The Power of Cash

114 Overlook Drive

114 Overlook Drive

I wrote about this house just two weeks ago when its price dropped. It sold for $1.695 million in 2004, $1.896 in August, 2007 and was listed last December for $1.990. It sold last Friday to a cash buyer for $1.550 million. Other sellers in Milbrook will disagree, but their house values just dropped, I think – yes, I know, this house is not officially in Milbrook proper, which begins on the opposite side of the street, but you’re still affected. In my opinion.

4 Waterfall Lane, a Cos Cob cottage that I also wrote about recently, also sold Friday for $900,000. It last sold, almost 5 years ago, for $879. Before that, it sold in 2002 for $730,000. That seller had purchased it for $430,000 in 1998, thrown a little money into fixing it up and then cleared out. I’d say he made out best of all the recent owners. But that was then and ….


Filed under Uncategorized

12 responses to “The Power of Cash

  1. Anonymous

    So after paying the brokerage commission, the buyer in Aug 2007, basically lost all of his down payment (assuming 20% or so). Wow, leverage works both ways – especially on the way down.

    On another note, saw your favorite Victorian at 53 Park in OG this weekend, at $1.5m the house is a short sale. And here’s the wonderful part, the builder plans on stripping the house bare – i.e. kitchen cabinets, fridge and other appliances. If you want them, you’re going to have to pay him. Interesting…..

    • christopherfountain

      I suspect that if the owner of S. Park makes good on that plan of stripping the place he’ll spend more on lawyers’ fees than he’ll make selling off used moldings and cabinets. Bank fraud, which is what he’d be engaged in, is not a good move these days.

  2. Stanwich

    So then what would you call stripping the appliances out of 23 West End Ave?

  3. Anonymous

    I’ll leave the legal interpretation up to you but he’s already doing that to his other house on West End Ave (which the bank took back). He’s asking $500K (separate side deal from buying the house) for all the “stuff” inside.

  4. christopherfountain

    “So then what would you call stripping the appliances out of 23 West End Ave?”

    Ill advised.

  5. SizeBuyer

    The other sellers in Milbrook should be excited about this sale!

    This is what I see (and I admit I haven’t looked at the house too closely) but what did the buyer get for 1.550? A 50 year old ranch that may or may not have been updated?, On a mediocre lot on Overlook!

    What about the house in Cos Cob? Why 900? Because it had a 9 handle on it? Does anything under 1MM represent a bargain? Why not the 730 that was paid in 2002? Is that too low? Again why would it be too low?

    Buyers never cease to amaze me… always rushing in!

    What’s the hurry…do buyers think that the banks are going to start lending foolishly again any time soon? Let’s face it, the money that was buying up all of these homes never existed (existed for some but not most) in anyone’s bank account it was all leverage. It’s gone!

  6. Stanwich

    Indeed the Waterfall sale looked aggressive to me. Smallish house although very nicely done, cute lot with waterfall but the final price seemed high for that neck of the woods. There are much nicer/bigger things out there which you could get that start with a 9.

    CF, your thoughts?

  7. We're all bozos on this bus

    When I look at this photo I am slack jawed with amazement that a house this humble could command $1.5 million in any zip code, regardless of market conditions or how well-cared for or “fresh” it may indeed be. Your reader Peg from the midwest must find local standards utterly demented. As, um, do I.

  8. anonymous

    Agree, sales of used houses anywhere are amusing….always amazing that suckers exist (post-Bernie!!!) who actually buy them for more than land value

    Used cars are a lot cheaper than new cars…used underwear is presumably cheaper than new underwear…you get the point

    But wouldn’t say high prices for used houses are a unique NYC/CA absurdity….plenty of used dumps in Winnetka and Lake Forest (Midwest, no?) sell for rather handsome amts….in fact, land in eastern Winnetka or LF is more costly than comparable land in humble Greenwich….what ever happened to the “simple, sensible” Midwest???

  9. 4 Waterfall Lane

    We’d been waiting on the sidelines for a while, and had looked at every house in our range. Believe me, even as first time buyers, we know that we could have gotten “more” for our money. We were not at all interested in a large home. It also abuts hundreds of contiguous acres of conservation land. That’s important to us and was worth more than surface area/price ratio. Value is subjective. Are we atypical in Greenwich? Possibly/probably?

    We had initially offered 775K back in September. So…we had the 2002 price in mind as well. We’re fully aware that we could have waited another 6 months or a year and paid less, but our decision was for the long term. Ultimately, we decided that it was that particular house we wanted. It wasn’t about “rushing in” as Size Buyer commented; we found the home that was right for us. If we look back in next year and kick ourselves over not having waited just a little big longer for a better price, we will also be reminded that it could have been withdrawn from the market, or bid on by someone else, however unlikely. We would have regretted the latter two more.

    CF thank you for your blog! I read it every day and find it incredibly entertaining and interesting!

  10. Vicky

    4 Waterfall, I know nothing about your property but I think your reasoning for buying it is wise. I cannot argue with the assortment of price/value analyses offered by many who comment at this site (basically, I’m just too pea-brained), but I know their utility has limits. If they steer you to neighborhoods or houses you don’t really want to live in, or put you into a state of paralysis because you’re afraid of being the fool who overpays, or push you into the pit of woulda-coulda-shoulda self loathing, then what have you gained? You’re right, value is subjective. Enjoy your new house!

  11. FlyAngler

    Anonymous @ 11:00PM:

    I would love to see what you call home if you think a “used” house should sell for no more than land value. Unless you live in a tent or plan to live in one, how do you justify placing no value on the dwelling at all? Granted, a 50 yo ranch with no updating will not have the value of new or recent construction, but there is some value as long as the roof is sound and the physical systems function.

    At least that is the case in a limited free-space town like Greenwich. Now, on the other hand, I have seen some developments in Florida where I question the value of the dwelling given some developer forgot the meaning of location, location, location.

    As for your full comment, you sound like one of those who just hates the upscale burbs and relishes in the comupence you see unfolding. To each his own but I hope the comment on seeing some “value” in used underwear was a joke and not an indication of your saintly thrift.