What's the matter with Dublin Hill Drive?

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My post earlier this morning on 23 Dublin Hill Drive’s failure to sell prompted a reader to point out that its neighbor, 25 Dublin Hill, has also encountered rough waters, and indeed it has. Sold brand new by its builder, BSF, for $6.725 in 2004, it’s sat on the market since it landed with a thud last March at $5.995. It’s taken a number of price cuts since then and last week switched agents and came back on at $4.250.

BSF builds a top-quality house, and Dublin Hill Drive is a really convenient location, mid-Stanwich, so I don’t know why this home hasn’t found a buyer. Following up on my previous post regarding our Grand List, the town’s been valuing this at $5.4, so here’s another shaving off our tax base.

I'd say that the basement home theatre died in Greenwich at least a decade ago (right around the time when whirlpool tubs went down the drain)

The tombs were alive, with the sound of music — no more

The tombs were alive, with the sound of music — no more

WSJ: The new mansion must: a media room.

There was a time when custom luxury homes proved their bona fides with lavish home theaters—typically found in the basement and outfitted with forward-facing seats, fabric walls for soundproofing, a projector for cinema-style viewing and maybe a “Godfather” or “Batman” poster to round out the theme.

Today, homeowners are coming out of the dungeon.

Home theaters are increasingly being replaced with multi-function media rooms—lounge-style spaces located in or near the main living areas. Here cozy couches, tables and chairs are arranged to facilitate TV and movie watching, as well as game night, cocktails, homework and hanging out. And all that A/V equipment? It’s nearly invisible.

There’s probably a way around the Journal’s cash wall, but this snippet conveys the brunt of it: people don’t want to huddle down in a dark basement to watch movies anymore, and space devoted to such an entertainment is wasted, and adds nothing of value.

I've always admired creative lawyers

Cheyenne chief imported from Montana to testify against De Blasio’s shutdown of Central Park carriage horses.

Chief Phillip Whiteman, whose Indian name is Yellow Bird, wore a full headdress and a traditional leather robe as he faced a Manhattan judge.

He delivered a 2-minute tribute to how wonderful horses are. It wasn’t clear what he was trying to argue in relation to the case, but by the end of his speech, tears streamed down his face.

Trials like this are circuses, and it’s the wise lawyer who plays to the crowd. But bringing in a genuine Indian in full garb is just spectacular. A tip of the bonnet.

What's going to happen to our Grand List when the next reevaluation hits?

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23 Dublin Hill Drive (off Stanwich), dropped $805,000 yesterday, from its September price of $4.8 million to $3.995. Not a surprising development — that’s what happens when a house won’t sell — but a reader’s comment yesterday about our Grand List prompted me to see where this is carried on our tax roll. Turns out, the town’s got it appraised at $5,125,600. Assuming, say, that the final sale price of this property is $3.7, and it could be more, could be less, that’s a hypothetical loss to our tax base of $1.4ish.

There are a lot of houses selling these days for less than their appraised values, in contrast to previous years, when they often sold for far more. The Grand List determines our tax rate, because the budget is derived, then apportioned among taxpayers on the basis of their home’s worth. The budget is fixed, so if the pie from which it’s paid for shrinks, each slice is going to have to be bigger.

I should, but don’t, know when our next reevaluation is scheduled: 2020? Soon, though, we’re going to see some interesting adjustments.

And another price cut on Witherell


19 Witherell Drive, down from its 2017 price of $5.795 million to, today, $4.950. Back last March I wrote about this house, praising it, but pointing out that, just as the previous owners had initially priced it at $8.695 before settling for $5 from these folks, owners of this cottage seem to let their enthusiasm for the place displace a realistic view of its market value. I suggested then that a price below $5 million might be more appropriate, and it seems that the market agrees.

I say “cottage”, by the way, because, while the current listing describes it as encompassing 6,500 square feet “per tax card”, the only tax card I have access to shows 3,835 sq. ft (which is what previous listings show also). Perhaps there was an addition put on during current ownership that isn’t mentioned, or maybe the listing broker has a set of double-secret probationary tax cards that show different figures. Either way, you might want to confirm the more optimistic number.

Bailiwick is still a tough sell

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12 Bailiwick Road, off Riversville, has dropped to $1.993 million. Owners paid $2.025 for it back in 2003, tried reselling it for $3.297 (I guess they like odd numbers) in 2009, and then pulled it off the market in 2010, after it had dropped to $2.750. They did some further renovations, and put it back up for sale in 2016 for $3 million; today’s price cut reflects the sad results of sales efforts so far.

The Bailiwick neighborhood is well liked by those who live there, but potential buyers seem to focus less on the small community swim/tennis club and more on the proximity of Merritt Parkway, and the far-western location, and balk.

The actual property of 12 Bailiwick is exceptional, but the house itself is rather unappealing, if market response so far is any judge.

I think putting more money into a house that won’t sell, as happened in this cace, is unwise: cut the price and move on, rather than put good money after bad.

Not a kitchen to die (or pay) for

Not a kitchen to die (or pay) for

Into the abyss? One can only hope

democratic socialist candidate, 2019

democratic socialist candidate, 2019

Democrat socialists destroying their party’s success in coming election

JOSH KRAUSHAAR: Democrats Are Boosting Trump’s Re-election Prospects.

When you look at the polls breaking down the actual Democratic electorate, you’ll find limited support for such socialist-minded schemes. Broaden out to the overall electorate, and it’s easy to see how Democrats could be giving President Trump a lifeline to a second term despite his widespread unpopularity.

“We are on an out-of-control roller coaster going 100 miles-per-hour, and we have no functioning brake,” said one liberal Democratic strategist who is alarmed by the rising tide of socialism within the party. “No one is leading and that void could not be more clear.”

What’s so remarkable about this rapid leftward shift is that it’s working against the party’s best interests—both for the individual candidates and their chances of defeating Trump next year.

Steven Green, whose post this is that I’m linking to, sums it up pefectly:

All the Democrats had to do was not act crazy, but instead they’ve become the party of Florida Man on Bath Salts Running Naked Down the Interstate Chewing Off His Own Face.

Mind you, just because some of us think that Americans aren’t stupid enough to believe that we can, or should, ban airplanes and beef cattle and internal combustion cars, rebuild every building in the country and provide a living for those “unwilling to work”, all in ten years, doesn’t mean that the majority of voters will agree with us. As Glenn Reynolds likes to warn, “don’t get cocky, kid”.

A tiny price adjustment on Long Meadow Road

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75 Long Meadow Road, Riverside (NoPo), from $1.229 million to $1.185. I’m posting about it here because presumably not all readers are in the market for multi-million-dollar homes, and this house is probably worth looking at for those searching the lower end of our inventory. Long Meadow is a good, low-traffic road, especially here, at its terminus. The yard’s a bit dodgy, given its a perch on a hill, and certainly there are no Architectural Digest articles to be expected here, but the house is clean, updated, and in the North Mianus/Eastern school district, which is a plus. Last sale was for $1 million, in 2005, so no crazy inflation here; and Long Meadow never collapsed the way more expensive homes did after the 2008 crash.

And as a member of this neighborhood, use of the small community association beach at the other end of the Long Meadow comes with it. Right on the Mianus Pond, the beach offers swimming off a small sandy beach, and racks to hold kayaks and canoes. One of the major benefits here, to my mind, and one that sets this neighborhood apart from similarly-priced ones.

Were I currently working with clients in this million-dollar range (and I’m always happy to, I just don’t have any at this instant) I would certainly suggest that they visit.

Nice views from the deck

Nice views from the deck

Bad Feng Shui on Perkins Road

39 Perkins Road

39 Perkins Road

39 Perkins Road, on the market since November, 2014, when it was priced at $6.2 million, has been marked down again, and now asks $3.995.

Once owned by a Chinese native, who tried to sell it in 2004 for $7.995 million, fiscal difficulties arose (tax records show a $9,958,195 million mortgage extended to him by a Hong Kong bank in December, 2007, which just illustrates the risk of lending from far away, in a market you know nothing about), and title eventually passed to the lender, who sold it to these owners for $2.1 million in March, 2014.

The new owners returned it to the market November 24, 2014, priced at the aforesaid $6.2 million after what the listing claims was a “complete, down-to-the-studs renovation and redesign”. Maybe, although nine months is pretty quick to accomplish all that; regardless, at least to my eye, the interior renovation work was done more with an eye towards speed, than taste, but that’s just my opinion.

Three-nine, or at least, three-five isn’t an unreasonable price for Perkins Road, so perhaps this latest cut will do the trick, although that depends on the market’s reaction to this particular house and that, so far, has not been favorable.

The cost of those renovations must have been substantial, and even with a low basis of $2.1, four-plus years is a long time to wait to recoup one’s “investment” and move on. In the meanwhile, the house sits vacant.

39 Perkins, circa 2014

39 Perkins, circa 2014

At least these have been replaced

At least these have been replaced

The new bathroom: even if that isn’t formica veneer on the cabinets, it’s a bad look

The new bathroom: even if that isn’t formica veneer on the cabinets, it’s a bad look