Daily Archives: May 7, 2010

For sale: a bit of France in Greenwich

Mary Anselmo, widow of Rene, has put her North Street “Le Petite Trianon” up for sale with Brad Hvolbeck. $39,000,000, 18 acres, all that – it’s about the most prominent house in Greenwich, I think, far surpassing Leona’s digs up on Round Hill because, after all, this place is so accessable – no need to travel far north, you just drop your kids off at North Street School and there you are. In fact, back in 1970 or so, we used to drive down the driveway to show the place to friends who hadn’t seen it – it’s kind of like that apocryphal Texan: all hat, no cattle, because it seems to be all of ten foot wide.

That’s not accurate, of course – today’s advertising for the place (which is how I learned it was for sale – no MLS listing here) claims something like 12,000 sq. ft. and I guess it is. But it sure is narrow.

I am assuming that if it’s not going on the multiple listing service we aren’t going to have a broker open house, but I’ll bug Brad and see if I can’t get in for a real report. Seems like the coolest property in Greenwich and that would be fun to write up.


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No one wants poor Joe

I didn't wanna see your lousy old parade anyway!

Putin bans Joe Biden from attending VE celebration in Moscow. Hey, it’s his parade and he can disinvite who he wants, but how come we’re sending over US troops to march with commies? He won’t let our VP attend, why dignify the event with the presence of our military personnel?

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Nokia sues Apple for patent infringement. I know nothing about the merits of the case but if Nokia held the patents to do what Apple has done with the iPhone and the iPad, yet failed to exploit the idea, then shame on them. Nokia’s business plan, now that it’s lost its lead in cellphones, seems to be living off royalties paid by more creative people. That doesn’t impress me, nor, I would think, will it impress investors.

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Greece comes to Illinois

Faced with a $13 billion deficit, the legislature declines to pass tax increases or spending cuts. “We’ll just sit here in the dark”. Look for this to repeat itself across our fair land.


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World Cup. South Africa readies itself to display new image: 1 billion condoms, 40,000 prostitutes

soccer fans, or looking for work?

Believe it or not, this is a true story, and South Africa really believes this attention to detail: importing condoms and whores, will impress the world. Okay, fellas.


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Our next Supreme has never been a judge and has barely written anything.

Elena Kagan is expected to be nominated to our highest court. So, what, besides being a lesbian, qualifies her for the court? Not much, according to this critique, The stealth nominee.

Elena Kagan, considered by most to be the front-runner for the seat that Justice Stevens will vacate, was a law professor for approximately ten years, first at the University of Chicago and later at Harvard. She then served as the dean of Harvard law school from 2003 until 2009. Thus, one would expect Kagan to have produced a substantial body of scholarly writing.

Apparently, however, that is not the case. Paul Campos, himself a law professor, writes:

Yesterday, I read everything Elena Kagan has ever published. It didn’t take long. . . she’s published very little academic scholarship–three law review articles, along with a couple of shorter essays and two brief book reviews.

I didn’t know you could publish so little and still become the dean of a major law school. I guess times have changed since the days of John Hart Ely.


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School’s out forever!

For awhile anyway. While I was learning how to screw customers today, a number of real estate transactions were reported. 

14 Augustus Lane


This was a good deal, even without the phony clouds. Listed at $3.850 back in January, 2008, this Belle Haven house sold for $1.9 million. Good get. Assessment is $1.714 

3 Ernel, in NoPo, was listed for $895,000 and sold for $875,000. See how that works? Price it, sell it – really simple. 

We also had five contracts reported today. 29 Butternut Hollow, asking $2.750; 37 Dublin Hill, once asking $4.395 and eventually dropped to $3.7 has a buyer – a client of Fudrucker’s, in fact. 

16 Carpenters Brook, over by I-684, listed at $1.350.  5 Arnold in Havemeyer, asking $1.089 and even 11 Wilmot, by the Riverside train station, which started at $1.595 last August and dropped to $1.425 a few months ago. 

And that’s it for the week. I did notice that almost all of the 16 new listings today were priced at or close to their assessed value which, I remind you, is supposed to be 70% of their 2005 market value. Maybe sellers are wising up.

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Here’s a surprise: foreclosures reach the high end

$1 million + homes feeling the foreclosure squeeze: 13% in default. Understand that, in most of the country, a million-dollar home is considered high end.

Data shows that that may be the case around the county. The 90-day delinquency rate on home loans worth over a million dollars hit a high in February at 13.3 percent, higher than the overall rate of 8.6 percent, according to real estate data firm First American CoreLogic. Foreclosure proceedings generally begin to start after a homeowner has been at least 90 days late on a mortgage payment, experts say.

One difference in the high-end market is that lenders are willing to do more to head off a foreclosure by either renegotiating the loan or accepting a short-sale transaction, which is essentially a last-ditch effort.


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Off to ethics class

As punishment for my sin of allowing readers to comment on the particular merits of a house I cannot name, I m off for a three-hour ethics course. What a hoot. But I’ll be back to report on the current status of ethics in the real estate world. I suspect it will be a very short story.


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William Raveis Real Estate celebrates 25 years in Greenwich

Puff piece here. But in fact, I really respect the Raveis organization, especially my former manager, Becky Hanley and Bill Raveis himself. I would still be there had the Raveis legal department not insisted on my agreeing to indemnify the company for any lawsuits engendered by this blog. Thanks very much, but I can defend myself for free; there was no way I would agree to pay some other lawyers $100,000 to defend Raveis against bullshit suits.

But Bill Raveis gets the Internet, and he’s spent millions producing what I consider the best website in the business. It’s a good organization and I congratulate them on their first twenty-five years here and wish them only the best going forward.


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Field trip for white students only provokes controversy

“We wanted to show our white students a role model – a respected white scientist they could emulate,” says school principal, explaining why black students were barred from the trip.


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Not a job I’d like

“Eviction agent” convinces foreclosed homeowners to leave.

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WSJ: teardowns return to Fairfield County

Not so much in Greenwich, where land is still too expensive and financing too hard to obtain, but in Westport and points north, builders are back. Depending, the trend may come here.

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