Daily Archives: April 15, 2009

Will Texas secede from the Union?

Its governor says that it retained that right when it joined. As I recall, that argument didn’t work so well in 1861 but maybe someone misread the Constitution or something. I do know this: if it splits, and is established as a country that encourages and cheers on industriousness and productivity, I would trade the comforts of Connecticut and restart a life down there. The music’s good, anyway.

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Not much to report on Greenwich market activity today

The Board’s closed now and there’s little of interest that happened. Maybe tomorrow. Lots of insignificant price reductions, but we see those every day, and one new listing of note: 4 Buxton Lane has come on asking $2.895 million.

I have no idea whether this price will work today so it will be interesting to watch. From its pictures (open house is tomorrow) it looks quite nice inside, with cathedral ceilings and lots of wood. From the outside it appears to be a modular but I don’t know that – I’ll check it out tomorrow. Buxton’s a good street in terms of convenience to the train and the schools, not so good if you’re sensitive to highway noise. This isn’t on the highway, but Cos Cob Harbor at the end of Buxton, while offering a scenic access to the Sound, also lets noise from the Mianus Bridge echo across.

This spec house joins seven others for sale in Riverside right now, and it’s in the low end of the price range (lowest is Meyer Place at $2.495, highest is $3.995 on Colonial). The listing sheet claims 5,000 sq. ft. but I assume 1,500 of that is found in the finished basement. A few years ago, I’d have thought this was a good price. Today, I really don’t know. It will certainly provide someone with a good home, the question is just how much buyers are willing to pay.

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Greenwich Tea Party Protest

Well, interesting. I’d guess about 100   220 people turned out though, judging from the cars honking as they passed by on Field Point Road, there are a lot of people fed up with being cash cows for the undeserving. Funny thing that I forgot to mention in my own impromptu speech: there was a comedian who, after four ruinously expensive divorces declared that the next time he felt the urge to get married he’d just find a woman he hated and buy her a house instead. The line gets laughs, but that’s what Congress is doing, only we don’t even know the people they’re buying houses for on our behalf. Hmmm.

Roger Pearson, atoning before challenging Dodd

Roger Pearson, atoning before challenging Dodd

Perhaps the most affecting speakers were the duo of Democrats Roger Pearson and Frank Farricker, Former First Selectman and candidate for that position, respectively, dressed in sackcloth and ashes and beating their breasts. “If I had known that the people I was hanging around with were nothin’ but a bunch of commie rats,” Farricker said, tears rolling down his eyes, “I would never have done it – I just didn’t know better, and I’m sick about it.” Farricker was seen signing a Ron Paul petition while as we left, Pearson was clutching an unlicensed handgun and his expired Police Commissioner’s badge in one hand, a copy of Atlas Shruggedin the other, and asking directions to Chris Dodd’s Greenwich office. Easy there, big guy, and careful with that gun!

Well, off to file a tax extension!

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799 Lake Ave

799 Lake Ave

799 Lake Ave

I’m heading to the Stamford DMV so I may never regain my sanity but if I do, I’m heading over to the Tea Party Protest at Town Hall, 3-5. Blogging may be light, but here’s a follow up on one of yesterday’s 4 contracts (none today). This is a good house that was asking $3.450 and I assume it went for something close to that but we’ll find out when it closes. Checking its history, I see that if was first offered for sale in 2003 at $4.175 million, proving that overpricing is nothing new in Greenwich, and finally sold, two years later, for $3.285. This time around, the new sellers, represented by Sally Maloney, set the price just a notch above what they’d paid for it four years ago and as yesterday’s contract shows, that worked.

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GPD: “We told you it was suicide!”

fat-copStrolling through the door kicked open by Greenwich’s own police chief, one of the Kissel muder co-defendants is claiming that the swindler’s death was an assisted – suicide. And why not? I’d like to have Chief Riderberg’s statements about his theory of the death to read to a jury. It’s all about creating a reasonable doubt after all, and if the chief has doubts, surely that’s reasonable, right?

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Pricing a house in a dead market

I’m in possession of a document entitled, “10 Best-Kept Secrets for Selling Your Home”. The author is unattributed but I believe I’ve either seen it or something similar penned by Barbara Corcoran, who knows everything there is to know about selling NYC real estate and by extension, NYC types who end up buying in Greenwich. Regardless, the writer’s top secret is absolutely terriffic.

Pricing it right.

Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids – even in the worst of markets – and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.”

I like this idea because right now the biggest problem facing sellers is motivating a buyer to commit. Buyers feel, with good reason, that prices are dropping and there is no urgency to buy now when things will be cheaper in a few months. But most buyers are actually ready to buy, so if a house comes on that is a genuine bargain – not something marked 20% off some imaginary price stuck on three years ago – they will be interested. I know that, if I saw such a listing come on I would immediately send it to all of my buyers in its price range and tell them that it was an excellent value. Multiply my reaction by 100 other agents, and it’s easy to see why your house would be the center of attention in the real estate world. Hey – it’s got to be better than what’s happening with most listings now, where the seller takes his (inflated) value of what his house is worth, adds maybe 15% to cover negotiating room, commissions and taxes, then puts it on the market and is totally ignored. What have you got to lose?

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Reality creeps in on little cats’ paws

49 Fox Run Lane

49 Fox Run Lane

One of the exciting things about representing buyers these days is that there are now properties for sale that I’m not embarrassed to show. This house on Fox Lane is a good example. An old house on a great street, with a beautiful pond on one side, it was purchased for $3.1 million in 2000 and completely renovated from 2000-2002. The uglypicture above notwithstanding, the results were beautiful. It’s been for sale since 2002 at a price that started at $10.5, soared as high as $11.5 million in 2005 and slowly subsided so that today it’s asking $6.950. That would have been a good price in 2002, and perhaps it still is today, but either way, it’s a huge improvement over the silly, stupid price tags that preceded it. This business really isn’t all that complicated.

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Back from the principal’s office

Well they sure make principals nicer these days – nothing like being hauled into the disciplinarian’s office at GHS back in the day. Anyway, I had a very nice talk – what’s the diplomat’s term: a frank and fruitful discussion” – with the President of the Greenwich Association of Realtors. She’s a great person, one whom I like and respect enormously, so I went to our chat with a real feeling of sympathy – she’s getting pressure, and when did she volunteer for that crap?

I readily admit to being a flawed human being – ask God or my children or just read this blog – so I was open to suggestions as to how I could make her job easier. Eh – probably not much. I can certainly think twice before posting something (I already do that, often, so I’ll try to think thrice) and other that that, there was no suggestion that I stop reporting what I see to be the truth. Which speaks well of the GAR, in my opinion.

One suggestion for offended realtors: don’t call your President, or my manager, or send me anonymous emails. Call or write me and, as the few who have tried that approach know, I will always correct any factual errors and my policy is to make the correction more prominant than the original error. I rarely bite.

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