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February 2008


REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts
By by Lily Oliver and Stacy H. Small

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA REAL ESTATE DEALS

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Greener Gutting
Gutting a house generates tons of waste, some of it in the form of re–usable appliances and building materials. A Greenwich–based organization, Green Demolitions, has hit upon a formula that benefits both homeowners and the planet. They work with contractors to cart away saleable items and then sell them online, with proceeds benefiting an addiction–recovery program, Recovery Unlimited. The nonprofit's Web site posts lists of items currently for sale at rock–bottom prices, including basics such as windows, shutters, cabinetry, sinks and stoves, as well as a few impressive chandeliers and carved mantelpieces (greendemolitions.org).

First Look at Spring
When real estate is booming, the spring selling season gets underway well before Valentine's Day. Not so in 2006 and 2007. But realtors sound optimistic about spring '08, pointing to a few factors that could spur sales. The average 30–year–fixed mortgage rate has slipped below 6 percent, for instance, down from over 6.5 percent in June. And a promising turnout at the year's first open houses appears to be fueled by the fact that New York City housing prices continue to soar—making suburban listings look like relative bargains.

One of the market's most luxe listings is the Greenwich home of Thomas Theobald, a former chairman of Continental Bank, who is married to journalist Gigi Mahon, author of The Last Days of the New Yorker. The couple had commissioned architect Boris Baranovich to build the 10,000–square–foot stone mansion they call Greystone in the gated community of Conyers Farm. The Georgian–style home has six bedroom suites plus a three–bedroom guest cottage, as well as a staff cottage.

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