Hmmm. I loved 313 Stanwich Road (ML# 73760) the old house that served the McCloy family so welll over the years. It feels like a house should feel, in my opinion, with lots of rambling hallways, rooms in odd places and beautiful grounds. The McCloys must be fierce hunters, so don’t bother visiting the Austrian Alps looking to kill a chamois: the McCloys beat you to it and the creatures’ skulls are all here, tacked up on the walls. They probably go with the owners, so if you’re not into the “Gentleman’s Study” motiff, fear not. For that matter, I understand that the owners intend to yank the barn board off the “Austrian Room” and take that, too, which is a little peculiar, but perhaps there’s sentimental value there, for some reason.
But here’s the problem: the house is old. I mean, old. My pal Nancy and I tackled a project like this in Maine when we were childless, clueless and had far more energy than money and it was a great experience. Today I wuld balk and I suspect most buyers will too. You’d have a beautiful house when you finished, but that’s two years and millions of dollars down the road. Plus, and this is just one man’s marketing tip, the sellers should patch the water leak in the hallway ceiling and repair the broken sash cords in the windows. Their presence just emphasizes the amount of work needed here and that’s a discovery best left for a buyer to discover after the closing, not on his first visit.
But a great old house and could be a fun project if you’re retired and wondering what to do with your money. Asking $6.495 or thereabouts.
23 Eggleston Road, down in Shorelands, is really fun land, a half/acre of direct tidal waterfront, which means mud half the time, water the rest. The first price of $8.5 million was insane, and aren’t you glad you didn’t listen to the listing broker and pay that much for it two years ago? The current price of $4.995 is better, but you have to do some calculating here, weighing your desire to enjoy this beautiful view versus the ultimate worth of a house, even on waterfront, in Shorelands. The house is a teardown (I like it just fine and would move in tomorrow but that’s me – most people will want something new). So if you pay $2 million for a new house, can you justify a $7 million house in Shorelands? I think not – I’d have a problem with $6 million, frankly, but that would be closer to the mark. So something has to give here, and I’d guess it’ll be the price of the land (I’m told that there was a deal for $6 on this land awhile ago that fell apart. Lucky buyer). The listing sheet descibes a “Christopher Peacock kitchen” which, if accurate, must date back to Mr. Peacock’s training days in the Youth Reformatory of Liverpool in 1957. Or perhaps the kitchen is stored off premises. But you’re buying the view here, not Peacock’s early efforts.
I did like 26 Cobb Island Road (ML# 73624), Pat Lynch’s listing in – I was going to say Cos Cob but by God, it’s got an 06830 zip, so let’s say, on the Cos Cob border. $4.850 million, very nice house, completely and extensively renovated, with sweeping views down Cos Cob Harbor to the Sound. One can watch Georgie Lowther’s bungalow going up on the scrap of land he retained when he sold his family’s view and Lowther’s Point (don’t cry for the boy – that view fetched $22 million) or, in a few weeks, the mansion to be built where the Lowther manse once stood. It’s far down the harbor from Cobb Island so it won’t affect your view but will provide a point of interest for the next year or two.
Drawbacks are two, neither of which you can do anything about: I-95 and small children’s bedrooms. Noise is entirely subjective but I did not find it objectionable here. You certainly can’t hear it indoors and walking around outdoors, it just didn’t strike me as a deal-breaker. It’s probably worth $2 million in discounted price, so that’s a fair trade off for me; you have to decide for yourself.
The small bedrooms are something my clients constantly harp on and I’ve become sensitized to the subject. I always figured a bedroom was for sleeping so who cared how big it was but if my fee-paying clients care then I do too. But that’s something most builders do, I suppose because everyone wants precious to have her own private bath and you can’t have one without taking away the other. As I said, nothing to do about that here – if your kid complains, tell her to try living under a bridge instead. I liked this house very much and I think the price under $5 is a good one.
I can’t say the same for 14 Ben Court, which is a pure land value with a tired old house on it that has to be removed. I’d place the value of a lot on this street at between $950,000 and $975,000 so the current price of $1.495 seems wildly excessive. If I’m right, that will be corrected over time and if I’m wrong it won’t be the first time.