Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Horn Tooting, Zesitmates, and Catskill Concierge

I was going to start this segment off with the old phrase “not to toot my own horn,” but then I said, the hell with it, if I am proud of my accomplishments this past month, then I should be able to talk about it.

I then wondered where the phrase “toot your own horn” came from and despite the information age we are in, there was surprising little on where that phrase originated . All I could find was where someone thought it may have come from the bible, where Jesus says, “when you do acts of charity, don’t announce it with trumpets, like the hypocrites do.” (Well I hope the following paragraphs are not classified as a mortal sin. I need all the help I can get.)

Anyway, I have been working with a first time home buyer this past month, who are serious buyers, but for whatever reason, an agent has not taken them under their proverbial wing, to secure a home, and hence a commission. They had already looked at around ten things when they called me, I guess one agent took them around a few times, and then gave up when there was not a quick offer. They are fastidious and cautious, which I think all buyers should be. Big step, big numbers involved, etc. it’s a scary process.

They found a foreclosure home that they loved, but the taxes were too high for them. Also the home was not up to FHA standards, which, since they are putting less than twenty percent down, they thought that was the only option.

Au contraire mon frere. That is what the “big banks” will tell you. I can’t tell you the number of times I have asked why someone has picked a certain big bank, and the answer always is. “Well that’s where I do my banking.” It is surprising how few people do research on the mortgage end of it.

Anyway I got them hooked up with a local bank that does conventional with five percent down, and almost
a full point less in interest. I also got them in touch with a tax grievance consultant , who is confident that he
can get the taxes lowered. Total estimated savings secured by yours truly over a thirty year loan? Over
eighty thousand dollars. Toot Toot.

Now for the pet peeve segment. I suppose that many of you are aware of the real estate web site Zillow?
Well, you can type in any address anywhere in the U.S., and it pulls tax records, latest sales, a little map, as
much info has it can find. If it is listed for sale, it pulls all that info as well.

OK good tool for a prospective buyer. It has information that ten years ago was difficult to get. However it
has this one feature that drives me crazy, because of the inaccuracy. It is called the “zestimate”, where,
using whatever algorithm they use, they come up with a market value estimate.

Now I’ve heard that they are pretty spot on in denser populated areas, and I say good for the denser
populated areas, but here in S.C.? They are so far off, it is absurd. And people, for whatever reason believe
this number. Now it is not always under market. I have seen numbers thirty to forty percent over market
value. They have a little graph of the last few years, and on some of these houses it looks like the
seismograph of Mount St. Helen. Absurd.

On the bright side, my concierge business continues to take on new clients. All seem satisfied, and the few
that have had little issue were quickly rectified. I’ve put together a good list of vendors, who do tremendous
work. So if you have a second home that need a little looking after. Give me a call.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Busy, Busy--Makes for a Bad Blogger

I think this may be a record for how long I have gone without a blog post, which does not follow what the real estate experts and coaches preach--consistency at all costs! However I don't hold a lot of credence in what the experts say. Those who can't, teach. If they knew the magic formula on how to sell real estate, then they would be doing it, not coaching others. Besides, I don't believe this blog has generated a single lead for me. It is more of a hobby, and a place to vent-- or hear my self pontificate.

So despite the doom and gloom, that everyone, including NAR keeps churning out in the media, I have been the busiest I have been. Some of this is in direct proportion to situating myself with other Re/Max agents, and working referrals for people who do not want to drive all the way up into the boonies.
Short sales and foreclosures are still in the forefront. Four out of my six current deals are distressed properties. Although maddening, it is where the money is, and so I continue to work them. Dealing with a distressed property one must simply check your common sense at the door, and then slog through, and with enough fortitude, you can make them work.

So between busy and being a part time stay at home dad for my six month old, now that my wife is back at work, blogging unfortunately has taken a back seat. It is always the fifth or sixth thing on the to-do list, and I simply haven't gotten there-- until today. And I'm sure there are a long list of fans, you are internally shouting hooray when they see I have finally posted again.

Gas drilling rumours and debates continue to swirl. We have our very own celebrity Mark Ruffalo who has taken up the cause, and has been very vocal against the drilling. Gasland has managed to scare the bejeesus out of people although I could swear that Michael Moore's name should be somewhere in the credits. It is that skewed and propaganda full.

I am by no means pro drilling, however the "chicken little" reaction that a lot of people, (other than the ones who are signing leases, and waiting by the mail box) are having is a little over the top. All these folks drive cars that use gas, switch on a light bulb that burns coal, and use some sort of fossil fuel for heat. Everyone agrees that there is a need for prisons, but no one wants to live by one. The whole "not in my backyard" reaction is a little annoying.

Also I think if we stay on these gas companies, and make sure they aren't allowed to do whatever they want, it could help this county, and bring in some much needed  revenue. They are coming. There has been too much money already spent. Lets spend the energy on working with them, and assuring that somehow we can peacefully co-exist. (Suddenly I feel like singing Koom Bah Ya.)

On a personal note, I can add two more to the list of people who dislike me. One is an appraiser, who is a self important windbag, who came in with an appraisal 1.5% under ask. $3,000. Buyer is a young FHA buyer with only 2% down, so it killed the deal. Tried to politely explain to the appraiser that what he does is ultimately an opinion, and to kill a deal over 1.5% seems ridiculous to me. He responded that real estate brokers have no idea what they are doing, so I ceased being polite. I don't think I'm getting a Christmas card from him.

The other is a home inspector, who found mold in a basement. (Basement had been closed for the summer, as the house unoccupied.) We knew it wasn't a chronic, serious problem, because his company had done an inspection on the same home six months ago, and found no evidence of mold. At any rate, seller remdiated at a cost of a few thousand. Home inspector reccomened that buyer do an air test throughout the entire house to make sure mold was gone. Sounds like a good idea. Especially for him as the cost is $500.

He comes on a day when it is pouring rain, and sets up these air sucking machines in all areas of the home. He also sets one up outside, because that is the control. There is mold everywhere in our environment. The key is to make sure that the levels inside are not elevated, from the outdoor levels.

Well of course they come back elevated. Along with this long report, there is a short list on the bottom of mold remediation "experts" who would be happy to fix the "infestation." Now keep in mind this is a complete remodel, with sheet rock less than two years old.

Buyers understandably freak. They are ready to walk. Initial quotes of mold removal are in the tens of thousands. (although it must be invisible mold, because it is nowhere to be seen.

So I hop on the internet, and start doing some research. The first thing I find, is you never do an outdoor control in rainy, extremely windy, or below freezing temperatures. Its skews the levels. Now if I found that out in five minutes in my office, how does this meathead not know this? And so I asked him that. Another one who won't be sending me a seasons greetings. At least the buyers were levelheaded enough to understand, and are moving forward with the sale.

Today was a perfect fall day. Little Zach is upstairs sleeping. Life is good.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Psychology of Selling

I have written about this before, but it is a subject that fascinates me, and I suppose takes the rather mundane concept of selling real estate to a different intellectual level, even if it is in my own head.

I went back to get my brokers license for a variety of reasons, but a major one was my dislike for “salesperson” on the business card. I have the same stigma attached to salespeople, as others, and whatever that word conjures up, be it the used car caricature, encyclopedia peddlers or the guy in the red shirt at Circuit City, there is a negative stereotype attached to salesmen.

I suppose it is the one bad apple theory, but we have all had that one or two week salesperson stalker, the guy who couldn’t take a hint, who calls repeatedly, despite no response, and fills your answering machine with messages filled with cheery fake energy. In his mind he is being diligent--going after it. I have heard speakers who preach this sort of tactic, and to me it is hogwash. Abrasiveness does not sell. I have a strict two call policy. If I do not hear back, the person is not interested. I’ll put them on a drip email campaign, and forget about it.

But what I find intriguing is how and why people on both the buying and the selling side act, and react. If you apply the pretty universal thought that people are basically governed by seeking pleasure, while avoiding pain (and more powerfully the fear, or perceived notion that pain will come directly from ones actions) then it gets a little simpler, but since everyone interprets what brings pain, and even what pain is, differently, it really doesn’t get any simpler.

I have said it before, but the only two times I see a buyer truly happy is when they see the house they are going to buy for the first time, and at the closing table. The whole process in between, even to the staunchest most seasoned buyer, is filled with uncertainty. And there is always, (and I mean always) something. From title issues, to mold, to buried oil tanks, a buyer will cling to a fear, and bring it along, throughout the process. Through the early days, It would bother me, and I would cling to the notion that the problems were somehow an aberration,. Now I see them as a necessary step for the buyer. Fear of change must manifest itself somehow, and if the buyer feels he is being as diligent , it can ally those fears.
I’m not discounting a buyers legitimate concerns, and many times they are legitimate. But the interesting thing is how they are perceived by the buyer. I can show the same house with the same sump pump in the basement to two different people, and one can barely give it a glance, make a comment about how they had one in a previous home, but for the other, a wet basement is an immediate deal killer. And there is nothing I can say to change that perceived idea.

And the question needs to be asked, do I really want to change that idea? Is that the correct route to take in “selling’? I don’t think it is. And again this is personal perception, but I really dislike the persuasive sales tactics. I don’t have the personality or “skills” necessary to do that. And I am doubtful that type of manipulation is even possible. Perhaps you can sway one or two, but the amount you turn off in attempting this, defeats the purpose.

To sum it up, I think that when dealing with a home, whether on the buying or selling side, you are dealing with memories, huge sums of money, someone’s safe haven, the place where all your stuff is, (which is often how people identify themselves.) I could go on and on, it is your home base. Of course it is going to evoke pretty powerful emotions when that is shifted.

And to observe the way different people react throughout the process, and then try to help them is what makes this job interesting.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My First Retraction

So it seems in my rush to judgement I may have made an egregious error. The type that journalists frown upon. I did not do the proper research, and mistakenly named Sullivan County Renaissance for Sullivan County Economic Development.

When I got home today there was a message from someone who works for Sullivan Renaissance, saying he had read my blog, and wanted to talk to me about a few points. First I thought "Wow people are actually reading this." But then I became suspicious because people never just want to check in, so I did some background, and I really messed it up.

Sullivan Partnership for Economic Development is the group that helped the Dancing Cat get their grant, and who have not acted all that excited about loaning me any money to start a Bethel Re/Max. Sullivan Renaissance is a mostly privately funded company through Mr. Gerry, who I have the ultimate respect for. (OK I can see the eye rolls as Ducey kisses a little ass.) But I am serious. Bethel Woods would not be here were it not for Gerry. He is a self made man, who has given, and keeps giving back to his community. Of all the grand schemes we have heard that were going to come to Sullivan County, and change the landscape, his is the only one that stuck. Dave Matthews plays in our backyard now, and we have him to thank.

So I apologize to the Sullivan Renaissance. (Which I also will do on the phone tomorrow.) I do think that my original thoughts are valid. I don't think seminars and grants are the way to clean up our county's eyesores, but I'm just sitting behind a computer. These people are out there trying things, and for that I applaud them.
Alright, I'm just gonna keep my mouth shut and sell some houses for a bit.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sullivan County Hassidic Community--The Quiet Grumbling.

I hesitated to post this at first, because I didn't want it to come off in any way as "racist" or anti-Semitic. However,  I thought about it, and being a local, and having my ear to proverbial ground, I think it is a matter worth discussing. And now, after reading the post in the Catskill Chronicle. Click Here  it got me angry enough to say the hell with it.

Hassidic bungalow colonies have dotted the SC landscape since I was young. They "summer" here, generally arriving around Memorial Day, and leaving after Labor Day. Many do the weekend Fri. to Mon. thing as well.

I don't know the exact numbers, but estimates have put it at round 100,000. Bay Ridge, and Crown Heights empty out, and certain areas of Sullivan County fill up. They are close knit, keep to themselves, communities. They have their own bakeries, and shops. WalMart seems to be the only "local" place they do business.

Taxes have always been a reason for some of the grumbling, and it is true that certain Hassidic properties are off the tax rolls, because of religious exemptions, and generally the properties that are on the tax rolls are assessed lower, because of their inherit lack in value, however there is some tax money paid on these properties.

The problem I and many others have with these communities, is simply the lack of upkeep of any sort. Run down does not begin to describe the state. Sagging bungalows on piers, piles of debris, ugly chain link fences. They are an eyesore, plain and simple, and they bring down property values around them. No second home owner wants to own in those areas. For the rest of the population, those areas are avoided.

But the real problem I have, is the double standard afforded to them. This county, and its local townships have building codes, that are simply not adhered to in these communities, and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is money. There are a lot of them, and they may have attorneys working on their behalf.

And now, if you read the Catskill Chronicle article...a five thousand dollar grant from the Sullivan Renaissance? Really? They gave them five grand to fix that corner building?---As well as other colonies getting money to fix things. To me it is a travesty. What we need is code enforcement. They need to be held to the same standard of living as the rest of us.

Just a side note on the Sullivan Renaissance. (Which is privately funded, so they can do whatever they want.) They also gave The Dancing Cat Distillery and Saloon in Bethel 20K for that project. Now I think that is gong to be a pretty cool spot, and it will help the area overall.

However, I am attempting to open my own Re/Max office in Bethel. Now I know that a real estate office is not that sexy, and many won't find it especially helpful in the growth of the community, but I never even attempted a grant, I went for a loan, and was denied promptly and with little explanation. However I guess if you keep your buildings crappy enough, you get free money.  Ahh but I digress.

I suppose some credit should be given at the attempt, but giving money, and a "Hands-on workshops on spring and summer gardening basics in May and July, and a workshop on improving storefronts in June"--It almost seems condescending. We are all grown ups here. How about fines for code violations? How about getting our local leaders togetherer on a united front, and like I said before, simply hold them to the same standard the rest of us are held to.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home Inpsectors, Satisfice, and Social Networking Sites.

I generally think up things to write about in my blog while driving to different appointments. I had two things this week, and the third (home inspector) happened to me today, so I figured I'd start with that. Plus it is a rant, and why disappointment my readership with a change in venue?

A home inspector is a necessary evil to a broker. Really nothing good can come from a home inspection, because best case scenario, the house gets a clean bill of health, and you are right where you were--with an accepted offer. Its not like anyone ever says, "Oh the inspection came back perfect? Let's up the commission!"

No there is only a downside, and there very often is a hitch when you get to this point in the process. As a broker I am ultimately powerless to who does the inspection, and although I can recommend the good ones, there are quite a few times that it is one of the--for lack of a better term--crappy ones.

I have the same problem with inspectors that I do with part time Realtors. It is pretty easy to get licensed as a home inspector in NY (PA is a bit more stringent, and I have found the ones over there to be a bit more professional.) so there are a bunch of these one man band home inspectors, who turn out to be retired guys in their sixties and seventies, The usually have a Dodge Ram or some similar mode of transportation, with a magnetic sticker with the word "pro" in it. "Inspect Pro" "House Pro" Ima Pro".

Every three months that get a call, and they dust off the "thermo digital cam." or some other toy that they think will wow the prospective buyers, and they show up with all sorts of gusto, and point out "termite mud residue, or suggest "sistering" a beam before the house falls down. Mold is everywhere, and all buried oil tanks are leaking.

The guy today used a dowsing rod to "find" the septic. After I told him where it was. Really? Do you think a copper wire magically moving in your hand instills confidence in anyone?

Again there are some full time good home inspectors that I recommend, and there is one in particular that I like. And his findings have killed more than one deal for me. But he is quick, professional, and good at what he does. This is not about duping the buyer, who on many occasions I represent. It is about not scaring someone who is in the process of making a huge decision.

Haven't gotten the report back yet from the guy today, but we'll see, I suppose is esp told him they used the wrong insulation.

O.K end of rant.

While on Facebook, (which I'll get to later), I stumbled upon a blog written by a pretty fascinating Psychologist. Her name is Susan Weinschenk, and she writes about how "Applying Psychology to Understand How People Think, Work, and Relate."

Click here for her blog

I found satisfice pretty fascinating. She goes on to talk about how it relates to someone surfing the web, but I think taking it a step further in business and personal life. Most people are comfortable doing just enough, and the decisions they make reflects that. For someone like me, who is completley independent, this trend needs to be monitored. There is something very comforting about the feeling of accomplishment, but if you let it, it will keep you ordinary.

And finally I have had a Facebook page for about a year now. I am on it daily, and slowly I have started to use it more as a profesional networking tool. However, I do waste a lot of time on it. I pride myself in being witty and urbane. I suppose it is the need for an audience in me. (Hence the blog.)

It really does make the world a smaller place, and I have reconnected with people I have lost touch with, and have made some new friends, and gotten closer with people than I otherwise would. I have upwards of 200 friends, and have spent quite a bit of time surfing through profiles, looking at random picnics and zoo trips, responding to various posts. You know, Facebooking.

Anyway something tragic happened to a Realtor that I have done a few deals with. She is one of the good, full time agents that I speak about. Throughout the deals, we were friendly, but it was professional. I didn't really get to know her. We were colleagues. But we are facebook friends.

Her son was killed in an ATV accident last week. He was 26. Horrible. This happened Saturday. Now without facebook, since we run in the same circles, I would have heard about it, probably early this week. Of course it would have aaffected me. Anything like that would. I would have felt bad for her, maybe said a little prayer. I know I have been lucky enough to have always heard this sort of news about someone else.

But with facebook, I saw the first post about it Sunday morning. There was a huge outpouring of support, and by scanning through her pictures, I found many of him, his young wife, his brothers. They were a few pictures of them laughing and smiling at his wedding. Her profile pic is the two of them dancing the traditional groom and mother dance. He was good looking kid.

Because of  this odd sort of voyeur view, although I had never met him, or the rest of the family, it hit me much harder, and has really lasted all week. I have brothers, and have similar pictures on my wall. I guess it just adds another dimension to how we as humans interact. My heart goes out to her and her family though. Sucks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cool Thunderstorm

Took a few shots of a pretty neat storm that went through Callicoon a few days ago. Left behind a rainbow. See, all of you who say I dwell on the negative--life really is rainbows and butterflys.

New historic lows on mortgage rates. And yet the market remains slow. National news just reported one in every eighty-seven homes has received a foreclosure notice. And one in every four homes owes more on the mortgage than the home is worth.

However if you are the few lucky ones who have some capital, now is the time. It may stay this low for a little bit, but it can't forever, and just like there are some nights that I lie awake thinking about how I sold my Apple stock at 18$ a share (pre Ipod, Iphone I friggin everything), there will be quite a few who will say shoulda, woulda, coulda.

There are five homes scattered about Sullivan County that I think are incredibly deals. It amazes me each week they are still on the market.

Once again...when do the cliff divers of Acapulco jump? When they water or when they see rocks? Well the water is coming in.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The "Seasoned" Seller

One of the things that unsuccessful sellers like to do, after their listing agreement has expired, is switch brokerages. It seems like a rational action. After all if you request a service that is not met, in most other instances in life, you will go elsewhere in an attempt to meet your needs.

I think working for Re/Max, I get more than my share of the second try home sellers. Re/Max's national sales campaign really gets the name out there, and often after a local agency has failed to sell the home, the sellers say to themselves, "Lets go with a big name, and see what happens."

Invariable there are complaints about the agent. He/she was hard to get a hold of, the advertising promises were not met, feedback was lacking. Mostly they feel the agent did not work hard enough, and they-- after a flurry of early activity felt abandoned.

The bad news about being the second lister, is there is always challenges to the property. Even the laziest listing agents put the property on the multiple listing service, and there are a bunch of aggressive agents trolling for good listings, so if one comes along priced right, with the right appeal, it will sell, regardless who lists it.

However, the good news, is they have already been seasoned. They do not have the eager, my-house-will-sell-in-week, enthusiasm that brand new listers have despite what you tell them. They have had people clomp through the house, say thank you, and never see them again. They have had no-shows, and buyers turn around in the driveway--perhaps even an offer that fell through for whatever reason.

And of course price. They are much more willing to come down on the price. Just like a buyer who starts out with a vision of a little perfect place with a "crystal blue Italian stream" a huge stainless steel kitchen, and a Lancaster County barn, for under 150K,  seasoned sellers begin to realize that they will not hit the mother lode when they sell, and with solid comps, and a little reality massage,  they are much more willing to listen

Even so, here in Sullivan County a good property priced right. (Not under-priced, my job as a selling agent is to get the buyer as much as possible.) can and will often sit for a while before a buyer comes along.

I went on a listing appointment yesterday, in which the owners had had it listed a few times before, even through the boom, but they were always a little above market value. They are at about 40% less than the highest asking price, which I think is still a little high, but they owe nothing on the house, and do not need to sell. Anyway in the course of the appointment, the owner assured me that while he is gone during the winter, he has a plow guy lined up. Its July, talk about a seasoned seller with low expectations.

I think this "seasoning" of both buyers and sellers is what is going to close the divide, and get this sluggish market moving a bit again. Unfortunately like a fine wine, time is the only way for this to occur. I guess the fall numbers will tell us a bit more if there has been any sort of pick up this summer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

His "Real" Job

I bring up that I am a real estate broker to as many people as I can during random conversations. Well I was waiting on line at the grocery store, and struck up a conversation with the guy in front of me. When it came around to what I did for a living, he said, "Oh do you know so and so?" I said I had heard of him, perhaps seen his listing(s). He says, yeah he sells real estate too, well his real job is...

His "real" job? The median price of a home in Sullivan County right now is down quite a bit, I believe it is around $150,000. The average real estate commission is six percent. So an average commission is nine thousand dollars. Attorneys who sue people for a living would have to settle a forty thousand dollar law suit to collect that same amount of money. A dentist would have to do extensive work, implants or intricate bridgework, to charge that. Even though we have insurance, I saw the hospital bill, my wife's doctor's fee was around that for her cesarean. We could go on and on.

And yet, with real estate, people are ok with a part time, minimally educated agent who knows little about the market, and less about how to make a deal work. It continues to boggle my mind. How many times have you heard, "Oh cousin Jack has his license, so we listed the house with him."

I do think that obtaining a real estate license is too easy, so it is partially the state's fault, but sellers need to be smarter, and do a little legwork. Cousin Jack will cost you a lot of money.

I guess this post is turning into another complain-fest, but the reason I bring it up, is anytime I have to deal with these weekend warrior agents, it drives me crazy, because it makes my job so much harder. One of my shortcomings is that I do not suffer fools gladly. I know..attract more flies with honey and all that crap, but I have a real hard time being patient and hand holding. These are the agents who over show a house, who must be present for all showings, who call incessantly for feedback, who get indignant if your buyer does not see the "gem" of a house they same way they do.

A buyer may not know for sure he is going to buy a house right away, but on a house he doesn't like, he knows right away. There is no reason to be polite, and follow the listing agent around and oohh and aahh over closet space etc., and to take that personal if I cut a showing short? Well sorry.

I've had it happen to me, and the very next person who looked at the house bought it. I didn't design the house. Doesn't hurt my feelings.

I guess I can just make this a word to the wise. Hire a professional full-time agent with experience. Anytime I do a referral, I call the office, and ask for the top producing agent. That way you are getting the best.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

HAMP, HAFA, and other bits and pieces

Just wanted to touch on the short sale modification laws that Obama and crew are pushing through. (Which is I think in theory is great.) Once again though big banks and their Washington constituents have enough of a strangle hold to make these laws and programs weak and basically ineffectual.

To be on the bank's side for a minute, you can't really blame them, although the lending practices in some cases were predatory, they did lend someone money, and it is really only fair that as much of that money as possible be returned.

Short answer...HAMP is a program designed to help homeowners who are behind, and under water, re modify their loan, (in some cases with debt forgiveness, but much more rarely than the wording would imply.) However I have heard of it happening, and it has helped people stay in their homes. It is not a simple process though, and many times as it drags on, and the mortgage is not being paid, (which is a pre-requisite, paying your mortgage can get you booted from the program.) It pulls the property dangerously close to foreclosure.

Now what HAFA has tried to do, is simple streamline a snarled short sale process, and force banks to respond more like professionals, and less like a loan shark from Canarsie. I think in some ways it has done that. If you have followed the rules, and attempted to re modify, your existing loan, and have been unable to do so, HAFA can work in getting your home short sold.

One of the issues, besides the wishy-washy wording, which keeps the banks able to do pretty much whatever they want, is the fact that while in HAMP, you are unable to list your home and try to sell it. So in many cases, homes that may have been able to be short sold, were pulled off the market, while banks in the glacier pace they all seem to move in, attempted to change mortgages so someone now struggling, could stay in their home.

The problem seems to be, that if it is a situation, like a lost job, a loan modification won't help. You can't get water from a stone, but again, banks seem to lack this common sense, and force a mortgagor to go this whole process, before relenting to the short sale.

And in their unending quest on Capitol Hill to help, they unwittingly created a whole new bunch of piranhas.

The wording in the HAFA guidelines states that agent commissions are protected up to six percent of the transaction unless the servicer chooses to retain “a vendor to assist the listing broker with the sale” and if a vendor is retained, “this vendor must be paid from the commission.”

Well now every where you look, there are these "short sale vendor companies."

Notice how the press releases proclaim these companies are creating these divisions to help the servicers comply with HAFA. I guess they didn’t read that it was supposed be the agents they were assisting. I hope that they do make the short sale process easier, but the drafters of the HAFA program (with recommendations from the servicers) shouldn’t have tried to be cute with their wording in HAFA by guaranteeing a 6% commission unless a vendor is hired to assist the broker.

We'll see, all three of my short sales started before these laws went into effect, so I have not had the pleasure of dealing with a short sale vendor. But I will gladly give a percent away if they are doing all the HUD, bank paperwork, hardship letter, financial statement crap, and have an in with a negotiator.

I will list, show, market and sell. That is what I get paid to do. I just have a feeling that these "companies" are going to know very little about how to make this process smoother, and it will turn out to be another annoying step in an already very convoluted process.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Real Estate Intervention

Many of today's sellers need a reality check on pricing we all know this, and there has been this sort of eye rolling here-we-go-again attitude among selling agents when they go on listings. However it is a very difficult thing to tell a home owner his biggest investment is not worth what he thinks it is.

Mike Aubrey--who I had the opportunity to speak to--he gave me a very nice referral, yet another perk of being with a global company like Re/Max-- provides a reality check to one "lucky" homeowner each week on HGTV's "Real Estate Intervention."

The popular TV show follows sellers who are either thinking of listing their property or have had their homes on the market without a successful sale. Aubrey, a Hall of Fame and Chairman's Club member with RE/MAX Metropolitan Realty in North Potomac, Md., takes sellers through two comparables – a home that recently sold and one that's still on the market – to show them how their property stacks up to the competition. Then he sits them down for "the talk," which entails a rundown of the numbers and his suggestion for pricing.

Most of the time, the truth hurts.

"Sellers can get extremely upset or offended when I tell them my opinion on what their house is worth given the market conditions," says Aubrey, who remains remarkably patient with difficult sellers in several of the episodes (much more than I would). "Part of this business is telling people things they don't want to hear, but you can't get emotional about it. You have to control the situation and trust your work and the numbers. Having their best interest at heart means being honest."

Aubrey's straight-talking and frank manner has made the show a fan favorite; he gets thousands of letters and e-mails from agents and Broker/Owners who say they watch the show religiously. Some even make it required viewing during sales meetings. After speaking with him, and seeing a few episodes, I took a deep breath, and made a few uncomfortable phone calls. The one thing that he said to me that stuck, is "trust your numbers." Now here in rural Sullivan County, finding valid solid comps can be more challenging. But it is doable.

While it's not much different from what he does with his clients everyday, Aubrey says that the opportunity to show sellers a recently sold comp offers a unique angle to the discussion – something he wouldn't normally get to show his actual clients.

Aubrey got the gig after appearing in a few episodes of HGTV's "Get It Sold" and "House Hunters." But he doesn't consider himself a TV star by any stretch.

"I'm a guy who sells real estate that happens to be on TV – and not the other way around," says Aubrey, who works full-time with his team serving buyers and sellers in the Washington D.C. metro area. "I originally declined the offer to do this show because the filming would've interfered with my business, but they came back to me and offered me a shooting schedule I could live with.

"It's a lot of fun, but it's hard work; I put in 95-hour workweeks between selling homes and taping."

Having his own real estate show has opened up countless avenues for Aubrey to promote his business. He has appeared on the Today show, which invited him back on July 11 (7 a.m.-9 a.m. ET) to discuss online real estate resources for buyers.

Aubrey's real estate anecdotes have been included in The Washington Post and The New York Times, and he has appeared on news commentary programming and talk shows such as "Fox & Friends," and "Rachel Ray."

"One of the great things about doing 'Real Estate Intervention' is that I get to showcase the great work real estate agents are doing across country – especially right now," Aubrey says. "It's a big responsibility to be in a venue where I'm essentially representing all Realtors. So I make sure to do my homework and do the profession proud."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lakefront listing

My Re/Max software has a new "imbed" feature for the virtual tour, so I figured I would try it out here. I know...shameless self promotion of my own listings, which I swore this blog would not be about. Still it is pretty cool that I can do this. $289,000 for a five acre brand new house with deeded rights to a big private motorboat lake is a good deal.$289,000 click here

Well the imbed did not work right. It did not fit in the picture, so I guess I still have to figure this HTML thing out. But rather than confuse my vast readership, and delete this post altogether, I created it as a link.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rock Snot

I went out this past weekend with a few of my friends, who are all a bit more outdoorsy than I, and a few of the fisherman in the group were complaining about the Delaware and the surrounding tributaries. It hasn't really been covered by the "major" news outlets up here, but after talking with them, and doing some research I found out a bit more.

Didymosphenia geminate, or "rock snot" as is had been nicknamed, is an invasive freshwater diatom (microscopic alga). Didymo can form extensive “blooms” on the bottoms of rocky river beds, essentially smothering aquatic life forms such as macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects), native algae, and other organisms. Didymo uses stalks to attach to rocks and plants in a river system. The diatom actually creates these stalks, which can form masses 3 inches to 5 inches thick on the river bottom, and trail for lengths of 2 feet to 3 feet in the current. It is actually the stalks that are more problematic than the alga. The alga will eventually die off and decompose, while these stalks tend to persist for several months on the river bottom.

It is not native to NY. It started showing up around 2006-07, and has been getting steadily worse. I guess no one is sure exactly where it is originally native too, although it has been in New Zealand for decades. It can easily stick to waders, boat and canoes, even fishing lures. Only a few of these alga need to be transferred to start a new colony.

The problem is the invasivness, it kills all the small insects that the fish feed on, so it is a real threat to the river and stream's fish population. Apparently there has already been documented declines. And a large part of our tourism depends on the weekend, and vacation angler. I went and checked it out myself in Hankins. For a lack of a better term, its gross.

From what I can gather, there isn't really a whole lot than can be done, it blooms in the spring, pretty much covers everything, and then dies off in the July/Aug. months, only leaving behind the stalks. I guess dryer springs, which make the water levels lower make the blooms more prevalent.

At any rate, is is something to keep a close eye on. the Delaware's crystal clear water, and polished rocky bottom is what makes that river so attractive. Rock snot is anything but attractive.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Over the past month, I have been in contact with a dozen or so buyers of mine who have bought from me over the years. Most are in full summer swing, and are piling in the car as early as possible on Fridays, and not heading back until it is starting to get dark on Sunday. (There are a handful who have less traditional schedules, but the majority are Mon thru Fri.)

One of the many differences between the Hampton's and SC, besides its size, is there are a variety of ways to get here. But sort of like the LIE, we have Route 17, which is really the main artery to most of our region.

Well I'm sure some of you have noticed, but starting at about exit 118 (if you are heading east), until below Middletown, major construction has dropped 17 down to one narrow lane in both directions, and from the look of the progress (or lack thereof) this is something that will continue throughout our summer season.

I had one couple tell me on Memorial Day Monday, it took them six hours to get from Bethel to Queens. Ugh.

But again, unlike LI, there are a variety of ways to avoid this, and although it may be a two lane, somewhat slower route, it is certainly better than sitting through that mess week after week.

One of my favorites is Route 17K, which can hook you up with the Thruway, or stay on 84 over the Beacon Bridge and don the Taconic. Or if you are more western SC, you can go 97 to Port Jervis, and jump right into Jersey, of course depending on your final destination, that brings a Manhattan river crossing into the picture, which in my opinion should always be avoided unless it is 4AM.

At any rate, if you haven't already experienced it, just a word of warning. That spot is a mess, and with Bethel Woods concerts starting up, if you catch it wrong, you could be there for a while.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I had a busy weekend. Both days were chalk full of showings. I ended up looking at about thirty homes in the SC area. Although long and tiring, I am not complaining. Busy is good, and also seeing a house is invaluable for the next time some one calls, or inquires. I know the good and bad, and can relate that to the next prospect. There is no comparison. If the agent hasn't seen the house, they know just about as much as you, which is normally just carefully worded copy, and artful pictures, none of which tell the story.

It goes back to my point to make sure to work with an agent who is out there in the trenches, knows the inventory, and can help avoid wasting time. Often if it is the first time out with people, I will explain the issues of a certain property, but follow it up with, but I would be happy to show it to you. After a few of those, they start to trust me.

But to get to the point of my post. I showed two of my own listings, and the rest were co-brokes, listed with different agents. So there is quite a bit of work that goes into coordinating looking at thirty different homes to four different customers in two days--calling, waiting for callbacks, lock box numbers, owners being home etc. Driving around and being a home voyeur is the fun part.

And then Monday comes, and the phone starts ringing. This week it started at 8 AM. Its agents wondering how the showings went, and asking for feedback. I received more than a dozen throughout the day.

When someone shows one of my listings, I rarely call for feedback. I think it is a waste of time. If the buyer liked the house they will call. If there is no call within 48 hours, I chalk it up to a no. Most of the time, the original call will be a the kitchen table staying? How much are the utilities...something that lets you know there is interest.

Calling back over a dozen different agents to tell them my people did not like their listings is time consuming and a pain in the ass. And to get feedback I think doesn't help. Everyone's tastes are different, so if it is small things like...we want a more open floor plan, or there is not enough room for my antique armour, then it makes no difference, because those are things that cannot be changed. And if it is big things, like...we don't like mouse droppings in the sink, or a rusty car in the backyard...the agent should already know about that.

Even price is not worth feedback. If I get a buyer that says they love the place, but the price is too high, I say make an offer, and then the agent will be hearing from me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An Example of why I love Sullivan County

This driving range is on a back dirt road. By the honor system you put the money in a box nailed to the tree, (three bucks for a bucket. I think it is a quarter a ball at Chelsea Piers), and hit the balls out into a hay field. The eldery farmer who is retired, does it as a hobby. Every time I am there, I am the only one. Try finding a spot like this in the Hamptons.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Short Sales and Bank Stupidity

I had a comment from a good friend the other day, that my blog posts have a tendency to be a bit negative. I took his constructive criticism, mulled it over, and decided that newspaper editors discovered long before my time that bad news sells, and who am I to mess with a winning formula?

But to temper this post a bit, I will start out with good news. I had two closings this month, weekends have been full of appointments, and the phone is ringing. Value and more value is still the mantra. Anything over 250K is approached with the same caution as a hornets nest, and on more than one occasion I have heard. "I just love the house, but I can't justify paying that much for it."

Anyway, on to the real reason for this post. The bubble bursting has brought short sales and foreclosures to the forefront of our industry. Although not so much as other parts of the country, they are still prevalent here, and any agent worth their salt has encountered one of these lovely little nuggets of frustration. Most attempt to muddle through with little or no idea what they are doing.

Dealing with either, (although I find short sales particularly challenging) it immediately becomes apparent why our banking system collapsed. There is absolutely no common sense or vested interest in anyone I come into contact with. Every colloquialism is true, they can't see the forest for the trees, penny rich and dollar poor, a bird in the hand...etc.

Every time you deal with a bank, it comes down to the magic "market value." That is what every one of them are stuck on. And you can see how they would be. They are numbers driven, and putting a number on their investments or in a foreclosure situation, their assets is paramount.

However, what they always seem to miss, is that market value is only what someone is willing to pay you in a free arms length transaction. Careful appraisals, or haphazard BPO's, makes no difference.

Case in point. I had a buyer make an offer. The home was listed as a short sale, for 109K. Offer was 90K. Offer was submitted Jan. 2. We wait, and wait. Negotiator appointed, negotiator transferred..yada yada. Finally last week I get a call from the listing agent. The BPO. (brokers price opinion) came back at 155K.

Now a brokers price opinion is a joke anyway. In the banks attempt to save a few dollars, they randomly ask brokers or agents from the area to do a BPO or a CMA (comparative market analysis.) All the agent does is drive by the house, take a few exterior pictures, go back to the mls, find three sold comps, and three active comps, with sort of the same lost size and square footage, and come up with a number they think is fair market value. They then send that to the bank. The bank pays them around 50 bucks, and that is how value is determined.

Using this formula, I could easily do two BPO's on the same house with a 40% difference. It is that inaccurate and subjective.

You might ask yourself why don't they hire an appraiser? A pre requisite to become an appraiser is much more stringent than a real estate agent. And an appraisal is a much exhaustive process, (although still subjective.) Well an appraiser charges quite a bit more. A bank does hire an appraiser when someone apples for a mortgage, but that cost is passed on to the borrower in application fees. Why pay an appraiser 400, when you can pay an agent 50?

Any agent who attempts to list a short sale should submit their own BPO. Often the bank will use it, or at least give it some credence in comparison to another that they order. In my case the agent did not, so we end up with a BPO of 155K. The sellers only owe. 130K on it. The house has sat on the market for over a year. The owners have not paid the mortgage for eight months.

Were the bank to take this deal, they would immediately stop the fiscal bleeding. But no, they will take this absurd opinion of value. Continue to lose money, let the house fall into foreclosure, have it sit as a blight on one of our streets, until it is finally bought for pennies on the dollar 18 to 24 months from now.

When did common sense become so rare?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Random Update

I am not sure what to call this blog spot, because I think it is kind of gong to be all over the place. (What a treat for the reader.) First off last weekend was chalk full of showings. I spent around twelve hours in my car driving all around this county on a nice spring, actually more like summer day.

Both days were spent around the Roscoe/Tennanah Lake/Livingston Manor area. Neither resulted in a quick offer, but they are interested in a few things, and I have a feeling will be buying something.

We did see a few really nice properties, that are (I believe) around 30% less than what they would be asking for a few years ago. Affordable nice houses on private acreage, in the $230,000 range. Second home ownership is affordable again, and that is what is going to sustain us.

I know the doom and gloomers will say I am crazy, and this downward spiral will continue for the next five years, until finally when we crawl from the pit of real estate slime, and dust ourselves off, only foreclosures under 100K will be dotting the landscape, but I think as soon as the numbers start to make sense, and the dream of a second home is comfortably doable, people will buy.

I do think there will be another dip. Interest rates will climb, the dollar is too weak to sustain right now, and that will be the equivalent of raising every home price by 5 to 10K, but that will be over come.

On a personal front, I have switched Re/Max brokerages. I am now with Re/Max Benchmark out of New Windsor NY. Just this past week I have been introduced to the way a large professional brokerage works, and it is like night and day. I know I have said it before, but because of our county's ruralness, people and real estate people in particular, can get away with a certain lack of professionalism, that would be swallowed up and destroyed in a more competitive market.

I am not saying all. There are some very good competent real estate people in the county that I have worked with, and those are the ones that will sustain, but this business pulls in some who see the lure of an easy buck, and are really not good at what they do, and make no bones about it. Those are the ones that give real estate agents a bad name, and that is why I don't mind the correction. Let the chips fall where they may, and let the strong survive. On the other side will be strong competent agents and brokers who can weather the storm, and are truly professional at what they do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Love Hate Between the Local and the Visitor

I suppose this strange dichotomy has existed for years here in Sullivan County, but I think like everything that makes SC different as a “tourist” spot , this relationship is a little strange, and sort of passive-aggressive. In comparison to locals in the Hamptons, or the Jersey Shore, or further up, where the hostility is a little more apparent, and such nicknames as Cidiots and Massholes, Full-timers here in SC, I think are a little more protected from the influx, so the annoyance is kept to a minimum.

Though, as the internet has made the world smaller, I think in some ways it has brought this clash a little more to the forefront. Most (much livelier blogs) have this undertone, and as issues like gas-drilling and property taxes are discussed, it becomes more apparent. Full-timers feel it is a necessary evil, and put up with a crowded Delaware, less parking, longer lines at the movie theatre in town, or the grocery store, because our sluggish economy is driven by the weekender. Right now estimates are between 30-40% of our money for public schools come from the pockets of people who do not claim SC as their primary residence. That is a huge portion, and really shows how dependent we are on the weekender.

On a whole other level, the Hasidic community is more openly frowned upon and muttered about. The rumors that they do not pay taxes, seem to pave the way for this dislike. (Which according to those in the know, simply isn’t true. The property that is off the tax roll is minimal.) At any rate, what is true is that their bungalow colonies do tend to be run down and in disrepair. Our townships need to do a better job of keeping those communities up to code. I also think that they simply stand out which makes them a target, and the influx, from Memorial Day to Labor Day is so apparent, it helps fuel the dislike.

Not sure where I am going with this, just an observation I had. I suppose neighborly resentments have been a staple of any community forever, and ours is no different.

But in some ways it is different, and mirrors the County. Even this sort of dispute you can enter into only when you want. Or, you can choose to just keep to yourself, and enjoy springtime in the Catskills.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bad Blogger Once Again

It has been pretty busy the last few months. Being a new father of course adds to that, and takes some time away from such things as blogging, but I was updating my website, and wanted to update in here as well.

Spring is in the air, and it has brought buyers with it. My last post with the four lake access properties? Three currently are in contract, and the fourth has had a parade through it this weekend. (Listing agents words, it is not my listing.) This does prove that the right properties at the right price will go quick.

I think that is why in this market, it is more important than ever for a buyer to get hooked up with a broker who knows the market, and what is going on. There are so many over-priced-look-good-in-the-picture listings, that I think there are some buyers out there who, after going out hunting a few times, have given up. In my experience the magic number is three. If I can't find a motivated buyer what he or she wants in three trips, the invariably seem to shift gears. Not so much stop looking, but slow it down, start thinking about other areas, etc.

Everyone is different, so there is no way for me to guarantee that I can find a buyers something they will like, but it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to see a property, and know it is a good deal, and could potentially be attractive to quite a number of buyers. That is why when a good listing that is not mine goes into contract, I always get a little twinge. Missed opportunity. 726 North Branch Road comes to mind. Love that old boarding house. Heard just this weekend there is a deal on it.

But in someways, I think this malaise, and this general feeling that Sullivan real estate is crappy and overpriced, is the Realtor's fault. Although now, the under trained, and under motivated are dropping like flies, there is still the part-timer, seat of their pants agent out there, showing on weekends, without a good feel for the market.

I'm not putting anyone one down, I am addressing the possible buyers out there, agents get a healthy chunk of cash for selling a home. Just make sure they are qualified, and they are willing to work hard for the money. What would you pay for 3 to 4 thousand dollars? In no other business is there the possibility of getting paid so much for doing so little. That is what drove the NAR numbers to new records during our version of the gold rush. Well now the big nuggets are gone, but the fervent ones are still sifting through the sand for the smaller pieces. Those are the kind of agents you want.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Affordable Lake Access

With spring right around the corner, and temperatures hitting around 55 today, people begin to think about summer, and summer getaways, and I anticipate the phone to begin ringing with people looking for that house with the magical "water."

So many prospective buyers have that on the list. Either a stream, the Delaware or a lake. Access to a spot to swim. Why? perhaps it conjours up childhood memories, thoughts of relaxation--who knows, I think mostly it just represents, "downtime"--lazy summer days on the water.

There are four I have on my list for this season. Now full disclosure, two are my listings, however I truly believe they are good deals. The other two are also excellent deals. All four are not lakefront, but have lake access, and on all, the lake is less than a mile away, and on one, you can see the lake from the deck.

Click Here For Listings

Two of these 27762 and 26543 have access to Lake Loch Ada, which is a little known lake down by Glen Spey. It is a quiet non-motorboat lake, About 250 acres. It is a really nice spot tucked in the mountains, and it is lower Sullivan County, so the drive is under two hours.

27762 needs some work, but it is closer to the lake. It can bee seen from the decks. 26543 has been fully renovated, and has a cool lake home feel. Both are priced under 200K, which you can't get a studio for in the Hamptons. Bot of these are really good value.

27941 is on York Lake, which is a little smaller than Loch Ada and it is a motor-boat lake. It is frankly my least favorite lake, but the home is big and impeccable. I don't think the pictures do it justice, everything is high end, and it sits on two acres. at $239,000 it is less than the owner paid for it, and in my opinion another great value. York Lake is again in lower Sullivan County, so the drive is less.

27611 is brand new construction, again great quality. It has access to Tennanah Lake which is a much bigger motorboat lake. This house is the furthest away from any of the lakes, but it has complete privacy on over five acres--were you to be on the lake, the homes are all tucked in together, as is the case with most Catskill lakes. Tennanah Lake is a great lake community, very lively in the summer. There is a 18 hole golf course, just off the lake, and Roscoe is just a few minutes away. Older, smaller homes on the lake do not go for less than half a million, so this is another one that in my opinion is a great value.

I know that there is something about being on the water, being able to wake up and see it, be next to it as you barbecue or have a glass of wine and read a book, and hear the water lapping, but at half the cost, these homes offer 90% of what you would get with a lakefront.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bad Blogger

Haven't been blogging in a while, but I have been really super busy. Real estate is not moving so much, (although I have had showings every weekend.) But my concierge business over the past few months has sky-rocketed. Who knew that there were so many people concerned with their second homes.

Many of my customers do have high-tech gadgets where they can see from their web cams on their computers at home, what is going on in the house, low temperature alarms automatic lights etc. but the pure hassle and worry of what may be going on while they are away, is what I think drives this business. A home is a huge investment, and many times, (intentionally) the house is tucked away from anyone else. Being able to call someone like me, to make sure all is well, is a piece of mind, that is worth a couple of bucks to some folks.

I really enjoy it. Driving around the winter countryside, and inspecting different types of homes is a really a nice way to make a few extra bucks. And very often I come across real estate signs and listings I might have otherwise missed. A wise old real estate man once told me that an agent doesn't make money at home or in the office. He makes it in his car.

But today I am snow bound, with a wife who is four weeks away from our first. I was unceremoniously removed from the bedroom I was using as an office, (which is now blue with an oak crib also waiting for the little one's arrival.) and am now in the basement. Its pretty nice down here. I've got a little window watching the snow pile up. Life is good.

On the real estate front, I've got a few deals pending, but both are short sales, where if you let it, it will drive you crazy. Dealing with a bank loss mitigaion department is the equivalant of banging your head against the wall.

Prices continue to fall, and I think sellers some sellers have taken that deep sigh, and realized what kind of market we are in, and that it is here to stay.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Big Bank" Rant

So I get an accepted offer on a foreclosed property through Wells Fargo. It is listed with another agent in Orange County, located sixty miles away from the property. They literally put a lock box on it, hung a sign, and put it on the mls. That's it.

It sits for a bit, and there are some price reductions. I finally get an accepted offer, after the obligatory hoops--pre approval letters not only from the bank they plan to use, but from Wells Fargo as well. Earnest money. Background checks through a "money laundering database." Really? We do as instructed. Follow the rules.

The listing agent has done everything but come out and say he doesn't care a bit about selling this property. I suppose Sullivan County is too far, and he has bigger fish to fry, anyway every correspondence is slow in being returned, and apathetic when finally reached.

So the Wells Fargo attorney sends the contracts to my attorney, twenty four hours after the accepted offer, (I know, finally some speed int this deal) however, it happens to be Christmas Eve. Their time stipulations are two days to review and sign. Five days for an inspection, and fourteen days for a mortgage commitment. There is a fifty dollar a day late charge if these are not met.

Now keep in mind the holiday. Does it matter? Nope. My buyers happened to be out of the country. They countered with seven days to review and sign the contracts. Fifteen days for the inspection, and thirty for the mortgage commitment. What was the banks response? Unacceptable, The deal is off. "We are going to entertain other offers."

Meanwhile, the apathetic agent has allowed the property to expire off the mls.--currently not listed anywhere. There are no other offers. The house sits empty, and in disrepair. Lets kill the deal over fourteen days. This is such an example of big bank stupidity.

Now you are probably thinking, that surely there is someone along this chain of he-said-she-said that selling agents have to follow, that will have a bit of common sense, and believe me I have tried. The bank's attorney? Not my call. Listing agent? Not my call, (and I don't give a crap.) Trying to find that nameless person in Wells Fargo who does make the "call" is maddening. I get switched from department to department, and finally to a voice mail, that might as well not be recording, because no-one gets back to me.

I have heard many similar complaints about foreclosures and short sales from other agents. Now I know that this is my little world here in Sullivan County, but lets be really conservative, and assume that this is happening a fifty times a day across the country. My deal was for $200,000. Times that by fifty. That is ten million a day in bank lost revenue.

Stupidity at it's highest form. Take the bailout money banks, I can see why you needed it.