Why the Neighbor’s House Usually Isn’t a Comp

Comparing Honey Crisps to Braeburns One of the more quizzical looks Realtors get is when they (try to) explain to a prospective home Seller that their neighbor’s house isn’t a “Comp” (Comparable Sold Property) for pricing theirs. For the uninitiated, a Comp is one of the three homes Realtors and appraisers use to determine fair market value; once...
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“Sold?” No, “Spoken For” (or if you prefer, “Under Contract”)

When “Sold” Doesn’t Mean “Sold” At least in Minnesota, when you see a “Sold” rider above a “For Sale” sign in front of a house, it doesn’t mean “Sold” — it means “Pending.” Huh? The (admittedly confusing) convention is to pronounce a home that’s under contract and past Inspection — but not yet closed — as “Sold,” even though...
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Proof That Stocks Are Overpriced

Taking Grantham Out of Context What is the best proof that stocks are overpriced? (full disclosure:  I think they are). When market mavens like Jeremy Grantham put out cautionary if not scary analyses, and the instant headlines are drivel like, “Grantham Predicts Markets to Rise 20% – 30%.” What Grantham really said is that —...
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“Gee, Too Bad We Don’t Have a President Who Is a Brilliant Constitutional Law Scholar”

What Would Lincoln (or Teddy Roosevelt, or FDR) Do? Not What President Obama is Doing “This wouldn’t have happened if Reagan were still alive.” –bumper sticker around the time of the Iran-Contra hearings in the 1980’s. “Better to ask forgiveness than permission.” –old saying Wouldn’t it be great if the President was a Constitutional Law...
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Private Equity “Sex, Lies & Videotape” (Minus the Sex & Videotape), or, “Having Your Cake & Eating it, Too”

Taxing (Wall Street) Labor at Capital Gains Rates:   “Heads I Win, Tails I Don’t Lose” Of all the disingenuous, self-serving, cockamamie lies arguments served up by the leveraged buyout — er, private equity — crowd to protect the (very) favorable tax treatment on their labor (called “carried interest”), the one that rankles the most is...
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Which Companies Can You Trust (With Your Personal Data)?

And Which Ones Not Want an educated guess which companies are most aggressively violating their customers’ privacy, inappropriately mining their personal data, selling it, or simply not adequately safeguarding it? I’m pretty sure it’s the ones who keep sending their customers letters and emails telling them how much they “value their privacy.” If they really...
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