Daily Archives: September 22, 2009

What part of “no” don’t they understand?

767 Lake Ave

767 Lake Ave

This is a lovely house on great land, purchased in 2003 for $4 million, underwent some renovating and came back on in April 2007 for $5.175 million. No go. This is a “Coggins house” built by a Mr. Coggins back in the day when replicating old colonials was in fashion. Today, low ceilings may be authentic but they aren’t desireable and while there may be other factors at work here (like that price), the design isn’t helping.So far, the sellers remain adamant; they’ve reduced their price by millimeters over the years and today they pinched it down a teensey bit more, to $4.875. Call me crazy, but that sounds very similar to $5.175 and if that price didn’t work when there were buyers, what makes these sellers think it will work now?

So the house continues to sit unsold, a condition I predict will continue for as long as the sellers maintain their price. Nothing wrong with refusing to sell at a undesireable price, but why continue to keep this house in showing condition when you have no intention of selling?

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Oops! I did it again

56 Havemeyer Lane

56 Havemeyer Lane

When this house came up for sale back in 2008 priced at $2.195 I infuriated its builder by suggesting that the road was awfully busy to support a price in the twos. It sold today for $1.240 million. I’m sure that’s my fault.

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Well dang – Coldwell Banker folds faster than Quadaffi’s tent

Frankie Fudrucker, titular head of the august firm of Fudrucker/Fontanski Discount Real Estate, has received a message from CB that a check has materialized and is awaiting pick-up (hey, have you priced a stamp lately?). I told Frankie that I’m having too much fun to be called off by a bit of filthy lucre, but Frankie, ever the businessman, thinks we should accept the check and call off the kettle donation display I’d scheduled for Thursday. Too bad – I was thinking one of those huge metal pots with a lobster painted on the side, hung from a tripod and me alongside with a big brass bell. I’d wear a nice collared Vineyard Vines shirt of course – don’t want to embarrass anyone down at that end of the village by being inappropriately attired.

Next time, eh?

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Chu on this, buddy

Dr. Fu man Chu, Obama’s gift to our nation and acting Energy Tsar, says that Americans are just foolish children, too stupid to know what’s good for them. Fortunately the good doctor is a liberal and thus not only knows all the right answers, he’s prepared to force them down our throats. So here it comes, from CFLs to a ban on used toys to windmills in our attics to a health care tax (except that, as explained by our Commander in Chief and late night entertainment guest, you can’t call something a tax if it’s good for you). It’s possible that all this enforced goodness will make Americans grateful and beholden to Democrats and liberal Republicans. Then again, it may not. It’ll be fun to find out.

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See no evil

There is an article on the Huffington Post relating to the seizure of the Subway bombers. Forget the article, it’s the comments that are illuminating. Huffington readers are apparently a liberal bunch of fellas and they use this occasion to celebrate the return of the rule of law under the Messiah – no more Bush/Cheney fascism, just legal procedures employed all nicey-nicey by the FBI. None of these juice heads seems to recognize that the FBI caught these weasels via wire tapes – yup, that same warrantless surveillance of terrorists that Bush initiated and caused bedwetting on college campuses from Boston to Washington. Thank God for the Messiah and thank God that now the world will love us. We can relax now.

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Stick in the spokes

I mentioned this avoidance technique months ago but it seems to be gaining wider notice as a foreclosure defense: show me the note. Mortgages were sliced, diced and farmed out in pieces around the globe and, glory be, it turns out that the original promissory note that supported the mortgage has often been lost somewhere between here and Dubai. Judges are finally showing a little backbone and enforcing what has always been the law: no proof of ownership of a debt, no collection. Go to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect. Hey – bankers’ lawyers have been playing hardball from the git go – if you can turn the tables on them, go for it.

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What, we couldn’t put him up in Binney Park?

The Donald is hosting aging terrorist Muammar Quaddfi on the Don’s Bedford estate after New Yorkers wouldn’t let him pitch his tent there. Seems fitting, I suppose – if I remember my Greenwich history right, the United Nations was originally supposed to be built in northern Greenwich and Bedford anyway – now the chickens are literally coming home to roost. If we have any cruise missiles left from our first try at this goon maybe we can use them now – we won’t need to avoid France’s airspace and the light show would be fantastic.

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It’s only a flesh wound

14 Hope Farm Road

14 Hope Farm Road

The owner of this place on Hope Farm Road (off of Lake) paid $4,212,500 for it in 2004 and put it back up for sale in 2008 for $5.395 million (go figure). Under contract today for $3.5ish. Assessment, $3.458. So it goes.

 

(Here’s an example, by the way, of stale pictures doing no harm. Picture shows trees as they looked in the spring of 2008 yet the house sold anyway and if it hadn’t why, those pictures would have looked entirely appropriate next March).

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Weston Hill ranch

25 Weston Hill Road

25 Weston Hill Road

New listing today: it’s only got two bedrooms, but it’s only asking $1.195, which sounds reasonable for this street: a smaller lot on much busier Riverside Avenue sold for $930,000 a few months ago and another tear-down on Summit Road is going for around that same price. Although I haven’t seen this one yet, it’s probably not a tear down, so you get land and a liveable house. Not a bad deal.

It’s a Sally Parris/Coldwell Banker listing so please go buy it, quickly, would you? Help me out here.

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Milbank condominiums – Their ri$e and fall

Lily's Faded Rose

Lily's Faded Rose

For awhile there it seemed as though every rich Back Country Greenwich resident wanted to sell her mansion and move to Milbank Avenue. It seemed that way, but looking at the numbers, maybe not. Nine multi-million dollar condominium units have sold on Milbank, but far more have not. 52 Milbank, for instance, those twin “Euro-style” units pressed up against the Whole Foods retaining wall, did not sell at $5.9 million. One was rented, the other – who knows? It’s not for sale at the moment, any way.

212 Milbank, twin white brick units on the western side of Milbank and Elm, eventually got prices as high as $4.2, but it was the Lily’s Rose project on the eastern side of the street that hit the real home run. Ten units, nine sold at ever increasing prices, from $3.35 to $4.870 (ask was just $4.6) in 2006. I can’t speak for the buyers and their satisfaction but I suspect that the purchaser of 191 Milbank, companion unit to the one shown above, is a bit disappointed. He went to contract in July, 2007 and closed May 28, 2008, paying $6.058 million. The identical unit started at the reassuring price of $6.350 in 2007, so this guy probably thought he was getting a bargain. Instead, he was buying the most expensive house on the street at the very top of the market. His closest comp, literally one shared-wall away, has languished ever since, tracking the market down. It’s now off $2 million from its ask and is yours for $4.350 or even (and I’m just guessing here) even less. If I were the chump who’d paid $6 and change, the sight of my $2 million loss across the patio would ruin my appetite when I went outside to barbecue. Fortunately, this location is convenient to lots of take-out places who will deliver, indoors.

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A price reduction

2 macPhearson Dr

2 macPhearson Dr

This is a beautiful old house renovated within living memory, that started last spring at $4.495 and took its second price cut today to $3.495. MacPhearson is a little-noticed street with 5 -6 homes on it just at the curve on lower North Street. It has a green down the middle, and a collection of stately (that’s realtorese for nice, big old) houses on either side. Number 2, unfortunately, is right on North Street, and the noise from that traffic has turned off a number of buyers, notwithstanding a huge back yard and a very nice modern kitchen/addition. At some price, this house is worth jumping on – the noise could be significantly abated by building a three car garage (there are plans already drawn up) and you’d probably get used to the noise within a few months of living here. I like the place very much and it’s certainly more attractive now than it was a million dollars ago. If I had one tiny criticism to add, I’d suggest that the broker update its listing picture: those aren’t dead trees you see in the foreground, but trees yet to bud. Heck, there are probably some colorful leaves now to add spice to the shot – the broker ought to go back and see.

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It’s anecdotal, but still worrying

A friend of mine who works for a local (within 30 miles) tile company tells me that his employer is going to fold up soon. Another person tells me that a building supplier he’s dealt with for years can no longer extend credit to its builder customers because it has $250 million on the street and can’t refinance it or get more. What this suggests, to me, is that building is not coming back soon in our fair county and that’s discouraging.

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Don’t be a black, high visibility defendant during an Attorney General campaign

Plaxico Burress was sent to prison today for two years;his crime – stupidly bringing a pistol to a New York City nightclub and shooting himself in the leg. Robert Morganthau, retiring, finally, at the age of 117 but eager to see his protege elected in his place brought charges against Burress gave the case to junior to prosecute and went for the harshest penalty he could get. For headlines, I maintain, not because Burress posed any threat to the general public.

I understand punishing defendants for the encouragement of others – Martha Stewart does, too; but the justice system is wrong when it indulges itself like this.

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Here’s a pricey bit of real estate

57 Sinawoy

57 Sinawoy

What is the value of basic shelter in Greenwich? I suspect that it’s pretty high because those of us who enjoy living here seem willing to pay a premium to do so. This house on Sinawoy, for instance, looks quite appealing to me, as a single adult with no kids to shelter. But it’s 1,200 square feet on 0.10 acre and priced at $600,000. Looked at one way, that’s $500 per square foot (oh I do love easy math) and that strikes me as pretty darn steep for a squatter’s shack. But would I want to live in Stamford, say, and pay $250 a foot? I don’t think so – I’d rather stay in town, and Sinawoy’s a nice street to do that on.

So there’s the question: what’s the minimum value of a house here in town? I’ll bet that this one is not so far off from it, but I will be curious to see how it fares.

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Coldwell Banker – when we’re in a hole, we keep digging!

From this morning’s office meeting at Coldwell Banker Old Greenwich:

10:  Chris Fountain Blog – board and CB legal following up

I readily admit that I don’t have the advantage of having been dropped on my head repeatedly as a baby as certain people at Coldwell Banker were, but it seems to me that if I had a legal obligation to pay a commission to another selling agent, I’d pay him, rather than devote staff time to venting about what a mean person he was. But fine – you bring on your lawyer, I’ll bring on my tripod and donation kettle in front of your soon-to-be-shuttered storefront in OG. Won’t we have fun!

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Fall market watch, continued

There have been 50 “new” listings added to our inventory of single family homes since September 8 (the day after Labor Day). Of these, 27 are old listings at new prices. And, while I didn’t count precisely, I’d estimate 80% of all these listings, really new and retreads, were bought in 2004 or later, meaning their owners will lose money when they sell. No wonder there’s such resistence to lowering prices – each penny hurts.

There were those who thought our brief flurry of sales in July and August were spring sales, deferred. Others were hopeful that they were the fall market, come early. I’m beginning to suspect that they were are spring and our fall market, combined. In which case, things don’t look so good.

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That’s why we switched to calling it “Climate Change”, dummy!

Last year, Georgia suffered a drought and everyone knew that it was caused by Global warming and Bush’s desire to ruin the world.

This year, we have a bit of flooding in the same state. It is no doubt still Bush’s fault, damn him! Thank God we have our president at the United nations today, pledging away our sovereignty and wealth to put an end to all this nature business and restore us to the Garden of Eden.

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Creeping into early hibernation

It’s Open House Tuesday in the fourth week of September, usually a time of festivity – agents dancing around their new listings, offering trays of oysters and caviar to their colleagues and providing valet parking for our Beemers and Lexuses. Today – nothing, nada, take a hike (which will please Prince Charles). A handful of retreads, all with “new, astonishing price cuts” which still won’t do it, one, on Vineyard Lane, that remains firmly fixed at $11.1 million; surely a beautiful house, on five acres, but a 1930 project with an assessed value of $6 million, it probably won’t be moving off the active list for at least a little while – plenty of time to see it again later.

There’s the Lower Cross Road pseudo-Conyer’s Farm place, down to $13 million from what – $21? But after this much time, it starts resembling visitors and relatives, no? I mean, if no one else wants it, why should you? Not saying that’s rational, mind you, but that’s the effect of lingering too long on the market.

And that’s it. Nothing new, nothing interesting. In tight times, an opportunity to save gasoline is always welcome, but still, this is dull.

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Prince Charles: It’s shank’s mare for you, peasant!

Population control in the Prince's day

Population control in the Prince's day

Prince Charles, freshly returned from flying the royal jet around the world to bring attention to global warming, now advises his subjects to abandon their cars.  This is similar to that other queen, Barbra Streisand, instructing her fans to give up their dryers and air-dry their clothing. Asked if the Nose herself was doing that on her Malibu beachfront estate a Streisand spokeswoman acknowledged that there were no clotheslines currently strung over the lawns. “It would ruin the view,” she explained. “Besides, this is wisdom for the little people.”

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Ah, here’s subterfuge at its best!

Word’s out (link to story coming) that Riverside’s Scott Frantz has endorsed someone else as the Republican congressional candidate. Who? “Some Italian guy,” Frantz says. “I don’t remember his name, but we’ve got what – 80% Italian in this state? So who cares, as long as there’s a vowel at the end of his name and he’s no longer wearing an ankle bracelet?” There are those who think Frantz is merely pretending to endorse this loser and that, when sordid stories of malfeasance inevitably emerge from the man’s past, Frantz will be there, ready to take his place.

Or not.

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