Daily Archives: May 4, 2011

Right up there in importance with fitted bedsheets

Justice Department demands to know why NCAA doesn’t have a football playoff championship. These people are paid with our tax money. If this is really the best use of their time, then we have too many people in the DOJ.

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Drop your price or drop your listing

So I met a very nice new client today looking in the roughly, $5-$7 million range. There are a ton of those for sale – probably 90 or so, but winnowing them down to fit the client’s other criteria knocked  a lot from consideration. I pulled the listings of those remaining, dropped still more and then turned to the history of those that were left.

Number one reason for giving some of those listings the axe? No price movement in at least a year (some hadn’t budged in two or more years).  In my opinion, few if any current Greenwich listings are worth what they originally ask. Some are close enough that it’s worthwhile bidding on immediately but more are just absurd and it’s the latter that I want to see a sign from that their owners have gotten religion.

For instance, there’s a Belle Haven property that first asked $16.8 million years ago. Three brokers later, it’s down in the 9’s. Fine, let’s talk; we’ll pay more for waterfront (too bad that this one, despite its listing description as “waterfront” is in fact across the road and facing the Belle Haven Club beach). But when I see a house that, say, came on at $7.150 a year ago April and hasn’t budged since, I interpret that as a clear signal that the owner is set on that price. And that’s fine too, but I’m not going to waste my time showing it. Someone else can overpay, and they have my blessing – go get it, big boy.

I doubt I’m alone in this sentiment, so if your house hasn’t sold in a year or two and you’re still clinging to that original price, you might want to consider pulling it from the market and trying again next year or next century – I doubt it’s going anywhere soon in this market.

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Pennsylvania forced to spend $800 million replacing sidewalk ramps

(Also from Overlawyered). The Americans with Disabilities act required all municipalities to build wheelchair ramps in their sidewalks and so they all complied, Pennsylvania included.Now the ADA standards have changed, and the states must replace the original ramps with new ones that meet the new standard. Pennsylvania will spend $800 million, I assume the other states will follow suit. If they all spend, on average, just $200 million complying, that’s ten billion bucks.

New York City was recently ordered by the feds to change all its street signs to (or from, who remembers?) capital to lower case letters. That was a $100 million hit. Now they can redo their sidewalk ramps.

When liberals howl that there’s no fat to spare in the federal budget, maybe they should take a look at the regulations we impose, and see if there’s not something in there we could work with.

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No detail, no matter how small, escapes modern government

From Overlawyered.com, this: California bill would mandated fitted, rather than flat sheets in motels.

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Good news for Raj?

 A juror is ill and has been replaced by an alternate, so deliberations have to start all over. This might help Rjamataz return to Round Hill Road and stay there, rather than accept alternative lodging supplied by the government. I don’t read tea leaves, but the first juror is a bookkeeper, her replacement is a leather-wearing parks department employee studying to be a minister. I think, were I picking a jury for this case, I’d go with the latter.

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FEMA:No more aid for Texas

Two million acres burned in Texas wildfires, no aid for them. yet Greenwich – Greenwich! – gets its feet damp and FEMA inspectors are all over town, encouraging homeowners to apply for federal aid. Curious.

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Another tough sale

Price cut today, from $2.999 to $2.390 for an 1804 house at 306 Round Hill Road. Nifty old place, but in 1804 the Merritt Parkway wasn’t next door. Now it is, and it’s going to take a real antique lover to jump on this one. I’ll let you know what it finally sells for.

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Why do people do this to themselves?

18 Ferncliff

Way back in 2007 I was asked by another agent to give a price opinion for this Cos Cob house which he intended to list. I forget my exact opinion, but it was somewhere around $1.4, a price similar to the most recent sale of another contemporary in the area. The agent proceeded to price it at $1.995, and it sat. After the market collapsed, a new kitchen was installed and the price raised to $2.195. This is a beautiful house and one I’d love to live in myself,  but $2.2 million was not a price that was going to draw many buyers.

 
In fact it drew none, and over the years the price has slowly dropped  until it is now $1.650. Assuming that the owners want to sell, and they did when I talked to them in 2007, that’s four years of living in a house they no longer want to live in. At their age, that’s four years wasted. And at this rate, they’ll be looking at nursing homes before they move, instead of a condo in Hawaii.
 
31 Druid

This Riverside house doesn’t have quite the same sorry history. Its owners paid $2.4 million for it in 2003, listed it for sale at $3.625 in ’07, but gave up and rented it, I believe, in 2009, so at least they were receiving a nice income. It was never officially returned to the MLS but it’s reported as sold today, for $2.450.

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A sale on Byfield Lane

3 Byfield Lane has sold for $1.8 million after three years on the market. It was listed in 2008 at $2.995. In 2010, the owners installed a new roof, new kitchen (with new appliances), redid all the baths and added a new master bedroom, then dropped the price to $1.999. I guess my question is, if all that work was required to sell it, who was smoking what when they priced it at $3 million in 2008, the very bottom of the real estate market?

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A sad story from the Onion

Man raised by parents struggles to adjust to “real world”.

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Buy low, break even

14 Hope Farm

A contract today for this property, asking $4.150. It’s only been on the market since March, so I’d assume the seller is getting close to asking price. It sold to someone else for $4.215 in 2004 and that buyer relisted it for $5.395 in March, 2008. The current owner picked it up for $3.550 in October ’09, demonstrating to me at least that you can buy property in this market and still get rid of it in a relatively short time, so long as you buy at the right price. Even accounting for some modest renovation costs and broker fees and taxes, the owner should actually make money on this deal. Not bad.

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Here’s a sale I missed

16 Chimney Corner

16 Chimney Corner Lane, tidal waterfront, 1922, renovated 1993, sold in a modest bidding war in 2000, $6.025 on an asking price of $6 million. It came back on in July, 2010, nothing have been done to it to merit mention by its listing agent, asking $8.5 million, and sold April 15th of this year for $6.950. The owner didn’t lose money  (actually, he did:  in inflation adjusted dollars through 2010, he needed to receive $7.518 to break even )  but there was a time, not so long ago, that the owner of Greenwich real estate could have expected a greater appreciation over eleven years. So it goes.

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Contracts and price cuts

65 Bote Road, a total renovation back in 2006, asked $1.779 and has a contract after 56 days on market. Nice house, not a crazy price.

4 Grimes Road, in Shorelands, is a 2005 house that was asking $2.675 and has a contract after just 25 days. It’s selling direct (no commission, damn it!) which almost certainly means it’s going to a neighbor who’d been renting nearby. That’s not uncommon in Shorelands – if people like the neighborhood (some find it too cramped), they tend to love it and want to stay there.

35 Dawn Harbor in Riverside came on for $3.2 in July, 2010 and only today has cut its price, to $3.0 million. That’s a long time to sit on the original price, I think.

5 Dawn Harbor didn’t wait so long. It too asked $3.2, in March of this year and today cut its price to $2.995. I’m not convinced that’s the right price, but I agree with the seller’s strategy of not waiting around.

508 Round Hill Road, a rental (and a beautiful house) cut its asking price from $18,000 to $16,900. The listing describes the available term as “one year +”. Considering that this is Otisville resident Dom Devito’s house, I might have used, “3-5, depending on good behavior”.

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Great moments in pricing

How can you not like an 1829 antique? This house on 661 Steamboat Road has finally gone to contract, but only after its April, 2010 price of $2.950 million was dropped to $1.725.

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Bring back the prairie

Dying town in the Oklahoma panhandle. The best that can be said of this town that probably should never have been settled? “We don’t have that many tornadoes”.

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Good move on both their parts

Obama invites Bush to join him at Ground Zero ceremony tomorrow, Bush thanks him but declines. Nice gesture by Obama and I think it was wise of Bush to stay home. He’s no longer president, something I wish Jimmy Carter would remember.

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Yeah, but Bush was president then, this is now

Pelosi in 2006: It’s too late – capturing bin Laden now would do nothing to make us safer. 2011: Greatest thing since sliced bread. Oh.

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We demand politically correct code names!

Some Onondaga Indian (chicken feather, not dot head Indian) is angry that the SEAL 6 team used “Geronimo” as the code name during the raid against bin Laden. Cry me a river. Geronimo, an Apache in Arizona, not an Eastern Onondaga, was one nasty guy.  A fine warrior, but no one you’d want to be captured by. And I suspect that, in planning this raid,  the SEALs had other things on their mind more important than assuring that they didn’t hurt the feelings of some nitwit Iroquois in upstate New York.

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Hey Sis, is that you?

West Virginia: Man arrested after being found standing over (dead) goat, dressed in women’s underwear.  Cue banjo music, please.

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Talk about outsourcing

Here’s a Reuter’s story about a recall of tomatoes in California and Arizona. Nothing unusual about the story itself – salmonella has been a problem in vegetables for years – but I was struck by the credit at the end: “Reporting done by Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore”. I’d heard that news services were shipping their reporting services to places like India, but hadn’t seen it, until now.

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