19 Hendrie Lane
This is a very nice house, listed by Mandy Fry (of David Ogilvy Associates) for just $1,295,000. Hendrie Lane is that small, dead end street across from Eastern Middle School. Years ago, we’d cross the train tracks and hike up this street to get to school – an act we’d be arrested for today, I’m sure. The house has three bedrooms, expandable to four, if necessary, but I wouldn’t do that; instead, it’s a great little house for a young couple looking to get into a great area of Riverside at what, in this neck of the woods, passes for a moderate price. Nicely renovated, too.

Zillow.com – still not ready for prime time
My brother Gideon supplied me with some interesting data from Zillow , comparing their estimated value with actual selling prices. The differences indicate that, should rely on this site, you could either seriously under-price your property or be hopelessly optimistic. For instance:
Address Zillow Prediction Actual Price
185 Clapboard Ridge $5,438,000 $9,400,000
55 Perkins $10,944,000 $8,975,000
27 Valleywood $1,463,500 $1,250,000
8 Crawford $1,052,000 $825,000
50 Carriglea $5,072,000 $5,500,000
1 Hobart $4,355,000 $5,500,000
565 Stanwich $8,246,500 $6,901,000

Of all of these, the Stanwich Road property’s value might have been closest to actual value (I know, because I sold it). Fortunately for my buyers, the seller originally priced it at $11,500,000 and, after the house sat idle on the market for over two years, was finally forced to reduce it to a fire sale price just to move it, which is when we swooped in. The point is, Zillow’s computer program just can’t deal with local Greenwich pricing – yet – so don’t bug your agent with calls saying, “but Zillow says”. So far, we Realtors know better than Zillow. But if those geniuses at Google get ahold of the site, watch out. There may indeed be an as-yet undiscovered algorithm that will render folks like me useless.

Dunellen Hall
When the Queen of Mean died last fall, I guessed that her 40-acre estate might fetch $60,000,0000. David Ogilvy has now placed it on the market for $125,000,000. I would never try to out-guess Mr. Ogilvy on these matters, but I did pick the Giants 21-17 over the Patriots last week. Not quite right, but closer than the experts. Am I on a roll? We’ll see in a year or two, I suppose.

Tree Guys
There are any number of excellent tree service companies working in town but we’ve used Hawthorne Brothers, out of Bedford Hills, for a long time and always received excellent service. Their front man, the fellow who meets with you and prescribes needed work, is Brian Johnson, a burly, bearded graduate of UVM’s Forestry School who spent years working with the U.S. Forestry Service in, I think Alaska. This man knows his trees, and is a pleasure to work with. Logging, ecology, books, philosophy, you name the topic, he’s informed on it. And he cares about trees. Hawthorne isn’t cheap – no tree company down here is – but, under Brian’s guidance, you’ll get the service you need with no unnecessary or harmful cutting added. (203) 531-1831, to reach them.

Are we losing our collective minds?
On primary day last week, the schools closed to protect young students from their parents. In years past, the kids would hold PTA bake sales and witness citizens in action, participating in Democracy. No longer, despite, to the best of my knowledge, not a single untoward incident in the past 100 years. We’ve ratcheted up our fear index so far these days that even simple acts like a local election are undoable. For the record, the only dangerous fellow I saw when voting at Riverside School was WW II hero (and grandfather) Chuck Standard, who gave up being dangerous in 1945.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day
At the suggestion of one of my readers, I thought I’d close with something nice to say about someone: in this case, “Lisa” from Porecelli’s Old Greenwich Food Mart, who scurries around the village at this time of year painting small red hearts on showroom windows, just to add a bit of festive color. Nice gesture so thanks, Lisa. Have a great day.

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  1. Anonymous

    Chris, it used to be that this column was posted once a week. Now, it’s once a month – four at a time. Is this on purpose? I used to really enjoy coming here each week and reading what you had to say.