Are We Getting Ripped Off Down Here?

123 Riding Ridge Road, Monroe, #@$%-ing CT, asked $649K, now has deal.

123 Riding Ridge Road, Monroe, #@$%-ing CT, asked $649K, now has deal.

Ok, I get it that it’s Monroe, Connecticut, and that’s not an easy commute to most places we work, but still, $649,000?? The land appears to have sold for $155,000, which down here in Greenwich is pretty much the price of a decent summer rental, but how does the builder make money with an ask of $649,000?

The house is listed at 2,889 square feet (1,200 unfinished, walk-out basement), land is 2.88 acres and, well, take a look at the photos…is it so bad? Even a snob like me must admit the house appears livable…nice, even!

And the cost to build was what, $150 per foot? No, that’s too much, there would be zero profit at that cost, so… Ok, I’m stumped, either we’re all getting ripped off down here, what with $400-$1,000/foot building costs, or the Monrovians have figured out how to build houses at $100/ft and they’re keeping it a secret.

Here’s what it looked like as a land listing: 123 Riding Ridge building lot.


Virtual Staging

23 Park Place, Fairfield, CT, $2,249,000. Listed by Holly S. Hawes.

23 Park Place, Fairfield, CT, $2,249,000. Listed by Holly S. Hawes.

I’ve seen this done badly and I’ve seen it done well. I think this example works!

Flip through the before/after pictures on this listing, really amazing. The question is, can virtual staging take the place of actual staging, where the movers have to show up and haul the furniture in and set everything up? I mean, virtual’s just fine to get on-line shoppers interested, but eventually, won’t they still end up walking around a big empty house?

23 Park Place, Fairfield (the Halstead website mysteriously labels this as “Darien”)

Listed by Holly S. Hawes

Darien Real Estate Blog

Kim Swift (left), and Abigail Moore, both of Kelly Assoc., Darien. I like their blog.

Kim Swift (left), and Abigail Moore, both of Kelly Assoc., Darien. I like their blog.

I’ve added a new name to that “BLOGROLL” on the right side of my front page, it’s called Real In Darien. Kim Swift and Abigail Moore sell real estate in Darien, CT for Kelly Associates, and their blog provides useful information about the Darien market.

Is it a Chris Fountain-style blog? God, no! It’s not even the mildly sarcastic Gideon Fountain-style blog, although Kim and Abby have been served the usual cease-and-desist letters from a number of little cry-baby real estate offices in Darien (including some Sotheby’s twit married to a builder). That fact absolutely amazes me, since this blog actually compliments and promotes other broker’s listings, oh the outrage!

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!

Greenway Island Becomes… A Bargain?

Greenway Island, Stamford,CT, now priced at $8.995M. Now will you look?

Greenway Island, Stamford, CT, last priced at $12.8M, newly re-listed at $8.995M.  Now will ya look?

Wow, there’s nothing like a ten million dollar price reduction to freshen up a listing!

140 Wallacks Drive, as I wrote recently, came on the market way back when, at the rather princely sum of $18,900,000. Various listings, with various prices, and various brokers, all came and went. Now it is back on with a new broker and a new price, $8,995,000, zounds!

So is it a “bargain”? I’m not sure, and that’s exactly why, when a client wants to buy outside of Greenwich, I refer them to a local expert. Anyway, if you’re about to buy waterfront anywhere near this price range, you owe it to yourself to go look at this one.

List: Charlotte Felt

Stamford’s “Greenway Island”…No One Wants?

"Greenway Island", last asking price $12.5M, so far fails to find a buyer, could be the price!

Stamford’s “Greenway Island“, last asking price $12.8M, so far fails to find a buyer, could be the price! (Link shows two previous listings, now expired)

I have a history of getting a bit carried away with properties like this, but dagnabbit, this place is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

140 Wallacks Drive is a 3 1/2 acre island off the coast of Stamford, and to me, it represents the epitome of waterfront living. It seems to satisfy every possible “requirement” I could ever think of for a waterfront investment (ok, it’s Stamford, not Hawaii, but other than that…)

• Plenty of land

• Safe elevation

• Huge beach

• Deepwater dock

• Waterside pool (plus what appears to be a semi-natural “pool” that captures Long Island Sound water.

• Classic, turn-of-the-century mansion

• Substantial guest house (stash the relatives, never have to see them!)

• Nearly 360 degrees of water views

It started at the fanciful price of $18,900,000. Worse still, the listing sheet warned brokers that any looker needed to be “pre-quailified”. It has been my experience that listings with that requirement don’t sell.

Two good brokers  Correction: Three good brokers (one was a dual-listing) have tried and failed so far, so I suspect the problem here may be the owner.

Darien Calls To Me

8 Cross Road, Darien, CT $3.995M, now has executed contracts.

8 Cross Road, Darien, CT $3.995M, now has executed contracts.

No, no, I’m not moving, but every once in a while, a Darien, New Canaan, or Westport property reminds me there are other places to live besides Greenwich, particularly if you don’t have to work in NYC.

8 Cross Road, in Darien’s “Tokeneke” section is just such a property; a classic 1920’s colonial, close to LI Sound, loads of lawns, and separate guest quarters over the 4-car garage.   Do the yellow Formica kitchen counters and 1950’s bathrooms cry out for updating? Sure, although I happen to like everything just  the way it is. It came on September, 2012 at $4.6M, reduced down to $3.995M, now has executed contracts.

Besides its 3.3 acres, you also could have picked up an extra 1.278 acres for $995,000, but it appears that the buyer declined. Too bad.

List: Nancy Dauk

Sell: Not sure (if you know, tell me)