Search found 4387 matches

by stan1
Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate agents who operate on an hourly rate
Replies: 51
Views: 3569

Re: Real Estate agents who operate on an hourly rate

My observations on reasons why a house isn't selling: 1) Overpriced 2) Undesirable location 3) Not offering 3% commission to buyer's agent Number 3 seems to be the view proposed by realtors frequently, without corroboration. I would summarily fire any Buyer's Agent working for me if he refused to p...
by stan1
Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate agents who operate on an hourly rate
Replies: 51
Views: 3569

Re: Real Estate agents who operate on an hourly rate

My observations on reasons why a house isn't selling:
1) Overpriced
2) Undesirable location
3) Not offering 3% commission to buyer's agent
by stan1
Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate agents who operate on an hourly rate
Replies: 51
Views: 3569

Re: Real Estate agents who operate on an hourly rate

I'm glad none of you have ever had to sell a "difficult" house or deal with emotional/irrational buyers and sellers who created problems during the sale. Unfortunately I've had to deal with all of these situations and choosing the right realtor got the transactions completed on schedule. O...
by stan1
Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Counseling for Teens
Replies: 27
Views: 1552

Re: Career Counseling for Teens

A fortune teller or a random number generator would be no less accurate picking a career field for a teenager than a psychological profile. It might be a fun exercise and a topic for conversation but I surely hope no parent would subject their teenager to such an instrument and then try to use the r...
by stan1
Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA
Replies: 17
Views: 1162

Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Thank you for the responses, guys. My mind was navigating down the same road you guys are with your logic/advice. I don't have much for assets at all, but, as I've come to learn- I/she may strike gold one day and wouldn't want the newly acquired fortune to be partially defaulted to the other becaus...
by stan1
Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Counseling for Teens
Replies: 27
Views: 1552

Re: Career Counseling for Teens

For 13 and 14 year olds start by instilling a strong work ethic, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. Teach them to ask and answer questions intelligently and to communicate. Encourage them to do things like working on the house, cooking, car repair that reinforce these skills. Set th...
by stan1
Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your system for dealing with coins?
Replies: 105
Views: 5724

Re: What is your system for dealing with coins?

I have not had a coin in my pockets in the US for years. I use credit cards for all purchases. I do keep a few quarters in my car because there are still some meters that only take coins. Maybe 10 years ago I sorted coins and took them back to the bank about once every 2 years. I do carry 1 & 2 ...
by stan1
Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Fraud: How many times is 'normal'?
Replies: 24
Views: 1294

Re: Credit Card Fraud: How many times is 'normal'?

Please don't worry about this. We can be thankful for consumer credit protection laws that have been in place to protect from fraud for decades. Even though cybercrime hadn't been imagined back then the laws still transfer risk back to the issuers and merchants. Because they are at risk financial in...
by stan1
Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help for my elderly mom
Replies: 19
Views: 1376

Re: Help for my elderly mom

Personally, I would gradually move the 3 investment funds into CDs. It seems like she will need the cash proceeds in 2-3 years for living expenses therefore it is no longer appropriate for investing in a riskier asset. I would sell in 2016 and 2017 and 2018 if necessary to spread capital gains taxes...
by stan1
Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Large amount of home equity - tempting to cash out and FIRE?
Replies: 57
Views: 4120

Re: Large amount of home equity - tempting to cash out and FIRE?

Even in LA there is a quality of life factor. I realize some will be of the opinion that no part of LA or even CA is nice -- but there are pockets in West LA that have a pretty good lifestyle for people who like living near the center of a city rather than a more distant suburb. My advice would be t...
by stan1
Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get vision insurance?
Replies: 12
Views: 756

Re: Should I get vision insurance?

I think this is one many people will be best off self insuring for. For me the cost of an exam is about $130 every two years and I'm happy with glasses I buy for $110. Until recently my vision was pretty stable so I was able to wear glasses for a long time (they wore out before they needed a new pre...
by stan1
Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best home mortgage lenders?
Replies: 37
Views: 5339

Re: Best home mortgage lenders?

lender that the seller wanted me to use is this a joke? since when does the sellers starts to insert themselves in the middle of a lending transaction between a buyer and lender? Unfortunately it has become "a thing" that hopefully won't spread too far. Some sellers in San Francisco Bay A...
by stan1
Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take Investments Out to Buy a House?
Replies: 4
Views: 483

Re: Take Investments Out to Buy a House?

I have sold tax exempt bond fund shares to buy cars, pay for remodeling projects, and to fund a down payment, and almost certainly will do so again with no hesitation. I rebuild the bond position over the coming months and years. For $50K another option is to borrow from the TSP if you have that muc...
by stan1
Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What does the BH community do with their pets when they travel?
Replies: 60
Views: 3044

Re: What does the BH community do with their pets when they travel?

We happily pay a neighbor $40/day to bring our Sheltie into her home. She appreciates the extra income (spends it on her kids and grandkids I think) and treats him like part of her family.
by stan1
Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Investing Condominium Funds
Replies: 20
Views: 1429

Re: Investing Condominium Funds

Build up the cash reserves (many HOAs are not funded to 100% reserve); maintain the property especially if it is getting older; if you still have excess funds reduce the monthly dues. A HOA has no reason to consider investing (and its illegal in many jurisdictions).
by stan1
Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can landlord specify 6 month inspection in California?
Replies: 16
Views: 1533

Re: Can landlord specify 6 month inspection in California?

If you are concerned about water on hardwood floors I'd provide the tenant with a floormat (such as in front of the sink if you have wood floors in the kitchen). Likewise you might want to provide mats at the doors. If this is a long term rental I'd put down lower maintenance flooring in areas where...
by stan1
Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US Gov vs federal contractor - medical benefits in retirement?
Replies: 34
Views: 2724

Re: US Gov vs federal contractor - medical benefits in retirement?

You are 35 so anything can happen over the next 30 or 60 years. Your employer's contract with the government will most likely be recompeted at least every 5 years unless you've managed to find a situation where the government routinely does sole source procurements for services (not supposed to be d...
by stan1
Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?
Replies: 40
Views: 4888

Re: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?

We lived in a house that was too large for us for many years. One of the deciding factors that pushed us to finally sell it was the looming prospect of having to replace the 15 year old HVAC systems which would have been over $20K. We had original appliances except for a dishwasher. We were fine put...
by stan1
Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will realtor advise on needed improvements for home sale?
Replies: 38
Views: 1968

Re: Will realtor advise on needed improvements for home sale?

Some thoughts based on my mom's house (built in 1969). I cleaned it out and got it ready to list over a 3 month period. 1) Empty the house and make it spotlessly clean. You can save some furniture for staging if it is clean and not too dated but it is better clean and empty than dirty. Estate sale c...
by stan1
Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How should I pay for garage renovation?
Replies: 10
Views: 968

Re: How should I pay for garage renovation?

Cash. I'd recommend deferring for a few months for two reasons. First, most important is to spend a few months on the design to make sure you get what you want out of the remodel. Your initial ideas will often be quite different than what you decide upon after several months of evolution with the de...
by stan1
Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Realtors Find FSBOs?
Replies: 63
Views: 4078

Re: Do Realtors Find FSBOs?

Multiple issues. Realtors use the MLS and don't search through many different websites. A few reasons why realtors don't like FSBO's is because they don't want to get stuck doing the work of both the sellers and buyers agent and because some FSBO sellers are unrealistic/not serious/slow to respond. ...
by stan1
Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What type of new driveway should I get?
Replies: 21
Views: 2364

Re: What type of new driveway should I get?

Depending upon the condition of the driveway you might be able to get a slurry seal on top of the existing asphalt rather than replacing. That should be a lot less than breaking up and replacing everything. Slurry seal may not be recommended though if the edges are breaking up or if there are a lot ...
by stan1
Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help With Picking Job Title at Startup
Replies: 36
Views: 2450

Re: Help With Picking Job Title at Startup

I would pick a title that reflects what you are good at and use terminology that is common in your industry.
by stan1
Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house with a partner with separate assets
Replies: 13
Views: 1302

Re: Buying a house with a partner with separate assets

We kept it simple: each of us contributed 50% to all house related costs and expenses. The house was held as Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship. We each left the other our share of the house in our wills. We did not have other legal agreements related to the house such as a document stating ho...
by stan1
Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HOA Swimming Pool Trespassing Issue
Replies: 100
Views: 7018

Re: HOA Swimming Pool Trespassing Issue

We set up a simple camera system with 24 hours of storage and one of the board members reviews it if noise concerns are noted by residents who live near the pool. I think it was a couple hundred dollars. However a few residents were weirded out about putting the pool under video surveillance. They w...
by stan1
Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boss cutting salary in response to employee not doing "job"
Replies: 78
Views: 8724

Re: Boss cutting salary in response to employee not doing "job"

Sounds to me like boss is trying to get the employee to quit rather than fire her. I can think of several reasons why the boss might do this, including terms of the contract (which none of us have seen) but also desire to avoid confrontation; cultural norms (if applicable for boss or employee); feel...
by stan1
Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you tip Uber drivers?
Replies: 49
Views: 5324

Re: Do you tip Uber drivers?

I do tip. I haven't drunk the kool-aid on the gig/outsourced economy but that's not a topic for discussion on this forum.
by stan1
Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: This portfolio appropriate for a 91 year old widow?
Replies: 26
Views: 2211

Re: This portfolio appropriate for a 91 year old widow?

Has she ever drawn down any of the money for living expenses? If not and she is in good health I'd go with the highest yield 5 to 7 year FDIC insured CD I could find (should be around 2%). Look into the early withdrawal penalties. Interest rates have been low for awhile now but if something unexpect...
by stan1
Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Email compromised: How serious?
Replies: 45
Views: 3338

Re: Email compromised: How serious?

My understanding is that someone on the dark web is selling a combination of my email address and [old] password. Victoria It could also be your email address with a password you never used or your email address with a password you used at another site. Many sites use your email address as a login ...
by stan1
Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford a million dollar house?
Replies: 85
Views: 8700

Re: Can I afford a million dollar house?

You started this thread asking for advice less than 24 hours before updating everyone that you made an offer at asking price (against the overwhelming consensus that you shouldn't) AND you got feedback that the seller received many cash other offers above asking - all on the July 4th holiday (in my...
by stan1
Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford a million dollar house?
Replies: 85
Views: 8700

Re: Can I afford a million dollar house?

I appreciate all of the feedbacks. I think my numbers are a bit too optimistic. **Update** I did make an offer on the housing @ asking price. However, my agent informed me the seller received three offers that are above asking price and they are all cash offer. Yes, this is happening with highly de...
by stan1
Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford a million dollar house?
Replies: 85
Views: 8700

Re: Can I afford a million dollar house?

Are you going to hire a landscaper or spend 3-4 hours per week yourself? That will be $200/month minimum. Will you be hiring someone to clean the house? That's $200-300/month. For utilities: $300/month in Southern CA is pretty low if you are including electric, gas, water/sewer (!), and high speed i...
by stan1
Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real estate location - Important factors
Replies: 19
Views: 1373

Re: Real estate location - Important factors

Where I live neighborhoods that had a mix of walkability, good local schools, diverse demographics (age, occupation), groups of nice homes but not luxury estates, and under 30 minute commutes to major employment centers held up relatively well in the last downturn. They went down about 15-20%. It wa...
by stan1
Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford a million dollar house?
Replies: 85
Views: 8700

Re: Can I afford a million dollar house?

I live in a VHCOL area and I'm usually one of the first to tell people who've made the decision to live and stay in such an area to buy a house that will meet their household's needs. In this case I don't think you have the assets, income, and liquidity to do this yet. If your business continues to ...
by stan1
Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Specifying type of room at cheap national chains?
Replies: 29
Views: 2127

Re: Specifying type of room at cheap national chains?

I do not think it is true that "most guests" avoid second floor rooms. As others have said some people avoid first floor rooms because risk of break-ins is perceived to be less and because of lobby/gym/laundry noise. Also, I've seen that some hotels put their pet friendly rooms on the firs...
by stan1
Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Condo vs Townhouse Living
Replies: 35
Views: 4405

Re: Condo vs Townhouse Living

Sure, townhome style with no neighbors above or below is going to be preferable for most people -- but there are fewer of them and they are likely going to be more desirable (expensive) to purchase. The townhouse style units I've seen built in California have a double wood frame wall with a few inch...
by stan1
Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experiences with "speed ovens" (combo microwave/convection)
Replies: 8
Views: 742

Re: Experiences with "speed ovens" (combo microwave/convection)

Topic has been discussed exhaustively on Garden Web appliance forum over the past decade. Recommend searching there. Convection microwaves and "speed ovens" sometimes seem to be used interchangeably. The best "speed ovens" are 240V which basically lets the oven be used to do anyt...
by stan1
Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reducing Electric Bill- Point of Diminishing Returns?
Replies: 34
Views: 3558

Re: Reducing Electric Bill- Point of Diminishing Returns?

We've now upgraded our circa 1996 gas heater/blower and a/c condenser. The newer models are much cheaper to operate and we are conducting an experiment this summer to see how much our electric bill is if we just leave the a/c on with thermostat set at 75 instead of opening and closing windows each d...
by stan1
Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on house situation
Replies: 21
Views: 1932

Re: Advice on house situation

It really depends on the individual. Some enjoy owning rental properties and understand it's a part time job, not a hobby. I've also seen more people of modest incomes enhance their retirement by accumulating some rentals, over their working years, and reaping the benefits after the properties are ...
by stan1
Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we/Should we buy this house (SF Bay Area)
Replies: 54
Views: 5409

Re: Can we/Should we buy this house (SF Bay Area)

People who don't live in HCOL areas will tell you to buy a less expensive house or move to a LCOL area. They'll ask what you will do if one of you loses your job or if wife wants to stay home with kids. None of that will be helpful because you've already thought about all of those options (possibly ...
by stan1
Tue May 31, 2016 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo for daughter - treat as investment property?
Replies: 10
Views: 1289

Re: Condo for daughter - treat as investment property?

You need to discuss with your tax advisor whether this is an investment (rental) property or a second home. Pick one. There isn't a middle ground that lets you take advantage of just the benefits arising from each approach.
by stan1
Sun May 29, 2016 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying and Selling Home via Redfin
Replies: 3
Views: 655

Re: Buying and Selling Home via Redfin

Another approach would be to interview a successful agent who closes a lot of sales in your neighborhood as the seller's agent and ask what type of deal she would be willing to negotiate if you also use her as the buyer's agent on a new house. Part of this is market dependent: if you are confident t...
by stan1
Sun May 29, 2016 12:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 82yr old mother set to inherit large sum
Replies: 12
Views: 1924

Re: 82yr old mother set to inherit large sum

Your mom is very fortunate to have a brother and three sons who are looking out for her. Financially what I'd say at this point is that she has no need to take risk. One key point is going to be whether the inheritance comes to her in or out of an IRA. She now has the money to move into a nice senio...
by stan1
Sun May 29, 2016 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA better than PPO in all scenarios
Replies: 14
Views: 1844

Re: HSA better than PPO in all scenarios

This is awful insurance. Is the deductible per person or for the entire family (hopefully the latter)? Even worse is the 50% reimbursement after the deductible is met. Are all three plans with the same provider network? Personally I would consider looking for another job unless there's a really good...
by stan1
Thu May 26, 2016 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Real Estate Market going crazy again?
Replies: 101
Views: 10440

Re: Is Real Estate Market going crazy again?

The identical house down the street from us sold earlier in May for 8% more than we paid for ours 9 months earlier. I'm glad we didn't buy at the top, but also don't want to see another round of foreclosures and rental conversions. We live in a planned urban development with 60 single family detache...
by stan1
Sun May 22, 2016 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gift Tax
Replies: 9
Views: 1239

Re: Gift Tax

Short answer: No. It sounds like you are giving him less than $14,000 per year. If you are giving him more than that answer might change and we need to know if you or he are married. There is also an educational exclusion if you are making payments directly to the university for tuition but that doe...
by stan1
Sun May 22, 2016 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anything special about FEGLI? [ Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance]
Replies: 8
Views: 581

Re: Anything special about FEGLI? [ Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance]

FEGLI is operated under a long term contract to MetLife. If a claim is made the beneficiaries get a check from MetLife not U.S. Treasury. I don't know what the federal government's role would be if MetLife couldn't pay but I'm sure someone on this board has investigated and will post. Congress can v...
by stan1
Sun May 22, 2016 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage options after foreclosure?
Replies: 5
Views: 811

Re: Mortgage options after foreclosure?

They would have to start talking to mortgage brokers and lenders. They might get vectored to a high risk lender and pay a higher interest rate.

The details matter including income, type of income (W-2 or not), amount of loan, down payment, credit score, other assets, and other debt.
by stan1
Sun May 22, 2016 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anything special about FEGLI? [ Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance]
Replies: 8
Views: 581

Re: Anything special about FEGLI?

FEGLI does not require medical exams/tests when you get hired or have kids. Make sure you also consider that FEGLI rates go up a lot as you get older. You will get a better price on 20 or 30 year term insurance if you and your wife can go through an underwriting process and pass the medical exam/tes...
by stan1
Sun May 22, 2016 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying land in West
Replies: 30
Views: 3016

Re: Buying land in West

Definitely something you need to time right (buy low) and get lucky with things you can't control (climate change, population growth, nearby infrastructure improvements that add value not reduce value, trends). Likelihood of randomly buying 80 acres today and then having someone propose and actually...

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