Broker Paul Larson

Broker Paul Larson, who’s trying to persuade me to persuade my clients to ante up for his waterfront listing sent me this very well-presented, easy to grasp comparison of recent Old Greenwich waterfront sales (the image is from my i-Phone). What I’m especially impressed with, besides the excellent layout of useful information, is that he dug up a nearby direct sale that most people, even neighbors, might not know about. That’s the one at 40-44 Rocky Point Road where some big-wig at Time-Warner? (one of those media companies) bought two adjoining parcels for a bit of protection. You’ll note that he (and Mrs. Big-Wig) paid $10,400,000 for a couple of tear-downs on 1.02 acres, or $5.2M each.

Most brokers aren’t nearly as proactive as Paul; during a showing, they might rattle off addresses of “comps” and assume you and your customer have all the details memorized, but the truth is, all of us, brokers and customers alike, need facts in front of us. Paul knows this, so he puts this thing together and sends it to all of us showing brokers so that we can send it to our customers (neglecting to credit Paul, of course). That’s smart brokering.


10 thoughts on “Broker Paul Larson

  1. The owners paid $7M for the place at the top of the market. They renovated (nicely) an existing dwelling which is a bit undersized for the price. Are they really anywhere close to $2.5-$3M into the renovations?

    Why would you ever try to convince your buyers to overpay for the house knowing that the existing owners had issues with noise etc from the adjacent club and other neighbors (according to rumors).

    Why didn’t you show your buyers 22 Pilot Rock which sold for less on bigger land, no club next door, and similar views?

    If this is rude, don’t hesitate to dump it…but if you could find a nicer way to rephrase my questions and then answer them, that would be terrific. 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the house but there’s no comparison between it and Indian Drive. Binney started out at $14.5M and sold for less than this one is still asking and is a much wider lot.

    And you can’t compare it to the price at 40-44 Rocky Point if an existing neighbor is adding to his property, a neighbor will pay a premium if he can afford it and it’s important enough to him.

    • Anonymous:
      Well, you’re arguing with Larson, not me, but Paul’s not here, so I will answer…
      Point 1: “The owners paid [$7,025,000] at the top of the market”, where’s the 2.5-3M of renovations?
      Answer: Could we not ask the same question of 12 Indian Drive, right next door? Sold in 2004 for $7.7M ($500K over ask), sells again this year for $14.1M; where’s the $7M in renovations?

      Point 2: “Why would you try to convince your buyers to overpay, issues, noise, rumors, etc., etc.”.
      Answer: Greenwich clients are too sophisticated to be “convinced to overpay”. We brokers can only supply them with tons of information (and some reasonable arguements) and hope we can somehow get the buyer and seller to agree on a number. This often takes loads of time. As for your point about “noise” from the adjacent Club, I would cite the example of the sale of 34 Field Point Circle. That was 4.5 acres of waterfront but about half of that had a view-line easement over it that prohibited any building or planting. But most significant, the property was immediately adjacent to the Belle Haven swimming pool, pool house, and playground (oh, the noise, the horrors!). Selling price? $15,000,000.

      Point 3: “Why didn’t you show 22 Pilot Rock?”
      Answer: I did; sorry, not the same. Pilot Rock’s swell, for sure, but if you stand there, and then go down to the end of Meadowbank, you’ll understand the difference. Plus, Pilot Rock’s part of the Harbor Point Association which can sometimes be very difficult to get building plans through.

      Point 4: “[55] Binney Lane…wider lot, etc.” Nope, sorry, again, if you stand on both properties, you will understand the value of Meadowbank.

      Point 5: “Neighbor adding to property, neighbor will pay a premium, etc.”
      Answer: This is the old “that sale doesn’t count” arguement. I’ve heard it throughout my career; that sale was a fluke (for whatever reason) and can’t be used as a credible “comp”. Bunk! I’ve even heard brokers dismiss the phenomenal selling price of 12 Indian Drive because the buyer was famously wealthy! Fiddlesticks.

      • Anonymous:
        Ha! I doubt you’ll do any such thing! But your laundry-list does illustrate the complexity of the discussion of any particular property’s “value”. Appraisers like to think it can all be broken down in a scientific manner, it cannot; there are too many variables, including the impossible-to-quantify element of human nature!

  2. The Pool club being right next door is going to lower the number of people who are willing to buy that house. Just a fact of life that a lot of people who are going to pay for waterfront in Old Greenwich aren’t people who want loud neighbors.

    • xyzzy:
      Sigh/groan…I would dispute your use of the word “fact”…
      Properties next to Yacht/Golf/Tennis/Beach Clubs historically DO NOT sell at a discount. It’s a nice theory, but it ain’t true. Furthermore, this particular Club’s opened about 3 months of the year AND it isn’t “loud”, so stop!

      • If you are going to dispute me, at least dispute what I write. I said that the fact that it is next to a loud club is going to reduce the number of people who want that home. I’ll argue that fact any day you want. I didn’t jump to your conclusion

        Secondly, yes Rocky Point is loud. I’ve been there too many times over the last 40 years not to know exactly how loud it is, but your point is accurate, it isn’t loud all the time all year long. But it is loud on some of the best days you want to be outside enjoying the waterfront property you paid a lot of money to have.

        All of those things are factors. It is up to the buyer and sellers to find the right price.

      • xyzzy:
        I am disputing what you said, or perhaps, what you infer, when you write that being “next to a loud club is going to reduce the number of people who want that home”. I don’t know, nor do you, whether it actually reduces the number of people who want it. I do know that market prices for houses next to clubs do not back up your assertion, and that’s all that matters.

        As for Rocky Point being loud, I happen to have a client who is also adjacent to it, and I have visited this client’s house on numerous occasions, daytime and night, I have never noticed noise. For heaven’s sake, this is a beach club filled with neighbors, not some New York City disco staying open till 4:00 AM! Proximity is an asset, not a negative.

  3. Rocky Point Beach Club is not Belle Haven or Riverside Yacht Club, proximity to the latter two clubs would be considered a positive by many people, not that there is anything wrong with Rocky Point but it is no comparison.

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