Daily Archives: August 18, 2006

Realistic Pricing
Last week a house finally went to contract at somewhere close, I presume, given its last asking price, to $2,000,000. Nothing unusual about that, but it originally came on the market a year ago for $2,850,000. That’s a long time to try to sell your house. Try any price you want – it’s your property, after all – but remember that you have just one chance to be “new”. If you don’t get offers right away, start whacking that price or your house will look stale and unwanted, all to your disadvantage. Case in point is a really nice house I’m aware of that came on for close to $7,000,000 over two years ago. It is now priced at $5,300,000 and remains unsold. The scary thing about this is that the owners paid more than $5,000,000 for it in 2001. Ouch.
Twenty houses asking $7,000,000 and up sold this year vs. twenty-four during the same period (January-July 31) last year. But things have slowed down in the nosebleed range: only three sold in June and July this year compared to eight in the same period last year. Forty-two in this price range sold in all of 2005 while there are sixty-seven available today. If the three vs. eight is a harbinger, I detect a glut.

An Interesting Market Technique
A newly constructed house that hasn’t sold was just bumped up in price by a couple of hundred thousand dollars. This tactic always intrigues me – if it isn’t selling at the lower price, how will a higher price do the trick? People do try this from time to time and I suppose it must have worked, once, somewhere. I’ve never known it to, though. Recently a rental that was going nowhere jumped its price from $11,000 to $13,000 a month. The listing expired last month.

And Here’s another Interesting Pricing Decision
Buy a house at the end of January for one price, change your mind and put it back on the market in May. How much has your lordly presence added to its value? One seller set his worth at a cool million. The marketplace seems to disagree, because it remains unsold.

Tuesdays, Thursdays

Broker open houses are divided between Tuesdays and Thursdays. North Street and west on Tuesdays, east of North Street, Thursdays. It always surprises me when I see, say, a house on the far western edge of town being shown on a Thursday “due to client’s request”. Request all you like but you’d be better off saving your breath. No agent I know of is going to schlep to your side of town when he’s down in Old Greenwich. If a particular date is inconvenient or impossible, postpone the open house.
Speaking of the Western Side of Town
I recently saw two very nice new houses there at 5 Comly Terrace (Barbara Zaccagnini’s listing) and 15 Canterbury Drive (Lucille Skorvanek) and priced at $1,549,000 and $1,435,000, respectively. If you’re priced out of eastern Greenwich, where new construction now begins at $1,750,00 or you just prefer Glenville (yes, it happens), these would be very much worth considering.
And Still Further West
I was showing an Old Greenwich house to a prospective buyer (okay, he’s a “prospect”, but that sounds so mercenary) from New York and he asked about closing costs. I started rattling off items like pre-paid interest, attorney’s fees and so forth until he interrupted me and said “no, I mean what’s the mortgage tax?”. I had forgotten, until then, that New York imposes all sorts of taxes on buyers: buyer’s tax, “mansion” tax, county tax, etc. The difference between the two states, on a $2,000,000 house, is over $45,000. Yes, the same $2,000,000 will buy more house in Westchester but, when you also compute an annual tax bill that’s twice as high, Greenwich still looks good.
Terror in the Sky
The recent incident in London has sent all good Pcers scrambling to find some inoffensive term to describe the perpetrators. CAIR goes crazy when someone refers to an Islamic Terrorist or even terrorist (one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and all that) yet “suspects” (The New York Times’ preference) or “detainees” (Mother Jones) are a bit, er, vague. So it was with great relief that I stumbled across some moonbat’s website and discovered the phrase “Faith-based, would-be martyrs”. I assume that, had they succeeded in their quest to blow a few thousand passengers to bits, we could drop the “would-be” modifier. How sweet. I have incorporated this into my new vocabulary and will offend no more.

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