Saturday, December 31, 2016

Working With Unreasonable Sellers

The story is the same all over, not just in Greenwich, CT.   Negotiations feel like a long slog through a rainstorm.  This was certainly the case in a deal  which I worked on that finally closed yesterday.  From the first offer from my buyers, the counter from the seller was unclear at best, and convoluted more likely.  The seller ignored one of my first rules of negotiation, which I call the Musical Chairs Rule, otherwise known as Perspective.    

When you are crafting a counter move, look at how it feels from the other person's seat as well as your own.  Look at solutions from each person's perspective.

When you fail to shift in position towards a compromise and dig your heels in to what you want and only what you want, that's hardly trying to get a deal done.  The minute you consider what the other side wants and deems important, you've got critical information that can be used to think through a creative solution. 

So, how do you work with, or work around, a seller that only seems to know the word "No" when it comes to resolving any number of issues that arise after the initial accepted offer.  Most commonly, these are issues that emerge as a result of a building inspection, where repair, replacement or compensation would all be seen as reasonable options.

In our deal, Priority was our focus.  The issues that were of key importance to the buyer we remained steadfast on, and proposed varies rectifications.  In a number of others, that any logical, fair thinking seller would have agreed to, the buyers let them go.  With each issue, we reminded ourselves of the ultimate goal and repeatedly separated out the person from the purpose.   

1.  Separate out the person from the purpose-- You aren't buying the seller, you are buying his property.
2.  Keep your emotions out of it-- The more unpleasant the seller's personality, the more the buyer and his agent should stay calm, cool and collected.
3.  Focus on the priorities-- Keep your eye on the prize and don't be distracted by negotiating points that would be "nice to have" but not critical to the deal
4.  Be self- aware-- Look at your own behaviors, mannerisms and actions in the negotiating process

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Greenwich Landmark Honorees Revealed

On April 17th at 4 p.m. at Greenwich Country Club, five new honorees will be invited to join the list of 289 homes and structures that have been awarded this designation by Greenwich Historical Society's Landmark Recognition Program.  What promises to be a delightful event as each home is presented to the public with the exquisite photography by renowned architectural photographer Michael Biondo, the afternoon will be punctuated with a talk by Frank J. Prial of Beyer, Blinder Belle Architects, lead architect for the restoration of Grand Central Station all speak about this project.

Why is preserving the past important?  Imagine any industry where you couldn't go backwards-- fashion, technology, automotive.. you name it.  Drawing upon the past to influence the future, or just acknowledging it to see what worked and didn't work, is invaluable.  Not to mention enriches our knowledge base, provides context and makes for a more interesting world.

In residential architecture, balancing history with functionality is an art and a lesson in patience.  But before you think about bringing in the wrecking ball, take a pause and a second look.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Perfect Movies During A Blizzard

The storm today may be setting a new record for Central Park but how does it square with Connecticut?  Above, is a photo from the blizzard of 1888, taken in Fairfield, CT.

Polling folks yesterday on their plans for this homebound weekend, "binge watching" was the number one response.   To make your viewing decisions easy, check out the 2016 Golden Globe winners and nominees.  This should be a pretty safe bet!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Kitchen Trends and Greenwich CT

The Kitchen at 42 Mooreland Road, Greenwich CT (for sales information on this property, click here)

I designed my first kitchen in 1988 under the auspices of the then Greenwich kitchen and bath firm, Ceramic Design.  With Smallbone at the peak of its popularity, their influence in faux finishing kitchen cabinetry so that it looked less like a kitchen and more like furniture was all the rage.  From there we saw a move to rich wood kitchen cabinets, and, most recently, it's been all about white.  

Enter 2016.  What are the experts saying?

Comfort and Gathering:  Kitchen's remain the heart of the home.  Cabinets that look like furniture, concealed appliances, and ample, dedicated space for comfortable eating remain important.

White and Black:  Charlotte Barnes of Charlotte Barnes Design is loving black and white kitchens with nickel hardware.  Farrow & Ball's Wimborne White is a creamy white that Charlotte favors for kitchen cabinets.

Modern Vibe:  Sound Beach Partners, a high-end design/build firm has figured it out, as shown by their latest home that captured three offers in the first two weeks.  The kitchen hit all the high notes from the firm's signature gun metal custom dining table and banquette, to floor to ceiling cabinetry in a gloss finish, and unexpected details such as the window set in the cooktop backsplash, capturing a view of the outdoors.  

One of our favorite kitchens and breakfast rooms is at 42 Mooreland Drive, shown in this post.  Renowned architect Boris Baranovich got it right from scale to every last detail.  Currently on the market, listed by our team, The Stevens Kencel Group.

Need inspiration for your next kitchen remodeling?  Take a peak at these top kitchens from Houzz

Monday, January 18, 2016

Greenwich 2015 Real Estate Topline


Number of Condos Sold: 200
Number of Single Family Homes Sold: 600
Median Sale Price: $1.86 million
Average Sale Price: $2.42 million
Average Days on Market: 176
With a fierce and cold winter, 2015 sales started off slow, continuing the soft market of 2014.  A faster sales pace in the remaining quarters ended the year flat in terms of volume sales vs. 2014.  The lowest price Single Family house to sell was $360,000 and highest was $26,000,000.   By area, South of the Parkway led the way in total volume sales with an average sales price of $3.4 million.  Here's how sales sorted out:

Over 10% of these sales were over $6 million.  Old Greenwich and Riverside continued to be buyer favorites and together, accounted for 34% of all sales.  Of note, North of the Parkway is showing favorably and contributed 10% to 2015 volume sales.
Looking at 2015 sales by price levels, nearly 75% of all sales were in the $0-2.9 million price ranges. Within this spread, the fastest growing properties were in the $1-1.99 million grouping.  The $3-3.9 million price ranges was the next most popular price segment with 11% of all sales.  The over $8 million price segment continues to have a high inventory to sales relationship.

What did the median price, $1.86 million buy in Greenwich in 2015?  

  • In Old Greenwich, you could have bought an updated 1919 home, 5 bedroom, 3.5 baths, 3,374 square feet, on Grimes Road,
  • A 4,301 square feet, 1927 home that was renovated in the 90s, 5 bedroom, 4 bath on Oval Rd in Riverside, 
  • Or a condo in downtown Greenwich of 3,184 square feet that lasted on the market 7 days

As 2016 begins, the anticipation of rising mortgage rates, the lack of the winter storms that usually keep buyers indoors,  and strong inventory, are contributing to what promises to be a good start to the new year. More detailed information on 2015 sales next week!