October 14, 2005
A beautiful older house recently came on the market but you won’t read about it here; its owner refuses to place it on the multiple listing service out of fear, I suppose, of allowing us great unwashed to trample through his house. Fair enough; it’s his property and he can do as he wishes, but I think he’s doing himself a disservice. Although it might seem reasonable to assume that only a select handful of agents have the clientele for a high-end house in fact, you never know. I do find it ironic that the property’s owner made his fortune on Wall Street, which flourishes precisely because it disseminates information instantly around the globe. What works in that market also works in the real estate market, but some people don’t get that.
11 Red Coat Lane
I try to get to every open house but I often fail and sometimes, repeatedly. I missed this listing when it came on the market in the spring and somehow never got to see it until last week. A very nice house, it’s a 1974 Colonial, which means (horrors!) 8 foot ceilings, but the current owners have completely redone the kitchen, added a beautiful master bedroom bath, and brought everything else up to date. Six bedrooms, including a very, very nice in-law or nanny suite in the basement (no dungeon here!) two acres, a great big back yard, all for $2,875,000. Originally asking $3,500,000, it is now on its third price reduction. My brother Gideon’s rule of thumb is that, by the time a house hits its third reduction, it is below the actual market value and is a bargain. That certainly holds true in this instance. Go for it.
Speaking of Gideon
He’s just listed 140 Indian Head Road, a beautiful 1936 Greek Revival replica of a southern plantation (Tom Gorin, of the same firm, says, “all it’s missing is Spanish moss”, and he’s right.) Beautifully proportioned – modern architects ought to study it to see how it’s done, since so many of their own efforts fail so miserably-it sits on two plus acres and has a nice pathway down to the harbor. $6,500,000, which I think is just right. The owner is a long-time friend (so how come Gideon got the listing? He’s better looking) who, over the years, would ask, “so, what’s my house worth now?” The answer has increased significantly from the time he first posed the question.
8 Bradbury Place
Richard Bloom has listed this brand new house (off of Lockwood, in Riverside) for $3,295,000. Built by Bill Killeen, it’s top quality and, for new construction, priced very well. Five bedrooms, lots of living space (4,000 sq.ft) on a quiet dead-end within easy walking distance of Riverside and Eastern and the train. I liked it a lot, as did the other agents I toured it with.
A New Low in Realtorese?
Or a new high, take your pick. I picked up a data sheet in a house on upper Sound Beach Avenue the other day and saw that it had “beach rights”. I thought about that for a moment before realizing that the out-of-town broker was referring to Tod’s Point. Sheesh. By that reasoning, even the meanest hovel in the farthest reaches of Round Hill has “beach rights”. But bring your card.
Hooker Lane Update
My brother Anthony writes, “The residents of Hooker Lane are total wimps compared with those of the neighborhood in Fish Lake, WA known as Whorehouse Meadows. The Bureau of Land Management tried to change the name to ‘Naughty Girl Meadows’ a while back but the good people there would have none of it and the name stands.”
Michael Dinan first came to my attention a few years ago when he produced a series of articles for Greenwich Time on the Etchells World Championship held here in town (an Etchells, for you landlubbers, is a beautiful, sleek sailboat designed by Riverside’s own Skip Etchells). Dinan made what can be a rather inaccessible subject clear and exciting, a monumental task for sailboat races which, unless you are participating, can be rather –er, dull. At that time Dinan was a freelancer but his editors at Greenwich Time had the very good sense to bring him aboard permanently and since then he’s carved out his own beat covering the Greenwich waterfront and Long Island Sound. Anything he writes about: the wreck of the Sugar Boat, the new complex going up on River Road, etc. is always well written and always interesting. I’ll confess to reading our town’s daily in a rather hurried fashion, mining it for nut stories like DeLuca Lane and its residents’ battle against terrorism, but I always keep my eye out for Dinan’s byline and, when he’s there, I am rewarded.