Sold in Belmont: Million Dollar Bonanza Brings in the New Year

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

• 12 Greensbrook Way. Brick Ranch (1957) Sold: $1,250,000. Listed at $1,250,000. Living area: 2,735 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths. On the market: 16 days.

 37 Marlboro St. Multi-family (1913), Sold for: $825,000. Listed at $825,000. Living area: 2,760 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 44 days.

 30 Somerset St. The Albert Higgins House; Antebellum Greek Revival (1850) Sold: $1,950,000. Listed at $2,325,000. Living area: 4,023 sq.-ft. 13 rooms, 6 bedrooms, 3 full, 3 partial baths. On the market: 219 days.

 85 Juniper Rd. Quite unique architectural style (1952) Sold: $1,325,000. Listed at $1,250,000. Living area: 2,626 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 91 days.

Sixteen days. That’s all it took for a 1950s ranch to sell on fancy Greensbrook Way. For $1.25 million! Well, what do you expect from a residential property across the street from Tagg Romney’s 8,000 square-foot manse. And there’s more! The seller of note was 12 Greensbrook Way LLC, which bought the house in October, 2014 for $1,050,000.

So who is this 12 Greensbrook Way LLC? It’s address is 103 Hemenway St. Suite B2 in Boston, the same address as Real Estate Management & Investment, the Fenway-based real estate investment firm known for constructing multi-story buildings in Boston neighborhoods such as the new 50 Symphony Road condo development. So it won’t shock you to know that the listed broker, OffCampus Apartment Finder, LLC, is a subsidiary of REM&I. 

This sale appears to be a “flip” to a motivated buyer. I would not be surprised if this rather standard eight-room house (rated a B+ by town assessors) on more than half-of-acre of valuable land is put “on the sword” and demolished to build something more “appropriate” for the location. It will be interesting to discover who bought the ranch.

A mention about 85 Juniper Rd: a very unique house with a well-thoughtout architectural approach to the land. I love the two-story rear side, full of windows facing east down the hill. Boxy but functional. It does require work (the interior needs serious updating) but a great house to own. 

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Not attractive even when it was built.

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The backside of this house is just nice.

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With smart interior design, this could become a stunning room.

Sold in Belmont: It’s What’s Inside the Bungalow That Counts; Watch the Oak (Ave) Fall

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

45 Choate Rd. #1. Townhouse condominium (1938), Sold for: $590,000. Listed at $629,000. Living area: 1,644 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 210 days.

2 Dalton Rd. #2. Ground-floor condominium (1920), Sold for: $465,000. Listed at $549,000. Living area: 1,290 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 132 days.

93 Walnut St. Framed bungalow (1920), Sold for: $695,750. Listed at $699,900. Living area: 1,757 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 75 days.

65 Oak Ave. Two-family (1913), Sold for: $895,000. Listed at $1,075,000. Living area: 2,976 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2  baths. On the market: 133 days.

124 Sycamore St. #1. Ground-floor condominium (1900), Sold for: $410,000. Listed at $385,000. Living area: 996 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 1 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 70 days.

When I think bungalow, I remember the northern neighborhoods of Atlanta where this wonderfully regional example of  residential architecture inhabits. These low-hanging homes, with their porches and woodsy appearance, just screams of someone reading “Gone with the Wind” barefoot on a swinging couch with a glass of Bourbon sitting on the floor as twilight nears.

The house at 93 Walnut St. near PQ park isn’t so romantic. In fact, it appears a developer needed squeeze something less than a Colonial onto a small lot. In 1920, you could still order a bungalow – and East Asian phrase for “a house in the Bengal style” – from the Sears catalogue as they were still a quite popular example of the Arts and Crafts-style. So in it went.

What’s missing here is the prominent, deep front porch typical of the style (A great example of a first-class bungalow in Belmont is located at 72 Cushing Ave. c. 1905, completely renovated in 2007) because the house sits practically on the edge of the sidewalk. Where could you put it? Good-bye, Scarlett.

What it does have is a wonderful recess dormer pointing to a loft space on the second floor.

And it is the interior that reveals the strengths and attraction of this homes. The interesting architectural features go on and on: the pair of columns leading into the “parlor” to delineate common from family space, wooden floors, period molding, a great fire place with a hardwood mantelpiece, built-in hutch and storage and the smart use of space on the second floor.  There are some modern turns – the kitchen now has granite tops (shutter!) and the second bathroom has one of those “shower stalls,” so you can be reminded your at the gym.

OK, it’s not what goes for an “average” sized house in town, but it’s quite cosy if you are starting a family and want a first house. All-in-all, a wonderful house.

• • •

If the residential two-family at 65 Oak Ave. just off Trapelo Avenue was being sold on “The Price Is Right,” host Drew Carey wouldn’t have to worry about disqualifying either of the contestants for bidding too much for the property as it appears only two people in the world, the seller and their salesperson, believe the house is valued at more than a million dollars.

Not saying the house isn’t nice; it’s a great late-period Victorian (so it has high ceilings) with a new paint job, new windows and roof along with surviving architectural details such as built-in cabinets and old-fashioned molding. But a million dollars for it?

So when the seller listed the price of the house in the seven figures, they neglected hearing the marketplace yelling “TIMBER!” Here is the grizzly fall of the Oak:

Original List Price:

Sept. 4: $1,075,000

Sept.10: $995,000

Oct. 1: $975,000

Oct. 14: $955,000

Nov. 14: $925,000

Jan. 15: $895,000

A $200,000 plunge from list to actual sales price in just over four months. Ouch.


Sold in Belmont: Dorset Road Colonial Takes a Price Tumble for a Reason

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

 18 Dorset Rd. Center-entrance Colonial (1937), Sold for: $912,500. Listed at $1,035,000. Living area: 2,797 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 181 days.

Oh, the poor sellers of a very nice Colonial a stone’s throw from Route 2; victims of the reality of the housing market stomping on the perception that any home on Belmont Hill is worthy of a seven-figure sales price. Not to say that this house’s design is a detriment to the sale; in fact, it’s a beautiful period Colonial with outstanding architectural features (just look at the living room’s exposed arched beams – but why is that big flat screen in the bay window?! – and molding), what appears to be original lighting fixtures and a garage hidden in the back. Take away the horrible new shower and back-to-the-future granite-top kitchen island (next time, use tile), this is an outstanding house for a growing family with four bedrooms, three baths and a quarter acre.

But was it worth the initial +$1 million price tag? Obviously the population of buyers seeking this house have kids they were expecting to be hanging around for a few years and putting down a cool mil along with handing Treasurer Floyd Carman a $1,000 check each month was not in their calculations, especially when houses in Belmont’s “Lowlands” can be gobbled up for 250,000 fewer dollars. The result: take a look at the offering price from Independence Day to New Year’s Day. It’s like watching a climber fall off the Matterhorn.

List Price: July 9, 2014: $1,035,000

Sept. 4: $1,025,000

Sept. 5: $1,024,000

Sept. 24: $999,000

Oct. 22: $949,000

SOLD: Jan. 6, 2015: $912,500

Remember the days when sellers and their salespersons would list low and see the bids come in? I do. What’s happened?

Sold in Belmont: Haircuts for List Prices on All Homes in Belmont

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

• 10 Wood Rd. “A mish-mash” Colonial “on steroids” (2006), Sold for: $997,000. Listed at $1,159,000. Living area: 3,661 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 95 days.

• 29-31 Flett Rd. Two-family (1939), Sold for: $600,000. Listed at $659,900. Living area: 2,112 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 101 days.

• 51 Berwick St. #1. Single-floor condominium (1908), Sold for: $370,000. Listed at $379,900. Living area: 1,199 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 67 days.

59 Stults Rd. Colonial (1926), Sold for: $960,000. Listed at $1,025,000. Living area: 2,743 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 101 days.

• 55 Elm St. #1Single-floor condominium (1925), Sold for: $600,000. Listed at $599,999. Living area: 1,317 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 92 days.

The year in Belmont real estate is ending with an adjustment downward as four of the five residential home sales defied their list price and sold for a discount – the only property that sold above the initial sale price did so by a single buck –with the houses owners and the salesperson believed would take in seven figures came back with a healthy haircut. 

Sold in Belmont: A Million Dollar House that SHOULD be Torn Down

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

• 5 Lodge Rd. A framed Colonial (1930), Sold for: $716,000. Listed at $695,000. Living area: 1,505 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 47 days.

• 665 Concord Ave. “Contemporary” (1961), Sold for: $1,175,000. Listed at $1,175,000. Living area: 3,080 sq.-ft. 10 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 4 baths. On the market: 64 days.

• 53 Leslie Rd. Two-floor condominium (1929), Sold for: $457,200. Listed at $437,000. Living area: 1,339 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 50 days.

Some lucky individual just bought an upper Concord Avenue house for just more than a million dollars. (Kudos to the salesperson for selling the property the town appraised in 2014 at $920,000!)

Now the buyer(s) can provide a public benefit by tearing down this out-of-place, contemporary, rabbit hutch.

If this badly-aging, low-to-the-ground substandard example of Usonia architecture was situated in Palo Alto or Boulder or any of many western/West Coast communities where this sort of building is appreciated (along with “A” frames and split-levels such as Colorado which is actually attempting to preserve this architecture) then fine. But in Belmont, the Concord Avenue house is akin to the nice person on Bright Road who places palm trees and other exotics on his lawn most of the year: it’s interesting but out of place.

Frank Lloyd Wright developed this design (it’s also called Wrightian) as a low-end Prairie School-style house in which he attempted to “integrated the house with the landscape and nature in an attempt to get away from box-like structures (1)” that were plopped onto a plot of land.

Arranged in zones, typically with three areas: living space, small bedrooms, and a kitchen-dining area, the “Usonian houses were quite unlike the boxy, stark International Style houses that appeared to be dropped onto, rather than a part of, their location.”

But the Belmont house fails because it wasn’t designed by Wright but by a lesser architect who threw up (pun intended) a building that is a mashup of Wright’s principles and suburbanites’ demands. The structure the public can glimpse around that ugly fence (what did Robert Frost say about fences in “Mending Walls“?) is the garage! Is this Belmont, California? Garages are fine but not as your “Welcome” mate. Usonia is where carports (a word Wright created) became an architectural feature. Additionally, the open floor design with a large footprint has become hopelessly old-fashioned and inefficient, like having a typewriter on your office desk.

The house is a duck out of water, a dud. In temperament and temperature, New England is bound with Scandinavia. Residencies here need compartmentalization with multiple floors and designated rooms with doors to conserve warmth and energy but also large vertical windows to capture daylight especially in fall and winter. The Concord Avenue house had to rip out portions of the roof to install skylights to bring in the light.

Additionally, Belmont is suited for the tall over the squat (I would fear my six-foot, one-inch tall son would bump his head on the low ceilings at Concord Avenue): high windows allow for a view of the canopy of evergreens and the changing leaves; the narrow slits of the Usonia – which are fine for seeing the scrub and low grass of the West and Midwest – limits you to tree trunks and pet-eating coyotes to stare inside.

With nearly half an acre of land that is adjacent to Week’s Pond and Meadow, why not envelop the ever-changing coloring provided by the Southern light onto the trees and land? You want a unique, then go with a Farnsworth House-type structure (OK, you’ll probably need $10 million to build that today … ) On the more affordable side, there are great modular houses from noted Canadian and Swedish companies that would be a great modern addition to upper Concord Avenue.

So paraphrasing Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Homeowner, tear down this house!”

(1) “Selected Post-World War II Residential Architectural Styles and Building Types” Center for Historic Preservation, Research Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Colorado Historical Society, 2006.

Sold in Belmont: From High to Low, Ranch to Antique


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

191 Somerset St. A Cape-style with a huge extension/wing (1950), Sold for: $1,450,000. Listed at $1,395,000. Living area: 3,167 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 70 days.

31 Robinwood Rd. Multi-level raised Ranch (1956), Sold for: $960,000. Listed at $1,059,000. Living area: 2,038 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 138 days.

• 57 Elm St. (upper). Two-level condominium (1925), Sold for: $719,900. Listed at $$719,900. Living area: 1,741 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 77 days.

41 Waverley St. Antique farmhouse-style (1880), Sold for: $690,000. Listed at $$750,000. Living area: 2,439 sq.-ft. 11 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 49 days.


Sold in Belmont: Is the Hill Losing Some Luster to ‘Friendlier’ Homes?

Photo: A classic Colonial on Benton Road that sold for seven figures. 

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

• 14 Frederick St. Two-family (1930), Sold for: $690,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 2,459 sq.-ft. 11 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 47 days.

• 95 Bow Rd. Classic Colonial (1928), Sold for: $1,265,000. Listed at $1,250,000. Living area: 2,874 sq.-ft. 11 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 47 days.

• 10 Cutter St. Colonial “box” (1905), Sold for: $710,000. Listed at $689,000. Living area: 1,646 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 34 days. (A former House of the Week.)

• 80 Somerset St. Custom European-style home [the town calls it a colonial] (1924), Sold for: $1,500,000. Listed at $2,100,000. Living area: 3,116 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 179 days.

• 19 Benton Rd. Classic Colonial (1925), Sold for: $1,194,000. Listed at $1,149,000. Living area: 3,040 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

• 26 Clifton St. English-brick Tudor (1920), Sold for: $1,085,000. Listed at $1,190,000. Living area: 2,675 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 86 days.

It’s good to be friendly.

And last week, that notable attribute was evident in real estate with the four Belmont homes that sold for seven figures. 

Up on Belmont Hill, a pair of houses hidden from public view (long-driveways and heavy vegetation) on large lots a distance from nearby residences took a couple of haircuts from their original list prices after spending some time sitting on the market.

Down in the hinterlands, two classic Colonials sitting steps from the street in typical neighborhoods located near bus lines and the town’s business center and other amenities were bought up for a premium after being listed for less than two months. 

Coincidence? Maybe. Or is the latest generation of homebuyers who can make the financial leap into high-end homes seeking a more communal living arrangement, wanting to be close to schools, libraries, pools and fellow residents. A recent report shows that many up-market buyers are no longer seeking celebrity-like seclusion but rather a lifestyle that allows the kids to walk down to school or the Benton Library and foregoing the second/third vehicle for public transportation.

A decade ago, the houses on Benton and Bow roads would never have been considered the equal of the duo on the Hill. Today, they are, and more.

Sold in Belmont: Inexpensive on Belmont Hill, But to What End?

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

44 Scott Rd. Brick English Cottage (1930), Sold for: $860,000. Listed at $929,000. Living area: 2,368 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 104 days.

• 667 Belmont St. Up-and-down two family (1923), Sold for: $678,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 2,667 sq.-ft. 12 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 59 days.

• 20 Wilson Ave. #2 First-floor CondominiumSold for: $402,850. Listed at $392,500. Living area: 1,060 sq.-ft. 5 rooms; 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 48 days.

• 56 Davis Rd. #1 First-floor CondominiumSold for: $440,000. Listed at $469,000. Living area: 1,600 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 83 days.

• 27 Dorset Rd. Historic Royal Barry Wills designed Cottage Cape (1937), Sold for: $742,000. Listed at $859,000. Living area: 1,805 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 208 days.

It’s a beautiful Belmont house once the pentacle of residential design when it was built in 1937; a Cape Cod-style cottage lying in the then out-of-the-way section of “the Hill.”

The house at 27 Dorset Rd. was designed by one of the most influential modern residential architects, Royal Barry Wills – whose firm continues today – famous for building the quintessential New England home: solid, classic, refined.

The style was so popular that the year after the Dorset Road house was built, a Wills Cape was selected by winners in a national contest over a modern design by Frank Lloyd Wright! (In retrospect, not the correct choice.)

The Belmont Hill house is modernized with a new chef’s kitchen with maple cabinets and granite (ugh!) counter tops, a new gas furnace, central air and the garage has been heated.

But many of Wills’ quality remains; the square rooms, the bay in the living room, the well-proportioned “wing” which houses two bedrooms and a full bath, the small dormers (so they don’t look “clumsy”), a low roof line, narrow hallways to allow for great space for the rooms.

But the sale of this historic house gives me a bad feeling. I truly hope the buyers – who got the house on “the cheap” for $100,000 below the list – have fallen in love with the beauty of fine architecture and will care for it.

But the house, with a “mere” 1,805 sq.-ft. of livable space – less room than the million dollar condos on Boston’s Waterfront – sits on a third of an acre on the top of sought after Belmont Hill. I fear the sale might be for the land rather than the pretty Cape that sits on it.

Sold in Belmont: Million Dollar Homes Flying Off the Shelves


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

• 1-3 Chester Rd. Mulifamily (1910), Sold for: $724,000. Listed at $729,000. Living area: 2,823 sq.-ft. 14 rooms; 6 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 41 days.

• 117 School St. Shingle-styled late-Victorian (1895), Sold for: $1,110,000. Listed at $1,199,000. Living area: 3,122 sq.-ft. 10 rooms; 6 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 82 days.

 51 South Cottage Rd. #112. Condominium (2012), Sold for: $1,287,500. Listed at $1,295,000. Living area: 3,086 sq.-ft. 10 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 53 days.

 26 Cedar Rd. Circa 1912 Antique stucco-Colonial designed by Thaxter Underwood who built in the same year the Underwood Pool bathhouse. Sold for: $1,725,000. Listed at $1,875,000. Living area: 3,700 sq.-ft. 10 rooms; 6 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 partial baths. On the market: 198 days.

• 6 Highland Rd. Standard Colonial (1941), Sold for: $1,250,000. Listed at $1,395,000. Living area: 2,237 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 182 days.

• 37 Pilgrim Rd. Tudor-style Colonial (?) mashup (1936), Sold for: $1,076,000. Listed at $1,098,000. Living area: 3,100 sq.-ft. 12 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 182 days.

 71 Middlecot St. Post-war Colonial (1954), Sold for: $825,000. Listed at $750,000. Living area: 1,964 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 82 days.

 56 Oliver Rd. Brick “English” Colonial (1935), Sold for: $710,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 1,964 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 78 days.

Sold in Belmont: Mega-Ranch on the Hill Tops Seven Figures

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

• 163 Brighton St. Antique Colonial (1850), Sold for: $969,000. Listed at $895,000. Living area: 2,596 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 63 days.

• 126 Waverley St. Garrison colonial (1957), Sold for: $875,000. Listed at $899,000. Living area: 2,257 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 49 days.

• 182 Channing Rd. Cape-style (1959), Sold for: $600,000. Listed at $549,000. Living area: 1,540 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 63 days.

• 74 Spring Valley Rd. Large ranch (1957), Sold for: $1,252,000. Listed at $1,199,000. Living area: 3,907 sq.-ft. 13 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 1 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 111 days.

• 91-93 Slade St. Two-family (1926), Sold for: $850,000. Listed at $775,000. Living area: 2,616 sq.-ft. 13 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 83 days.

 27 Mayfield Rd. Garrison colonial (1937), Sold for: $690,000. Listed at $688,000. Living area: 1,540 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 34 days.

206-208 Beech St. Two-family (1926), Sold for: $650,000. Listed at $625,000. Living area: 2,330 sq.-ft. 13 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 128 days.

• 5 Wilson Ave. Frame house with neo-Gothic elements (1910), Sold for: $628,000. Listed at $575,000. Living area: 1,546 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 55 days.

• 53 Maple St. CondominiumSold for: $379,000. Listed at $399,000. Living area: 1,133 sq.-ft. 5 rooms; 2 bedrooms, 1 full. On the market: 76 days.

8 Holt St. Townhouse condominiumSold for: $761,000. Listed at $725,000. Living area: 2,225 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 71 days.

• 39 Drew Rd. CondominiumSold for: $470,000. Listed at $489,000. Living area: 1,291 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1 full. On the market: 72 days.

 23 Richardson Rd. Brick Colonial mish-mash (1927), Sold for: $1,075,000. Listed at $895,000. Living area: 2,156 sq.-ft. 10 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

143-145 Trapelo RdTwo-family (1925), Sold for: $700,000. Listed at $667,000. Living area: 2,236 sq.-ft. 11 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 70 days.

12 Leslie Rd. CondominiumSold for: $592,500. Listed at $575,000. Living area: 2,100 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3 full. On the market: 104 days.