USA Today notes how the City of Charlottesville is considering eliminating fares on the buses. Cvillenews had great discussions months ago. Until three things happen – 1) The buses stop stopping on at the bottom of the hill at the Emmet Street/Angus Road intersection during rush hour, and staying stopped for five to seven minutes. (getting people to use transit is part marketing against the perception that the buses are inefficient, and this is a testament to the system’s inefficiency) 2) Buses run when people need them to run, rather than closing on Memorial Day (people without cars still don’t have cars on holidays!) 3) The buses go (at least as fast as a car would take them) where people need to go.- the Charlottesville transit system will remain inadequate for most.
Price of an Empire Builder bag from Tom Bihn in 2004: $130Price of shoulder strap from Tom Bihn in 2004: $25The answer to the following question -I purchased an Empire Builder in February of 2004, and I love it…. I really can’t describe it, but I could send you a picture.Is there a warranty, or should I just order another one?Thank you in advance,Being this?We’d be glad to send you two replacement clips (this is the entire metal part that threads on and off the webbing of the strap) at no charge. Where should we send them?Sorry about the other clips breaking: the clips we’ll be sending you are stronger and better than those.Priceless.Customer service is not achieved by giving out free stuff…. This is one of my real estate goals – to provide service and value so exceptional, so out of the ordinary that people want to talk about it – tell their friends, write about it, and above all, as I will do with Tom Bihn – use my service again.Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s not.
There is plenty of culpability to go around – lenders, appraisers (HT: Property Grunt) Realtors and, don’t forget – the buyers.I wrote a story a couple of months ago looking at the impact the subprime market will have on the Charlottesville market, as well as here. (even more on subprime)During the first three months of 2007, there were 128 notices of foreclosure filed with The Daily Progress, a 27 percent increase over the same period in 2006.Doug Duncan, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, said in 2003:”(The foreclosure rate) reflects expansion of mortgage markets…. The risk parameters have been expanded and there are more delinquencies,” Duncan said.Michael Martin, a local loan officer, says in today’s DP:“There’s a lot of people out there who are in homes that really should never have been given a loan,” Martin said…. There’s a whole vulture system out there that preys on these people.”Per Google, the fear of foreclosure seems to be fairly consistent over the years.Cvillenews beat me to the story this morning.One thing I would like to see is this – any lender or Realtor making comments about the state of the market should also state what percentage of their business these Pay-option-ARM loans, Interest-Only ARMs (good products when used appropriately), etc. comprise.My disclosure: One Option-ARM (not my advice).
Brian Wheeler’s excellent analysis continues. Two things surprise me – 1) Building permits don’t seem to have dropped off in light of the market shift. 2) This year, far more permits have been issued in the development area versus the rural area – a very good thing. Gratuitous endorsement: Brian is running for re-election to the School Board and has done more for transparency in local government than anyone else I can think of.
Builders who aren’t building green will by 2008/2009 will be left behind by those who are. How much more mainstream can one get than the Wall Street Journal? Summing up where I have been for the past couple of years – Susan Singer says her EcoBroker designation puts her “ahead of the curve in a good way, and kind of in a bad way.” Good because Ms. Singer, a Corcoran Group agent in Manhattan, says she now knows more about green real estate and how to sell it, but bad because there’s not a lot to sell.