Daily Archives: October 18, 2010

Internet marketing – The big realtors are blowing it

Nice puff piece on a new Greenwich Raveis agent, Deb Halsey, in the Easton, Ct press (?). Says here that she’s started a blog, but there’s no link, or I’d post it. Raveis forced me to quit when their legal department demanded I indemnify them from all claims arising from my own blog, a liability that could easily exceed $100,000, so I would guess that “Deb” will either post innocuous triffle or be pushed out soon. Regardless, I wish her well.

UPDATE: No mention of a blog on her Raveis website, so either the Easton Press got it wrong or the Raveis legal weenies have already shut it down. I’ll tell you this: Bill Raveis was way ahead of the curve when it came to Internet marketing of real estate, and that’s why I joined his firm years ago, but he’s completely befuddled by blogs and social networking, and he, and all of his contemporaries, are missing out on the next step. Back then, I offered to speak, for free – I was a gung-ho agent – to Raveis employees about writing blogs, and was rebuffed, no doubt because the  firm’s lawyers were already gathering on tree limbs to plan their attack in order to preserve the status quo.

I’m too much of a solo to pursue this, but someone is going to wrap up blogs and writers like me and push on to the next level. Raveis and the other large firms are on the cusp of losing it.

UPDATE II: This is an evolving thought piece. I started with a brief mention of Deb Halsey, then discovered that she has no discoverable blog, and went off into my termination by Raveis and thoughts on how the real estate market is evolving. This all reminds me of when I was a law associate at a big firm in 1987 – we were forced to dictate our work into tape recorders, submit them to the secretarial pool, wait a day or so to get back our hard copy, manually strike out errors and add new content, wait another day, fix errors of the typists, etc. etc. I urged my bosses to give us associates our own computers and printers – they existed then- and promised that we could cut turn-around-time to hours, rather than days. They refused, because things just weren’t done that way, then. I see the same thing now in real estate, but I’m even more disgusted than I was back then,  because now I’m an old man of 57. if I can see where things are going, what the hell’s wrong with these guys?


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No big loss, but the New York Times has stopped registrations

Used to be, I could log into the NYT. These days, it blocks access and won’t let me renew my registration. Is this part of their plan to put a cash bar on their site? I pay for the Wall Street Journal’s content, but there’s nothing I’d pay for at the Times.


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Well okay then, let’s let him go

Defense: Cheshire murderer Hayes “could be likable”. Good enough for me.

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Stupid is as stupid does

Alaska’s Joe Miller: “East Germany knew how to secure its borders”, I hope that this West Point, Yale Law School grad has a more nuanced reasoning behind this quote because otherwise, he’s just crazy. By the way, Joe, no one was trying to get into East Germany, it was quite the other way around.

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Unleash O.J. so he can catch them both!

” I Love New York” contestant sentenced to 50 years to life for killing friend. Urges victim’s parents to “find the real killer”.

UPDATE: by the way, I sure hope there’s more on this guy than the eyewitness cited in the news article. Death row and our prisons are littered with people wrongfully convicted on the weakest of all evidence, the “eyewitness”.

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I’m too old for her, but there’s someone in Washington who isn’t

Sharon Stone still hot at 52.


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Riverside and Old Greenwich

I don’t have any statistics to back this up (Russ Pruner probably does, so I’ll check it out) but, anecdotally, a lot of agents are telling me the same thing I’m witnessing: the current crop of buyers, all young families, are more interested in Old Greenwich and Riverside than they are mid-country and have almost no interest in land north of the Merritt Parkway.

Which makes sense to me. Older folks who’ve made it, and whose kids have grown up, may prefer the four acre zone and the privacy it affords but if your kids are still riding bicycles, the smaller, crowded neighborhoods of Riverside, Old Greenwich (and even Cos Cob!) seem more attractive. As a top-of-the-head calculation, I’d say that the sales price to assessment ratio seems to be favoring the Riverside/Old Greenwich market.


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Somehow, I missed the news of the recovery

17 Wynnwood Rd

This is a great house on Wynnwood (off of Clapboard, just before its intersection with Lake Ave), built by a conscientious builder. It didn’t sell at $9.995 in February, 2009 so he raised its price to $10.6 that May and, when that didn’t work (?), dropped it to $8.99 in May, 2010. He’s now fired his first broker and hired Tamar Lurie, certainly one of Greenwich’s most succesful brokers, and raised the price to $9.475. Assessment is $4.9.


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Sales, contracts

Not much of interest in the price reduction or new categories today, But there is some movement:

120 Hunting Ridge

This house, 4 acres on Hunting Ridge, was priced at $2.145 and sold quickly at $1.927. Assessment is $1.921.

215 Byram Shore Drive

Listed at $16.750, under contract after just 28 days, assessment, $10. 230. The appeal of Byram Shore Drive has eluded me, but some people like it. A sort of poor man’s waterfront, I suppose.

8 Wykham Hill

A contract on this place, finally. It started at $4.995 in February 2009, and, I will confess, I didn’t think that was all that crazy a price for a 10,000 sq. ft house, even if it did sit on the Merritt, but it had to drop to $2.999 before it found a buyer. Assessment, $2.887 million. The seller paid $3.3 million for this back in 2006 and dumped a ton ($500,00? $1,000,000?) into it, so it won’t turn out to have been one of her better investments.


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Two shot sighting in

Works if your rifle is even reasonably sighted in. And at a buck or so per cartridge, this is the way to go, if you can.

UPDATE: working on the link – bear with me !


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In eight years, 32% of Illinois’s tax revenue will go towards paying pension obligations. Illinois is hardly alone. We are deeply and truly f..ked on pensions alone, and that doesn’t account for the medical benefit towns and states have promised their employees, with no set-aside provisions to pay for them.


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Quelle surprise

In the midst of a recession, D.C. offers an oasis. You want a job? Get thee to Washington, where they’re hiring every day, and at juicy salaries, too. These people are stealing our country out from under us. Forget greedy Wall Street bankers – they’re just tools of the real conspirators.

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“Friends” of Animals


Coyotes 1, Deer 0


The self-labelled group “Friends of Animals” has filed suit to bar the use of sharpshooters to cull the deer herd at Valley Forge. Their alternative: use coyotes. A trained hunter will kill a deer with one shot and drop it in its tracks. The deer is dead before it even hears the shot.

Coyotes, on the other hand, hunt in family packs, pursing a deer for hours, biting at its legs until they finally cripple it, then tearing out its throat.

So, which would you rather? An instant, painless death or hours of agony? Which is kinder? The Friends of Animals choose the latter. Wouldn’t it be fun to set a herd of them loose in the woods and set coyotes after them?


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This will screw things up even more, if possible


The hell with oil, we're holding out for natural gas!

Ann Landers used to joke that, if Moses were so smart, how come he led his tribe for forty years through the wilderness to find the only spot in the Middle East that had no oil? Now comes news that Israel may be sitting on huge natural gas deposits, so large that they could allow Israel to become an exporter of the stuff.


Until now, the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians was over arid ground that only had value because of the Israeli’s hard work – proof of which was demonstrated when Israel withdrew from Gaza and left behind, courtesy of some rich American Jews who paid for it, a huge complex of irrigated farming facilities. The idea was that these facilities would provide Palestinians a source of income. Instead, they looted the place and ripped it apart within hours.

But now, the discovery of natural gas deposits is going to make things even worse, because it offers a chance for a few fat cats to get rich. Why grow vegetables for pennies when you can let oil companies do all the hard work while you lie back and enjoy  a new-found source of wealth? Bad news for everyone involved: Jews and Palestinians, except  a small handful of Hamas warlords. The conflict just accelerated.

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A harbinger?

Sales down drastically in the land of hedge funds, Mitchells/Richards opens new store in San Francisco.

Jack Mitchell, whose parents started the eponymous Westport store in 1958, said the family-owned business went west because “enormous decreases” in wealth by New York-area clientele meant expansion had to occur elsewhere. Hedge-fund executives, who once bought $1,500 John Lobb shoes, are spending cautiously in the aftermath of the financial crisis, he said.

I haven’t stepped foot in Richards in at least twenty years – I didn’t like their prices, they didn’t like or want my paltry finances – but I find it interesting that the customers they did love are cutting back.

By the way, coming out of the Apple store across the street the other day, I was struck again by the beauty of Richards “new” building. To my eye, it compliments the existing architecture on the Avenue, while pushing it forward a bit, too. Nice job; I hope the store regains its footing, just so I can continue to admire its exterior.


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