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House Foreclosures for Renters

Posted on: March 10, 2010 I Written By

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We just got the call from the management company that rents us our house. Turns out that the owner of the house has stopped making payments. It’s actually really nice of him to do this since most people don’t find out about it until the notice is on the door that the house is in foreclosure. Needless to say we have a lot to think about now as we decide how to deal with this news.

The news was pretty unfortunate since we had kind of settled into the idea of just staying there for a while. We thought that rent was a little high, but we didn’t want the cost of moving either. Well, I guess now we don’t have that choice it seems.

Of course, if you look at people’s comments on Twitter and Facebook they feel so bad for us. I don’t feel bad for us. Sure, it’s a bit of an annoyance, but we’ve already lived in 3 houses in Las Vegas, might as well live in a fourth.

Plus, there’s always a silver lining to everything. Maybe we’ll get cash for keys and make some money out of this change. Maybe we can get them to lower our rent since he’s not paying the mortgage now anyway. Maybe the new house we move to will be even better than the one we live in now and with lower rent. Renting is still 100 times better than if we’d bought 3-4 years ago and would now be $100k+ upside down on a mortgage.

Certainly, there’s plenty to complain about, but that’s not me. I prefer to see the good parts of whatever happens. Sometimes it’s hard, but for me it just comes naturally.

Third Las Vegas Lunch Tweetup – Tuesday March 10th – Metro Pizza

Posted on: March 9, 2009 I Written By

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Here are the details for the third Las Vegas Lunch Tweetup:
Location: Metro Pizza – websitemap
Time: Noon
Date: Tuesday, March 10th

View Larger Map

Send me a tweet or leave a comment if you’d like to come. Everyone’s welcome.

Just for my reference more than anything. Here’s the list of people who are planning to attend (with a link to their twitter account of course):
techguy
lollieshopping
Sara_Mooney
vegasgeek

Tickets to Las Vegas Shows

Posted on: February 20, 2009 I Written By

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There are a ton of great Las Vegas shows that have plenty of tickets available for those interested in catching some of the best entertainment in the world. Check out just a few of the most popular shows on the strip. Ticket prices start at $35 for a Las Vegas show. Click on one of the shows to buy your tickets now.

Penn and Teller (Las Vegas Shows Only)
Penn and Teller Las Vegas

 

 

 

Blue Man Group (Las Vegas Shows ONLY)
Blue Man Group Las Vegas

 

 

 

Jersey Boys (Las Vegas Shows ONLY)
Jersey Boys Las Vegas

 

 

 

Phantom – the Las Vegas Spectacular
Phantom of the Opera Las Vegas

 

 

 

Wayne Brady (Las Vegas Shows Only)
Wayne Brady Las Vegas Show

 

 

 

Comedy Pet Theater (Las Vegas Shows Only)
Comedy Pet Theater Las Vegas

 

 

 

Fab Four Live (Las Vegas Shows Only)
Fab Four Live Las Vegas

 

 

 

Scarlett- Princess of Magic (Las Vegas Shows Only)
Scarlett Princess of Magic Las Vegas

 

 

 

American Storm (Las Vegas Shows Only)

 

Mesmerized (Las Vegas Shows Only)

I’ve personally seen Blue Man Group and Phantom and they are both spectacular experiences. I’ll give the edge to Blue Man Group, because it’s so unique and different. Plus, it hits all of your senses in such a variety of ways. The ending of Blue Man Group also just can’t be described. I’ll leave it at that so I don’t give too much away.

The comedy pet theatre is done by a guy named Popovich that I first saw on America’s Got Talent. Nice to see he’s making a living with a show on the las vegas strip.

Anyone else have Las Vegas shows that they like on the list?

Las Vegas Lunch Tweetup – Tuesday February 24th

Posted on: February 18, 2009 I Written By

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As I discussed at the first Las Vegas lunch tweetup, I’ll be trying to do a tweetup about every other week. We have a new location this week so make note. Everyone’s welcome so let me know if you’re coming so I can let the restaurant know.

This month will be at a nice little italian restaurant on Tropicana not far from UNLV.

Here are the details:
Location: Sergio’s Italian Gardens – websitemap
Time: Noon
Date: Tuesday, February 24th

Send me a tweet or leave a comment if you’d like to come. Everyone’s welcome as long as we don’t get too big for Paymon’s.

Just for my reference more than anything. Here’s the list of people who are planning to attend (with a link to their twitter account of course):
techguy
JustJulie
PalidinLV
vegasgeek – Solid maybe
JessBerlin

Las Vegas Lunch Tweetup – Tuesday February 10

Posted on: February 6, 2009 I Written By

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After I experienced a bit of jealousy over all those people that were going to the Beer and Blog Las Vegas, I decided to do my own Las Vegas Lunch tweetup. Evenings are just too hard for me with my little ones. Here’s my original tweet announcing the Las Vegas lunch tweetup.

Here are the details:
Location: Paymon’s Mediterranean Cafe Mapwebsite
Time: Noon
Date: Tuesday, February 10th

Send me a tweet or leave a comment if you’d like to come. Everyone’s welcome as long as we don’t get too big for Paymon’s.

Just for my reference more than anything. Here’s the list of people who are planning to attend (with a link to their twitter account of course):
techguy
roadup
lollieshopping
JustJulie
vegasgeek
nothus
JessBerlin
fostermatt – Tentative maybe
courvo
ghp2006 – Try to make it

New Favorite Real Estate Site

Posted on: June 10, 2008 I Written By

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I’ve just found my new favorite real estate site. I’ve always loved Zillow, but the last time I used it I had problems scrolling the page properly and the load times were too poor. I still like some of the data that Zillow has, but I think I’ll use it once I’ve found a place that I’m interested in analyzing its value.

Today I started playing with HotPads and I’m really impressed with their interface. Maybe I’m just more interested because I’ve started the job search and associated housing search that goes along with a new job in a new city. Regardless, I found HotPads really nice to use. I can still see a few parts of it that could be improved, but I love how quickly I can go through the map and see how much house I’ll be able to get for the price. I also really love the deep integration with what that size of mortgage will really cost me. There are so many variables involved and I think HotPads does a great job allowing you to change all of the various mortgage costs associated with purchasing a home.

A relatively new part of the site is a Rent vs. Buy heat map. I’m pretty sure this is just a really nice marketing item to get people to use the other parts of their site. Well, it worked for me. However, you can tell that the principle of rent vs. buy is more than just a marketing ploy for the company. This type of analysis is shown throughout the site to allow people to make more informed decisions.

I think that I especially love this part of the site, because when I moved to Las Vegas 3 years ago my in-laws nearly ridiculed my wife and I because we chose to rent and not buy. They said we were just throwing money away. Well, 3 years later that same in-law ended up selling their house at loss after paying much larger mortgage payments than our rent payments. Plus, if we had bought a house in Las Vegas, I wouldn’t be able to switch jobs, because I’d never be able to sell my house.

At the time I had no way of explaining these rather complicated rent vs. buy economic models to my in-laws. Now, I could just show them the nifty chart on HotPads. Sure, it’s based on certain assumptions about the market and inflation, but at least you can navigate best and worst case scenarios and make an informed decision.

I’ll let you know how it all goes once I finally land a new job (yes, I’m searching so if you know of any let me know) and try to find a house on HotPads. Right now it’s great visually. It will be fun to see how accurate and updated it is.

Technology in Las Vegas – I Wish Vegas Had A BarCamp

Posted on: March 26, 2008 I Written By

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UPDATE: I made a few correction in my numbers. The point is still good. In fact, the corrections actually make the point even stronger.

Today I was watching my twitter stream and someone posted that they were organizing a BarCamp in Seattle. I’ve read about so many BarCamps on twitter and the other technology groups I’m apart of that I’ve always wondered why Las Vegas didn’t have a BarCamp. I think it would be fun to attend and meet some technology people here in Las Vegas.

I think the answer to my question lies in some comments my friend made to me who was looking at moving from the Seattle area to Las Vegas. He’s a killer Java programmer and some Facebook appFindYourSpot.com said that Las Vegas is where he should move and so he wanted to move here. He decided to go on Dice.com to see what kind of technology jobs were available in Las Vegas. If I remember right he said he only found 150 23 listings (UPDATE: My friend said they were 23 crappy ones at that). Comparing that to the 400 listings in Seattle he pretty much ruled out Las Vegas as a future home. Now I think he’s moved on to Phoenix which had around the same number of jobs as Seattle as I recall 240 job listings.

The point of this story is that it seems like Las Vegas isn’t the best place for a startup unless it’s something around conventions, hotels or casinos. Plus, from my experience it seems like the technology that the Casinos are using is outdated. Sure, they have a project or two that is cutting edge, but for the most part I think they’re still locked and loaded with really cool technology like IBM AS 400s.

I actually asked the CIO from Sands Corporation (own the Venitian) about any sort of Web 2.0 strategies that they were working on. Honestly I’m not sure how familiar he was with the Web 2.0 concept, but the answer was basically nothing. The most he wanted to get out of his website was to help people book rooms as easy as possible. Probably a good strategy, but I can’t help but wonder if there aren’t some really cool Web 2.0 related projects that could be funded by all those gaming revenues.

I should also mention that when I moved here someone told me how progressive Las Vegas was for bringing in technology jobs. They pointed to Zappos.com moving here as an example of Las Vegas being a good place for technology companies. Of course, being a lover of startup companies, Zappos.com is not for me. It’s too big now. Also, one company does not a great technology job market make.

Coming full circle, I don’t think that I should count on a BarCamp every being organized in Las Vegas. I guess I’ll just have to move somewhere else to enjoy such interesting events.

Before someone comes and tells me I should start one myself, let’s just say I have my reasons for not wanting to do so. Not to mention I’ve pretty much said they’re aren’t that many startups here so who would attend?

VIrtual Video Tour of Free Las Vegas Tourist Spots

Posted on: December 18, 2007 I Written By

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At one point I thought that it would be fun to create a virtual video tour of Las Vegas. I still think that it would be possible. Although it would be better if you just found all the videos on YouTube and put them all together.

Anyway, I’ve kind of lost interest and this post has been sitting there forever. So, here’s the links I’ve found. I’m too lazy to make them actual links so sorry you’ll have to copy and paste them.

This also turns out to be a decent list of things to do in Las Vegas (and looking now some of them I never found good videos).

Bellagio Fountains

http://www.bellagio.com/media/bellagio.asx

http://www.bellagio.com/pages/attrac_highfountain_noflash.asp

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=bellagio+fountains

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4255678578802278201&q=bellagio+fountains

RIO – Masquerade Show in the Sky

http://www.harrahs.com/images/RLV/videos/masq_showsky_hispeed.wmv

http://www.harrahs.com/our_casinos/rlv/entertainment/entertainment_detail_08.html

Walk Caesar’s Palace – I love to just see what they created. It’s like a little city in itself.

Light Show at Fremont Experience

http://www.vegasexperience.com/viva.cfm

http://www.vegasexperience.com/viva2.cfm

http://www.vegasexperience.com/viva3.cfm

http://www.vegasexperience.com/video/300k2.asf

Volcano – I forget where this is, but it’s close to Caesars. If you ask anyone they’ll know where it is.
Pirate Ship Show – Treasure Island – I heard this isn’t kid friendly, so since I’m a kid I haven’t seen it

The Las Vegas Real Estate Search

Posted on: March 31, 2007 I Written By

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Everyone has been saying that the Las Vegas Real estate market is a buyers market. I didn’t really believe them. Now that we’re searching for a home, I’m becoming a believer. About a year ago, the cheapest home we could find was $270,000 and that was not negotiable. You just had to take the price they gave you. Our realtor has now done a search for Las Vegas homes and she got like 171 to choose from. That’s a decent number of homes to choose from. Plus, it looks like we can bargain with the price too. My guess is we should be able to negotiate somewhere between $10-15k off the listing price for the home. I guess we’ll see how it goes. Some people probably won’t budge.

We’ve already gone to see 4 homes in Las Vegas and Henderson. There was one home that was on the higher end of our price range and also had $150+ a month in home owners association fees. I knew that it wouldn’t be a place we’d want to live. Turns out I was right. The bad part was that the home had one of the most incredible views. Not to mention the hot tub in the back yard. I could just see Kristine and I sitting in our new hot tub in our backyard enjoying the beautiful view. Oh well, there were a ton of other things wrong with the house. It’s too bad that such a wonderful view has to be wasted on such a crappy house.

I must admit I’m still very nervous about buying a home. There are so many factors that you have to consider when buying a house. Price being number 1. I expect with the Las Vegas Real Estate market, we are almost guaranteed an increase in equity in 3-5 years. I guess we just have to have faith. I am a little concerned about the Las Vegas high rise condos that are popping up like rabbits. I would never want to live their personally. I want a home, but that doesn’t mean that a flood of high rise condos won’t affect the price of my future home.

Taking the Plunge Into Las Vegas Real Estate

Posted on: March 26, 2007 I Written By

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I have to apologize beforehand, because I’m pretty sure this blog is going to be pretty inundated with posts about Las Vegas Real estate. It’s not my fault. It’s my wife’s fault. She is just itching and scratching and dieing to have a house. Ok, she really just wants a backyard and maybe a little more room for the family. I think it’s a simple enough claim. Here’s the way I look at it. My wife is a stay at home mom and so our home is basically her office. She’s basically asking me for a larger office. Makes sense doesn’t it?

So, our search has begun. Too bad there are like a million Las Vegas homes to choose from. Las Vegas has grown like crazy. People tell us that we are in a dip and that it’s a buyers market, but I’m a little concerned. The real question is, what if it is not a good time to buy and the market continues to go down? Well, it is Las Vegas and so you think I’d know about gambling, but I don’t. I guess I really shouldn’t be too worried considering the way they build casinos here. The housing prices are bound to go back up eventually. It’s just a reality with growth. Not to mention if we buy a house in the Henderson/Green Valley area.

A lot of people say that the Summerlin real estate market is where it’s at, but I just don’t personally see it. Well, maybe I do see why it’s exploding. It’s a beautiful area. However, I don’t see how anyone can handle living in Summerlin and commuting on the 95 to downtown Las Vegas. Maybe some people love driving. I don’t! I’d honestly rather find myself one of the plenty of Las Vegas Condos before I submit myself to the travel time required if I lived in Summerlin.

Either way, I’m up for an adventure. I don’t think the problem is really finding a house. It’s really about finding a house that is a good deal. Maybe I just need to stop worrying and just enjoy the American experience of owning a home.

More on talks with the mortgage lenders later.