Sell your house

Trying to find houses for clients to view is awfully hard these days, especially for homes in the $1.2-$1.6 range. I thought I had spotted one that would be of interest when it came on two weeks ago but I was unable to show it last weekend and when I called to set up an appointment for tomorrow I learned that it already has an accepted offer.

This shortage certainly frees up my weekends, but I’d prefer to be busy, so here’s the deal: you list your house and I and other eager agents will do our best to sell it for you. What’s a hot property? $1.2-$1.650, but as you get into the higher end of that price range, make sure that it has a decent kitchen and master bathroom – by “decent”, I mean completely redone in the past decade. Too many houses, priced at $1.6-$1.9, need $100,000 of work. That extra cost, coupled with the disruption that will ensue when the work is done, is a real turnoff for most buyers. If you need to do that work and anticipate the current shortage will continue for the rest of the year – and I do – then do it now and list it when you’re done.

Or, even easier, don’t do the work, but cut $150,000 off what you think your house “should” be worth. You’re probably overestimating that worth anyway, so you won’t be losing as much as you think you will.


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16 responses to “Sell your house

  1. KMA

    Why use an agent if you have a $1.5 million house? Just list it in an MLS website for dummies and also list it in all the dot com websites. Buyers will come. Save yourself the $75k. I know..but we brokers do a lot of good work..we take iPhone pictures, we have neat open houses, we do a lot of work..blah blah blah.

  2. Anonymous

    If your looking for listings in this price range I saw a couple that were in the state MLS but not in Greenwich MLS….paying commission to buyers agent.

  3. Anonymous

    Chris, how much land would a buyer be looking for in this range?

    • 1/2 acre or more? Not Riverside buyers, who’ll expect less, but right now, Riverside and OG offer so little for that range that many buyers are willing to forego the charms of those neighborhoods for the opportunity to see a patch of lawn. Not all; many will pay a lot for a little, but I’m seeing more interest in Greenwich proper and Cos Cob than I have for a while.

  4. bobby

    to ensure a really quick sale …..why not throw in waterfront, a 3 car garage, and a country club membership as well…..

  5. Cos Cobber

    To your point three more homes in Cos Cob school district; 45 Riverside Lane @$1.6, 11 Relay Place @1.5ish (?) and that ranch on Maplewood @ 850k all picked up a contract this week.

  6. Anonymous

    How about if you forego the kitchen redo and include a free pick up trick and snow plow?

  7. Anon

    Part of the inventory problem may relate to high mortgage and home equity debt on homes. It is not all related to the real estate market by any means but rather toGreenwich homeowners refinancing and taking out home equity to pay for college and grad school for their kids. At $250,000 or more for just one child to go to the best college they can get into, and with many Greenwich homeowners being too wealthy to qualify for need-based aid, they are sitting with highly leveraged houses they can get little equity out of. Not much incentive to sell, especially with a capital gains tax (translate – mostly an inflation tax).

    The unlimited inflationary federal funding (by taxpayers, of course) for higher education that is designed to benefit students but in fact fattens mostly the higher educational institutions and their well paid administrators and professors, leaves everyone else with a lot of educational debt.

    That is on top of the fact that if you lived in most Greenwich homes for 20 – 40 years, you may lose a part of your investment in real dollars on sale because of the Inflation tax that applies here.

    The double whammy of educational debt and capital gains taxes at high rates that disappear in a hold till you die scenario is going to stop some baby boomers who have empty nests and no longer need large homes from selling. Rather, the grown kids are going to come back home and live at home if they can. That house may sit half occupied or unoccupied at a very high cost to the baby boomer families (who may be liquidating other assets to pay the upkeep), because it is cheaper or maybe break even to hold till you die.

    Meantime, younger families are going to pay more and more of a premium to buy houses in Greenwich for their families because the supply is limiited.

    Bad tax policy – should be tax neutral to cash out of a home after age 50 or so vs. dying in a home.

    Bad educational policy – federal educational loans should be tied to educational institutions limiting their tuition to inflation – not at today’s inflated tuition, but at the tuition of 30 years ago, before the federal government started handing out tuition money to institutions of higher education like candy, with no cost or outcome standards.

    Low inventory – blame your federal government. Ask your Congressman and Senators to change the laws.

  8. The New Normal

    maybe the inventory for $1.2 to 1.6mm homes is sparse because that’s a very low price point in the decent areas of the nicest suburban community in the NYC metro area – it is significantly lower than the median house price in Greenwich/Riverside/Old Greenwich

    • Excellent point, but there still used to be a larger inventory of houses in that range to pick from. I think the shortage is at least in part attributable to the financial inability of their owners to take the hit necessary to clear title from under a mortgage (or three) and close. Some folks can take a $1 million loss, however painful, while it might be impossible for the owner of a more modest home to come up with say, $100,000 cash. Pure conjecture on my part, however.

  9. Cos Cobber

    There is a dearth of homes in this price range because the this product is uncommon. Under $2mm there are basically three types of homes, i) tudors and 80s colonials in need of upgrades, ii) the walking dead of spec single family/townhouse product left over from the 2008 cycle which is now 5 years in the rearview mirror and iii) your typical plot of land for new construction which runs 450-550 in Pemberwick, 600 to 675 in much of cos cob and 700k in NOPO and 900k+ in OG and Rviderside. Now with some of those starter lots you can ‘camp’ in the house for a few years – but sometimes you have no option but immediate demo. Anyways, there arent many homes that meet situation i and ii. Otherwise, all decent spec house construction starts at 1.8 and quicly rises to the low 3s.

    PS – I am having browser problems – so this post will be sloppy.