26 March 2010

Your Feedback, Details in Modernist Construction II, Loan Forgiveness


One of my readers told me she had suggested this blog for inclusion on livemodern.com, a interesting blog about – yes, you guessed it – "modern, sustainable housing design, products and services”.

But ModernSouthFlorida was rejected – as too commercial, she told me. I headed over to livemodern.com to check it out. Thursday morning, the first post from the top:

“The New Neutra-Box Modern Mailbox in RED!!... Thanks to Livemodern.com for helping me launch this mailbox. It's been very popular and is now an official business... You'll be able to order this box right from the website...”

Further down on page one are “Modern interiors by 3rd Uncle Design” or “Announcing our Flexa Studio, a versatile 120-square-foot prefabricated room...”
 
Huh? My eyebrows went up. Is selling mailboxes, interior design services and crash pads somehow less commercial than matching modernist homes with modernist-craving buyers? Oh well.

The email exchange from my reader (one of the three I definitely know of; thanks Lisa, George and John!) however poses an important question:

What do you think?

The fact that I’m a realtor is no secret. While my website’s purpose is an introduction to modern architecture and to highlight modernist houses, I created this blog to have a place also for non-commercial observations, changing subjects, off-topics and to have some fun too.
 
I am really curious about your impression of this blog, so I’m practically begging for your comments, feedback and direction of this blog:
  • is ModernSouthFlorida too commercial?
  • would you like more modernist-related posts?
  • would you like more real estate items?
  • would you like more lifestyle posts?
  • is the mix just right?
  • which post did you enjoy the best?
  • and what are you missing?
I promise all of your comments – flattering or not – will be published unless you request otherwise. I only reserve the right to edit for brevity, profanity etc. So hit that "comment" button please – thank you so much!

DETAILS IN MODERNIST CONSTRUCTION II:

Last week’s post was fun (for me; I hope you enjoyed it too), but a few items I forgot to mention in my observations on upscale modern construction:
  • low-emission (low- or no-VOC) paints
  • increased use of sustainable materials where possible
  • dual-flush toilets (giving you the choice between a short rinse or a longer flush, supposedly saving up to 13 gallons of water a day for a four-headed family)
  • door handles vs. door knobs: ever tried to open a round knob with your elbow, while carrying a tray full of cocktail glasses?
  • an astonishing absence of gadgetry, e.g. no hand-clap light-switches, no funky dimmers, no "romance-mood"-button or similar nonsense.
I’m sure I’ll remember more interesting details as soon as I hit the “publish post” button; ç’est la vie.

LOAN FORGIVENESS:

A somewhat sticky subject; should we even go there?

Bank of America published it on Thursday, the administration announced it today: help to homeowners who are under water (in car-dealer parlance “upside down” - the loan balance exceeds the value of the underlying asset) will increase.

BoA may forgive or reduce mortgage balances of some debtors – the selection criteria are not quite clear yet. In the meantime, the administration announced broad new initiatives today to help troubled homeowners, potentially refinancing millions of them into government-backed mortgages with lower payments. The NY Times writes “another element of the program is meant to temporarily reduce the payments of borrowers who are unemployed. Additionally, the government will encourage lenders to write down the value of loans held by borrowers in modification programs to make their mortgages more affordable.”

The stickiness lies in two questions: who gets a truffle praline? And why help some, while others who scrape their payments together every month and have avoided default, are left empty-handed? 

Not easy to discuss, sure not easy to decide.

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