(Editor's note: Last week Greenwich Citizen accompanied Kathryn Anderson Adams, a Greenwich realtor with Sotheby's International Realty, as she was showing a house at 244 Stanwich Road to her client, Linnie Pickering. Pickering and her husband live in North Stamford but wish to live closer to Greenwich. Our tour continues with the house's first and second floor bedrooms.)
A note from Anne W. Semmes: In the buying or selling of a house, it takes two to tango -- a broker who knows the salient and selling aspects of his or her house, and a buyer who knows what to look for and what questions to ask.
Realtor Kathryn Anderson Adams leads her client, Linnie Pickering, down the front hall of the house over oaken floors towards a first floor bedroom facing the front of the house. "This guest bedroom can be an office," says Adams. "Being at the front of the house, you can see what's going on outside."
Approaching the master bedroom facing the back of the house, Adams introduces the master bath. "It has a soaking tub," she points out.
"I like this," says Pickering. "I'd never want a Jacuzzi." The potential buyer demonstrates the pluses of the soaking tub by stepping into it and sitting in it. "You don't fill it up -- you can splash yourself because of the tub's high sides," she says.
The master bedroom also features overlarge windows. "You can open the window at night and hear the waterfall from the brook down below," Adams says.
Out the room's side window, Adams points out the potential for enlarging the master bedroom. "There's a 35-foot setback from the wetland so there is room to expand here," she says. "If you want to have added value you could build the bedroom out here and add on upstairs. That's what I've been told." Adams makes clear she's not an expert on floor area ratios. She's learned, she says, "In this business you don't want to make yourself an expert as the rules change."
Adams leads the way upstairs, which is lit by windows set high over the front hallway. She likes natural lighting, she says. "In some houses I don't turn on the lights as you don't need lights when you walk in,"she says.
She opens an upper hall closet door. "This is a storage room with lots of space," she notes.
"There are three zones of heating and air conditioning in the house," she explains to Pickering. "The third zone is the lower level, the second zone is the second floor and the family room, and the first zone is the first floor." She adds, "The house uses gas to heat."
They head for the basement. "It's the lower level," Adams says, "You don't call it a basement anymore."
The two women enter a large carpeted area. "Half of the basement is finished as a playroom," she says, "The other half is unfinished and used for storage."
"You need to have a space to relax in and have your things," says Pickering. She and her husband need such a space for their treadmill and TV, she says, and as a play space for their grandchildren.
A combination air conditioner and heater unit, set in the long wall of the carpeted area, is pointed to by Adams. "It's totally silent," she says. "It's made by Daikin -- and there's a hole behind it that leads to a compressor outside.".
"It doesn't come cheap," whispers Pickering.
Adams goes on to stress that the owners did do diligence with the basement's drainage system. She points out some plastic sheeting along a wall of the carpeted area. "Any moisture trapped behind this sheeting runs down to a drain," she says. "The drainage system keeps this room dry." There's also a French drainage system with stones laid in all around the house to keep the moisture out of the house.
Pickering enters the unfinished basement storage area. "Storage is very important to me," she says.
"And it's dry storage with a sump pump," notes Adams. "During Hurricane Sandy there was no water here. The sump pump took care of it."
The tour then takes in a side yard that includes a children's playground set. "There's plenty of room to throw a ball around," says Adams. She adds, "There's a lot of bird life if you like birdlife."
Adams has left the steep incline of the driveway for last. Alongside the driveway is a set of stairs up to the road. "The seller has lived here since 2006 and never had a problem," Adams says.
"When I see stairs I don't see a problem," says Pickering, "It makes it easier to go up the driveway."
But for those fearing an icy driveway in winter Adams has some answers. "I've asked a Greenwich contractor, Ralph Longo, how he would heat the driveway and he said he'd put electric pads under the asphalt."
Id addition, when it rains or when the snow melts, Adams says, the water doesn't pool. "It runs into the drains at the bottom of the driveway," she says. She suggests a buyer should live with the driveway for a year to determine if there is a problem.
Adams concludes her tour mentioning a key advantage that the location at 244 Stanwich offers. "There are no stop lights on Stanwich so you can quickly get into town and to the Cos Cob train station," she says.
To wrap up, Adams sits Pickering down in the seller's kitchen to go over relevant documents and selling terms of the house.
"Everything has to be in compliance when you sell your house," says Adams. "Otherwise there might be a way to wiggle out of a contract."
Pickering relates that fact to that of a prospective seller, "So we have to be sure everything in our house is checked off."
Adams describes the sellers of 244 Stanwich as "way above board in their documentation." She shows Pickering the required Certificate of Use and Occupancy, the pool installation records and more. "There's a new well put in as of 1995," she says. She shows Pickering a wetlands map with areas marked on the Stanwich property that she obtained from Town Hall.
So, basically," Adams sums up, "There are three terms in selling: the price of the house at $2,250,000 for 1.5 acres (in a one-acre zone); the closing date (it's available now); and the contingencies -- an inspection, and mortgage contingency, as it takes approximately 30 days to get a mortgage."
Pickering absorbs the facts and responds. "I like the master bedroom on the first floor. I like the pool being close by. Everything is very open and friendly," she says.
"This house is definitely at the high end of the range for us," she adds, "but we're looking all over the spectrum." She likes, for example, the "wonderful condos" she saw at Lyon's Farm, but her husband was "not ready for that yet," she says.
But Pickering is sure that she will know when she finds the perfect home.
"When something feels right," she says, "it's as if an elephant stepped on your foot!"