“Contract is Singed and We Are Ready to Proceed”

by Ross Kaplan on January 19, 2017

“You Know What They Meant” Department

Among the hundreds of “spam” emails intercepted by my email filter each week was one the other day with this subject title:  “Contract is singed and we are ready to proceed.”

Not recognizing the sender — and having no in-progress deals about to go up in smoke — I hit “delete” . . .

See also, “How Do You Abbreviate ‘Asssessments?‘”; “Contractor Freudian Slip?“; “Realtor Freudian Slips“; “Buyer Freudian Slips“; “Fresh Paint?  That Too”; and “Bob and Sue Seller?? Better Make That “Tom & Barb.”


“Did I Miss the Mail Pickup? Yes? Good!

by Ross Kaplan on January 15, 2017

The Check’s in the Mail Mailbox (for 4 Days)

If you want to be timely paying your Q4 2016 estimated taxes — due Tuesday, Jan. 17 this year — yet still hold on to your hard-earned cash as long as possible, you could mail your payments on the deadline.

Or . . . if you simply want the letters off your desk before then, and want to accomplish the same thing, you can do what I did yesterday:  find a mailbox whose last pickup is 1 p.m, then deposit the envelopes in the mailbox after then.

With no mail pickup either today (Sunday) or tomorrow (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), the next pickup is Tuesday.


Buyer’s Walk-Thru Inspection Multiple Choice

Which of the following is an acceptable reason for the Seller to leave their home in (much) less than pristine condition for the new owner:

A. Their Seller left the home a mess for them when they bought (call it, “the anti-Golden Rule”).
B. They ran out of time.
C. They have three small kids (see, “B.”).
D. The Seller was unhappy with the sales price.

Answer:  none of the above.

The Golden Rule . . . & Its Opposite

Unfortunately for Sellers, any past issues — either with the Buyer or even their Seller, once upon a time — are water under the bridge by the time closing arrives.

Instead, the usual standard for leaving behind a vacant, about-to-be-sold home is, “If you were the Buyer, how clean would the house have to be to make you happy?”

In practice, I tell clients to shoot for/expect > “8.” on a 1. – 10. scale.

Ounce of Prevention

Fortunately in the land of Minnesota Nice, dirty and/or debris-strewn homes pre-closing are a rarity.

When it occurs, the appropriate responses are to:  1) call the Seller on it; and 2) if there’s not enough time for the Seller to address it — and the condition isn’t truly atrocious (warranting a delayed closing) — for the Seller to write a check to the Buyer so they can have the home cleaned, post-closing.

It may also be appropriate to have the Seller contractually promise to remove any debris left behind (for example, old paint cans, that must be dropped off at a hazardous waste facility).

P.S.:  Just like leopards don’t change their spots, unkempt homemakers usually don’t change theirs.  Translation: Buyers usually have an inkling, well before closing, that the home’s walk-thru inspection may be problematic.

When that’s the case, a proactive Buyer’s agent can work with the listing agent to head off any issues, move up the walk-thru inspection to allow more time to resolve problems, etc.

See also, “Home Buyer’s Final Walk-Through Inspection“; “What if the Seller Isn’t Moved Out by Closing?“; and “Springing a Leak — or a Lake(?!?) — Before Closing.”


From “Reinvesting When Terrified” to Investing Purgatory

Investing expert Jeremy Grantham’s market calls have a funny way of being vindicated.

In the 1990’s, he was early to sound the alarm about frothy tech and internet stocks.

Too early.

As a result, Grantham’s money management firm, GMO, hemorrhaged billions in investor withdrawals.

What happened next?

All the people who bailed on GMO subsequently lost of a good chunk of that money when the Internet bubble popped in 2000 (or, so you’d certainly guess).

Investing Purgatory

A decade later, Grantham’s March, 2009 article, “Reinvesting When Terrified,” called the bottom practically to the day. 

Most recently, GMO’s spectacularly bearish Q3 2016 Report, “Hellish Choices:  What’s an Investor to Do?,” envisioned a Purgatory-like investing landscape with mediocre (or worse) returns as far as the eye could see.

Of course, that’s not what happened the last three months, and GMO investors who feel they’ve missed the party have been yanking their money by the billions.

They may want to reconsider.

If history’s any guide, now may be exactly the time to put money into GMO.

See also, “Jeremy Grantham for Federal Reserve Chair”; “Jeremy Grantham, Black Holes & Brexit“; “Grantham:  ‘Let’s Get On With Whatever’s Next’”; and “Jeremy Grantham on How Much Gold to Own.”


Picking New Basement Carpeting

January 12, 2017

Doing Carpeting “Due Diligence”:  Better Than Google If you know next to nothing about carpeting, you probably think there are two kinds:  cheap and expensive. If you know a little more — say, because you’re a Realtor — you may be aware that there’s low pile (berber) and high pile (shag would be very high pile); that the former […]

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Realtors, Rabbis & Eulogies (No Joke)

January 10, 2017

Listing Agent to Homeowner:  “What Do You Like Best About Living Here?” What overlap could there possibly be between what a Realtor does before listing a home, and what a Rabbi (or other clergy) does before giving a eulogy? Each one interviews family members to elicit the subject’s best qualities. Of course, in the rabbi’s […]

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Actors for President in 2020

January 10, 2017

Is Meryl Streep “Overrated?” Put it this way:  if Streep threw her hat in the ring, she certainly wouldn’t be the worst actor to run for — or be elected — President.** Depending which way Donald Trump takes the country, look for Ms. Streep — or possibly another Hollywood marquee actor — to step forward, […]

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What’s in a Name? From “Settlement Statement” to “HUD-1” to “ALTA” Back to “Settlement Statement”

January 9, 2017

“The More Things Change” Department Once upon a time, when I started selling real estate in 2002, the worksheet that Buyers and Sellers signed at closing was simply known as . . . the settlement statement (or just the closing worksheet, to avoid any jargon). Then it became the “HUD-1” (HUD stands for “Housing and Urban Development,” the federal […]

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