Saturday, March 01, 2008

Homeowner loses in porn case -- "A Sanford appellate court has ruled against a woman sued by her homeowners association in 2003 for leasing her Brantley Harbor home to a gay-porn Web site. The original suit sought a court order to have Charles Foulk shut down the site because he was operating a business in the upscale subdivision in violation of the association rules."
Would it have been different if she had been living in a condom-inium?
This town is shut down | - Canada - Features: "Howard Anderson, all his former neighbours will say, is a stubborn man among stubborn men. So stubborn, in fact, that he has outlived Aylmer Sound, the village in which he was born and that, last year, officially legislated itself out of existence. He chops wood, shoots rabbits and watches nature shows on satellite TV. He says the only way he'll leave the town that no longer exists is with a gun to his head."

Why should he leave? Sounds like the libertarian utopia has finally been realized. The government is gone, and so is everybody else. He has the place to himself and can be a true individual. No taxation, no regulation...
£80m: most expensive house sold in London | News: "A record price for a London home has been set with the £80million sale of a large detached house in Kensington.

It smashes the previous high of £67million for steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's home in Kensington Palace Gardens and is claimed to be the world's most expensive single residential dwelling."
And all because they put "No HOA!" in the ad.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

American Thinker: The Home Equity Partnership: "The problem with the real-estate market is that it forces ordinary people to use far too much leverage. Americans are mostly pretty conservative about their finances. But for many Americans the only way that they can afford a home is by accepting a very risky proposition, borrowing 80 percent or more of the purchase price of their home."
And the writer of that blog thinks conservatives should make themselves into reformers of this situation. A provocative article.
Mold threatens Miami courthouse - Yahoo! News: "MIAMI - A federal judge has closed portions of Miami's historic downtown courthouse after a report identified widespread mold infestation and ongoing water leaks, with one part of the basement termed 'disgusting' by inspectors."
I wonder if this will help the associations who have mold remediation lawsuits on file in that courthouse.
Alaska town sues over global warming - "ANCHORAGE (AP) — A tiny Alaska village eroding into the Arctic Ocean sued two dozen oil, power and coal companies Tuesday, claiming that the large amounts of greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming that threatens the community's existence."

The Inupiat village of Kivalina is built on a barrier reef. The reef is now exposed to heavy storm waves because of the reduced sea ice and it is eroding. Apparently this is the fault of the oil industry? I assume this case will be tied up in demurrer and dismissal motions and then go up on appeal, so don't expect the big Global Warming Trial anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - Michael Jackson's Neverland Foreclosed; Auction Date Set - : "Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is set to be sold at auction on March 19. Jackson received word Monday from Financial Title Company, the trustee, that unless he pays off $24,525,906.61 by that date, a public auction will go forward in Santa Barbara, Calif., in front of the county courthouse. It's not just the house either. When Neverland is auctioned, it will include everything: all personal property inside, all fixtures and appliances, furniture, and "all merry go round type devices," any rides, games. The auction literally includes every single thing that is or isn't nailed down.

I think 24 million plus sounds a bit pricey, even if it does have an amusement park. Maybe the real value is on the things that aren't "nailed down," Elvis Presley's bones or something. - Monster python eats pet: "These pythons used to feed on wallabies but now they feed on cats and dogs in suburbia,' he said."
I guess in Oz you get a different brand of suburban problems than in, say, Phoenix.
DailyTech - Temperature Monitors Report Worldwide Global Cooling: "Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on. No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously."
So why does Al Gore keep saying "the debate is over"?
Green Bay Press-Gazette - Using torch to clear snow, he sets shed on fire: "Using torch to clear snow, he sets shed on fire"
Yet another egg broken in the quest for the omelette of human innovation. Or something.
January foreclosures up 57% - Feb. 26, 2008: "NEW YORK ( -- Foreclosure filings nationwide soared 57% in January over the same month last year - another indication that the nation's housing woes are deepening.

A study released Tuesday by RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosure properties, showed that 233,001 homes were affected, 8% more than in December. Of that total, 45,327 homes were lost to bank repossessions."

Yikes. | Board tempest roils Raleigh suburb: "The rift at Harrington Grove, a 1,241-home community in northwest Raleigh, is an extreme example of how wrong things can go with homeowner boards, private organizations that often serve as unofficial forms of local government."

From Fred "Good News" Pilot. Actually, there are many examples of things going a whole lot more wrong than this.

Monday, February 25, 2008

This house was a steal -- "The new buyers of a rundown graystone on the South Side showed up Jan. 9 to look at the house they won at a foreclosure auction. They took the plywood off the front door and went inside to make sure the utilities had been shut off. Then they called the police.

Sitting upright in the corner of a bedroom off the kitchen was a human skeleton in a red tracksuit."

This is the way we do foreclosures in Chicago. You got a problem widdat?

Sunday, February 24, 2008 Exclusive: Banks Lose to Deadbeat Homeowners as Loans Sold in Bonds Vanish : "Joe Lents hasn't made a payment on his $1.5 million mortgage since 2002. That's when Washington Mutual Inc. first tried to foreclose on his home in Boca Raton, Florida. The Seattle-based lender failed to prove that it owned Lents's mortgage note and dropped attempts to take his house. Subsequent efforts to foreclose have stalled because no one has produced the paperwork."
Not a bad deal if you can get it.
Second foreclosure crisis?- "Banks and mortgage companies are so eager to dump a glut of abandoned foreclosure houses in the Cleveland area that they sold nearly 1,000 last year for pennies on the dollar. The often rundown houses most often went to out-of-state investment companies, which buy in bulk, sight unseen, then sell in “as is” condition to people with bad credit or landlords. Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli and others predict that some buyers will flee as repair bills mount, triggering more foreclosures. “They're taking the worst houses and putting people in them who have no ability to pay,” said Brancatelli, who represents the Slavic Village area. “I have people call me and say, 'I bought this house, and I can't afford the roof. Who's going to help me?' ”"

How about, "Yourself, pal."

Isn't there any point where we are allowed to point out that people shouldn't buy houses they can't afford? That includes both the relatively affluent people who bought more house than they could possibly afford using jumbo mortgages, and the low-income people who took out a vicious ARM, or, as in this article, bought a junkheap that they couldn't afford to make habitable. I mean, are we just going to continue with this Clintonian braying about the evil real estate industry that somehow forced these people to take obviously horrendous financial risks? It is not a public or governmental responsibility to bail out people who make a bad deal with their eyes wide open, and if these losses get socialized it will just encourage more reckless speculation when the real estate market gets hot again, which it will. If they make a profit, they get to keep it. If they take big losses, we all pay them off? Baloney.