Daily Archives: January 13, 2012

Teaser

Saw a couple of very well priced houses today but I was showing them to clients so until they decide whether to pursue either  I can’t or don’t want to write about them. But there are some decent values out there and, I hope, there are more to come.

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Google lays an egg

They’ve screwed up their primary asset, the search engine. How can bright people make such a massive, stupid mistake? I don’t know – maybe they hired guys from Coke.

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Dang, I’d have liked to live here

74 Long Meadow Road (Street? Avenue?), asking $1.495 million, has gone to contract. This house is directly on the Mianus River, with a dock, which you probably can’t build any more, plus street rights to the Long meadow Association and its little sandy beach/boat rack arrangement at the other end of the street.

This portion of the Mianus is really neat because you can skate, swim, sail and fish here (the latter can be done through the ice, if there is any ever again and in free-form water the other seasons).  Nice people live on the street (I said I’d like to live here, not that I did) and the houses are modest, which I prefer. I’ll be curious to see what price this closes at.

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Dumb as bricks

I know nothing!

“Economists” are out with another one of those stupid studies, this time claiming that a tax on sugary drinks would save 26,000 American lives a year. No medical data supports this and, naturally, the supposed experts are professors based in San Francisco, but the press picked up the story and ran with it.

Did you ever notice that every “health” plan like this, every idea to hike taxes and spend more of your money always hides behind a claim that the costs will be fr exceeded by the benefits? Mandatory insurance coverage for mammograms will cost each household $1,000 a year but society will save X billions otherwise lost to sickness and breast reconstruction surgery. Spend $15 billion on mandatory bicycle helmets and save $100 zillion in hospital emergency room costs. Having been deluged with this idiocy for decades,  have you noticed the cost of health care going down? Neither have I.

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Here was a good buy in Milbrook

27 Orchard Drive has an accepted offer. Last asking price was $3.250 million. The buyers paid $1.905 in 2007 and then built a brand new house on the foundation. Tremendous craftsmanship and a nice back yard even if it’s  pond. I liked this house a lot. The sellers tried pricing it at $3.859 in 2009 by the way and that would have been an excellent price in better times. As it is, whoever is buying this place is getting a good deal; I suspect they are paying less than that asking price and far less than it would cost to duplicate this construction.

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Obama administration “proves” what we’ve known all along: Head Start is a useless waste of money that accomplishes nothing

Two years wasted? Tell your kid not to worry, there's always affirmative action!

I’ve posted here several times about Head Start’s failure to help pre-schoolers – one study I linked to found that after two years in the program children arrived in kindergarten knowing exactly two more letters of the alphabet than their non-schooled peers, and that’s it. No other gains or accomplishments.

But now Obummer’s crew has studied Head Start and reached the same conclusion. From Walter Russel Mead:

Joe Klein at Time magazine. As Klein reports,

We spend more than $7 billion providing Head  Start to nearly 1 million children each year. And finally there is  indisputable evidence about the program’s effectiveness, provided by the  Department of Health and Human Services: Head Start simply does not  work.

These days, defenders of Head Start say less about what it does for kids (essentially nothing) but about the jobs it creates in poor neighborhoods.  This is blue liberal thinking at its most self-parodic: we can’t develop social programs that will accomplish something worthwhile, but we can at least use the illusion that such programs work to create jobs for people who will then vote for the politicians who give them make work jobs.

This fifty years of money down the rat hole, fifty years of listen to Dollar Bill types responding to any criticism of this (or any similar) program by wringing their hands and denouncing  us as “cruel” and “heartless”. In fact, it’s the Dollar Bills who are heartless by consigning the defenseless to a lifetime of poverty, all in the name of the Great Society and from a desire to salve their liberal guilt by spending other people’s money on programs that don’t work. true kindness and compassion dictates that we abandon what isn’t working (job retraining, anyone? Welfare?) and try a different approach. But as anyone who’s studied them knows, liberals and communists are the cruelist, most selfish and heartless people on earth.

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Go ahead, drive me crazy

I’m working with a young couple in the $2-million-and-under range and sorting through what I think are acceptable houses in Riverside and Old Greenwich (if you’re curious, I thought 8 out of 22 in that rough price range were worth looking at). One that came up in the search looked promising but I see that its owners have just increased their price from $1.450 to $1.525 and that’s a clear signal of either stroke-induced dementia or a troubling dissociation from reality.

I suppose I’ll still show it because there are limited choices out there but having just watched these folks lose a deal because of a nutty seller who didn’t really want to sell and a broker who is … odd, I dread getting involved with these owners. But with luck, my clients will dislike the house or its location and we can skip that process. I certainly won’t be going in with the most positive attitude.

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Here’s a rarity – beautiful home sells for a good price in just 29 days

63 North Street, a nifty 1840’s house on 0.8 acres, was listed this fall for $2.850 million, found a buyer quickly and closed yesterday at $2.775. I’m really pleased to see this because I have despaired over the fate of Greenwich’s most beautiful homes and yet, obviously, someone appreciated this one’s proximity to town and its great charm. I personally couldn’t stand living so close to North Street now that cars have been invented but it’s wonderful that a buyer was found who can.

The house last sold in 2001 for $2.250 million and I’d guess that the costs of renovations performed in 2005 pretty much ate up any whiz-bang profit here but the sellers got ten years of living in a nice house and probably  most, if not all of their renovation money back. Pretty good deal in today’s market.

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When good spec houses go bad

8 Hobart Drive, built on speculation (and a small plot of land) in 2008 and originally asking $7.8million, sold at a bank-dumped price of $3.675. I thought this was a good house, designed by Greenwich architect Aris Crist and located in an excellent neighborhood, but the builder was dreaming when he set his price and so was Patriot Bank when it loaned him $4.888 million. Oops.

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A banner day for Round Hill Road

86 Round Hill Road

Word comes that 86 Round Hill Road sold yesterday for $1.8 million, down a trifle from its first price of $2.395 million and surely a disappointment to the sellers, who paid $2.1375 for it in 2003. Still, town assessment is just $1.248 million, so the sellers made out.

There was a rumor some time ago that Walt Noel had eyed this stable as a place to hide his fillies from rapacious creditors but backed off when he discovered that  the listing realtor’s description of it as a “cache beyond your expectations” was actually an attempt by the poor dear to use the word, “cachet”.  It sold anyway, perhaps to a Rocky Mountain fur trapper.

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Swamp Monster?

49 Pecksland Rd

49 Pecksland Road is once again back on for sale, asking the same price, $2.350 million, that failed to move it in 2009. The owners first tried to sell it for $3.850 in 2008 but were unsuccessful. They paid $1.650 for it in 2004 and did extensive renovations in 2005 so they could perhaps be forgiven for their enthusiastic pricing that year but 2008 wasn’t a good time to sell real estate and the intervening years have not been kind. I could be wrong, and you readers can correct me, but I think I remember this as a very nice house that unfortunately is perched on the edge of a swamp, which makes for a bad polo field and a bad impression on potential buyers.

The town’s assessment is $1.475.

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Everything sells in Greenwich, eventually

197 Round Hill Road has an accepted offer, last asking price $2.795 (assessed value, 70% market value, $2.259 million). There’s nothing particularly wrong with this old teardown on 2.5 acres except that there’s a building lot in front of it and one day, someone’s going to put up a big honker of house between this one and the road. That’ll block road noise, I suppose, but for many years, buyers balked at the prospect.

This has been on the market for four long years, starting at $4.250 million and gradually sinking to a level that uncovered a motivated buyer. Whatever the final selling price turns out to be this is good news for Walter Noel’s creditors, who have attached his property just down the street at 175 Round Hill for $10 million. Walt’s is a teardown too but, like this one, sits on a decent building lot. Raze the stables out back where Walt and Monica kept the fillies and you could build a nice house, and now those creditors know where at least $2 million is resting.

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