Housing Lives

Just in is the closely watched S&P Housing report:

The 20 city average was reported up 0.9% which is better than the 0.7% consensus.

And with this, the Dow futures are up 40.

Off to the eye doc…

A House Flipping Tale

I thought I’d pass on a fine example of someone being “late to the party” when comes to housing, because despite being the single largest investment most people ever make, it is still possible to get things wildly wrong.

Turns out some friends of ours live next door to a home in a major city. Nothing special: Three small bedrooms up, a full basement, two car garage under.

The house went on the market last year for $170K. The new owners used a first time home buyer credit to help.

The house itself was in miserable condition. To be sure, it is on a corner lot in an OK neighborhood of $250K class homes with a few up into the low $300’s.

This is a home that a lot of flippers looked at – and had the good sense to walk away from.

For one, all the appliances had been stripped out, including water heater and the electrical. The windows were single-pane, and the house bones, while solid, were in need of lots of upgrades (like insulation) and so forth.

So in comes our would- be house-flipper.

New to the game, they snapped up the house for probably $30-$40K more than they should have paid for it.

Now you can cue up the movie Money Pit.

They poured more than $100K into reworking the floorplan. Such that there’s a couple of kiddie rooms upstairs, a designer kitchen, all new windows and so on.

But the real dough went into the windowless basement. What had been the two-car garage was turned into a large master bedroom with a new bath.

Along the way, the whole house was rewired, new gas applianced, granite in the kitchen, or course, and lots of ways to make the house look better.

Then came the trip to the city building department: No, they could not cobble on a new two-car garage on the space that was previously driveway, due to local set-back requirements.

Let’s step back now:

What this couple now has is a $300K investment in a 3 bedroom home with no garage and not even a carport possible. What’s more, I don’t know too many people that want to live in a home with a windowless master bedroom, unless it is some kind of “safe room” and nuclear blast-proof, or something that at least gives the real estate folks something to talk about as a “feature.”

To be sure, the home is not on the market yet. But a larger home next door and up the hill (with a better view) would likely only go for $300 and change. So the profit from all the hassle and work (once commissions and such are figured in on the sales side) will be damn lucky to break-even.

And so goes our lesson of the morning on Housing. If you are patient, like my brother-in-law, and you are willing to take whatever time it takes to get into the right house and more importantly at the right price, they you will be a long-term UrbanSurvivor.

But write this down somewhere to be read after watching the house-flipping shows or going to a get-rich-quick seminar in your city:


People who don’t do this always get screwed. It doesn’t matter if it’s an airplane, an RV, a boat, or in this case, the house.


Then take the time to ask a couple of professionals – who don’t have any skin in the deal – to give you an honest assessment. Paying for advice in situations like this may be weak-willed and sissy-like.

But it’s usually the best money you can spend.

UrbanSurvival is not just about prepping, righteous paranoia about huge government, hun rights, conspiracies, and dried foods.

It’s about not being an idiot.

Thus endeth the Tuesday rant.

Political Footwork

You can get a pretty good sense of how the election is going by considering the behavior of the three major contestants over the three-day weekend.

Donald Trump spoke at Rolling Thunder at the Lincoln Memorial.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, walked in a short Veteran’s day parade in Chappaqua, New York, which last time I checked was not a middle class area.

By the way, if you thought I was being snide on Hil’s hangout in New York, the average household income in Chappaqua is over $285,000 and average household net worth is better than $1.5 million, so compare that with your own city.

Bernie Sanders is working California for all he’s worth.

Ure’s applicable axiom here goes to the idea that People reveal their True Character by what they do in their spare time.

We see the Washington Insiders are still promoting here with stories like “Clinton’s challenge: Become a change agent in a year shaped by voter fury.” Yeah, uh-huh, whatever.

An Oddity From Eric

Holder, that is.

In a Christian Science Monitor article the former attorney general seems to place Snowden’s release of national secrets in the category of a public service.

It is an oddity in that after reading ther article, I wasn’t sure if this didn’t set up a final Obama f/u to the USA – in the form of a pardon-to-come, or whether publication of nuclear missile launch codes and targeting data would be similarly pardoned.

Clearly, however, it’s an odd item to be surfacing, unless (as I suspect) we may be seeing a drift toward pardon in the closing hours of Obama come December, or early January.

Something to think about.

You’ve heard of “cause and effect”? Around here it’s called “News and effect” – and it guides our expectations about things to come.

Land O’ Double-Standards

Hello? Do we still have a Secret Service?

Are we the only ones who caught “VIDEO: Mexican Parents Train 3-Year-Old Girl to Say “We Have to Kill Donald Trump”?

This is just a wild-ass guess, mind you, but if white Klan parents had trained a child to say the same of President Obama, would there be a SWAT team launched in about 10 seconds?

So how come this is any different? Is it not a threat to a presidential contender?

Oh…land of double standards, is it? I see….silly me.  I thought we all got treated equally.  Some must be more equal than others.

Snoop Dogg Get’s It Right

The headline in the Hollywood Reporter – and accompanying story over here demand some attention: “Snoop Dogg Asks Fans to Boycott ‘Roots’: “Let’s Create Our Own Shit Based on Today

Amen, Doggy Dogg.

Except, of course, the constant refrain of past abuse excuses the failure of the welfare state to really get people out of poverty (it is an industry, after all) and Snoop flies in the face of the liberal political agenda to capitalize victimization, so yeah, I’m down with the Dogg on this one.

Welfare is a $16-trillion dollar train wreck that’s still happ’nin.

But when you export American jobs to wherever, what’s going to happen?


Housing Lives — 8 Comments

  1. Except for some of the documents that snowden released.most of it could be read and put together by reading the crap congrss wont read and votes on..the average person will be like congrss and say do I really have to read this @$^/ and let it fly..I’m betting on trump..he’ll embarrass congress enough that they might even crack the cover of them and who knows maybe even pick up a pen and write them..if they do I’m willing to bet that it won’t be a thousand pages and simple enough that a high school grad can read it…shoot they don’t want to be there the way it is takes time to pen a thousand pages of yuk and a lot of research to send you to various documents

  2. Yes, Dogg’s got it right, and for the right reason.

    I grew up in the intercity in the late 60’s and early 70’s. We kids didn’t have a problem with each other, but the Panthers and their counter-parties seemed to. Not that there wasn’t some cause for anger, but not all whites were to blame.

    The part about slavery very few talk about is that in many instances their own leaders sold them into bondage, so why isn’t there more outrage over that ?

    Maybe it has something to do with business models ?

    • Ditto. We didn’t know we had a problem until the Panthers rolled into town, bringing six years of sporadic rioting and separating me for several years from two of my closest school friends (you don’t associate with Whitey, when a bunch of really bad dudes from out of town tell you, to do so will get your house burned-down, with your mom and sisters inside…)

  3. George, your biased support of The Don is a bit off-putting. It’s ok since you, like everybody, are entitled to support whichever candidate you want. All I ask is that you keep it framed in an economic context, else in Coping. Per your question about secret service…

    “In regard to presidential campaign, the Secret Service is authorized by law (18 United States Code § 3056) to protect: Major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election.”

    So, NO. He can get it in about 40 days. And to that end, I’m fairly CERTAIN that there’s been PLENTY of whack job things people have said about the first black president that didn’t result in a swat team.
    Really? Are rich white men REALLY that discriminated against? Poor things…

    I’m more concerned about the violence Trump has proposed against innocent minorities, tbh.. but that’s just my opinion.

  4. People don’t get it. They buy a house for $150 and sell it ten years later for $200 and exclaim about all of the money they made. People don’t get interest amortization for starters. Add in insurance, taxes, interest, upkeep and the “lucky” home”owners” made squat.

    Put a lot of money down; pay your mortgage faster than required; don’t buy in a bubble; don’t chase lower rates.

  5. Every one of today’s problems is just someone else’s business model yesterday.

    It’s why only the youth of other countries and cultures want to emulate the USA.

  6. Hilary as “change agent” Does that mean they want my change as well. They have an electronic chain on my credit and savings and and billfold, now they want my change. OMG

  7. Releasing “secrets” about totally illegal government operations makes Snowden a hero, IMO. Not only should all that surveillance never have been done in the first place, but its classification as secret was merely a cover-up of crime. The only security he compromised was the security of the criminals. If all employess who have access to proof of government criminality likewise expose what they know, we could probably clean up Washington.