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Utopia Village

By Peter P follow Peter P   2006 Sep 12, 5:18am 12,144 views   222 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    

Tell us your vision of a perfect world. What will housing be like in this world? What is the role of development planning?


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183   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:48pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

ability to make money is not the only worthy trait

I agree. But it can be one of the factors. Education is probably also a good factor.

I you’d end up with tax fraud/loophole galore. Let’s not make social policy with our tax system.

No matter how the system is constructed, someone will be able to game it. This is why Utopia is impossible.

184   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:49pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

innate rights of personhood

To guarantee a supply of future FB's. :)

185   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

They liked me and we bonded, but there was always the feeling that they were in for a tough life through no fault of their own.

We do not know how the universe works. Examples like this compell me to believe in karma.

Or perhaps happiness is relative.

186   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 1:53pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

They are buying the votes of people who because of guilt/convictions/religion/whatever believe that the down and out have a right to have as many children as they care to.

Perhaps the burden of welfare should fall mostly on these people.

Well, at least they are not the same people who want over-the-top animal rights. Are they the same people?

187   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:08pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Is the mighty China strong enough to survive a US-led global recession?

188   Doug H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:10pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


I *know* what you mean....the lightbulb goes off in their head and they wonder...Oh, crap! LOL

You sound like a professional salesman. I've met a few in my day and they are a pleasure to work with.....and a challenge. No amateur uses that venacular unless they are a pro...congrats.

Contrary to how I sound and come across; I truly attempt to make the deal a win-win. The seller gets what they want....a sale. I get what I want....the best deal. If not, it's mental masturbation and nobody wins. After all, I did go to the car dealer to buy a car...I really do want one. Now, is the car dealer going to happy with the final deal.....hardly; but not so much they don't sell me the car. About all they get is moving a unit, a good survey, and a credit for increased allocation from the factory. I use the front side/back side approach. I lead them to believe I'll give up the back side as long as I get the front....then, I walk out of F&I with a HORRIBLE financial deal....and pay it off within a week. They lost both sides of the deal. Nothin illegal; but it is brutal.

Back to housing.....

I always, and I mean always, play the inexperienced barely knowledgable buyer. All my moves, questions, and demands are low key to put the seller at ease. I stumble along asking for everything under the sun; surprisingly, most people I deal with are clueless about selling so it's very easy to manipulate them. Also surprising is how many concessions are agreed to simply by asking. If they get pissed about ANYTHING, my dumb act covers my mistake....How was I to know that wouldn't be OK; my BIL told me it was!

The longer you "play" them, the more "invested" they are in you and the sale. You do reach that magic moment in the deal when they HAVE to see it through because they've already gone so far down the road. I hold off the heavy artillery until the end.......and by that time, they feel as if they have no choice. Not happy, but driven in desparation to comply.

Buyer's have the least influence at the beginning of the deal. The longer he can drag it out, the greater his influence. The highest level being at closing. NOTHING gets what you want quicker than pitching a fit and walking out from the closing table. The seller is minutes away from his money, the agent is already spending his commission, the documents are typed, and so on.......

I don't know how to sell the seller on the promise of future business because that's not his goal. He watches "Short Attention Span Theatre" and can only focus on his one and only goal; selling his house. The only factor I could suggest would be if are dealing with a builder and can imply you could send a lot of business his way......through your position with a large corporation; but that's a REAL long shot. Builders a pretty savy business people whereas home sellers are clueless. You can get a bunch from a builder, but have to take a whole different approach.

One thing to remember is this IS a one time thing with the listing agent and the seller. Chances are you won't ever deal with them again so, in the course of business, should they get their feelings hurt....who cares! YOU didn't do anyting other than watch out for your best interests, act in an ethical manner; albeit a very, very, very demanding manner....but such is life and business. If a buyer is concerned about receiving Christmas gifts and Birthday cards from the other parties, then pay full asking price........

The best advice I can give is twofold:

Play to, and prey upon, the seller's weaknesses. Find out as much as possible about what's motivating the sale. It's pretty easy to do; ask the right questions and do some research.

Have a "script" written out like a this....then this.....ask this...then that.....demand this.....and so on. You'll be surprised out much more organized you'll be, more confident you become, and handle the twists and turns of the deal more successfully.

Our conversation is getting harder to keep up with in all the comments; but let me know if I can help you become a Certified Nuclear happy to help. I'm not writing a book, selling anything, have some super ego to stroke; my only motivation is to pass along some tactics that were shared with me, have worked well for me, and helping others as I've been helped.

I've bought and sold three houses in my life; this one coming up, will probably be the last, so I'll be retiring from the house buying business soon.....LOL

189   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:34pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The problem with these arguments is who gets to decide?

I agree. Who gets to decide?

winston churchill was worried about huge numbers of 'less talented' people coming into the world in british society, given that the middle and upper classes were demonstrably not having as many kids... however, it only takes a couple of scientific breakthroughs and pieces of engineering to make life better for everyone -- the creative discoveries of a few very bright people benefit everybody.

speaking of discoveries, and keeping on the utopian topic, the other eugenics question is -- rather than selective breeding, we may be able to engage in comprehensive genetic engineering and DNA tweaking in the very near future -- once again, who decides what traits should be engineered into the 'superman' of tomorrow? and once it is possible and affordable, won't everyone want to be doing it? à la Brave New World. in other words, normal human reproduction and selection will no longer be left to chance, people will be engineered to be smarter and smarter, free of disease, attractive and physically robust. what sort of morals and ethics will the new superman have implanted? should they be blonde and blue-eyed, or darker? should they be interested in sciences or humanities? if one country makes the technological breakthrough first, will they use it to their advantage over all others? and if we engineer more and more intelligent people, won't that in turn accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and innovation? (beyond self-selection and assortative mating.) assuming they don't all try to become attorneys...

190   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 2:37pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

What do you guys think about selecting birth times through cesarean sections?

191   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Doesn’t adversity sometimes breed ingenuity?

True. We need adversity to motivate as well as luck to resolve. This is why sucessful people usually have the "right" squares AND trines in their charts.

Needless to say, I can’t answer that objectively.

But you did not choose the birth time in an attempt to "engineer" the fate though.

I have nothing against c-section. The safety of the mother and the child is always the most important.

192   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

"I wonder if we were to go back and look at the most brilliant minds in history, would we find that they came from brilliant families?"

almost all of them come from the upper classes, though part of that is due to opportunity (or lack thereof)

But I maintain that playing God is too dangerous when we do it based on imperfect knowledge and subjective opinions.

193   Randy H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:05pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


First off, what’s so scary about price deflation, especially when it’s occurring in a grotesquely overpriced speculative asset.

I am talking about secular, broad-based price deflation. Deflation of one asset class, or cyclical deflation of a broader nature isn't necessarily bad; it's part of the process by which free markets reallocate capital. Recessions are broad-based cyclical deflation.

But, when the trend turns secular it becomes a positive feedback loop that kills capital very quickly. Much more quickly than inflation. Even worse than hyperinflation because it's much harder to break out of.

The Great Depression was so incredibly devastating -- globally -- that I am increasingly fearful as it fades further into the past for a repeat of those mistakes. I give it 30 years before another such event becomes possible. After the very last of the Silent are dead. Then we'll have "geniuses" tell us to "just raise rates and let the process work as it was meant to, killing off the weakness". 10 years after that we'll be fighting a war and socializing 60% of the economy to prevent total collapse.

194   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:05pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

ajh, I knew about Q1. :)

How much is a mid-range unit there in terms of AUD$/sqft?

195   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:06pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

There's a recent report out that say C-sections have high rate of infant mortality, even adjusted for pre-existing risks.

I wonder if women would still get pregnant if they can rent a womb (3rd world human or artificial) at a relatively low cost.

196   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:09pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Deflationary depressions are the ultimate in sticky situations, aren't they?

197   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:12pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I am talking about secular, broad-based price deflation.

There will not be broad-based price deflation because CPI measures only things we do not need.

198   Randy H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:14pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I know nothing about Mankiw. He was just listed on Boggers “blog’s of note” and I thought Randy might want to take a look.

I have Mankiw's text "Macroeconomics" listed on my blog in the reference reading column. He is probably the most coherent and convincing of the neo-classic camp, and his works were largely responsible in my neoclassic bias (although I am not religious about neoclassic economics, but I think the meta-framework is largely incontrovertible).

I haven't read his blog in a while, but I used to quite a bit. I've been spending more time delving into behavioral economics (Eric Johnson; Columbia, whom I had the pleasure of studying under for a term at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin during my international semester. The other was Joseph Stiglitz at London Business School.)

199   Randy H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:20pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

...and I missed the whole eugenics debate, sadly. I'll just say:

1. There are plenty of good, logical, practical arguments against it.
2. There are probably good genetic diversity/evolutionary arguments against it too.
3. It will happen anyway. It's just a matter of when and for whom.
4. If it already is happening, and the result are the CNBC girls, then I say sit back and enjoy it until we're fossils in someone else's evolutionary record.

200   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:22pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

is it dangerous tampering with human diversity? leaders, followers, religious people, sceptics, honest people, dissemblers, scientists, humanists and writers, economists, musicians, comedians, sportsmen, calm people, emotional people, are all different...

however, market societies seem to be selecting on a combination of intelligence and drive... resulting in a one-dimensional valuing of the ability to accumulate unto oneself...

and what if there was a fatal flaw in the genetically engineered übermensch? what if they were a narcissistic powerpath? what values should be inscribed in the genome? self-entitlement or altruism? carnality or cerebrality? how many different models should we make? etc

i think genius is 100% innate tho, as long as a person has a reasonable upbringing regarding nutrition etc. however, we can posit many kinds of specific intelligence which seldom occur at once in any one person: musical, physical (sporting), social, humour, mathematical, visual/spatial, artistic, verbal. currently, IQ tests tend to focus only on verbal and mathematical/symbolic intelligence. even speed and accuracy of recall plays a strong part in defining this sort of intelligence, which once again is seldom measured...

201   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:39pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Randy H Says:
I missed the whole eugenics debate

there's still some life in it yet...


very cogently put as always...

who are these CNBC girls? where can i find such a girl?

202   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 3:41pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I don’t think it is likely to generate the results they desire.

More proof that "Utopia" is impossible. I think we are stuck getting better AND worse.

203   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 4:58pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

In Q1, a 160 sq m apartment on level three is $650,000.

Level 3 works fine for me. :)

204   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 5:00pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Infant Deaths After C-Sections Rise Even in Low-Risk Pregnancies

What if the birth occurs at the right time? Can one choose fate?

205   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 5:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

In SF, new apartment costs at least US$750/sqft (even 1st floor) in trendy but not upscale neighborhoods. Looks like SF is more overpriced.

206   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 5:04pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

All surgeries are risky.

207   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 5:10pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The HOA fees (levies) seems low. Are they usually less than AUD$1000 a quarter?

Here in silly valley, an absolute crap can have an HOA fee of US$300 a month.

How is the immigration policy down south? :)

208   Peter P   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 5:44pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The last full year (1966) my family lived in Scotland the highest maximum temperature for the year in our town on the Fife coast was 68 degrees.

68 degree sounds like an ideal temperature. How cold can it get?

209   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 6:53pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

HOAs seem to vary from as low as $250 pq for a set of townhouses or 2-3 storey apartments in Melbourne (without lifts) up to about $1600 pq in the CBD of Sydney, with lifts, pool, gym, 24 hr concierge. new developments away from the CBD with more extensive grounds and gardens are often a little less, maybe $600-$1000 pq, probably because there's no concierge.

there were a lot of traps with big developers setting low-ish HOAs in the first year of a new development so people would buy in, then raising them the next year to some fiendish level, particularly in Sydney.

HOAs in the inner suburbs of Melbourne away from the highrises seem the least toxic.

210   DinOR   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 13, 10:56pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Doug H,

"I truly attempt to make the deal a win-win"

That's always been hard for me to keep in mind and at the fore front of my interfacing with the seller. Because I have (as you again remind us) done SO MUCH "homework" on the seller I get totally focused on where my leverage is and tend to trample (in their mind anyway) on the sellers sense of dignity!

Many of our parents taught us the importance of driving a hard bargain but also stressed leaving the seller with the sense that he has walked away with something as well.

Even with int. rates as low as they've been it's still important not to overpay for your home! Patrick (the web sites founder) stresses that we must negotiate hard on price as terms can (and often are) re-negotiated later. Every dollar you borrow to buy a home is 3 to 4 you'll have to pay back. For every dollar you overpay on your monthly PITI that's a dollar NOT going into your ret. acct. HSA (Health Savings Account) etc.

One of the many sharp gals that participates here reminds us that overpaying on a home is like "making someone else's retirement" (one payment at a time!)

You mentioned NOT writing a book. I wish someone would! There's enough pulp out there about making your first million in RE to fill the Cow Palace. Most of it on building a rental portfolio (that way they can have more than one chapter). What the buying public really needs is a "primer" on this very topic. Even if they only buy ONE home in their lives!

211   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 12:10am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Does anyone know why DL didn’t front for the NAR?

Top 10 reasons DL stayed away:

- he had a cold
- he's too busy putting his own 5 flip properties on the market before it's too late
- he's ruled himself out as an expert because he only predicted 9 out of the last 2 booms, and none of the busts...

212   DinOR   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 12:55am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

You know, SoCalMortGuy did a great piece on what I can only describe as the "instant buyer"!

He discussed how up until recently when folks transferred jobs or just simply moved it was standard to rent for a year or two while they evaluated their new area. For years it just made sense.

Well now with all of the "guaranteed appreciation" this transient crowd became buyers right out of the gate! 1 or 2 years on the sidelines renting means 1 or 2 years of no house ATM! I mean think about it, how many of us have heard friends/co-workers/relatives actually get on a plane, go buy the house THEN come home and list their existing home?

As evidenced in the 22% YOY decline in mortgage apps. for the week this all too eager buyer has been taken out of the equation! (Truth is the never should have been there in the first place).

It wasn't that long ago that being new to an area and new on the job "might" have been a hinderance in getting a mortgage? Do you know how many people I've seen over the years that didn't make it through the first week? Was it that we were so confident that even if the job didn't work out (that the house would?)

213   Doug H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 1:20am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Which category are you in?

1. Seriously planning on buying a house; which means you have a plan in place and are working the plan

2. Seriously complaining about the housing market; which means you hate the housing situation, aren't going to do anything about home ownership, and want to vent your frustration.

Not being judgmental.....just curious.

214   Sylvie   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 1:25am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Have you ever noticed how prices drop on commodities just before elections? coincedence? Oil, natural gas, gasoline, gold, silver, copper all down. The bulls on CNBC are back to soft landing scenario.

GOP working it hard.

215   skibum   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 1:37am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

ajh Says:

The hearing, “The Housing Bubble and its Implications for the Economy,” will be held in an open session of the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m..

The thing that intrigued me about this hearing was that the “economist” witness for the NAR was Tom Stephens (NAR President) rather than David Lareah. The other 3 organisations (FDIC, OFHEO and NAHB) were all represented by their Chief Economists.

I don't know if anyone else mentioned this yet, but the CNBC ("The Eugenics Network") coverage was interesting - the reporter (another hottie) cornered Tom Stevens and asked him about why his house has been on the market in NVa for over a year at $1.5M. His reply was something lame about not being around much all year, and, get this, NOT LISTENING TO HIS AGENT ABOUT LISTING PRICE!! This is after testifying in no uncertain terms that there is no housing bubble.

I realize he is in CYA mode, and he is also plugging for using a Realtor (tm), but c'mon, give me a break! Is the President of the NAR saying that he ignored his Realtor's advice on listing price? Isn't he a realtor by trade himself? Hilarious stuff. Pretty much lives up to my prediction of a Godfather 2-like scenario: "we just import olive oil and have some financial interests in Las Vegas casinos."

216   Doug H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 2:27am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


Yes, a general question for everyone here; just to get a handle on where the conversations are coming from and heading towards.

There's no "wrong" answer; just curious how the discussion can best be moved forward. I wanted to make sure nobody thought the question was judgmental or one topic is more important than another.


217   FormerAptBroker   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 2:42am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Sylvie Says:

> Have you ever noticed how prices drop on commodities
> just before elections?


> GOP working it hard.

The Dems are also "working it hard" to stay in office...

Just before elections the GOP and Dems will work together to stay in power (since they agree on 90% of the stuff anyway) then after the election they start fighting over the last 10% again (where the GOP wants a cool new missile system or attack sub and the Dems want new programs to boost the self esteem of crack addicted gang members or gay third graders)...

218   DinOR   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 3:34am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Doug H,

As I've always said; I don't need to have the entire res. RE market crash! All I need is one hell of a deal to get me off the sidelines. Haven't seen one yet (but that desn't mean I'm not still looking).

When it comes to "idle complaining" I/we don't feel it's unreasonable to see:

1. De-reg. of universally accepted 6% comm.

2. Some semblance of underwriting standards.

3. The opening of MLS.

4. Appraisals that are accurate and honest.

5. Repeal of the "2 year get out of jail tax free card".

Typically it's buyers that set the prices. As they have no skin in the game and are in too many cases paying only partial payments they've been all too willing to bid prices up. Since after two years (yes, on "primary res.") they can walk away scot free they likely would have continued unabated.

When you really look at it, there's no real difference in fundamentals between this summer and last. (They were shaky then and they're shaky now) but there really hasn't been anything revealed in 2006 that we didn't already know in 2005? Well, the "re-set" looms ever closer and of course sales have fallen off a cliff and inventory has swelled beyond belief! These are all the results of market psychology (hell the Fed stopped with their penny ante rate "hikes" didn't they?)

I want to learn!

(I just want to learn, without getting burned!)

219   salk   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 3:42am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The failure of western people to adequately reproduce is the major issue the world will face. According to "Human Achievement", most of the major advances in civilization arise from 4-5 nations. And within those nations only very specific regions made the overwhelming contributions to science, business, arts, medicine,etc. But I disagree with the notion that Open Societies produce the most attractive people. Take Manhattan: largely unattractive people. Russia, eastern/central europe probably most attractive people.

220   astrid   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 4:01am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

new topic: Breeding the perfect CNBC reporter

221   skibum   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 6:23am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

SQT and others:

Too many times, from too many doctors and nurses, out comes the phrase –you must belong to the Women’s Club, ie–hysterical woman complaining about invisible pains and symptoms.

I agree, there's a real bias against women (as well as minorities) in medicine. I think this is changing, though. Especially when you consider across the US, more than 50% of med students are women now. Yes, it will take time to reflect in the number of practicing MD's, and yes, that fails to address any glass ceiling issues or more ingrained biases against female patients, but I really do believe change is occurring.

222   Doug H   ignore (0)   2006 Sep 14, 8:35am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        


When it comes to “idle complaining” I/we don’t feel it’s unreasonable to see:

1. De-reg. of universally accepted 6% comm.
That is the case NOW. Commissions, nationwide avg 5.1%
On my last house, I negotiated a 4%, should conditions be met.
EVERYTHING is negotiable....everything. LOL
I've got some pet gripes about some builder spifs that I'd like to see addressed w/regulation.....gripes my butt when there's some backdoor stuff going on.

2. Some semblance of underwriting standards.
Not sure what you me?

3. The opening of MLS.
In what way? It's pretty much an open book once you have access, and that's easy to get.

4. Appraisals that are accurate and honest.
They are WAY too close to the deal and I agree with you about appraisers who submit to support the price instead of the other way around. What I do is, in the qualifying interview with the appraiser, let him know I will challenge his report and if he cannot defend it; he don't get least by me.

5. Repeal of the “2 year get out of jail tax free card”.
I'm not sure I follow you on this you mean LTCG tax?

Appreciate the dialogue......

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