Three suitable for comment, in my opinion.
Star of the day was undoubtedly 20 West End Avenue, $4.189 million. The drawback first: it’s on a long, shared driveway, and everybody hates those. That out of the way, the house is fantastic: open, beautifully finished, just livable and unstuffy. I didn’t hear a negative word about it from the dozen or so brokers who were there when I was, and in this nasty business, that’s unusual. Is this the right price? Who knows, but it feels about right.
340 Stanwich’s price I’m not so sure about. It’s asking $3.495 million which, on first walk-around, I figured was at least $1.2 too much, but that’s before I went outside. Inside, it has a nice, but cluttered layout that looks as though it would make for excellent entertaining space. The clutter can be removed of course (one man’s clutter, by the way, is someone
else’s prized possessions, I get it – but I’m looking at it from a buyer’s perspective, not a collector’s). There are bedrooms upstairs that feel like a ski lodge dormitory but that could also be changed.
It’s the outside that transforms this place – 3.5 acres, including a pool an a great lawn sweeping down to Frye “Lake” (I was told by father that any body of water you can see across is a pond “unless”, he added, “you’re a real estate agent”. I’m a real estate agent now, a life decision that would have my father spinning in his grave, if he had a grave, so I’ll go with “lake”). But all that land poses a problem: it, and the pool, and the Frye Whateveryoucallit, are down a long, steep stairway built into a rock wall. Not a big problem at all for an active family, but the house itself will presumably a couple of old fogies who need its first-floor bedroom. So that’s a conundrum, but one I’m sure will be worked out by the market. Stay tuned.
40 Winthrop Drive in Riverside is priced at $3.395 million, a price that gave me pause when it came on this week and still has me a little unconvinced after seeing it; a little, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if it sold for this price. I think I’ll follow the lead of our president and Senator Markey and vote “present”.
Plus side: very nice inside, good layout, and a fantastic yard, in the back and on the (western) side. These days, finding an acre of yard in Riverside is just about impossible, and an acre on Winthrop, a beautiful, traffic-free street within easy walking distance of the schools and trains, is even rarer. If someone pays what I consider to be a premium for this location and this acreage, I wouldn’t be surprised.
I do think, however, that if you’re reaching for top dollar, it would be wise to spend a little bit up front to make a good first impression. This is a pretty plain looking house as is, and a rusty handrail on the front steps, an uneven, sagging stone walkway to the front door and a banister on the third floor that threatens to fall off in your hand raises questions, unjustified, surely, that maintenance wasn’t in the budget during this owner’s tenure. I am not saying that the house is in poor condition; to the contrary, it appears to be in great shape, overall, but as a general tip to homeowners thinking of selling, fix up the minor cosmetic problems that detract from a home’s appearance. You know what your grandmother told you about first immersions? It’s still true.