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Posts made in March, 2009

  • When is a Stylish Buchan Craftsman Home like Succulent Panko Encrusted St Peter’s Fish?

    March 26, 2009 /
    admin /

    After an intense (and fun) Pickett Street Properties retreat, I needed a bit of mind-numbing TV. In my search for something to watch, I came across the Food Network show called “Food Detectives.” It’s a show that does experiments with food—sort of an Alton Brown meets MythBusters. On the night of my respite, they did an experiment on food and how it tastes based on presentation and flowery descriptions. Two groups of diners were told they were going to be reviewing a new restaurant and after their meal they were given a survey to fill out. The first set of diners’ menus said they would be having “Green Salad, Fish, Green Beans, Potatoes and Chocolate Cake.” They were sat at tables with plastic table cloths, served New Jersey red wine in plastic cups, and their meals were presented on rather dated plates. The second set had “Crisp Mescluin Seasonal Greens, Succulent Panko encrusted St Peter's Fish, Hericot Vert, Potatoes au Gratin and Belgium Double Chocolate Cake.” They were sat at tables lit by candelight and adorned with linen table cloths. They were served a red wine from Nappa valley and the meal was presented on a classic plate. Did I…Read more

  • What is Mark to Market?

    March 19, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Warning: if Accounting isn't your language of choice, your eyes may be about to glaze over. However, as with many things arcane, mark-to-market accounting  may be having a huge impact on the world we live in right now, and according to many critics, could well be one of the root causes of the current financial crisis. Mark-to-Market accounting is a reporting rule that requires financial institutions to value their current investments at today's value, even if they have no intention of selling those assets now, or anytime in the foreseeable future. As an example, if you were to consider the current value of your own 401k, which most of us are already doing with some significant trepidation, you're  likely down about 50% from the highs of 2 years ago.  However, you're able to do the calculations and realize that so long as you don't sell today, you've still got a chance to recover on the long haul. Mark to Market doesn't allow banks that option, but instead forces them to report the values on their holdings at todays value, as if they were going to sell everything today. Because banks are not allowed to lend every dime they have access…Read more

  • Life is funny; chocolate fixes everything

    March 19, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Sometimes it's necessary to just purge. Collecting stuff can be such a burden, and the mental space required to keep everything 'sacred' weighs so heavily that eventually the only sane option is starting over. And yes, this can be a metaphor for many stages of life. I just went through it in a minor way this weekend, as I was forced to deal with the assorted detritus of several years worth of projects. The last one, a bunk bed for my daughter, resulted in a fine coating of wood dust on every surface of the garage, and enough wood scraps to build a small barn. My parents have been in town for several weeks now and Grandpa, being retired and a restless woodworker, was 'inspired' by his granddaughter (my 7-year old) to ply his skills in her employ. They both got what they wanted; I got another project. Namely, the disassembly of the old bed, reassembly of the new one ( 2 flights of stairs, 2x6's, and MDF panels, anyone?), and the subsequent cleanup and disposal of said debris.   Both cars are  now back in the garage (a result of  the persistent voice in my head that sounds remarkably…Read more

  • Dual Agency- Sharks that swim on the land

    March 12, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    "Can't you feel 'em circlin' honey? Can't you feel 'em swimmin' around? You got fins to the left, fins to the right, and you're the only bait in town." - Jimmy Buffet, 'Fins' In an economy turned topsy turvy, with which-end-is-up news coming out daily, and a seemingly endless parade of graft, corruption, greed, and new stories daily turning up parasitic relationships where there should clearly be walls of propriety, it's hard to know which way to run. As many homebuyers know, buying a home can be a baffling task- and that's assuming everything goes well. Obviously, as millions of people now know, it doesn't always end in the American Dream. With a purchase as life-altering as your first home, it's absolutely essential that you place your trust in an agent who deserves it. Unfortunately, the desire to 'get a deal' often overrides the common sense priority of 'know whom you're dealing with'. In the state of Washington, every agent is required to present to a new client, preferably at the first meeting, a pamphlet labeled, "The Law of Real Estate Agency". It is a 4 page 8.5" x 11" (double-sided) masterpiece that lays out the various options for real estate…Read more

  • Searching for Bank Owned Properties?

    March 4, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Opportunity takes many forms. In fact, once you've spent a little time on the planet, you realize that many of the laws governing science also apply in large part to the rest of life: there's rarely a negative without a positive, and for every action, there's usually an equal and opposite reaction. Our current financial trauma is offering up further proof, as heavily leveraged howmeowners who purchased at or near the top of the real estate  boom cycle are contributing to the dramatic increase in foreclosures. Typically, a bank-owned home is one that has been through a foreclosure proceeding, and is now offered for sale by the mortgage holding lender who is keen to get the property off their books to reduce their holdings. Banks are in the business of lending, and are not well-suited to property ownership or management, so it's in the best interests of everyone - the bank, new homebuyers, the economy, and the community, for these homes to be occupied as soon as possible, before the effects of long-term neglect can begin to impact the value of the structure. It's important to note that the timeframe leading up to a foreclosure can take anywhere from several…Read more