Daily Archives: March 8, 2012

Yeah, but what about just second base?

Doesn't count if you're on a tropical isle

Republicans in South Carolina demand their candidates swear that they never engaged in pre-marital sex. Given that this article appears in something called “The Clinton Chronicle”, I suppose anything up to but not involving the dirty deed itself is not really “sex”, so that’ll be alright.

I’m just guessing here but I’d expect a dearth of Republican candidates next election. Or a whole bunch of liars.


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Some fun stats

Dream Baby

Thirteen accepted offers on single family homes this week, broken down as follows:

>$4,000.000:        0

$3-4                          1

$2-$2.2                    3

$1-$2.0                    5

<$1,000                  4

That’s okay, I guess, but what’s our inventory look like?

<$1,000,000         79

$1-$2                       122

$2-3                         88

$3-4                         59

$4-5                         40

$5-6                          34

$6-7                          23

$7-8                          26

$8-9                          18

$9-10                         11

>10,000,000      48     

Are you the teensiest surprised that we have more homes available priced over ten million dollars than we do in the $4-5 range? I am.

UPDATE: Accepted offers in the past 30 days

>$6              0

$5-6             1

$4-5              2

$3-4              2

$2-3              9

$1-2             18

<$1               19


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Californians can breath easy again

Saved by politicians who think and feel as we do. Thank you, God.

What, did they close their multi-billion dollar budget deficit? Erase the trillions in unfunded pension liability? Clean up the worst air in the nation? Nah, something far more important in the land of the Twinkie banners, they’ve forced Coke and Pepsi to reformulate their recipes for caramel coloring and remove carcinogens. Of course, the people whose lives will be saved by this change will have probably died from bladder cancer long before:

A Food and Drug Administration spokesman noted that a consumer would have to  drink more than 1,000 cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered that  have shown links to cancer in rodents.

Next up? A ban on cell phone towers within five miles of schools.


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This ought to please those agents looking for market activity

Two accepted offers reported and it’s just 3:00 pm!

11 Hycliff Road has, after seven years and 1,270 DOM and from a starting price of $4.495, finally found a buyer. Last asking price was $2.175 and assuming the accepted price is still lower, a decent deal. There’s a great contemporary on the site which I really like and would move right into but if you don’t like it, there are 5.74 acres on which to place a house of your preferred design. If this is a pure land deal, then $2 million is probably about right. If you want the house, then that’s free, and makes this a very good buy.

By the way, this house will actually sell for less than 49% of its original asking price and, as noted had 1270 DOM. Our MLS will report its sale price as a percentage of the last asking price, thereby continuing the illusion that Greenwich homes sell for, say, 95% of asking price and their records produce a DOM figure of 639 which, while alarming enough, is just half the truth.

31 Mallard

Moving down the scale a bit, 31 Mallard Drive, asking $875,000, has a buyer after just 31 days. The owners tried getting $1.195 back in 2007, pulled it from the market, put in what appears to be a new kitchen and placed it back up for sale this year for $875. Not a bad price for a home buyer looking for Greenwich. Mallard’s busy for my taste because it serves as the primary cut-through from the Post Road to central Greenwich but houses here have always sold well so obviously many people don’t mind the traffic.

UPDATE: Curious, I pulled the history of Mallard’s 20+ sales in recent years and my memory of it being a popular street was confirmed. There used to be bidding wars for houses like this, beginning in 2004 and ending in 2007, with prices climbing as high as $1.250 million for tear downs. That’s changed.

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Leftists’ wet dream

Their leader dying, faced with a restive population eager to regain its rights, the Chaves pols outlaw guns. That couldn’t happen here, right?


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Back from open houses

Some good, some really bad. For the record, I am increasingly convinced that 1978 marked the nadir of the building trade in Greenwich. Cramped, awkward rooms shoddy construction and despicable cheap materials.

But some of the new and newer construction I saw today was very nice, albeit at a high price. They were all in Riverside (that rental on Stanwich I mentioned was as I remembered and I intend to show it) but that’s just the way the day turned out – I ran out of time before I could reach Old Greenwich. So here are three that I consider worth looking at if you’re in their price range and Riverside’s in your area of interest.

5 Gilliam Lane

5 Gilliam Lane (links to all three properties discussed will be found here). New construction by Riverside’s Lino Marcal, one of the really good builders in town. Good space, with a high vaulted family room off the kitchen so you have an uninterrupted flow on the entire back side of the house. Three  childrens bedrooms upstairs plus a master and a master closet that’s just outrageously large – it was explained to me by another builder/broker that Lino had made the smart move of incorporating otherwise  unusable (due to FAR limitations) space by keeping the ceiling in this closet low enough to escape FAR doom. So you get a huge closet instead of dead air over the garage. Works very well. Great big basement, super efficient mechanicals, all in all, a good package.

8 Long View is larger (6,798 sq. ft. to 5 Gilliam’s 4,000, but the Gilliam number may not include the basement – I’m not sure) and also good quality. I’m not wild about its exterior design but the interior makes up for that. What gives Long View the edge, in my opinion, is location. Five Gilliam was previously on Riverside Avenue and although changing the driveway gave it a better address, Riverside Avenue remains exactly where it was. Plus, although Long View’s lot is only slightly larger than 5 Gilliam’s (0.39 vs. 0.29) that extra 4,300 sq.ft. makes a noticable difference. Gilliam is crammed in between the old Dorothy Hamill house, since expanded, to the east and the Hobson’s house to the south. And of course, from 8 Long View one can pause reflectively at the foot of the driveway and gaze upon the original Fountain homestead, down the hill two houses away on Gilliam. I should think the historical significance of that view would easily be worth the $200,000 price difference here.

22 Cherry Tree Lane, down in Harbor Point, requires a correction: you can see boats from its “front porch”, even if that porch is actually the back porch (the houses is turned away from the street and even though those boats will be cruising Cos Cob harbor and not, technically, Long Island Sound. But they’ll be on their way to Long Island Sound and in fact the view is quite beautiful. By the way, the sundial on the (real) front porch is accurately oriented North, just as it claims – I checked with my iPhone’s compass (yeah there’sa n ap for that.

The house is on an acre of somewhat unusual dimensions and that forced the design to twist a little bit, yielding a slightly quirky layout that I really like and find a refreshing change from the standard box builders usually put up. It may not be for you but that will be your loss, not someone elses. Top quality finishes and an office overlooking the water that you’ll probably never want to leave. I’m not shocked by its $5.495 million price tag given its location in Harbor Point and its views and the craftsmanship that was put into every part of this home. Good looking house.

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The stigma attaching to stale listings

I’m off to see, among other houses, 173 Stanwich Road as a potential rental for a client. I liked this contemporary back in 2003 when it sold for $1.980 million but its fate after that illustrates what happens when good houses get bad prices.

The 2003 buyer made some extensive renovations to this property but he seems to have been a big fan of electronics and spent hundreds of thousands (my guess) wiring for and installing lots of gee-whiz gadgetry – TVs in every room, surround sound, who the F knows what else. He then priced it at $3.925 million in 2005 and must have been disappointed when he discovered that buyers didn’t care about his toys. It didn’t sell until 2007 and even then only fetched $1.7 million, and that was when the market was still strong. Ouch.

The new owners have been wiser, and their rental price of $12,000 is probably reasonable – I’m about to find out.

Moral: don’t over price your house in any market, weak or strong because the longer it sits the more buyers will assume there’s something wrong with it and will be pay less and less, if anything at all, as the months and years tick by. This especially applies to sellers who think that, if they just wait long enough, someone will show up who is willing to pay a premium above market price because he likes the house so much. That buyer, if he ever existed, hasn’t been seen around here in years.


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(renewed) Riverside listing

Brother Gideon has brought 8 Long View Road, that little gravel cut through from Armstrong to Gilliam, back on the market after it failed to sell in 2008 and 2009. Back then it asked $4.395 million, this time, $3.595. Given recent sales in the area, that seems about right. This is a nice house, even if, to its east, is the ugliest house in Riverside (which back in the 1950’s won an award from Popular Mechanics for its all-slate exterior – roofs, siding, etc.). Great location and safe, too, now that Cobra and the Fountain Boyz have left Gilliam.


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Back in the news, it’s Tina Pray!


(Tip sent by reader “Jane” – thanks!

I’ve never even heard of a Mr. Tareq Salahi but apparently he’s a fixture on TV gossip shows and Greenwich’s own Tina Pray has him. Or had him.

What no one knew at the time was that Tareq Salahi was apparently already in a steamy relationship with yet another blonde, a stunning and very wealthy woman from Greenwich, Conn., named Natasha Justina Pray. It’s a relationship, The Daily Beast has learned, that Salahi is now attempting to downplay for fear it will spoil his pending divorce proceeding as well as a $50 million defamation and conspiracy lawsuit against Schon and his estranged wife.

Natasha Justina Pray was born into a high-society family and is known around the tony town of Greenwich as a wild child of sorts. Today, Tina, as her friends call her, is a two-time divorcee and mother of two teens, who dedicates considerable time to charity and political causes. She is taut, tanned, beautiful, and an accomplished horsewoman and—are you ready for this?—she is one of the stars in an upcoming Bravo TV reality show called Miss Advised airing this fall. (It’s billed as a program that follows the private lives of three “relationship experts” to see whether they take their own advice.

“I met Tareq at a thank you dinner given by [state]  Senator Greg Ball in White Plains, New York,” Pray told The Daily Beast in a series of exclusive interviews. “I was a volunteer for the campaign so I was invited … and Tareq was there, too.” Pray, who claims she never watched the Salahis during their Real Housewives stint, says she casually mentioned to Salahi that she was working on a TV project with Bravo.

“After we began to talk he stayed by my side the entire evening,” she said.

That night, about a week before Thanksgiving, Salahi invited her to his hotel room for a nightcap. Pray demurred, but she says the relationship quickly turned intimate. Salahi returned to Virginia the next morning because, he told Pray, he had to fly from there to California for business. When that plan suddenly fell through, Pray said, he immediately turned around and returned to see her in Connecticut.

I guess I don’t get the Greenwich high life’s mores but it seems to me that the mother of two teenagers might be reticent about spewing her guts to the Daily Beast about screwing a married man – you never hear Tina’s father Malcolm talking about his indiscretions, not that I know whether he has anything to talk about in that regard.

Oh well, at least she’s laying off art theft, if not sex.


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