Optimism about remodeling a reason to be optimistic about housing?

From CNBC:

It May Be Time to Believe in Housing Again

It’s hard to know what to believe in the housing market today, with so many conflicting data reports, some analysts claiming the market has hit bottom, and others seeing further doom.

The home builders themselves can’t seem to find anything to be optimistic about; their sentiment index has been stuck at the same lackluster level for four straight months.

It’s not as hard, however, to believe in housing. By that I mean that as the economy improves, and consumers start to feel better about their personal finances, they are starting to think about investing in their homes again.

Too much price uncertainty in the market turns them off trading up, so they are looking around their current home instead.

Yesterday I met with an architect in suburban DC who says that in just the past two months the phone has been ringing off the hook.

“It’s ringing with people saying, you know I want the $200,000 addition, which is the family room/kitchen or I can afford my screen porch now,” says Michael Bruckwick of Katinas Bruckwick Architecture.

Just last year, clients told Bruckwick a very different story.

“Their biggest concerns was simply where is the world going ? The world that we live in. Is it to continue going down?”

And it’s not just in the DC area, which has the benefit of lower unemployment thanks to government jobs. A remodeling index from Texas-based BuildFax shows a national surge in remodeling work toward the end of the year, which appears to be continuing now. It’s returning, but cautiously.

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168 Responses to Optimism about remodeling a reason to be optimistic about housing?

  1. grim says:

    Or just the last vestiges of Americas love affair with real estate?

  2. NJ Toast says:


    how much of the remodeling is actually deferred maintenance and is there any way to track what type of remodeling is actually done ie, are there data services that look at residential construction permits to look at total # of projects, how many were kitchen vs bath vs addition to home, etc?

    Are you seeing any change in home buyer psychology whereby potential buyers look at job insecurity as their new normal and move forward with a purchase even though their job may not be secure?

  3. Al Mossberg says:

    40% Of Madison Teachers Call In Sick To Join Austerity Protest At The Wisconsin State Building

    “Public unions objecting to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s plan that will save 6,000 jobs flooded the state capitol in protest. 40% of Madison area teachers called in sick.

    Those teachers should all be fired. Unfortunately they cannot be fired because their union protects them.”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/wisconsin-teacher-strike-2011-2#ixzz1EDc6x8f0

    Hopefully Wisconsin calls out the national guard, and fire houses those parasites down.

  4. grim says:

    Are you seeing any change in home buyer psychology whereby potential buyers look at job insecurity as their new normal and move forward with a purchase even though their job may not be secure?

    Yes, but because of a different new normal, losing a house doesn’t really come with much of a stigma anymore. Combine this with FHA and you begin to start treading towards “Ok, I’ll buy, who cares if I lose my job, I’ll just walk away like everyone else”. It’s a dirt cheap option in my opinion.

    Or, at the opposite end, I’ve seen a number of buyers who have ratcheted down what they are willing to pay, and are buying very conservatively. I’d call this camp, “it wouldn’t really matter if I lost my job”.

  5. Painhrtz says:

    What the article fails to recognize is how many of those people would have sold as move up buyers now can’t, but have available cash reserves so they are using them on their current home

  6. grim says:

    What the article fails to recognize is how many of those people would have sold as move up buyers now can’t

    Possibly, but is this good or bad for the overall market? For the “stayer”, it may be a more prudent move, and result in lower cost outlay (which leaves more to be spent).

    On the downside, it makes the greater housing pool more inaccessible to the ever-so-important first time buyers.

  7. grim says:

    From Ritholtz:

    MERS: Stop Foreclosing in Our Name

    Despite writing critically about Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems for over 2 years, several emailers seem to be uncertain as to my thoughts about the legality of MERS.

    Allow me to spell this out for you more specifically: MERS is an abomination, a legal blasphemy that should be destroyed before it unleashes the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

    I hope that clarifies this . . .

  8. Painhrtz says:

    grim definately and that is already raising it’s ugly head in the quality of starter home inventory. We were seeing it last year with the tax credit, quality well priced first homes were gone before we could look at them. We got lucky I saw the listing for our house the day it came on the market. Looking at current inventory in starter home price ranges now I would rather rent.

  9. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    A few days ago, people asked about 530 Hort St. in the ‘brig. Drove by it the other night when dropping off one of my daughter’s friends after practice. Seems she lives very close to the house, which is larger than its neighbors, boxy, ugly, vinyl sided, and on a very small lot.

    She is young, knows nothing of housing, but said that the house was strange because of the turnover. She described the last few owners (no mean feat for a young girl to notice this) and said “it’s like there is something weird about [the house].”

  10. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [3] Al,

    What I find amusing is that all of this is occurring in Madison, home to one of the most liberal state universities in the nation, yet it seems to get out-sized political coverage.

    If all this were occurring in Berkeley, no one would cover it. In fact, it would pass for normal.

  11. Lone Ranger says:

    Tonto, saddle up. There is a huge obstacle at sign post 31. Once we break thru that we’ll be going for a long ride. We may come back to visit sign post 31 for brief periods of time, but no further south than that. Hi-Yo.

  12. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Someone on Bloomberg, on what he would say to Obama: Expand rural internet because faster speeds mean more time spent on Facebook.

    No, I’m not kidding.

  13. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [12] lone

    Provided I don’t get stopped out again, I am along for the ride. Made more money on silver than gold.

  14. 30 year realtor says:

    MERS was created to subvert long standing document recording practices and to avoid the related fees. Kind of like a group of car dealers deciding they don’t like the motor vehicle laws and fees associated with vehicle registration, so they create their own registration and license plates.

    Having unequivocal proof of ownership of real estate and mortgages is essential to the value of real estate. As soon as quality of title can be questioned, the integrity of the system is at risk.

    Whenever life has caused me to need legal counsel there has been a discussion with counsel about all the “what ifs”. The attorney reminding me that not everyone views situations the same way I do. Playing devil’s advocate and exploring all the angles as to try and find something wrong with an idea before an adversary does. Looking at MERS in this light, one has to wonder how it ever came to exist.

  15. MERS and its origins are easy to understand when you (properly) view the gubmint and banks as criminal rackets.

  16. jamil says:

    Re Madison.
    If the death threats, demonization and heated political rhetoric had been coming from Tea Party, we would have CNN, NYT and other State Media elements going after Palin. Shore Guy’s head would have exploded in his new Current TV show demanding immediate muder of Palin and Tea Party members because of the violent rhetoric coming from the thugs in the demonstration.

    “The public-sector union tantrums, meant to make lawmakers wobble, have an inadvertent message for the rest of us: Voters can vote all they want. We can elect a cheapskate governor and a Legislature to match. But come the moment, unions will have the last, loudest word.

    They’ll have it if takes marches. They’ll have it if it takes what amounts to an illegal strike, with so many Madison teachers calling in sick Wednesday that the district closed schools. If it takes showing up for a we-know-where-your-family-is protest on Walker’s Wauwatosa lawn while he was at work, the unions are sure they can outshout any election result.

    This is exactly why Walker is right to limit the unions’ power over government spending.”

  17. chicagofinance says:

    albani: check this out…..

    Denver’s asking price for Carmelo Anthony is more outlandish than previously thought.

    The Post has learned the Nuggets made a whopping demand one week ago that is more exorbitant than recent reports. According to a league source debriefed on Carmelo Anthony negotiations, Denver asked for Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a first-round pick (obtained via Anthony Randolph) for Anthony and point guard Chauncey Billups.

  18. Remodeling and additions? Optimism about housing?

    You have to fcuking be kidding me. This is nothing more than a come-on for dumb money to be put on the table and be swindled forthwith.

    Any volume of legitimate remodeling and additions work now being undertaken represents quality housing stock that will NEVER again be offered for sale. Pretty soon, all that will be listed for sale in the US will be overpriced POS and bank-owned swill. I have never seen so many ugly, beat-up, horribly-located and poorly-priced homes listed in my area in my career.

    Last week, I actually cancelled a day of showings for a buyer of mine because I knew they’d hate all the houses on the list, and I didn’t want to waste their time.

  19. chi (18)-

    I could honestly see Melo coming to the Knicks…and Isiah coming back as the coach.

  20. Isiah really tearing up the NCAA these days, huh?

    How’d you like to be a parent of a player and have him in your living room? I’d zap him with a Taser.

  21. Lone Ranger says:


    Gold begins the marathon as the leader, silver then runs off to the races, outpaces gold. In the last leg, around 2015-2016, gold crosses the line first. Take me to the Top of the Hub.

  22. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [19] debt

    There are some drivers for this, but optimism isn’t one of them. IMHO, what is driving this is:

    1. Pant-up demand ;-)
    2. Updating for eventual sale
    3. Dollar depreciation, and
    4. Future price hikes on appliances.

    We are considering remodeling K+B for all of the foregoing reasons.

  23. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [22] Ranger

    You want me to take you to a mediocre restaurant in Boston that is better known for its view than its food?

  24. Lone Ranger says:


    No, not to eat; just want to crack open bubbly with you at the winner’s circle.

  25. ditto says:

    “Pant-up demand”, “house those parasites down” ?
    Is it eggcorn-day today?

    I think the fo’castle scandal is just being used as an escape goat.

  26. plume (23)-

    Updating for eventual sale? Not worth it. People doing this will be lucky to recoup a fraction of the cost.

  27. 30 year realtor says:

    I remember when I was first learning about buying houses at sheriff sale and bidding at tax sales back in the early 80’s. These were not mainstream methods of property acquisition. There were no infomercials about getting rich buying distressed properties.

    By about 1987 the sheriff sales went from 3 regular bidders showing up every week to there being a regular crowd. Sheriff departments had to find bigger rooms for the sales and the competition became stiffer. If there is a time that can be identified with when the public view of real estate changed, for me it was 1986 – 87. It was about the same time that the rep from Citicorp showed up at my office offering no doc, adjustable and 5% down mortgage products.

  28. 250k says:

    com nom (10)
    530 Hort St. I can’t speak for the previous couple of owners and their general “creepiness” in the eyes of a school age child but, while the house isn’t going to end up in Architectural Digest, I have been inside it and it was thoughtfully redone.

    Now I am not an inspector so for all I know it was all held together with twine, but I have been in so many Brig houses that have extensions with the tell tale slope downward between new and old, at least this one admitted defeat and had a tiny step up into the master bedroom. Not ideal but better than watching marbles roll down your 2nd floor hardwood.

    The lot is terribly small and the driveway ruins any curb appeal the house might have had and yes, its way overpriced. I just don’t see how someone goes out on the market in 2011 with an asking price 7% higher than what they paid in 2009 without any improvements being made.

    Maybe ghosts show up at night.

    DebtSuper (27)
    >>Updating for eventual sale? Not worth it. People doing this will be lucky to recoup a fraction of the cost.

    You don’t understand how Brigadoon RE works though. Here in the land of hopes and dreams 2+2=5. I have seen homes that were purchased for X in the 2000s, fully renovated at a cost of Y in the later 2000s and sold for ((X+Y)*1.5) in the past few years. Westfieldians are busy people. They don’t have time to deal with contractors and such so if you already did the work for them, you can ask for an additional $200,000 over the real value of your home for your pain and suffering.

  29. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [27] debt

    I said all of the above. Fact is, we need to update at least one bath, and part of the kitchen. Might as well put that paper to work before it becomes more worthless. Also, need a new oven and appliance costs going up.

    I agree on eventual resale, but here the tail is not wagging the dog. Throw out that consideration and I would still be remodeling.

  30. A.West says:

    Did anyone see Vanilla Ice flip a house on HGTV? Bought a trashed house in Palm Beach, FL for $410k, spent $250k on renovation/rehab, and planned to list the 7,000sf beast for $965k. Spent 4 months doing this and clowning around on TV with about 6 buddies. I didn’t see the part about the house actually selling.

    It doesn’t seem like a big ROI to me, considering that you had to pay yourself and your gang for 1/3 of a year’s work.

  31. JJ says:

    Forget about bubble in housing in moment, the treasury bond bubble was even more fueled by excess.
    I check my account on my margin balances and they will loan me 2.5 million for govt bonds, meanwhile only like one million for other stuff like corp bonds, muni bonds and stocks.
    When rates were falling and you wanted to make money on leverage govt bonds were place to be. At one point citi was doing 98% margin on treasuries, meaning you could buy one million in treasuries with $20K down. WOW think how much money even a 1% swing makes you.
    Government Bonds
    $2,552,729.80 $0.00

  32. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [29] 250k

    She did not think the owners were creepy (I think she liked some of them), only that it was strange to her that the house turned over 3x in her memory (which is not that long).

    House has zero curb appeal. My impression is that curb appeal may be unimportant in Paterson, but it counts for something in the ‘brig.

  33. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [30] redux

    We are also redoing a basement playroom that desperately needs it. And this may play into one tax appeal idea of mine, so I have to evaluate now whether to appeal. Unfortunately, I don’t think I fall outside the 15% corridor.

  34. A.West says:

    Hard to imagine demanding $945k for a “specious” home.

    One of the worst-written promotions I’ve seen for a “luxury” home.

  35. 250k says:

    (33) com nom
    Got it. Misunderstood and thought the people living there were the creepy ones. Turnover like that is indeed not a great sign. Agree on the curb appeal not existing, nothing charming about it at all. Current owners can’t be too bright for paying what they paid in ’09 and asking what they are asking in ’11.

    Have you seen the latest monster they are building on Lawrence midway between Rt 22 and downtown? They will be able to mow the lawn with a scissors with that footprint. Guess people need a place to put all their “stuff”.

  36. A.West says:

    That is a remarkably ugly house for over $600k. Photos of interior look merely boring.
    Candid Camera should bring people from other states and show them NJ poopboxes, then get close ups of their faces as they are told the price, the property tax, and the “prestige” their owners attain through ownership of said poopbox.

  37. 250k says:

    A.West (33) Agent wanted an extra 0.5% on her fee for using spell check so the sellers passed. It is actually kind of funny that she mistyped (I assume) specious if she meant spacious. At least she didn’t say “space galore!”.

  38. ditto says:

    A. West – it also has a “large eat-in kitchen bedroom”. Not many places can boast that, it’s a selling feature.

    I presume “treed backyard” means a tree-shaded garden.

  39. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [36] 250

    I recall only one under construction, at the top of the hill. Saw it when my older daughter had a playdate nearby. I don’t usually travel Lawrence (no reason to) but I may make a detour on my way back from the Y today.

  40. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [35] west

    “specious home”

    Truth in advertising?

  41. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [39] ditto

    “treed backyard” = shelling out 10K in 2 years so that Connelly can take down the monstrosities that are about to crush your house.

  42. 250K (29)-

    I do understand Brigadoon RE. What you don’t understand is that the day of the Greater Fool is over.

  43. plume (30)-

    Good. The only reason to remodel is because you want/need it.

  44. West (35)-

    Fortunately, the listing agent stayed in high school long enough to learn the word “specious”. Unfortunately, however, she wasn’t taught its definition.

    Kudos to the concept of capitalizing an adjective in the middle of a sentence, too.

    “Spectacular setting with privacy on a cul-de-sac Specious home…”

  45. ditto says:

    If only the cheapass homeowner had agreed to a 6% fee the listing agent could have used punctuation. Its not like commas and periods grow in treed backyards.

  46. NJGator says:

    Looking through the Glen Ridge closed sales last month. 21 Lorraine went for $479k – $50k over ask. Not bad for a 1562SF 3/1.5 on a 40×100 lot on a former Superfund site. Not bad until you consider that the sellers paid $515k for it in 2005.

    9 Lorraine also went for $490 – $50k above ask. 1618SF 3/ 1.5 on a 40×100 lot.

    327 Maolis went for for $535k – $35k over asking. This place needed absolutely everything. Had one of the worst kitchens I have seen, and we have seen plenty awful ones in our relatively shabby for the area price range. I am told it took the listing agent a full week of work to clean it up and stage it. Oh, it also had a leaky underground oil tank.

    Insanity still prevails in the Ridge.

  47. Libtard says:

    Prospective GR buyers would probably do well to wait for the initial round of suckers to overspend before diving in to the water. We see this every year.

  48. ditto says:

    I’ve only seen two houses in GR in my price range (up to 650) in the last 4 months worth buying. Both went for over ask. There’s a handful of awful GR houses just sitting there.

  49. Anon E. Moose says:

    A. West [31];

    It pencils out when you add in the TV revenue; esp. if the network is fronting the seed money on a non-recourse basis.

  50. NJGator says:

    Ditto – Did you look at the fish house on Chestnut Hill? It’s worth it for the laugh.

  51. broke says:

    Gator can you please share where you look at closed sales

  52. NJGator says:

    Broke – Won’t post the link here because it is from another realtor’s website, and that’s not fair to Grim. Get my email and I will share. Or figure it out from my riddle…It’s a certain gefilte fish lady’s website.

  53. ditto says:

    Gator – with the tropical aqua-menagerie in the basement? yea, I shoulda brought my rod.

  54. NJGator says:

    Ditto – That’s the one. You liked the basement better than the master suite?

  55. broke says:

    Thank you very much! If you can send it to very.broke@yahoo.com really appreciate it

  56. Libtard says:

    Ditto…Did you see the Rolls Royce furnace? That thing is awesome. Of course, the owner plans to take the newer, significantly more reliable boiler with him when he moves for the fish. You get to keep the 60 year old inefficient POS.

  57. NJGator says:

    Broke – You’ve got mail.

  58. ditto says:

    I missed the furnace, I was too worried about stepping on tree frogs and capybara in the humid gloom down there

  59. dan says:

    I think this has become the NJ Home Buying blog as I’m now a sucker buying a townhouse in Wayne.

    As for Glen Ridge, you would think the town would want to blow up that house on Freeman and pay for it with a big keg party.

  60. I permanently needed to write on my website something like that. Can I include a fragment of your post to my website?

  61. hughesrep says:

    “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-@ss prison for one six-month term, and all this bull$hit would stop, all over Wall Street.”


    Nothing that hasn’t been discussed here, but an entertaining read on how tight the banksters and the people supposed to be watching them are.

  62. Libtard says:

    Congrats Dan!!! Agree on the Freeman house. Especially since Glen Ridge didn’t spend a million two on creating a quiet zone.

  63. JJ says:

    Why are people buying again. Rates are up almost a point, home buyers credit expired. So why now?

    Is it stock market gains, is it fear rates are headed much higher, do people think we reached the bottom in housing prices?

    dan says:
    February 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I think this has become the NJ Home Buying blog as I’m now a sucker buying a townhouse in Wayne.

    As for Glen Ridge, you would think the town would want to blow up that house on Freeman and pay for it with a big keg party.

  64. Libtard says:


    Do you know kitchen cabinets? We are shopping various places now, and I understand how to look for quality in wood, but so many of the brands are so incredibly similar. Of course, you can’t get a price until they design your kitchen. Looking for higher quality faceless. I’m good with limited colors, panel designs, finishes and unique cabinet options. I’m more interested in a functional kitchen rather than building a showcase for me friends to put the take out bags in.

    So far, looked at Kraftmaid/UltraCraft/Cardell. Have another visit coming up at a place in East Hanover on Saturday. Little Gator is getting bored of these places. Thank the lord for my jailbroken iPod Touch.

  65. Libtard says:

    For me it was fear of my wife collecting on the life insurance policy.

  66. Anon E. Moose says:

    A. West [35];

    BTW, that “Undisclosed Address”? 4 Martin Ct. This is what I mean about used house sales flacks. They act like this information is government state secrets to justify their vig for access to it. Too stoopid to realize the google map insert on their own damn listing page gives the “undisclosed” address away. There’s no good reason not to freely and openly give information that is trivially easy to obtain. It confirms the worst impression of the seller and their chosen agent.

    You want to earn 6%? Bring some f-ing value to the transaction.

  67. chicagofinance says:

    LAKELAND, Fla. — Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was arrested late Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving in Florida, police said, the latest episode for the first baseman who has struggled with drinking-related problems.

    Cabrera, 27, was spotted by a deputy in a car with a smoking engine alongside a road in Fort Pierce. Inside the vehicle, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of a deputy, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. He refused to cooperate and more deputies were called to the scene.

  68. hughesrep says:



    A little bit. I once ran the cabinets / appliances department at Lowes. I knew just enough to turn almost everything over to the designers. Typically the local cabinet places are better to work with and right in the same ball park in terms of price. You should be able to get a rough price of X per linear foot based on the style and wood type, add 10% for miscellaneous BS.

    Check out lumber yards too, they usually have cabinet departments.

    Everything is similar because they are the same companies. Kraftmaid, Marrilat, Quality Cabinets are all owned by Masco for example. There are only a few manufacturers of “semi custom” cabinets.

    I’d say 30% of the large cabinet orders that ran through a Lowes had some sort of problem, some minor, some major. Make sure whoever is doing them makes a good measurement. Bad measurements are the root of most cabinet problems.

    I recently added a few cabinets myself to get some increased functionality out of our kitchen. I went with Kraftmaid at Lowes, basically because the door style was a pretty good match to our existing style and I knew if they screwed up the order I could push the right buttons to get it resolved. I got them unfinished so I could paint everything one color. I only added 5′ of top and bottom cabinets though. I had someone else do the counters.

    The full kitchen redesign will have to wait a few years, I just wanted to cover up the green, yes green cabinets, and replace a breakfast bar that faced a wall (?) with cabinets.

  69. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    More entertainment from MERS

    If MERS doesn’t have the authority to foreclose in their own name, then how do they have the authority to transfer the power to foreclose to a 3rd party to foreclose in their name?

    MERS is planning to shortly announce a proposed amendment to Membership Rule 8. The proposed amendment will require Members to not foreclose in MERS’ name. Consistent with the Membership Rules there will be a 90-day comment period on the proposed Rule. During this period we request that Members do not commence foreclosures in MERS’ name……
    MERS Members shall have a MERS Certifying Officer (also known as MERS Signing Officer) execute assignments out of MERS’ name before initiating foreclosure proceedings. Assignments out of MERS’ name should be recorded in the county land records, even if the state law does not require such a recording (see MERS Membership Rule 8)……


    How long before we see foreclosure defenses stating that MERS didnt have the authority to transfer title to the party being defended against?

  70. Libtard says:

    Thanks Hughes.

  71. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    I guess that 90 moratorium on foreclosing on MERS mortgages wont help your backlog.

  72. ditto says:

    Gator – sorry, missed your post – the master suite with the open-plan bathroom and the suburban recreation center changing room type feel?

    I liked the stairs up and down everywhere including the staircase from the office that went up to …nothing. It was like being in some real life Escher painting.

    Can wait to see what the spring season brings.

  73. NJGator says:

    Ditto – Yup. Sat on the market for like 6 months. Came back on with a hugh 16k price reduction. I wonder if the owner is still following around potential buyers while they look. It was all a bit creepy.

  74. J. says:

    Nom #23: I was going to have my bathroom redone; called in a good designer/contractor who came out, looked at some photos I’d clipped, said she’d get back to me and never did. Then I read that 1950’s style bathrooms with 4″ tile in lurid colors are coming back in style. Mine is black tile with mint green accent tile at the top (instead of the other way around) so it is less heinous than most. My remodeling plans have been scaled back down to a new vanity and new floor (DIY) and have a liner put on the tub. Done.

  75. Painhrtz says:

    Hehe a house we put an offer on last January, is now listing 20K below our offer. Wanted the place due to it being ona sidae street two car garage and fenced yard. Had lousy flip upgrades and electric Heat original list 445K we offered 390K current list 370K. Chase that market down there Jose and good luck hope the alligator doesn’t hurt to much chewing on your leg. Remax hasn’t updated their site but it is listed at 370K on GSMLS


  76. Anon E. Moose says:

    Cat [70];

    My primary concern about the mortgage foreclosure debacle right now is the money. If the deadbeats had the money to pay a lawyer to fight the foreclosure, why wouldn’t they just make their damn payments? On the other hand, if they want to pay me instead of the bank, I’ll go stand up in court for them.

    Has anyone dealt with “foreclosure defense” law firms? What’s the going rate for their services? What kind of payment arrangements do they offer?

  77. broke says:

    Gator,thank you very much for all your help!

  78. Alap says:


    There’s only 2 real good casinos now, Borgata and Harrah’s. Once this one is built, def. look for 2 of the Trumps, the Hilton, and maybe one more to close down.

    I think the Borgata and Harrah’s are currently the only ones that do somewhat decent.

  79. yo'me says:

    Who said short the market in January and Feb? This bull has alot of headwind and I am on the sideline.

  80. ditto says:

    Gator – whaddya think of the GR 26 Douglas St. house? Taxes seem a bit too much to chew for me.

  81. 250k says:

    Banks told to stress-test for 11% jobless rate: report
    Fed to close review of 19 banks by March; banks eye dividend hikes

    This is so awesome. Signal to the market that you anticipate a double dip which leads market to anticipate QE^infinity which leads to Dow 15,000.

    I love the smell of consumer confidence in the afternoon. The RE bubble popping was the best thing to ever happen to anyone’s 401k, let the good times roll.

  82. 30 year realtor says:

    #72 Cat – Don’t think it will matter much what MERS does from here on out. Thing has got a life of it’s own now.

  83. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Moose 77

    Go for it, ride the wave!

  84. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    It will be entertaining to see how exactly the monster train wreck that is MERS, unfolds. They are involved in a huge portion of the mortgage market so the damage at whatever scale it occurs will probably be widespread.

  85. 30 year realtor says:

    #77 Moose – Tough to make a living representing debtors. A few years back, during my divorce years I had trouble with some creditors. They sold off the credit card debt to a national debt buyer and I decided to challenge the buyer’s title to the debt. I ended up winning the case on appeal. Got some TV and print coverage. My attorney received many calls about his services after the media coverage. Problem was they has no money to pay him!

  86. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    it’s not uncommon for payment to be required upfront for those sorts of services.

  87. NJGator says:

    Ditto 82 – If the house sells around asking, the house is actually overassessed. GR assessments are about 95% of market this year.

    House looks nice and that is a great area.

  88. jj (64)-

    The dumb money in housing always panics and buys when interest rates kick up.

  89. Libtard says:

    I just received a call from the appraiser hired by TD bank for our higher than normal LTV HELOC. He wanted to know how we got the home for so much less than it appraises at. I said one word. “Patience.” Then I told him about the baguettes, the roasting spinach and garlic, the braindead sellers, etc. Man did that call just warm my c0ckles. I called Gator to tell her. She asked me if it means that we can now put in Central AC and redo the upstairs bathroom. Oy vey! Off to deal with a steampipe that showed up in a wall where we didn’t expect it. Oy vey again!

  90. Most lawyers I’ve seen who get involved trying to save a client from foreclosure actually make the situation worse.

  91. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Gotta love the three B’s of Barack, Bergabe, and Bahrain. My paper gold is back to even, and my paper silver has a sweet gain. Got stops under to make sure I don’t get reamed.

    Haven’t seen this much green in my TD account since I cannot remember when. And those red numbers are mostly a lot smaller.

    Laissez le bon temp roulez (probably not correct but close enough).

  92. Anon E. Moose says:

    30-yr [87];

    As I’ve had it described to me in casual conversation, the debtor’s cousel takes an up-front fixed fee (Something like $1,200-$1,500, circa 2005) to represent the debtor from petition through the trustee hearing. Their motivation is to get through the trustee hearing in one appearance.

    I’m contemplating that a deliquent homeowner can hire counsel on a monthly retainer basis calculated as some fraction of their mortgage payment. While the case continues, they pay for representation. The representation will end if a permanent workout is arranged; if the bank takes title and the debtor does not wish to contest up to and including a debtor occupying the premises oppsing eviction proceedings.

    Some fraction of a house payment to stay in the house seems like a bargain.

  93. Anon E. Moose says:

    Debt [92];

    Most lawyers I’ve seen who get involved trying to save a client from foreclosure actually make the situation worse.

    The lawyer’s job is to carry out the lawful objectives of his client. If the client wants to stay in the house as long as possible through the foreclosure process, and is willing to pay the lawyer to facilitate that goal, its not really the lawyer’s place to argue.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned observing the used house sales racket, its that integrity is fo’ suckas.

  94. I will complete a short sale on behalf of the debtor for free. Bank pays all commish and fees on these deals. I can also instruct the debtor on strategies for staying in the home until the last possible moment.

    Borrower can also begin rebuilding credit within 24-36 months of the short sale closing, as the mortgage is recorded as satisfied (though a short payoff is noted).

  95. Several short sales I’ve done have commenced with my undoing of damage done to the client by (heh, heh) well-meaning attorneys. The best are when the client has been told by his attorney that he’s working on a short sale approval, but in reality, the attorney has done nothing.

  96. moose (95)-

    Integrity? Where’s the integrity at JP Morgue? BAC? WFC?

    Where is the integrity in an attorney that will charge a broke debtor to avoid a foreclosure, when a good RE agent can do it for free?

  97. box (98)-

    You can be sure either Moose or his overlords make sure his billing is in 10-second increments. If he’s willing to ambulance-chase people getting foreclosed, he probably thinks pro bono is the name of a dog treat.

  98. Anon E. Moose says:


    Integrity? Where’s the integrity at JP Morgue? BAC? WFC?

    Same place it resides at the NAR, in some pablum mission statement for public consumption only, and nowhere else. Like I said, integrity is fo’ suckas. Glad we [apparently] agree. Always happy to find some common ground, particularly with you.

    Where is the integrity in an attorney that will charge a broke debtor to avoid a foreclosure, when a good RE agent can do it for free?

    A used house salesman cannot represent a client in federal BK court. On the other hand, an admitted attorney is a RE broker with the stroke of a rather modest check. And while I hate to repeat myself, integrity is fo’ suckas.

    The best are when the client has been told by his attorney that he’s working on a short sale approval, but in reality, the attorney has done nothing.

    I imagine the bank would tell you that, especially if the attorney is out of the picture and unable to dispute the contention.

    You can be sure either Moose or his overlords make sure his billing is in 10-second increments. If he’s willing to ambulance-chase people getting foreclosed, he probably thinks pro bono is the name of a dog treat.

    It’s always a treat to be lectured on how to treat people well by a [former?] used house flack, when the RE business model is based on hiding information from the clients who pay for it. WOOF, WOOF.

  99. Al Mossberg says:


    I agree. The media has gone from lousy to surreal. Cant believe anyone even watches it anymore.

  100. Al Mossberg says:


    Lone Ranger,

    Sa Sa Sa Sa SILVER BITCHEZ! Options expiry tomorrow. Expect a raid.

  101. JJ says:

    Is there a rule against a realtor selling a POS cape at peak of the market for 700k to a couple she knows who can’t afford it collecting a commission then four years later help couple organize a short sale for 450K and collect a second commission.

    Debt Supernova says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I will complete a short sale on behalf of the debtor for free. Bank pays all commish and fees on these deals. I can also instruct the debtor on strategies for staying in the home until the last possible moment.

    Borrower can also begin rebuilding credit within 24-36 months of the short sale closing, as the mortgage is recorded as satisfied (though a short payoff is noted).

  102. Juice Box says:

    re: Moose and Debt spat.

    Here is a little exorcise of throwing some gasoline on the on the fire.

    Google these two things.

    #1 – “Attorney sentenced”

    #2 – “Realtor sentenced”

    Which has more hits?

    Answer #1 by quite a lead…
    #1 – 8,520,000 hits
    #2 – 235,000 hits

  103. JJ says:

    Did you see weight watchers story today about the call options.

    Al Mossberg says:
    February 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm


    Lone Ranger,

    Sa Sa Sa Sa SILVER BITCHEZ! Options expiry tomorrow. Expect a raid.

  104. Al Mossberg says:


    My miners are largely sucking _ss compared to physical. AEM just had some not too shabby earnings and got sold off like a 2 cent wh_re. Im dumping my majors and focusing on the minors.

  105. VeggieMite says:

    Al, how many times a day does your husband creampie your azz?

  106. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [104];

    RULE AGAINST!?! That’s the prized 12% boomerang client! That’s the kind of realtor that gets the gold blazer with patches, and awards at the annual dinner.

    Your question reminds me of the term mortgage brokers had for their serial customers between 2003-2006, “refi refugees”. They were good for another commision every 12-24 months as they pulled out cash yet again to pay off credit cards or buy the new Hummer ‘on the house’.

  107. Lone Ranger says:

    “Is there a rule against a realtor selling a POS cape at peak of the market for 700k to a couple she knows who can’t afford it collecting a commission then four years later help couple organize a short sale for 450K and collect a second commission.”


    Is there a rule against an IB selling a pos structured product at market peak while shorting the same product at the same time; then a few years later cry armageddon, eventually looting the coffers?

  108. homeboken says:

    109 – Yes, there are rules against that sort of thing, however, they are not enforced.

    Which is better, have a rule and don’t enforce it OR Have no rules.

    Does it even matter? Ask Clot, oblivion beckons.

  109. moose (101)-

    I knew you’d bring up bankruptcy. None of the prior conversation in this thread about avoiding foreclosure mentioned it, but I know how an ambulance-chaser like you loves to get people into that BK queue.

    Using bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure is like blowing off your head with a shotgun to cure a cold. Of course, the fees you stand to collect in running a BK are much better than referring your sucker…er, client…to a good Realtor to do a short sale.

    Never mind that your client will also be out of the credit game for maybe 10 years and carry the BK on his credit forever.

  110. box (105)-

    There’s a reason Shakespeare said “let’s kill all the lawyers”, not “let’s kill all the Realtors”.

  111. I don’t know which would be worse:

    – being a client of Moose’s?
    – dealing with Moose’s persistent snark?
    – withstanding Moose’s constant judgment?

  112. home (110)-

    The buyer who committed fraud on his mortgage application in 2005 is highly unlikely to have shared that tidbit with the Realtor who helped him buy his house.

  113. …and considering every short sale I’ve done in the past four years is an open/shut case of mortgage fraud (often both parties), I’d say that whoever enforces “the rules” does not give a damn.

  114. Juice Box says:

    Debt used to say a thing or two about protesters and ramparts. The Govenor in Wisconsin is threatening to call in the National Guard to kick the teachers and other state workers out of the State House.

    For the past four days, thousands of public employees and their supporters have gathered in and around the Wisconsin state capitol to protest Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cuts. The changes will amount to about a seven percent salary cut for public employees.

    Pics here.


  115. jamil says:

    on unrelated note, if anybody sees group of deranged dem lawmakers hiding somewhere, inform WI state police.

    “MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police officers were dispatched Thursday to find Wisconsin state lawmakers who had apparently boycotted a vote on a sweeping bill that would strip most government workers of their collective bargaining rights.”

    Apparently, they are hiding in some resort in Illinois.
    The union thugs have signs showing governor in crosshairs, they are showing up harassing family members of lawmakers, and carrying out other violent rhetoric, but naturally this is perfectly fine as we know that this sort of rhetoric comes only from the right.

  116. jamil says:


    actual photo with the crosshair. Nothing to see here. Paul Krugman unavailable for commenting.

  117. box (116)-

    One can only hope for plenty of casualties on both sides.

  118. Al Mossberg says:

    Blah. The tit suckers are going down one way or another. The free ride is over. If you wish to garner public support why dont they stop soliciting government for the fleecing of hard working and productive Americans and instead focus on the real criminals. Then and only then could there cause have utility.

    Lets see if they can figure it out.

  119. I want to see water cannons blasting a bunch of lard-assed public union parasites.

  120. 30 year realtor says:

    Moose on real estate agents/brokers, my 2 cents: I never trust guys who protest so strongly. The everyone is out to fcuk me attitude usually comes from someone you can’t trust. I’ll worry about guys like him when they actually engage in a transaction that could result in a commission.

  121. VeggieMite says:

    I wanna creampie a realtor.

  122. like the musical accompaniment to that…

  123. The flamethrower is a vastly underrated weapon.

  124. Al Mossberg says:


    Throw some cake at those Wisconsin tit suckers and you’ll see how fast that protest disbands.

  125. NJ Toast says:

    Looking for a house or large apartment to rent in NJ. Have been looking on GSMLS.com Will need to live in place with train service to NY Penn.

    Any other suggestions on how to find a place? Can I use Lexis Nexis to find out if the owner is current in their mtg payment?


  126. NJGator says:

    NJ Toast – Stu and I will be renting a walk to train apt in Montclair out, but not until late Spring.

  127. Anon E. Moose says:

    Debt [114];

    The buyer who committed fraud on his mortgage application in 2005 is highly unlikely to have shared that tidbit with the Realtor who helped him buy his house.

    It was surely mere coincidence the large number of buyers with limited mastery of English, purportedly self-employed in landscaping, office cleaning, and/or agricultral work, with income (stated, nach) to support a zero-down piggyback note on a $700,000 POS. If the agent didn’t know, they’re quite a bit dumber on average than you would have us believe.

  128. Anon E. Moose says:

    Toast [127];

    Right church, wrong pew. More cost-effective resources are out there.

  129. So, Moose, how many RE attorney pals of yours stopped loan closings during the boom years because the story in the docs didn’t match up with the people sitting in front of them?

    Attorneys are officers of the court, right? So how many NJ attorneys were complicit in mortgage fraud by closing these shaky loans?

    I always liked it when attorneys wouldn’t let me sit at the table while they were closing loans.

  130. NJ Toast says:

    Gator, how big is the place and when you say late spring, what kind of time window are you looking at? Is it an apartment or multi-family?


  131. Anon E. Moose says:

    Debt [131];

    Nice try. Its worth noting that the attorney gets paid a flat fee for his services. The fee for closing of a $250k house is the same as for closing a $500k one; hence no incentive to up-sell an ignorant buyer a POS at double its rational market value. Used house salesman can’t say the same.

  132. nj escapee says:

    Moose, give up already. 40:1 you might fare better than a career politician.

    re: Moose and Debt spat.

    Here is a little exorcise of throwing some gasoline on the on the fire.

    Google these two things.

    #1 – “Attorney sentenced”

    #2 – “Realtor sentenced”

    Which has more hits?

    Answer #1 by quite a lead…
    #1 – 8,520,000 hits
    #2 – 235,000 hits

  133. Libtard says:

    NJ Toast:

    It’s really ideal for a couple with one small child since it’s a multi-family and there are lots of young kids around. The house has a large living room, galley kitchen, 3 bedrooms, finished basement w/powder room, washer dryer, kitchen with S/S appliances, 36″ stove, double sink, parking for two cars (one in the garage) a beautiful and large screened in gazebo, nice wooden swing set, fenced in area to grow veggies or recreational drugs, large screened in porch and a great landlord. We are a true four-minute walk to the Walnut Street train station which also houses the farmer’s market on Saturdays. Our new home is about 1/2 a mile from here, so I won’t be an absentee landlord. We expect it to pull in 2K per month rent. You would be responsible for all utilities. It’s really a great location for you can walk to lots of great restaurants, bars and our community pool and ice rink. Baseball field at the corner and park two blocks away. I’ve been trying to remove our mayor, but so far, to no avail.

  134. Libtard says:

    Oh…Late Spring is definitely negotiable. It’s tricky due to logistics which we could explain if you are still interested.

  135. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    if the state police really wanted to locate the DEMs all they have to do is run a trace on one of their cell phones. It’s all bread and circus. You don’t think they could trace them in about 5 min flat if they really wanted to?

  136. jamil says:

    cat: wi state police cannot act out of state. Besides, wiretapping etc needs court order, would probably take few days to get it, as this is not that urgent and judges may be hesitant to get involved immediately. Anyway, arrest warrent is needed and “deemed abandoned” state senate seat, and call for special elections for those 14 seats.

  137. NJ Toast says:

    Thanks Lib. Sounds like a nice place w ample space. We have flexibility pertaining to timing, nothing before mid-April earliest but won’t bore you w details. Let me mention it to my better half.

  138. Juice Box says:

    Must be something in the water on this blog.

    Going to check out another REO. This time I was told I can get it for 63% off the loan value, better not be blowing smoke up my ass Realtor TM, I get testy when lied too.

  139. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “a house we put an offer on last January, is now listing 20K below our offer.”
    Pain 76. now do the math on monthly payment with a 30 yr loan rate thats 100bps higher than last jan to figure out how much that $20k lower price will really cost you.

  140. Libtard says:


    The 3 weeks from when we made our offer to the time we got out of attorney review cost us $150 per month for the next 30 years due to the .75% interest rate increase. Was almost $200, but I waited for .25 point drop before I locked. Rates have already jumped up by that .25 since then.

  141. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Pain the $20,000 discount will have costed you $36,000 dollars.

  142. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Its worth paying a 1% increase in rates if prices simultaneously drop by 10% but the $20,000 is only a 5% discount.

  143. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Lib that’s an extra $54,000 over 30 years for a lousy 75bps jump. Its stuff like that makes captain cheapo’s blood boil.

  144. Libtard says:

    Yes it does. You can’t lock though, until you get out of review!

  145. VeggieMite says:

    I wanna cream pie a public employee.

  146. VeggieMite says:

    and a realtor.

  147. Shore Guy says:

    Perhaps an opening for a Hillary challenge to BO in ’12?


  148. Shore Guy says:

    I hate auto correct. So do these two, I suspect:


  149. Shore Guy says:

    I NEED some turquoise water. I wonder if there are any decent flights for this weekend.

  150. t c m says:


    Upstairs or downstairs apt?

  151. Barbara says:

    135. Libtard.
    That’s down right tempting….

  152. jamil says:

    Parasites on the run..when in NJ?

    ““The [Tennessee] Senate Education Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to abolish collective bargaining between teachers unions and school boards across the state.”

  153. grim says:

    Good luck timing mortgage rates.

  154. nj escapee says:

    Shore Guy says:
    February 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm
    I NEED some turquoise water. I wonder if there are any decent flights for this weekend.


  155. Fetid smell in the air this morning.

    It’s all over, gang.

  156. NJGator says:

    Tcm -downstairs apt. Other tenant has 2nd/3rd floor unit. They are committed through June and it’s quite possible will stay. They’ve been here since 2004, so I guess we can’t be too bad of a landlord.

  157. Ready for some good riots in WI today.

    Let’s see how a bunch of granola-chomping soci@lists in Madison cope with rubber bullets and water cannons.

    My prediction is gonna come true, folks: the public sector parasites will bring the ultraviolence that topples the country. We can all sit back with fruity drinks and cheer for casualties on both sides.

    It will be interesting when- after giving teachers a good reaming- state gubmints then begin to cut off the gravy train for fire and police.

  158. Burn, mf’er…burn!!!!!

  159. Nurburgringer says:

    just to give yall an idea what $275k (or less) will buy in Milwaukee, we’re going to make an offer on a place in the next week. I moved out of NJ 2 years ago (parents still live in Ringoes), have always rented but check in the NJREreport every once in a while when my spirits need a lift.

    The owners built a cape cod in 1973, raised a family, then in ’97 expanded it to ~2500sq ft and (tastefully) added a 4 car garage. Won an award for Milwaukee’s best garden a few years ago. Anderson windows, Vela skylights, mid-to-high end cabinets, granite of course, just nicely done work all around.
    They put it up for sale ~2 years ago at $370k when they bought a plot outside of town to be closer to the grown kids. Moved out early last year. Dropped the price about $20k every 2 or 3 months. Supposedly had a deal to sell it at $309k last year but the buyer lost their job and took their house off the market.
    Now it’s listed at $285k, thinking my first offer will be $260k no strings attached. Pre-approved for 4.875% 30yr fixed, 20% down. Only issue may be finding comps for the appraisal. $9k taxes but hoping to knock the assessment down in May from $350k closer to a PP of <$270k.
    Location could be better (close to a major highway so there's some constant traffic noise outside) but the heated garage, kitchen, and LR will ease any pain.
    Will be my first house. If and when the riots start at least I'll have plenty of storage space for guns, ammo and dry goods!

    what do you think?

  160. i’ve found your blog over the internet i thout i show you mine hope that we will do an link exchange with me how to become a vampire

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