So here’s a puzzlement: why hasn’t this house sold?

10 Carissa Lane

10 Carissa Lane

10 Carissa Lane, up off Stanwich, is priced at $1,571,500 million – the sellers paid $1.770 for it in 2008. When I saw it at its first open house a month or so ago I thought it was fairly priced and offered good value for this price range and I hurried some of my clients into it because I feared it would sell before they had a chance to see it. It hasn’t sold and both sets of my clients, although they saw the relative value, didn’t bite.

Talking to other agents I learn that I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good one, yet so far, buyers disagree, and all that shows is that agents may have informed opinions but they no more control the market than they do the weather. A house is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, no matter what the owner or real estate agents may believe.

That conceded, I still maintain that I’m right and the market is wrong (!) The house was built in 1984, updated since, sits on a beautiful acre of land that abuts non-buildable nature conservancy property, is seven minutes from the Cos Cob train, has a Greenwich address that’s assigned to the North Street Parkway, a reader corrects me – Central Middle schools, and despite being near the Merritt has no objectionable traffic noise, at least to my ears.

Would I change some things about it? Sure: I’d redo the kitchen (the baths are fine), remove the wall that greets you upon entering and get rid of the cheap trim (I know it’s cheap because Pal Nancy and I used the same Rings End stuff when we did our house on a budget in the same year, 1984) and paint what’s dark now with brighter colors. All in, maybe $35,000, if you buy a kitchen from Green Demolitions, $75,000 if you don’t. It’s shy a bathroom upstairs – the kids will have to share! – and I suspect that’s what’s turning buyers off, but hey: live with it.

It’s not Riverside and if you must live in Riverside, then that’s your problem. If you want an acre of living space and a perfectly decent home, this one’s a good choice – again, your opinion may differ and it’s your opinion that counts, not mine, but if you’re looking in this price range and haven’t seen this house, take a trip.

(And no, it’s not my listing, it’s Brian Tunney’s, but Briney’s pretty smart for an Irishman – a low hurdle, admittedly, but he’s put an intelligent price on this home.)


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21 responses to “So here’s a puzzlement: why hasn’t this house sold?

  1. anonymous

    House will trade at land.

    • That’s your opinion, I have mine and as noted, neither of our opinions has any ultimate validity. The opinion of the guy who actually buys the place will be determinative.

  2. iAnon

    So why don’t you buy it, fix it up and flip it? Are those days long gone, of flipping? The perfect flipper is the person who can do the work themselves, as it seems you can.

    BTW, Martha Stewart has a line of killer kitchen cabinets at Home Depot now. She uses them in her studio kitchen in NY and just installed them at her enormous house in Maine. They are great quality and priced right. You do not need HD to install them. Beautiful colors too.

  3. Anonymous

    martha, is that you? did you grab the soap while you were in the gubmint hotel?

  4. Snow tire land

    Awful location-try to route to Pkwy, yikes.
    Take one hour to get milk or cigarettes.
    This is spot for someone who loves to drive.

    • No everyone needs or wants immediate access to Merritt Parkway and this land’s large enough to grow your own tobacco and keep a cow.

    • Anon

      I think it is probably 12 minutes to the Cos Cob train. A little closer like 9- 10 minutes to the CVS in Cos Cob which does sell cigarettes and milk. Whole Foods may be 12 minutes, and the Food Emporium in Old Greenwich may 13 minutes. My house in central mid-country Greenwich halfway to the Merritt is 8-10 minutes to these stores, but the neighborhood is like $500,000 more for such a house.
      I agree with Chris that this is a good buy. Furthermore, the price differential will disappear when the market gets better, so this is a buying opportunity

  5. Anonymous

    looks like a nice house. half a mil cheaper and i’d seriously look at it.

    the stuff going for a million in this town is, generally, crap.

  6. Central Gwich

    To me it’s maybe worth 1.1. It takes forever to get anywhere from there. Inconvenient to schools, town, civilization. Merritt noise w/o easy Merritt access. My grandparents had better decorative taste.

    • Anon

      Clearly with highway noise, it would be worth much less. The transportation except to the Merritt is not much different from going north of Clapboard Ridge in central mid-country.

      • Anon

        The extra time over North Street to town is the time it takes to go on Fairfield Road. That is not such a long road and usually has no traffic.

  7. Anonymous

    I agree with Chris on this one – good value here.

  8. Anonymous

    I liked this house and thought it was priced well but upon entering all you see is garage doors. that is probably what turns buyers off. It is Parkway school not North St. and 7 minutes to Cos Cob Train would be speeding- have to allow at least 10min.

    • Actually, I did time the drive – 7 minutes – but admittedly, I caught both traffic lights in their green mode – 10 minutes would indeed be more accurate because one can’t count on catching a green light and you’re guaranteed not to do it when you absolutely have to be there in 7 minutes.

      I’ll correct the school listing, thanks.

  9. Anonymous

    In my opinion, realtors make much too big a deal about noise from the Merritt. I have lived in a house reasonably close to the Merritt for the last seven years, and I can tell you that I much prefer that noise, to that of my last home on Stanwich. Merritt noise, given its nature, sounds like background noise, which within a matter of days, one doesn’t even notice. Alternatively, on streets such as Stanwich, or North, or Lake or even Round Hill, trucks and other large commercial vehicles are passing by all the time–and that is definitely noticeable. Moreover, police cars, ambulences, fire trucks, etc., were always zooming up Stanwich, which is something one rarely hears from the Merritt.

    Merritt noise is more akin to the wind passing through the trees, and is much more desirable than constant variations in noise, which is what really grabs your attention. Also, one only hears any noise at all, if they are standing on the front of the lot, at the end of my driveway. If I’m in my home or in the backyard (which is where I spend 98% of my time on the property), it’s not even noticeable, even to the keen ear. If I can buy a house for $2 million, which would otherwise cost me $3 million elsewhere, let the realtors carp all they want. I’ll use the extra $3,000 in lower mortgage costs to hire a butler to fetch the mail, so my delicate ears aren’t threatened by that dreadful Merritt.

    BTW, let’s talk about leaf blowers, lawn mowers, weed trimmers and the like. Does anyone ever complain about what that sounds like on a summer weekend iin Old Greenwich, Riverside, or Belle Haven?

    • The problem with the Merritt noise,and one I’ve pointed out here before, is not really the noise itself but the perception of buyers. You’re absolutely right about the noise receding into the background – everyone I know who’s lived around the Merritt says so and I believe them. And you’re right that you can get for $2 million what would cost you $3 somewhere else, so there’s good value there.

      But you’re selling to buyers who haven’t spent six months next to the noise and had time for their brain to tune out the noise and shove it into the background. The first exposure they have is when they step out of their car and it hits them, hard. I’ve had a few buyer types who dismiss it, saying something along the line, “I live in Brooklyn – this is noise?”, but those people are few – most buyers won’t bite.

      The other problem is related to the first. Someone buys a house along the Merritt at a huge bargain and quickly adjusts his ear, so much so that, when he decides to sell he forgets the discount he received and insists on setting the home’s price as though the Merritt was’t there because, to his ear, it isn’t. And that doesn’t work out well.

      • Anonymous

        You’re absolutely right Chris, it is perception. You’re also right in that I got a bargain when I bought it, and I need to accept that I will need to sell it a similar bargain when the time comes. Perhaps I could make the sale continent upon a 30-day noise satisfaction guarantee.

  10. Anonymous

    looked at a house adjacent to merritt. i’m a lousy golfer, but i could’ve easily nailed it with a 9 iron.

    noise was a constant drone, and annoying. and this, coming from a nyc’er.

  11. Anon

    Does the nonconforming lot here affect the ability to sell? One acre in a two acre zone? Or does it not matter because the house is pretty big anyway and has room for some expansion?