Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Force Was With Him

My goodness my child came home with a TON of candy. I mean, the big popcorn bowl we use to hand out the candy got refilled after the lights went out with the candy Master J scored on his tour with Mister C and Papa. And the kids in our neighborhood were out in force this year as well. Most of them were well behaved and polite, which was great. Only two kids annoyed me enough that I told them to move along. We got hit with a bunch of kids at one time and while I was passing out candy to the ones that showed up first, these two boys pushed their way up and started screaming "TRICK OR TREAT! TRICK OR TREAT!" really loud right next to me. I kind of ignored them at first, handing candy to the kids that had gotten there first. Then I gave the one boy candy thinking he would move along. But no, he kept screaming at me. I finally got peeved enough to turn to him and say "I already gave you candy now get going" and he left. But really, what the hell? I didn't see that particular kid's parents and maybe that was the problem. Because if I took my child to a house and he pulled that, his butt would be home in bed immediately following the apology to whoever was handing out the candy. That's just out of control rudeness gone riot. But as I said, those were the only two that gave me pause. Most of the kids were fantastic. Even the teenagers were really well mannered this year and I think that's just awesome. So, to all the parents that are doing their best to raise polite kids "Thank you!" It sure made handing out candy more pleasant. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mortgage brokers vs Banks

Which is better? Both will tell you that they're the best and that borrowers should use them. So who to believe?

Before we go to the differences, let's look at the the things that are alike...

1.) Both have a variety of loans available to borrowers.
2.) Both offer comparable interest rates (if you shop around).
3.) Both have the ability to help people buy homes.

Now on to the differences...

1.) Loan officers get a set salary, mortgage brokers get paid a fee for each loan that closes.

Some people might perceive this as a point in the banks favor saying that banks aren't just pushing anything through to get paid. True, but they also have no motivation to get good loans through either.

2.) Banks can only offer you what they have, brokers can shop around for the best deal for you.

3.) Banks go "by the book", brokers go "however they lawfully can". In other words, a bank deal can go south for the smallest glitch while a broker will generally work a whole lot harder to figure out how to make it work.

4.) If your mortgage broker does a great job taking care of you, you will (hopefully) recommend them to people you know and therefor bring more business (and money) to that person.

The bank employed loan officer can have the best (or worst) service ever and except for missing out on bonuses, it doesn't really affect their paycheck. Their base salary stays the same.

I think a lot of people are so conditioned to using banks that they don't even think about using a mortgage broker and that's really too bad. At the end of the day, the banker works for the bank and therefore has the banks best interests in mind. The mortgage broker works for the borrower and has their best interest in mind.

For my money, I'm betting on the brokers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Now that's scary!

Check out the pumpkins we carved.

The one of the left is mine, it's supposed to be a pathetic version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream".

The one in the middle is Mister C's. I don't know what it's supposed to be, other than the end product of the pumpkin seed harvest.

Lastly, we have Master J's creation. He achieved this look with some help. But not the kind of help normally offered. No, that big gaping hole you see? Yeah that's the work of the incorrigible Izzy. Note to self, don't leave pumpkins on the floor after carving.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Carving the pumpkins

Mister C loves, loves, loves pumpkin seeds. Master J hates, hates, hates the smell of pumpkin "guts". Makes for an interesting photo op.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catching some rays

Some animals look all "film noir" in their sunbathing...

and some look all "mafia hit, no witnesses".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Mister C & I had Master J's parent/teacher conference today after school. It went really well. Academically he's doing great, as expected. Behavior wise, he's continuing to improve. In fact, he's doing much better, which is awesome. He's started slacking off on raising his hand this past week, but that is really pretty minor when we look back to previous behavior. So again I'd like to give a shout out to the school system here in the valley of the sun. We may not rate very high on those stupid polls (which is a whole 'nuther post), but I can tell you from first hand experience that they rock. I am grateful every day that we moved out of the Midwest and back to our beloved sunshine and happiness state. And as for you,Loser Elementary, just because Master J didn't fit your mold and his rotten mother wouldn't back down from your closed minded bs, does not mean you had to right to try and pigeonhole my kid into special education. He didn't need special ed, he needed to be challenged intellectually. And honestly, you can kiss my sun-warmed behind.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fresh start

So my Brooklynites are shed of their lender "Tank of Ta Bearica". Not of their choosing, but a good thing nonetheless. We've been struggling with the lender almost since day one.

On day one, it was all roses & unicorns shooting rainbows out their butts. It's gone downhill since then. I wasn't enamored of Tank of Ta Bearica to begin with, I've dealt with them before. They've screwed with my clients before. I don't think they offer good service. I don't think they are looking out for the interest of their customers. I don't like them.

But my clients came to me with them and it's not my place to tell them they couldn't use their own bank. What I did say was that I hadn't had good results with them in the past, but that maybe this gal would be different. Not so much.

So far, the non-responsiveness of the gal is the least of the problems. But she didn't know me. I will track you down. I will use different phones to call you if I have to. I will use every number you give me and every email address (in a five minute period) as well if I need information. See, I think if you're my clients bank that you should give us updates as to where we are at in the process. If you have an automatic email that gets sent out every week to tell us where we're at, that's fine. Just give us something. But if you're not going to update us on some regular schedule, for the love of Pete DO NOT AVOID MY OR MY CLIENT'S CALLS! Are you kidding me? To not answer the phone or return a call because you don't have anything new to tell me? Or even worse, to avoid calling me or my client because something bad has happened and you don't want to deal with it?

That last sentence is correct. On two different occasions this gal didn't call when something went wrong. It wasn't until I got a hold of her that I heard. The first was the low appraisal issue. I didn't get a call or an email. It wasn't until I contacted the gal the next day to see if it came back that I heard the news. Then I had to be the one making all the calls to figure out how to get the appraisal reviewed.

The second issue was this most recent one, wherein Tank of Ta Bearica has decided not to give the loan at all to my guys. Why? Because of something we knew when we went into the process that takes time to fix. 90 days to be exact. And they knew it when we went in as well. We were very upfront about what needed to happen and everyone agreed it could be done. But after jerking us around for a month, they've decided they can't do it. At all. Nice, very nice.

So, because of my previous experience with Tank of Ta Bearica, I had already alerted another lender (and my client) to the possibility of a last minute change. So when it all went to hell in a hand-basket late yesterday, I simply called my client, who then called the backup and we're on our way again with hardly a hiccup in the transfer.

Hopefully, with people who actually give a rat's ass about customer service working with us we'll actually be able to get to closing in one piece. My guys get the house they love in time for the holidays, the backup gets some good word of mouth advertising and I get to tell future clients why I prefer not to work with Tank of Ta Bearica. Because just saying that they're the Devil isn't as compelling as actually proving it with first hand experience.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Antagonizer...

In all her lardy glory

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Monday, October 12, 2009


So I took Izzy to her first behavior class tonight. There was only one other puppy in this particular class and that was a 10 week old beagle mix named Chloe. How cute is that? Big floppy ears, cute little speckled legs & beagle eyes all wrapped up with a pink collar and leash. Adorable. And my monstrosity of a dog? Growled and barked at the darling little thing. How embarrassing. Of course the first thing the young & perky instructor asks is "What behavior would you really like to work on with your dog?" I didn't say anything, just pointed at my idiot on a string that was going ballistic in the puppy's general direction. Did they really need to ask? Isn't it obvious? The scarecrow needs a brain, Dorothy. It's going to be a long 8 weeks.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Guess who picked a costume today...

I think the white(ish) socks make the outfit, don't you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Somebody's rather disappointed with being told to stop digging...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good Morning

Look who flew into my living room window this morning. Don't worry though, it survived and flew off after about 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

And now for a kick from the appraisers office...

My New Yorkers' house didn't appraise at the agreed upon price. It came in 7% less. Many phone calls later, it looks like the previous owners "forgot" to pull a permit when they turned a screened in porch into an additional bedroom & den. So 15% of the square footage and one bedroom can't be counted towards the value. I've got the bank working on getting a re-evaluation of the property based on better suited comps since the ones the appraiser used were pretty worthless but I'm not holding my breath on that. No, my suspicion is that it's going to go one of several possible ways...

1.) The seller is going to reduce the sale price to the appraised price. In this option, my buyer will most likely have to pay their own closing costs.

2.) The seller can attempt to get a "permit after the fact" at a cost of at least $2,000 and a several month delay in closing, then hope the house appraises for the agreed upon price.

3.) We move forward, dropping the price enough to cover the $2,000 for the permits which my buyer will get after closing. Buyers will have to bring extra money to closing in this scenario.

4.) My buyers walk away and we start over again, hoping like hell we can find, get and close on a different house before the November 30th deadline.

I can tell you that the first option is probably the only one the buyers will readily agree to, and the one the seller is least likely to agree to.