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Real Estate and Home

Whining About the Lack of Interest in Their House?

by Luke Landes

The Jantzens are trying to sell their house, located in the woods of Kentucky. This house is an hour outside of Louisville, inconvenient for the owners, so they want to unload the property, downsize to fit their lifestyle, and move closer to town. For some reason, their house isn’t attracting any local interest among potential ... Continue reading this article…

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Estimating Asset Values and Asset Depreciation

by Luke Landes

In response to my latest balance sheet, Wacko asked a question: Any pointers on how to calculate an automobile’s depreciation? Obviously I can look at Kelley Blue Book, but I do not know the monthly depreciation. Also, I was wondering if anyone knew of an accurate way to determine the value of one’s home. I ... Continue reading this article…

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Money Magazine: 25 Rules to Grow Rich By, Part 1

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine seems to be publishing some good content lately. First, it was 7 shortcuts for major money hassles, and today it’s a larger feature on 25 rules to help you grow rich. I’ve never been one to play by the rules, which in my opinion, are made to be broken. In fact, I hate ... Continue reading this article…

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What Can We Learn From SAS Real Estate?

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, the broker/owner of SAS Real Estate responded to the bad customer service issues I wrote about concerning a $300 refund due to me. She was unhappy the story was published, although she couldn’t dispute the facts. The whole problem would have been avoided if SAS did the Right Thing from the beginning. In this ... Continue reading this article…

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Looking for Apartments, Update 7: SAS Real Estate Responds

by Luke Landes

Well, apparently SAS Real Estate came across my latest update on the $300 apartment deposit story, originating in June, and which I concluded in September. Sylvia from the company posted a comment on a prior post, and I’ll include her points here, to be fair:

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Even Renting is Expensive

by Luke Landes

Melinda Fulmer from MSN Real Estate is reporting on the most expensive cities for renters, based on “average rent.” Unsurprisingly, New York is at the top of the chart, followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, the OC, Boston, Oakland, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Fort Lauderdale. With prices high — the average in ... Continue reading this article…

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Another 75 Dollar Surprise: New Jersey Renters Take Notice!

by Luke Landes

Like last year, a $75 check from the State of New Jersey arrived by surprise. This is the 2005 FAIR Tenant Rebate, a refund aimed at reimbursing New Jersey taxpayers for a (very small) portion of their property taxes. The eligibility requirements state that you must rent and occupy a home in New Jersey in ... Continue reading this article…

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It’s a Seller’s Market. It’s a Buyer’s Market.

by Luke Landes

The National Association of Realtors® announced with a big headline on CNN Money all day yesterday that we’re now in a buyer’s market. Yes, the Realtors® want to get the word out because house sales are slumping in many areas of the country. There’s a big reminder to consider the source and the motivation of ... Continue reading this article…

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The Real Estate Value of Backyard Improvements

by Luke Landes

Kiplinger has a short guide to backyard improvements. Do you expect the value of your house to increase due to your money, time, and hard work spent making improvements in the yard? Well, you probably won’t recover 100 percent of the value of that effort, but here are a few guidelines.

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Dustin Diamond (Screech)’s Strange Land Contract

by Luke Landes

You may remember Dustin Diamond as “Screech” from the television show, Saved By The Bell. I heard about his situation a few days ago. He appeared on Howard Stern’s satellite radio show and begged his fans to buy his tee-shirts so he could pay off his house, as he has run into sorry financial times. ... Continue reading this article…

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Bad Time to Invest in Southern California

by Luke Landes

According to some scientists who study earthquakes and tecnocis, the past 300 years has been a relatively quiet period (the “interseismic period”) for the southern part of the San Andreas Fault. They believe this period is coming to an end, and it’s not a question of if a major earthquake would hit southern California, but ... Continue reading this article…

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The Real Estate Cartel?

by Luke Landes

The Consumer Federation of America issued a report declaring that the real estate brokerage industry acts as a cartel to set prices unfairly. Here’s the full report [PDF]. “Many traditional real estate brokerage firms, and their organizations, function as a cartel that tries to set prices and restrict service options,” said Stephen Brobeck, CFA’s Executive ... Continue reading this article…

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Living Amenities for the Rich

by Luke Landes

I don’t get to visit homes valued at $1,000,000 (or $2,000,000 in California) very often if at all. If I were to visit these homes, I would see designed kitchens, wine cellars, entertainment rooms, wet bars, and theater seating. I’m far from being able to afford the amenities often considered a necessity such as security ... Continue reading this article…

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Rent Checks Are Getting Larger

by Luke Landes

Here’s a piece of bad news for myself and all other renters out there. While I continue my search for an apartment to move into on July 1, the National Association of Realtors is forecasting a 5.3 percent increase in rents this year. Here are some details from CNN Money: In addition to making home purchases ... Continue reading this article…

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Looking for Apartments, Update 2

by Luke Landes

Here’s another update to the saga in which my girlfriend and I look for an apartment. This is particularly difficult considering she works in Queens and I work in New Jersey. We would like to live somewhere in the middle, but we’re having a hard time finding affordable, decent apartments that are a “fair” commuting ... Continue reading this article…

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50-Year Mortgages

by Luke Landes

Lenders are now offering 50-year mortgages for those homeowners who want to be able to afford monthly payments on a house and who don’t mind a slower pace of building equity. Here’s a quick comparison, using the mortgage calculator at bankrate.com. For a 30-year $500,000 mortgage at a 7 percent interest rate, monthly payments will run ... Continue reading this article…

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Looking for Apartments, Update 1

by Luke Landes

As I mentioned on Friday, my girlfriend and I are looking for an apartment somewhat halfway between where we both work (Queens and central New Jersey). The island of Manhattan tends to cause problems drawing straight lines on a map, so we’re looking in two places:

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Google Real Estate Listings

by Luke Landes

It was inevitable. Google is working on a project that mashes up its Google Base (data management) and Google Maps for the sole purpose of listing real estate for sale and for rent. If Google handles this correctly, it could simply crush all other online listing services. The best way to get to it is ... Continue reading this article…

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Weakness in Manhattan

by Luke Landes

Some housing market analysts are saying that Manhattan prices are showing weakness. While median prices increased last year, the places being sold were bigger. The price per square foot didn’t change much at $1,004, according to the article. An older article cites the same sources listing $970 per square foot in July 2005, making the ... Continue reading this article…

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Home Ownership Tough for Working Class

by Luke Landes

As the overall rate of home ownership in the United States is increasing, the rate of home ownership by those in the working class is decreasing, according to the Center for Housing Policy. Here’s the research publication [pdf] and a report on CNN Money. So what is this “working class?” For this report, the working ... Continue reading this article…

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