Daily Archives: September 15, 2005

September 16,2005

The Market Returns
A lot of recent activity, in all price ranges. 435 Round Hill Road, priced at $18,750,000, went to contract within 17 days – Jan Milligan found the buyer. 20 Interlaken, previously praised here, finally sold for $4,300,000. Joan Epand, listing broker, told me that, after sitting for such a long time on the market, three competing bids all showed up at the last moment. That happens often and I agree with Joan that, after awhile, the market shifts and what was viewed as unattractively priced suddenly looks like a bargain. Of course, if you’d been reading this column, you’d have known Interlaken was a bargain two months ago. Other houses mentioned here as good value also sold: 66 South Park Avenue and 47 Owenoke Way, for $3,295,000. This stuff’s not rocket science: good houses with sensible prices sell quickly, others do not. Of course, there’s no accounting for taste, so what I like may very much not be what you’re looking for.

Grand Old Homes
Setting aside for a moment my lust for commissions, there are some houses that, when I first view them, I’d give anything to have a client in the applicable price range, just for the pleasure of placing them in such a great home. Sue Van Der Griend’s house at 6 Keofferam Road is such a place. Built in 1897 as a summer home, Sue and her husband did everything right. They expanded in the back and went up three stories, creating a modern kitchen, master bedroom suite and other rooms, while leaving all the original beauty intact. There is a huge, wrap-around porch, all new mechanicals, six bedrooms, a half-acre of land, etc. Keofferam is one of my favorite Old Greenwich neighborhoods (houses on it come with deeded beach rights, by the way) and this is now my favorite house on that street. Intelligently priced, I think, at $4,495,000, I bet it’s gone in a flash.

Update – the foregoing was written last week. Word is that, as of today (9/15) contracts have been signed.

Can’t Afford That Much?
Helene Barre’s listed an 1888 Victorian at 314 Sound Beach Avenue for $2,095,000. It hasn’t been renovated the way Keofferam was but hey – look at the price. In very good condition with a modern , eat-in-kitchen. I liked it very much.

Want Newer Construction?
101 Lockwood Road was a pleasant surprise. Not stunningly impressive from the street, inside it’s bright and airy with high ceilings and lots of room. It was built in 1997 by Stazza, a good local builder, and feels very comfortable. $1,995,000, which seems about right.

For Sale By Owner?

Attorney Tom Ward and his partner Ed Cosden at Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara recently spoke to Wm. Raveis agents about probate law and other matters. It was, as expected, highly informative but one of the more interesting points was this: according to Tom, before a Probate Judge will approve a sale, he or she wants to know if the property was fully exposed to the market: how long was it listed and was it placed in the multiple-listing service? The Judge does this to ensure that the beneficiaries receive the best price. It occurs to me that, if even a judge can understand that multiple-listing a house achieves top dollar, a financially sophisticated home owner could reach the same conclusion.

Been There, Done That

Tom Gorin of Cleveland Duble & Arnold passed along an interesting article from Avenue Magazine (yes, underneath that goofy volunteer fireman marching band helmet is a trendy jet setter who reads magazines like Avenue. Who knew?). The article, Déjà vu and the Real Estate Bubble” was written by Tom’s good friend David Micchonski, the former manager of Coldwell Banker here in Greenwich, and details the many, many cautionary stories in the financial press warning of impending doom in the real estate market. Nothing new here, but the stories Michonski cites were written as long as fifteen years ago. The same Casandras writing today have been predicting a collapse since 1990, all while touting the virtues of Pet.com as an investment. Michonski concludes that Wall Street is envious of the money being wasted on real estate when it could be earning valuable commissions. I think he’s right.

Too Late for Summer
One bonus of this job is the opportunity to discover books. Books are rare in town, sadly, but occasionally we encounter bookshelves of readers and I usually glance at the titles to see if I’ve been missing anything (no, I don’t paw through someone else’s property). One house I saw recently had an entire collection of works by Bernard Cornwell – I’d never heard of the man but I was impressed that someone would own twenty of his books so I checked a few out at the library. Lots of fun- historical fiction that follows the career of one Richard Sharpe as he defeats every enemy of England from India through Waterloo. Recommended for boys 12 on up, I’d say and of course, entirely suitable for readers who never grew up, like myself.

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