Today’s Special: Historic Homes Under $200,000

I’m not sure what the cutoff is for “affordable” these days when it comes to buying a home. What I do know is that older homes are becoming more unaffordable every day, like every other sort of home. So it caught my eye when a little group of at least relatively affordable homes popped up this week. They’ll probably sell quickly — one already has, in a single day — but their appearance on the market does confirm that such houses exist.

None of these appear to require major restoration work. They’re all essentially move-in ready, as far as one can judge from the listings. They’re mostly smaller places in smaller towns. For the moment, at least, these look like the best opportunities for buyers looking for affordable historic homes in the Piedmont Triad.

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A 1964 House in Sedgefield Designed by Edward Lowenstein and 22 UNCG Undergraduates, $765,000

3307 Gaston Road is one of Edward Lowenstein’s “Commencement Houses,” the three homes designed by Lowenstein and his students when he taught at the Women’s College (which had become UNCG by the time this one, the third, was built). Two of the houses still stand, and this one in Sedgefield is now for sale at $765,000.

The house is a Mid-Century Modern classic. The entrance hall has a 17-foot high wall of windows. There are large windows throughout the house, an open staircase and minimal ornamentation. At the back, a second-floor deck provides a view of the Sedgefield Country Club golf course. The house sits well back from the street in a forested landscape. The kitchen is modern but maintains its strikingly 1950s look.

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This Fabulous 1906 House in Winston-Salem Shows Just How Quickly Homes Can Sell These Days

137 N. Spring Street, Winston-Salem, the Walter and Ethel Conrad House

A sign of the times: 137 N. Spring Street in Winston-Salem was listed for sale January 21. The price was $499,000. The sellers accepted an offer four days later. The sale then closed in 16 days. The buyers paid $552,500, more than 10 percent above the asking price.

It’s a great house — built in 1906, located in the Holly Avenue Historic District, beautifully designed and impeccably restored. Still, though, that sale went through at nearly the speed of light in terms of home sales, and even just a few years ago that almost ever happened. Now, it does. A $1.6 million mansion in Greensboro’s Irving Park went from listing to closing in 10 days this month, also selling at a premium to the asking price.

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The Joseph Bason Whitsett House: A Possibly Endangered 1883 Guilford County Landmark, $1.3 Million

The town of Whitsett was named for the Whitsett Institute, a school for boys founded by the son of early settler Joseph Whisett. The family homestead has stood in the small eastern Guilford County town since 1883, but it may need some luck to remain standing much longer. The house and its surrounding 11 acres are for sale at $1.3 million. A hopeful sign: The owners have listed it as a residential property, even though it has been used as a financial firm’s office for many years. A less hopeful sign: They’ve also listed it as a commercial property, “11.3 Acres of Improved Commercial Land for Sale”:

“Prime development opportunity along the I-40/I-85 corridor in the fast-growing E. Guilford and W. Alamance market,” the listing reads. “Two properties consist of an office building on 11 acres and a vacant tract of 67 acres. Highest and best use is mixed use residential consisting of apartments, townhomes and SF lots.”

And, oh, by the way, “Beautiful Victorian House built in the 1880s is currently used as office.”

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212 Florence Street: A Chance to Save a ca. 1915 Craftsman Bungalow in Greensboro’s Fisher Park Historic District

212 Florence Street is a little worse for wear after more than 100 years. Still, its Craftsman features are intact, and now it has a chance for a new lease on life. The Preservation Greensboro Development Fund is seeking a buyer to restore the house to its original use as a single-family residence. It was divided into three apartments decades ago.

It’s a great opportunity for anyone who would love to restore a historic home. And as a contributing structure in the National Register Fisher Park Historic District, it’s eligible for historic-rehabilitation tax credits. The house will be sold subject to a rehabilitation agreement and a preservation easement to ensure the structure and its distinctive features are returned to good condition and converted back to a single-family residence.

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Greensboro City Council to consider green-lighting demolition of National Register home

Update, September 21, 2021: The house will be demolished. The City Council rubber-stamped the rezoning. For those who follow such things, council member Tammi Thurm was the only one who stepped out of line and voted against it.

The Kimrey-Haworth House was described as “endangered” when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places 30 years ago. But it’s never been as endangered as it is now. The Greensboro City Council will vote Tuesday evening on a rezoning proposal that would clear the way for the historic house to be demolished, along others on its block in the West Friendly Avenue-Muirs Chapel Road area, for a medical office building.

Medical office buildings can be built anywhere. There are some in the West Friendly-Muirs Chapel area already. But historic homes like the Kimrey-Haworth House, built around 1925, are increasingly rare. They can’t be replaced. The historic homes that would be demolished have greater value to the community than yet another office building. If the City Council says no to this developer, he can build his office building somewhere else and the community will get the same benefit from it. But if they say no to the Kimrey-Haworth House and its neighbors, those homes and their history be gone forever, and the value they bring to our community will be lost forever.

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Four Classic Homes for Sale in Lexington’s Most Historic Neighborhoods

Lexington’s first residential neighborhoods were built out beginning in the the late 1800s, and they’re relatively intact today. Those neighborhoods — Courtenay, Hillcrest, Oak Crest, Park Place, Robbins Heights, Rosemary Park and Westover Heights — now constitute the Lexington Residential Historic District on the National Register. It’s a sprawling area running from Business 85 and Grimes School to the north down to West 9th Street to the south. It contains the much smaller Park Place local historic district.

The district contains a variety of interesting historic homes, and four of them are on the market now. They include a gorgeous Mediterranean Revival, a judge’s austere Colonial Revival, a Craftsman bungalow and a Craftsman Foursquare, all built between 1915 and 1926.

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Sold: A Classic 1940 Cottage in Winston-Salem Designed by William Roy Wallace, $710,000

The Emil and Anna Shaffner House sold this week for $710,000, and it was a bargain. The price for the 4,200 square-foot mansion was just $168 per square foot. That’s a lot of money, but many relatively mundane homes in upscale neighborhoods sell for far more. The Shaffner House is an extraordinary gem. An elegant stone cottage with steep gables and a tile roof, it sits on two-thirds of a beautifully wooded acre in Buena Vista.

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The Ray-Jamerson House: An Affordable 1886 Beauty in Eden

Update: The Ray-Jamerson House sold for $217,500 on October 29, 2020.

Maybe it’s time to take another look at Eden. I drove up there recently to visit the Central Leaksville Historic District, particularly to take a drive-by look at 527 Patrick Street. Gorgeous neighborhood, gorgeous house, and amazingly affordable. After an afternoon wandering around town, I came away wondering if the town might be the Triad’s best undiscovered place for affordable historic homes.

County records list 527 Patrick as being built in 1920, but that would be way late for a Queen Anne like this. The historic district’s National Register nomination gives a more likely 1886 date. The house has three bedrooms and three bathrooms in 2,456 square feet. The listing’s pictures show the house to be in very good condition. The lot is 0.57 acre. It’s priced at $219,900, $90 per square foot. That’s a fabulous price compared to what a similar house would cost in, say, one of the historic districts in Greensboro or Winston-Salem.

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New Listing: A 1927 Classic in Winston-Salem, Designed by Luther Lashmit, $599,000

418 oaklawn avenue winston.jpg

418 Oaklawn Avenue, Winston-Salem

The house was designed by Luther Lashmit. Lashmit, a partner in Northrup & O’Brien of Winston-Salem, designed two of the city’s most famous houses, Graylyn for Bowman Gray and the Internationalist classic Merry Acres for R.J. Reynolds Jr. (Merry Acres was donated to Wake Forest University, which, incredibly, demolished it.).

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