Monday, March 12, 2012

Why Didn't My House Sell?

Following are some tough questions for home owners:
  • Did you have a dollar amount set when you priced your  home?
  • Did your price reflect what you want to get for the sale of your home?
  • Did your price reflect the current local real estate market activity?
  • Do you understand the current local real estate market:
  • Did your price reflect the actual condition of your home?
  • Are you really aware of the actual condition of your home?
Next, a walk around the home.  Have you learned to live with things that you no longer see?  Do you really understand how a buyer will see your home?

Routine maintenance. A new roof is routine maintenance.  Septic repairs are routine maintenance.  How is your heating system? Is it new? That is routine maintenance by the way.  Because if it is broken, leaking, not working properly, it should be repaired or replaced.  But here is the key--and easy to remember.

1. If it is repaired or replaced, it is not going tot cost you money off the price of the home! Yeah!
2. If it wasn't, if your roof is at the end of its life, if you need a new septic system, if any of your mechanicals are not working properly it will cost you.

If you did keep up with the routine maintetnance of your home, you get a gold star, a pat on the back, an atta boy, atta girl, but you don't get extra money.  But you don't get money deducted! It is a great selling point though, something to be featured prominently in the marketing of your home.

Are you the nicest house on the block? Here is the real answer to that question.  It didn't sell because buyers didn't find itt attractive enough to make an offer.  If it is not priced for condition, for location, accoding to the current local real estate market you will not sell.

And here is something you may not even realise.  If it is overpriced they won't even consider it because it is off their radar in the first place!

When you call us and ask why your home didn't sell, I will let you know.  The proper diagnosis will help you make the most important decision of all.

Are you really ready to sell your home?

Because if you price it ahead of the competition, if you price it according to the current local real estate conditions, if you price it according to the condition of the home, condition of your neighborhood, you stand a far better chance of selling.  If not, you will be asking that question over and over again.


(adapted from Swiedler & Adams, Prudential brokers, Litchfield County)

A book for consideration:     The Art of Fielding by Chad Horbach

Although the main character, Henry Skrimshander, is a magical, but scrawny, young shortstop who factors prominently in this excellent first novel by Horbach, the novel is much more than just a baseball novel.  It is a campus novel, a romance novel (including a full-fledged gay romance), and it is about the human condition in all its various aspects.  Read it.  You'll meet an interesting group of characters and think about life, all while being captivated by the drama and tension of the stories.

Until next time, or, contact me anytime!

Doris Sisley
Prudential CT Realty

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review of 2011, thoughts for 2012, and a couple books. . . .

End of year snapshot of the GR market:
  • the number of units sold increased in 2011 over 2010 
  • the average sold price remained within 1% of the 2010 average sold price. 
  • Inventory available is slowly dropping, but is still generous.
  •  there are over nine months of houses available and more than a year's supply of condos and coops. 
  • Greenwich prices are holding, and have not decreased or increased markedly  in the last two years.

  • People need to move--downsizing, upsizing, tranferring in and out of the community, buying a first home--life goes on.  With today's low interest rates, and if inflation continues at 3% a year, and you want to live in your home for 5 or more years, buying definitely outperforms renting.
  •  Historically, buyers are most active starting at the beginning of February (after the SuperBowl) through September--80% of GR sales in 2011 occurred during those ten months.  The 'shelf months' October through January, had 20% of the total sales for the year. 
  • Note: In the midst of preparing and recovering from the holidays, dedicated buyers were out there through snow, sleet, rain, shopping and cookie making!!
  • During 2011, the median single family home in GR sold in the mid teens, while the average single family home sold at the mid two million mark.
  • Condo/coop:  average price; ~$760,000  About 1/3 of condos sold were over the $1 million price.

GR is a viable housing market.  The world and U.S. economy have affected us all.  How long before we see inventory reduced to minimal  and prices increase markedly is unknown.  Historically, it's always happened, and if the world can recover, certainly our town will.

Books I have read; 

The Dovekeeper by Alice Hoffman. 

This is not a short book, but it is a fascinating one.  It is about the Jews flight from Jerusalem, in 70 ce, their retreat to Masada, a fortress in what is today Palestine where they fought the Romans.  The story evolves around the lives of four women, and the themes are fate/destiny,religion/love,and the depths of devotion, custom/secrets along with magical elements.  There's an assassin's cloak that makes the wearer invisible, amulets that protect the wearer from harm;a lead character that magnetically attracts birds, and a witch whose spells actually work.
I found the scenery, the historical backdrop, the suspense, the love stories, the bravery and ingenious resolutions captivating.  I'd recommend immersing yourself in the fantasy and lushness of it all.

The Social Animal, by David Brooks.

This book explains through examples and the development of two characters from childhood until old age, how our social/emotional experiences have major impacts on all our decisions, and how some traits are inbred in all of us and affect our opinions and sense of justice.

Brooks has done his research, his style is totally readable, and at times quite humorous. 

A good read for a new perspective on life, love and decisions.

Until next time, and feel free to let me know if there is something in particular in the real estate market that you'd like me to blog about.

Doris Sisley
Prudential CT Realty
c: 203-536-7936
b: 203-637-1713, x327


Monday, October 31, 2011

Thinking of downsizing or moving to a central GR condo or coop?

Central GR condo and coop sales since 1/1/2011
Since the beginning of 2011, 16 condos or coops in central Greenwich have sold, or are in contract.  They were on the market between 45 and 700 days, with the median # of 233days.  Only one property closed a "tad" above asking.  All the others sold between 5% and 11% off the last list price.  Almost all properties had granite counters, updated baths, nice flooring.

Smaller solds
Jr one bedroom/studio with 648 sq. feet sold for $200,000 at 20 Church St.
One b.r./ 585 sq. ft. sold for $252,000 at 50 Lafayette Court

Medium solds
One b.r. with 1038 sq. ft. sold for $350,000 at 20 Church Street
Two b.r. with 980 sq. ft. sold for $285,000 at 52 Lafayette Court
Four remaining two b.r. with between 1,248 sq. ft and 1357 sq. ft. sold between $470,000 and $750,000.

Larger size solds
One two b.r. and five three b.r. with between 1520 square feet and 4073 square feet sold between $875,000 and $2,900,000.  1 Milbank Avenue and 90 E. Elm Street sold  at $1,800,000 and $2,900,000.  The latter was built in 2005, and although listed as a condo, is free-standing with it's own elevator.

Central GR active condos and coops:
Smaller actives:
If your budget is below $600,000, then check out these priced between $349,000 and $595,000, there are seven options on the market between 900 square feet and 1422 square feet in this price range--two one b.r., two two b.r. and three three b.r.  Five of them are in the Putnam Hill coop hi rises, or in the Putnam Park complex.  Putnam Hill and Putnam Park location is prime, and the value is good since heat, taxes, and maintenance is all inclusive/ affordable.  The other unit is a one bedroom at 33 W Putnam with 1100 square feet, asking $539,000.

Medium actives:
Four between $625,000 and $995,000.  Square feet--1318 to 1529+.  Two two bedrooms and two three bedrooms.  Sherwood Place, 47 Lafayette Place (tudor bldg) and 20 Church Street. 

Larger size actives:
Eight between $1,175,000 and $3,695,000.  Square feet--1380 to 3630.  One one b.r., four two b.r., three three b.r.  Locations--20 Church, 15 Lafayette Court, 1 Milbank, E. Elm, and Bruce Park Ave.

Other observations:
Sherwood Place, 1 Milbank, 104 E. Elm, and 34 Bruce Park have been built since 1981 and owner pays own utilities.  Central GR buildings constructed prior to that date include heat and hot water in maintenance price.

All of the above units are totally walkable to GR Avenue, the train, shopping, restaurants, and the library.  Plus, you could take snacks and a drink and ferry over and back to Captain's Island in the early evening.  Nice diversion for cocktiail hour!

Travel Destination of interest:
In my quest for affordable travel destinations, I spent four October days in PA visiting two Frank Lloyd Wright houses:  Fallingwater and KentuckKnob, also visited AIR 93 crash site, and hiked in the Ohiopyle State Park. Stayed at  Holiday Inn Express Suites in Donegal, Pa, new,clean, a good value, plus a stone's throw from "Out of the Fire Cafe" which was excellent.  BYOB.  I'd give it 3+ stars.  roasted mushroom soup out of this world!!

Streams, hills, scenery in the area are spectacular.  Fallingwater in depth tour was well worth it, and unspeakably fascinating for a house built in the '30's.  Site has a great gift shop and cafe for lunch.

Kentuck Knob, 1959, is owned by an Englishman, who has installed sculpture in the meadows and pathways.  Both the house and sculpture gardens were also intriguing.  A piece of the Berlin Wall  was on display, plus works by Klaus Odenberg and others. 

 Fly to Pittsburgh, rent a car and GO.  Great get away outing.

That's it for now, let me know if you want to know more about a particular spectrum of GR real estate.

All best,

Doris Sisley
Prudential CT Realty
c: 203-536-7936

Monday, October 10, 2011

Long Island Sound/Deepwater solds and actives

My last post was a bird's eye view of one condo complex.  Am now reporting on waterfront properties (Long Island Sound--not tidal, mudflats, river or ponds).    Who wouldn't want to be on the water with the fabulous glimmering  sunshine days we've had?

Since Jan. 1, 2011, 9 properties have sold with views of L.I. Sound : .
255 Byram Shore Road @ $2,000,000
16 Chimney Corner Lane @ $6,950,000
120 Field Point Circle @ $25,000,000
84 Field Point Circle @ $39,500,000
195 Shore Road @$2,625,000
18 Westway @$3,600,000
3 Cove Ridge Lane @$3,600,000
9 E. Point Lane @$4,150,000
50 Carriglea Drive @$8,500,000

16 "L.I. water" Properties are on the market:
eleven active listings
price range ~$7M to $19M
Mead Point (2);Belle Haven(3);Indian Harbor(4);Byram Shore(1)
7 Little Cove @$6,995,000
15 Meadow Place @$7,495,000
350 Riverside Ave. (Ole's Boatyard) @$1,550,000
32 Twin Lakes  @ $8,400,000
5 Bridle Path @$8,950,000

Actually, I realize that Ole's, 350 Riverside, does NOT have open LI Sound views.  I guess I had to include it because it is so entrancing, plus, walking distance to everything in Old Greenwich.  It floods regularly, I hear, since it's at the confluence of the river/pond outflow, and the tidal inflow.  The building still stands, and wouldn't there be a way to build above sea level??? We're hearty, and the row boat or kayak would get us in and out in deep water.  Just had to keep it on the list!

Book recommendationCocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller.    Redolent with the sounds, light, and heat of Africa, the storyis interwoven with how place and people affect a Rhodesian family's life and especially Nicola, the author's mother.

Doris Sisley
Prudential CT Realty
c: 203-536-7936


Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's happening at the Old Greenwich Gables?

        Summer has come and gone with a hurricane, much rain, and some splendid sunny days.  Others in town lost power, Gables did not!  The September 'social at the fountain' was a success, and I hear that new members felt welcomed and happy.

THE BUZZ at the Gables, condos at 51 Forest Avenue, Old Greenwich, CT:

10 sales in 201110 households occupied by new neighbors.  If you live in the Gables, say hello if you see someone you don't recognize.

3 additional units active/on market:
        Unit 58 @ $599,000 and 62 @$580,000.  Each is an oversized "two" bedroom  (just  install the wall), built in 2011.  Rumor has it that unit 58 has an accepted offer.
        Unit 20, a first floor end unit with a bay window @ $525,000. 

Gable unit sales better than Condo sales in Greenwich 2010-2011
         Number of condo units sold in town as a whole went down 15% between  end of Aug. 2010 and end of Aug 2011.  Gables # of units sold was 10 total in 2010, so with 11 already sold this year, the number sold is not down.  Gables is  ahead of the game!

Gable average sales price stronger than 2010
        Average sale prices were on average stronger in 2011 than 2010

Market feedback:
        Condos with state of the art kitchens and baths sold quickly.  Others that did not linger were priced close to sale price.  The ten Gables units that closed so far this year sold close to the last asking price.  The average was 3.6% off the asking.  The range between asking and sold price was between 1.4% and 6.8%

         To get offers, the selling price has to be brutally realistic vis a vis the comparable sold units.

To stage or not:
         If you're thinking of selling and your kitchen and baths are original, then fresh paint, newly refinished floors, and decluttering are the best way to go.  Less is best.  Compliment the sparseness with a bouquet of flowers or a flowering plant. Fresh duvet covers or comforters and pillows help.  Furnished rooms make it easier for potential buyer  to see that the queen bed actually fits in the room.   (Most  of us are somewhat visually challenged, and need help seeing possibilities).

Last Buzz before signing off:
          For delicious food, without breaking the bank, try Villa Italia Ristorante.  It's in the shopping center just past Glenbrook Road on East Main Street in Stamford.  Check out
The location is unprepossessing, but this welcoming family-run restaurant is charming and fun. One of the two sister/owners, Esther or Ligra, will greet you. (Tell them I sent you, you'll be part of the famly in no time).  Their brother is in the kitchen, and other family members are part of the wait staff.  Linen napkins, flowers on each table, Tuscan blue and yellow decor.  What's not to like!  Short wait on Friday and Saturday evenings, things turn over--I've always gotten a table.  May be able to make a reservation for larger parties.  Check it out. 

Until next time,
Doris Sisley
Prudential CT Realty
c: 203-536-7936