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April  30

May Day, May Day

349_upper_mountain_2It's May tomorrow and the number of homes on the market for the big spring push has increased dramatically. The flurry of open houses tomorrow alone should constitute listing as a May in Montclair event. If you're outside Baristaville and trying to get in by summer, we've got some advice from the newsletter of realtor Roberta Baldwin

"As I tell all my buyers, especially when they get depressed, try to love a house that has escaped the affection of others. It's the best buy and you can fix it up and make it fabulous!"

Who knew there was a lonely hearts club for real estate? As of today, there are more than 20 homes in Baristaville priced at a million or higher (five of which are located on Upper Mountain). Will these escape the affection of others or sell like hotcakes? Stay tuned.

April 30, 2005 in Buzz | Permalink


I'm not "sold" on the idea that a fixer-upper is a best buy ... especially considering the unknown, uncapped costs of renovating older homes into modern standards and designs ... I just think its an unfortunate reality that the real cost of real estate around here is the cost of the home/property PLUS the renovation costs ... those total prices aren't published anywhere ...

Posted by: Jim | Apr 30, 2005 8:53:35 AM

I'll start the costs off...
Just bought an older house and to get all the floors redone(3 floors, stairways, closets), it will run $8500...about 2500 square feet of actual wood floors

Posted by: Liz | Apr 30, 2005 10:14:55 AM

Fixer upper is best buy IF it is located in neighborhood of nice homes that are in better shape than it is.
Much worse to buy a home that is the most beautifully remodeled in a not-so-area.

You can't remodel location...

By the way, $8,500 to refinish three floors of wood is a bargain compared to what it would cost to put in new floors.

Posted by: Pam | Apr 30, 2005 11:21:38 AM

my experience with old houses (or perhaps with any house) has been that there is, indeed, that initial "bloodletting" as a friend called it. i decided to grit my teeth and do it--the new kitchen, the patio, the new windows, the refinished floors, the wiring, the lighting. i realized that i have a remarkable talent for wasting money on stupid crap that i don't need. investing it in the comfort, safety and beauty of my new home made more sense. now i'll enjoy these improvements for as long as i stay in this home, and i hope that when i eventually sell it, the investments will pay off because the home will be much more attractive to a buyer.
seriously. i'm one of those people who, if i didn't put the money into a good paint job and landscaping, etc. would find myself buying tons of overpriced crap at bloomingdales that i didn't need and never used. if you immediately sink your bucks into the house, at least it's a smart investment.

Posted by: fran | Apr 30, 2005 11:24:51 AM

A few years ago we bought a big old Victorian on a nice block that needed renovation. People who looked at the house when it was for sale brought their architects, who probably advised blowing out the back to add the dreaded family room (which in my opinion usually becomes the studio apartment where the family spends most of its time, one on top of the other). Friends of ours who came to visit from Westchester saw the house and advised us to pour "at least what you paid for it" into renovations.

Isn't that hilarious?

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 30, 2005 3:49:01 PM

That's funny about the studio apartment.

My parents bought a ten-room house some years ago, and my father used to gripe that, with all that space, they were still living in 3 rooms, as they had when they first started out.

Posted by: latebloomer | Apr 30, 2005 6:35:52 PM

Agree with the 'family room' assessment.

To make matters worse, when the kids get older they do NOT want to hang with you in the 'family room' and look for someplace else.

Posted by: Pam | May 1, 2005 9:53:12 AM

Soon people will be renovating houses to get rid of the family rooms. Maybe they'll put in bowling lanes instead.

Posted by: walleroo | May 1, 2005 2:24:06 PM

I've done massive renovations on two houses -- an 1890 brownstone in Park Slope, and a "new," 1906 Victorian (really a "four-square") in Upper Montclair, which was called the "haunted house" on the block.

It's hell to live through, takes enormous time and emotional energy, and costs much more than you expect, but you never regret a penny that you put into a house.

Posted by: Martin | May 2, 2005 8:40:54 AM

Renovating a house to its original splendor is one thing... but adding these huge 'great rooms' and some of the other things people do, like 'over renovate' are dumb.

Posted by: Pam | May 2, 2005 4:12:02 PM

Well after looking for 8 months for houses that were in supposed "mint condition" in I ended up buying a fixer upper on a waterfront lot. I am probably going to sink at least 1/2 of what I paid into renovations. I think it could end up being very nice but I would be lying if I said I don't have second thoughts about buying this charmless little home in a great location.I am a bit daunted by the amount I am going to have to spend. I think right now the way I am feeling, if there was a good "mint condition" house I would love to be moving my things in right now instead of being buried in renovation estimates that I am not sure are going to pay off when I eventually sell...Advice anyone???

Posted by: Liz | May 31, 2005 9:27:26 PM

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