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A big improvement? You be the judge.

I love my new door!

BEFORE:

Kathy and Dan's old door.
Our original door was much larger than a standard-sized door and had a big round doorknob the size of a grapefruit on the outside.

AFTER:

Kathy and Dan's NEW door.
Target checks out the new door. The installer had to build a frame around the door because the old one was so big.

Close-up of the window on our new door.
Here is a close-up view of the stained glass window in the door.

iTunes is currently playing: This House (Album Version) from the album Hoodoo by Alison Moyet.

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If I hadn't seen this ad ...

... with my own eyes I'd swear it had to be a joke. It isn't bad enough that we are bombarded by rap music ringtones everywhere we go. Soon we will be assaulted by PERFUME emanating from laptop computers, too!

Perfumed laptop
Perfumed laptop



iTunes is currently playing: Girls Just Want to Have Fun from the album The Essential Cyndi Lauper by Cyndi Lauper.
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a few hundred billion here ... a few hundred billion there ...

Today's L.A.Times has a[nother] story about how the "downturn" in the economy is hurting average Americans. In this piece they focus on a few families who live on Candlewood Street in Lakewood, California. A week after Congress promises $700 billion to banks and mortgage companies in a misguided attempt at fixing the mess they created over the last 30 years, the Times tells me about Barbara Booth and how worried she is about her retirement.

Barbara Booth is right to be worried. She is 57 years old and she is deeply in debt. But what jumps out at me as I read this story is not simply the fact that she is struggling financially but that the situation is, to a great extent, of her own making.

Booth inherited her house from her parents, but she took out a loan to fix it up, put on a new roof and add a room. Every month, she pays about $2,000 on that loan, in addition to credit card bills and payments toward a $42,000 balance on the Minnie Winnie Winnebago the family bought in 2003. It's parked in the driveway now, with only 13,000 miles on it. A "For sale" sign is taped to the window.


It took me about two minutes of Internet searching to find her exact address and pull up the real estate records for her home. Her parents purchased the house when it was built in the 50's, when new homes in the area were going for $12,000 to $15,000. Ms. Booth apparently inherited the house free and clear.

It is currently assessed at $86,000 and her property taxes are less than $100 per month. Homeowners insurance is probably, at most, $50 a month. Had Ms. Booth not decided to mortgage her house to the hilt in order to "fix it up" and "add a room" (and, probably, to put money down on a motorhome), she would have a modest 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that she could live in for about $150 per month plus utilities. Instead, she is paying on a mortgage that consumes almost 50% of her current gross income and she is upside-down on a 5 year old Winnebago. And both of our presidential candidates want the taxpayers to save her financial ass so she doesn't lose her house.

What the hell are they thinking??

iTunes is currently playing: House Of Cards from the album Stones In The Road by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

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One man's trash ...

Bobcats take advantage of foreclosed house.

iTunes is currently playing: Feels Like Home from the album Randy Newman's Faust by Bonnie Raitt.

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Racing up the charts ...

... is that catchy new tune "Housing Bubble, What's The Trouble" by the group PERSONAL ATM.



Mary Chapin Carpenter - Stones In The Road - House of Cards* ... is currently playing: House Of Cards from the album Stones in the Road by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
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Real Estate Humor (You have to laugh to keep from crying.)

Diane Olick posted this on her Realty Check blog today. Thanks, Diane.

Your house as seen by ...

YOU:


Your house as seen by YOU.

YOUR BUYER:

Your house as seen by YOUR BUYER.

YOUR LENDER:

Your house as seen by YOUR LENDER.

YOUR APPRAISER:

Your house as seen by YOUR APPRAISER.

YOUR TAX ASSESSOR:

Your house as seen by YOUR TAX ASSESSOR.


Rosanne Cash - The Very Best Of Rosanne Cash - I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me
iTunes is currently playing: Dreams Are Not My Home from the album Black Cadillac by Rosanne Cash.
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A Glen Campbell song is a parody waiting to happen, don’t you think?

The following comment was posted today on a blog site called "The Housing Bubble", under the entry "This Is All A Snowball". Thanks to poster "aladinsane" (who may or may not be the original author).

Comment by aladinsane
2007-08-14 14:11:00

Ode to Glen Campbell…

By the time I get to Phoenix, foreclosures will be rising

They’ll find the N.O.D. note on her door

She’ll laugh when she reads the part about leaving

‘Cause I’ve heard this story so many times before

By the time the news reaches Albuquerque, the market stopped working

A Realtor will beg me @ lunch, to give me a call

But i’ll just hear that phone keep on ringin’

Off the wall that’s all

By the time the housing bubble falls in Oklahoma, rather steeply

It’ll turn swiftly and a Realtor will call my name out loud

Tho’ time and time I try to avoid him so

He just didn’t know, how low it could really go


Hugh Grant - Music and Lyrics - Pop! Goes My Heart
iTunes is currently playing: Pop! Goes My Heart from the album Music and Lyrics by Hugh Grant.
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Explaining the housing crash:

From the Modesto Bee:

In a time when real estate stories are filled with foreclosures, loans gone sideways and homeowners on the brink of financial ruin, lending professionals say avoiding such traps requires a simple step. That step is to read through and understand every detail before committing to a home mortgage, though many consumers admit they don't.

In a recent poll of about 1,000 adults by Bankrate.com, about 34 percent of homeowners had no idea what kind of mortgage they had, said Greg McBride, a senior analyst for the financial information Web site.



Alison Moyet - Alf - Steal Me Blind
iTunes is currently playing: Steal Me Blind from the album Alf by Alison Moyet.
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Remember the old days …

... when you could only get a loan if you could prove you didn't really need it?

From MSNBC.com:

Washington Mutual, another big lender, in March stopped offering [no money down] loans to subprime borrowers, typically people with poor credit. It also reduced the size of loans to other borrowers.

"It used to be that we would finance a loan up to $1 million with no down payment for a first-time home buyer," said Daniel H. Aminoff, a senior loan consultant at Washington Mutual Home Loans in Alexandria. "But as of March, we will only finance a loan of $417,000 with no down payment."

AND

Many lenders now place more emphasis on job stability and low debt when writing no-down-payment loans. Almost all verify a borrower's income and employment, which was not the case during the housing boom.

iTunes is currently playing: Back Down To Earth from the album Boys In The Trees by Carly Simon.
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Here a bubble, there a bubble …

I've been reading a number of blogs lately that document the housing crash which is going on all around us. One blog, called the Housing Bubble, includes a gallery of photos taken around the country that show the current state of things. Here are a few that I particularly like:

Talk about an incurable defect ...

WHO would buy a house next door to THAT THING, in ANY kind of market?? Better yet, why did someone build a house there in the first place?



When someone says "I want a place with a view", they probably don't mean a view of a GAS STATION!!



And here is something for flippers to play while they wait for prospective buyers to show up at their open houses ... and wait ... and wait ... (Image is the creation of Aaron Erimez. Thanks, Aaron!)

iTunes is currently playing: House Of Cards from the album Stones In The Road by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
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