2008 and Pirates Rule the Seas…


No, this is not an episode of Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean.  This is not the 1600’s with tall ships and canons.

 

This is 2008 and yet tiny little ponga boats with meager outboard motors scour a patch of sea called the Gulf of Aden which is about 300 by 900 miles off the coast of Somalia and they steal huge freighters.  They don’t even care what’s in the freighters; they just pirate them, threaten the crew and steal them.  In fact they have seized about a dozen ships.  It happens that some of these freighters are carrying arms and weapons, tanks and more. 

 

Can anyone explain how a little ponga boat can capture a freighter?

 

Is this an instance where size doesn’t matter?   

 

Help me on this one…comments are welcome.

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

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So What’s the Problem?


Recent stats show inflation backing off?                     Check

Large Social Security cost-of living increase?            Check

Dow rebounding?                                                          Check

Hurricane season over?                                              Check

Price of oil dropping?                                                  Check

New Home Construction stopped?                             Check

Auto dealers offering special pricing?                        Check

Shop & Restaurants offering specials?                        Check

Election campaigns nearing an end?                           Check

Foreign Affairs looking good?                                    Check

Economic bail-out in place?                                        Check

Bernanke lowering Fed Funds Rate?                          Check

 

So, why hasn’t real estate sales picked up?  Why haven’t lenders started making home loans again? Why are car loans difficult to obtain? Why is it difficult to do a “work out” with a failing loan?  Why can’t we find a bottom?

 

Your comments are welcome…

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Compare this Crash to Others….


Remember always hearing “when I was a kid….”  Or  “if you think this is bad…” from old timers when talking about weather or the economy, or the infamous walk to school?

 

Well, here are some brief comparisons to previous crashes, so you can take stock (figuratively) in what your losses are in this correction.

 

Managing emotions is critical to managing ones investments and that goes for securities or real estate.  Here it is October again (somehow crashes are inherent to this month) and most people have watched (hopefully ONLY watched) their shares, bonds, mutual funds crash almost across the board.  Did you sell off?

 

To quote Yogi Berra “90 percent of the game is half mental”.

 

Most people forgot there was a 1,000 point Dow melt down in 1998 in a period of just a few days, following the crisis in Asia.

 

Most people only remember the “famous crashes” of 1929 and 1987.  But there were panics and crashes in 1812, 1857, 1873, 1903, 1907, 1914, 1917, 1930, 1937, 1946, 1962, 1966, 1973, 1976, and 1998.  Did I mention the dot-com bust and correction from 2000 to 2003?

 

But markets have always recovered.  Some people panic in certain markets and others see opportunity in panic markets.

 

We’re gonna be OK.  Your comments are welcome…

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

 

OC Father and Son Climbing to Himalayas


 

A 64 year old retired OC school principal and his 38 year old son, who works as a director of admissions at an OC private school will climb to the world’s sixth highest peak.

 

There is no margin of error for a climb like this.  Everything must be tightly wound.  Even the guide you choose and the course or path you take could make the difference between success and failure…and in failure can come tragedy.

 

This is no pine tree and babbling brook climb.  It is ice and snow and rock…and bitter cold with limited oxygen.

 

Out there, only Mother Nature is in charge.

 

Good luck and safe travels to this father and son team.  I hope to report their success at a later date.

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Europeans Fear Going Deaf…


 

Wow!  I thought American parents were the only ones afraid of going deaf from the blazing music volume our kids play in and around the house.  When we tell them to turn it down, in go the earphones or earbuds and they keep listening to music…but did you ever wonder how loud it is?  I don’t have to wonder because I hear it resonating from those earphones…so it is loud.  Darn loud.  And then I think when I have to repeat myself talking to them that perhaps they are losing their hearing rather than having ‘selective hearing syndrome’ – common to all young adults.

 

Well, recently in Brussels Belgium the European Union told music lovers to turn down the volume on their MP3 players for risk of permanent hearing loss from listening too long at maximum levels.  These EU rules are designed for noise in the workplace, construction sites, factories and even orchestras…they aren’t just targeting MP3 listeners.  But they are cautioning them!

 

So, aren’t I the smart one!  EU scientists reported that between 2.5 million and 10 million Europeans could suffer hearing loss from listening to MP3 players at unsafe volumes (determined to be more than 89 decibels) for more than 1 hour daily for at least 5 years.

 

In France, Apple was forced to pull its iPod player from the shelves and upgrade the software on the device in order to limit the sound to a maximum of 100 decibels.  Apple already ships a warning with each iPod that cautions “permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume”.

 

So…can you hear what I’m saying?

 

As always, your comments are welcome.

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

OC Beachcomber Saves a Life


Define a “beachcomber”…my impression is a person who casually strolls the beach, no work pressure, no time pressure, enjoys the outdoors and in particular the sand and sea.

 

So…a 51 year old man who is a beachcomber, habitually walks along a beautiful San Clemente beach  named “Cotton Point” for therapy on his leg.  He walks with a cane.  He also “adopted” a section of the beach to clean up debris (beach clean up adoption is so cool) because seeing debris annoyed the peacefulness associated with his beach walks.

 

One day recently, this beachcomber hears screams from the water and sees just an arm sticking up from the water.  He sees nobody reacting, so he decided to act and went toward the water.  He was knocked into the water by crashing waves and popped up right next to a drowning man.  He grabbed the man’s hand and the next series of waves knocked them back toward shore.  Then the beachcomber gained some footing and used his cane to coax the drowsing man the rest of the way in, settled him on the beach and went for help.  When he returned everyone was gone…

 

A few days later, lifeguards saw the beachcomber and said “you saved that mans life”. They said the victim told them if the beachcomber hadn’t gotten to him, he would have drowned out there.

 

This beachcomber has been walking the beach for 7 years and picking up trash during his walks…now he has unselfishly saved a life (while risking his own).  His name is Mark Aubrey and I would like to congratulate him.

 

I hope this story made you happy…your comments are welcome.

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Shoplifting…New Image in New Economy


Shoplifting is pretty cut and dry.  You really can’t talk your way out of it.  The perpetrator conceals an item and walks off.  And some celebs have even been caught doing it, so it seems there is no forgiveness or favoritism. 

 

The shoplifting rage now is price tag switching in the fitting room.  Don’t think it’s just young people.  Think well dressed middle age people.  Yep!

 

Defrauding by bringing a sewing kit into the dressing room to switch a designer label and or switching a price tag to a lower one are treating the same as walking off with the item.  That can be embarrassing when you are walking off in hand-cuffs.

 

I have an idea for shoplifters…if the outfit you want is $180 and you can only spend $110, how about charging the difference on a credit card and paying it in monthly installments!

 

Your comments are welcome.

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors