Monthly Archives: March 2009

136 Cat Rock

136-cat-rockThis unfortunate renovation project was performed on a house that sold for $1.4 million back in 2004 or 5. The builder/buyer spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building a new septic system and then turned his attention to the house itself. He did an okay job but was hampered by the fact that, despite all his effort, he couldn’t build more than a 3 bedroom septic system and, because the house sits on an acre of land in a two-acre zone, he ran into the Bloomer rule and was forbidden to build a real garage – he ended up with a carport sided with open lattice work. He then compounded his error of buying the place to begin with by pricing his creation at $3.625,000, and it sat.

He eventually lost the project to his lender and now Webster Bank (if there is still a Webster Bank – these days, who knows?) is trying to sell it. They priced it at $1,767,500, perhaps the amount of their loan, in February and today reduced it to $1.699 million. I won’t promise that that’s the winning number but we’re getting awfully close to the price of the land here and the million dollars (or whatever the builder put in) is yours for free. That’s approaching a good deal.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

God love foreign brokers

Heh – I was pulling up some old sales on a street of modest houses just now, in preparation to give a price opinion for a colleague’s listing presentation (my advice? Don’t bother) and I saw a string of sales, all the low 6’s through, as we got into 2007, $825. But one sale for a million dollars stuck out from 2006. I looked it up and it had been renovated, but so had most of the others. The only real difference I saw was that the buyer was represented by an out-of-town agent. Readers have commented before that these obliging people get rid of our least desirable houses at ridiculous prices and I agree. Some of my fellow agents think we should make it difficult for these people to operate in town but I think the opposite: bring ’em on – we have tons of inventory to unload and the sellers would love to get something even close to their asked-for price.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Oh dear, someone doesn’t like you, Walt!

Bloget has in interesting bit of email correspondence from an anonymous source who has mean things to say about Walter Noeland everyone else at Fairfield Greenwich Group. Sigh – can’t we all just get along?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Dodd’s at it again – wants sweetheart deals for credit card deadbeats,too

Why should the senator from Connecticut be the only one to get easy credit from banks? Today he rammed through a bill easing credit card terms for consumers who can’t afford credit. This, of course,will drive rates up for everyone and end up restricting credit, not expanding it but Dodd, knowing how much he did for poor folk who deserved to own their own homes, will fix that, too in due course. Just as banks aren’t allowed to redline or otherwise discriminate against home loan borrowers who lack the ability to repay what they take, look for relief for those who need 52″ plasma TVs. It’s their right to have and our obligation to provide, all courtesy of Dodd.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

There’s at least one builder still buying

22 Field Road

22 Field Road

Or I think there is, anyway, because this Riverside house was reported under contract today by an agent who often represents builders. Despite the glowing description in its listing, I thought it was tired old place whose disappearance would only benefit the neighborhood and that’s what I suspect its fate will be. I had my own strong opinion of its price of $1.29 million but either the buyer disagreed or did some strong bargaining. We’ll find out when its selling price is disclosed. Still, a sign of life.

8 Colonial Lane, right through this one’s back yard, more or less, is new construction that came on the market today for $3.595 million. That’s $876 per sq.ft. for the 4,100 above ground (it has another 1,600 or so below grade) which seems a tad aggressive, but the market, not I, decide things like that, so no angry emails, please. Good looking house.

Another new house whose location I was asked not to disclosed will be reported as sold today for $1.850 million. That’s something like $750,000 below its asking price so someone got a very nice at cost or below. There are good deals out there, if you look.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Open houses

Back from the Tuesday tour. It almost seems like a waste of time these days with so many houses grievously overpriced (an exception: 5 Kenilworth Terrace, asking $1.495. I did not see it but my brother Gideon, a good judge of these things, emailed me that it was “a good deal”. I’ll make an effort to see it). But otherwise, I saw houses for $3 that I thought might go for $1.75, maybe, and $4 million tear-downs sitting on land worth perhaps $1 million, if you can find a buyer for land these days. Painful.

A noteable exception to all this was, surprisingly, Bill Gardiner’s $25 million masterpiece at 253 Round Hill Road. The exterior’s of hand-hewn field stone, every proportion is exquisite, inside and out, and the detail work is phenomenal. The banister alone, hand carved, is reason enough to buy this house. It would be a wonderful thing to start my day coming down the stairs with my hand on this piece of art and just admire its beauty. The basement is huge – my form of entertainment growing up was hunting rats with a barbecue fork and a pellet rifle in my parents’ crawlspace. If your recreational tastes are more conventional, this is the place for you: 12′ ceilings, exercise room, sauna, theatre, etc. etc.

I have some quibbles. I might have made the master bedroom ten feet longer, but I understand the architect’s idea, I think, which is that the bedroom should be a protective space, not an airplane hangar, and besides, there’s a huge sitting room if you insist on space. The land itself, while beautifully landscaped, backs up to those two failed spec houses which were carved out of this property and built on S. Baldwin Farms. Eventually they will be finished and occupied or torn down, I suppose, but until then, you have a question mark as a neighbor.

So what’s the proper price for this place? I have no idea. There are still billionaires around and what’s $25 million to them? Lesser folks might blanch at that price but somewhere there’s a value here, whether that’s at $12.5, $15 million or full price I’ll leave to the rich folks. But a grand house, all in all.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The wisdom of never paying full asking price

99 Richmond Hill

99 Richmond Hill

This cozy little beauty, 12,000 square feet and lots of amenities, was originally listed at $11.9 million in February 2005. It took a year and several price drops but it finally sold for $8 million in January ’06. Today it’s back up for sale, asking $6.995. That must be painful for its owner, especially since there is no guarantee that he’ll get even that price, but think how much more he would hurt if he’d paid that $12 million? Ow.

UPDATE: There are five houses for sale on tiny Richmond Hill Road, ranging in price from $3.495, $5.995, $6.500, $6.995 and $9.950 (this last remains just a gleam in the eye of its builder, I believe). Plus two land parcels of 4 and 5 acres each, in case you want to build your own, and an expired listing for a new house built right next door to 99 (85 Richmond Hill) that was priced somewhere in the $7s or 8s, if memory serves. That will probably come back on, although its absent owner may experience a Rip Van Winkle moment when he discovers what’s happened to prices here. I don’t remember a house on Richmond selling in the past year or so, so the market for this location have always been a bit thin. With this much choice, I would think that some serious negotiation might be profitable – for a buyer.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized