Category Archives: Foreclosure

Abandoned Ridgeview Ave. house finds buyer and (unrelated), the Synagogue expands its Cos Cob footprint


9 Ridgeview Avenue

9 Ridgeview Avenue

9 Ridgeview Avenue, placed on the market by its bank-owner at $2.999, reports a contract. The failed developer paid $2.355 for the land in 2008 and took out a $4.7 million mortgage to build this shell. I assume all of that sum hadn’t been advanced before the project went south, but it’s a fair bet that there was a serious write-off here.

I personally would be wary of a house that has sat empty for so long, but I assume an inspector has signed off on the structural integrity.

88 Orchard Street

88 Orchard Street

In Cos Cob, an Irish realtor, Francis X. Fudrucker, has sold a Scotsman’s house on 88 Orchard Street to a Jewish synagogue; are we a multi-cultural town, or what? 88 looked for $2.355 million in 2011 and dropped as low as $1.795 before its listing expired on Halloween, 2011. The treat finally arrived last Friday, when they sold for $1.6 million.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, Foreclosure, 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.


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

Bank owned in Byram

9 Byram Dock Street. I don’t recall if I saw this, but off the top of my head, I bet Zillow’s closer to the mark than the property’s new, unwilling owner. It did sell for $2.5 million in 2000, more fool they, but given its age: 1920, and its location directly on the water, it’s got to be non-FEMA-compliant, so look to spend major bucks bringing it up to code.

9 Byram Dock Street

9 Byram Dock Street

UPDATE: I pulled the old MLS listing and now I do remember it. Absolutely fabulous house, and the new bank-listed price is probably not bad, with the same caveat of FEMA compliance. I saw this in 2007 and really, really liked it, but it was asking the ridiculous, verging-on-nuts price of $5.8 million. So instead of pricing it reasonably, the owner lost it all. Hard as it is to believe, Greenwich is known for its sophisticated, savvy people. Not all of them, obviously.

UPDATE II: Looks to me like there was $5.8 million in mortgage debt on this place, which explains the original asking price and the reason for the collapse of our banking system. Other observations: Deutsche Bank started foreclosure proceedings in 2009 and only fought past the defenses of the debtor this summer – not bad for the debtor: stay in the house rent-free for four years.

Bill Ferrell says, "why they'll just let anyone in television!"

Bill Ferrell says, “why they’ll just let anyone in television!”

The (former) owner, one William G. Farell Ferrell, was a trader turned hedgefunder who used to write about a number of topics including “risk management”. Oops.

Here’s Zillow’s take:

SEPT 10 2013 Listed by bank $2,429,845 This property was foreclosed and now the lender is selling it for$2,429,845.Zillow’s Foreclosure Estimate predicts this property will sell for$1,206,754.
Foreclosed The lender assumed this property during foreclosure proceedings and now owns it.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Byram, Foreclosure

Ridgeview Avenue foreclosure hits the market

9 Ridgeview Exterior

9 Ridgeview Exterior (question: if they’ll go to the trouble of photoshopping in clouds, why not make the weeds go away?)

9 Ridgeview Ave is now up for sale by the company that bought its paper, and asking $2.999 million. I’d be in no rush to pay that: the place has sat empty for four years and last time I heard of an inspection done on its carcass, the news was not good. The failed owners paid $2.3555 for this 0.98 parcel (RA-1 zone) in July, 2007 so there’s your land value as of the height of the market. The house itself? I doubt you’d find a builder willing to finish it, because of liability exposure and the uncertainty of what’s happened to the basic structure during its long period of neglect.

n.b.: there’s a $4.7 million mortgage shown on the land records for this place – no telling how much of that was actually advanced before construction was abandoned, but whatever went out won’t be coming back.

Stairway to nowhere

Stairway to nowhere

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 10.34.34 AM

9 Ridgeview

9 Ridgeview


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Foreclosure, Mid Country, spec houses

Auction at 160 John Street

160 John Street

160 John Street

Raul Villacis has listed 160 John Street, 18 acres of horse farm originally priced at $45 million in 2009 and offered at other prices since, from $36 million to $28,500 (just for 22 days, in February, 2013, and discussed here back then) for “one million dollars”, but notes that this will be an auction, so the million is presumably a token price – you need to have some number to list on the MLS, and your mileage may (will) vary.

I’ve never had much luck dealing with Mr. Villas, so won’t be investing any of my time on this, but I suppose he may break his historical pattern and actually be offering it for sale to a non-client, so if you’re interested  in some decent land and a house at some unspecified price – count on it, it won’t be a million – go for it.

I can’t sort of the status of this property on line – there’s no significant mortgage shown on the tax card and a check of the judicial docket turns up nothing, but if Raul’s involved then so too is a lender. Doubtless, by the time of the scheduled auction October 15th, more will be revealed.

UPDATE: a reader points out that, rather than be cancelled, David Ogilvy’s listing for this same property is still active (and will be through February of next year). So how’s Raul involved with this? Can one skip Raul’s services and just deal directly with David, handing over $28.5 million? That’d probably be a cheaper approach than dealing with Mr. Villacis, and certainly a more straightforward one.


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

Corey Kupersmith’s former Cowdray Road auction coming up August 25th

Here’s how to bid – basically, you must place your bid before hand and the three highest bidders will be invited to duke it out on the 25th.

Cheytac 408-M200

Cheytac 408-M200

We’ve written about Kupersmith before, most recently just this past July. In response to that article I received this interesting email. Apparently there was – is- more to Mr. Kupersmith than just a rapacious, failed real estate developer.

Hi Chris:

I was one of Corey’s partners for about five years when I founded Cheytac * and my other partners voted him in as an additional partner.  He and his criminal gang of hangers on from NYC were interesting fellows.
From never paying their taxes to outright defrauding [or attempting to] their partners, they were the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, literally.
When the little prince got involved with  Cheytac he determined that we didn’t need process control on weapons manufacturing…..  We could discuss that for hours….  We have enough damaged clients out there from that.
He also tried out various fully automatic weapons in Arco, ID and once shot a School Bus, fortunately coming back empty, no kids…….  I guess there is a God some where.
Crocco died under suspicious circumstances [no mention of that in Keith Crocco’s obituary – it was a motorcycle accident- Keith C rear-ended an SUV – Ed] after Corey stated that he was going to send him to his grave as he didn’t trust him any more…..  Most of the Greenwich cops partied at his Cowdray mansion or the Jupiter FL mansion…..
Real Estate?  Chris, you have barely scratched the tip of the iceberg…..
Interesting about the GPD partying with the man, here in Greenwich and in Florida. Any readers want to contribute to that angle?
UPDATE: Googling around, I found this mention of Kupersmith’s involvement with Jamison International. “In 2003 Marc Jamison teamed with the owner of Greenwich Ballistics, Corey Kupersmith, who had recently acquired Cheyenne Tactical (CheyTac USA).”
Patent suit brought by Greenwich Ballistics against Jamison bankrupted Jamison (or it shut down as the result of the expenses of defending against the suit). Here’s the original complaint.


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

Two Merritt Parkway homes go begging

A couple of houses on the broker open house today that merit discussion, if not an actual visit, because neither is selling and both are right on the Merritt Parkway. Coincidence? I think not.

329 Riversville: lights on, no one home

329 Riversville: lights on, no one home

329 Riversville Road is literally in the shadow of the parkway, and long ago brought down its builder, who lost it to foreclosure in, I think, 2010. It sat empty for years before the lender sold it off (at a great discount, I hope) to a third party. It’s been unsuccessfully auctioned (no takers), priced at $2.799 million (expired unsold) and now it’s back for a third attempt, at $2.695. Someone’s bound to want this at some price, but between the issue of sitting vacant and unfinished for so long and the looming presence of the Merritt overhead, I don’t know what that price will be.

PorchuckA bit further east, there’s a house on Porchuck that’s been reduced, again, to $5.8 million. It started at $9.5 million in 2012, and I’m sure its listing broker could have profitably read this weekend’s profile of David Ogilvy on the proper selling of a high-end home. He obviously didn’t, so it sits.

UPDATE: checked the tax card for the history of 329 Riversville, and here are some more details: IndyMac bank loaned $2.6 million for it in 2007, foreclosed on it and the successor to the failed IndyMac sold it off to the present owners for $1,489,952 in February, 2012. It’s the current owners who finished it, so it’s been empty for five years now (notwithstanding the listing’s claimed construction date of 2010, it was in fact built in 2008).


Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Foreclosure, Neighborhoods, pricing, Real estate agents, spec houses

“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago”


There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.

“There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.” President of the United (sic) States

“Brash mob” splits off from Trayvon Martin “memorial service” to invade WalMart, smash jewelry cases and steal.

Long Beach experienced such a gathering July 9, when more than 100 people descended on stretches of downtown in an organized, sudden crime rampage.

On Monday, a group of unruly young people broke off from hundreds gathered for a Trayvon Martin prayer vigil and rushed into a Wal-Mart on Crenshaw Boulevard, where they tossed merchandise and tried to break into a jewelry display case.

In Hollywood on Tuesday night, a flash mob of thieves rushed down Hollywood Boulevard, stealing phones, knocking over tourists and vandalizing shops, according to police, who said it may have been related to the George Zimmerman verdict. Twelve people — 11 juveniles and one 18-year-old — were arrested on suspicion of robbery.

On Wednesday night in Victorville, authorities arrested 17 people after a group allegedly tried to force its way into the Mall of Victor Valley.


Filed under Foreclosure, Uncategorized

Drive a bargain home?

It’s starting to look like a good time for it, maybe. There’s a lis pendens filed against 14 South Baldwin for something like $6 million, for instance, and I assume that foreclosure is on the way. This house will never sell for its hoped for $9 and I’m pretty sure the builder would be glad to accept an offer that would allow it to walk away. The complication here is that maybe the house isn’t worth $6 million. The front yard’s a swamp, the back yard’s tiny and the house, while nice enough, isn’t finished. Empty elevator shafts are just awful things to discover late at night, just to cite one example. How do you get the builder and, more important, the lender, to take a haircut? I’m not sure, but it’s probably worth the effort to try, at the right price.

The builder of 11 Lindsay Drive is, so far as I know, under no such financial pressure and certainly he hasn’t dropped his price much since April 2007 when he first offered it for sale at $13,750,000. It’s down to $12.9 million, not a price that will excite many buyers but probably not an unfair one – this is a huge, expensive project. What do you do with the knowledge, though, that the same builder has another project for sale on Ridge Street for $7.450 million? The builder and his agent will disagree vehemently but I don’t see how a view of the Honda dealership’s parking lot, no matter how luxurious the house hosting that view is, will support a price of $7 1/2 million. Do you, can you, use that opinion against the price of the house on Lindsay? I’d certainly try, especially because there is no lender threatening foreclosure. That relieves some of the pressure to sell but it also should make negotiations simpler. Even in this market,  though, you may just tick the seller off and poison the well; then again, it might work. And if it doesn’t, there are going to be a lot of other projects to try your method on.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, current market conditions, Foreclosure

Foreclosure comes to Greenwich

It’s always been here of course but we’re seeing more lis pendens filed. Or I think we are. 11 Green lane, in Pemberwick, showed up again today as a short sale – there’s more owed on the house than the house is worth. It was originally listed at $895,000 in April 2007 (the owner paid $699 for it in July, 2004) and endured nine price cuts over the ensuing months until it finally hit $515,000 in October. Now it’s back up to $544,300, a number precise enough to make me think that that’s what’s owed. Someone has obviously lost out on this property, and that’s too bad. The listing says “fast sale required” but offers only a 1% seller’s commission, which probably isn’t going to drive the real estate community into a frenzy of activity.


Filed under Foreclosure

The down side of foreclosure sales

It says here that 50% of all foreclosed homes sustain “serious structural damage” before their angry (former) owners move out. This may be the reason that potential buyers are split between thinking they should pay 75% of what a foreclosed house is worth, compared to one being sold by its owner, and 50%. Banks are trying to unload them and not surprisingly, the banks new low prices are killing builders and home owners.

Update: The article linked to draws primarily from this WSJ article. 

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Filed under Foreclosure

No surprise here

The rich have their troubles, too. As of August, 5% of jumbo mortgages were at least 60 days behind. That’s nothing compared to subprimes’ troubles (29%) but way up from a year ago, when the rate was 1.4%. And nothing’s improved since August, of course – quite the contrary.

“I think it’s going to get worse,” [a mortgage banker] said. “2009 is going to be ugly.”


Filed under current market conditions, Foreclosure

Okay, this is getting a little scary

One in ten mortgages is now in foreclosure or delinquent. We’ve lost 2,000,000 jobs this year and today’s report shows 500,000 lost in November. I think I’ve been pretty confident that we were going to stop digging a deeper hole but now, I don’t know.

To bring this back to real estate, I wouldn’t panic but, if you really do have to sell your house in the near future, you might want to reconsider any offers you may have rejected in the past as too low. If any of those offers are still open, you or your agent might want to make a call.

But that’s just me at 10:30 in the morning between my fourth and fifth cup of coffee. Perhaps the fifth one will cheer me up.

Update: The Wall Street Journal reports on the same story. Nothing here reassures me.


Filed under Foreclosure

“I won’t leave – I won’t, I won’t!”

Mummified body found in foreclosed home.

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Filed under Foreclosure

Mickey Kaus gets it right

The very group that demanded sub-prime mortgages is now suing those who created them.

‘You should never have made those loans groups like us pressured you to make!’The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a “community-based organization,” is suing Wall Street ratings services for approving bonds backed by home loans to African American and Latino home purchasers with “insufficient borrower income levels.”

The firms “knew or should have known” that subprime loans disproportionately were marketed to minority consumers — a process known as “reverse redlining” — and that those borrowers would ultimately default and go into foreclosure at high rates, according to the coalition’s complaint.

Hmmm. Didn’t community-based organizations push for exactly this sort of reverse-redlining?I think they did. It’s one thing to argue that they maybe weren’t the major cause of the subprime meltdown. It’s another for them to pose as victims wronged by the very system they worked hard to set up (including the securitization that enabled banks to keep up “reverse redlining”). …

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Filed under Foreclosure

No wonder banks are in trouble

If this tale of bank ineptitude in California is typical of what’s going on around the country, the real estate market is in for a rough ride. Banks can’t get their act together to accept short sales – sales that are less than what is owed – and end up letting the property going to foreclosure and then selling for less than was offered originally. Everyone loses: the home owner has a bigger liability, the bank has a greater loss and housing inventory remains on the market far longer than is necessary. Will the situation improve? Not as long as people like this banker are in charge:

The investor asked for $24,000 credit for the repairs, essentially making the offer $401,000. Countrywide said no dice.

The house went through foreclosure in late August. The owners and a tenant in the second unit had to move. The bank put the home on the market a couple of weeks ago, after spending $7,500 for painting and new carpets, according to the new listing agent, George DeSalvo, a Realtor with Frank Howard Allen in Greenbrae.

The new price? $374,900 – about 6 percent less than the rejected short sale offer.

“I wish I could say this was unique, but I had three other properties with the same situation,” Harris said.

A Countrywide representative said it followed due process in weighing the short sale offer.

“At the time the offer was considered, the market value of that property was shown to be somewhere closer to $425,000,” said Rick Simon, a spokesman for Countrywide, which is owned by Bank of America. “The value is determined by appraisal.”

Unlike most of Marin County, Novato is an area where foreclosures are increasing and prices are on a downward spiral. Did Countrywide consider that the property’s value might be falling by $10,000 or more every month?

“We don’t try to engage in speculation as to where the market is going when considering the offers,” Simon said.

Maybe they should.

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Filed under Foreclosure

Abandoned spec houses

I stopped by 36 Edgewood Drive to check on progress. Although its foundation was approved in July 2006 it has still not come on the market and as you’ll see from the photo, no one’s mowed the lawn in awhile. Nonetheless, there is some activity going on today, Saturday afternoon. There were a few lights on and a solitary painter was working inside. Does he work for the builder or a bank? Is this place really finally going to be completed? It would appear that it is, though completed by whom, coming on the market when and and what price are all mysteries.

36 Davenport

36 Edgewood Drive


Meeting House Road. This must really cheese Regis every morning.

This must really cheese Regis as he drives by each morning!

The Licata mansion on Meeting House Road, on the other hand, is definitely abandoned. It’s huge – 15,000 sq.ft.? More? And really kind of cool inside, but there’s nothing much there except framing and some southwestern kiva fireplaces. It would cost a fortune to finish and it’s been abandoned so long I doubt there’s any choice but to tear it down and start over. A pity and a waste.

And then there’s 19 Licata Terrace another soon-to-be abandoned project by Mr. Licata. The picture’s below – a not-so-nice house on an existing foundation (the second photo shows rusting lolly columns holding up the entire rear side) on what I would describe as a street of modest homes – you might be harsher. Here’s a question: this house is burdened with a $1.750 million mortgage, plus various sub contractors’ mechanic liens, plus delinquent property taxes and it will take, by the builder’s own estimate (which should be taken with a grain of salt), another $180,000 to complete. Why was so much money extended on this project, on this street, to this builder? Licata is fresh from pleading guilty to a $19 million bank fraud loan, he couldn’t have walked away from that Meeting House Road fiasco smelling pretty and his local reputation is … challenged. 

I think this last house illustrates what went wrong with mortgage lending in this country. Twenty years ago, mortgages were extended by and held by local banks. The bankers knew the players and knew who not to lend to. They knew the streets, they had a good idea of the value each street could support and they were lending their own money. I don’t believe either this Licata Terrace house or Dom DeVito’s scam on Round Hill Road would ever have been funded in 1988. But banks no longer loan their own money and they no longer have a Lloyd Fideo, as Putnam Trust did, to scratch his head and opine, “I just don’t think that fella’s a good risk.” These bombs were financed nationally, spun into slices and sold internationally and no one, anywhere, cared about getting paid back so long as they could pass that risk on to someone else. Now that they can’t do that, now that the loans are coming back, they suddenly care. It’s too late and we’re going to pay a terrible price for that negligence.


Licata Terrace - still time to customize!

Licata Terrace - still time to customize!


Is this really an approved construction technique?

Is this really an approved construction technique?


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Foreclosure

Post-foreclosure blues

Sad video of “trashouts” in one of California’s thousands of foreclosed homes.

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Filed under Foreclosure

40 Byram Shore goes to Royal Bank of Scotland

A reader asked about a property transaction reported in the GT today showing this place going to RBS for a buck. “Is that a foreclosure?” he asked? Yup.

The unfortunate homeowner originally  bought the  place (across the street from the water so never worth all that much) for $739,000 in 2000 and must have run into financial trouble in 2006 because he put it up for sale at $1.595 with the notation that “seller eager for expeditious closing”. My advice, which he obviously didn’t get from his broker, is that if you’re in trouble, don’t mess around with a bad price. In any event, it didn’t sell and I’m pretty sure it went over to the bank awhile ago. At least, Weikert was trying to sell it as land for $949 and showed the owner as “retained property” which sounds like a bank/owner to me. That was back in November ’06 so perhaps the foreclosure dragged on but it now officially belongs to the bank. Lucky bank.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Byram, Foreclosure