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Blog Posts in 2009

  • The Underside Of Reverse Mortgages

    Because I question my credentials as a world observer, I have been slow to write about reverse mortgages. Even though they use traditional legal theory, they reverse traditional economic thought in the sense that they advance a loan without an expectation that the loan be repaid until the borrower dies. Accumulated equity in real estate is mortgaged, usually in response to glitzy ads telling us ...
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  • Can We Get America Back

    The title to this article implies that you might be about to read something political. You are not. While we all have thoughts about what “America” is politically, no one has asked to hear my opinions about politics. Fortunately, real estate is a different matter, and the “America” addressed here is the economy and real estate market we knew before this one. Those markets existed before what I’ve ...
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  • The World Is Not Only Flat, It Hasn't Got A Ripple

    Our offices are in Shalimar and Destin. I live in Niceville. I feel like I know small towns. People know each other. More than not, you like the people you know. If we did not, I suppose we’d all live elsewhere. The purpose of this article is to share my opinion that your computer may sit in a small town office, but it is anything but a small town. Like a bad dog, it will be your friend- most of ...
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  • Hell in a Very Small Space

    Because some zoning ordinances permit a greater number of condominium units per acre than townhouses, even though there is no structural difference, several years ago developers rushed to use small shards of property within city blocks to build tiny condominiums. My plea to planning officials everywhere is that the laws, regulations, and personalities involved in a condominium are so complex that ...
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  • What is a "Professional"?

    In truth, I don’t know. But there are a few things I do know, that I thought I’d share because in this surprising economy I wonder whether there is a place left for someone who conducts his enterprise not just to pay the mortgage, but who seems motivated by something more lasting. Like the Supreme Court that can’t define the word, but they know it when they see it, I can define only by example. I ...
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  • Cut Your Losses - Carefully

    I spent time in a professional office last week, waiting for someone to do embarrassing things. During the exam I was asked, for about the millionth time in the last 18 months, what to do about over-financed real estate. The answer to that question sounds so simple you’ll think I’m making this up. I’m not. See your lawyer, now. Here’s the setting for the question. The person said, just like many, ...
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  • I Sell Title Insurance

    I sell title insurance. Some people don’t like to say they “sell” for a living, much less that their product is title insurance. I sell title insurance. I “sell” it because I believe in it. Selling is explaining. Selling is providing information relative to the good points of the product. Selling is providing peace of mind. I sell title insurance. I do not hang my head and apologize for selling ...
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  • The Dogs Bark, but the Caravan Keeps Rolling

    Last month I took the deposition of an independent mortgage broker who did business in our area until a couple of years ago. This broker is indicative of a breed of participant in our business. All came in for the good times, in title insurance, real estate, and finance, and almost all are gone now. I learned that this particular broker’s office did business in a large room, divided into cubicles ...
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  • The Rest of the Story

    Nowotny Interference- A chess dilemma in which two black pieces obstruct one another’s ability to protect vital squares Most of us really don’t understand the causes, effects, or fixes of the mortgage and real estate confusion arising out of the Silly Years. Here are some things that I do understand: The urge many people felt to buy real estate was not morally or intellectually wrong, and in fact, ...
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  • Why Chapter 11?

    By personality I am an optimist. I believe business is not going away, and will come roaring back if we give it a chance. Nevertheless, many otherwise good businesses will experience serious cash flow or other financial issues during the economic downtime. Chapter 11 reorganization is a versatile tool that can help a struggling business restructure its debt and weather the storm. I have ...
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  • Use Your Attorney

    Notice I did not say heed your attorney, or even believe your attorney . and I certainly did not say abuse your attorney. I do want you to use your lawyer, and here’s why… The problem that prompts this advice comes from a young couple (they could be old) who own a home. They are required to relocate. Because of today’s market, they can’t sell the house for an amount that pays off the mortgage, and ...
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