Do you get unsolicited calls or mail asking you to sell your house or to apply for a credit card or to switch phone companies or to make a donation? I am positive some of you do.
On the average, I get four or five calls each month from the lending institutions in the tri-state region and from real estate agents in the New York metropolitan area, in addition to junk mail.
I dont recall how many loan agencies have approached me in the past two years and offered to lend money for home improvements or refinancing mortgage or paying off debts. Last week alone, I got five calls from a credit company inquiring if I needed money for home improvements.
Sometimes its hard to hang up on them. A majority of the offers are bona fide. But there also are crooks trying to get personal information to rip off innocent people. They are persuasive. Beware of those double-dealers, folks!
Recently several realtors called me up offering free appraisal of my house. Its the best time, they said, to put the house on the market, which bucks the trend of economic doldrums. Its true.
The frequency of the calls, however, is bothersome. I dont understand their motivation persuading me to sell my house. Commission is probably their sole goal.
One realtor told me a secret that there were more buyers than sellers. In other words, supply of affordable housing cannot meet the growing demand in Queens in general, and in Flushing in particular. The reason is simple. Flushing appeals to new immigrants, especially those from Asia.
I venture to predict that housing prices and rent are unlikely to go down in this part of the state in the foreseeable future. In fact, the housing shortage will get worse before it gets better. I dont see any open space suitable for a residential project here in Flushing.
While Manhattan apartment rent dropped 30 percent after Sept. 11, new immigrants are fighting for rental apartments in Flushing. A couple of months ago, three families bid for a one-bedroom apartment; the fight ended with the winner paying a monthly rent of $1150. With that amount of money, one could move into a mansion in South Carolina.
The average housing price in the Flushing area perhaps beats that of Westchester County, Fairfield County in Connecticut and San Francisco. The housing prices in these three regions reportedly top the nation.
Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton bought a house in Chappaqua, Westchester three years ago. Late-night show host David Letterman also has a mansion in that county.
Fifteen years ago, my family moved from Indiana to Westchester. A realtor showed me a small house of the prewar vintage. The space in each of the three bedrooms was barely big enough for one bed. But the price was ridiculously high $290,000. I didnt think the structure was strong enough to withstand a rainstorm.
Speaking of the lending institutions, I usually turn down their offers. Unless your mortgage rates are higher than 8 percent, you would end up losing money from the refinancing deal because of all sorts of charges.
It is no exaggeration that I get letters almost daily encouraging me to take action on the preapproved applications for Visa or Master Card; all plastics carrying platinum, which is a sign showing social status to lure applicants. It seems the gold card has lost its luster.
I did accept a couple of such offers, not because of the prestige but because of a promise providing credit card balance transfer without a fee and interest for six months. It sounds too good to be true.
Most lenders charge a 3 percent transaction fee plus interest.
Besides, convenience checks from the credit institutions usually carry interest rates from 1.99 percent to 7.99 percent. The banks get very good prime rates at 1.75 percent after 11 interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve Board.
When the credit contract expires, you will have to pay off the loan or the institution will charge 13.99 percent interest.
How could telemarketers and lending agencies find our phone numbers and credit records? Well, they apparently have some access to our personal credit records in the credit bureau and, as a result, know our debts before they call us.
Its a shame that we can hardly enjoy privacy during the cutting-edge age.
©2002 Community News Group
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