I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks, let’s make lots of money

bu_home_sales_graphic.jpg

graphic stolen from the Chronicle 

On one hand, this makes my bunny whiskers twitch.  On the other, I see opportunity.  What I see here is that the more affluent counties are just fine…Marin, Santa Clara, even San Mateo and San Francisco.  The less affluent counties or counties with a higher concentration of lower income (not low income) are taking a beating.  Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano and Sonoma.  I know that Contra Costa County is taking an ass whipping out in Antioch, Pittsburg, Brentwood and Oakley.   Even Concord has their share of issues.  Most of these counties have workers who commute into San Francisco, Oakland or other hubs for work.  They’re getting killed coming and going.  Their commute costs have skyrocketed, they’ve been shuffling stuff around trying to keep things going and the mortgages have reset.  Mortgages they should have never gotten into in the first place.  And they have no equity.  So they’re short selling or just walking away.  And that drives the market down.  For the record, good houses in good neighborhoods are selling.  Crap is sitting.

I put 25% down on the The Farm and got it for around 20% under what the neighborhood was going for, so we’re in good shape for now.  A lot of people didn’t do that.  The guy that bought Camp Dowhatchawanna do is going to get killed when the mortgage resets next December.  I might buy it back then.  They paid over market and went with 100% financing.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I had a meeting last year with a contractor.  I was looking for a contractor to partner with to rehab houses.  He didn’t see a reason to partner with me, since I had the bulk of the skills myself.  I thought he missed the point, but admitted that maybe I was off the mark.  Today, I can say that guy was an idiot.  There’s a contractor’s special four houses down from me that I KNOW has $75k-$120k of upside and I can’t do it without a contractor.  The owner walked away four months ago.  The owner carry back is making the payments on the first, which is stupid because it was 100% financing back then and it’s on the market for less than the original 100%.  They ought to just let it go.  I just wish I knew a contractor with the vision to know what needed to happen. 

The Tom Toms are still warring

I still would like to be wrong about Financial Title Company, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  They’ve all but pulled out of Southern California and have had another lay off up here.  Smells just like what Alliance did before their collapse.  Last month I heard it was business as usual over there, nice lush offices, everything being taken care of, but in this market, that can’t last.  My experience with Ivy when she was at Alliance, was that she was a lot more conservative in her spending.  Sometimes so much so that it was a little over the top.   I find it hard to believe that she has changed that dramatically over a couple of years.  Not that her resume is such that she be considered an elite corporate officer, which is kind of typical of the Hauptmans.