Daily Archives: November 23, 2008

Bargains? Not yet, I don’t think.

From $12.650 to $6.495 and ...?

From $12.650 to $6.495 and ...?

I’ve been prowling through some of our more expensive inventory for a client and I was struck by how many houses have suffered serious, major league price reductions yet remain unsold, indicating to me that they still have room to fall. The house to the left, for instance, 1 Farwell Lane, was originally listed for $12.650 million in June, 2005 and now, after four price cuts, asks $6.495. No buyers reported yet.

54 Rock Maple (off of Stanwich) was bought new in 2002 for $5.3 million and in 2007, with no renovations worthy of noting, was returned to the market at $12.450 million. Ahem. Reality poked its wet nose into the seller’s lap and it’s now down to $6.950 million and still no one seems to think that’s a bargain.

29 Byfield, was listed just this past April for $9.495 million and dropped almost overnight to substantially below that. It sits on the market today, begging for $5.198 million. No takers.

And so on. These sellers and many like them missed a hot market by pricing themselves out of it and are now chasing a falling knife. That must hurt.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, current market conditions, pricing

Real estate agents snapping up bargains?

Here's what we'll pay you for that house ...

Here's what we're gonna pay you for that house....

They are in California. Not so in Greenwich, yet, but we’ll see. 

“Real estate broker Chuck Cryder calls the current real estate market a “bargain basement sale.” So while he and his agents at Century 21 A Property Shoppe in Salinas are busier than ever these days showing listings, Cryder and his business partner are also busy investing in some of the more irresistible bargains out there.

He’s not the only one: in markets across the country, real estate agents and brokers are among those taking advantage of the steep discounting and hot rental markets.”

Why would you give any credence to what a mere real estate agent’s doing? Well for one thing, they aren’t investment bankers, or aren’t any longer and, unlike investment bankers, they understand what they’re buying. Heck, you let your money chase what the wizards of Wall Street pursued, didn’t you? Try something different, like knowledge.

Greenwich homeowners haven’t gotten religion yet and they may never have to. We’re not witnessing California’s five foreclosures per block and homeowners here have vivid memories of what their neighbor’s house sold for last year, not what that neighbor looked like when the sheriff’s men put him out of the bank’s house. I hope they never see that sight. If they do, listen for the sound of vultures overhead. Right now, the birds are mostly just circling builders.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, current market conditions, pricing

What happens when a blog gets mentioned by the big timers?

This:

 

Thank you, Peter Applebome

Thank you, Peter Applebome

 

 

Haven’t had so much fun since Professor Reynolds sent a couple of Instalaunches my way.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

From the man who’s going to be writing your tax laws

 

Well heck, only the little people pay taxes!

Well heck, only the little people pay taxes!

Not content with cheating in New York City,  Charles Rangel has been cheating Washington D.C., too. Politics for a change!

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War of the roses

leaf-rakersOr leaves, anyway. If you believe our First Selectman and our BET, Greenwich is in for straitened financial times. Budgets must be cut, workforce reduced (by all of 15, at last count – big whoop) and all that. May I suggest that a good starting point for belt tightening would be our annual war against leaves? For years, town residents were responsible for taking care of the detritus that fell from their trees. They could compost them, haul them to the dump or in the really good old days, burn them in the street – fall still doesn’t smell like fall to me in the absence of smoke from those burning leaf piles. 

Somewhere along the way the town decided that all taxpayers should subsidize those property owners who lived on public streets  on 1/2 acre lots or smaller. Everyone would pay to help those people remove their leaves, while those who lived on private roads or larger lots were left on their own. Does this make sense? Is it fair? I think not. All for one, one for all and all that.

And this work does not come cheap. We employ huge earthmovers and backend loaders, 60′ tractor trailers and dozens of town employees, all on overtime (the picture illustrating this post was taken on Saturday), just in time for Christmas. Why are we in this business, and why don’t we get out of it?

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You want dressing on that salad?

 

The beauty of an empty room

The beauty of an empty room

Here’s an article from San Francisco that discusses the merits, and demerits, of leaving furniture in what would otherwise be an empty house. I’m of the “leave it empty” school but as you’ll see if you read the article, some real estate agents think that’s a mistake. Read the whole article if you’re facing this dilemma but it has a great deal of useful information including how to stage your house yourself if you decide to go that route. For the rest of you, here’s an excerpt that touches on most of the issues involved.

 

Some realty pros who favor furnished over unfurnished love to extol statistics that show occupied houses sell faster and at higher prices. But they don’t seem to be able to provide reliable sources for their figures. One cited the Department of Housing and Urban Development as the origin for her statement that a furnished home fetches an average of 17 percent more, but HUD doesn’t keep numbers like that.

Obviously, at the right price, any house will sell. But those who espouse the furnished philosophy point to the new home sector, saying that builders wouldn’t dress up model homes if it weren’t necessary. Here, the point is well taken. Builders often spend up to 20 percent of the sample’s base price on furniture and accessories so visitors can visualize themselves living there.

Certainly, lots of people can’t “see” how a property might look unless you show them.

But that brings up another issue with furnished houses. To put it bluntly, sometimes the owner’s sense of decor leaves something to be desired. Their furniture is so ugly, so worn, so mismatched that it can turn off visitors, who take one look around and skedaddle.

Not that unoccupied houses don’t present their own set of problems. For one thing, empty often is seen as a sign of desperation. If would-be buyers get the sense that the place has been abandoned, they’re likely to make a lowball offer. You may, indeed, be desperate, but do you want to give the place away?

An empty house also tends to show all its flaws. Furniture and rugs usually hide the dings and dents. But once the furnishings are removed, the defects are there to see in all their glory – and for the buyer to fixate on and mentally calculate how much it is going to cost to repair them.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Selling tips