The perils of over-improving a home

39 Skylark Road

39 Skylark Road

39 Skylark Road, $1.9 million. This was a beautiful renovation, and someone has just scored a sweet deal. The seller paid $1.635 for a pretty modest, vanilla home in 2005 (went for almost full asking price, in just a week – ah, those were the good old days for home owners) and obviously put a whole lot of money into transforming it. Great result, but Skylark turns out not be a location for $2.495 homes right now, which is where this was originally priced. So at $1.9, minus commissions and taxes, I don’t think this project paid off for the owner.

But it will for the buyer – Skylark’s a nice street, and convenient to town.


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36 responses to “The perils of over-improving a home

  1. Greenwich dude

    Great buy
    I can imagine the seller’s logic, too, and am sympathetic. Skylark may not be ready for these prices yet, but there are only so many of these pleasant enclaves so close to town. Major structural tailwinds there. Not in the market, but would buy. Small lot though I guess. I must be crazy, I liked the Perryridge house too.

  2. Flash

    All those renovations and built-ins left behind.
    I see the value of buying good furniture.

  3. Midcountry Momma

    Nice house, but they really wasted money on the over-landscaped front yard. The back yard is a challenging slope so they did a beautiful job there, but eliminating the front lawn was a mistake – where’s a kid to play?

    • Rick

      Exactly the problem, I think. A beautifully renovated house. I liked this a lot, but too big for what I’m looking for. Sized for a big family, but zero outdoor space except for the patio in the back.

      I agree a good deal for the buyer.

    • Anonymous

      The Seller was an artist, so money was not wasted on the front yard since they obviously enjoyed it while they lived there. It would not cost a lot to change it back to lawn over a weekend. The seller would have got a few extra dollars if they did it before putting it on the market.

  4. Anonymous

    Skylark can support a higher priced house. This is a very nice home but like the Perryridge house it has zero back yard, about 10 feet of deck before a cliff. The rooms are also very small although the house is well staged. I like the Arts and Craft style but I think that also limited the buyer base slightly.

    • New Englander

      We really like the Arts & Craft style, and it looks liked it was renovated about 10 years back. No backyard is not a problem. They can walk to the Greenwich Academy fields and Maher Ave for Halloween. Buyers got a deal.

      • Anonymous

        No backyard definitely restricts the buyer base. Walking to the GA astro turf field isn’t quite the same thing. I think the buyers did OK too. I also think a house on Skylark with a more modern layout and more yard could definitely fetch $2.5mm, just not this house.

  5. That photo is the pre fix-up right?
    Otherwise, form over substance…..ughh…

  6. Anonymous

    There are in-town streets lined with pretty, older homes and in-town streets lined with 60s ranches that make you feel like you’re in Riverside. This is the latter, and would be a deal breaker for me. Going arts and crafts was smart, though the execution is dated in many aspects. And that multicolored quilt looking landscaping is just odd.

  7. Patrishka

    Those pendant lights are a bit… distinctive, no?

  8. Greenwich Academy Gal

    I don’t think it is “over-improved”. The sellers did the best they could with a 1950s home without tearing it down. This is one of those challenging homes where it is in nice enough condition to live in, and not bad enough that you would tear down. So you end up paying a premium over a redevelopment play. It also suffers a more limited buying pool like 18 Perryridge – no backyard, on a busy road. It also suffers from not being a colonial, low ceilings and a strange refitted 1950s layout. But proximity to town trumps those downsides. There are only 2 newish builds on Skylark. It would be interesting to see if they could beat the $3m on Perryridge if they came on the market.

  9. sam

    the $1.5mm – $2.3mm buying frenzy is thirty days away. A horde of tax exiles elbowing DiBlasio escapees.

  10. Mickster

    This lady did another Arts & Crafts house over at 18 Pintail about 10 years ago – it was simply stunning!! This didn’t quite work out so well but she has great taste.

  11. Anon

    Did they name the streets in that neighborhood after discontinued General Motors cars from the 60s and 70s? Cool.

  12. A number of streets in town finally seem to be “turning over- Annjim drive for example. Perhaps Skylark will too….

  13. Cos Cobber

    I like this one and think the backyard is fantastic for what it is. There isn’t much out there right now in the 1.8 to 2.2 market for single family homes of 3 to5k sq ft that are less than 10 years old.

  14. It Depends

    Has anyone successfully had sod installed?
    Is there a specific grass used that’s “heartier” considering the winters we’re having?
    Thoughts? Suggestions? Referrals?
    Many thanks 🙂

    • There’s a guy in Cos Cob who put down Astro-Turf 10 years ago or so and it’s still going (if not growing) strong. He loves it, he told me: no mowing, no weeds, no upkeep. Looks odd to me, but I guess if it’s Cos Cob ….

      • It Depends

        the only way Astro turf makes it into my yard is if the wife lets me install a putting green.
        Which is so far down the list…

      • Mid-Country Cos Cobber

        Ah c’mon !

        You cant smack talk an entire area just for one person’s bad taste! At least every house isnt on stilts / under water like OG …..

        • Riverside Chick

          Ah, c’mon. CF stereotypes everything – a neighborhood, race, religion, political affinity, gender, sexual preference. That’s just what he does, so get used to it! That’s why we love him as a neighbor.

      • Anonymous

        Good for football practice, especially if the soil below is contaminated.

    • Oder from Hardscabble Nursey…they grow their sod North of Albany….

  15. enzo

    Skylark is a very busy street. Don’t think you want your children playing out on the front lawn.

    • Anonymous

      Have you heard of fences? Stone walls? Hedges? Not everyone wants to live on a cul-de-sac.

      • Anonymous

        Skylark is a busy street – drivers cut through from North to Lake using Patterson and Skylark. You could cage them in at the front yard though.

        • We used electric collars on Riverside Avenue

        • Anonymous

          The cut through has not hurt prices. 39 Patterson went for $3.9m (and they bulldozed the house) and 107 went for $4.9m. There is some money to be made here.

        • Anonymous

          107 and 39 Patterson are on bigger lots with a lot more privacy but I certainly agree – there is a lot of potential and demand for downtown properties especially with close proximity to Brunswick and GA.