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House Poor

Sales Freefall Continued in February

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  Home sales took another deep dive in February, falling 7.1 percent below the 4.95 million-unit level in February 2013 to the lowest level of sales in any month since July 2012, when annualized sales stood at 4.59 million.  The size of the sudden decline suggests that there might be more than bad weather behind the bad news. NAR chief ... Read More »

House Poor: Just Another Learning Experience

Have you ever had that free-falling feeling, like someone has blindfolded you, pushed you out of an airplane door at 5,000 feet and all you can do is scream at the top of your lungs and wonder how long it will take before you hit the ground? Read More »

House Poor: The Landlord’s Prayer

Believe me, the last thing in life I ever wanted to be was a landlord. The thought of it reminds me of the old silent movies tying his poor tenant to a railroad track as she screams, "No, I can't pay the rent!" Read More »

House Poor: A New Lease on Life

There are many advantages to living in a neighborhood known nationwide as the Chernobyl of American real estate. Movie directors like our barren, graffiti-decorated streets for post-Apocalypse scenes and zombie movies. You can park anywhere and so many stores keep closing that there are sales galore. You never have to worry about irresponsible neighbors who borrow things and forget to return them. Except for the occasional teen-age all-night rave party in a rotting foreclosure, there's lots of peace and quiet around the clock. Read More »

House Poor: My MID-Life Crisis

My wife and I had just settled down in front of the TV the other night when the saddest advertisement came on. A grandpa was sitting with his grandson on the steps of their home, talking about how he hoped homeownership would still be around when the little kid grew up. I thought I could see a tear in the old guy's eye. I was so upset that it ruined the whole first half of Dancing With the Stars for me. Read More »

House Poor: Big Losers and Short Sales

In Mirage Mills, we've seen it all when it comes to the housing mess. Entire neighborhoods are so run down you would think Home Depot went out of business. Our kids think "bank owned" is an invitation to invite their friends to a weekend blow-out and trash a vacated house. The black market in copper stripped from hot water pipes and gutters is a major source of local employment. They don't call my town the Chernobyl of American real estate for nothing. Read More »

House Poor: The Perils of Progress

My real estate agent, Bea Meriwether, is one of those real estate people who thrived in the days when the business was all about personality and people skills, like selling houses face-to-face and negotiating like a poker star. She still bakes chocolate chip cookies just to scent the air at open houses and carries an extra hanky for teary sellers saying good-bye to the family home. Read More »