Night Under The Stars

Once again, I’m MC and auctioneer for Greenwich Hospital’s “Night Under The Stars“, a benefit for the Pediatrics Department and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Greenwich Hospital. It’s a Friday night, July 12th, at the Riverside Yacht Club. High tide, beautiful summer evening, Fountain attempting to be funny, what’s not to like? Tickets are cheap for this sort of thing, and mostly tax-deductible. Most important, it’s for an actual worthy cause!

Thank God for PhotoShop! But seriously, if you need a good head-shot for your "movie work", don't call anyone but Tom Young.

Thank God for PhotoShop! But seriously, if you need a good head-shot for your “movie work” *, don’t call anyone but Tom Young. * Yes, I put that term in sarcastic quotation marks, happy now?

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The Problem With Single-Example Theories…

Well, in this case, two examples, but you get the idea.  Let us consider the case of two recent sales:

85 Indian Head Road, in the Riverside section of town, and

82 Winthrop Drive, also in Riverside.

In the case of 85 Indian Head, a tear-down land sale, it had sat around for years and years, starting back in 2011, asking $2,999,999, gradually getting reduced to $2,745,000 by Dec. 2012. Finally, the listing expires, but the owners bring it back on in May for $3,195,000 and bam! , it sells instantly for asking price!

Likewise 82 Winthrop…sells in Dec 2011 for $1,495,000, then comes back on Feb. 2013 for $1,875,000, gets one price reduction, to $1,775,000, attracts a bidding war, and fetches $1,675,000.

People ask me constantly, “How much is the market up?” (or down, sometimes) and I look to examples like the two above. 85 Indian Head couldn’t make a deal at $2.745M at the end of 2012, suggesting its market value then was $2.6M, maybe less? Five months later, it gets $3.195M, almost 23% higher than my earlier guesstimate.

But what you don’t know is that the owners hired D’Andrea surveyors to map the property’s wetlands, locate a suitable septic reserve-area, and generally provide answers to all possible property development questions. And they hired an architect who designed a house for the property, with a full set of floor-plans. Consequently, they removed much of the value-lowering mystery about the property.

So did the price go up because of that, or because the market has improved dramatically?

Likewise for 82 Winthrop Drive, also considered a tear-down by some (.64 acres in the R-12 zone), but the new owner sank around $85,000 into windows, hardware, fixtures, and added a critical third bath upstairs. So where did that $180,000 higher price come from, the relatively minor house improvements, or market improvement?

By the way, I thought that the owners of 85 Indian Head hiring that architect to design a proposed house for the site was brilliant, but guess who ended up buying?  A builder, and he never even looked at the drawings.

85 Indian Head Road, no one wanted in 2012, sells for asking price of $3.195M last week.

85 Indian Head Road, no one wanted in 2012 ($2.745M), sells for asking price of $3.195M last week. List: Dana Gordon. Sell: Katherine Donnelly.

 

82 Winthrop Drive sells for $1.675M, that's $180,000 more than Dec. 2011.

82 Winthrop Drive sells for $1.675M, that’s $180,000 more than Dec. 2011. List: Nancy Healy. Sell: Tom Broadhurst.

I Want This Watch

My new watch, the Garmin “Quatix”… (and see video, linked below)

I assume “Quatix” is supposed to be pronounced like the tail-end of the word “aquatics”, wouldn’t you agree? Anyway, guess what this watch will do, among its many, many features! If you fall off the boat, the watch detects this instantly, and will steer the boat back to you! Think  Lone Ranger’s horse, “Silver”, so cool.

But Gid, I hear you saying, isn’t your idea of sailing pretty much limited to sitting on the top deck (nice weather only, please), sipping rum drinks? What would you need a fancy watch like this for, exactly?

Sorry, what did you say?

Garmin Quatix, the watch that brings your boat back to you when you fall off. Hint: Christmas is just around the corner...

Garmin Quatix, the watch that brings your boat back to you when you fall off. Hint: Christmas is just around the corner…

Hey Baby, What’s New? 41 Listings

Pardon that loathsome “street hustler” title quotation, but the fact is,

41 new listings came on this week.

Now, the wise-guys among you will immediately say, “Phaw! Aren’t most of ’em just re-treads, freshly signed up with a new broker, and a new (lower) price?” To which I say, yes and no. In truth, there are some re-treads here, but among them, many new offerings.

Speaking of re-treads, here is my favorite:

5 Lindsay Drive , off North Street (link shows current listing, and the listing from when it sold in 2004 for $3,205,000).

This property, on a street with substantial mega-mansions, has always been marketed as a potential tear-down, at one point asking $4.750M, back in 2008, but I consider it to be highly livable.

Architecturally speaking, it’s probably not at the top of anyone’s list, but it is a great house PLUS, you get a fairly large carrige house, located a good, long distance from the main house, presently rented for $4,000/month! Like, like like.

5 Lindsay Drive, $3.895M. The last sale on the street was $8M in March. Gideon says "Buy".

5 Lindsay Drive, $3.895M. The last sale on the street was $8M in March. Gideon says “Buy”.

A Tale Of Three Tear-Downs?

Hmmm, maybe not three, but it’s a safe bet at least one of these recent deals goes to the dumpster:

6 Meadowcroft Lane: Say it ain’t so! This beautiful 1930’s masterpiece, on 8.07 acres in the 2-acre zone, reduced from $17.4M, down to $13.750M, “probably” won’t be torn down, even though we now know that oversize “lots” on this street can fetch $9,391,000.

32 Grahampton Lane : I absolutely loved this ol’ 1949 colonial, in perfect condition, but its lot size of 2.53 acres, and its location, across the street from the property above, virtually guarantees it’s a goner.

26 North Street: Reliable reports indicate this grand old Victorian, purchased by a couple from Riverside, will actually be….are you sitting down? Smelling salts handy? Wait for it…. Restored! Great GOD, almighty!

26 North Street fetches $4.275M, and sorry, demolition guy, this one's being saved. List: Linda Michonski Sell: Debby Gardiner

26 North Street fetches $4.275M, and sorry, demolition guy, this one’s being saved.
List: Linda Michonski
Sell: Debby Gardiner

A Real, Live, Greenwich “Bargain”?

The difficulty in deciding whether a particular property in this town is indeed a “bargain”, or at least, a good deal, is that, within our 48 square miles of territory, there are dozens and dozens of different neighborhoods and zones, ranging from Field Point Circle’s fabulous 2-acre, waterfront zone, to the little slivers of property, as small as .09 acres, off  Byram’s Delavan Avenue, in the R-7 zone, where the minimum lot size is required to be 7,500 square feet (except when it’s even smaller!). 

Consider this: A nice, square 1-acre building lot on Riverside’s Club Road would sell for what, $3,000,000 or more? But go one and a half miles away, to Cos Cob’s “Dandy Drive” (off Nifty, corner of Spiffy) and you find that a beautiful acre (with a nice tear-down thrown in) can be had for a mere $785,000!

Check out 44 Dandy Drive, which closed Friday.

And here’s the street history for Dandy Drive, where the highest sale price so far has been around $2.5M. Club Road, on the other hand, has hit $8.675M.

So is the Dandy sale a “bargain”, or simply a reasonable price for that lot on that street?

List:  Anthony Chimblo

Sell:  Ted Thaxter 

44 Dandy Drive, asks $799,000, gets $785,000.

44 Dandy Drive, asks $799,000, gets $785,000. Here is Bing Maps aerial view of the property. Little known fact: Dandy Drive begins in the R-12 zone, then jumps to the R-1 zone.

Do You Care If The Buyers Plan To Tear Down Your Home?

No, no, NO! In nearly all cases, just take the money, and don’t look back, especially when they’re paying you millions and millions *. Hell, I’d help them off-load the bulldozer (on my way back from the bank), if they needed it.

Ok, so I’m on record as not giving a [gosh-darned] if someone tears down a house, but sometimes…well, maybe once in awhile it does seem a little sad.

Here’s a good example:

17 Meadowcroft Lane, a really great old (but completely updated) 1930’s english manor, now vanished.

Check out the photos, see what you think.

* Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I hold the record for Greenwich’s most expensive tear-down!

17 Meadowcroft, now a pile of rocks, baking in the sun. On the other hand, the buyers paid $9.350M ($355,000 over ask), so they are entitled to do what they want.

17 Meadowcroft, now a pile of rocks, baking in the sun. On the other hand, the buyers paid $9.391M ($491,000 over ask), so they are entitled to do what they want, n’est-ce pas?