Pricing For A Bidding War


25 Evergreen, off lower Lake Avenue, across from The Field Club. Everyone wanted it!

29 Evergreen, $1.250M, off lower Lake Avenue, across from The Field Club. Everyone wanted it!

Truth is, most of the time, when a bidding war breaks out, the broker is caught completely by surprise. That’s fine, as long as the broker has the good sense to realize what’s happening, and then just get out of the way!

That might be what happened recently at 29 Evergreen Road; great old 1947 ranch on .51 acres in the R-12 zone. An over-sized lot, and the particular topography of it, probably made this very attractive to builders. The place was gone in a weekend, and I’m guessing it went over ask. $100K? 200K? Can’t wait to see!

Here’s a couple more that recently went over ask:

81 Husted Lane, Greenwich

68 Northridge Road, Old Greenwich

Useful tip: Click on the listing link, then select “map”. On the map, click on the little star showing on the lot, then click “Bird’s Eye”.

Also try “street view” (not always available).

Got it?



Racer Danica Patrick

Wow! Can that outfit really protect you in a crash? Amazing.

Wow! Can that outfit really protect you in a crash? Amazing.


Purists might object to race car driver Danica Patrick posing this way. I mean what, after all, does this have to do with auto racing? But the same might have been asked (probably was) of Orioles Hall of Famer, Jim Palmer, posing in skimpy banana-hammocks back in the 1970’s.

He's no Danica Patrick!

He’s no Danica Patrick!


I say, what the hell?

NAR Sues Zillow!

Whoa! NAR draws first blood against Zillow! (actors depicting actual litigants)

Whoa! NAR draws first blood against Zillow! (actors depicting actual litigants)

Well, not exactly. The National Association Of Realtors has joined a suit instigated by, a competing online real estate service. What this really seems to be about is that Zillow is poaching executives from Move…

NAR’s statement

Move, Inc.’s statement

The rest of the story…

Ritchie’s Archipelago & Car Nicobar…

Full-size runway on the island of "Car Nicobar", in the Adaman Sea...(see BingMaps link)

Full-size runway on the island of “Car Nicobar”, in the Andaman Sea…(see BingMaps link)

Sounds like a couple of swingin’ Indian Ocean hot-spots, does it not? Instead, those are two of the actual names of locations in the area there, known as the Andaman Islands. Click on the two links below, then zoom in, and you’ll find various full-size airstrips, capable of handling a Boeing 777!

I’m not making light of the plight of the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 flight. If they’re all still alive somewhere, it is not going to be some sort of exciting “adventure” for them. If the plane was commandeered by crazed Muslims*, it could only be with pure evil intent. But since we know almost nothing, at this point, all we can do is speculate. (shows the whole area)  (shows Nicobar’s airstrip)

* Oh, did I say Muslims? I meant Catholics, or maybe…Tea-Party types!

Why Not Price Your House At $1?

32 Lake Aveune, asked $749,000. Got $1.1M.

32 Lake Avenue, the owner assumed the house was worth $900,000, so asked $749,000. Got $1.1M.

Blogger Chris Fountain was extolling the virtues of good pricing, even deliberate under-pricing, so one of his (dopier) readers responded sarcastically, “By that logic, all houses should be priced at one dollar.”

Well, yeah, but no, do not list your house for one dollar. Not because it wouldn’t work, it probably would, but the fact is, you don’t need to. Market “magic” will occur at a price that is merely low. Also, at $1, or other silly asking price, you risk making your listing look “gimmicky”. A buyer of valuable art might go for it, but the buyer of a primary residence could possibly be turned off. So how do you price your house? There are five ways.

Let’s assume your property is worth $1,000,000. Here are the five ways you can present it to the public:

1.  Grossly under-price ($700,000)

2.  Slightly under-price ($899,000)

3.  Price “to sell” ($1,000,000)

4.  Slightly over-price ($1,100,000)

5.  Grossly over-price ($1,300,000+)

The first two options will get you a bidding war, guaranteed.

Option 3 (priced to sell) may get you a bidding war, but the problem is, you don’t really know for sure what your house is worth, no one does. Brokers (and appraisers) are always capable of under-pricing a house, but they don’t know with certainty what the market will decide your house is truly worth. If they’re right about your $1M house, that’s good, you’ll get a small bidding war at that asking price. But if they’re wrong, and the market decides your place is only worth $950,000, you get no bidding war.

Most sellers go with option 4, slightly over-pricing their house, believing they need that little extra for “negotiation”, That’s fine, and it usually works out ok for them, they may get their $1M eventually, or maybe somewhere in the $900’s, but it won’t be a disaster, and they’ll be on and off the market in a few months. They eliminated any chance of getting more than their house was worth, but the process felt “safe” and “orderly”, so they’re happy.

The real disaster awaits the gross over-pricers. These are sellers who use phrases like “We need to get [some amount] for our house”, and who, after six months on the market, revert to phrases like, “We just haven’t found the right buyer”. They take what should be a relatively simple process, lasting 30-90 days, and turn it into a multi-month/multi-year ordeal. Do not do this.

Only In Greenwich: An $11M Bargain

465 Round Hill Road, $10.995M. Top-of-the-world setting, nice.

465 Round Hill Road, $10.995M. Top-of-the-world setting, nice.

Well, dammit, it is. I’m talking about 465 Round Hill Road, which started out at around $13M four years ago. Now, three or four listing brokers later ,it can be stolen for $10.995M!

Think I’m crazy, do ya? Well, how’s these for comps:

435 Round Hill Road (about three doors away, closed for $20M, Nov. 2009)

2 Wooddale Road (came on last week at $11.995M, bam! got a quick deal)

More importantly, though, is this: The owners of 465 Round Hill Road did something interesting and smart, they de-decorated the interior somewhat. Nothing wrong with the previous look, in fact, I loved it (the listing photos still show it), but now, most of the curtains are gone, the wallpaper’s been eliminated, and everything looks clean and stream-lined, much like 2 Wooddale, come to think of it.

Hard to imagine needing to spruce up an $11M house in order to appeal to “younger buyers” (a perfect starter home for the little darlings!), but I think that was the motive here, and it works.

Listing broker of 465 Round Hill Road: Joanne Mancuso

Good News For “Walt”

33 Laub Pond Road (off Cliffdale, off upper Riversville), $1.595M, quick sale!

33 Laub Pond Road (off Cliffdale, off upper Riversville), $1.595M, quick sale!

Regular Chris Fountain readers are familiar with the hilarious*  character who calls himself “Walt”. He and the rest of the “commenting crew” regularly dismiss the value of streets like this, but they’re wrong once again!

Broker/architect/all-around smartie Paul Pugliese brought 33 Laub Pond on the market only a few days ago, and bam! A deal is struck.

The ask was $1.595M, and for that, you got a very tired garrison-colonial on a truly beautiful piece of property that includes a pretty pond. Will it be torn down? Renovated/expanded? I’m sure we’ll find out soon. Either way, a quick sale like this is a positive development for the back-country.

33 Laub Pond Road (this link will probably expire, so I will keep “renewing” it and see if that works)

List: Paul Pugliese

Sell: Jill Miller

*So not.

Brunswick’s Phantom Of The Opera

Brunswick's Phantom Of The Opera, absolutely amazing. See it if you can.

Brunswick’s Phantom Of The Opera, absolutely amazing. See it if you can.

When you go see a high school production, you’re prepared to cut the kids a little slack, wouldn’t you agree?  Last night, we watched Brunswick School (with Greenwich Academy) put on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of The Phantom Of The Opera, and I was in full slack-cutting mode, and yet, 10 minutes into it, I actually forgot these were kids, it was that good a show.

For 10 bucks admission, this is the theatre-going deal of the century. You should see this production. Looks like it’s sold out tonight, but tickets are still available for Saturday’s performance:

No refreshments! (BYO martinis)

Putin vs. Obama

Ol' Vlad, takin' charge. I don't like this guy one bit and I wish we had someone who could face him down.

Ol’ Vlad, takin’ charge. I don’t like this guy one bit and I wish we had someone who could face him down.

Morning talk-show host Mark Simone (WOR 710 on your AM dial) places way too much significance on appearances, in my opinion, but he made a good point this morning about the difference between the image of Vladimir Putin, seen here, exiting a helicopter yesterday with some of his military honchos, and the usual image of President Obama, seen wearing Dad jeans. One guy looks formidable, the other….not so much.

I’m not saying America needs to be led by a “strongman”, far from it. We don’t need a dictator, or anyone who desires to be one, but it’s a tad alarming to see what we’re up against, and what we’ve got.