My Favorite Ugly Duckling Just Went Up For Sale!

So, there’s that house you always pass, and you think, “what a cool little dormer — that window is only 12″x12″.” You think, “why doesn’t someone slap a coat of paint on that miniature bungalow?” You think, “Boo Radley lives there.”

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Beverly has some beautiful vernacular architecture, but the contractor’s special at 73 Livingston Avenue is a gem for lovers of small-footprint antique houses. Once this place has been loved into a “condo alternative,” someone is going to have a unique piece of Beverly history. $199 per square foot, great neighborhood, convenient access to I128, closer to the train than my house!

This is a nice Tudor in the very posh Beverly Cove area: 16 Corning Street is just $257 per square foot at $485k.

2 Locust Street is in the Kernwood Neighborhood, which I wrote about last week — country club, graveyard, close to the water….$210 per sqare foot.

  • Shorty

    73 Livingston Avenue. Finally a house I like.
    Hey, did you see this: http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/blogs/renow/2008/03/the_case_agains.html
    What do you think?

  • mike martin

    Ummmm….whatever. I think that author needs a reality check. How does spending over $10,000 per year renting make more sense than building equity? And, how do you compare imaginary numbers in some mutual fund’s computer with — uh — REAL estate? Most money managers have been telling young people to keep their retirement investment in Real Estate for years. The key is to not get into trouble — live in a place you can afford, that you can afford to heat, and don’t run up your credit cards or over-borrow against your equity. If you’re highly mobile, fine; but if you plan to be in the same geographic place 10 years from now, you’re nuts to keep renting.

  • Shorty

    But Mike, if you are dumping money into something that is losing value, isn’t that the same thing as renting?

  • http://boston.redfin.com/blog/author/mike.martin mike.martin

    No, it isn’t. Think of it like Pascal’s Wager. If you rent, you lose x. If you buy, and your property loses some value — which is RARE over the long term (unless you buy in Pittsburgh) — you can still break even. Especially when you consider the HUGE tax break you get for holding just about any mortgage in the Boston market….

    Think of it like this: If I buy for $300k, and my house’s market value is still only $280k after 10 years, I own a decade of equity AND a decade of bigger tax returns. If I rent for that same period of time, I’ve lost close to/over $100,000. How long does it take you to net $100,000? Real estate builds wealth.

    Renting builds wealth for the landlords — it CONCENTRATES wealth. Real estate is as solid as a steel bike frame, Shorty. Apartments are like riding a Cannondale with a rusty fork — it might seem like a cheap, carefree ride, but it isn’t going to last forever. When your building goes condo or they decide to evict you so they can remodel the whole place and jack the rents is NOT the time to look for greener pastures. Be proactive — buy when the market is down, sit on it, stay away from plastic debt and refinance scams, and you’ll make money AND save money.

  • Shorty

    hmmmm….but there is home insurance, house repair costs, annoyance of recruiting friends to paint stuff. Kind of like taking care of a rusting bike constantly as it falls apart underneath you.

  • http://boston.redfin.com/blog/author/mike.martin mike.martin

    Insurance is really very little money if your house isn’t some kind of mansion. As far as home repair goes — you get your house inspected before you buy it. Aside from the odd light switch or old appliance, you’re probably exaggerating this stuff. True, you have to paint, and you’ll probably WANT to change stuff — but DAMAGE is why you have insurance.

    When you buy your house, it’s either a complete LeMonde out of the box or a good frame that needs upgrades and replacement parts. Home Inspection will help you estimate the cost of making it what you want it to be. Don’t BUY a rustbucket that will fall apart under you! And don’t let anxiety keep you out of the market. And condos are like apartments that you own — you pay the condo association to deal with this stuff.