Daily Archives: June 22, 2006

Dig This!
Last week I turned over the soil in my vegetable garden in preparation for planting. Just as I was finishing I looked down at my feet and spotted what I took to be a large, perfect arrow head. Thanks to Greenwich native Tod Hinlicky and his friend, Professor Ernie Weigand of Norwalk Community College, I learned that I had discovered a prehistoric spear head from the Late Archaic Period, 2,500 B.C. to 1,700 B.C. I’ve been looking for this sort of thing since I was a young boy and I choose to find it – er, encouraging that one turned up after 4,000 years just two days after I finished my book on Siwanoy Indians. Or it’s just a matter of frost heaves – I prefer the former. There are some interesting reflections here, aside from the nature of the universe. One is how slowly technology changed back then – these stone points were made in the same, identical fashion for 2,000 years before someone dreamed up something better. Another is the ephemeral nature of real estate “ownership”. I wonder who’ll be on this piece of land, and whether the land will even be above water (water level fluctuates – when the point was made, the sea level was 20 feet lower than today) 4,000 years from now. Neato, says I.

How to Sell your House
The owners of 11 Old Wagon Road (disclosure: my listing, but it’s an apt illustration) did everything right to prepare their house for sale. First, they maintained it during their years of ownership – nothing fancy, but they kept it in good shape and repair, moved a few walls to open up the floor plan, etc. Then just before listing it they power washed the siding, fixed a dented downspout, trimmed the shrubs and so forth; all those little things that make a first impression positive or negative. They redid the master bath and, finally, priced it right: $1,035,000, fitting it nicely in between the few Old Greenwich houses it would compete with. Has it sold? Tune in next week but as of this writing, two days after it hit the market, it’s being shown constantly and I predict good things. So that’s about it: maintain your house while you own it, get it looking as appealing as possible before hitting the market (I’m not talking “staging” just putting away clutter and such) and price it so that it will look better than its competition. It will sell, and sell quickly.

No Mow Grass
Awhile ago I mentioned that Scotts is working on a genetically-engineered grass that requires minimal mowing and maintenance. There’s a condominium complex on the corner of Orchard and Valley in Cos Cob that’s gone Scotts one step better: plastic. They’ve swathed the entire yard in Astro-Turf and, actually, it looks okay. Whether it will look odd in winter when everything around it is brown, we shall see but no one’s spending a dime on lawn care right now and that must help the budget. Wave of the future? I hope not.

The Beach, Revisited
Just in time for free publicity for my book, another law suit has been filed concerning access to Tod’s by non-resident pedestrians and bicyclists. I don’t understand why we as a town are fighting so hard over this. The main concern over limiting admission, so far as I know, is over-crowding and lack of parking. Bicyclists and joggers seem to loop around the Point’s road network and then go home; at least, I’ve never seen one toting coolers and blankets. Besides, as a bicyclist myself, I find it annoying to have to remember to transfer my beach card from my wallet to my sock and than back again. I love the beach and consider it one of the town’s finest assets – I just don’t see an open admissions policy for pedestrians to be a threat. Now, fireworks every night . . . .

Going, Going Gone

Twenty-two houses went to contract last week, including several in bidding wars. There’s still plenty of inventory and I’d prefer to be a buyer than a seller right now but if you are a buyer, don’t delude yourself and think that a well-priced house is only attractive to you. I did see that one house that went to contract did so after five years on the market. I ran the history and see that it was originally listed at exactly it’s last asking price way back in 2001. It came on and off the market since then with, first, an ever-increasing asking price and then a steady decline until it returned where it started. Burst bubble? I think not; rather, a seller with an unrealistic opinion of his house’s value. It’s a very nice house but I never showed it over those years because I didn’t think it was worth what was asked. Once it was, it sold.

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