Daily Archives: January 23, 2012

$25 light bulbs? Right ahead of $40,000 entry level cars

They’re here, and aren’t we lucky? But don’t worry, it’s all for the common good.

$25 for a lightbulb?

Yep. It may be hard to swallow, but the investment will pay off down the road.

Not for consumers, of course, but who said this was about them? Imagine the fun next time you move into a rental house whose previous tenant will naturally have taken all the bulbs with him. That’ll be some big bucks to come up with for some people but hell, if they can afford a Volt they can afford bulbs. And if not, ef’m- they can walk home and sit in the dark


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If at first you don’t succeed

180 North Street

180 North Street, which failed to sell for $5.495 million in 2007 has returned to the market, now pegged at $3.995. I liked this house very much when I saw it back then but I didn’t like its price. Neither did anyone else, apparently, so it’s still with us. Convenient location but it is on the first (or the last, depending on your speed) big curve on North Street – that may deter some buyers, especially if they visit during rush hour. But $4 million is an improvement over $5.5, so maybe that’ll do the trick.


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A deafening silence awaits?

28 Thunder Mountain

Maybe. 28 Thunder Mountain Road, over off of Riversville is for sale and asking $5.995 million. That seems like a lot, even if it did sell for $5.650 in 2008. It’s a very nice house,  as I recall, but I couldn’t believe this sold for as much as it did back then. In fact, isn’t this the one that was reported as “sold” (not by the current owners of course but by the builder and his agent) for something like $7 million and, when several of us exposed that as a bit higher than reality, was re-reported at $5.650, with the explanation that the house had been sold unfinished and that, when completed, the broker ‘estimated” that it would be worth over $7 million?

If this is the same house, then the current sellers must have put in a ton of money over and above the purchase price – that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should have. I guess we’ll see. (UPDATE: this house won an award for “best spec house in the $5-$6 million category”, so I’m guessing it was not the one with the phony reported price – you don’t win awards for an unfinished house, right?)

As an aside, do you suppose that just as one developer named the adjoining street “Memory Lane” because it terminates at a graveyard, this was so named because from the top of the hill (no mountains in Greenwich) you can hear the roar of the Merritt? It’s certainly true that, up Riversville just a small distance, “Hardscrabble Road” hots a tidy collection of bungalows. Truth in street names over there on our western side of town; I like it.

UPDATE II: Ah, it was 20 Thunder Mountain that the broker, Greenwich Fine Properties, if you care, first reported as sold at its asking price of $7.4 million and then was forced (oh the power of the press) to restate its sales price accurately at $4.5 million and add this to the final sales sheet:



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A sample of real estate photography at its finest

From one of today’s new listings, a photo of a $1 million + house that’s sure to inspire buyers and infuriate EOS. I mean, wouldn’t the agent be better off just borrowing a copy of his kindergartener’s drawing of a house?

Coffee, a loved one and a cozy kitchen nook - all perfect for a quiet snowy morn (Angle supplied by photographer)


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Sore loser


I will gladly pay you on Tuesday ....

Mortgage loan scammer (to the tune of $100 million) caught trying to hire a hit man. Couple of questions: how could anyone who looks like this guy convince anyone to give him money; and, is there anyone left in America who doesn’t know that hit men are always undercover cops?


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Here’s an excellent argument against Obummerkare and no-charge medical care

Burn baby, burn

Methamphetamine addicts screwing up – burn treatment (at taxpayer’s expense) $130,000 per wuzzle-head.


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Whoa, a bidding war!

Close to that hamburger joint and the fire house

32 Cliff Avenue, a new unit in a triplex in Byram, was listed for $639,000 just a little while ago and promptly sold for $675,000. Are pickings really so slim in this range that a Byram condo can command multiple bids? I guess so. In the past, “winners” of bidding wars have done quite badly after the fact but I suppose this time it will be different.

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How to scare real estate agents away

I have a client coming out for the day this weekend and I’ve been trying to arrange a schedule for house viewings. I came across one house of possible interest on a so-so street asking $4 million. Just out of curiosity I checked my memory of sales on the street with MLS records and sure enough, nothing on that street has ever sold for as much as $3 million and the highest sale, $2.8 million, dated to 2007. So this builder wants someone to pay $1 million over the highest price paid, on an iffy street that has seen no improvement in the past five years since the last sale? I had already scratched the house off my viewing list when, speaking with another builder, I learned that the basement had sat flooded for six months before being pumped out. Eew, mildew too? It ain’t happening.


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Why bother?

42 Will Merry Lane is back on the market but at the same price, $2.850 million, it has failed to sell at since last May. This is a perfectly nice house on the “right” (south) side of Will Merry, away from the Merritt. In a better market, it might have fetched close to its asking price but it’s not a better market and if a house hasn’t sold at a given price since May, I’d think that most everyone who is shopping in this price range has had an opportunty to see or at least consider it and has rejected it. So gee, why not try a different price range? And by that, I don’t mean to suggest raising the price to $3.9.


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Government Motors Volts – no one wants them, not even Chevy dealers

Fireman: one of Obama's 2.7 million green jobs created?

And why would they? There aren’t enough government agencies to dump them on.

In Clovis, Calif., Brett Hedrick, dealer principal at Hedrick’s Chevrolet, sold ten Volts last year. But in December and January he turned down all six Volts allocated to him under GM’s “turn-and-earn” system, which distributes vehicles based on past sales volumes and inventory levels. GM’s “thinking we need six more Volts is just crazy,” Hedrick said to Automotive News. “We’ve never sold more than two in a month.”


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Big decision on civil rights

Reader AJ alerts me that the Supreme Court has just ruled, 9-0, that police need a warrant before tracking citizens with GPS devices. I’d expected this to be decided by a split-decision, one way or the other. Nine-to-zero is as firm a rejection of this intrusion as one could hope for. TSA body searches next?


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Sort of a surprise

158 Indian Head, asking $13.850 million, has expired unsold. That was a lot of money, obviously, but this was a really nicely renovated house with great (tidal) waterfront. And its price was more-or-less in line with other sales down here. But I saw the property back in October 2010, so my memory of those renovations may be off – certainly, no potential buyer felt the house was worth as much as it was asking.

My family came close to buying this in 1954 when it was priced for far less; under $100,000, I’d guess, but my father ultimately rejected it because it was too far for an easy walk to the train and he couldn’t see to drive. But I came to know the Sophian girls, whose family did buy it, and I remember it as a wonderful house. If the sellers still want to sell I’m sure this will come back on the market and I’d still expect it to sell, though maybe not at this price.


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Book’em, Danno

The Rand family is escorted from Nashville Airport

Senator Rand Paul has been detained by the TSA for refusing a full body search. There are those who think that the TSA harassing one of its more vocal critics in the Senate is a dumb move but (a) whoever said TSA employees were anything but dumb and (b) I think every Congressman and Senator should be strip searched at our airports and by our police at every opportunity, just so these guys will finally get it.

Shortly after 9/11, when these silly, stupid searches began, that ancient old codger Rep. John Dingell (picture a few posts below) was ecstatic when his artificial hip set off a metal scanner. “This proves the system works!” he crowed. I pointed out then that if the “system” was identifying 89-year-old Congressmen as potential threats, then it wasn’t working at all. Nothings’s gotten better since (including John Dingell, come to think of it).


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A sale

I seem to remember that this house was burdened with a bevy of mortgages but nonetheless 2 Indian Knoll (off of Riversville ) has sold, and at $2.9 million, got a great price for this neighborhood. Great for the seller, any way. 500 + DOM


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As long as he says he’s sorry, why not?

Another Democrat gone mad

Charlie Dingell, the fellow who shot, raped and beheaded all in one holdup back in 1983 (and inspired what even the New York Post acknowledges was their best headline ever: “Headless in a Topless Bar”) wants parole. It has been a long time, and I’m sure he’s been rehabilitated.

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Great moments in NOPO spec houses

Architectural grandeur and Brussel sprout landscaping, all in one

After discussing the proposed new house on 3 Elizabeth Lane, below, I wondered how that other spec job two streets over at 19 Spezzano Drive was making out. Not too well, it seems. Built on land purchased for $882,500 in 2006, the house was priced at $2.395 million in 2007. After the laughter died down and the bank took it over, the building gradually declined in price before reaching its nadir at $1.649 in late 2009.  I see that a year ago the bank raised the price to an even $2 million but even this bit of brilliance failed to move it and so it still sits. I haven’t been by recently but its condition probably hasn’t improved in the five years it’s been empty and exposed to the elements. I smell scraper.


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Springtime, and hope springs eternal

Comes with car port

There’s a new house proposed for 3 Elizabeth Lane in Riverside’s NOPO district off of Riverside Lane: 3,000 sq. ft., more or less, $1.850 million. Cos Cob school district, too, NTTAWWT – CC graduates attendees surely made more money during this past weekend’s snow dusting than most investment bankers or real estate agents did – but still.

While it’s true that a house on this street sold for this much and in only 12 days, that was 2005. I’m not sure the market has come back enough to support this price and neither is the builder, obviously: he’s not breaking ground until you agree to buy it. And if I were you, I’d wait.

UPDATE: The builder paid $590,000 for the lot just two weeks ago, a price substantially down from the frothy days of 2005-2007. If he can benefit from that decline then perhaps you can too – negotiate.


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Far from the madding crowd?

But I didn't WANT snowshoes for Christmas, dear!

Not at Tod’s Point anymore, alas. I was down there yesterday for a mental health hike-around and there wasn’t a square inch of snow that hadn’t been traversed, not a path without people on it. I understand that parks are to be used and that I’m not the only person in town but as I walked I did think back to the winter days of, say, 1968, when I could skip school and walk down to the beach to find myself entirely alone. Montana continues to appeal.

I did get one bonus from the crowd, however: the spectacle of a guy passing me on snowshoes, bravely making his way through 2″ of snow. I didn’t know that snowshoes worked in so little fluff but then, I’ve never tried. That’s his girlfriend above.


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Magic on Wall Street

Greenwich’s Eddie Lampert wants to buy Sears so he turns to his old employer Goldman Sachs for the money.  Sachs dumps the crap on its own customers, who are in for $3.5 billion and adds $75 million of its own money which, coincidentally, is exactly its fee for rounding up the pigeons.

Now it’s all going bust and Sachs may lose that $75 million it “earned”, Lampert will “lose” money but he’s already made all that back with fees imposed on his hedge fund customers. The customer/investors themselves? Well heck, what do they say: if you’re sitting around the poker table and can’t spot the chump, you’re the chump.

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