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Dusted Off the Checkbook...

March 21st, 2010 at 08:36 am

**I really only write checks to the school any more. I suppose it will be a double whammy with income taxes and property taxes. Income taxes could be paid online pretty easily though. Leaves old fashioned paper checks for property taxes and school "donations."

Anyway, wrote a couple of checks - hadn't written any for 2010 yet - and don't expect any more for a long while.

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**I didn't watch more than the first 5 minutes of Suze, but she was talking about a cash movement. I felt she was being kind of harsh on the credit card companies for starting to charge annual fees. I suppose to the uber responsible of us, we remember the days of annual fees and don't mind paying a fee for all the convenience and security. So, eh.

BUT, if the cash movement wins and paying with cash is universally discounted, I suppose I could see going the way of cash. Interestingly, I have never really used much cash in my lifetime. I use to shop with checks until I turned 16 and started mostly shopping with credit. Before the days of cash rewards - but it was super convenient. I have never really been a "cash carrier." It is only the last year or 2 that I have given up carrying cash for under $5 purchases though. Now I really never carry cash (But for a few $20 bills laying around, for emergency).

But I suppose I would change with the times, to save a few bucks.

I don't really expect this cash movement to take off. But, will see!

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**Real estate is still manic depressive here. It's the only word to describe it.

Real estate is still in the toilet. Only 3 homes sold in my zip code this past week (which is absurd - usually there are at least 20 sales - many more in regular times).

The news is all doom and gloom.

& yet, everyone I know is currently buying a house. The bidding wars are same as they always were. 100 offers on a house? Boom or bust - it still happens.

Did I say, manic depressive???

I think the thing is that there is so much pent up demand for home ownership here. So many people priced out for so long. & investors swooping in. I know a lot of locals have dreamed for $100k median prices, and I just have to roll my eyes. The magic number seems to be $200k. Anything under that - someone from LA or SF will snatch up, sight unseen. Even if no one local wants to buy. Our city may be more investment property than owner occupied - those have got to be interesting statistics.

Anyway, I read in the paper, along with the "100 offers for decent properties" that though all the statistics were in the toilet, some insane amount of homes were currently in escrow. Expecting a good spring, here.

No surprise. I know a handful of people in escrow, myself. Our next door neighbors, renters, just moved out. & a quick perusal of Facebook shows a LOT of my friends, and their friends, in escrow.

I meeting with one of those friends today. Will be interesting. She told me at some point, almost like she was embarassed, that they could only afford a $200k mortgage. Um, okay. (I personally wouldn't borrow much more than that, myself. But I realize everyone thinks we have a $300k-$400k mortgage. Because we are too young to have got a decent price and who would put any money down???)

Considering where they bought it sounds like they probably bought a pretty expensive home (From my perspective). It will be interesting to hear more details. I think they cleaned up their credit and in the end qualified for a lot more than $200k.

The other interesting thing is that at face value, this person is smart and waited out the bust. BUT, the reality is they would have bought a $500k home if they could have qualified. Terrible credit meant they couldn't play the game. Anyway, now they are talking about moving in a couple of years. They are buying the house to "get rich quick."

YEah.

So, I will just smile and be happy for her.

It isn't like I haven't said, "Are you sure that is really a good idea?" At this point, the house is in escrow and I just have to support her.

I have had similar discussions with some of my clients. Cash and stocks sucks. So I have one client who is snatching up properties left and right. That will get them rich overnight, of course.

Oy vey.

So the market is manic depressive, and no one has learned anything.

Contrary to the masses who are walking away from their properties without a care, most of the people I know who foreclosed were emotionally and financially devastated. They are just too embarrassed to talk much about it. It should be a requirement to sit down and talk to one of these people (who foreclosed) before buying a house in this city. IT could solve a lot of problems.

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