Category Archives: Back Country

All that’s old is new again

70 Sherwood Ave

70 Sherwood Ave

70 Sherwood Avenue, way out west, is up for sale at $4.975 million after being purchased in 2010 for $3.375. The house is a 1986 house that was totally, completely redone back in 2007 by a spec builder and put up for sale that year for $5.775.  As noted, it sold three years later for $3.375.

The seller justifies this $1.6 million price jump by citing the renovations that have been done since it was purchased, but the house was essentially brand new back then and in need of no “renovations” – I don’t get it. I’m further confused because, looking at the 2007 listing and today’s, I don’t see much difference in their descriptions, even though they were written by different brokers. Perhaps Joe Biden wrote the second one.

Here’s what the 2007 broker said about the house:

FRENCH STYLE COUNTRY 2 ACRE ESTATE HAS BEEN EXQUISITELY RENOVATED TO REFLECT THE BEST OF THE OLD & NEW WORLD. GRAND INTERIOR OF THE FINEST WORKMANSHIP. JULIET BALCONIES OVERLOOK THE BREATHTAKING 20 FT FOYER. 5 BEDROOMS, FORMAL LIVING & DINING RM. LIBRARY, KITCHEN W/BRKFT RM, FAMILY RM, ELEVATOR, MEDIA & FITNESS RMS. 3 CAR GARAGE & MORE. BEAUTIFUL TERRACES OVERLOOKING PICTURESQUE POND & NEW LANDSCAPING, UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE & EXQUISITE WORKMANSHIP THROUGHOUT.

That certainly sounded nice – so nice, in fact, that the new broker, three years on, seems to have kept everything, including that “understated elegance”. Looks to me that the pool, the gate and the generator are new; not sure they’re worth $1.6 extra, but then, I haven’t seen the gate.

FRENCH STYLE COUNTRY 2 ACRE ESTATE HAS BEEN EXQUISITELY RENOVATED TO REFLECT THE BEST OF THE OLD & NEW WORLD. GRAND INTERIOR OF THE FINEST WORKMANSHIP. JULIET BALCONIES OVERLOOK THE BREATHTAKING 20 FT FOYER. 5 BEDROOMS, FORMAL LIVING & DINING RM, LIBRARY, KITCHEN W/BRKFT RM, FAMILY RM, ELEVATOR, MEDIA & FITNESS RMS. 3 CAR GARAGE & MORE. BEAUTIFUL TERRACES OVERLOOKING PICTURESQUE POND & NEW LANDSCAPING. UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE & EXQUISITE WORKMANSHIP THROUGHOUT. NEW INFINITY POOL. NEW GENERATOR AND ELECTRIC GATE.

3 Comments

Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Real estate agents

Slow day for real estate

Three small items to note.

241 Valley Rd

241 Valley Rd

241 Valley Road, asking $895,000, reports a contingent contract. This is a 1924 shack on 0.08 of an acre overlooking, but far uphill from, the Mianus River. But a beautiful view, and no neighbors to the east, at least. I’m sure you can do something interesting here. To keep score, this sold in basically the same condition in 2000 for $515,000.

44 Hunting Ridge

44 Hunting Ridge

44 Hunting Ridge Road has taken another price cut and now asks $5.495 million, which is better than the $7.925 it wanted back when it was first built in 2006.

414 Stanwich

414 Stanwich

And back again, 414 Stanwich is now priced at $1.525. It sold for $2.1 million in 2003, so the owners can (almost) be excused for first pricing this at $2.695 in 2006, but buyers weren’t buying it. A number of rentals, a handful of brokers, and many price cuts and years later, it’s down to this level. I like this house; it’s always been the price that put me off. Perhaps this will do it, but if I were advising my own clients here, I’d suggest that they negotiate, hard.

22 Comments

Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, Cos Cob, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, spec houses

Foreclosure price cut on Round Hill Road

We're not in La Tuna anymore, Toto

We’re not in La Tuna anymore, Toto

516 Round Hill Road is now offered to the discriminating buyer for $7.750 million. This property has had a colorful history, beginning back in 2003 when that lovable rascal Dom Devito bought the land and persuaded his friend Marcus Zavataro at Patriot Bank to lend him $6.143 million to build  a spec house. The foundation went in, the framing went up, and there things stood for a long time, while most of the Patriot/Zavataro loans went belly up, Dom was sent off to La Tuna Federal Medium Security prison outside of El Paso, and the market for big ticket homes on Round Hill Road fell off the cliff. Eventually, Patriot won title via foreclosure (June, 2010), Marcus went off to offer financial advice to new clients and even Dom has returned, fit, rested and raring to go. He’s even driving a rather fancy Indian car around town these days – the boy knows how to land on his feet.

In any event, Patriot sold off the shell of this house for $3 million to the present owners, who finished it and put it back up for sale in January for $8.3 million. Today’s price cut indicates how that’s gone, so far. The two problems I see here (aside from price and location) are what to make of that four years or so it sat unfinished, and the affect, if any, weather and cold had on the structural integrity, and the land: Dom sort of bulldozed a pile of dirt together, just large enough to support a house footprint, held it back with a retaining wall and left the rest as an ironic reference, for movie buffs, to “The Guns of Navarone”. Tough sledding, if you will.

But there you have it. If you want to live in Dom’s neighborhood; and you should, or just down the road from the Raj, when he gets out of his prison, this is the spot for you.

19 Comments

Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Foreclosure, Neighborhoods

After Greenway’s $50 million cut, a mere $2 million doesn’t sound like much.

This one won't last!

This one won’t last!

Nonetheless, that’s what the owner of 918 North Street has shaved off his price, so what would have cost you $13.9 million yesterday can be yours today for $11.9 million. This property has been on the market since 2009, when it asked $16.9 million and so far, it’s proved to have the attractiveness of a junked Corolla. Perhaps this latest reduction will fix that.

20 Comments

Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, pricing

Which is why we call it Rogue’s Hill

Brutal attack by bat-wielding husband up at 261 Round Hill Road.

261 Round Hill Road

261 Round Hill Road

The husband, Michael DeMaio, (who does not work for JP Morgan, Teri Buhl reports, even though Greenwich Time says he does) explained to the police that “he lost it” when his wife announced she was leaving him. Had the idiot kept track of the listing price of his (wife’s) house, he might not have been taken by surprise. It started at $8.998 million in 2012, suddenly dropped a million in November of last year to $7.998 and dropped still later to $7.299. On August 8, 2013, the house was withdrawn from the market; I’m guessing that was on the advice of a divorce lawyer as a dissolution suit was being prepared.

I am certainly not making light of this horrible act: the woman is in critical condition and has, according to the police, probably suffered permanent brain damage. But it’s interesting how Round Hill Road seems to draw far more than its share of criminals.

61 Comments

Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Inventory, Neighborhoods

Moving day?

Round Hill deportees

Round Hill deportees

Ten new listings priced at $9 million and above have been added to the market in the past thirty days, joining thirty-nine homes already there. Only five in that range have sold thus far this year, but obviously the revival of the $1-$3.5 market has convinced some people that their time has come.

They may be wrong.

3 Comments

Filed under Back Country, Belle Haven, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, pricing

A buyer for everything, at some price

Two listings to illustrate that.

326 Cognewaugh

326 Cognewaugh

326 Cognewaugh Road, $1.275 million, reports an accepted offer. This is about as typical a 1993 builder house as you can find, and stuck in the middle of winding Cognewaugh Road, with no back yard to speak of and plain, plain plain. One of my clients asked about it and I told him, “it’s not for you, but at this price, someone will buy it”. Looks like they have.

18 Porchuck Rd

18 Porchuck Rd

18 Porchuck Road, on the other hand, is still trying to find the magic price. It was brought on the market by Ogilvy at $9.5 million back in June, 2012 and has suffered the indignity of a number of price cuts since, one of which was the subject of a certain amount of derision on these pages back in August.  Another cut came today, when $1.3 million was sliced off yesterday’s price and the house can now be yours for just $4.5 million. Will this do the trick? We’ll see.

12 Comments

Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Mid Country, pricing