Back from open houses

What looked like a promising day: 68 listings to see, was pretty disappointing. After weeding out the rentals, retreads and hopelessly overpriced, there were just a handful of houses worth driving to.

More on those later; while I was out, two contracts were reported, both in the low range.

11 Mill Pond Court

11 Mill Pond Court

11 Mill Pond Court, $1.345, has a fully executed contract after just 14 days, which would indicate that a buyer stepped up within just a few days of the property appearing on the market (there’s a time lag between an accepted offer and formal execution of a contract). The owners paid $725,000 for this in 2007 and did a “total renovation”; judging from the mortgage they took out to pay for that renovation, it looks like they really did redo the place. In this market, a house that needs no additional work is a valuable commodity, and the speed with which this one sold isn’t surprising. Besides, Mill Pond is a nifty little street. 0.15 acre, for those interested in saving on lawn care.

29 Riverside Lane

29 Riverside Lane

29 Riverside Lane, on the other hand, is not on one of our finer streets in town: it’s busy, but it has also found a buyer after 29 days. Asking $829,000; building lots here were selling for $750,000 just a short time ago. This was improved in 2004, so the buyer may intend to live in it, which would justify paying more than land value.  Just about the same size lot as Mill Pond, 0.2 vs. 0.15. Your kids can still use the yard for play, so long as they play on a pogo stick.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, Cos Cob, Neighborhoods, Riverside

35 responses to “Back from open houses

  1. FF


    Screw that Keystone pipeline. This is the pipeline that any American can support that carries liquid imports

    • Cos Cobber

      The fact you cannot see the value in the Keystone pipeline is stunning. Absolutely stunning. I thought better of you Francis.

      • Really, CC? I’m reminded of a TV show from years ago where some guy does an incredibly stupid act and then apologizes, saying, “I hope this doesn’t change your opinion of me”. The recipient of the apology responds, “oh, it doesn’t change my opinion at all!”

  2. Cos Cobber

    Both sales are within the Cos Cob schoold district. The speed of the Mill Pond Court sale is a little surprising – even to this foolish optimist.

  3. Anonymous

    $805 per sq/ft on Mill Pond?!

  4. CEA

    You know, people asked a couple of days ago “When people see about the re-districting, property values will decline”.

    No, what’s happened is, the places where re-districting is a remote possibility at best (Cos Cob, Riverside, Old Greenwich), houses are selling for never-before-seen prices. Places where there are private school populations or potential re-districting – prices are just inching back up to where they used to be.

    It is a bifurcated market, and the state of our schools is one big explanation why. Sure, some of it is City people wanting the same sort of “walk to everything” habitat. But I think you are seeing now (esp with Cos Cob’s recent “hot”-ness) that the schools very much HAVE become an issue and your zone is your destiny.

    • That may be so, CEA, but I’ve been preaching here for a year or so that the price dichotomy between Cos Cob and Riverside/Old Greenwich, especially those Rvsd/OG sections north of the Post Road, was bound to shift some demand to Cos Cob. At some point, $889 for a so-so house on Riverside Lane is going to look less attractive than a $799 house on a quiet street in Cos Cob.
      But yes, the chance of losing your neighborhood school has got to affect prices.

    • Cos Cobber

      A school play? Maybe, but I think it has more to do with affordability. Riverside/OG is too pricy for most, back country is also too pricy.

      • CEA

        Yes, but $3 mil houses are available in mid- and back-country, and their DOM are lengthy, while in Riverside the selling broker of a $3 mil house is barely out of the door, saying “nice to meet you” to the owner, and a contract is signed.

        • Anonymous

          A 3mm dollar house in Riverside is usually brand spanking new or at least move in ready. Good luck finding that in Mid-Country. 3mm buys you a dump.

        • Anonymous

          Please show me a nice modern house or well renovated house in mid country for $3mm.

        • Midcountry

          The question is what is the cost of fixing up a house in mid country. On some of these, you are dealing with some renovation, but not complete renovation. A kitchen may be done but baths not. Doors, some windows and trim may need replacement and the floor needs sanding. Once you have done these things, you have a brand new house for under $100,000 additional investment if the kitchen is good for a 3,000 square foot house.

          Now maybe the style is not to your liking – 8 foot ceilings or 1950s layouts. That can be improved with floor to ceiling windows or other minor renovations.
          In mid country, you can get a pretty good 3,000 square foot house for under $2 million if you are willing to do just a little bit of updating. I am not saying that price is low – it’s not. But the taxes are affordable, and it is about the same time to NY City as any house in Riverside or Old Greenwich. You can get North Street School and Central Middle School for that price and an acre of land.

        • Cos Cobber

          I agree with others here, the problem in mid/back country is that there is no new construction under 3MM+.

        • Flash

          One expense in mid/back country new homes is septic/well as well as landscaping 1-4 acres. It would be damn hard to produce a 4 bedroom new house under $3million.

        • Midcountry

          There are a bunch listed for between 1.5 and 2 in midcountry between North Street and Stanwich Road. Go to the other side of Stanwich and you can get a nice place for well under $1.5.

        • Anonymous

          Stanwich is cos cob, not mid country.

        • Cos Cobber

          Bingo Toonces. The economics are such in town that to building less than 80 to 90% of the permitted FAR (or less than 95% of FAR in R6 and R7) doesnt work from a dollars and cents perspective. There just is a lot more demand & “need” for 4800 sq ft homes than 7500 sq ft homes.

          • Toonces

            Maybe I’m the only one Cos Cobber – but I’d pay a premium for that 4800 sq foot home on the bigger lot. I realize to get it though i’d have to buy land and build…

      • Agree with flash

        Landscaping, plowing, septic, water well.. Lots of extra expenses and moving parts .. Plus greater need for a generator, more expensive trash service due to fuel charges, etc…

        • Toonces

          I think the reason you don’t see new contstr for 3M in mid country is that the lots are bigger. So what will be built to maximize builder profit is the biggest FAR home possible – which will necessitate a higher sale price….

  5. Midcountry

    Mill Pond Ct. house is beautiful – so perfect. No wonder it is gone.

    • I was looking at a house in Old Greenwich this morning priced at just what Mill Pond is. Better yard, but needs a lot of expensive work. Client and I independently reached the same figure for what it is “worth”: $950, $975, but we also concluded that, in this market, it might go for full price and certainly $1.1 or $1.150.
      That’s what I mean when I say the price differential between Cos Cob and OG is larger than a rational market should allow.

  6. Midcountry

    I think in midcountry, town water is south of Clapboard Ridge and town sewers are available in a lot of that area. Some of the area has private sewers that run off the public sewers. You are dealing with wells north of Clapboard Ridge I believe. The Greenwich Plan of Development has a map of town ater.

  7. Midcountry

    town water.

  8. Accolay

    Is septic and well water more expensive than sewer and town water? By how much?

    • To design and build a septic system might be $30,000 (much higher, if soil conditions are difficult), and I don’t know what a well costs – $10,000? Mine in Maine cost $3,000 back in 1981, so my reference point is way out of date. Maintenance, once installed, isn’t too much: annual pump out for the septic, a couple of hundred bucks, well service some relatively nominal sum.
      But a large upfront cost.

    • ShedLessToolMan

      well water is more expensive because you have to operate a pump to get the water out. Moreover, it will not maintain a constant 80 psi like the city water. Therefore, some people have 2 tanks or bigger tanks and use even more electricity to get water into their sprinklers, pools and the like in mid and back country,. .

      • Midcountry

        Why doesn’t the water company just expand its service area? Same thing with gas company, as oil is much more expensive than gas.
        Septic may be better than the sewers in midcountry because the sewer lines are very thin. If your grinder does not work, the whole sewer can back up. Plus there is a sewer tax. So best to go as long as you can with septic.

        • We’re mostly rock around here, and it’s very expensive to lay pipes. Originally, when housing density up there was much thinner, it made no economic sense to provide those services. That is slowly changing. Adding sewers is more complicated, because every new home served adds to the burden of our sewer plant, already pretty well maxed out. Adding entirely new neighborhoods would, besides the expense of laying the physical piping, burden the plant, perhaps beyond capacity.
          All this may change, but not quickly.

  9. Toonces

    you wrote – More on those later; while I was out, two contracts were reported….
    any interesting open houses?