Daily Archives: February 20, 2013

At long last hope

Old nag

Old nag

Scientists discover the brain defect that causes women to talk so much. Now all we need is a bit of genetic modification and a blissful silence will settle or’ the world. Faster, please.

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Ah, eeew?

Tourist’s naked body found decomposing in LA hotel’s rooftop water tank. One guest who’d brushed her teeth in the stuff this morning told a reporter she was leaving for another hotel. Ordinarily I scoff at what I perceive to be oversensitive reactions to the ordinary events of life, but in this case I’d be just slightly ahead of that lady.

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This just isn’t that difficult

Problem: sequester cuts will affect TSA, which threatens three-hour security lines at airports in retaliation. Solution: abolish the security check first, then the TSA, then the entire Homeland Security Agency. Saving: billions upon billions. Net effect on safety? Zero.

Next problem? How’s the Department of Agriculture working out? Energy? Education? I could go on.

UPDATE: here, thanks to reader ML, is an example of whose services we’d have to do without: TSA agents detain three-year-old in wheelchair, lie to her mother about the legality of filming them (it is) and confiscate the child’s teddy bear to punish her parents for complaining.

UPDATE II: I forgot – yesterday morning I drove my daughter to Kennedy and, not seeing her airline at the terminal, she hopped out and approached a genuine TSA security guard. He was busy dozing, earphones in and leaning against a wall, but, stirred out of his somnolence by Sara’s question as to where to find US Air, managed to mutter “I don’t know”, and returned to his nap. This is the man who is supposed to be keeping you and me safe. This man and all his coworkers  should be returned to the welfare rolls from whence they came.

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Land sale or residential?

30 khakum30 Khakum Wood Road has sold for $3.252 million, 452 DOM, original list price $4.695. (That’s about 69% of the asking price but watch the Greenwich Multiple Listing Service scootch it up to a more cheery-sounding ratio). It’s two-acres and one old, smallish (3,600 sq.ft.) house in a prestigious neighborhood. I’m guessing that the house is destined for a dumpster dive and if so then you know what a 2-acre lot in Khakum Wood is worth these days. Of course, someone could be buying to downsize, so then you’ll have to allocate some of the sale price to the building. Wait and see.

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Can Obama really bring down the country in just eight years?

We're in safe hands?

We’re in safe hands?

He’s certainly trying to, and watching him accelerate his efforts now, at the start of his second term, I’m beginning to fear that he really can do it.

Today his – our – Secretary of State gave his first official policy speech and devoted it to global warming. And it gets worse, assuming you prefer serious people handling our affairs of state:

 [M] idway through the climate change section, Kerry paused. “Can we all say thank you and to our signers?” the secretary of state said referencing those who were translating his speech into sign language. (audience applause)

Persistent unemployment, ruinous debt, the Middle East on the verge of exploding, Obama ignores it all and is instead focused like a laser on global warming, unleashing his EPA on industry, shutting down the economy by executive fiat, and pushing a fool like Kerry onto the world stage. Coupled with his choice to dismantle our national defense, we’re in danger of having our own leader do to us what our worst enemies couldn’t accomplish in almost two hundred and fifty years of trying. Fear for our children.

Hell, fear for us.

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And back for another try …

 

64 Howard Rd

64 Howard Rd (nice grass, for February)

64 Howard Road has returned, still asking $2.695.  The owner, a perky TV personality I remember from Bangor, Maine back in 1981 (and that has exactly nothing to do with anything), paid $2.775 for the place in 2004, so her attachment to this price is understandable, but after 724 days on the market it may be time to concede a little ground.

I did like this house when I saw it and I didn’t think its price was unreasonable, but north eastern Greenwich has always been a tough sell, and Howard Road is about as far northeast as you can go in Greenwich without paying Stamford taxes. Which is to say, it’s a long way from nowhere.

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Old Greenwich south of the Village

 

9 Lockwood Ave

9 Lockwood Ave

9 Lockwood Avenue, $3.375 million, sold for $3.075 in 2008 with improvements since then, it says here. Your classic OG 0.3 of an acre.

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Contract on Dunwoodie and a new listing on Copper Beech

Plain vanilla on Dunwoodie Place

Plain vanilla on Dunwoodie Place

35 Dunwoodie Place has a contract, last asking price $2.195 (down from $2.495). It’s a 1964 house that the tax card says was “effectively built” in 1975, which indicates a complete rebuild then. Sellers paid $2.125 in 2004 so assuming they did nothing significant to it during their ownership, and the listing reflects no such work, and assuming there was some negotiating off that final asking price, it appears that they’re back to 2004 – we’ve been hanging around the 2003 level (or below) since 2009, so this may be indicative of a slight tick upward, or just an exception. Two acres.

And 17 Copper Beech, an old, renovated and expanded – 6,000 sq.ft now) carriage house is new, at $3.995. The owners paid $3.7 for it in 2003 and according to the listing did some renovating in 2008. Depending on how extensive that renovation was and how low you can work the price down, you could possibly buy this at its 2003 price and get lots of nice reno work tossed in for free. 1.5 acres, close to town, nice place.

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New listing on Byfield

3 Byfield

3 Byfield

Byfield is not a street that’s commanded high prices in the past, but #3, new to the market today, asks $2.195, which is probably in the ballpark. Built in 1963, unspecified “renovations” performed in 2013 (which, since it’s still just mid-February, was quick work). The house was bought for $1.8 million in 2011.

I don’t think I ever saw this house when it was last for sale in 2008 (and continuing to 2011) because it started at $2.995 million, a figure so ridiculous that I never bothered to stop in. Those owners obviously got serious after three years and sold it. I’ll be curious to see it tomorrow and check out what’s been done to justify the $395,000 jump.

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Experts: blame Catholics for Britain’s horse meat scandal

Flicker: he's not what's for dinner anymore

My Friend Flicka: he’s not what’s for dinner anymore

Early Christian church leaders adopted Romans’ view of eating horse meat (they were against it) and forbade it. No religious bias, no “scandal”, just filler in the patties. My father told me that back in the 70s but then, he wasn’t an expert.

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Land sale

27 Stillman Lane (no link to the listing because it has no useful information – “for reporting purposes only”) one acre, has sold for $1.7 million. 22 Stillman sold in January, 2011, for $1.550, so assuming the land’s roughly equivalent, that’s what’s happening to land values over there. Finished homes average $4.5ish, if you’re doing the math.

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And it’s back

Never before seen in the annals of greenwich house building!

Never before seen in the annals of Greenwich house building!

85 Taconic road has returned to the market, asking $5.595 million. It sold for $5.850 in June, 2007, and that probably seemed like a bargain at the time because the builder had started off 470 days before at $6.995. I’m not so sure it was. To my jaundiced eye, the neo-shingle-style-Victorian-eclectic look grew tiresome when it first appeared around 2000, and now, 13 years later, the product looks like cookie-cutter clutter, spread throughout the mid and back country.

But that’s just me – I presume buyers in this range still like them because builders are still building them and used ones still sell. If I remember this one, it was built on so-so land but is quite nice inside, if you like this sort of thing. What I do remember vividly is the aluminum dryer vent sticking out of a side wall, a cheap touch that jarred on a $6 million home. The new owners have probably fixed that and I mention it only to illustrate what can stick in the memory.

So there it is, and you can buy it. It does have a convenient location going for it and again, my sense of style in no way reflects the market; in fact, it’s quite the other way around, and the more I like a house, the longer it takes to sell, generally. So take this review for exactly what it’s worth (to steal a phrase from Baba Booey).

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So here’s a puzzlement: why hasn’t this house sold?

10 Carissa Lane

10 Carissa Lane

10 Carissa Lane, up off Stanwich, is priced at $1,571,500 million – the sellers paid $1.770 for it in 2008. When I saw it at its first open house a month or so ago I thought it was fairly priced and offered good value for this price range and I hurried some of my clients into it because I feared it would sell before they had a chance to see it. It hasn’t sold and both sets of my clients, although they saw the relative value, didn’t bite.

Talking to other agents I learn that I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good one, yet so far, buyers disagree, and all that shows is that agents may have informed opinions but they no more control the market than they do the weather. A house is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, no matter what the owner or real estate agents may believe.

That conceded, I still maintain that I’m right and the market is wrong (!) The house was built in 1984, updated since, sits on a beautiful acre of land that abuts non-buildable nature conservancy property, is seven minutes from the Cos Cob train, has a Greenwich address that’s assigned to the North Street Parkway, a reader corrects me - Central Middle schools, and despite being near the Merritt has no objectionable traffic noise, at least to my ears.

Would I change some things about it? Sure: I’d redo the kitchen (the baths are fine), remove the wall that greets you upon entering and get rid of the cheap trim (I know it’s cheap because Pal Nancy and I used the same Rings End stuff when we did our house on a budget in the same year, 1984) and paint what’s dark now with brighter colors. All in, maybe $35,000, if you buy a kitchen from Green Demolitions, $75,000 if you don’t. It’s shy a bathroom upstairs – the kids will have to share! – and I suspect that’s what’s turning buyers off, but hey: live with it.

It’s not Riverside and if you must live in Riverside, then that’s your problem. If you want an acre of living space and a perfectly decent home, this one’s a good choice – again, your opinion may differ and it’s your opinion that counts, not mine, but if you’re looking in this price range and haven’t seen this house, take a trip.

(And no, it’s not my listing, it’s Brian Tunney’s, but Briney’s pretty smart for an Irishman – a low hurdle, admittedly, but he’s put an intelligent price on this home.)

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Ridiculous price cut but then again …

70 Bedford Rd

70 Bedford Rd

After 272 days of trying to get an offer at $1.7 million, 70 Bedford Road cut its price today a full $5,000 and can now be yours for just $1,695,000 (we do the math for you here at FWIW, the full service blog). I was going to write a post on how stupid this was but when I pulled the listing I saw that this is on four acres of nice-looking land, has a pool, and a $1.920 million mortgage, so bank concessions might be available. All of that’s enticing and perhaps that’s exactly the point in recording a token price change – it brings the property back to the attention of brokers. Check it out – if you can live with being on the western edge of town, close to Rt. 684 and under the flight path, this appears to be a lot of house for what passes in Greenwich as not a lot of money.

Not everyone wants to live in Riverside, thank God.

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Proof that working for the government lowers your IQ

Jews are pretty smart, right? So how can municipal workers in Tel Aviv paint a handicapped parking space around a car and then tow it? 

[T] he city has since apologized and admitted this was a case of “incompetence.”

They say incompetence, I say it’s the direct, inevitable result when ordinary humans join the municipal workforce and surrender their brains to their employer.

(H/T, Peg)

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From Obama’s home state, Democratic voting practices Chicago Style

I didn' steal notin'. I just seen my opportunities and I took 'em.

I didn’ steal notin’. I just seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.

Democrat poll worker Melowese Richardson has admitted voting twice for her man because “I wanted my vote to count”, and it now looks as though she’s got four more votes to her record. A poll worker’s job, presumably, is to monitor the polls and make sure that everyone casts one, and only one ballot. And it’s not just six votes: if the lady shows such contempt for the “one man, one vote” principle in her own voting, how many more fraudulent voters did she usher past her booth? When Democrats denounce attempts to combat voter fraud as “racist”, they really mean that enforcement of the law would prevent Melowese and her friends from voting as often as they’d like to. And where would Democrats be then?

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Why not stop raiding highway revenues before installing tolls?

No pol here

No pol here

Connecticut, like many states, is moaning over lack of money to repair its roads and the Hartford Yahoos want to bring back tolls to fund the “General Transportation Fund’s coffers. As usual, the GT/Courant’s  report on the issue ignores the real issue, which is the diversion of fuel tax revenues to social redistribution projects like welfare and pet projects in legislators’ home districts. This year, only half the money collected from gasoline taxes is put into the fund and that’s actually an improvement: most years, for decades, the huge bulk of the money (75%, often), never sees pavement. Now they cry poverty.

Here’s the deal: giving money to politicians only guarantees that they’ll spend three times what they get their hands on. The gasoline tax won’t drop (see article above: “we can’t afford to”) and the toll revenue won’t go to repair bridges – history proves it. Hartford’s been raiding the highway fund since it was first created and it doesn’t spend the money for its purported justification, roads, because no politician in the history of the world has ever been photographed by the press in front of a bridge-painting crew. It’s new welfare clinics and free housing projects that accomplish that minor miracle, so that’s what’s done with it.

As an aside, but related, New Jersey collects both tolls and gasoline taxes, yet because it’s been diverting 100% of those revenues down its exit ramps and borrowing more money to pay for the occasional repaving, 100% of its highway revenue is spent on debt service for that previous borrowing and the fund is now bankrupt. This may be  Bob Horton’s and the Greenwich Democrat’s solution to maintaining Greenwich’s own infrastructure, but it’s a lousy way to run a railroad.

Just like all their other ideas.

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