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June 2008


REAL ESTATE

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

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA REAL ESTATE DEALS

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SADDLE UP
While the eastern stretches of Connecticut have a lock on the serious equestrian estates, the horse-friendly properties in Fairfield County tend toward the gentleman-farmer variety. A new Redding home epitomizes the posh end of the pony-ready properties. Called Captain's Watch at Ryder Farm, the 21-room, shingle-style estate (above) is on 14 acres of its own and abuts 300 acres of land trust. Creature comforts for four-legged tenants include an eight-stall barn, groom's quarters, an indoor riding arena and both sand and grass rings. For its bipedal occupants: a pool, tennis court and wraparound porches, one with an outdoor fireplace. Ginny Beasley of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty in Ridgefield has the listing (203-438-9531).

SPRING TO LIFE?
The most important consideration when listing your home during these uncertain times? Starting at the right price.

If the spring selling season were a patient, its prognosis would be mixed. The healing process appears to have begun, but only in some spots across the bruised and otherwise ailing landscape called the Connecticut real estate market. On the one hand, there's the sale of Lowther Point in Greenwich—listed for $25 million; purchase price not yet disclosed—a waterfront parcel including a circa-1880 manse that was sold by broker and heir George Lowther IV himself. On the other hand, there's the Fairfield County broker who says she wants to put a paper bag over her head whenever she goes to the supermarket in hopes that the sellers whose homes are languishing on the market won't recognize their listing agent.

One positive sign: A few big-deal properties have popped up on the market, including the most expensive residence ever to hit the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Some 10 months after her death, Leona Helmsley's Dunellen Hall is available for "a buck and a quarter," as one source put it—which in Greenwich apparently means $125 million. Prestigious Greenwich broker David Ogilvy makes no mention of the Helmsleys in his sales copy, calling the red brick Jacobean manor "the most famous of all great estates."

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