Greenwich Open House – July 2, 2015

View from 6 Lighthouse Lane in Old Greenwich

Show Me.

A Brokers’ Open House is a great way to introduce a new listing to the members of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). It is most often the first exposure the market has to a property. This is a valuable opportunity since many of those member agents represent clients looking to make a purchase. They are on the lookout for features that would suit the particular needs and wants of a variety of potential buyers. Subsequently, it’s also a great way to keep a property in front of agents’ consciousness even if it’s already had an initial introduction. I’ll explain why in a moment. Simply put, this is a big piece of the marketing for any home to be sold albeit not the only one.

Time is on My Side?

Greenwich has specific set Broker Open House days and times. Generally speaking, since Greenwich is approximately 67 square miles, a large area to cover, Tuesdays are for the Western end of town and Thursdays are reserved for the Eastern section. These sections are further divided into geographic districts:


District 1 – North of the Merritt, west of North Street, 10AM to 12:30PM

District 2 – South of Merritt but only to Putnam Avenue, west of North Street, 11AM to 1:30PM

District 2-A – South of Putnam Avenue, west of Milbank and Steamboat Road, 12PM to 2PM


District 3 – East of North Street to the Mianus River, 10AM to 12:30PM

District 4 – East of the Mianus River, 11AM to 1:30PM

Whew! But you get the picture.

On the Road Again.

This makes a lot of sense when you consider the chaos that would ensue if an open house on a John Street home was held at the same time as one on Tomac Avenue. It would be totally inefficient to crisscross town randomly. As it is, it’s often difficult to see every property on a given day, especially during the busy Spring market when there can be as many as 50 or more homes to preview in just 3 and a half hours.

Walk Me Through This.

Then there’s the actual brief inspection; the quick check-in with the listing broker for added questions about a range of topics like wetlands, deed restrictions, flood maps and dozens of other issues; and running into other colleagues with whom you are working on a deal for status updates.  Add travel time between homes and you can understand the need to pick and choose. As an agent, you’ll want to focus on the possibilities that might appeal to your clients, be familiar with the listings represented by your firm, and have a broad understanding of what the market is offering at different price points.

Here It Comes Again.

Okay, so there are so many to see in so little time. That brings us back to the need for more than one Brokers’ Open House. An agent hosting their own open house at their listing will have missed all the other homes being held open that day. Often, a new client appears on the horizon and their parameters require a change in focus. Or you simply run out of time and a second open house gives the opportunity to catch up and check things out. From the listing agent’s perspective, sometimes just being on the open house list reminds the other agents that your property is still available. They may need a reminder just in case they’ve overlooked it or the rumor mill has erroneously reported your home is no longer on the market!

 Pick Me, Pick Me!

There are perks to all this rushing around, don’t get me wrong. We are in a town, after all, with some beautiful homes on gorgeous parcels of land with some amazing views. Then there’s the food. To lure agents to your listing, ‘feed them and they will come’. Often, a modest brunch, lunch, or “food for famished friends” is served. A raffle for a car wash, bottle of wine, or dinner for two at the newest local restaurant won’t hurt either. Sometimes agents get rather creative when trying to bring attention to the homes they are trying to sell by featuring an art exhibit. The competition is warranted because even if the agent attending does not have the right buyer, the buzz, hopefully positive, they carry back to the office is invaluable.

Today,  In a Nutshell – Quirky.

That’s my take on today for the most part. A new construction home in Cos Cob that I saw has many great features but why, oh why, have two fireplaces in the same family room? The dining room is undefined and the living room needs, well, something. It’s not a real space somehow. But, don’t get me wrong, it has a lot of good stuff going on and is well built. Those other things can be worked around with a good decorator’s eye. How much? $2,395,000 for brand new – not bad.

In Old Greenwich, one home is a beach house that was added onto and added onto. It, unfortunately, is not an easy fix to make sense of this layout but, if you need space, chopped up as it is, with lovely direct water views, this is it. The association offers a private beach and great community spirit so, maybe it’ll work for you at $3,150,000.

This same association has a charming house that’s more traditional and welcoming. The issue here that would be a concern to me is possible flooding during bad storms. Many of the homes in the area have been or are in the process of being raised to conform to the recent FEMA regulations. I would want further information to determine the costs of protecting this home in a similar fashion. No water views but $2,175,000.

Another home, this one directly on Long Island Sound, is a bit of an anomaly in that it is so very formal in this beachy community. That being said, renovations done by the current owners have been tastefully executed. For example, the kitchen’s bluish grey tones beautifully enhances the vistas seen through expansive windows with views of the lighthouse. At $9,900,000, you want substance, no?

Back to reality (in Greenwich, anyway.) In Riverside, a newish (2005?) lovely basic 4 bed/2.1 bath home on a cul de sac will cost you $1,849,000 north of Putnam Avenue but the pool and the back yard has an upscale finish. Nevermind trying to get to all the houses I had planned to visit this particular day, I really wanted to sit in the swinging chair or dip my toes into that sparking pool. There’s not much room for anything else back there but, hey, you’re on a cul de sac. Let the kids ride their bikes out front.

But, Wait…There’s More!

Finally, and I saved the best for last, I LOVED 185 Riverside Avenue! It’s definitely not for everyone. First, it’s HUGE. The current owners have 5 kids and, frankly, unless you have a lot of house guests, 7 bedrooms is not for everyone anyway. It’s on what some will consider a busy street (really not all day and night) but it’s a beautiful piece of property (a flat, fenced and manicured .94 acres) set back from the road with ample backyard to spare. Taxes are approximately $27,250. (Hey, this is for you Westchester people paying a king’s ransom yearly!) It’s in impeccable condition and has gorgeous architectural features. The kitchen might need some tiny cosmetic tweaking (personally, I’m not crazy about the green backsplash) but, oh, wow! Price? $5,650,000 down from an original $6,875,000, a little over a year ago.



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