“That House Is Garbage!”

Gideon Fountain writes:

The reason house sellers absolutely hate having their properties mentioned in Chris Fountain’s blog is made quite clear in the responses to my previous post.  The little band of nay-sayers is positively amazing, not just for their firmly held opinions, but the vehemence with which they are expressed.

Reminds me of the old Howard Stern Show, back when it was funny; you had this group of ugly guys acting somehow qualified to judge the pathetic, but definitely beautiful women who agreed to parade in front of them. Each woman had her “imperfections” carefully noted, mocked, and belittled.  Meanwhile, the judges themselves were such awful specimens that, well, you had to laugh.  But the truth about human bodies and real estate is, there are always imperfections.  And you can always find several really good reasons not to buy a particular piece of property.

“But wait”, you say, “Suppose I spent $39,500,000 for 84 Field Point Circle? Then the nay-sayers would have nothing to say!” Well, in fact, the new owner of that spectacular spot, I am told, plans to rip the entire second floor off the existing house and build a new second floor.  “Yes, but it’s beautiful, direct waterfront!” True, but that means you get to hear all those stupid “Cigarette” boats racing around all night with their powerful, un-muffled engines. Horrible! (And, incidentally, the neighbor on the left side?  Way too close!)

What about 124 Old Mill Road and its 75.07 acres?  That lucky buyer paid $24,000,000 in June, 2010.  What a shame he didn’t have the Chris Fountain nay-sayers to warn him, to implore him NOT to buy that property!  Why? Its entire southern border runs along the Merritt Parkway!  Oh, the horrors! The shame of it!

“Fine”, you say, “but consider 14 Meadow Lane“, where the buyer just shelled out $32, 500,000.  Now there’s the perfect property, right?  Wrong!  A “small” kitchen that overlooks the driveway! And worse still, no matter how you slice it, it was just a damn “builder spec house”!

Statler and Waldorf, two of Chris Fountain's loyal nay-sayers.

Yep, these poor suckers bought these obviously inferior properties why? Because they were bamboozled by fast-talking real estate agents. I sure feel sorry for them.


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34 responses to ““That House Is Garbage!”

  1. OG Reader

    Waldorf: Now, I’ve seen everything.
    Statler: Good! Can we leave?

    (must go see the upcoming Muppet Movie)

  2. Krazy Kat

    Gideon – Well, given the venom spit by a couple of those commenters, the owners at Wyckham may not be buying you dinner any time soon. On the other hand, any potential buyer who Googles the address will now have the benefit of your professional and favorable comments on the home as well as one or two of your realtor colleagues.

    As someone NOT in your business, I find it amazing that comments could suggest that this bonus could somehow coax an unaware buyer to see, contract and close on the home without ever knowing their broker were being paid a bonus by the seller. In my real world, buyers buy houses they like, not ones their broker want them to buy. In the early 1990s and we were coiming out of Manhattan to Greenwich, we engaged a very prominent broker to find us a home. Over several weekend we walked through some teens number of houses, none of which we liked enough to revisit. Several of them were listings of our broker and we felt a slight push from her on those but she was seasoned enough to know not to shove.

    We ended up buying a house listed in Greenwich Time that we proactively asked our broker to see. She never showed it to us because it was out of our stated price range. We loved the location in Riverside and stretched to buy it but we did and could not have been happier.

    My point is your point, buyers are not mindless sheep that can be duped into buying a particular home because of some broker incentive (own listing, listing in own agency, bonus). This is especially so in the Internet age and in the price range we are talking about where no buyer with that kind of financial resources can be called dumb.

    Beauty and value are in the eye of the beholder. Or, everyone is entitled to their opinion and, inevitably, some will be informed, some will be uninformed and some will appear to be driven by emotion that the rest of us will never understand. This is what makes markets of all types.

  3. Anonymous

    That’s what naysayers do. There’s one in every corner. You just have to take them with a grain of salt. They are part of life. If we didn’t have them, all that would remain are Realtors who only have positive things to say about a house.

  4. Cos Cobber

    To your pointGids, it would be fun if all posters honestly disclosed a picture and address of their own fine home.

  5. anonymous

    Great observation. one mans’ castle is another man’s dump. there are no perfect houses or locations and when you’re buying you just hope that when you have to sell it , somebody else will come along who is willing to accept the bad with the good just like you did.

  6. Anthony Fountain

    I suspect those jackals would temper their commentary if they were unable to cloak themselves in anonymity.

  7. Anonymous

    This site is now officially lame. It’s not the same when you can’t call a house garbage, an area fringe, or a asking price absurd. If you aren’t going to offer your opinion you are nothing but an overpaid chauffeur. We need Chris back…

  8. Anonymous

    I’m changing the subject here, but I was just reading that our favorite Greenwich resident, Raj Rajaratnam, who is serving 11 years in jail for insider trading, now needs a kidney transplant, which will cost $300,000 in taxpayer money. This is annoying because the guy was a diabetic and has a pre-existing condition, so his health insurance should cover this, not us. Who sold this guy that historic house on Round Hill Road anyway? If you are going to live in one of Greenwich’s historic landmarks, you should have the decency to not act like a pig. (And not eat like one too).

  9. Uncle ugly

    “overpaid chauffer”- nice!

  10. anonymous

    I do think that a good buyer’s broker provides advice on how other people would see the pro’s and con’s of a property when you ultmiately try to resell it, to make sure you’re not buying a lemon that NOBODY else will want. My broker told me that she would never let me buy a house that she would have reservations about trying to sell some day (she was assuming she would be the broker)

  11. Cobra

    Perhaps if RajRaj were to undergo a porcine kidney transplant the taxpayers might pay somewhat less. Plus, chances of organ rejection would be greatly reduced in not eliminated.

  12. anon

    to think of all the properties that might be listed right now if it weren’t for this website…. ahhhh. what a shame.

  13. Hey

    Differing opinions are what makes a market – dissatisfaction with a house or a region’s prospects cause one person to sell while someone with a different opinion buys. Same with the stockmarket.

    It’s very disappointing to see Gideon getting all shirty because people dare differ with his opinion and provide their honest opinion. De Gustibus non est disputandum is 2 thousand year old maxim for a reason!

    A major issue with housing is that the dispassionate critic is more likely to come up with a lower valuation and a more negative opinion. This is especially true in trophy properties ($35M??) where there are still compromises to be made (if you don’t have $35M, you tend to think that wealth of that level means not having to accept compromises, but sadly there are always compromises, no matter how much money you have to throw at a problem). Having a family and a reasonably immediate need for a house (or else just being tired of looking with said family) makes for much different assessments of value. I know from trying to buy a house as a single professional that the people with emotional drivers for a purchase are almost always going to be that little bit more motivated than someone trying to make a smart decision.

    All that said, with a horrible year for Wall Street and the imminent crash of Europe, Greenwich looks in for hard times.

  14. General Putnam

    Freedom isnt free.
    Chris Fountain is a patriot, a one man army, a real Rambo and has the wounds of battle to prove it.
    Deon, it appears you are more of a REMF.

  15. Libertarian Advocate

    O/T I’m guessing Chris has not yet been furloughed from the federal government’s new Hope & Change Social Re-integration Facility….

  16. Whine Hater

    Anonymous: We all know you want Chris back. Apparently, his absence has left a huge gap in your life. Neither Gideon nor Frank are being paid for their considerable time spent in writing these entries to keep Chris’ blog going. Chris could have shut down the blog, but instead enlisted these two busy professionals to offer their opinions and insights. It is not mandatory that you check in and write asinine comments. It’s going to be a gorgeous weekend. Why not turn off your computer and go try to have a life.

  17. Gideon: Before Chris returns, let me take a few seconds to thank you very much for manning the reins. I have to assume you now have a new-found appreciation for what Chris does. It’s not easy to manage FWIW – especially coping with us, his ardent fans.

    We’re accustom to spouting off, whining, hating a house, and dumping on the realtor who is clueless. That’s what we do here. We don’t really hide behind out monikers – our personalities are very strong and individualized, even the gaggle of Anonymous’s can be differentiated. FWIW is famous for being Anything But Mainstream and that’s it success, thanks to our fearless leader.

    You did an admirable job, a true real estate cheerleader. But we’re here for the Complainer in Chief and hope he returned last night as planned feeling renewed – spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

    Thanks again for all your hard work.

  18. Inagua

    “…with a horrible year for Wall Street and the imminent crash of Europe, Greenwich looks in for hard times.”

    Hey – You may be right about the future, but the current market is reasonably vibrant. Over 475 houses were sold through the first half of October. And prices were surprisingly strong, especially in Riverside and OG. There is substantial objective evidence which suggests that the Greenwich market bottomed last summer and has been steadily improving since then — volume, median price, unsold inventory, etc.

  19. Anonymous

    Gideon, I’m going to miss you when you go back into hibernation.

  20. Nat

    Whine Hater might consider taking its own advice.

  21. Cos Cobber

    Whine Hater = FF’s dad?

  22. Oh well. Compliment still stands.

  23. Libertarian Advocate

    Gid: Are you intimating that Farricker has succeed in persuading Axelrod and Plouffe into holding Chris in their Hope & Change reeducation unit another week so he could suck us all into the dark side? Phat chance of that.

    • Gideon Fountain responds….
      “Libertarian Advocate”: Sheesh, I actually had to look up this character “Plouffe”. Apparently, he’s a “political strategist and senior advisor to the President”, aka “Obama’s brain”. Anyhow, no, Chris is not in the clutches of senior Democrats, bent on brainwashing. Mr. Fountain will return shortly, brain intact, ready for battle.

  24. Krazy Kat

    Daniel, Schiff was only partly right in April 2007 when he was predicting a 50% drop in Orange County prices. Sure, the commenters were mostly deluded about the potential for price declines there. The data below shows some data from Case Shiller for the Los Angeles MSA which includes OC. That index peaked in Sept2006 so prices could have already been softening by April 2007, but more likely in Metro LA than in OC at that point. The index, from Peak through September, was down 38%. Will it drop a full 50% and vindicate Schiff? Who knows but it is not impossible. Not that the index is now back to October 2003 levels.

    SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
    Case-Shiller: Summer is Kind to Orange County Home Prices
    Let’s check in on the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (HPI). Here’s a summary of the latest data for the Los Angeles area, which includes LA and Orange Counties:

    July 2011
    Month to Month: Up 0.2%
    Year to Year: Down 3.5%
    Prices at this level in: October 2003
    Peak month: September 2006
    Change from Peak: Down 37.9% in 58 months
    Low Tier: Under $303,331
    Mid Tier: $303,331 to $496,849
    Hi Tier: Over $496,849

  25. Krazy Kat

    If anyone cares, here’s the Shiller data for the three market segments through last March. Based on this, the lowest tier segment has already corrected over 50% with the highest end sector down less than 30%. Similar to patterns across the country.

  26. Hey

    Inagua – it’s all about the future. I’m not local so all I have to go on are macro analysis and extrapolating to the microclimate of Gwich. Decent enough, but limited by the lack of a need to be within x minutes of the train or certain hedge fund offices and y minutes from GCD, etc. The one problem with dispassionate analysis is that it is too focused on medium term economics rather than immediate term family dynamics.

    It’s good for predicting where the market will be, not great at handling any given transaction.

  27. yeah predicting is good, but handling the give transaction is another story..

  28. Anonymous

    The Howard Stern Show is still funny.
    I’d bet that you haven’t heard him since he went to Sirius.

    • Gideon Fountain responds….
      “Anonymous”: You’re right! When Howard Stern went to SIRIUS Satellite Radio, I never heard from him again. But even before that, I recall that there were various changes that diminished the program: Jackie left, Howard got divorced, he got all involved in the Bush vs. Gore election controversy, and he started inviting the likes of Al Franken and Michael Moore on the show. Oh, and engineer Fred Norris’s sound effects became repetitive an dull.