Lowther Point
My friend and colleague here at Raveis, George Lowther, has had his waterfront property in Riverside listed for sale (at $25,000,000) for a long time, and I’ve been laughing at him for just as long. But I recently was back on the property and I confessed to George that I think the market may have caught up with him. This is a spectacular piece of property, with unparalleled views down the Sound to Manhattan, a deep water dock, high bluffs, four plus acres etc. etc. I don’t think its equal exists in Greenwich and if not, then it may very well be worth every penny that George is asking. I know he’s not budging from his price and, if my family had owned this land for 125 years, as George’s has, I’d be just as stubborn. The present house is an 1880 charmer that may well be headed for the dustbin of history but it certainly be updated if desired. It’s the land and its views that provide the real value here, however, and, based on recent sales of inferior waterfront, I wouldn’t be surprised if, at long last, someone recognizes this parcel’s uniqueness.

Internet mortgage loans
Buyers sometimes shun our suggestions about local mortgage brokers and insist on going online to find the cheapest rate. I’ve always thought that was a false economy because rates are pretty much equal all over; it’s about service, not a $5 difference in monthly payments. When something goes wrong, the day before closing, it’s awfully nice to have a local person on hand to straighten things out and, because so much of a local mortgage broker’s business is steered to them by agents (we always recommend at least three, so don’t get the wrong idea here) they have a real incentive to make things right – not so with someone you found on line. And now, I’m hearing about a new problem, involving online brokers lining up financing with banks that aren’t licensed in Connecticut. This little flaw usually surfaces a day or two before the scheduled closing which makes things, …interesting. If you really fell it necessary to use an online service, check with the lender (not the broker, who is probably clueless) and make certain they can lend money in our fair state.

Stinky houses
We all get used to the particular odors of our homes and stop noticing anything unusual but some houses present quite an olfactory challenge to an agent and her clients when first encountered. Stale cigarette smoke is a real deal killer, as are cat pee and mildew. Your listing agent may not tell you for fear of hurting your feelings but try to get an honest opinion and, if there’s a problem, address it, even if it involves ripping out carpets or curing the moisture problem. I know of one house with pet stain odors so bad that the floors had to be completely sanded down and refinished. It was worth it, though: the original odor was so bad I had to conduct the agent open house outdoors. Ugh.

But well priced houses are still selling
Ann Simpson, one of my favorite colleagues even if she does work with Prudential, listed 30 Dawn Harbor Lane for $3,295,000 in March. The house was decent enough but, no offense to the owners, nothing too special. So Ann, wise woman that she is, priced it a few hundred thousand dollars less than a somewhat comparable house down the street had recently sold for. Result? A bidding war, and a final selling price of $3,906,000. As I keep mentioning here, you can’t under-price a house in this market, but you can certainly over-price it.

Savage Kindom
A great new book on the founding of Jamestown by Benjamin Wooley. Very entertaining. And because Old Greenwich was settled almost around the same time, its events and characters seem connected to us up here, hundreds of miles away. A terrific summer history read, if Harry Potter lets you down.

No truth to the rumor
Greenwich’s best referee, Tom Mahoney, has not been indicted for throwing Greenwich Academy girls basketball games nor has he retired on his ill-gotten gains. Instead, the poor guy injured his Achilles’ tendon, which demonstrates the foolishness of playing kids games as an adult.

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