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People Are Cannibalizing Each Other, To Usurp A Buyer From One Another

A report from the Santa Cruz Sentinel in California. “September’s median price in the county dropped to $815,000, according to Gary Gangnes of Real Options Realty, who tracks the numbers. A year ago, the median home price was $920,000, according to Gangnes’ figures. One single-family home in the county that sold close to the median price was 140 Boulder Brook Drive in Boulder Creek. With three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,461 square feet, the home was listed June 12 for $840,000, according to Bailey Properties real estate agent Jo-Ellen Smith, the seller’s agent for the home. After the price was dropped twice, the house closed escrow Sept. 28 for $795,000.”

“Smith said real estate agents should price their houses ‘at or under market,’ or at the prices consumers are buying. ‘There’s more of a power balance between a buyer and seller,’ Smith said, ‘It’s an equal field depending on which location.’ Sellers have to manage their aspirations, or expectations for a price, because they have been in charge for so long, Smith said.”

The New York Times. “By most measures, it would be absurd to call $1,515,000 for four walls of Sheetrock a bargain. And yet. In Manhattan’s flagging real estate market, that was the median sale price of a two-bedroom apartment last quarter — an 8 percent drop from the same period last year, and the largest discount among studio to three-bedroom co-ops and condos, according to the brokerage Douglas Elliman. Only the four-bedroom-and-up market fell further, with a 17 percent drop.”

“After years of softness at the top, it is finally becoming a buyers’ market for people who intend to actually live and work in New York. Case in point: deep bargains across the wide spectrum of two-bedrooms, the most common apartment for sale in the city. Many look to the glut of new high-rise, luxury condos for what ails the city’s real estate market, but ambitious pricing at the top also set unrealistic expectations in the comparatively modest co-op market.”

“‘Sooner or later what was happening in the luxury market was likely to catch up with the two-bed market,’ said Frederick Warburg Peters, the chief executive of Warburg Realty, who added that one-beds and small two-bedrooms have ‘sunk into the doldrums’ since about four months ago.”

“Frances Katzen, an agent with Douglas Elliman, recently listed in Sutton Place, on the east side of Manhattan, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with plenty of natural light and prewar bona fides for $599,000 — a 20 percent markdown from its previous price of $750,000. Two years ago, it listed and languished on the market with another brokerage for $995,000.”

“‘People are cannibalizing each other, to usurp a buyer from one another,’ said Ms. Katzen, who believes the true value of the apartment is around $625,000 — but she listed lower in the hopes of standing out from a growing number of co-ops for sale.”

“‘I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a client say ‘O.K., if I drop the price, can you guarantee me a quick sale?’ And my response is no,’ said. ‘All I can guarantee you is no sale, if you don’t,’ said Mr. Peters of Warburg Realty.”

From 24 East in New York. “The number of home sales has declined for the seventh straight quarter while the median sales price has stagnated, according to the Elliman Report for the Hamptons market. It was also the lowest number of third quarter sales in eight years. The optimism for the future that many industry insiders expressed after a lackluster second quarter largely proved to be premature. While a turnaround was anticipated in the third quarter, sales statistics did not bear that out. Rather, July, August and September delivered more of the same.”

“The inventory of single-family homes and condominiums on the market in the Hamptons was 2,571 at the end of the third quarter of 2019, up 76.9 percent from a year prior, according to the Elliman Report. The months of supply — the number of months it would take to sell everything currently on the market, based on the current pace of sales — rose to 19.2, up 108.7 percent.”

“Ernest Cervi, Corcoran’s regional senior vice president for the East End, attributed the third quarter numbers to some of the same factors that suppressed sales during the second quarter. Mr. Cervi had a familiar message on pricing: ‘If you had the listing on the market for three months and it hasn’t sold, you need to get your seller to reduce their price. And that’s going to attract buyers that have been sitting on the sidelines. It’s really going to be about value — the market is about value.'”

“He personally would suggest reducing the price within just 30 days if there are no offers. ‘If you have showings and no offers, it usually tells you that it’s overpriced,’ he said.”

This Post Has 130 Comments
  1. ‘After years of softness at the top, it is finally becoming a buyers’ market for people who intend to actually live and work in New York. Case in point: deep bargains across the wide spectrum of two-bedrooms, the most common apartment for sale in the city…‘Sooner or later what was happening in the luxury market was likely to catch up with the two-bed market,’ said Frederick Warburg Peters, the chief executive of Warburg Realty, who added that one-beds and small two-bedrooms have ‘sunk into the doldrums’ since about four months ago’

    Eat yer crowz ankle biters.

    1. Eat yer crowz ankle biters.

      “it would be absurd to call $1,515,000 for four walls of Sheetrock a bargain…two-bedroom apartment”

      It’s a mania, and it will be for a long way down.

    2. “Frances Katzen, an agent with Douglas Elliman, recently listed in Sutton Place, on the east side of Manhattan, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with plenty of natural light and prewar bona fides for $599,000 — a 20 percent markdown from its previous price of $750,000. Two years ago, it listed and languished on the market with another brokerage for $995,000.”

      For those of you outside New York City who don’t know, a co-op is a form of ownership that is virtually unique to here. In a condominium, you own an apartment. In a co-op, you are a shareholder in the building.

      There are two key differences. The first is the price is not the price. Many co-ops have common mortgages for the whole building. You are buying into a share of that obligation, in addition to your own mortgage, and common charges can be much higher than operating costs.

      Second, co-op boards can accept or reject buyers, and either prohibit you from renting it out or demand the right to approve or reject each tenant. A condominium is just like your house, to sell or rent as you like.

      A libertarian is a liberal who was mugged by a co-op board.

  2. ‘I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a client say ‘O.K., if I drop the price, can you guarantee me a quick sale?’

    Remember, greedheads, the key to happiness is low expectations.

  3. “I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a client say ‘O.K., if I drop the price, can you guarantee me a quick sale?’ And my response is no,’ said. ‘All I can guarantee you is no sale, if you don’t”

    At least it was cheaper than renting, LOL.

    HOA fees for Manhattan coops and apartments are more than my rent.

      1. Dominos are in motion.

        The Financial Times
        North American prime property
        Brooklyn’s property market falters
        New York borough follows Manhattan’s downward trend
        Brooklyn street scene with block of buildings near the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City
        Brooklyn street next to the Williamsburg Bridge © Getty Images/iStockphoto
        Hugo Cox yesterday

        Hilarie Sheets has had a nerve-racking year. While selling her deceased father’s home in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, she had to drop the sale price three times before completion. At the same time, she was trying to buy a three-bedroom home in Brooklyn.

        “As we’re watching the Upper East Side plummeting, the Brooklyn market was staying resilient. Although it was starting to shift in favour of buyers, good homes were selling fast,” says the 55-year-old, an art critic and “life-long New Yorker” who grew up in Manhattan.

        Sheets kept up her search, partly because falling mortgage rates made a purchase appealing. She is now waiting to complete a deal on a three-bedroom house in Windsor Terrace — enough room for her, her husband and visits from grown-up children.

        Prices in Manhattan are falling faster than at any time over the past decade. But over in Brooklyn, Sheet’s hunch that the market is also shifting in favour of buyers is reflected in the data. Sales volumes fell 10.4 per cent in the three years to September, according to Douglas Elliman, a local agent. Mean prices have fallen 2.2 per cent over the period.

        “Brooklyn tends to follow Manhattan. It managed to stay afloat for a while but in the last six to nine months, we’ve seen the reckoning,” says Brooke Joslyn, an agent at the Stribling office in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

        The forces are similar to those in Manhattan, she says: too many homes for sale, foreign buyers fleeing and domestic buyers concerned about tax changes and affordability. The revamped mansion tax imposes a levy on home purchases that rises from 1 per cent on properties worth more than $1m to 3.9 per cent on properties sold for more than $25m.

        1. “Prices in Manhattan are falling faster than at any time over the past decade.”

          That only goes back to 2009, which was the nadir of the Great Recession. Were Manhattan prices falling faster over the 2007-2009 period?

        2. “Brooklyn tends to follow Manhattan. It managed to stay afloat for a while but in the last six to nine months, we’ve seen the reckoning,” says Brooke Joslyn, an agent at the Stribling office in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

          The real reckoning is still ahead, when social unrest breaks out in Manhattan due to the rapaciousness of the elites and bleak housing and employment situations for the proles.

  4. “September’s median price in the county dropped to $815,000, according to Gary Gangnes of Real Options Realty, who tracks the numbers. A year ago, the median home price was $920,000, according to Gangnes’ figures.”

    Pretty nice haircut there in Santa Cruz. Is the rest of coastal California soon to follow?

    1. me thinks in addition to the inevitable cr8r throughout california, santa cruz has some other great factors that help speed up the decline such as our need to satisfy the growing homeless / drug addicted population. Once we are at full capacity you can expect them to overflow south;)

      1. San Diego already has sizable homeless communities, living in the downtown streets and in the outlying canyons.

        1. “…and in the outlying canyons.”

          Where their illegal campfires can touch off wildfires?

          1. “Where their illegal campfires can touch off wildfires?”

            No that is not the correct narrative. The only correct response to why the fires are happening is global warming. You cannot point out since California decriminalized many crimes the homeless population has soared and their illegal encampments have caused fires. You cannot point out that since California prohibited utilities from eliminating vegetation under powerlines fires have soared. You cannot point out since utilities have cutback on maintenance since they have been forced to buy expensive alternative energy and transmit it across great distances they have cutback on maintenance. You cannot point out that there has been no global warming over the last few years and the temperatures are really cooler than 1998 so there is not reason why these fires suddenly are overwhelming the system.

          2. Homeless encampments and Santa Ana winds are a dangerous mix. They bring the fire risk right into the middle of densely populated areas inside the San Diego city limits.

            Maybe it’s time for California’s liberal extemists to back down on their toxic combination of no growth, generous welfare, and open borders policies that created the homeless crisis.

            Homeless encampment fire burns along freeway
            Posted 5:57 AM, October 21, 2019, by Matt Meyer, Updated at 09:56 AM, October 21, 2019
            Smoke rises from a homeless encampment fire on the side of the freeway in Normal Heights.

            SAN DIEGO — Crews doused a fire that broke out along the freeway in Normal Heights early Monday.

            A tree and other brush caught fire off the Adams Avenue exit on southbound Interstate 805 around 5 a.m., according to California Highway Patrol. The flames spread from a homeless encampment set up in the area, officers said.

            Crews were able to control the fire before it spread. They shut down the right lane of southbound I-805 while they worked.

        2. No doubts there but we breed ours a bit different up here. I wish i could say i was being sarcastic but im not. Crime DOES pay if your homeless here. Drug problem, no problem! Because we make it our problem and pure gasoline on that fire. SF i thinks leads they way with this. I mean come on, why is there jobs to clean up needles and human waste?? I may be ignorant to what socal deals with but i feel its supported behavior up here. Rant over

          1. It’s a matter of California state law. A state of idiocracy.

            Homeless Crisis
            Published 1 day ago
            California’s Prop 47 leads to rise in shoplifting, thefts, criminal activity across state
            By Barnini Chakraborty | Fox News
            California’s Prop 47 leads to rise in shoplifting, theft

            In 2014, Prop 47 was passed to reduce certain non-violent felonies to misdemeanors in order to free up resources for cops and prosecutors to go after serious, violent offenders. Data shows that after Prop 47 passed, shoplifting and thefts increased. Fox News spoke with San Francisco and Oakland shop owners about the recent rise in crime.

            SAN FRANCISCO – In a lighted garage on one of San Francisco’s busiest streets, a young man in baggy trousers and messy brown hair pulled down his pants. He had been hiding two pairs of stolen jeans with the tags still on them. He handed them to another man waiting nearby, took some money, pulled up his pants and headed back into another store on Market Street — home to the city’s high-end designers and big-chain retail shops.

            The incident wasn’t a one-off. These brazen acts of petty theft and shoplifting are a dangerous and all-too-common consequence of Proposition 47, a referendum passed five years ago that critics say effectively gives shoplifters and addicts the green light to commit crimes as long as the merchandise they steal or the drugs they take are less than $950 in value. The decision to downgrade theft of property valued below the arbitrary figure from felony to misdemeanor, together with selective enforcement that focuses on more “serious” crimes, has resulted in thieves knowing they can brazenly shoplift and merchants knowing the police will not respond to their complaints, say critics.

        3. It’s gotten so much worse than that In San Diego. They are everywhere. Downtown, the beach areas, the northern suburbs, office and industrial parks, the border towns, the canyons, east county…everywhere.

        4. The whole damn state and pretty much any big city in the US. The homeless problem is far, far bigger than any MSM outlet wants to acknowledge. It’s not just drugs, it’s affordability. We give development incentives for commercial but not residential development. We’ve been kicking this can down the road for over four decades and yet here in California we STILL don’t acknowledge that we’ve grievously underbuilt housing for the largest growing sector of jobs, namely the service industry. (yeah NIMBY’s I’m talking to you.) Need I tell you that business owners are freaking out about the $13 min. wage (for over 27 employees) coming in CA Jan 1st, yet their employees have to try to rent a place that averages 2K in So Cal and 4K in Nor Cal. Do the math. Small wonder we have ever growing legions of working homeless.

          1. we’ve grievously underbuilt

            Some of these folks who fell out of the system might be the lucky ones. They don’t have homes that cost more than they can pay. Most of the rest do have homes that cost more than they can pay.

          2. “The homeless problem is far, far bigger …”

            How many U$ citizen homele$$ from 1929 > 1936?

            Mr. Ben Jones: “are we there yet?”

          3. Nobody wants to connect the dots between today’s large populations of minimum wage workers, permanently unemployed working age adults, and homeless people versus similar groups in the 1930s. Such comparisons don’t fit the Fed’s “everything is awesome” narrative, at all.

  5. REALTORS are liars.

    MarketWatch puff piece promotes debt slavery, claims the following:

    “A shortage of housing inventory … ” Nope.

    “A dearth of affordability products … My firm, for example, provides financing to those who may not qualify for a traditional mortgage but have the intention and capacity to repay. We make sure to offer ARMs responsibly, conducting due diligence on borrowers. Our loan officers work closely with customers to make sure they understand the attributes of each financing option … Many borrowers simply aren’t familiar with these types of affordability programs. Lenders must promote these programs so that borrowers can pursue a pathway to homeownership. Housing lenders need to evaluate alternative forms of income verification, doing so in a responsible manner.”

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-home-prices-keep-going-up-and-what-we-can-do-about-it-2019-11-01

    1. Realtors are liars

      “Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in vices reaches complete bestiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself.”

      Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

        1. realtor.com
          Sell
          5 Little White Lies That Are OK to Tell Potential Buyers
          By Stephanie Booth | Aug 14, 2018

          Honesty is the best policy, but come on, it’s often tempting to fudge the truth a bit—even when selling a home. In fact, in certain situations, spilling too many beans could cost you a sale, so being vague may be the best policy.

          To be clear, we’re not condoning lying to deceive potential buyers. As a seller, it’s your duty to be 100% upfront about things that could be harmful or expensive to fix, like the presence of lead paint in your home or the astronomical cost of maintaining the pool. But often a seller is dealing with a personal situation that doesn’t actually concern the buyer. So according to our expert sources, there are certain tidbits you can keep on the down low without causing any harm.

          While the facts that follow are all innocuous to buyers, blurting them out could jeopardize the sale. Here’s how you can gloss over these tough situations while still being respectful to all parties involved.

  6. Meanwhile, in New York City last night:

    “Close to a thousand anti-police protesters descended on Downtown Brooklyn Friday night, blocking traffic, vandalizing a city bus and shouting obscene insults at NYPD cops.

    The demonstration formed soon after 7 p.m. on the streets near the Barclays Center, with protesters unfurling large banners that read “F—k the police” and “Don’t let these pigs touch us.” The crowd began dispersing by 9 p.m.

    The demonstration was in response to a planned crackdown on fare evasion by the NYPD — and two controversial police actions in Brooklyn subway stations in recent weeks.”

    https://nypost.com/2019/11/01/anti-cop-protesters-in-brooklyn-blast-fare-evasion-crackdown/

  7. Meanwhile, in Portlandia, ClownWorld:

    “A 24-year-old man who hit another man over the head with a baton in June during dueling downtown Portland demonstrations was sentenced Friday to nearly six years in prison.

    Gage Halupowski pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in connection with the June 29 attack on Adam Kelly outside The Nines Hotel along Southwest Morrison Street. Halupowski was identified as one of several masked, black-clothed demonstrators seen on video hitting and pepper-spraying Kelly after he appeared to come to the aid of another man who’d been attacked during the protests, authorities said.

    Kelly, a right-wing protestor at the demonstrations, wrote on Facebook at the time that the blows to his head led to him suffering a concussion and needing 25 staples to close the wounds.”

    https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2019/11/baton-attack-during-june-protests-in-downtown-portland-lands-man-in-jail-for-nearly-6-years.html

    1. Typical Real Journalist mendacity. They don’t mention that the “right wing protestor” (who was actually a free speech proponent) was a 56-year-old man who got jumped by a bunch of Soros scum, mainly Antifa. They also mention “a fight broke out” when peaceful protestors were attacked by the Democrat’s shock troops.

      If you want real news and real truth, you aren’t going to get it from the Ministry of Truth propagandists known as Real Journalists, or the Oligopoly media.

      1. I have seen the Real Journalists repeating the company line a couple of times on Tucker Carlson’s show in the past couple of weeks. They run one of those segments in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the video shown in the link below. At this point it really is comical.

        Tucker Carlson: “Obedient” Media Flunkies Repeat Democratic Talking Points Like “Shih Tzus Begging For A Snack”

        Posted By Ian Schwartz
        On Date January 10, 2019

        https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/10/tucker_carlson_obedient_media_flunkies_repeat_democratic_talking_points_like_shih_tzus_begging_for_a_snack.html

      1. Hit with a crowbar. No wonder these jackles wear masks. Are these really the dogs of the “liberals” who want to make me defenseless?

        1. As someone who actually lives here, I can assure you people want Antifa thugs and Joey’s thugs the eff out our city.

  8. Buy a house and then renovate it to flip. It doesn’t sell, so turn it into an Airbnb rental. What could go wrong?

    Orinda shooting: Airbnb host had ‘disruptive parties’ before Halloween massacre

    “Smith said the property owners purchased the home within the past two years and renovated it, but they weren’t able to sell. On Nov. 16, 2018, Wang and Lou registered the property with the city of Orinda as a short-term rental, according to city records. Five days later, the city accepted the registration.”

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Orinda-shooting-Airbnb-host-had-disruptive-14802799.php

    1. There’s something strange about how this story has been reported. It’s like they are trying to hide the details of what happened.

      1. Orinda: Four dead in Halloween party shooting
        Four others injured at short-term rental, according to police chief

        “According to social-media posts, an ‘AirBNB mansion party’ had been advertised for Thursday night. The flier was adorned with crime-scene tape and told attendees to ‘DM for location,’ ‘BYOB’ and ‘BYOW.’ One post sharing the flier appeared to have a location of ‘Orinda, California’ and said doors would open at 10 p.m.” (emphasis added)

        Speculation amongst locals according to my BIL, who lives in a neighboring town: BYOW meant Bring Your Own Weapon rather than Weed.

        1. And not a single law will get serious about using or carrying Illegal guns…………….. i would like to see 5 years no bail for carrying , 10 years no bail if the serial numbers are filed off, ad double everything if you have priors.

          In wake of Orinda party mansion shooting, CA politicians offer condolences, calls for gun control
          Shooting comes three weeks after 15 gun control bills signed

          https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/11/02/in-wake-of-orinda-party-mansion-shooting-ca-politicians-offer-condolences-call-for-gun-control/

  9. Going off topic: Starting a thread to find out what’s going on in the lives of all the regulars and irregulars I’ve come to know here.

    I’ll go first, on some old things I’ve mentioned in previous threads here:

    My brother: Divorce on hold (for now) after his wife agreed for them to go a church-related counseling retreat. She’s saying she wants it to work out and there’s a path to do so, and has made some concessions, but I’m still skeptical. But it does buy time for his son to to have a say in who he stays with.

    The lady I was helping this past summer to find an RV for full-time living: (might remember the way to get her student loans discharged, etc) – that completed and worked out successfully so far. The most difficult detail has been getting health insurance that’s worth anything, but that’s endemic of a much bigger problem.

    My Knee: still working it, trying to get past 120 degrees of motion before year end. Off all meds for a while now and able to sleep an entire night, but more issues with swelling than before – super temperature sensitive.

    work: Work seems to be coming out of everywhere now and I’m having to turn down multiple people. Looks like I’ll spend the next 18 months doing something for Apple.

    Holidays: pissed at my ex – she went ahead and arranged to have my kids out of town on both turkey-day and xmas without telling me despite our decree.

    Ok, I went first – anything interesting going on with you guys and gals? Redpilled Redhead? Prof Bear? Boo Randy? Chino? Apt 401? rms? Oxide? b? Carl M? Tarara? OneAgainstMany? All the rest of you I’ve not named? ( except for MafiaWatch/MortgageBlocks – we know what you’re doing! 😛 )

    1. I’m a service electrician. We troubleshoot problems, do additions/renovations, commercial lighting retrofits, and tenant finishes.

      It’s more fun that sitting in a cubicle staring at Excel spreadsheets all day.

      In a few years I’d like to be out working on my own, maybe only 8-10 months of the year.

      I rent, and yes, I am rich 😉

      1. Keep stacking the cash…… Beautiful valuable US CASH.

        King Dollar my good friends…..King Dolly.

      2. Neat. I actually wasn’t asking what everyone’s profession was, but it’s cool to know.

        A Question that immediately comes to mind is: Is your job connected to the RE sector’s health? I.e. do jobs dry up or boom along with property changing hands?

        It sounds like you have an interest in FIRE?

    2. Boating is over for the season. I’m having some success as an artist. No small miracle for an ex-engineer. A beautiful young redhead loves me but doesn’t live here. A new(er) powerful gas guzzler (also red). No drama, no debt, no worries. I’m spending the money I set aside by not buying into the housing mania. I’m a lucky guy. And I’ve got plenty of popcorn.

      1. “I’m having some success as an artist. No small miracle for an ex-engineer.”

        That’s admirable, but not that surprising to me. The brainpower it takes to be an engineer transfers well into artistic endeavors, including music and poetry, among others.

        1. The brainpower it takes to be an engineer transfers well into artistic endeavors, including music and poetry, among others.

          And vice versa. Lots of good musicians in engineering, especially at my current company.

      2. Careful with that boating. I lost my AR-15 in a tragic boating mishap. Darn shame, that. I was so looking forward to turning it over to Beto’s jack-booted thugs.

      3. “No drama, no debt, no worries.”

        Happy to see you hangin’ in there with the theme of: Con$tancy!

        the quality of being enduring and unchanging.

        “the trade winds are noted for constancy in speed and direction”

        As we have shared our “$elf.discoverie$” BlueSkye, here is my edit to a $imilar a$$essment:

        “No drama$, no debt$, no worrie$, no equitie$”.
        (Except BRK: B & $py)

      4. I grew up on the great lakes; we owned a few boats growing up. As a teen, I spent 2 years as cheap labor for my dad restoring a 22′ 1950 Chris Craft utility – a solid mahogany beauty. My father was a smart man – he told me I could take it out by myself after I had a full-time summer job (this was my first summer after starting college). I got a job coding firmware, and it took from 6:05am to 6:30 each day including commute. I managed to take the boat out exactly once the entire summer.

    3. All I can say about the knee is be patient and keep exercising. You’ll make it to 120+ degrees.

      I went back for more PT for some muscular soreness that just doesn’t want to go away (quads). The Rx of course was a lot of exercise, which hasn’t helped a lot with the soreness but strength has increased noticeably. The PT says “be patient, as long as you keep exercising the soreness will eventually go away”. That said, I’m being nit picky, I want it to be perfect. It doesn’t get in the way of any activities. I only experience soreness when climbing stairs, and it isn’t the shooting pre-surgery pain, just a dull soreness. I’ll say this, I can run up stairs much faster now. One of the things I’m “forbidden” to do is sit for more than a hour. I have to get up and ride the exercise bike for at least 5 minutes.

      Anyway, good luck and keep exercising.

      1. Thanks. I get discourage sometimes, It helps having people remind me regularly. Sadly, I can feel more pain in my right (good) knee a lot of the time, and tell that’s not 100%.

    4. Trying to help four young adult children launch their independence is our current big challenge. We share a lot more of their financial burdens than my parents did with my siblings and me when we were of similar age, as living costs are much higher today relative to earnings potential for young people in the process of completing higher education degrees. And we get negligible tax consideration for extending largess to our neophyte adult children. My wife and I are both working as hard as we ever have, putting us in that curious niche of the California socioeconomic spectrum where we make enough to put us in a high marginal tax bracket, but not enough to get ahead very quickly.

      Soldiering on!

      1. PS I have been very lucky with leg health since rupturing my Achilles tendon twenty years ago. I am not a fitness fanatic, but do belong to a gym and make a point of working out three times a week, including aerobics and strength training. I also work in a multilevel building and religiously take the stairs rather than use the elevator to increase daily use of my leg muscles.

        Achilles recovery was a challenge, especially since I was in graduate school and had to hobble around on crutches. Recovery seemed endless until it ended. However, keep the faith and keep doing whatever exercises are appropriate, and you will soon find yourself mobile and less physically limited than you are presently.

        1. Appreciated. ‘Achilles heel’ is a term for a reason. My left ankle is a mess, but I try and keep it in check by wearing orthotic inserts 24/7 (slippers inside the house).

          My wife and I are both working as hard as we ever have, putting us in that curious niche of the California socioeconomic spectrum where we make enough to put us in a high marginal tax bracket, but not enough to get ahead very quickly.

          Sadly, you only need to make what? $50K? to get in the top marginal state bracket of ~10%. I’m seeing how hard it is to get kids safely launched on their own, especially here on the coast. We’ve got 5 in total; ages 13 to the one that just turned 20 today, and it’s not clear at all how they are going to manage leaving the (our ex’s) nest anytime in the foreseeable future.

          There’s a LOT more generational assistance and transfer going on these days, and it’s not generally written about.

      2. Trying to help four young adult children launch their independence is our current big challenge.

        One is taking a lot of effort and attention for me. It would be impossible for me to handle 4 right now unless I was still happily married to wife #1 and had all the financial advantages that go along with that. Even then it sounds really difficult.

        1. to handle 4 right now

          I launched four without the help or presence of their mother. I spent the next decade living alone on a boat. I’m still not completely right, if you know what I mean.

          1. I launched four without the help or presence of their mother. I spent the next decade living alone on a boat. I’m still not completely right, if you know what I mean.

            I can imagine. That’s kind of what China was for me until I went and got myself married again. My wife doesn’t like that I’m perfectly happy to go back to that life if things don’t work out, but it keeps the relationship from getting stupid again. And it’s not a bluff. I kind of liked living out of a suitcase after being with a borderline hoarder.

    5. Son: He’s doing really well in school this year. For the first time, he’s mainstreaming for social activities (e.g., morning meeting, PE, music) and has a couple neurotypical friends. His expressive language is also improving.

      Work: I’m winding up my startup biotech company. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit eviscerated the “newly characterized antigen test,” upon which our patent application was based and the Supreme court declined to hear matter so the Federal Circuit’s ruling is the law of the land for the time being. There’s a local opening that I’m exploring but can’t get too excited about. I’ve been burned too many times interviewing.

      House: We’ve decided to do a 1031 exchange with my mom’s house. I finally called in the senior moving company this last week to help purge and pack. Another one or two days and the house should be empty. Then, it’s repairs and emptying the garage. The house in which I’m most interested as a replacement property has been taken off the market temporarily. I’m guessing the exchange won’t take place until early 2020.

      1. RR, one of the more affecting books I’ve read in recent years is John Elder Robison’s “Look Me in the Eye,” about his life as an “Aspie.” It’s equal parts sad, comic, and enlightening. As a teenager, he went on the road with Pink Floyd and Kiss because he was a genius when it came to amplifiers, even though most authority figures in his life told him he was shiftless (because he couldn’t look them in the eye) and would never amount to anything.

        https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-elder-robison/look-me-in-the-eye/

        1. “Look Me in the Eye”

          Easy title to remember. Appreciate the recommendation as we head into those years.

          Pink Floyd

          I knew someone in law school whose stepdad was a member of the group. He was an amazing musician but the most f’d up twentysomething I’ve ever met. He was in AA while in law school.

        2. Re: John Elder Robison
          I read that he underwent treatment
          Getting Emotions ‘Switched On’ After Decades Of Asperger’s
          I felt especially bad for him when he said he looked back and realized people who he thought were being nice to him at the time were screwing with him.
          Recommend his brother’s book, too, “Running with Scissors”. Crazy family.
          My daughter has gotten pretty good at “masking” but it exhausts her.

        3. As a teenager, he went on the road with Pink Floyd and Kiss because he was a genius when it came to amplifiers, even though most authority figures in his life told him he was shiftless (because he couldn’t look them in the eye) and would never amount to anything.

          Thanks for the tip, sounds like a great read.

      2. Don’t know if I’ve talked about my son – he’s 15 and very much on the spectrum. He’s been home-schooled mostly by my ex, and though he’s come a long way in terms of being mostly functional, I’ve got some real big concerns for him in the years ahead. He’s behind on in-person socialization with others, and has the added quirk of being 6′ 5″ (at 15) and looking like a NFL tight end/pretty boy jock. People make a lot of incorrect assumptions based on appearance alone. One bit of good news is that he is on track to have his pilot’s license when he turns 17.

        Didn’t know you had your own Biotech company – that’s seriously involved. I am too familiar with having to deal with IP / Patent issues, though mostly in the computer space. I can’t imagine how they are in the biotech space.

        Interviews are… ugh. I treat them like an acting audition – you usually have to come off as a much higher level of being the perfect employee than anyone currently there actually is.

    6. Formerly a civil engineer from a hydro-power and irrigation control systems background. I retired earlier than anticipated due to hostile feminism and LGBTQ creep into our government management folks, but fortunately I’m debt-free and have savings, so I was able to exit gracefully with a generous medical plan and annuity. I am currently tending to my wife’s needs as her dislocated elbow has pushed us into the medical pipeline and heavily restricted her ability to function at home. I’d really like to be in Arizona at the skydiving center, but with two kids in college there’s not much fun-money right now. I’m staying busy doing occasional data recovery, ranking and organizing jobs via word of mouth.

        1. The real work has been adding my wife’s chores to mine. But, I’m finally learning to cook! Then there’s the 60-mile (one way) weekly trips to the doc’s office and/or physical therapist. Having been exposed to the hospital scene for my wife’s surgery was an eye opener…so many sorry looking souls. I’d could never work in that environment.

      1. Mrs Spiffy just added that ‘getting old sucks’ as she is dealing with an impacted nerve in her shoulder and a brewing kidney stone. Take care of her, and get the kids launched. I’m glad you have a stable retirement income and medical plan. That’s the part most likely to trip me up (thanks in no small part to my divorce).

    7. I’m a therapist, mainly couples counseling. Going to a Byron Katie 9 day intensive, hoping to learn new skills to share with folks. Fascinated and continuing to study nonduality, especially interested in a teacher named Mooji

          1. In spirituality, nondualism, also called non-duality, means “not two” or “one undivided without a second”.[1][2] Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is “transcended”, and awareness is described as “centerless” and “without dichotomies”. Although this state of consciousness may seem to appear spontaneous,[note 1] it usually follows prolonged preparation through ascetic or meditative/contemplative practice, which may include ethical injunctions. While the term “nondualism” is derived from Advaita Vedanta, descriptions of nondual consciousness can be found within Hinduism (Turiya, sahaja), Buddhism (emptiness, pariniṣpanna, rigpa), Islam (Wahdat al Wujud, Fanaa, and Haqiqah) and western Christian and neo-Platonic traditions (henosis, mystical union).

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nondualism

        1. Mr Banker did a good job of explaining (it is quite a difficult thing to explain). I’d add that it is the direct experience of reality with no intervening thoughts. If you can do these 5 steps, you will experience nonduality:

          1 – Believe, convince yourself that the past doesn’t exist. It has disappeared and you can no longer imagine it or recall it

          2 – Believe, convince yourself that the future no longer exists. It is no longer possible and you can no longer imagine it or think about it

          3 – Let go of any and all opinions about anything or anyone else (including yourself)

          4 – You no longer have any vocabulary, therefore it is now impossible to think in words.

          5 – The goal is to become devoid of any thought.
          Just be aware of smells, sounds, sights and sensations without any opinion of them. Your brain is just an endpoint for all sensory inputs

          1. Mindfulness has become overly-used and cliche, but it seems to me that it approximates captures #5 to some degree. I would also add that “live in the moment” seems a very crude and overly simplistic approximation of what some of those. Sounds like a very enlightening spiritual discovery!

    8. Nice to you ask 😁 It’s interesting to find out more about everybody. Gives you even more insight.

      1. I have not debt and am close to death so my final taxes will say it all
        “If I have more than a nickel left when I die, you will know that I miscalculated.”

    9. I’m currently in the midst of some spare-time remodeling projects in the condo — installing the last of the new interior doors, track lighting in the kitchen, and finally mustering up the courage to knock down the godawful popcorn ceilings in here. What a mess of a job that is. At least it tested negative for asbestos, so abatement wasn’t necessary. I keep looking back at the sections I’ve completed to stay motivated, as they look 1000% better scraped, sanded and painted.

      Also going to put in hard flooring in place of the carpeting in the upstairs rooms, but that will probably be a next summer project

      1. You’re way more ambitious than I am. I managed to install a TV Wall mount/swing arm today, and I found myself cursing my lack of socketed tools and how bloody soft/cheap the bolts that came with it are (ripped them up with my tools). By the time I was done with just that, I was hurting and shot.

    10. I spend much of my time trying to explain to my clients that, although it indeed it was their home equity that they cashed out, they still have to pay it back.

      Some people apparently do not understand that “cashing out home equity” is a (enormously profitable?) term used in the place of the rather simple term known as “borrowing enormous quantities of money by using the house as collateral”.

      1. Now and then (but not at all often) I allow my clients to read the following:

        “An introductory rate (also known as a teaser rate) is an interest rate charged to a customer during the initial stages of a loan. The rate, which can be as low as 0%, is not permanent and after it expires a normal or higher than normal rate will apply.”

        Another term that describes the above interest rate is the term “adjustable interest rate”. Borrowers should rightfully hate this term but apparently they do not because they will willingly and readily sign whatever document I decide to set before them. It is only years (and tears) later, when the adjustable term kicks in, that they begin to show the slightest bit of interest in the true meaning of the term.

        1. I might have mentioned that in the early 90s I worked for a company that made Tax Processing software for CPAs (Lacerte) – They had the idea to try upselling refis through their CPAs (rates in falling mode) and I programmed all of it – from pulling down up to rates to calculators for amortizations and curtailments to printing RESPA forms. I got to see how the back end of loan origination work, and it scared me straight to always keep my credit pristine and recognize what was a bad deal (but good for the guy selling it).

    11. Hi All and Good Sunday Morning!,
      Electrical/Electronic Engineer in El Paso County, CO. Nothing interesting going on in my life really, which is good! 🙂

      Current renter, since in my view, we’re currently experiencing U.S. housing bubble 2.0 + “The Everything Bubble”. Economics/finance as interest. This includes behavioral economics and history.

      The movie “The Matrix” as an allegory for the (evil) system of the world, particularly the banking and finance system. Oh, and “End the Fed.

      Have about a 10% position in a long/short hedge fund. Shorting the markets is risky right now due to the Fed put, establishment jawboning, etc. I’ll leave that to the experts. In the financial sector, I follow John Hussman, Stan Drukenmiller, Jeff Gundlach, Kevin Duffy, Sven Henrich, et al.

      “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16

      “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.” – Proverbs 29:2

      “What has been will be again,
      what has been done will be done again;
      there is nothing new under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9

      https://mises.org/library/how-central-banks-fund-our-age-endless-war
      How Central Banks Fund Our Age of Endless War
      10/31/2019
      Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
      [This talk was delivered at the Mises Circle in New York City on September 14, 2012.]

      “For now I take it as uncontroversial that central banks perform three significant functions for the banking system and the government.”

      “First, they serve as lenders of last resort, which in practice means bailouts for the big financial firms.”

      “Second, they coordinate the inflation of the money supply by establishing a uniform rate at which the banks inflate, thereby making the fractional-reserve banking system less unstable and more consistently profitable than it would be without a central bank (which, by the way, is why the banks themselves always clamor for a central bank).”

      “Finally, they allow governments, via inflation, to finance their operations far more cheaply and surreptitiously than they otherwise could.”

      “I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the Bank. … You are a den of vipers and thieves.” – Andrew Jackson, 1834, on closing the Second Bank of the United States; (unabridged form, extended citation)

      “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” – Henry Ford

      Final reference:
      https://www.fuw.ch/article/gundlach-us-equities-will-lose-the-most/
      Okt 30th 2019 – 11:08 International Selection
      Martin Lüscher, Los Angeles

      “Mr. Gundlach, what would you recommend to investors?
They need to position themselves for the next global downturn because it will lead to substantial changes in the markets.”

      “When will the downturn come?
It doesn’t matter whether it comes in one year or four. If you don’t start preparing now, you will maybe do better while the economy continues to do okay, but whatever gain you get from that will be overwhelmed by problems with your investments in the downturn.”

      “How do you have to be positioned?
Investors should systematically reduce risk.”

      “Is there any place where you find value?
Outright value? No. I don’t think there’s anything in the world of financial assets that one could call value, because the policies of the central banks have pushed valuations to levels that historically are associated with avoidance rather than allocation.”

      “In 2018, the dollar growth of nominal GDP was less than the dollar growth of the national debt. That means that there is no growth. We’re having an illusion of growth. It means that we’re issuing IOUs and spending it, and it shows up in the calculations as growth. But spending is not growth.”

      1. Wi$e One Mr. Jeffrey;

        “How do you have to be po$itioned?:
        Investor$ should $ystematically reduce ri$k.”

        Berk$hire reported yesterday, $&P floating on top a$ foam … (Eye$ a makin’ final 2019 equitie$ withdraw$, my reduction$ might bee fa$t & furiou$),

        Was hoping to celebrate the coronation of x3 new North Atlantic country King$ & Queen$, “no if’$ or but’$”, but alas, the $word is still stuck in the stone! … (Would have made for great fireside Pilgrim conversations @ Thanksgiving!)

      2. It’s really interesting to watch things macro things happening in (slow mo) realtime. I think that’s a common trait most of us here have is our awareness and concern for the mess(es) to come.

        Based on some of the comments here, I think there’s a lot of interest in ‘prepping’ among the posters – would be fun to see what everyone thinks on that topic.

        1. Based on some of the comments here, I think there’s a lot of interest in ‘prepping’ among the posters – would be fun to see what everyone thinks on that topic.

          I think the Mormon idea of keeping some food and water and fuel on-hand is a good one. I haven’t stashed anything in California yet, but still have some stuff at my parent’s in Wyoming. Including things I probably shouldn’t bother bringing to California. So for now if TSHTF my biggest challenge is getting back to Wyoming.

    12. 6 months into life as a code-slinger for ‘Uncle Jeff’ here. Been lucky to not run into any of the “bad” things you hear about.

      Got to go on safari in Africa for the first time a few months back, check that one-time experience off the list.

      Halfway through year four in our rental. It continues to deteriorate around us due to deferred maintenance/neglect by the owners. Need to figure out our plan when the lease is up — not looking to buy quite yet but sick of bad landlords. Will likely pay cash when we do buy.

      1. Mrs Spiffy has a former co-worker who went over there about a year ago, and she’s already trying to escape. Glad to hear you’re dodging the pressure cooker there, and neat-o for the Safari!

        > not looking to buy quite yet but sick of bad landlords. Will likely pay cash when we do buy.

        Understood all too well, and good for you to be in a position to make a cash purchase. I think you know my story well enough – two landlords in a row refusing to renew because they wanted to sell. Very disruptive- at least you will be making the change on your terms and timeline.

        We still should do a Seattle meet up one of these years.

    13. doing something for Apple

      As soon as you sign anything you’re no longer allowed to call them that in public :-). Customer X is my favorite. They get mad if you call them Customer A in public.

      1. Point noted. We’re waiting on the contracts to get signed in the next few days, though we’re already spinning up guys. Technically our team is a sub-c, but I’m sure we’ll have some restrictions put on us.

        1. My experience in storage is that every company has a customer X or some really weird codename. And they’re all the same customer. So as soon as you start at a new job and you hear that or something you don’t recognize you know who it is. Because so far I’ve never seen any other customer go to those lengths to not even allow their suppliers to call them by their name.

      2. or “The Fruity Company”
        And a friend whose company supports their engineers doesn’t have a high opinion of them.

        1. or “The Fruity Company”
          And a friend whose company supports their engineers doesn’t have a high opinion of them.

          Supporting them was the reason I initially went to China. That reminds me that I used to refer to them as “our fruity overlords”, but that’s another story.

          Other than the ridiculous security I thought they were ok. They have a mandatory problem solving style that I don’t like though. Basically introverts need not apply. If anything goes wrong the process is to huddle up and work together until it’s fixed. I’m the type who needs to go off by myself to think of a solution, I can’t think when people are talking and stressing.

    14. I’ve currently dealing with a wife who’s going through menopause, a daughter who’s hit puberty (that’s a combination that should be illegal!), and a son who’s going to start puberty soon.

      And the wife has bought into too much of the RE propaganda. Oh, well, I’m still OK, and although I don’t make Fruity-company money, job (industrial automation in Silicon Valley) is interesting and steady.

      I’m also having flashbacks to 2001, and while I think this implosion will be different from 2001 and 2008, there are some big reasons house prices here won’t be rocketing up again for a while:
      1. Chinese money flow has slowed to a trickle (thanks, Xi!), and is unlikely to start pouring in anytime soon
      2. Tax code change is starting to be felt, and won’t be changed anytime soon.
      3. A massive amount of housing is being built, and has/will hit the market soon, in many cities (not just SF).
      4. Job losses are here, and more will be coming, since after the WeWork fiasco, actually making money is being valued again.
      5. Market psychology has changed, and when prices aren’t going up, there’s not the same incentive to buy at any cost.

      1. “I’ve currently dealing with a wife who’s going through menopause…”

        Better cut back on the sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice, etc., in the kitchen.

          1. “That’s not an issue.”

            Whew!

            It’s way too easy to go from “thicc” to an offensive linemen with all the prepared schitt on the supermarket shelves.

      2. while I think this implosion will be different from 2001 and 2008

        If the Fed loses control it will be the combination of both of those multiplied by each other. Big tech bubble and big housing bubble popping at the same time.

        1. There are more than two ticking time bombs that could all go intertwined. The Fed can’t stop an implosion, heck they have made it a certainty. They may look good sticking their fingers in small leaks. When things do go snap there will be many calls for Let’s get things back to “normal”. We’ll see how another round of that goes. They will need a new debt donkey horde to step up, one bigger than China was.

          1. zero

            Since the Fed’s sole reason for being is to keep the banks profitable, that should be interesting. They’d have to lend money to the banks at -3%. The mortgages might have to be interest only (zero) because people can’t actually pay the principle back.

  10. Health: An SI joint injection finally brought relief from the 13-wk excruciating and immobilizing sciatica that I was having. All so that I can return to very activity that brought it on: cleaning out my mom’s house.

    1. Damn. That is seriously painful. Mrs Spiffy is empathizing and wincing at the mention of it.

      Did your mom pass away or are you just helping her move?

      1. My mom passed away 3.5 years ago from colon cancer. A friend/classmate from business school had been living in the house with discounted rent. It took time for me to accept that my mom’s house isn’t suitable for us now and likely never will be given my son’s safety concerns. Hence, the decision for the 1031 exchange.

    1. East Brandywine Township, PA

      Once the gateway to the frontier. Birthplace of the Conestoga Wagon and Kentucky Rifles (for those intending to go to “Kentucky”).

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