30 Husted Lane
Found while prowling the land records this morning:
30 Husted Lane, a tear-down on five acres abutting the pond that started off with David Ogilvy Associates in 2010 at $18,000,000 and expired under him this past April at $9.975, was sold privately last Friday for just $4 million to Thomas Dudley Lehrman, scion of Lewis Lehrman. Sweetening the deal, Lehrman paid just $2 million up front, with the seller taking back another $2 million, at 0% interest, payable $1 million on August 7, 2015 and the remaining million on August 7, 2016.
Poor David; but this sort of sad story (sad for the broker, not the seller, who saved a nice commission) is frequent in real estate: an owner comes up with a totally nuts, hugely unrealistic price, a broker takes the listing while knowing full well it’s not worth anything close to what the client wants, but hopes to bring her to reason, eventually, then spends a small fortune advertising it for years, staging it at great expense and personally conducting showings at all hours of the day, only to have the owner suddenly blame him for her misfortune, fire him and sell the property for song to a friend of her sons.
Which is why I don’t take this kind of listing. I’ve written about this house before, including June 29, 2012, when it dropped to $11.8 million, and again on June 13, 2013, when it was down to $9.975 (and I guessed its value at $5 million, while Zillow still thought it would fetch $10). If a property is worth $5 million and the owner wants $18, there’s no reason for me to join her in her delusional world.
I’m a bit frustrated at all this because last spring, after Ogilvy had been pushed into the lake and the house was sitting empty, I urged clients of mine to make a run at it at $4.5 million. They demurred, and I suspect they thought I was stupid, because they wandered off, never to be heard of (by me) again. Too bad.
There are times to make a low-ball offer and times when a low bid is just screwy and insulting, and will ruin any chance of re-approaching the owner. This was the former situation. The house had been grievously overpriced to begin with, and it didn’t take too-bright a mind to guess that the owner was disheartened to watch her supposed value be cut in half and yet still own the place, paying taxes, heat, yard maintainance, etc. all the while. The time was ripe to make an offer based on the realistic value of the property and I suspect my clients could have grabbed it. Such is the nature of the retail real estate business.