Daily Archives: September 25, 2008


Stop, look and listen
I almost hit three Greenwich Academy girls this morning – my fault – I saw them walking parallel to the road, took my eyes off the road for a second and they were suddenly in the crosswalk. I got some well deserved sneers from the dears as I braked to avoid them but in my defense, these kids never looked for traffic, just strode into the crosswalk secure in the knowledge that cars would stop for them. I’m sure that growing up in a Back Country mansion and having one’s own tumbled-marble bath suite conveys certain advantages in life but it will all be for naught if our little princesses don’t look before crossing the road. Outside of Greenwich life, including inattentive drivers, happens.

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Here’s a shock:
Greens have bigger carbon footprints than us little people

According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.

Stewart Barr, of Exeter University, who led the research, said: “Green living is largely something of a myth. There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights.”

Some people even said they deserved such flights as a reward for their green efforts, he added.

Of course, here in Greenwich we drive our kids to school and jet off on vacations, but we’ve got just the cutest “save the earth” bumper stickers in the world! See y’all at Whole Foods.

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69 Mallard Drive
That was then, this is now
When this place was listed as land in September 2004 at $899K, it sold via a bidding war in mere days for $952,500. Ah, 2004! The new owner built a spec house and in November 2005 offered it up at $2.575 million. It took a year (usually a sign of trouble, no?) but it eventually sold, in November 2006, for $1.960 million, or 76% of its asking price. That’s a reflection, I think, not of a crumbling market but rather the house’s location on a busy street; for the most part, 2006 was a good year for real estate. The buyers seem to have forgotten this lot’s history and must surely have cut off their newspapers and stopped watching the news because they’ve listed it today for $2.495 million, 27% more than they paid for it back then. I wish them luck, naturally, and I’m awed by their optimism.

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12 Druid Lane, Rvsd
Nice house, but not selling
This new house has been officially on the market since April 2007, but was only finished in June of this year, which is usually when the clock starts running (few people are willing to buy a hole in the ground but it’s nice when it happens). It’s been priced at $3.850 until today, when it dropped to $3.550. That’s probably a little aggressive, but it’s a nice house on a good street so I think market conditions are more to blame for its failure to sell than its price, although these days, some very nice Riverside houses are climbing down into this price range and the competition is building.
One drawback, perhaps, is the builder’s decision to drop the house below street level. He did so because he’s a thoughtful guy and didn’t want his house to tower over its more modest neighbors but, in my experience, buyers hate driving down, even a few feet, to a house. Too late to re-think that now, unfortunately. Nice guys finish last?

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This so pleased my liberal friends that I thought I’d share it with readers.

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I lost again!
Damn contest is fixed, obviously.
MacArthur Genius Awards Announced

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Why aren’t I popular?
I’m tired of being chastised for my negative views so from now on, I’m going to try to write articles like this: Real Estate Sales in the Sunshine State are Going Great!

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Camel’s nose under the tent?
What I don’t like about the trillion dollar payoff
By nationalizing our banks, we’re setting the stage for another very long step towards socialism. This bill will regulate the salaries of executives who take the bailout but Barney Frank wants more, he wants Congress to
set the pay of every executive in the country. Today’s assault will be just the beginning, according to Frank:

On CNBC early this afternoon, Frank said that the initial moves to limit pay and golden parachutes at firms which receive government help are only a first step. He said the current negotiations would also “lay the groundwork” for plans next year to place restrictions on executive pay on all US companies.

One of the most influential books I read as a young tot was Friedrich Von Hayeks’ Road to Serfdom, in which the author, having had a close up and personal look at collectivism, both in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, warned that socialism led inevitably and logically to tyrany. Like Al Gore, Von Hayek won a Nobel Prize but I suspect that’s the only thing the two men have in common. And I doubt that Barney Frank and his cohorts getting ready to pull this fast one on us ever read it, either. If they did, they’re using its precepts as a roadmap to seizing power.

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You don’t have to be an Einstein to deal with this market
The owner of 40 Sawmill Lane paid $6.0 million for his house in May, 2006 and put $500,000 in improvements into it. He is now buying a house in another town and asked his agent, Julianne Ward, what price would sell it. The result is that he’s written off the cost of his improvements and priced it just below where he bought it: $5,995,000. Who knows if that’s going to do the trick but the seller is obviously smart enough to know where to begin and, as suggested here yesterday, he’s looking at the total picture: he may get nipped in his sale here, but he’s saving a bundle on his new house up the coast where the market has been hit even harder than in Greenwich. So he’ll probably come out ahead of the game or close to even, which is not a bad result today. Hats off to him.
40 Sawmill Lane

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504 North Street
Another price cut on North Street
This spec house has enjoyed an interesting pricing history. Originally listed for $11.795 in November ’06, it was bumped to $12.960 7 months later. A year after that, the new higher price having inexplicably failed to produce a buyer, its price was reduced to $11.995 and today, 6 months after that drop, it’s been cut $1.4 million to $10.595. What’s the right price? Obviously its builder doesn’t know but, eventually, the market will tell him.

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22 Indian Head Road
Open House Report
I didn’t mention any houses I saw on Tuesday’s open house because I’m not mean enough to give my opinion about some houses. But the house pictured above caught my eye today. Originally listed for $2.695 million in April, 2003, it took until January of the next year to sell, at $2.4 million. In a strong market, that was some evidence that there were “issues” with the house. Its cramped flow, the graveyard behind it, whatever. The buyers then are the sellers now and, although they’ve done nothing I can see since their purchase, they’ve marked it up a million bucks and offer it to you for $3.4 million. It’s entirely possible that I missed certain hidden charms here and that it will be snapped up by an eager public but I look down the street at what’s available for $3.6 million and consider other houses in this price range and I, for one, wonder what on earth these people are thinking. Still, everyone has an opinion and mine is no more valuable than anyone else’s. For all I know, this could be somebody’s dream house, just waiting for the right buyer.

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Dear Editor: I view with concern and alarm
State of the market
Brother Gideon writes,

I keep running into listing brokers who are getting “ridiculous” offers on their houses. Seems like people are trying to buy but Greenwich sellers aren’t impressed.

All very possible – I don’t know, obviously, what these offers were, and I’d advise you to run your potential offer past a good agent to see whether you’ve veered across the line from painful but acceptable into, “see you in Hell” land.

What I do know, however, is that I passed along some offers a few months ago that were scorned by sellers as beneath their dignity to reply and, today, those offers would look pretty good. So ….

Off to the open house tour. A quick look at the hot sheet seems to indicate that sellers still aren’t getting it, but perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If so, you’ll read about it here, first.

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OwlGore urges
civil disobedience to stop construction of coal-fired power plants

I assume that he’d like to see us emulate England, where vandals were recently acquitted of trespass and violence on the grounds of “self defense” – they were, according to a British jury, just trying to save their own lives and that of everyone else in England by ending global warming. Gore, by the way, approves of this violence at any plant, anywhere in the world, thus distinguishing himself from that other great orator, Joe Biden, who supports coal-fired plants so long as they’re in China or India or some godforsaken place populated by foreigners.

What struck me about OwlGore’s speech to young terrorists, aside from his advocacy of shutting down the world’s power supply, was this:

“I believe for a carbon company to spend money convincing the stock-buying public that the risk from the global climate crisis is not that great represents a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting a material fact,” he said. “I hope these state attorney generals around the country will take some action on that.”

Now, the man did attend law school, even if he borrowed Teddy Kennedy’s notes, so he should know that our Supreme Court has long recognized the right of commercial entities to engage in free speech; his desire to see “carbon companies” (by which I assume he means most businesses in the United States) hamstrung by lawsuits in 50 states (or 57 states, if Obama’s right)seems a bit … ignorant, therefore, if not malevolent. According to Gore and his friends, the debate over global warming is closed and anyone who says otherwise should be prosecuted, but those darn scientists keep coming up with data that suggest otherwise.For instance, yesterday’s NY Times reported that the permafrost isn’t melting after all and in fact, has survived numerous periods of warming before. According to scientists, (reported by my cousin Henry Fountain but I assure you, Henry is as on board with OwlGore as the most befuddled college freshman) the ice up there has hung around for at least 740,000 years.

But Gore did win the Nobel prize, they tell me, and he’s got the 100′, diesel powered houseboat to prove it. What a guy – can’t we persuade him to be our president? Air Force One may be a tad smaller than his current jet but when it comes to sacrifice, Gore understands. And when he doesn’t, Barbara Streisand can explain it to him.
Streisand Eco-Cottage

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Rain on the parade?
7 Dwight Lane
This place is to be sold via IRS auction Friday at noon, minimum bid $2.5 million. I reported before that the auctioneer claims his only problem is that he only has one of them to sell and that buyers are lined up out the door. Maybe. I’m going early, with camera, and hope to interview potential bidders. I’ll report back on what happens and what sort of pharmacological inventory they used before bidding.

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