12 Horseshoe Road
12 Horseshoe Road, a contemporary originally priced at $1.8 million this past September, has been dropped to $1.695 today. It’s odd how these things work. Back in 2005, the house came on for $1.749 million, and had a buyer willing to pay $1.745 just three weeks later. In 2009, that buyer tried to resell it for $1.995 but finally moved it, 400 days later, for $1.275, to the current owner. I think this time, the seller has tried to find a buyer with the enthusiasm of that 2005 owner and priced it at $1.8, but despite painting the rooms in dramatic colors, there’s nothing that’s been essentially changed since she bought it herself for $1.275. The “right” buyer may come along, eventually, but if I were advising her, and she wanted to move on (and out) of this house, I’d suggest dropping the price closer to her break-even point.
I personally like this house. It’s in a great setting, and, as a single guy, it has far more space than I need and no yard to maintain – perfect. I am not the typical Greenwich buyer, however, and if it’s to appeal to a larger market spectrum than sophisticated New York couples looking for a weekend spot, the only thing that’s possible to change is the price, so I’d do it.
Because he asked, I can tell Cos Cobber that we have four single family homes under contract in Cos Cob, including two with asking prices above $3 million. I suspect that the one asking $5.999 million isn’t going anywhere soon, though. The MLS shows 71 Cos Cob homes actively for sale but since that includes one unbuilt house at 38 Langhorne Lane, way off Moreland off of Round Hill, the proper number is 70. Who screwed that listing up, the agent or the MLS? Either way, you’d think the listing broker would want to correct it. Not everyone who wants property in the Back Country thinks to look in Cos Cob for it.
What is it about Cos Cob that people don’t like? It has an excellent elementary school and Central Middle School is appreciated by the parents of its students, it’s close to the beach and central Greenwich, there’s a nice shopping district (albeit one without a grocery store – thanks, Jerry) and the yards tend to be much bigger than comparable houses in Riverside or Old Greenwich. Yet some newcomers go ballistic when they discover that mail addressed to Greenwich with a Cos Cob zip will be returned by the Post Office, Riverside Yacht Club members universally paint “Riverside” as their home port even though they sail from Cos Cob Harbor (one brave friend, Bill Breck, defied that tradition, but he’s now dead. Coincidence? I think not) and many, many buyers refuse to even look at a listing if it’s in Cos Cob. So what gives? I don’t know.
But, prodded by a comment from Stanwich, I just pulled up the sales history for that section of town to see whether my memory about low pricing was correct. It was. There has been exactly one sale for more than $5,000,000 in the history of Cos Cob: 200 Cognewaugh, $5.250, in 2007, and I doubt it would fetch that now. There have been no sales, ever, in the $4.5 – $5 million range, one sale at $4.295 (2005) and three other sales in the low 4s ($4.000, 4.050, and $4.175), and that’s it. Period.
I like Cos Cob, I’ve sold a lovely house on Cat Rock in Cos Cob and I’ve recommended scores more homes, to no avail. So Stanwich, you can take me to task for disrespecting Cos Cob, but the fault lies in the buyers, not me. By the way, fella – isn’t Stanwich in Greenwich proper?
And not necessarily at rock-bottom prices. This one on Orchard, across from Central Middle School, sold last week for an even $3 million. That’s down from its asked-for price of $3.8 back in 2006 but it’s not all that painful. Who knew there was a $3 million buyer out there?
126 Cat Rock
But here’s an example of a house that still won’t sell, despite being very close to its 2001 price, when it sold at full price for $3.6million. Today it’s at $3.7 million. Other than reader Stanwich, who loves the road, Cat Rock is often a difficult sell, particularly in a weak market. My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that, if these owners have to sell in the near future, they’re going to have to take a loss.
30 Strickland, a nifty 1749 house on Mill Pond was listed for $1.750 million last year (bad move) and finally dropped to $995,000 (good move) and was reported as under contract last November. Something must have gone wrong and in today’s financial climate, that’s not infrequent, so today it’s come back. It’s identified as a 1980 house, which I assume is a typo. It’s also been re-priced at $1.195 which seems counter intuitive because if it took a drop down to $995 last fall to move it, one would think (I would think) that the market hasn’t improved so much since then as to permit a price $200,000 higher. But it’s a funky old house that would be worth far more in a different location. If you like this sort of thing as much as I do and can stand a wee bit of road noise (sometime between 1749 and today a highway seems to have gone up nearby) take a look.
77 Valleywood Road
Valleywood Road has always been a popular street for young families. I’d think that the failure of this house to sell must be due, at least in part, to a dearth of young families entering the Greenwich housing market these days. Statistics are always useful to gauge the overall state of the market but concrete examples are useful, too.
The Pecora Brothers listed this place for sale back in July 2007 for $4.895 million. Today, eight price cuts later, it’s dropped to $3.150. That might do it – it’s an okay house – but they can’t change the road and, so far at least, they haven’t been able to change the look of the house behind it. At some price, a buyer will probably be willing to ignore a 1960’s, tired ranch with a broken down boat and trailer and discarded jungle gym set as back yard neighbors but they certainly weren’t willing to do so at this place’s original price. We’ll see if their vision is obscured at this lower one.
UPDATE: Additional thoughts. Just as we agents should be meticulous about inspecting the condition of our vacant listings, builders of new houses, particularly in this one’s original price range, should zealously inspect the product they intend to present to the buying public. Fill in nail holes in the shingles, replace missing shingles and down spouts and in general, show that you know what you’re doing. There’s nothing fatal about a paint job that wasn’t properly prepared, but it’s off putting. I always ask myself, “if they missed the obvious stuff, what about the stuff I can’t see?” Buyers do, too.