Sold in Belmont: ‘Old Fashion’ Flip Pays Off on Trowbridge

Photo: Flippin’ old fashion single family on Trowbridge.

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18 Trowbridge St., “Old fashion” (1929). Sold: $811,000.

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438 Trapelo Rd., Unit 1, Ground-floor condo (1917). Sold: $400,000.

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38 Slade St., Unit 1, Condominium (1925). Sold: $450,000.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes”:

18 Trowbridge St., “Old fashion” (1929). Sold: $811,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 1,700 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 56 days.

438 Trapelo Rd., Unit 1, Ground floor condo (1917). Sold: $400,000. Listed at $419,000. Living area: 941 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 90 days.

38 Slade St., Unit 1, Condominium (1925). Sold: $450,000. Listed at $425,000. Living area: 1,097 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 61 days.

A Watertown firm brought back some sparkle to a beautiful but worn down “old fashion”-style house on Trowbridge Street. With a little rehab, maintenance and paint, the single-family was good as new.

But Foxhound Properties on Whitney Street – literally a baseball throw from Belmont – isn’t a contractor or renovation specialist hired by the homeowner. Foxhound “sniffs out” properties which owners who are looking, for a myriad of reasons, to sell fast and so will cut a deal. 

“If you are looking to sell your house quickly or if you have found yourself in a real estate dilemma and you are only looking for answers, we can help!” says the company’s Web site.

Once in its hands, the clock starts and the team has contractors it has at the ready to whip the property into shape and flip it asap. 

Take 18 Trowbridge – which stands side-by-side to one house that in 2011 burned to the ground (20) and the other severely damaged (16) by fire in 2008. The owner put the property, rated as a C- by town assessors, on the market in July 2015 for $669,000 then lowered it to $659,000 two weeks later. But no one was taking the bait. 

In October, Foxhound made a deal with the owner and bought the house for $525,000, below the town’s assessed value ($556,000) in a market where sales prices most always exceed that level.

And the clock starts. Foxhound likely assembles its usual crew to do basic maintenance such as paint the interior and exterior (I like the blue they used outside, reminds me of rural Maryland) and redo the hardwood floors. Other contractors came in and updated the baths and kitchen (which always means adding that horrid granite counter tops), ripped out the old heating system and added central air and make the deck pretty again.

Time is money, and the property was back on the market in January at $699,000. Offers come in because 18 looks nothing like it did before. The sale took place on March 4 for $811,000. 

So let’s say Foxhound’s construction expenses were $75,000 (I doubt that amount) and additional costs of $25,000, these guys made an “old fashion” profit of $185,000. That’s relatively good for a firm that is seeking to make money flipping homes. 

The result is that a uniquely styled house is given a new life, some family comes into Belmont to add yet more kids to the school system, and the former homeowner isn’t holding onto a property they wanted to be sold. Win, win, win? 

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