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May 20th 2013 4:39PM Whereas I am sympathetic to the tenants, they did sign a legally binding contract (lease) that allowed this. Whether they read it or understood what they read or not is not the issue.
This reminds me in a small way of the mortgage crisis - nobody held a gun to the borrowers' heads when they signed silly, impossible mortgage agreements. Essentially those signers (leases) made a bet that they would be gone before the lawsuit settled. And they lost the bet. Which is too bad, but does not change the facts. Idiots who signed impossible mortgages lost their houses - for which I have zero/none/zilch sympathy. All they did was screw legitimate borrowers, those who suffered a financial crisis (health loss, job loss, death) and other individuals with legitimate causes as to why they could not pay.
Those who lose bets must pay up - just like at the casino or race-track. Full stop.
Mar 24th 2013 10:01AM Our insurance company asked us what kind of dogs we have (Golden & Scottie), even what kind of cats we have (Himilayan & Maine Coon). They also stated that they would not extend liability insurance for animal encounters to Pit Bulls, Shar Peis, Siamese cats at all, and Rotweillers or Dobermans that hand not gone through specific sorts of dog-obedience course and socialization courses. Apparently Siamese cats will scratch unprovoked. As one who has been attacked while sitting in a chair reading a book by a Shar Pei - which was later destroyed after another attack - I understand that concern.
Guys and gals, it is a business decision by insurance companies. They choose not to take some clients and give up the revenue from those sources voluntarily. They may discriminate for whatever risk-related reasons they wish. So, get over it and find a company that will accept the risk. Keep in mind that our insurance company has the lowest rates we could find for our house and our vehicles - and also has excellent service. Perhaps precisely because they avoid needless risks.
Nov 5th 2012 9:23AM Um... Marijuana is grown under high humidity conditions - which, in turn, supports mold. So if it is not the material itself that is causing the reaction, it is certainly an effect caused by the growing of it.
Mar 30th 2012 1:17PM We did just this.
Offer only what you think the house is worth to you.
Do not go up one cent more than that.
Demand an inspection.
Demand a standard agreement of sale without additional fees.
Demand a conventional split of settlement costs and full disclosure before reaching the settlement table.
If the inspection shows _anything_ substantial, revise the offer to reflect the real cost of the defect.
At settlement do not give an inch. The bank *will* try to revise terms right up until the final signature.
We offered 30% lower than the asking price and took another 5% off based on the inspection. And got it after a 4-week struggle past the original settlement date.
Feb 9th 2012 5:09PM And those of us who purchased a conventional mortgage in a solid area with stable property values that have paid on time for years and never missed a payment get?
Not looking for a free ride, but this smells, walks and talks like another subsidy for the unwise and short-sighted.
Dec 19th 2011 7:59AM Funny thing: It is the banks' fault that a buyer paid more than the house was worth, signed documents and took out a mortgage in the first place. Now it is the banks' fault that the houses are worth less than what was paid and the owners don't want to continue to pay for the mortgage. And now it is the banks that are expected to make a deal to straighten this out.
Yes there were some pretty corrupt and sleazy practices by mortgage lenders. And those lenders and their officers should be in prison - preferably for a long, long time. Chances? slim. But corrupt and sleazy practices are not the issue at hand and in fact only account for a rather small segment of the problem.
Yes some people overpaid because that was the market and not because they expected to inflate out of the overpayment. And I have tremendous sympathy for those who have lost their jobs or had a significant pay-cut and are unable to pay *any* mortgage, much less one that is for more than their house is worth.
But the bottom line is that a mortgage is a contract to pay back a given amount of money lent at a given interest rate over a given period of time. It is secured by the real estate - but the obligation does not change. If one's economic situation does not change (ability to pay), then whether the house is worth the mortgage principle or not in no way changes the need to pay that principle back - nor should the bank, insurance companies and/or guarantors and their stockholders have to take it in the neck. Few borrowers had a gun to their head when signing the papers, and more than a few of them were right back the next day looking for a home-equity loan for that RV or Big-Screen TV or new car or whatever - no guns to anyone's head there either.
Funny thing about borrowing money - typically one is expected to pay it back. Next time try a loan-shark and find out how much sympathy they have to a job loss...
Sep 26th 2011 5:09PM OK - let's look at a few things:
Once upon a time a conventional mortgage meant 20% down and the total payments including escrow could not exceed 28% of the gross household income. That was then.
Today, a 'conventional mortgage' means anything that is at a fixed interest rate for its life. So, 5% down, no-doc, nothing down, 2nd-mortgage the down-payment - all was fair and common.
Well, guess what, guys and gals - the loan still has to be paid back. The Junkie should not blame his dealer for his addiction - that was entirely his doing. Nor the smoker the cigarettes for his cancer or his COPD - also entirely of his own doing. The banks merely produced a product that was wanted - and sold securities backed by those products to those who wanted them and were too lazy, short-sighted or greedy to do the basic research for themselves. Yes, they share some of the blame - but they did not make it up - just as tobacco companies did not make it up either.
Let's look at a few basic rules - and I learned these from my parents:
a) Do not buy a house until you can afford the payments.
b) Put at least 20% down on the house to get the best possible rate.
c) Take the shortest possible term you can afford. 30 years is nuts. 20 is better; less, even better.
d) Keep at *least* 10% of the price of the house in reserve. Typically, that will be a bit more than one year of payments, most of a roof, perhaps a car or whatever emergencies crop up.
e) Buy a house that meets your needs today but will also meet them into the foreseeable future - a one-bedroom condo for a couple that wants kids might not be the best idea. An 8-bedroom McMansion for an empty nester may not be the best idea. May, not must.
Use common sense. Which isn't as it happens.
We have met the enemy and he is us. Pogo.
Sep 12th 2011 2:21PM Mpffff... We have BOA by way of Countrywide out of a refinance - and we are presently at an APR of 4.25% 3 years into a 15 year mortgage. Of course, we did a conventional mortgage with a 30% downpayment. Pretty much any bank will give favorable terms where there is equity and a stable neighborhood. And for people who do not see their houses as perpetual ATMs.
And we have never had any issues with them.
Jan 3rd 2011 3:14PM We have transported several animals both overseas (to and from Saudi Arabia) and domestically. In every case we used only those airlines well experienced in pet-animal transport and with pressurized, heated areas for them. Overseas we used British Airways or KLM and for domestic flights American. In all cases, we were required to use a specific type of carrier with specific design criteria (but available from several makers, Sky Kennel being ours). We had to have vet certificates (and in the case of Saudi, a consular visa!!) as well as a health certificate signed within 48 hours of the flight.
We experienced one bad moment when our cat and dog missed a connecting flight in Amsterdam on their way to Saudi - they were both taken in by Airport vet personnel to their homes and given a rest and a meal outside the carriers - we were called for our permission to do this. They had to hold them for 48 hours to get an approved connecting flight to Dammam - again we were called each step of the way.
Point being we were extremely careful in choosing the airline, and we had reservations and paperwork for each step - no surprises. We complied with all international regulations and we purchased the carrier that _every_ airline preferred and approved. We also labeled the carrier, the animal (there are "magic markers" that vets use to write inside their ears for immediate visible evidence should a collar go missing), and did tip the receiving handler as well as he would accept. We knew our pets would have to go to Cargo - a 25 pound Scottie and an 18 pound Maine Coon go under no seat - so we researched those airlines that are experienced in the process and have reserved, heated, pressurized cargo space for pets. International airlines that subscribed to the "Pet Travel Scheme" are a good place to start.
I am not even suggesting that the Ms. Evans is at-fault. Delta took her money and agreed to transport the animals - 100% of the onus is on them. But I am suggesting that as animals cannot speak for themselves, we are required to speak for them. We chose to be overly concerned and we were willing to pay for the privilege of being so. Hopefully those days are behind us!
Dec 20th 2010 7:31AM Small trick - those postage paid envelopes are just that.
Tape it to a box, brick, 2-month supply of junk mail and mail it. The recepient pays by the unit and by the pound.
Make sure you do not violate any other postal regulations by doing so - hazardous material, improper packing overweight for 1st class and so forth. But, if it pleases you by recycling your junk-mail via this means - there is no reason why you should not do so.