Foreclosed Ferraris

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this in, from jalopnik.com:

(1965 Ferrari 275 GTB above)

According to a tip from a Jalopnik reader, the owner of 12 Ferraris — plus an incongruous but very cool Ford Thunderbird — also owned a real estate company that went bankrupt. Unfortunately, he had all the cars parked in a building owned by the company, so they’re up for auction now.

Nice one, genius, next time, build a 15-car garage at home before you go bankrupt so that you can keep your cars until you default on the mortgage.

There are some real gems in the collection, including a 1985 308 GTB Quattrovalvole starting at a bargain basement $21,000, as well as an absolutely gorgeous 1965 275 GTB. Bidding on that one will begin at a not-so-modest $502,000, but you get what you pay for; it’s sex on wheels.

Also up for auction are two 328 GTSs, a 348 TS, a 365 GTB4 Daytona, a 456 GT, a 456 GT, a F355 Berlinetta, a Mondial T, two Testarossas, and a 1990 F40 that someone has decided to start at $226,000.

1990 Ferrari F40:

1985 Ferrari 308 GTB Quattrovalvole:

1990 Ferrari Testarossa:

1972 Ferrari 365 GTB4 Daytona:

Multiple Offers/Bidding Wars

Lily has an article about the bidding wars and shortage of inventory downtown:


Buyers fret at the thought – and many will say, “I’m not getting in a bidding war!”

Here are my thoughts on bidding wars:

1.  It means you have found a decent property with a good price on it – which isn’t easy these days!  You should at least find some comfort in your advanced hunting skills, and ability to identify a quality buy – congratulations!

2.  It also means it will be likely that the other buyers and agents will panic, and half of them will hit the eject button – so hang in there, the competition is likely to eliminate themselves.

3.  There are no rules or standard procedures, so get the listing agent to commit to a specific process – how will they handle multiple offers?  Will they counter each one with a specific price, or will they ask each bidder to submit their highest-and-best offer?

On a hot, new listing, it is better for the seller to ask for highest-and-best offers – because you don’t know how high a buyer might bid.  If faced with a H&B request, only submit the price you are comfortable with, and tighten up all the other terms so at least you have improved your chances the best you can – and hope for the best.

If they counter each bidder with a specific price, it is imperative that you ask the listing agent how they will pick a winner if everyone signs their counter.  Typically the answer is a vague and lame, “well, we’ll just look at them all, and the seller will make a decision”, when really it gives the listing agent a chance to play God and select their favorite agent or some other slimy way of choosing.

They may have countered a specific, but different, price to each bidder, but that is rare – agents aren’t that smart. But if they say that they did, then you may want to consider offering more than the seller gave you, just in case.

If it is a tired, old listing, and/or you think the listing agent is bluffing and you don’t care enough about buying this one, then don’t respond.  If there is any chance of coming back later, you don’t want to tip your hand, or sully your reputation now.  I think it is rare that agents bluff, because they aren’t good at it, don’t have much experience at it, and they don’t want to blow a sale.  If you are going to be suspicious, be wary of the top-notch agents, but they usually have their assistants doing all the work anyway so there’s less chance than you might think – plus typically they are in it to maximize their volume of sales, not toying around.

4.  Discuss strategies ahead of time.  You don’t want to be in the heat of battle and have to figure out how you are going to handle it on the run.

5.  Read Paragraph 3K of the C.A.R. Residential Purchase Agreement.

6.  Remember that you always have your contigency period to sort things out.

Whether you are selling or buying, you should ask questions of your agent about bidding wars, and how they handle them.  They should have recent success stories and/or strategies available – because they will need them!  My winning percentage is down a little due to other agent’s buyers willing to pay a lot more than they should – if you love the house, add a little extra mustard, just in case – but don’t overdo it.

Shrine to Wallpaper

More of the estate-sale variety here.

I mention in the beginning about how people don’t talk much, but didn’t reference it specifically to looking at houses. Here’s a more typical example: Yesterday I was looking at a house and a passer-by invited herself in.  I asked a few questions, and literally got no response at all, and then she walked out without saying thanks or good-bye.  It happens like that more often these days.

Mission Accomplished

NAR President Moe Veissi praises new help for struggling homeowners.    The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday announced measures to make “short sales” of underwater homes easier for homeowners, including extending help to people who have financial difficulties but haven’t missed mortgage payments.

GOP Platform on Real Estate

From NMN:

The new platform of the Republican Party calls for downsizing the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance program and winding down the “size and scope” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s secondary market activities.

“The FHA, which tripled in size to more than $1 trillion under the current administration, has crowded out the private sector and is at risk of requiring a taxpayer bailout,” says the GOP platform statement released midweek in Tampa. “It must be downsized and limited to helping first-time homeowners and low- and moderate-income borrowers.”

But the GOP statement of principles offers no specifics on how Fannie and Freddie should be “wound down.”

America Enterprise Institute resident fellow Edward Pinto told National Mortgage News that House Republicans have approved a fiscal year 2013 budget that calls for placing a cap on GSE loan limits. (Pinto is at the convention.)

“Such a policy would reduce the number of loans the entities could back, naturally shrinking their market share,” the budget document says.

Pinto noted that it would take an act of Congress to reduce Fannie and Freddie’s loan limit.

He and two of his AEI colleagues have recommended a gradual reduction in the GSEs’ loan limits, currently capped at $625,500.

“Fannie and Freddie’s loan limits should be reduced over time. This will lead to them being phased out so that the private sector can take on more of the secondary market as the GSEs withdraw,” Pinto said. “That will lead to a solid robust housing market,” he added.

On the MID:

In a series of ads in Tampa this week, the National Association of Home Builders has been trying to send a message about the real estate industry’s clout to convention-goers.  “The road to the White House will be a driveway,” read one ad, which appeared in a special Tampa edition of The Hill. “Housing = Jobs.”

In big letters, the ad cited polling research that found that 68% of voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who proposed eliminating the mortgage interest deduction.

While Romney has vowed to maintain the deduction, he reportedly has also told donors that he would limit its application on second homes, and he would also limit the deduction for state and local property taxes.

The Republican Party platform, released Tuesday, did not contain language that was included in the party’s 2008 platform about the value of preserving the mortgage interest deduction.  The decision to exclude that language reportedly came after former Sen. Jim Talent, a Romney adviser, argued that specific provisions on the tax code would get in the way of a budget deal.

No Cheese For You

From desmoinesregister.com:

Financial help is moving to embattled homeowners under the $25 billion national mortgage settlement that resulted from abusive foreclosure practices by some of the nation’s largest banks.

Mortgage servicers spent $10.6 billion on principal reductions, short-sales, refinancing and other borrower relief efforts from March 1 to June 30, according to a  report Wednesday by settlement monitor Joseph Smith. The help was directed at 137,846 U.S. homeowners, who received an average benefit of $76,616 each.

The spending includes $6.7 million in settlement-related relief for 260 Iowa homeowners, which averaged $25,781 each, according to the office of Iowa Attorney General Thomas Miller. The disparity is partly due to the state’s lower home prices. Iowa residents are eligible for $18 million in direct relief in all.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Ally Financial reached the deal in March, while admitting no wrongdoing. Their alleged misdeeds included the falsification of documents via so-called “robo-signing” operations. They have three years to fulfill their mortgage-relief obligations.

“It’s good news that here in Iowa and across the country we’re starting to see the banks moving generally in the right direction,” said Miller, who was the lead state attorney general in the joint state-federal investigation which resulted in the landmark civil settlement. The probe began in October of 2010 amid widespread reports of servicer misconduct.

The servicers spent $8.67 billion on short sales, which occur when an underwater borrower sells their home for less than they owe on it, according to the monitor. Idled workers saddled with an underwater mortgage generally are more likely to restrict their job searches to the area around their home. Short sales are important because they make it easier for the unemployed to pursue jobs that require relocation.

Bank of America has the largest financial obligation under the settlement, at $11.8 billion and has committed to writing down the principal owed on 200,000 homes whose owners are now underwater on their mortgages.

The five mortgage servicers also committed to new rules under the deal, which include making foreclosure a last resort.

Multi-Family Price Trends

From Loopnet.com

Sale prices for multifamily properties in the metro area appear to have a seasonal cycle to them.

The highs in the cycle tend to occur around June and the lows come around December. Over the past year sale prices have risen 1.6% to $132,006 per unit. But for the preceding 12 months, sale prices are up by 1.6%.

The highest median sale price over the past three years was $142,344, which was set in October 2009. In comparison, the median sale price is now 7.3% lower. However, the current price is 1.6% higher than the three-year-low of $129,905, which was set in March 2011.

This month marks the fifth straight month of declining median sale price for the metro multifamily properties. When the streak began in November 2011, the median sale price was $136,582 per unit.

(Their graph doesn’t exactly line up with their quote of ‘highs in June, lows in December’. Another example where recent activity is bucking the historical norms or common perceptions. Interesting also that prices are dropping when rents are going up, allegedly.)

FLW Home Designated for Demo

From BI:

Conservationists are battling to declare the David and Gladys Wright House in Arizona a landmark before it is destroyed forever.

Back in June, developer 8081 Meridian paid $1.8 million for the Phoenix  residence, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 1950s. 8081  Meridian now plans to demolish the home in order to make way for two brand new  mansions in the Arcadia neighborhood, according  to the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

Frank Lloyd Wright, the man behind Fallingwater and the  Guggenheim Museum, built the house for his son David. Because it is the only  Wright residence in existence that is based on the circular spiral plan, several  architectural historians and critics consider the David and Gladys Wright House  to be among the architect’s 20 most significant buildings.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is leading the crusade against  the building’s destruction by petitioning the City of Phoenix to grant historic preservation  and landmark designation to the house. If that fails, the organization is  also working to find a preservation-minded buyer for the property, as well as  considering a lot split allowing new homes to share property with the famous  building as a last resort.

If it is demolished, it will be the first intact Wright building to be torn  down in almost 40 years.

Will The Reluctants Feel Safe Now?

Because the media only takes a cursory swipe at real estate data, are stories like this one enough to get buyers and sellers in the market?  I said yesterday that I didn’t think the buyers would change course – but those are my buyers! 😆

Will the more-casual participant who only glances at a couple of paragraphs jump in now?

From scpr.com:

We’ve gotten two positive housing data sets in the past two days. First, the Case-Shiller index for June is indicating that the U.S. housing market has formed a bottom. Today, the National Association of Realtors released July pending home sales — those are homes that have been contracted for sale but not yet sold — and the improvement over 2011 is notable.

This is from the NAR:

“[T]he index is at the highest level since April 2010, which was shortly before the closing deadline for the home buyer tax credit. “While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity,” said [Chief Economist Lawrence Yun].

Bear in mind that Case-Shiller is, to an extent, designed to counteract any excessive frothiness that might percolate in the U.S. housing market due to forward-looking indicators such as pending home sales. Case-Shiller focuses on prices and lags the market by a few months because in the 20 cities the index tracks only homes that have been sold are counted.

But the pending-sales data for July shouldn’t be overlooked. It shows that, compared with last year, in the middle of the summer selling season, there is increasing demand for homes. That demand, if it sustains itself, will support the housing bottom that Case-Shiller is pointing to and — at long last — set the stage for home prices to climb back from where they are currently: depressed to 2003 levels.

Land Value

With the lack of well-priced inventory on the market, those sellers who do list over the next few months should enjoy a nice extra pop – especially those on the lower-end of the price range in desirable neighborhoods:

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