After 885 days, 59% of asking price

10 Shelter Drive, Cos Cob, was listed for $2,993,100 (?) in September, 2006. It finally sold today for $1,762,500. That’s a hideously long time to have your life disrupted, your house kept in showing condition and your move to a preferred location delayed, all to get such a small percentage of your first asking price. Why do it?

Yet sellers are still at it. A house came on today for $3.595 million, quite a bit more than the $1.895 million the seller paid for it in 1999. Other than two new water heaters and the passage of time, there’s no indication on the listing that anything of value has been added to this house.

If the pricing isn’t completely blind to current market conditions, how about trying to go cheap? Another listing today seeks $2.850 million, less than two years after the seller paid $2.675 for it. That’s fine, but if you’re reaching for a couple of hundred thousand dollars, must you really exclude the dining room chandelier or, worse still, insist that “flat screen TV in Fm Rm is negotiable”? My advice in this market is to install flat screen TVs and chandeliers in every room a buyer wants them and give them to him free. I suppose a chandelier can be expensive (though someone just told me of paying $1,100 for one in a going out of business sale on the Avenue, marked down from $11,000) but how much can a TV cost? Don’t be silly.


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5 responses to “After 885 days, 59% of asking price

  1. CEA

    Shouldn’t the listing broker point this out, in a gentle manner? What would you do if this were your client?

    The only excuse for the chandelier is if it is an heirloom. The flat-screen thing is bananas.

    • christopherfountain

      I’d say leave the chandelier (unless, as you note, it’s a family heirloom) and slap flat screen TVs wherever a buyer wants ’em. Dumbest act a seller can do is fight over this stuff but they often do. As a real estate lawyer I’d advise my selling clients not to worry about “window treatments” but they would – when we won, which we did half the time, and I asked the client a year latere where they ended up, the answer was invariably, “in the attic – they didn’t fit in the new house”. Sheesh.

  2. Anonymous

    The whole problem with listings is that there is no incentive for a seller to price it correctly. Advertising, listing and open houses are all free. The seller has no cash outlay until they sell.
    What if a listing requires a $1,000 deposit (to fund all the marketing efforts)refundable if sold. I bet half of these listings with pie in the sky prices would disappear.

  3. anonymous

    Process of buying a used house reveals much about sellers’ personal hygiene (or lack thereof), pettiness of character, marital dynamics, etc….too much info usually…much like learning how sellers tip at restaurants or pay their household staff or secretaries

    Life’s too short to ever deal w/this….would rather just build on a >4 acre lot in a location where one knows neighbors are somewhat reasonable people (if neighbor issues arise)…and maintain ample space to avoid much of the nonsense of communal living

  4. Anonymous

    Where I come from, “carpets and curtains are negotiable” as sellers are quite partial to their twenty year old carpets. They know too well that there are plenty more years left in them. The bathroom ones are the most valuable.