New Owners Get to Work

Posted by Dave Fratello on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 6:56pm.

Periodically we like to check in on some recent sales to see what kind of work people are doing to the homes they have purchased.

Here are a few recent examples – including at least one big eye-opener.

3100 Laurel (4br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft.) is our first case. Our before-and-after photos here show the evolution.

This is a home on a corner lot at 31st St. that MBC said had "almost too many flaws to count" with a layout we said was "shockingly awkward," partly due to the mid-level garage. (The listing called it a "great layout," so you can see there is room for different opinions. Har.) That mid-level garage is almost necessitated by the odd upslope of the lot toward Laurel – unless you scrape the house.

The ivy-covered 60s original with a pool in back was going to be a major project for whoever picked it up. And the buyers – who paid $995k last April – completely agreed. (See "Laurel Deal's Done.")

They removed the pool and gave themselves a nice big yard (for the Trees). They seem to have kept the structure more or less as it was (we don't know if they moved walls), but they tore everything out and started over. The ivy's gone and a more attractive façade has taken its place. No bars on these new windows!

125 2nd presents something of a shock.

An alert MBC reader noted the other day that this 1998 modern has been scraped. 

When we noted the sale here in October 2011, we did say the home "certainly has location going for it. The quiet South End, west of Manhattan Ave. 100 block. Yum." (See "$4+ in MB.")

It seems that's literally all the buyer saw in it. This became a $4.2m land trade.

4.2 for dirt! Are you ready for a new home with a $6.5-7m valuation? The South End keeps getting pricier.

Our last case is 742 27th, a big (4br/4ba, 3550 sq. ft.), nicely located home with a decent yard and some updates.

In a previous turn on the public market, this one was lovely and eventually sold in a late-emerging bidding war in 2008 for $2.075m. 

Last year, it didn't show nearly as well. The 1989 build felt more its age, the edges were much rougher, and, perhaps worst, the once-lovely showpiece of a back yard had been decimated, leaving only a grassy patch and a few pavers. (See "Close the Books (Again) on 742 27th.") OK, loss of a nice garden is just an aesthetic point, but the prior version helped the home sing.

With the home in worse shape, the sellers wound up heavily discounting it to unload it. The new owners picked it up for $1.701m, an 18% discount off 2008. (Interesting since MB's median is off 18% peak-to-2011.)

Now the new owners have set about restyling the house, bringing it to the 21st century. This was always needed, but had been put off. You're now seeing more of a modern "Cape Cod" style coming together, with a sharper roofline, shingles and even a reorientation of the entry all part of the package. (They may be doing more work inside as well; the 80s build included some sunken rooms – once all the rage – and a full modernization would flatten those out.)

Even a costly re-do could bring this home in under $2.1m, and for a fully updated Cape with a nice yard in a nice location, that's a pretty good outcome.
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