when I am free. That is first day I am available. Meanwhile whole deal started falling apart when owner/agent insisted I raise my bid. I told her you dont represent me, seller does not care what house sells for, you dont represent bank, I made a decent offer. She was like you need to do this much or bank wont take you seriously I know the prices in the nieghborhood. I then said well if you know prices and you are acting like a buyers broker now why did you let anyone buy a home in 2003-2008 as a buyers broker you should have told them no, so now I am supposed to believe you now know what a good deal is? she was like yes. I swear is she was a coffin salemen on commission she would grab my credit card, club me in head and throw me in coffin.

    I think every RE agent who sold a home that ended up in BK or a Short Sale should be required to sell home for free, no commission.

  90. Ragnar says:

    You get back propagandized kids with high self esteem and crippled conceptual skills.

  91. JJ's B.S says:

    Actually, my kids do. I went to public school, went to college on financial aid so technically every cent I make is because of the free education I got. So I guess it is their money anyhow. My RE taxes are only around 2% of my income and are actually deducatable. I will enjoy SS and Medicare too one day. God bless Uncle Sam

    joyce says:
    September 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    You get back nothing.

  92. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [91] Pain – Are you looking for an entertainment attorney?

    Lib you don’t happen to have another brother in the entertainment industry by any chance : )

  93. Essex says:

    95. Blame your DNA – Schools can only do so much with imbeciles.

  94. JJ's B.S says:

    Actually I think part of issue are ethnic kids. Many Chinese, Indian, Muslim, Middle East, Hasdic kids really dont have the skills to exist in the workforce. Many managers over 45 who make hiring decisions are the Irish/Italian/Jewish/German white imigrant kids with traditional judeo/christian values.

    I find young folks who dont know basic cultural customs, when to shake hands, eye contact, work ethic or ability to relate to other cultures. Talking to one recently and did not know what Yon Kippur was and was actually setting up meetings with Jewish people on that day. Also did not understand baby showers, wedding showers, how much to give at weddings, does not follow football, baseball or current events. Listens to asians music and shows.

    Difficult to move up when you dont know basic customs. My wife used to watch the superbowl, world series, remember wives birthdays, shower dates for people at work etc. last thing you want is big boss come up to you and say day after superbowl how was that game? And you go what game. Blow off the Female CEOs baby shower. Also stuff like one girl who worked for me would go to indian peoples baby showers and weddings who were co-workers but not white people. Also would not acknowledge white people who had kids. Really, do they think that is ok. I know outside work they stick together but really. I am seeing more and more of this. I ate raw meat sushi with raw eggs with hot achol after being awake over 24 hours once for a client. Kids today would refuse and insult the cleint who would complain to their boss and then come to work next day and ask for promotion. I think diversity is fine in schools. But oddly folks like me learn about other cultures and enjoy it. But people like Hindus and chinese people dont really get it. Which is fine. But you cant be like the hindu girl who once told me Jesus is a made up cartoon character who does not really exist. When I told her yes Jesus was an actual person who lived. The difference is Jews do not believe he was the savior, but just a regular guy. Christians believe he is savior I get from her, so he is not like Santa Claus. I am like really you are 30, you work in a room full of bright people and you are looking to get promoted. OMG> But funny you have to sit there and just listen and smile as they will be down in HR in a second. But really, Public Schools do a bad job in US. Go to France where they pull that stupid looking veil right off your head in public school.

    Ragnar says:
    September 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    You get back propagandized kids with high self esteem and crippled conceptual skills.

  95. 3B Buying says:

    #98 Essex: And the imbeciles comment would go for some of the teachers too.

  96. Bystander says:

    Anyone deal with Pen Fed for a mortgage? They have a 5 year Arm. Resets every 5 years and will pay all closing costs (except escrow and title insurance). 90 lock too. If I do buy this fall, why not get closing costs covered then refi if 30 year falls or ev en rises. Rate is 2.75 capped at 2% every 5 years. Thoughts.

  97. JJ's B.S says:

    Actually in this case realtor broke first rule of selling. My wife has her own email and her own phone. I have my own email and own phone at work. So she is talking to us separately. So she would go to me give me your best offer in writing. Which I did, but it is my best offer, not our best offer. Since she talks to us one at at time, then talks to her boss separately, then the owner, then owners attorney. There are bottle necks everywhere. Last house I bought me and wife both wanted it. We showed up at owners house with a checkbook as per her instructions to put bid in. Realtor was there, she had binder form, we came to price with seller, us and realtor in room, put a deposit down. Since we were at house. Anythings I questioned such as repairs etc. Owner was there or I could look. My wife does not even remember what house looks like. Realtor is doing this in a crazy way. I would have sold this house in a day. Or not sold this house in a day. Either way would be better than this.

    I did not create this. She wanted to get a quick agreement. But not working out. Funny 10-1-12 tax bills get mailed out. Guess bank got one more bill to pay. Plus I was pissed she would not tell me bank. She knows I would call bank direct I guess.

    Essex says:
    September 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    95. Blame your DNA – Schools can only do so much with imbeciles.

  98. Painhrtz - Awaiting Clot's Apocalypse! says:

    Expat nah just seeing how far captain cheapo goes in hitting all the boxes on the stereotype.

    for instance to fulfill the jersey wop stereotype. My mother wears animal print all the time, my grandfather looks like an extra from goodfellas with the caddy to match. I had a distant relative who actually was an extra in good fellas and had a small role on the Soprano’s. My mom drove and Iroc in the 80’s/. I once owned a pair of Z cavarichis. Yes I used to be expected somewhere for dinner on suday afternoons. I have never been to Italy and am 4 genrations removed but had an italian flag on my first car. Of course I am not full wop only 75% the other 25% hungarian accounting for my body hair and fould odor : )

    there that was completely fair.

  99. Essex says:

    101. Let’s put it this way. I am glad to not be listening to most of the teachers I know. They’d make my eyes glaze over. But then again the complete morons that have populated most of the “good private firms” that I have worked at lead me to believe that even in the best schools and corporati0ns some complete imbeciles nest.

  100. Essex says:

    My firm understanding is that most of the population are complete losers.

  101. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Essex, 3B has been calling stagflation for 6 months now. At least give him small amount of credit before crowding his forecast.

  102. Christmas says:

    obviously like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will surely come back again.

  103. Essex says:

    107. I yeah I guess that’s where I saw it.

  104. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Patrick, Love your blog. Almost as much as grim’s.
    I have to disagree with your claim. Price of a home is not static, its constantly changing due to various long term factors that change virtually every day, only one of them happens to be salary levels. Other examples could be population spikes, interest rates, secular stock market bubbles, tax rates and tax policies, immigration shifts, natural disasters, prices of commodities such as limber and steel, changes in lending standards, etc etc.

    “The price of a house rises with salary inflation, but house prices cannot increase more than incomes in the long run.”

  105. chicagofinance says:

    Ann: rents are not derived by a cost-plus model……sorry to deliver the bad news…..as a result, someone like Stu is extremely happy……

    Ann says:
    September 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Around here, from all of the houses I see turning into rentals, the landlords usually
    keep the landscaping/snow service. I assume they are rolling the cost into the rents. Same for gutters, etc. Which is good for everyone else in the neighborhood as well as the tenants.

    Don’t the tenants still have to mow the lawn/ clean the gutters etc?

  106. Ann says:

    Not bad news for me, I don’t care. I’ve just noticed that the rentals in my neighborhood are continuing to be maintained by landscapers paid for by the owners. It’s the same as property taxes, that’s rolled into the rent too. For certain properties in a certain price range, as a landlord, it’s in your interest to pay to maintain the landscaping.

  107. chicagofinance says:

    WSJ Letter to Editor

    September 26, 2012, 5:05 p.m. ET

    ‘Soft’ Employment Skills and Virtue as Job Qualifiers .

    Regarding Nick Schulz’s “Hard Unemployment Truths About ‘Soft’ Skills” (op-ed, Sept. 20): I own and operate an employment service which has worked with dozens of small businesses in the past 15 years. We have jobs going begging for exactly the reasons mentioned by Mr. Schulz: the ability to write a coherent letter, use correct grammar while speaking, understand basic mathematics, interact well with clients and show up for work regularly.

    The younger the applicant, the less likely he is to have these skills which older workers possess and take for granted. The less schooled young people are in the real basics of what it takes to be successful (not rich), the less likely they will be successful, and the less likely they will want to be successful—it’s just “too hard.” They’ve gone through 12 years of schooling with little homework, few hard deadlines, no points taken off a paper for spelling or grammar and a “we’re all winners” attitude (I know, I have a kid in public high school), and a few more years in college taking communication courses. Add to that a generation of parents-as-friends, single-parent households, a healthy dose of short school days and some very poor teaching along the way and, voilà, you have an electorate that is incapable of understanding or caring what it takes to obtain and maintain a job, let alone the impending fiscal nightmare heading squarely at them.

    Julie Adamen
    Poulsbo, Wash.

    Nearly 40 years ago I visited a defense contractor building the latest high-tech fighter for the U.S. military. After a tour of the plant, watching people manning complex equipment and installing what looked like incredibly complex wiring, I asked the personnel manager at the plant what kind of skills he looked for in the people needed to work there. Did they need math, specific training in mechanics or what?

    He said, “They don’t need to know anything in particular. We can train anyone who walks in the door to handle the specifics of the work we need done.” Similarly, I asked a high-school placement officer what kind of skills employers look for in their hiring practices. His answer: “They ask about attendance record and appearance. If a kid doesn’t come to school regularly or care enough about himself to keep clean and dressed, he won’t be a productive employee.”

    Paul Feldman
    Spencerville, Md.

    It is fascinating that neither candidate is willing to name the root cause of many of our nation’s ills lest they be labeled as “judgmental” at best or, even worse, “intolerant” or “noninclusive.” The prescription of both candidates to all that ails the U.S. is “economic growth” (via the government or private-sector initiatives—pick your path).

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear the candidates speak about virtue and the promotion of its accompanying characteristics such as discipline, diligence, accountability, integrity, and what these things mean to intact families, public health, welfare, education, deficit reduction and the labor market. George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson frequently spoke of these things. In the end, the nation’s issues will never be adequately addressed so long as we ignore the cause. To paraphrase James Carville: “It’s the absence of virtue, stupid.”

    Craig Martin
    Kalamazoo, Mich.

  108. chicagofinance says:

    You can think what you want, but it is simply not true. Even if the landlord charging the rent is thinking that way and prices his rent in that way, he/she would be wrong.

    Ann says:
    September 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm
    It’s the same as property taxes, that’s rolled into the rent too.

  109. chicagofinance says:

    Something was moderated…let me break it up

  110. chicagofinance says:

    WSJ Letter to Editor

    September 26, 2012, 5:05 p.m. ET

    ‘Soft’ Employment Skills and Virtue as Job Qualifiers .

    Regarding Nick Schulz’s “Hard Unemployment Truths About ‘Soft’ Skills” (op-ed, Sept. 20): I own and operate an employment service which has worked with dozens of small businesses in the past 15 years. We have jobs going begging for exactly the reasons mentioned by Mr. Schulz: the ability to write a coherent letter, use correct grammar while speaking, understand basic mathematics, interact well with clients and show up for work regularly.

    The younger the applicant, the less likely he is to have these skills which older workers possess and take for granted. The less schooled young people are in the real basics of what it takes to be successful (not rich), the less likely they will be successful, and the less likely they will want to be successful—it’s just “too hard.” They’ve gone through 12 years of schooling with little homework, few hard deadlines, no points taken off a paper for spelling or grammar and a “we’re all winners” attitude (I know, I have a kid in public high school), and a few more years in college taking communication courses. Add to that a generation of parents-as-friends, single-parent households, a healthy dose of short school days and some very poor teaching along the way and, voilà, you have an electorate that is incapable of understanding or caring what it takes to obtain and maintain a job, let alone the impending fiscal nightmare heading squarely at them.

    Julie Adamen
    Poulsbo, Wash.

  111. chicagofinance says:

    Nearly 40 years ago I visited a defense contractor building the latest high-tech fighter for the U.S. military. After a tour of the plant, watching people manning complex equipment and installing what looked like incredibly complex wiring, I asked the personnel manager at the plant what kind of skills he looked for in the people needed to work there. Did they need math, specific training in mechanics or what?

    He said, “They don’t need to know anything in particular. We can train anyone who walks in the door to handle the specifics of the work we need done.” Similarly, I asked a high-school placement officer what kind of skills employers look for in their hiring practices. His answer: “They ask about attendance record and appearance. If a kid doesn’t come to school regularly or care enough about himself to keep clean and dressed, he won’t be a productive employee.”

    Paul Feldman
    Spencerville, Md.

  112. chicagofinance says:

    It is fascinating that neither candidate is willing to name the root cause of many of our nation’s ills lest they be labeled as “judgmental” at best or, even worse, “intolerant” or “noninclusive.” The prescription of both candidates to all that ails the U.S. is “economic growth” (via the government or private-sector initiatives—pick your path).

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear the candidates speak about virtue and the promotion of its accompanying characteristics such as discipline, diligence, accountability, integrity, and what these things mean to intact families, public health, welfare, education, deficit reduction and the labor market. George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson frequently spoke of these things. In the end, the nation’s issues will never be adequately addressed so long as we ignore the cause. To paraphrase James Carville: “It’s the absence of virtue, stupid.”

    Craig Martin

  113. Ann says:

    Of course, I rent from the bank. No way in hell I am paying them back a nickel early and there is no way in hell I will ever give them cash for the privilege of refinancing. I wait until the last possible day to send the payment as of now. Just like with my old landlords. I would have no qualms about defaulting if anything bad ever happened to our cash flow. I fully expect to walk out of here, whenever it is, without a dollar, just like a rental. I will vote for Obama if he promises to let me to refinance without fees etc. I want some freebies too.

    You don’t own a house. You rent from the bank. Forget about getting your rate lowered just get some fat stacks and pay off that sucker so you can join us folks who actually own homes.

  114. Ann says:

    113 I see what you’re saying. It’s still driven by demand. All I know is that I hope they keep paying these landscapers so the neighborhood doesn’t start looking crummy.

  115. Ann says:

    115 My friend teaches at a local state college and she says the kids coming in are illiterate. Can hardly comprehend a USA Today article. Can’t write. I make my kids read every chance I get. Too many video games, not enough reading.

  116. Essex says:

    Pixar, For example, Doesn’t look for people who can create turnkey graphic arts pieces, They look for thinkers. They figure if the candidate is truly creative they can teach them to use their programs to tap into what is inside.

  117. Essex says:

    115. Skills like lucidity and good customer service skills are key, But no one can control macro economic meltdowns. When bubbles burst it tends take everyone down.

  118. Ragnar says:

    Ann,
    But the kids all graduate knowing how to recycle and stop global warming, can tell you about native american tribes, even if they cannot figure out how to convert farenheit to celcius, don’t know what continent Poland is in, and cannot recall who the first president of the US was or what was unusual about the US Constitution or Bill of Rights.

  119. 3b buying so what who cares says:

    #102 bystander: why bother with that. Bernanke is going to drive 30 year mtg rates down to 3 percent.

  120. A Home Buyer says:

    79 – Expat

    I would say not much would actually change in terms of percentages. I fully fall into the “just renting from the government” frame of mind. I’m mocked for it by most I know, even if they really cannot argue that I’m wrong. And yet, I’m currently “renting” from the Government.

    Would it take away a lot of the prestige from “owning a home”? Probably, but I feel it would probably be a VERY positive thing in showing people what “ownership” actually is (Viva la Libertarian!).

    More importantly however, it would force people to view home ownership as a durable good and a lifestyle choice with financial implications rather than the end of discussion for achieving the American Dream and financial independence. But then again, perhaps I have too much faith in the common man.

  121. Essex says:

    122. Actually what you will find is that really well-educated kids will know all of that and more. Your talking points are stale.

  122. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Ann, actually banks hate when you pre pay. It means they collect less interest and make less profit on the loan then they originally planned.

  123. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Seems our commander in chief has a little problem with Supreme Court precedent, notably Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness

    But then any former GM or Chrysler bondholder already knows that.

  124. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    And if you’re in a poor area and there is some federal jurisdiction, Obama wants you to have better broadband.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/14/executive-order-accelerating-broadband-infrastructure-deployment

  125. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    And since this was a fun search, I came upon this interesting factoid. Since December of 2011, when the WH recognized the Wright Brothers with a presidential proclamation, there has been only one presidential proclamation honoring an individual in all of 2012.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/23/presidential-proclamation-cesar-chavez-day-2012

    It means nothing except for some insight into his thinking, and even then perhaps it only means an insight into his realpolitik by throwing the base a bone. Who knows, I just found it interesting.

  126. Essex says:

    Nom De Pound. You slay me.

  127. Ernest Money says:

    We have been rendered a nation of illiterate zombies. Fortunately, the vast majority of us still have a taste for slaughter. Hopefully, we will visit this slaughter on the appropriate parties within my lifetime.

  128. Ernest Money says:

    Our salvation lies in anarchy.

  129. Ernest Money says:

    “This is the final abomination” is how David Stockman begins his epic rant on the Federal Reserve and crony capitalism in this clip. The “undiluted lunacy” of their actions prompted him to address the Fed’s decision to “print ourselves to death” by saying “this has gone too far, it’s street-fighting time” as he decides, instead of the erudite philosophical view of how capitalism is being destroyed by statist philosophies of one type or another, to launch into a full-strength tirade about The Fed. For starters, “The Fed is being run by the single most-dangerous man ever to hold high office in the history of the United States, “as he opines that Bernanke is more dangerous than Geithner, Greenspan, Summers, Hank Paulson all put together. Must watch…”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-09-27/how-crony-capitalism-or-undiluted-lunacy-fed-corrupts-free-markets

  130. Ragnar says:

    Essex,
    Oh thank you so much for clarifying. I do know that the former set of propaganda points get far more attention than they deserve, at the expense of real education.

  131. cobbler says:

    One of the smarter things GWB had done was not to appoint David Stockman to any position of authority. When the damage he is doing to the country and its economy is limited to the diatribes on ZH I am OK with it.

  132. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [110] Nean – So you disagree with neither statement, one statement, or both? Assuming both, you’re belief would be (expressed as A’ and B’):

    A’. The price of a house does not rise with salary inflation, and
    B’. house prices can increase more than incomes in the long run.

    Patrick, Love your blog. Almost as much as grim’s.
    I have to disagree with your claim. Price of a home is not static, its constantly changing due to various long term factors that change virtually every day, only one of them happens to be salary levels. Other examples could be population spikes, interest rates, secular stock market bubbles, tax rates and tax policies, immigration shifts, natural disasters, prices of commodities such as limber and steel, changes in lending standards, etc etc.

    “The price of a house rises with salary inflation, but house prices cannot increase more than incomes in the long run.”

  133. Marnie says:

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