My first year in Cambodia has passed at warp speed

one year 12

What some folks think of as Angkor Wat is the temple in the background, but the name actually applies to a sprawling complex filled with architectural wonders that cover many kilometers.

December 3 was the anniversary of my move to Cambodia.  Although I felt pretty much prepared for the experience, I have learned a lot.

Everything about making Phnom Penh my home is new.  I have never before been retired, never lived as an expat, never expected to have English be so often understood here and never spent more than vacation time in a developing country.

The list of what I learned about Cambodia and me is long, but I’ll do my best to provide mere brushstrokes of my perspective in the hope that I won’t tax your patience.

One year 3

One surprise has been how deeply moved I have been by the widespread poverty, how desperately I’d like to help a poor people and how Continue reading

Construction din around our rental is driving me crazy

View from our living room of the construction hell below.

View from our living room of the construction hell below.

As I draft this post, I am being assaulted by the demolition sounds on the floor above our apartment and by the extraordinary amount of construction in the surrounding blocks.

We live in the desirable neighborhood of Bueng Keng Kang 1, where many expats prefer to live and dine, though there are more expensive parts of Phnom Penh that also are popular.  Even with rents rocketing up, the amount of new construction here astonishes me.

I count Continue reading

Five signs you may be ready for home ownership

Plunging into the purchase of residential property can cause needless anxiety.

Deciding to purchase a new home can be a process that engenders anxiety, sleeplessness and domestic discord.

But it needn’t be so stressful if you follow the advice given by Robin Wright on the RealtyTimes.com blog.

She lists considerations that can help you determine whether you’re ready to take the plunge.  They are the following: Continue reading

‘Pre-qualified’ has become an empty phrase

Pre-approval of a borrower seeking a mortgage is much different from pre-qualification.

You can thank the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act for depriving the term “pre-qualified” of relevance to borrowers in search of financing their home purchase.

That’s not really a bad thing, but it does place a greater burden on borrowers to prove themselves worthy of a mortgage before they present an offer to sellers.

All pre-qualification means is Continue reading

Sellers don’t have to let open houses daunt them

Some houses — you know, b-i-g houses — rarely are open. (Tim Pearce took this flickr photo at Alcatraz.)

Thanks to TV reality shows, some sellers may well be daunted by new takes on open houses.

That needn’t be the case.

The first thing that sellers must keep in mind is that they must not be present at an open house.

Not only does their presence tend to intimidate buyers into keeping closet doors shut, it also tends to cause mouths to shut as well.  Buyers at open houses don’t get to think out loud with a seller in their orbit, notes San Francisco broker Tara-Nicholle Nelson in one of her characteristically good posts on Trulia’s site.

Other of her tips include the following: Continue reading

Late mortgage payments hit credit score hard

(Flickr photo by photosteve101)

When a homeowner is purchasing the next home and needs a mortgage, any payment slips during the previous 12 months is bound to cause pain.

As North Shore Advisory, a credit restoration company, notes in a recent  newsletter:

Most lenders Continue reading

Many things should never be left unsaid. Ever.

Drapes

“Oh, you say you’re taking the drapes? I don’t think so.”

When it comes to the purchase of residential real estate worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, some matters can stall the signing of a contract or even reduce a settlement to hours of prolonged battle.

Those matters frequently turn on the cost of items the value of which often can be calculated in the hundreds of dollars.

Disputes commonly rest on Continue reading