Real Talk Ken Edwards Market picks up again with 21 sales

September 17, 2018

Twenty-one properties sold last week, almost double the previous week’s total. That accounted for a dollar volume of more than $32 million, with the average sale going off at more than $1.5 million.

In the mix were 16 single-families, four condos and a two-family property. My buy of the week selection is a brick colonial home on 2.46 beautiful mid-country acres off Round Hill. Marketed for almost a year before going to contract, this beauty is quite liveable as-is but could use some freshening up in the kitchen, baths and den. Great possibilities here.

My sale of the week selection is another mid-country colonial that was renovated and flew off the market in 11 days at a hair under asking.

Buy of the week

Listed for $2.8 million last August, this center hall colonial at 31 Baldwin Farms North was owned by its sellers for 38 years before simultaneously listing it for sale and for rent. It was built in 1965 and last renovated in 1996, 22 years ago. Of course styles have changed a lot since then and the kitchen, baths and wood-paneled den needed updating to make it more marketable.

Location is key to any purchase and this area is serene and full of possibilities with almost 2.5 acres of level land and lots of mature trees. It’s my buy of the week because it represents significant value at its selling price of $1.7 million. That’s 61 percent of its original asking price and 62 percent of its tax-appraised value.

This home features five bedrooms, three and two-half baths and a two-car attached garage. A nice feature is the double-sided fireplace facing the living room on one side and the library on the other. Two for the price of one!

Sale of the week

My sale of the week selection was a 1960 home off North Maple Avenue last renovated in 2007. The renovated Kitchen by Deane and baths are quite nice as is the stone terrace area for entertaining at the back of the house. It’s a four bedroom, three-and-a-half bath colonial that’s within walking distance of Greenwich Academy and Brunswick.

Some special features of the home at 21 Ridgebrook Road include a separate guest suite accessed by a back staircase. If you have sleepover guests you know how nice this feature can be. All-in-all it’s a nice buy but also a great sale for the owners who sold their $2 million home for only $20,000 under asking in 11 days.

How much land do you need?

In last week’s 21 Greenwich sales, most of the value in the transactions was for land. Surprised?

If you take the percentage of the land assessment by the tax collector’s appraisal staff as a percentage of their total assessment, you’ll see that 55 percent of last week’s sales represented the land portion of these properties. The percentage of land value to the total value ranged from a low of 45 percent to a high of 85 percent, and more than half were above 50 percent.

Which raises some interesting questions: how much land do you need and how can you leverage the land portion of your purchase to make it more affordable?

As for how much land you need, that depends on what you need it for. The common reason given is for privacy through separation from your neighbors. Other reasons might include areas for a pool, tennis court garden space and possibly even an orchard. Usually couples I’ve listened to reference a “backyard where junior can throw a ball around.” It almost never happens that way but that’s what everyone tells them is important.

How do you leverage the land you’ll purchase? In some parcels the land is hilly and it can happen that the neighbor on your left had their house built on the left side of their property and the neighbor on the right needed a variance to build so close to their right side property line. Voila! Instant separation without buying a large parcel. Or, how about properties that border on conservation land? You’re not going to build a garage on it but you will have great privacy and separation from neighbors that don’t exist.

Thinking creatively about more than half of what you’re buying can wind up saving you a fortune, especially at Greenwich prices.

This Week’s Success Quote

“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.”

— Kalpana Chawla, an American astronaut and the first woman of Indian origin to go to space.

Ken Edwards is the principal Broker for Edwards & Associates Real Estate and has lived in town since 1974. All opinions expressed are entirely his own and not those of this publisher. Comments and questions may be sent to K_W_Edwards@ Yahoo.com or call (203) 918-4444.

Update hourly