30 Husted Lane finally sells, ex-MLS


30 Husted Lane

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.



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18 responses to “30 Husted Lane finally sells, ex-MLS

  1. Inagua

    Zillow says it was last sold in last sold in Oct 1991 for $4,350,000. If true, this might be one of the worst Greenwich house investments ever. Where else in Greenwich can you lose money after 23 years?

    • Well she also spent (an estimated) $6 million to add an art gallery in back, which made the house so purpose-specific as to render it unsellable. On the other hand, she’s been known to drop $20 million on an apartment in New York and owns various properties in other locations,so I doubt she’ll be losing sleep over her loss.

      • Anonymous

        Politely disagree on $6mm for the art gallery wing. Having been inside it is just like a big family room extension.

        • Not just the art gallery – lots of terracing, hardscaping, landscaping, movie theatre and other fussing over the years. Maybe not $6 mil but significant dinero.

  2. anon

    How does such a deal get written in legalese? After all, who knows if buyer is alive a year from now or if his finances are such that he can make the last two payments? Or is this just a fancy way of gifting the house, seller will forgive last two payments, so both parties can get IRS bennies?

  3. Publius

    You know that you are getting old when you struggle to comprehend how a house like this is a knock down. I guess that proves the old saw “that is what makes markets”

    • Well if you knocked off the art gallery wing, you’d be back to a decent house, but still old, low ceilings, etc. Cheaper to start over.

      • Publius


        After carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders for decades as I walk uphill every where I go, there is no need for ceilings over 8′. Much too bourgeois for me….

  4. Anonymous

    Even at land value 4mm for 5 acres in this location is a steal. Why would anyone do this?

  5. rivman

    The gallery would be cool if you could get museums to lend you some of their art. Maybe call it Bruce Museum north.
    I wonder if the pond was a problem for the house during heavy rains.

  6. Anonymous

    Nothin’ a little side cash under the table won’t do to close a sale.

    What’s a few bucks between friends?

  7. If you took the house down why couldn’t you subdivide 4.5 acres in a two acre zone (unless they are under water)?