March Beige Book

From the Federal Reserve:

Beige Book – Second District–New York

Summary

The Second District’s economy appears to have expanded at a modest pace since the previous report. Business contacts in most industries report stable to improving conditions and express widespread optimism about the near-term outlook. Labor market conditions have been mixed but generally steady, on balance: T here has been little or no net hiring in the financial and manufacturing sectors, but a slight pickup in some other sectors. Retail sales are characterized as relatively strong in early 2011, despite inclement weather, and consumer confidence has continued to improve. However, tourism activity has shown signs of slowing by more than the seasonal norm in early 2011. Commercial real estate markets remain fairly slack: The market for office space has been generally stable, while the market for industrial space has softened somewhat. Housing markets have been mostly stable, with scattered signs of improvement. Finally, bankers report strengthening demand for commercial loans and mortgages but weaker demand for home mortgage loans; they also indicate little change in credit standards and steady to lower delinquency rates.

Construction and Real Estate

Housing markets across the District have been generally stable since the previous report, with pockets of mild improvement. An authority on New Jersey’s housing industry reports that the market has been performing slightly better in early 2011, as the negative aftermath of last year’s homebuyer tax credit appears to have worn off. While there is still a sizable supply of existing homes on the market–including a large number of distressed properties–the inventory of available new homes in northern New Jersey is reported to be very low. The residential real estate market in metropolitan Buffalo also appears to have recovered to more normal levels of activity after several months of sluggish performance. There are signs of gradual improvement in Manhattan’s apartment rental market: Rents continued to rise at a moderate pace, the inventory of available units is described as tight, and fewer landlords are reported to be offering concessions than last year. Conditions in Manhattan’s co-op and condo market, on the other hand, appear to be holding steady: A major appraisal firm reports that prices are holding steady across the board and notes that, while contract activity fell noticeably in January, harsh weather is seen as the culprit, and transaction activity appears to be rebounding in February.

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149 Responses to March Beige Book

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. grim says:

    From the New York Times:

    No Agreement on Penalties for Mortgage Mess

    Even as state attorneys general and regulators in Washington approach the end of their investigation into abuses by the nation’s biggest mortgage companies, deep disputes are emerging over how much to punish the banks as well as exactly who should benefit from a settlement.

    The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pushing for $20 billion or more in penalties, backed up by the attorneys general and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

    But other regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees national banks, and the Federal Reserve, do not favor such a large fine, contending a small number of people were the victims of flawed foreclosure procedures.

  3. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    US Housing Recovery Hurt by Unrest in the Middle East

    You probably don’t think of unrest in the far away Middle East as having anything to do with the housing market here in the U.S. You should.

    The weekly mortgage applications say it all.

    Despite the rate on the 30-year fixed falling below the psychologically important 5 percent line, mortgage applications to purchase a new home and to refinance both dropped; yes, there was a holiday involved, but the four week moving average is also down, despite mortgage rates coming off their Egypt-unrest surge.

    Remember, rates track yields on the 10-year Treasury, which have been volatile due to the unrest abroad, but not THAT volatile: Less than half a percentage point.

    Rates are one thing, but uncertainty weighs heavier on potential buyers, and rising oil prices may outweigh both.

    “It’s the spring season. This is where new home buyers come out looking to buy a home,” says FBR’s Paul Miller. “If gas prices have gone up significantly, it’s going to cut into the foot traffic, and we’re really concerned with what that’s going to do to housing market.”

  4. grim says:

    I was able to lock my loan with a 4-handle due to exactly the market trend discussed in #3.

  5. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    N.J. voters are more likely to support budget cuts

    New Jersey voters are more likely to support cutting funding for state programs than they were a year ago, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released this morning.

    A majority of registered voters still think state aid to local governments, schools, and funding for colleges and universities, programs for the poor, and public transit should either be “not cut at all” or “cut less.”

    But voters are more willing to accept cuts than they were just after Christie gave his 2010 budget address. For instance, in an April, 2010 Rutgers-Eagleton survey, 31 percent of voters said they wanted no cuts at all to municipal aid. Now that number is 23 percent. A year ago, 39 percent said they wanted no cuts to environmental programs. Now, 29 percent respond with that answer. And while 49 percent of respondents last year opposed any cuts to state aid for colleges and universities, now just 37 percent do.

    Fourty-two percent of voters want no cuts in programs for the poor. A year ago, that number was 51 percent.

    “Gov. Christie talked about the ‘new normal’ in his budget speech. For voters, the new normal appears to be greater acceptance of budget cuts,” said poll director David Redlawsk.

  6. grim says:

    From the Daily Record:

    NJ mortgage fraud costs people their houses

    Michael and Lori Saul thought they were being offered a lifeline to rescue their home from foreclosure.

    In the end, it turned out to be a snare.

    Desperate to keep a roof over their heads, the couple turned to a Pennsylvania real estate company that proposed a “sale-leaseback” deal.

    Under the arrangement, the company, led by Anthony J. DeMarco III, said it would buy the Sauls’ property and allow them to continue to live there temporarily as tenants, giving them time to get back on their feet and eventually buy the house back.

    That’s not what happened, however. According to a federal indictment against DeMarco and others working with him, the property was sold to a “straw” buyer, not the real estate company, which used “doctored” documents to obtain a mortgage to finance the sale.

    DeMarco, 31, of Conshohocken, Pa., and his partners pocketed the proceeds from the mortgage, as well as the Sauls’ $2,200 monthly rent payments, which they believed were going into an escrow account, according to court documents. In all, the Sauls say they lost more than $400,000 in the alleged scam, including $245,000 they received in an auto accident settlement, which the government says DeMarco used to buy expensive jewelry and a Ferrari.

  7. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    SEC Probe Examines Bank-Loan Practices

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing U.S. banks that have restructured troubled loans in order to make them appear healthier than they really are, according to people familiar with the situation.

    Officials at the SEC are seeking information from an unknown number of regional and community banks with large concentrations of commercial real-estate loans, these people said.

    The agency is zeroing in on a variety of practices used by financial institutions as they work to clean up loan portfolios that were bruised by the financial crisis or recession. While the U.S. banking industry is in recovery mode, many banks still are weighed down by soured loans.

    Among the practices being examined by the SEC is one known as “extend and pretend” or “amend and pretend,” in which a bank gives a borrower more time to repay a loan. Banks are permitted to modify loans to help troubled borrowers.

  8. Billy G’s latest. If you want, just cut to the last two paragraphs.

    Yield must be paid, bitch.

    http://www.pimco.com/Pages/Two-Bits-Four-Bits-Six-Bits-a-Dollar.aspx

  9. grim (7)-

    The community bank that holds a note on my building is getting grilled right now by auditors.

  10. In other news, the bank that holds a line of credit on my home sent me a letter about a month ago, indicating the line was frozen due to loss of equity in my home.

    Yesterday, a solicitor called me from that bank to refi down to 2.99%. I asked her if she could pull it off with a 110% LTV, laughed and hung up.

  11. gary says:

    An authority on New Jersey’s housing industry reports that the market has been performing slightly better in early 2011, as the negative aftermath of last year’s homebuyer tax credit appears to have worn off.

    Read this f*cking statement and tell me that anyone with an IQ above 60 doesn’t agree that this is a banal, vacuous, hollow blurb that says absolutely nothing.

  12. gary says:

    Here you go, tell these f*cking sellers that the market is stabilizing:

    10/01/2010 Price change -$30,000 (-4.8%) view details $599,000
    09/17/2010 Price change -$20,000 (-3.1%) view details $629,000
    08/27/2010 Price change -$40,000 (-5.8%) view details $649,000
    07/03/2010 Price change -$36,000 (-5.0%) view details $689,000
    06/30/2010 Price change view details $725,000

    http://www.trulia.com/property/1042049583-83-E-Center-St-Midland-Park-NJ-07432

  13. gary says:

    You want another one? This sold for 435K in 2004, currently listed at 499K. If they get out at the same price they sold, they may only have to bring a small check to the closing as opposed to a big one.

    http://www.trulia.com/property/3041996033-81-Vreeland-Ave-Midland-Park-NJ-07432

  14. gary says:

    No, there was no housing racket at all:

    01/19/2011 Price change -$59,100 (-13.8%) view details $369,900
    01/15/2011 Price change view details $429,000
    01/03/2006 Sold close details $420,000 Public records Public records

    http://www.trulia.com/property/3033267836-10-Millington-Dr-Midland-Park-NJ-07432

  15. gary (11)-

    Easy to understand within the context of the Fed’s being the biggest shill in the history of the universe.

    Step right up, suckers.

  16. gary says:

    Oh, and by the way, I met my “replacement” yesterday who is going to take my place as the new “contractor”. You know, because after a period of time, they have to let “temp” workers like me go or else they need to convert them to full time and we all know that wasn’t going to happen. I mean, after all, who wants to convert someone who has taken a commanding hold on a credit risk application that is used by ALL business units of a major financial firm.

    Come on… be serious… no one wants someone who can communicate issues and resolutions effectively to the business side. So, anyway, I met my “fellow” worker, just two days into his arrival from India. After I shook his hand, he asked me which coin was the “dime” and which one was the “quarter” as he needed to take the train into Manhattan to get his “documents” that says he’s “allowed to be in America.” Yup.

    Upon learning of my demise this week, a managing director for one of the business units called me personally and said, and I paraphrase: “Why the f*ck are they letting you go? You’ve been giving our group exceptional support for a year now!” I didn’t even respond, he knows the answer to that one. Welcome to the new Amerika: where sh1teous fast food and even more sh1teous entertainment reign supreme.

  17. gary (14)-

    Saying that my industry was a racket implies that we were organized and had a plan.

  18. gary (16)-

    I can’t stand Glenn Beck, but stories like yours do make me think that Piven-Cloward is at work in zillions of ways, both large and small.

  19. gary says:

    Debt,

    I’m ready. When does the training start to master the use of firearms?

  20. gary (19)-

    The insanity doesn’t end until we start capping the people responsible for cooking up this mess.

    We are way past the point of reason here, folks.

  21. Just wait ’til the hot weather hits.

    “When two months ago, in the first week of January, we observed that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index had hit a record we said: “The last time food prices hit ridiculous levels, the immediate outcome was global food riots in places such as Haiti and Bangladesh. Which is why distributors of riot equipment in the world’s poorest countries may be in for a bumper crop as the Food and Agriculture Organization has just announced that world food prices have just surpassed the previous record last seen in 2007-2008.” Little did we know just how prophetic this statement would turn out to be. Well, the FAO has just released its latest food price update and as expected, it is a new all time high. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index hit its second straight record last month, further passing peaks seen in 2008 when prices sparked riots in several countries, driven by rising grain costs and tighter supply.” And with oil now joining food, which means that the inflationary vicious spiral is now on, it is only a matter of time before ever more hungry countries join the wave of revolutions, now that Tunisia and Egypt have shown it can be done. On the other hand, our expectation is that the IMF will promptly seek to put out any fires before they become infernos, with the US taxpayer reeling from the double whammy of Bernanke’s inflationary policy consequences: once at home, and once by subsidizing foreigners.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/food-prices-hit-new-all-time-record-february

  22. chicagofinance says:

    Barb: I disagree. An HSA is a PIA, but your employer can make it worth your while. My family coverage is roughly $21,000 a year, which I split with the LLC 50%. When I switched to the HDHP, the cost dropped to roughly $13,000 with a $3,000 deductible. The LLC kicked in $1,500 into the account. So the everyone made out.

    Do I want an HSA? Fuk no. But I’ll take $2,500 pre-tax a year for my trouble…..plus a lot of providers seem to shapen the pencil once they know you are writing checks out of your own pokcet versus big brother…..

    Barbara says:
    March 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm
    78.
    Confused. I can see if you are just out of college, 22 yrs old and your employer has this option (HSAs), but as soon as pregnancies, babies and cancer screenings start, they are worthless.

  23. chicagofinance says:

    Gary: sorry to hear it….

  24. chicagofinance says:

    My landlord just offered us a 36 month extention beyond the 12 months remaining, so I think we will be in place until 2015.

  25. yo'me says:

    U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fall to 368,000, Lowest Since 2008

    Now if we can only create more good paying jobs!

  26. nj escapee says:

    gary, sorry about your loss. I’ve been backstopping my son and his young family. He’s been trying to make ends meet temping for crap $ for the past 18 mos. No joke.

  27. yo'me says:

    New unemployed at 368K a week that is suppose to be a good thing! Dropped 20k from previous week

    Continuing claims at 3.7 million not counting the people that are over the 99 weeks.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/us-economic-calendar.aspx

  28. yo'me says:

    If this economy can only create more jobs than how many we loose

    Nonfarm payroll employment in January posted a minimal 36,000 increase, following a revised 121,000 gain in December and a 93,000 advance in November. The private sector barely did any better as private nonfarm payrolls increased 50,000 in January, down from a 121,000 boost the prior month. Wage gains improved in the latest month. Average hourly earnings in January rose 0.4 percent, following a 0.1 percent uptick the prior month. The average workweek for all workers posted at 34.2 hours, compared to analysts’ forecast for 34.3 hours. The unemployment rate fell to 9.0 percent from December’s unexpectedly low 9.4 percent.

  29. yo'me says:

    Loose 368K a week in employment and gain 150K a month is considered healthy!

    During the mature phase of an economic expansion, monthly payrolls gains of 150,000 or so are considered relatively healthy. In the early stages of recovery though, gains are expected to surpass 250,000 per month

  30. There is no recovery. In fact, we are sliding faster toward a catastrophic crash, which will precipitate a currency collapse, domestic violence, starvation, and ultimately, world war.

  31. It is the end of days.

  32. grim says:

    Weekly claims of 300k per week were common during periods of low unemployment. The realistic lower bound of that measure has been 300k over the past 25 years.

    The number this week is very good news.

  33. Shore Guy says:

    Clot,

    Thanks for the early-morning pick-me-up.

  34. NJGator says:

    We may be growing broke, but we’ll be the first town in NJ to offer public electrification stations for hybrid cars. I can see Mayor Fried changing the colors on his crazy Sustainable Montclair org chart now!

    Of course even though we got grants for the chargers, we apparently can’t charge users for the electricity, so this will likely still cost Montclair in the end.

    Montclair set to lead with hybrid recharging stations

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/117264263_Montclair_set_to_lead_with_hybrid_recharging_units.html

  35. NJGator says:

    Come charge your hybrid in Montclair, and stay for the Pizza, BBQ and Blues at Ruthie’s with a $10 for $20 Living Social deal available today.

    https://livingsocial.com/deals/27343?ref=conf-jp&rpi=7385370

    This message was brought to you by Captain Cheapo

  36. gary says:

    They want to trump these job numbers but let’s see the actual names of the positions being filled as opposed to the quantity. Loading trucks part time on the Home Depot dock is a big difference than a civil engineering position being created due to expansion. Let’s stop the bullsh1t and be honest, ok?

  37. gary says:

    And thanks all for the well-wishes, I appreciate it but I gotta agree with Supernova, this “recovery” is nonsense as real meat and potatoes positions are still not happening.

  38. homeboken says:

    From #6 – according to court documents. In all, the Sauls say they lost more than $400,000 in the alleged scam, including $245,000 they received in an auto accident

    What am I missing, these people had $245,000 in insurance proceeds and still couldn’t afford to stay in their home? Something doesn’t add up

  39. All "H-Train" Hype says:

    Gary (37):

    You are getting a raw deal, sorry to hear about your situation.

  40. gary says:

    Hype [40],

    I know, I agree. I said it time and time again: virtually every position will eventually be on a temp or contract per diem basis. My so-called manager has been avoiding me like the plague as he thinks he’s saving the department money by importing another robot and doesn’t have the courage to face me. Little does he know that his permanent, benefits-laden @ss is going to eventually be eliminated as well. Giving two word email directives all day adds absolutely zero value to the department or the firm.

  41. Al Mossberg says:

    The US dollar looks like a hot bag of garbage today.

  42. grim says:

    ISM comes in way better than expected, 10y yield jumping up.

    Are those tulips I see?

  43. All "H-Train" Hype says:

    Gary (40):

    You are 100% correct. All my friends here in the pharma business are slowly waking up to the contractor/temp reality. Most of the people I work with are really frightened as they have big mortgages/car payments/kids in college. It sucks for them but they did not see the signs this was coming 5 years ago. Just the other day 2 of my co-workers were bitching about their 15k property tax bills living in West Orange. I told them to get out ASAP, take a small loss and consider themselves lucky. They actually agreed with me.

  44. Nurburgringer says:

    “I was able to lock my loan with a 4-handle due to exactly the market trend discussed in #3.”

    Same here.
    Did you ever chose a range Grim?
    I’m leaning towards this one:
    http://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/FGGF304DL.html
    Made in the same factory as the KitchenAid, Kenmore and Whirlpool re-brands.

    Would love to get one of these with a separate wall oven (there’s even a space already there) but gawd it’s pricy
    http://www.eliteappliance.com/Electrolux/E36GC75GSS.php?google=1

  45. sas3 says:

    #16, gary…

    When that guy screws up, or when the mandatory wait period between two contractor gigs at that company, you may be offered the position. I do hope you are in a position to say, “Thanks, but no thanks”.

    You are probably a victim of the side effect of a rule that was probably designed to protect exploitation of contractors. In a good economy you’d have probably got the full time offer. Hang on, and things will be fine.

    On a related note, some of the big software companies from India can operate at a loss for an extended period of time to get a foot hold. They severely underbid and hire kids from India on L1 type visas. Many of those guys have really no life outside of work, so they kill themselves at work. Their instructions: “make the client happy”. Even some married folks live away from families for a year or more. When their shelf life expires, they are pulled back to India, and a new, single, mid-twenties person comes on. Tough to compete. Too many hungry sharks in the ocean.

  46. yo'me says:

    I consider my son very lucky.He graduated from Rutgers in 2008.Got temp jobs after that.I sent him an application from MS that was posted by JJ.Got hired as a Contract last year and got offered a full time job this month.Again,he will not be making as much as others but he got his foot in.

    As for me I am still a bum

    Thank you to all!!

  47. dan says:

    Grim,

    I went for the 7 year 4% option rather than the 4.875% – 5% 30. I guess it’s the gambler in me.

  48. dan says:

    Apologies to Stu and Gator but I used the Captain Cheapo line to my friends by locking in 4 nights at Mandalay Bay at 423 with taxes. That was down from the 600 quoted a month and a half ago.

  49. Mike says:

    Gary Number 40 That was my only prediction for Grim’s 2011 list. Outsourcing will be more extensive in the private and public sector

  50. renter says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/nyregion/04remedial.html

    CUNY Adjusts Amid Tide of Remedial Students
    Is this the mission of a university? If you aren’t prepared to take college courses when you finish high school then should you go to college?

  51. Libtard says:

    Speaking of appliances. We are shopping our kitchen redo and need to get a cabinet-depth model side-by-side. Reading the reviews for hours, I’m thinking about going old school and just getting a giant cooler and replacing the giant ice cube every few days. Think I would qualify for an energy-star rebate?

    Seriously though, anyone have any luck with a particular brand. Our fancy GE in the new home royally suks. It frosts up and then grinds any time you open the door for more than 30 seconds and it’s not sunny and dry out. It would probably be a great model if you lived on the moon.

    Right now we are leaning towards a Samsung, but the ice maker is tiny and the drawers only pull out half way, which isn’t great when you eat as many fresh vegetables as we do.

  52. JJ says:

    Great!!!! Morgan Stanley is very lucky.

    yo’me says:
    March 3, 2011 at 10:33 am
    I consider my son very lucky.He graduated from Rutgers in 2008.Got temp jobs after that.I sent him an application from MS that was posted by JJ.Got hired as a Contract last year and got offered a full time job this month.Again,he will not be making as much as others but he got his foot in.

    As for me I am still a bum

    Thank you to all!!

  53. Libtard says:

    Dan…when checking in to MB, fold up a $20 between your credit card and drivers license. They will almost always give you a much better room and if they can’t they will give you your $20 back. This works about 90% of the time. Occasionally, and if it’s midweek, you can get a suite, which in Vegas, is insane. Thank me when you get back!

  54. grim says:

    Nurb,

    No range, 36″ kitchenaid cooktop and 30″ double ovens.

  55. Libtard says:

    Grim…You are a mad man!

  56. Shore Guy says:

    I swear by our Wolf cooktop, and GE french-door refrigerator with freezer drawers on the bottom.

  57. dan says:

    Stu,

    I’ll be trying that tonight actually :) Thanks for the advice.

  58. sas3 says:

    Long time home owners (Grim/stu/gator/shore/clot)…

    Asked this earlier, reposting….

    12 year old house, bought in mid ’09… I hear the attic furnace making grunting noises, some small things here and there that may need fixing. We made some changes in the summer (basement finishing and adding a basement bathroom). We may be planning to replace the deck this spring (right now it is a closed, 8×12 deck — no stairs to walk out, and is semi-rotting).

    Should I get a home inspection soon or wait till we do the deck?
    Wait for some big appliance dying (furnaces and ACs)?
    Don’t bother with an inspection for a few years?

    There is some money that can go to a new car (to replace the ’96 compact clunker I’m driving). The car is still working, so we may spend money on one depreciating item instead of another.

  59. JJ says:

    I like the samsung french door with the freezer drawer on bottom and sep shelf that pulls out so kids can get snacks without opening big french doors. With water and ice in the door. GE does not have that drawer so akward for a little kid to get something out of fridge, open two french doors then slide out a drawer to get something like a fruit out. So 2009.

  60. al (41)-

    Hey, that fiat note is backed by the full faith and credit of the American people.

    (now projectile vomiting off to the side)

  61. sastry (45)-

    Please bring some of what you are smoking over to my office.

  62. JJ says:

    sas 3 what is point of a home inspection on home you own? I am painfully aware of every problem in my house. my rotting sun room windows, my old furnance my peeling deck my loose siding all on my summer to do list.

    Unless there is some big type of cash for clunkers for appliances going on wait till they die. The payback is several years. A 1996 car could run a long time, depends what is wrong with it. A 1996 car is fully depreciated so unless engine/tranny may be going soon why dump it.

  63. Shore Guy says:

    Sastry,

    Why are you getting your own house inspected?

  64. Libtard says:

    I have to agree with the others here on the home inspection. There is absolutely no reason to pay money for someone to come through your house to tell you what needs fixing. Especially with the massive amount of information available on the internet for your perusal. JJ’s right. Work everything until they die or spring a leak.

  65. chicagofinance says:

    How it is done in 2011….

    client dies…estate is settled….account split….

    one bene in their late 40’s…..takes $900,000 and immediately has it wired to pay debts with 4 different parties, none of which is the mortgage…..

    client was the most humble and frugal person around…….what a piece of sht the child is…….

  66. NJSerf says:

    (65) I have to agree with the others here on the home inspection. There is absolutely no reason to pay money for someone to come through your house to tell you what needs fixing. Especially with the massive amount of information available on the internet for your perusal. JJ’s right. Work everything until they die or spring a leak.

    Libtard is right. If you suspect something is about to go, call a company to come out to look at it and give you a quote. More often then not they’ll tell you whats wrong with it and how much it will cost to fix. Whether you choose to proceed is up to you.

    Paying for an entire home inspection after you have already purchased the home is a waste. In fact, you can probably go to the original inspection report(assuming the inspector was half decent) to find problem areas. Inspectors will typically identify trouble areas with a time table of when the issues can come up.

  67. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Shore 64: Yes that’s going to fly. Oops your dead.
    Gary: That sucks, I gather you knew it was coming sooner or later with the temp rules.
    Stu 65: “Work everything until they die or spring a leak.” Unfortunately I think that also means people these days.
    JJ nice hooking Yo’s kid up, good man.
    Clot/Debt61: If Sastry comes through give me a shout I ‘ll come over, what the h*ll. Then we will see the world through rosy colored glasses too.

  68. A.West says:

    Sas3,
    Don’t pay for an inspection. If your house is bad enough maybe you can get that guy on TV to do a free “Holmes Inspection” and teardown/repair. 2010 was a good time to replace your whole HVAC system thanks to tax breaks and NJ subsidies. I don’t know if that’s still on in 2011. But if stuff isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Unless you think there is something potentially dangerous. But then go straight to a specialist, not a generalist like an inspector.

  69. Nurburgringer says:

    Grim – the only thing I don’t like about KicthenAid’s is the crossed grates. Can’t really use a wok.
    Double ovens are sweet. We do most of our baking in one of these now but someday having 2 full ovens wouldn’t be bad
    http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-31197-Countertop-Convection/dp/B0002HDWNS/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_cart_1

    BTW – the POs took this monstrosity with them to their new house:
    http://www.hearthsidedistributors.com/Catalog/45-All-Gas-Range
    They also had the $3k matching wall oven. Both are a sham. A conventional swing-down door hides behind the retro-look facade.

    69: I didn’t get a “proper” home inspection either. Paid a friend-of-a-friend (ex licensed home inspector now private HVAC guru) $50 to check things out and give his blessing. Seller cut another $3k off the price to waive the HI, which added to the $20k reduction off the listed price makes a nice little nest egg when the furnace or roof need replacing in 10 years.

  70. Nurburgringer says:

    51: fridges
    My buddy raves about his:
    http://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/LFX25978SW.html

  71. Libtard says:

    Thank Nurburger. Not a fan of the bottom freezer. We don’t eat meat at home and really prefer a shelved freezer. Plus, we have no choice but to go to cabinet-depth since our kitchen is mostly a galley besides the eat-in portion.

  72. grim says:

    70 – you an use a universal wok ring. The center burner on the top model is a whopping 20k btu, one of the largest available in a cooktop.

  73. sas3 says:

    Thanks all… I save 500 bucks by not doing inspection :)

    Shore, the inspection was just to see if there is something majorly wrong that I don’t know — never owned a house before, so self doubt about whether I’m running down the place without knowing it.

  74. sas3 says:

    Mike/Clot: I say that there are hungry sharks everywhere (but there may be some hope) and that’s Rosy colored glasses? How pessimistic do I have to be to be considered “normal” by you?

  75. chicagofinance says:

    “wok ring” makes it through moderation?

    73.grim says:
    March 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm
    70 – you an use a universal wok ring

  76. Libtard says:

    I’ve actually had good luck (6 years of it) with my peerless 6-burner – 36-inch stove. The only negative is the crappy plastic knobs since the paint essentially rubs off of them. Not necessary for all but the oven knob of course. For $1,300, it’s tough to beat.

  77. JJ says:

    That LG sucks, it is same as Electrulux, had a tons of recalls, I had two of them, both defective and numerous sales calls, thing could not make ice, thing had warm water, but fridge worked, eventually Best Buy refunded money and I got the Samsung. Some smaller stores wont sell the Electrolux french door anymore as too much headaches.

    Nurburgringer says:
    March 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm
    51: fridges
    My buddy raves about his:
    http://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/LFX25978SW.html

  78. Libtard says:

    Yeah…Samsung seems to be the most reliable from what I’ve read. You can’t fault those South Koreans. They now how to make their Kim Che hot and their refrigerators cold.

    Now LG is Korean too, but their appliance division came from Goldstar. Actually LG stands for Lucky (the owner) Goldstar. Goldstar was famous for buying the research on products from the likes of Sony and then manufacturing identical products cheaply.

    Quite frankly, I don’t trust LG too much knowing their background from 15 years ago.

  79. NJToast says:

    Lib,

    Get kitchenaid or whirlpool. Both are well made and will provide years of reliable service. Everyone I know w subzero hates them. Problems w compressors and they felt like fools for dropping that kind of coin. Milk stays just as cold w non-status appliances.

  80. Nurburgringer says:

    20k BTU burner is a monster. Even though the wok will sit pretty far up that should still put flames on it. Max on the freestanders is ~17k, still not bad.

    JJ – guess my buddy got lucky. Hard to find any appliance these days without at least one disgruntled customer.

    I’m also shopping for a 2 or 4 post car lift. The ramifications of a defective lift are almost as dangerous as a gas range.

  81. A.West says:

    I’ve got a nearly 20 year old sub-zero. It’s a big one and it’s built into the shelving system, so I’ll eventually have to replace it with another one to match the space. Top shelf isn’t quite cold enough to keep the milk happy as long as usual, and if I turn the temp strength past 50%, ice starts forming on one lower back panel section. Looks like it will cost about $8k to replace. Fortunately for me I’m eating low carb and don’t need milk, and it keeps my salad, meat, and cheese perfectly cold, so I’ll push replacement off for a bit longer.

  82. Confused In NJ says:

    I replaced my Whirlpool Electric Glasstop Stove with a Kenmore Dual Fuel five burner gas range top with electric convection oven & warming draw. Runs like a charm. Mrs C. likes a gas top, and this allowed me to keep the 220 line, when I installed the gas line.

  83. Barbara says:

    22. Chi Fi
    Those number do not work out for the self employed, unfortunately.

  84. Pat says:

    data geeks http://pubplans.bc.edu/pls/htmldb/f?p=198:3:2682310690916765

    cf a little late to the HD HRA v. HSA party but gotta go with getting a good broker (just put up with the periodic sales pitches) who does all the work on the crappy admin side and takes all the abuse for cnp.

  85. Shore Guy says:

    Egads! This strikes a blow for school safety? Gimme a break:

    http://www.tidewaternews.com/2011/02/26/middle-school-student-suspended-for-opening-door/

  86. Shore Guy says:

    “so self doubt about whether I’m running down the place without knowing it.”

    Your eyes, ears, and nose will give you just about any data you really need.

  87. make money says:

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/mar2011/mozi-m03.shtml

    US Justice Department drops investigation of sub-prime mortgage mogul Angelo Mozilo

    Don’t hate the player with a bad tan, hate the game.

  88. Kettle1 says:

    Debt,

    Portugal, Which Has €20 Billion In Bond Maturity And Deficit Outflows In 2011, Has Only €4 Billion In Cash

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/portugal-which-has-€20-billion-bond-maturity-and-deficit-outflows-2011-has-only-€4-billion-c

  89. Barbara says:

    I wish you could punch bots in the head.

  90. Reversion to Mean says:

    I wish Gary would move to the DC area.

  91. chi (66)-

    That’s a very hopeful story, as this person has accrued more debt than I have.

  92. Pat (that is) says:

    Then I wouldn’t be the only funny-sounding, obstinant stinker here.

    You know it’s bad when the new guy (a ten-year transplant from Russia) and the formerly-new guy (a five-year transplant from Uruguay) are asking each other where they’re from (reply with city/countries). So I say, pointing, “I thought you were from Tyson’s and you, Dude, were from DC???”

    Then they look at me and Dracula says, “What’r u gonna make of it, Seaside?”

  93. sastry (74)-

    You are…so don’t worry about it.

    “…never owned a house before, so self doubt about whether I’m running down the place without knowing it.”

  94. Pretty soon, it will be acceptable to wear out your house, stop paying the mortgage, set fire to it and walk away.

  95. sastry (75)-

    If you don’t see imminent doom at every turn, you are a Candide and a simpleton.

  96. chi-

    Was in Ithaca day before yesterday. Town looks like the economy hasn’t been good since about 1986.

  97. shore (86)-

    Just another brick in the wall of Amerika’s education gulag.

  98. vodka (89)-

    And the problem is?

  99. Bystander says:

    Anyone use Listingbook? It supposedly provides real time house data..but I don’t want retard agents trying to friend me before they try to f* me. Does it provide any use to a buyer?

  100. chicagofinance says:

    Hard to run a town properly whilst perpetually stoned with the munchies……

    97.Debt Supernova says:
    March 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm
    chi- Was in Ithaca day before yesterday. Town looks like the economy hasn’t been good since about 1986.

  101. chicagofinance says:

    albani: my two aunts from Durres who I’ve never met in my life are flying into NYC later this month…..what would two albani ladies in their 50’s want to see? other than grim’s chest hair…..

  102. chicagofinance says:

    The end is nigh….

    Perez, K-Rod, Isringhausen help Mets shut out Cardinals

    PORT ST. LUCIE — The thin ice under Oliver Perez’s feet hasn’t cracked yet.

    After taking a shellacking Sunday in his spring training debut, Perez on Thursday pitched two scoreless innings for the Mets in a 3-0 win over the Cardinals. The veteran lefty allowed two hits and did not walk a batter.

    “You don’t have to think about everything that happened,” said Perez, who could be released before the end of camp, despite the $12 million he is owed. “You just have to focus about your job and just have fun.”

    According to a club source, there was no veracity to an earlier report stating Perez might be released based on Thursday’s performance. Perez would have received another chance next week, regardless, according to the source.

    The Mets announced Wednesday that Perez would start Thursday’s game (he was previously scheduled to appear in relief) but the pitcher did not receive the message until arriving at the ballpark. Perez said he recently lost his cell phone and the Mets don’t have his new number.

    Thursday’s outing was good enough that Terry Collins said it kept Perez in the mix for a spot in the starting rotation.

    “If he would have had a tough day, I probably would have thought about (what) we talked about when we came in here, and that is that situational lefty (spot) because he does get left-handed hitters out,” Collins said. “He did what we asked him to do today, and we are going to run him out there again.”

    Perez peaked at 87 mph Thursday according to the radar gun.

    “More important for me is be comfortable with all my pitches,” Perez said. “Right now I feel good. I know my velocity is not there, that’s why you’ve got to find a way to get outs.”

    Closer Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning in his spring debut, and Jason Isringhausen threw a hitless inning.

    Chris Capuano, a candidate for the starting rotation, pitched one inning in relief because he was throwing on short rest. He gave up one hit and no walks.

    Rodriguez gave up one hit and struck out one working the third inning.

    “I’m pleased with the outing,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t get much work because they jumped right away early in the count, but I’m happy. … My command was there, which is good. Now I just need to get a little stronger and move forward.”

    With AP

  103. chi (101)-

    Central/Western NY would be a great place to test things like neutron bombs and EMP weapons.

  104. Other quaint things about Central/Western NY:

    – Allowing siding to simply fall off your house. Why rush to replace it?

    – Wrapping your house in Tyvek or tar paper…then calling it a day. Siding is for show-offs.

    – Not washing your car between October and April. GM should take a lesson here and offer “dirt” as a color choice on all models.

    – The US’ #1 market for Bugler tobacco and rolling papers (for all kinds of “tobacky”).

    – #1 location in US for “Free Tibet” bumper stickers on gas-guzzling ’80s GM boats.

  105. chi (103)-

    Too bad Madoff was never allowed to run the team.

  106. Shore Guy says:

    People’s Republic of Ithaca

  107. Shore Guy says:

    Clot,

    Then again, one has the baby wearing.

  108. Shore Guy says:

    We had looked seriously at several properties on several of the finger lakes. Our assessment was that:

    As nice a individual houses and some of he towns are, there is a huge proportion of the population living like the Clampets, before they hit oil.

    Most properties are way overpriced.

    The lakes are nice but not THAT nice.

    With fee rare exceptions there is nothing to do, no decent place to eat out or shop for food.

    .

  109. Shore Guy says:

    Fee = few

    Also, taxes are out of this world. It seems like the local towns and School-of-Music districts rely on the few nice houses to support the tarpaper and tyvek folks.

  110. Shore Guy says:

    Now, with that crazy tax ruling saying that any dwelling in which one could live on a regular basis will be considered a residence for tax purpodes, We said forget the Finger Lakes.

  111. d2b says:

    The bank is on the hook for RE taxes on bank-owned foreclosures, correct? How are they on payment and if they don’t pay it I assume the city still gets its money through tax sales. What is the discount on tax sale? Any experts on here after 5?

  112. Shore Guy says:

    Chifi,

    It looks like you went to the wrong Chicago-area university

  113. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Bit of zeitgeist. My daughter’s elementary school in the brig has a class project on the wall. 4th graders were asked to finish a statement in words and pictures. The statement was …

    “If I had to flee the country …”

  114. Shore Guy says:

    At least it wasn’t: When I have to flee the country.

  115. Fabius Maximus says:

    Stu

    I have a Bosch counterdepth side by side. Love it and hate it. I had some issues at the start with a leak from the waterpump. I ended up with a new unit but I think that was more down to the muppet they sent to swap the part. He kept messing it up until eventally Bosch sent a new unit. As all service contracts are with a third party, there is a good chance the same guy works all models. He shows up one day takes a look, they drop ship parts a few days later he comes back to install. Over the years I have had techs out to most brands. There are no real good brands these days, there is a big middle of the pack as the same model gets badged at the factory Kenmore and Fridgidare are identical),and subZero at the back. My cousins subzero needed a new computer board that was big bucks. I think a lot of SZ issues come from the top mounter compressor.

    Capacity is the biggest issue, Go to your current model, move everything to one side to leave 40-50% of shelf space free and see how quickly it fills up. With kids we have a lot of milk bread and our cooking schedule has a lot of leftovers in rotation so we ended up with a second full size top and bottom in the basement for main storage and use the couterdepth for stuff we will use in the next few days.

  116. Fabius Maximus says:

    #115 Nom
    What was the general theme of the responses? Hopefully all warm and fuzzy!

  117. Shore Guy says:

    Grim,

    Possible topic for tomorrow?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/business/04housing.html

    Without Loan Giants, 30-Year Mortgage May Fade Away

    snip

    The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan, the steady favorite of American borrowers since the 1950s, could become a luxury product, housing experts on both sides of the political aisle say.

    Interest rates would rise for most borrowers, but urban and rural residents could see sharper increases than the coveted customers in the suburbs.

    Lenders could charge fees for popular features now taken for granted, like the ability to “lock in” an interest rate weeks or months before taking out a loan.

    snip

    Fannie and Freddie also make ownership more affordable by allowing borrowers to repay loans with fixed-interest rates over an unusually long period. A person who borrows $100,000 at 6 percent interest will pay $600 each month for 30 years, compared to $716 each month for 20 years.

    The 30-year loan first became broadly available by an act of Congress in 1954 and, from then until now, the vast majority of such loans have been issued only with government support. Most investors are simply not willing to make such a long-term bet. They prefer loans with adjustable rates.

    snip

  118. Shore Guy says:

    Or this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/business/04farms.html?src=me&ref=business

    In Price of Farmland, an Echo of Last Boom

    snip

    But as prices for agricultural land surge across America’s grain belt, regulators are warning that a new real estate bubble may be forming — echoing the frothy boom in home prices that saw values in Miami and Las Vegas skyrocket and then plummet.

    “It just seems to be going up in leaps and bounds here,” said Jeff Freking, who bought a similar farm, also in northwestern Iowa, for $6,000 an acre just two years ago. “Everybody thinks it’s crazy.”

    The surge in prices has been dizzying throughout the Midwest, with double-digit percentage increases last year in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska. In parts of Iowa, prices for good farmland rose as much as 23 percent last year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

    snip

  119. Barbara says:

    I shop every 5 days. I hate “stocked” refrigerators. When I open the door I want to see at least 30% of unused space and clean. Packed and you can’t see anything, things go to waste and you have frozen food from three years ago in that useless garage unit. I hate going to relatives houses and opening up their refrigerators….
    I have a nice, modest Frigidare, the trendy SS one from a few years back with the retro handles. I like it fine. I would never spend 8-10k on a fridge.

  120. Libtard says:

    Thanks for all the fridge advice everyone.

    Barb, I know what you mean about the overstocked fridge. I hate to throw out food. It’s like throwing money in the trash. I’m not going too fancy. It should cost about $1400. Actually my dishwasher, 36″ range, hood and fridge should run me about $3500.

  121. Barbara says:

    libtard,
    my big kitchen expenditure would be an extra deep SS sink and a 6 burner duel fuel. Currently I have a Jenn Aire duel fuel, had it for 11 years. Good but the down draft is not so good. I like that it can be converted into a grill, which I use all the time. I will probably go a little better with a separate over head vent when the time comes.

  122. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [115] fabius

    These were 4th graders. Half of them wrote that they would take their ipods or Nintendos. One wrote that he wouldn’t go. I am sure that there was some lesson about refugees in the third world, but the fact that this was on a school board in 2011 struck me.

  123. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [43] hype

    Had a discussion/argument with the spouse over the weekend. It finally came out that she hates being in New Jersey.

    Apparently it is different here.

  124. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Watching a show on History Channel called Prophets of Doom.

    It’s like listening to Clot.

  125. jamil says:

    89, re portugal
    They can take it easy. Hans and Gertrud will take care of the bills.

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Comments are closed.