Unclogging the Real Estate Market

June 28, 2009

By Janet Walgren

I’m sorry that I’ve neglected this blog for quite some time now. My daughter and I have been trying to find the perfect house to buy. With all the houses on the market, you’d think that would be a simple task. We are pre-approved for more than an adequate amount of money. We have our down payment. Our credit scores are terrific. We are motivated to buy… so what is the problem? Answer… the listing agent, the seller or the seller’s bank!

It is time for folks to get a reality check.

Imagine you own a 1996 Geo Metro with 250,000 miles on it. You are ready to get a new car. The used car lot says, “We’ll list it for $125,000″ and you say”_______???” If you said, “Great!!!,” you need a reality check. It doesn’t matter what “equity” some fool told you that you had accumulated over time. Truth is, the car is old. It is worn out. It needs rehabbed, renovated, restored and the cost of the rehab is more than the car is worth.

If you start shopping for a $125,000 replacement car, you need a mental evaluation.

If no one buys your car… what do you expect? Even if you were fool enough to pay more, or expect more, than the car was worth, do you expect the world is full of greater fools?

On the flip side:

The world is full of bargain hunters. Listing agents know this. Now, imagine the above Geo Metro was advertised for $50 dollars. You were looking at a similar car. It was clean, had less mileage and was still a bargain for $1000. You are one of two bidders and you are in the top position. You decide to relinquish your position and take the $50 dollar car so you can save for a new car. But, when you go to pay for the car, the dealer says, “I’m sorry, the bank wants $2,500 for the car.”

About that time you want to scream. You decide that the dealer is involved in fraudulent advertising and you call the Better Business Bureau. Apply this scenario to the short sale housing market.

Don’t you think a seller and the seller’s bank should be required to list the actual price they are willing to take for the property. Some potential buyers wait for up to 9 months only to find out that the bank holding the note said no. In the meantime, other honest sellers are waiting to sell their homes and end up in foreclosure because a potential buyer was sidelined.

I think it should be illegal to post a bogus asking price and that anyone doing so should be charged with fraud. I also think banks refusing to sell properties that have legitimate offers should be barred from bidding for the property when it goes to auction and barred from getting deficiency judgments on the foreclosed owner.

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Earmarks – Who are the fools who elected these guys anyway?… Sadly, it is us!

March 20, 2009

Congressional earmarks are a way for congress to usurp the power of the states to self-direct. One of the most effective ways Americans have to restore some integrity to congress is to eliminate earmark spending.

Basically what is happening currently is:

  • Congress taxes Americans at a much higher rate than is necessary
  • Congress gives some of our tax dollars back to the states
  • Congress tells the states how to spend the money
  • Political action groups and lobbyist (pay, donate, gift…) congressional representatives then demand federal tax money is spent on their special projects

Don’t you think it would be better if we got to keep more of our hard earned money? And, if we need something at a state level, don’t you think you could better decide how to provide for it on a local level?

Earmarks provide a way for special groups to get the EAR of the (often corrupt) officials who write our government’s checks.

It is amazing to me that congress can be so specific in telling a state how to spend tax dollars, or a public school what to teach but, they can’t be specific in telling private corporations (especially Wall Street and international banks) how to spend hundreds of billions of our tax dollars.

Who are the fools who elected these guys anyway?… Sadly, it is us!


On Record???

March 17, 2009

Why does Congress have to ask who received the bail out money they spent? It gives a whole new meaning to “BLANK CHECK.”  And we wonder why they can’t balance the budget…

9/11… 9/16. Can we just skip September this year?


House Hunting – The tale of Peter, Sam and Paul

February 15, 2009

By Janet Walgren

Heather and I went house hunting yesterday. Jeesh! What a joke. We found a house of interest but, when we toured it, we found an incredible mess. The house was a bank owned foreclosure, better known as an REO. The furnace, the entire kitchen, and parts of the bathroom were missing as well as some floor covering and most light fixtures. The walls were a mess and the water had been shut off. TOXIC antifreeze had been poured in the pipes and toilet to keep the water in them from freezing. Animals had pooped in the basement – yucky! The bank was asking $150,000. That’s $20,000 below market for a rehab that would cost a minimum of $40,000 in repairs to bring it up to market value. Like I said, jeesh, what a joke!

Perhaps this was an isolated incident. We can only hope… or can we?

We had asked our realtor to show us another REO house but he had already checked it out and said it was as bad as the first one we toured.

A contractor friend of ours just finished building a home located across the street from another REO (the original contractor who was building the sub-division went bankrupt). Anyway, our friend noticed wet bricks on the front of the REO across the street and went over to investigate. The power had been shut off, but not the water. The frozen pipes had burst then thawed flooding the entire house (second floor included). The sheet-rock on the ceilings and some of the walls had collapsed, the walls were full of water and the basement had several inches of water flooding it. In other words, this brand new $200,000 house was a total loss because the bank was too cheap to pay the electric bill.

It is obvious that, in these three cases, the banks manage REO property about as well as they manage money. It probably doesn’t matter to them because they have insurance. And, if the insurance doesn’t pony up the dough… there’s always dear ole Uncle Sam who seems more than willing to rob Peter (another name for taxpayers) to pay Paul (the banker).


Who’s on First – the Madoff Debacle

January 6, 2009

By Janet Walgren

Many years ago, almost before my time – and I’m sixty-two, there was a comedy sketch that became quite famous called “Who’s on First?” It consisted of a funny dialog between a person trying to get information about the location of players in a baseball game and a frustrated person trying to inform the bewildered questioner. Confusion ensued because the questioner didn’t know the players had unusual names like “Who”.

 

Silly? Totally… even ridiculous! At least I thought so until I watched a Congressional hearing about the Madoff scandal last night. At first I thought the man being grilled was rather cavalier in his responses.  I thought to myself, “Why don’t they nail that incompetent turkey to the wall? After all, he’s the one that heads the agency that is supposed to be watching over the S.E.C. and he has no clue why this whole debacle happened…” Who saw what, why? Why were the many warnings that were received by his agency ignored? Why were the red flags that were apparent to so many invisible to his agency? He had no answers – NONE AT ALL! But, he was going to get to the bottom of it… “Isn’t that what you were supposed to be doing all along? What do we pay your for?” I thought.

 

Then, FINALLY, one bewildered congressman tried to set him up for the kill only to find out that they had the wrong guy. It was pathetically funny, in a morbid sort of way, to realize the committee, our Congressmen ‘who get paid to create bureaucracies to protect us’, had no idea who they were questioning or what they did. They actually had not only the wrong guys, but the wrong agency! They were questioning men from the external watchdog rather than the internal watchdog that watches over the watchdog.

 

So WHO’s ON FIRST – the runner, the first baseman or both??? Actually the correct answer is probably no one.


Let Your Voice Be Heard

October 2, 2008

By Janet Walgren

All too often we gripe, get on a soapbox, write blog posts and talk around the water cooler at work or across the fence to our neighbors, but we fail to make our voices heard in Washington D.C. In doing so, we allow Journalists with microphones and cameras, talking heads full of bias, to be the voice of America.

I encourage each of you to make your voices heard. Call your Senators and Congressional representatives. Tell them loud and clear what you are thinking. Propose reasonable alternatives to the bogus solutions that have been set before Congress by the very people who created the mess. Tell them to act with reason… the assets (homes and property) are not going to disintegrate in to thin air if we don’t rush into a bad solution by Sunday night. Heck real estate will be around a lot longer than any of us… hundreds of years from now.

Offering Americans a few nickles to put into our personal piggy banks doesn’t justify giving away the treasury. What Wall Street spends (year end bonuses in the millions) isn’t going to give you affordable housing and a secure job with a pension.

We need real solutions. We need accountability. We need to demand to be heard. We need to place blame and get rid of all culpable parties. We need those who were sidelined and laughed to scorn because of their now prophetic wisdom to be placed center stage, handed a microphone and the attention of policy makers.

Please contact your representatives in Washington and at home. It is better to call than to write. If you write, you won’t be read and your message will not be delivered. Your message will be put in one of two piles (YEA or NAY) then weighed on a scale. Call and make someone listen to you.

Click here to find contact information for your neck of the woods: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/


Solving the Economic Crisis

September 30, 2008

I wanted to write a post today about the financial mess that is destroying our lives and the proposed solutions that will destroy our liberty. I was totally frustrated with my lack of time to do so. (Working women’s voices are all too often silenced by a heavy load and time constraints.) When I checked my email this morning, I found this email from Connor Boyack that I would like to share. Make sure to listen to the YouTube clip.

The Sidelined Sages of Economic Cycles
By Connor Boyack

Being the news junkie that I am, I’ve been closely paying attention to this entire bailout fiasco, and observing the various responses and reactions it has elicited.  One of the more interesting things I’ve noticed is who our elected leaders are listening to for advice and counsel.

 

During the Congressional hearings last week, Senator Bennett (of Utah) and others repeatedly praised Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson (both household names by now) for their gracious insight regarding the economic crisis.  Apparently they had had a closed session where certain Congressmen were taught the nitty gritty of the economy, and given a deeper sneak peak as to how large the problem is.  The Senators were very appreciative of the wisdom of these two men.

 

Nobody seemed to notice (or at least they did not mention) that these two individuals are among the biggest culprits that got us into this mess!  With Bernanke as High Priest of Inflation and Paulson as Wall Street Czar, it was downright laughable to see the praise with which they were saturated by various Senators.  Instead of praising these two men, they should have had them removed from office!

 

So, a question: to whom are we as (hopefully slightly brighter and a bit more sane) Americans listening for financial advice and political wisdom in these times of economic disarray?

 

Well, that answer depends on each individual.  Perhaps a better question is: who should we be listening to?  Certainly not the folks who got us into this mess, and who only two weeks ago were praising the fundamentals of the economy as “sound” and reassuring investors and bankers alike that everything was peachy keen.

 

We should be listening to the people who during the “booms” and “bears” were predicting and warning about the “busts” and “bulls”.  It’s an everlasting shame that these are the exact people who are scorned and ridiculed for their warning voice.  Consider this video of Peter Schiff, warning about an oncoming recession two years ago.  He was laughed at and opposed with horribly weak arguments that have since proven his point.

 

 

Do you want to know who we should listen to?  Who knows the way out of this mess?  It’s the people who several years ago were speaking about it despite the derision of their peers.  Search the news archives and you’ll see a select few individuals whose foresight and wisdom have proven prophetic.

 

They are the ones we should be listening to, not the crooks who perpetrated this entire fraudulent debacle.  So long as the men who helped bring us this mess remain in power, those sounding a warning voice will be sidelined, ridiculed, and labeled as fringe.

 

And that is a net loss for America and her economy.

 

Thanks Connor! And, I might add – It is a net loss for Americans and their liberty! Now is the time to scream at Washington. Make your voices LOUD and CLEAR. We need to clean house not consolidate power in the hands of the traitors who created this mess.