Welcome to Front Porch LLC

Front Porch is a real estate company that wants you to know stuff. Really.

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Did my mortgage lender pass its stress test? What were the rules again?

The Fed “stress tested” 19 banks — by checking them for capital requirements under various scenarios.

If you want to know how your bank did, check out this NPR article by Yuki Noguchi.

Click to get the PDF Fed Stress Test Assumptions

Posted 11 years, 3 months ago at 8:01 am.

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I am in contract to buy a new condo, but prices have dropped 20%, shouldn’t I just walk away?

If you’re still employed, walkaways because of price drops don’t make any sense to me.

If the price had gone up 10% or 20% or 30% you wouldn’t be beating the developer’s door down to pay him more money.

Presumably, when you decided to buy an apartment, you thought that buying made sense, that you were financially capable of it, and that the unit you’re buying was the best unit for you ..unless you’ve lost your job, which changes factor #2, why not continue to buy?

I don’t know what your original time horizon for this unit was, which is obviously one of the inputs to this decision, but presumably it was at least a few years.

So what is the price of the unit going to be in a few years when it becomes time to sell? No one knows now, post-crash, anymore than they knew pre-crash.

However, you are making assumptions that you now know what it is, which doesn’t seem fully rational to me.

If you were walking away and moving to buy something else where the price had dropped that would be one thing, but it doesn’t sound like you’re doing that. You’ve moved from “A versus B” to “A versus Z.”

Financial theorists tell us it doesn’t make sense to try to market-time stocks, which are fairly liquid and fairly substitutable; along those lines, I don’t understand the theory behind trying to market-time a fairly illiquid, not very easily substitutable asset.

Just my two cents.

Making the decision to buy depends on what the subsitutable good is — your best alternative.

Obviously, if you can now buy the $1MM thing you loved for $800K, you walk away from your $100K deposit, and then buy the $800K thing.

But in actuality, it’s not that simple. Just because the market has dropped 20% overall, does not mean that you can necessarily find an equivalent to the particular $1MM thing that you loved that is now priced $800K.

Why not? Because you were A NEW DEV BUYER IN THE FIRST PLACE. Your universe of substitute goods is very very small.

The psychology that said “I want it new, I want it never lived in, actually untouched, I want the hottest technology, I want the latest finishes” …that’s generally not a person who’s going to go, “oh, okay, I can get more space and a bigger master bedroom in a 60s-era co-op.”

The OP presented his/her alternatives as “closing” and “renting.” Given that scenario, and given OP’s probable psychology, I would pick “closing.”

If the OP had presented his/her alternatives as “not closing” and “buying something else at current market price that would make me pretty happy” I would have picked the latter, but that wasn’t how the choice was framed.

Posted 11 years, 3 months ago at 6:23 pm.

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Why am I here?

If you came over from MoneyWatch/Bnet, I really just wanted to see if you’d click on anything.

Don’t worry, I’ll use my power wisely.

While you’re here, feel free to use the search nav on the right to ask any homebuying or selling questions you might have; to get back to MoneyWatch.com, click <a href=”http://www.moneywatch.com”>here</a>.

Posted 11 years, 5 months ago at 4:50 pm.

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This looks like an atypical real estate site. How do I use it?

Hi! Welcome to Front Porch, the real estate info website for Alison Rogers.

There are no pictures of properties because I think the buying and selling process should start with information.

If you DO want to go straight to property listings, click to get the website for my firm, DG Neary.

If you want to buy my book (which was called “The Definitive Guide to Real Estate for First-Time Homebuyers AND New Agents”), click here.

But maybe you have a real estate question — or two. In that case, you’ve just found one of the most informative real estate sites on the web — and it’s searchable. Just enter a term (”walk-through” is currently the most popular) into the search box on the right.

If you want to contact me, you can use the form on this site or write me at work: ali {at} dgneary {dot} com.

Thanks for visiting!


Posted 11 years, 9 months ago at 2:50 pm.

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What are the latest housing sales numbers?

The volume of home sales — that is the number of transactions — is an important barometer of how well the housing market is doing. These numbers are “seasonally adjusted” — because normally people with kids buy in the spring and summer to get set up for a new school year, so the statisticians take that into account when they release the numbers month-by-month.

The most recently released annual rate was 526,000 — bear in mind that this is one-family houses only, so it doesn’t count apartments or two-family homes like the one you might be eyeing in Brooklyn.

Still, that’s the lowest monthly rate since 1991. The Times story on it is here and a pdf of the underlying data can be found by clicking “New Residential Sales” here

Posted 12 years, 3 months ago at 11:27 am.

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I live in New York City. How do I find out how much I’ve paid in property taxes?

Good news, for Gothamites this stuff is all online. Go to


and click on the link “View/Print Your Quarterly Statement of Account”

Posted 12 years, 4 months ago at 11:38 am.

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Should our 400-unit co-op continue using oil heat or switch to natural gas?

I don’t know the easy answer to this question, but I know the resource –

the Co-operator has a great article on heating here

Posted 12 years, 7 months ago at 12:06 pm.

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That fire in Union yesterday scared me. What are the rules for holiday or Christmas decorations so the house doesn’t burn down?

First of all, make sure you put your keys and your wallet in the same place every day, so that you can always get up in a hurry. (Bonus: this will make it easier for you to get out the door in the morning, too!)


* Never leave candles or light on unattended.

* Check strings of lights for worn or frayed cords, and replace as necessary.

* But a fresh tree (one where the needles don’t fall off in heaps when you shake it) and do not keep it for more than two weeks.
* Make sure the tree does not block the fire exit.

Happy (and safe) holidays!

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 4:40 pm.

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What determines my residency if I have two homes — one in the city and one in the country?

It’s funny how the taxman wants to get paid. Despite the fact that you ‘declare’ your primary residence when you file taxes, sometimes they check.

So the safest thing is to think, where do I spend most of my time? If you spend more than 180 nights in the city, you should probably declare it as your primary residence, even though you’ll pay slightly higher taxes.

It is most important to be scrupulous with this when you are dealing with two different states, because New York State does not take kindly to having its residency requirements being abused for tax purposes.

And in answer to the “how do they know?” question, if an auditor really wants to trip you up, he or she will examine your financial records to find out where you really spend your time. It’s one thing for you to vote and get your mail in the country, but what’s the story told by your ATM withdrawals and credit card receipts?

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 11:34 am.

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What’s the difference between the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side?

They’re becoming more homogenized, but there’s a classic joke that still rings a little true: “Upper East Siders have more clothes than books, Upper West Siders have more books than clothes.”

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 8:24 am.

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