Two Hugely Expensive Homes That Will Sell Immediately

19 Lower Cross Road, $13.9M, view of front hall…click listing link below, very spectacular place.
List: Brian Milton

Going out on a limb here, but I hereby state for the record that these two houses will have accepted offers in the next 30 days…

19 Lower Cross Road, Greenwich, CT Ask: $13,900,000.
15 Meadowcroft Lane, Greenwich, CT Ask: $18,750,000.
List: James Hoffman

Note: I’m using Houlihan Lawrence links because the links don’t “expire”, but both these properties are listed with competitors.


This Week’s “Way To Hang In There” Award Winner!

449 Round Hill Road, Greenwich, reports a closing today at $6,613,000. Start-to-finish, a short eight years!
List: Steve Archino
Sell Jennifer Leahy

Friends, many of us would have either walked away or been fired LONG before this listing finally sold, but not broker Steve Archino! Nope, ol’ Steve hung in there, beginning on that cool, crisp February day in 2011. Now, a short 8 years later, Archino gets his reward, reporting the sale of 449 Round Hill Road, for $6,613,000.

If you’re not in the business, you might wonder why, oh why, would a seller allow a property to hang around so long? The answer is…who the hell knows! but it’s a very common practice in Greenwich. My observation is that sellers in this lofty price range own multiple homes and multiple assets and just aren’t that concerned. They pick up the phone every once in a while, check in with their broker (Any showings lately? Good, ok, keep up the good work!) and then forget about it till next month. As long as everyone’s happy, who cares?

Anyway, this is a good price, and provides further evidence of a back-country market that continues to improve.

Flipping For Dollars

9 Thornhill Road: The former master bath….

9 Thornhill: The new master bath… (discerning eyes will detect the difference)

I like to see smart re-dos and it looks like that’s what’s happened on Riverside’s Thornhill Road. The old house was perfectly acceptable, nicely maintained, but woefully out of date (see before photos, linked below). The backyard’s REALLY deep and the impression of space is even better because the neighbor to the left didn’t put up an ugly fence. It always amazes me how much better two adjoining properties can look when neither neighbor fences off, but I’ll admit, sometimes you have no choice.

Maybe that big backyard was the reason the old house was so badly overpriced, starting at $1,250,000 in May, 2017. Several price reductions and many months later, they finally got a deal, closing for $930,000 in April, 2018. Four months later, total transformation complete, it came back on for $1,399,000, in August, 2018, and now, a contract is reported. Did the builder make money? Depends on that closing price of course. I’ll keep track and report to you on closing day.

This is the old listing:

This is the latest listing:

Is $3.5M Such A Bad Price?

390 Round Hill Road, Greenwich. Started at $5.8M, final ask $4.0M. Sells for $3.5M.
List: Sandy Shaw

Much will be made of the fact that baseball star Bobby Bonilla’s former house on Round Hill Road has today closed at $3,500,000, but really, it’s not such a bad price for a 2003 house in Greenwich’s backcountry, walking distance to the Strain family’s country store.

Mr. & Mrs. Bonilla* paid $1,900,000 for a tear-down on the property way back in 1992, built a new mansion, got divorced, and eventually sold it for $5,000,000 in August, 2011.

Since then, the demand for backcountry has undeniably diminished. There are fewer buyers, certainly, but it is completely inaccurate to say “No one wants to live back there”.

Reduced demand means lower prices, as ol’ Adam Smith would say. Add to that the fact that the house is now 15 years old (well maintained, but not substantially updated) and, by gosh, $3.5M is impressive.  In most towns, that’s a %#@&-load of money!

*Bobby Bonilla fun-fact: The Mets send him a check for $1,193,248 every July 1st, through 2035. Why? Because the owners of the team, the Wilpons, believed that the money they “invested” with Bernie Made-Off would earn them 12% per year until the end of time, so they could easily afford such an extravagant contract. 

Has The Market Been Dropping All This Time?

200 Old Mill Road, last sold for $6.3M in 2004. Now available for $5M. Bargain!                                        List: Helene Barre.



9 Woodside Road (Deer Park). In 2008, got $10,950,000. 2011, got $7,730,000. 2018 asked $6,475,000, now pending.
List: John McAtee
Sell: Lindsay Sheehy

17 Lismore Lane, sold in 2004 $3,010,000. Asked $2,300,000 in 2018, now pending.
List: David Ogilvy
Sell: David Ogilvy

The Greenwich market began to recover from the 2008-2009 crash in 2010 and the recovery continued into 2014, but since then,we appear to have slipped back, in some cases back to 1999 prices!

Below, I’ve provided some examples of recent sales in various parts of town showing the previous sales price and now the latest sale price, definitely bad news for sellers.

On the plus side, sales volume looks good. If you really want to sell, there are plenty of buyers in all price ranges. They are holding onto their wallets rather firmly, but they will buy if you make it impossible for them to say no.

Recent sale prices: Old vs. New

521 Field Point Road    2005: $6,035,000   2018: $5,200,000

43 Doubling Road         2006: $5,075,000   2017: $3,675,000

7 Knollwood Drive        2006: $5,650,000   2018: $4,500,000

123 Park Avenue           2007: $4,111,000.  2018: $2,650,000

45 Husted Lane             2001: $5,400,000  2017: $3,340,000

7 Little Cove Place        2012: $6,500,000  2018: $4,649,400

186 Shore Road, OG      2010: $6,625,000  2018: $5,500,000

46 Dawn Harbor Lane    2015: $4,155,000  2018: $3,700,000

(and there are many, many more examples)




Modern Furniture That’s Not Hideous

From French furniture company Roche Bobois. Possibly not something I would do in MY home, but…

A typical suburban real estate agent inspects a minimum of 10 houses per week, often it’s twice that number. That simple fact is the reason the job category “real estate agent” still exists. All that time and effort spent studying, analyzing, discussing with fellow brokers, and watching individual properties go through the sales process from start to finish, makes an agent a valuable person.

If you were foolish enough to ask a denizen of Manhattan “where’s the best fishing spot between Tod’s Point and Indian Harbor”, the Manhattanite wouldn’t have a clue. Similarly, people who merely watch real estate from the comfort of their office swivel chair can certainly have opinions about what a house is worth, but they are not useful opinions.

But where was I? Oh yes, modern furniture! So, with all that house-looking, we brokers encounter an awful lot of hideous glass and steel tables, steel chairs and bookcases (with no books), white shaggy couches, and of course, faux zebra throw rugs. Gets tiresome.

One sees more and more of THIS…

and less and less of THIS… (maybe that’s a good thing?)

It is therefore amazing that I have stumbled upon contemporary furniture that even I must admit ain’t bad looking. See if you agree: RocheBobois

(It’s a French furniture company, looks like the nearest showroom is on Manhattan’s upper west side, at 2040 Broadway)


Again With The Bidding Wars

17 Roosevelt Avenue (corner of Irvine), Old Greenwich. Asked: $1.050M
Sold: $1.4M
List: Ann Simpson
Sell: Sheila Starr

17 Roosevelt only has .23 acres, but the existing house was shoved over into the corner, resulting in this (relatively) huge side yard.

Can there be a situation where you have a bidding war on a property but it doesn’t necessarily suggest a blazing hot market? Yes, in the case of 17 Roosevelt Avenue, a cute, charming little tear-down bungalow that, at $1,050,000, was about the cheapest thing you could buy in this neighborhood, the bidding war that erupted was not caused by an excited, possibly over-heated market.

In this case, the neighbor did it (they paid $1,400,000). And that is a very, very common story around town. Neighbors buy an adjoining property for various reasons, including as a defensive maneuver, to prevent builders from erecting a giant mansion looming over the backyard.

Needless to say, at $1,050,000, there were plenty of bidders, including some builders, but no one was going to pay as much as the neighbors! So this price, as in most cases of neighbor-purchase, is probably not all that useful as a comp for near-future appraisals.

I’ll talk more about this on tomorrow’s radio show, or 1490 AM radio, 11:00 AM – Noon (or listen later to the damned pod-cast!)

Fountain, on the right. Wilcox on the left (not politically!)