39 Church Street For Sale: $509,900…Really?

39 Church Street, downtown Greenwich multi-family, on sale this week only, $509,900, better hurry!

39 Church Street, downtown Greenwich multi-family, on sale, this week only, $509,900, better hurry! (Dump truck not included)

39 Church Street, Greenwich, CT is for sale (or not) at the bargain price of just $509,900 (or maybe $674,200, depending on which listing you look at).

This happens all the time: A client e-mails you a listing and says, “Hey! Why haven’t you shown me this one?”  They usually find these mystery listings on one of the many alternative MLS systems out there. There’s a legitimate one called the CMLS, but I keep hearing about listings on the “CT MLS“, which supposedly carried this 39 Church Street charade (I eventually found it by Googling the address).

But never mind all that, the fact is, either of those asking prices is hundreds and hundreds of thousands less than the property’s actual value. Add to that the fact that the Gabriele family (of the adjacent Gabriele’s Restaurant) owns practically the whole block, with no plans to sell, and the whole thing sounds fishy, does it not?

So I called fellow broker Lisa Gabriele, and she said she’d never heard of it (and yeah, no, the family isn’t planning on unloading any properties at half price, darn!)

So that leaves the question, what is this? I left a message for the purported listing broker, “Jonathan Grabarz” (of Hamden, CT!) but haven’t heard back. All very weird, but the Internet is absolutely full of stuff like this; properties advertised as seemingly for sale, but aren’t really. So what’s the motive? Who benefits from these faux listings? Inquiring minds want to know!

13 thoughts on “39 Church Street For Sale: $509,900…Really?

  1. I know one thing. Its obvious the realtor Jonathan Gabblygrook is no slouch judging by that sweet photo he has on that link of yours in the lower left. Just look at all that due diligence sitting on his expansive table. And he’s pictured being on the phone too. He has no time to smile, no time to stop. Kinda makes you look like a lazy fat cat. Perhaps its time to upgrade your look to “frantic.”

    • Cos:
      By jingo, you’ve hit on something! Fact is, we brokers agonize over what sort of image to convey to you general public types, and you’ll often see that “busy-broker-on-the-phone” photo choice. I think it looks dopey!

  2. Hamden broker? Likely a short sale and broker already has an inside deal going. Suspect that if he does not return your phone call or if he returns your call and reports is under contract.

    • Onc:
      Bingo, give that man a cigar! One of my fellow brokers did get called back by this Hamden sharpie, and surprise, there’s “already a deal on the place!” Phaw! Fake, phony, fraudulent (but I still wanna know why).

  3. One or more of these properties was advertised as having a delinquent mortgage on Zillow and other public websites. Broker looks up the amount of the mortgage on that website and prices the house equal to the outstanding mortgage, more or less. Maybe the broker thinks he can attract business that way or even sell the property to someone.

    Problem is that in Greenwich, at the $1.2 million price range, even if the mortgage is delinquent, the property can be listed by a real broker for the seller at market value and find any numbers of buyers. In this town at this price range, no one has to sell for the amount of the mortgage. I think Stamford is a different story, and there, with more inventory, and more short sales without takers, the broker’s ploy may work better.

  4. Three possible reasons:
    1) Short sales require MLS listings to be active for 30 days. The CTMLS covers the area from New Haven to the rest of the state. Advertise in the CTMLS and get no offers in your 30 days. Tell the bank that you have listed it in the “Statewide MLS” (how good is that). Tell them you have a full price offer and whammo bammo, your inside deal is accepted.
    2) The ownership of the property has changed from the longtime owners to a corporation owned by the same owner, Luca Gabrielle. There are eight properties owned by the same owner that have been filed with notices of foreclosure in the Greenwich Land Records. The mixup of these may be designed for a number of reasons, some innocuous, others more strategic. I would assume if this is a factor, they are trying to lower the valuation of the property for their lender in negotiations to recast debt
    3) The lender hired a third party broker to give them a Brokers Price Opinion. Because no lender really understands Greenwich, they hired an agent from Hamden because their system allowed for any broker within 50 miles – works in North Dakota, right? Not knowing what to do, really, he launched a listing hoping that someone might send him an offer which would back up his weakly held opinion.

    I strongly doubt it has anything to do with gathering business for the broker.

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