Open house tour results

21 Hope Farm Road

21 Hope Farm Road

Nothing to write home about, mostly, but I was struck by 21 Hope Farm Road, two acres, $1.995 million, with a contemporary on it that will almost certainly be torn down. What caught my attention was that while the consensus among agents was “tear down”, the house was built in 1987! Functional obsolescence is speeding up.

On a related note, I spoke with a friend when I was leaving the home who told me that she’d been looking up comparative sales for a new listing she’s preparing to bring to market and was deeply surprised to see that high end bathrooms in homes built as recently  2006 already look dated. And she’s right – I’ve noticed the same phenomenon.

So here for free is the same advice I give my clients: if you’re planning on sticking around in your present house for ten years or longer, go ahead and redo your kitchen and master bath to your taste and enjoy them, but amortize them over the next ten years because they’ll add nothing to the value of your house after that.

If you’re thinking of moving in a shorter period, wait until you’re just about ready to sell before doing those upgrades. You won’t make back their cost entirely, but they’ll be up-to-date, so your  house will sell more quickly and buyers will assign extra value to them.


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30 responses to “Open house tour results

  1. The New Normal

    Case-Shiller and New Home Sales beat expectations handily today, consistent with the theme of strong housing fundamentals nationwide; total US housing inventory is the lowest since mid to late 1990s

    oh and bonuses and banks aren’t as bad as everyone seems to think:

      • The New Normal

        everything is getting better in housing – it is too late to be bearish

        • Not bearish .. Just not bullish to the same 10x degree as yourself. It is more magnitude than direction. Moreover, the bonus article only talks about cash component and not stock or options. Cash has been capped lately at many places and small absolute increases can show large percentage increases that are still no where near 2008 compensation numbers.

        • Koolaid’s being served at the Greenwich Association of Realtors office. Stop by for a free glass or two.

        • The New Normal

          you can argue glass half empty all you want, but home prices nationally just appreciated 7% y/y; the base is still pretty low compared to the highs during the bubble, so it can still appreciate mid-single digits every year for quite some time and still just be appreciating slightly more than inflation (which is the historical norm); levered several times (for the average buyer who takes out a mortgage) ends up being a very healthy return – even better than stocks

  2. ShedLessToolMan

    FYI.. link is not working to property

  3. Curious

    Is the ‘restoration hardware’ the new or the old look?
    I do miss that convenient storage in the medicine cabinet.

  4. ShedLessToolMan

    can not tell much from the few outside pics on that listing.. I would hope the broker adds more later to do their client a service if the interior is worth anything..

    and as for new normals comments. 1) it is the distribution of those bonuses that will be less attractive as a whole for the size of the population of home buyers in the area and 2) the banks are making a killing because the spreads are so wide on mortgage lending.. look at this article here:

  5. Anonymous

    i don’t agree. that only shows the owner had bad taste and used cheap material. i have seen houses ten years old. its kitchen and bathrooms are still stunning….

    • I have also looked at a lot of houses, Anon, and while I certainly wouldn’t argue that all ten-year-old kitchens and bathrooms are worth nothing, most of them look and feel dated. And these are what passed for top of the line creations just a few years ago. Taste is fickle and in Greenwich, they veer in different directions almost as soon as that Sub-Zero starts churning out ice cubes.

      • Dealing almost exclusively in teardowns here in Greenwich, I can say that you’ve very much on target with that statement. I’ve seen some things that might seem a bit mind-boggling to some, like an entire kitchen in a newly constructed home ripped out, in my mind, for what seemed to be trivial reasons. To each his own, I suppose!

    • I agree, CC. Obama and his press have succeeded in putting their false message over on a gullible public and because that same public no longer reads or thinks about anything more complicated than the cast line up of American Idol, there’s probably no bringing it back. I used to hope that when the current Potemkin village inevitably collapsed we’d see some serious attention paid to what brought us to disaster. No longer; reality is now shaped by the Regressives, as witnessed by this poll and even last fall’s election. As I write, I’m hearing a sound bite of Obama lying, and it’s being reported without comment.

  6. Anonymous

    Agree with you on the master bath. My kids could care less what their bathrooms look like and my guests (thankfully) do not spend much time in them!

  7. Anonymous

    My realtor is telling me this is the busiest she’s ever seen this greenwich market. Is it hype just to scare me to do something today?
    Or do you recommend seeing multiple homes in ones range?
    …and I say that not knowing what’s coming on…because I haven’t seen the inventory rise at all.
    Slim pickings out there, and we are getting discouraged.

    • Anon, it is indeed very, very busy, and the demand is strong. But you’re not alone in your opinion of the inventory – there’s not a lot out there and anything that’s in good shape and decently priced is going quickly. House that fit neither of those categories sit, and I’m seeing no indication from my clients at least that they’re ready to hold their noses and overpay for a house they don’t like.
      My pessimism is more a macro-view of the world economy and our own. We’re staring economic disaster in the face and the great mass of people don’t recognize it. What can’t continue won’t, and we can’t continue like this.
      Or that’s what I think – obviously, other people’s opinion differs.

    • Cos Cobber

      Hype to scare, for sure. And did your realtor start 24 months ago? 🙂

  8. Accolay

    What is it that makes a bath or a kitchen look like it’s from 2006? Any specifics?

  9. Daniel

    All I can say about the market I live in is there were over 100 homes for sale a little over a year ago. Today, there are 10.

  10. Anonymous

    i happen to help manage a multi-billion dollar resi loan portfolio with decent geographic diversity across the u.s. and which also includes a solid chunk of defaulted loans. the blind recitation of statistics here (by a select few) about how great things are getting makes me laugh. prices suck. period. i live it, i don’t read about it. when you’ve got a borrower at a 180% cltv, the smart folks in the room can do the math about how great values are, and will understand when i say to the head-in-clouds folk that you can shove that 7% across the board value increase up your personal septic tank.

    i could go on, but my blood pressure is high enough as it is today, thank you.

    • The New Normal

      that does suck for you if you own a loan that is 180% cltv

      fortunately for buyers today that won’t be the case and, since they have to live somewhere anyway (have to rent if you do not own) as long as prices don’t go down (modest appreciation some spread above inflation) they will most likely be better off

      • Anonymous

        talking about the magical mystery bus of greenwich real estate is nothing more than expensive navel gazing.

  11. Anonymous2

    “The poll found that 48% of respondents see Mr. Obama as trying to unify the country, compared to 22% who said that of Republicans and 37% who said that of Democrats.”

    The correct headline for the WSJ poll is “Majority do not see Obama as trying to unify the country”. Never forget the WSJ newsroom is as liberal as the NY Times or the DC Post. Only the editorial department is conservative. Some commenters here fell for the spin. Question: did Obama get to Murdoch a couple of years ago?