Sold in Belmont: Renovation Rescues Ranch, Sees A Nice Bounce

Photo: 104 Winter St.

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

• 104 Winter St. Brick Ranch (1950). Sold: $725,000. Listed at $735,000. Living area: 1,900 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 104 days.

There is a show on the HGTV cable channel called Renovation Realities in which DIY (do it yourself)-ers upgrades rooms in their homes using their brawn to put some needed value in their abode.

But sometimes, only a pro can do the proper job. That’s the case of the brick early ranch on Winter Street. Before a new owner put down $65,000 into the structure in 2009, the house was a dump, and a dangerous one to boot. A home inspector noted the building – which was owned by the same family for more than 50 years – had “severe structural damage” and a “very dated condition” of its interior leading the town assessors to rate the house as “very poor” with the assessed value falling below $500,000 in 2010.

The new owner – who purchased the house for $550,000 – put in replacement windows, remodeled the kitchen and both bathrooms, finished the basement as well as the necessary structural work done after 2008 sale. The assessors upgraded its ratings to “at least above average.”

And nearly six years later, photos show an inviting “new” house; polished wooden floors, an open floor plan (not very energy efficient) providing nice sight lines. The living room “area” has a great fireplace with ceramic tiles which provides a nice touch. The basement has new wood floors (but why is the stairway carpeted?) with French doors leading outside to the backyard.

But potential buyers soon realized that, while a bright space, there’s not much space; the new basement nearly doubles the livable space. In fact, the town still calculates the total space as 1,200 sq.-ft. While the seller placed a bed in the cellar, the official number of bedrooms is just a pair.

That’s why this fine space would only handle a $735,000 list price when it went on sale in early December. When no one nibbled by the New Year, down went the sales price to $719,000 in mid-January.

But unlike many Belmont houses, the drop in the listing brought people to the site. By March, there was more than just interest; buyer activity pushed the price up to $725,000.

So, spend some now, cash out later.

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