Main Line Monday: Vintage Charm in Narberth for $349K

205 Elm Ter., Narberth, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

The owners of this classic home in the Main Line’s most neighborly community are evidently as proud of it and its history as its builder was when he built this twin and its neighbors in 1910 — they’ve held onto a photo builder Alex Chambley took of the Elm Terrace homes shortly after their completion.

This home today looks much as it did when new. The wood trim on the front porch and windows is more colorful, and, of course, the kitchen and bathroom have been updated. But you will find all of the original architectural details that make this home distinctive still in place. Read more »

Gray Areas: The Color Dominating Home Design

Illustration by Melissa McFeeters

When did the insides of Philly homes start resembling the skies over Seattle?

I can’t say for sure, but for some years now, gray has been the color of choice for a lot of builders and owners. Like open-plan main floors, grayness has become ubiquitous in new homes, especially in the city. And it’s not just any gray; a specific spectrum of bluish-grays has taken over design — shades builders like to use and layer because they tend to work with just about anything. Read more »

These Are The 10 Most Affordable Homes in Bella Vista

915-25 Bainbridge St. #205, a bi-level loft condo in a converted schoolhouse, is in the upper half of both the sale price and price per square foot stats for these Bella Vista homes for sale. | TREND image via Plumer & Associates

The least expensive homes in Bella Vista right now come in a wide variety of sizes, from small — a 500-square-foot one-bedroom condo — to large — a four-bedroom home with 1,688 square feet of space.

Their prices, however, hover in a narrow band. With one exception — that 500-square-foot condo, which lists for $180,000 — they range in price from $259,900 to $379,900.

“On a per-square-foot basis, these properties range from $208 to $472 per square foot,” said Constantine A. Valhouli, director of research for NeighborhoodX.

That puts them squarely in the middle of house values citywide. Read more »

What $500K Will Buy You in Springfield

632 Hill Farm Ln., Springfield, Pa. 19072 | TREND image via RE/MAX Main Line

Springfield! Even before “The Simpsons,” this place name had a sort of Everyplace quality to it. After all, you’ll find at least one of these in 33 of the 50 states. One of them is a state capital, and two others are the core cities of sizable metropolitan areas in their own right.

Here in the Greater Philadelphia area, we have two of them. One goes by that name; it’s located in Delaware County. Most people refer to the other by the names of the communities located in it, like Flourtown, Wyndmoor, Erdenheim and Oreland; it’s in Montgomery County. The one in Delaware County has a sort of Everysuburb quality to it; the communities in the Montgomery County one have more distinct character.

What this means, however, is that a search on Zillow for homes selling around $500,000 in “Springfield, PA” will likely miss some homes labeled as being somewhere else. Add to that the current raging seller’s market, which has caused supply to dry up in the middle of the market in lots of places, and you get slim pickings indeed. We managed to find one home each in our target price range in Springfield, Delaware County, and Springfield, Montgomery County. Both are of relatively recent vintage. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: An Artistic Loft in Spring Garden for $1.295M

1919-21 Brandywine St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19130 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

One common knock on modernist interiors is that they demand modernist furniture — and that everything has to be just so lest actual living wreck the look.

This double-width townhouse tucked away on a shaded street somewhere between the Community College and the Art Museum is a striking exception to that rule.

If you don’t believe us, take a look at how this home’s owner has made traditional furniture work beautifully in the huge loft-like expanse that is the home’s main floor.

One floor up from the street, the high-ceilinged main living area contains some 2,600 square feet of nearly uninterrupted space — enough room to fit many townhouses inside. The exposed steel beams and trusses combined with a terrazzo floor give the space a feel that is industrial but not cold, and your own furniture can make it warmer still. It’s a blank canvas on which you can paint your own vision for stylish living, accented by a curved glass-block wall that separates the front from the back stairs. (There’s also an elevator connecting all three floors.) Read more »

First-Time Find: Old-Fashioned Charm in West Grove for $225K

410 Rosehill Rd., West Grove, Pa. 19390 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

We should perhaps be thankful that no one’s talking about extending Regional Rail service out to southern Chester County, for its arrival would mean the end of several charming villages along its path.

One of those is West Grove, a tranquil town a few miles down the road from Kennett Square. This is one of those places where the sounds of nature still greet you when you rise in the morning, as they will if you move into this beautiful and lovingly maintained turn-of-the-20th-century farmhouse on its outskirts.

The first thing you will notice as you drive into its gravel parking lot is the terraced front yard with a brick path leading to the front porch. This porch is a classic, the kind that encourages neighborliness. No doubt you’ll enjoy just sitting here in a rocking chair with a tall cool drink on a warm summer day as you take in the sights and sounds around you. Read more »

Property Management Firm Hopes to Score Big Helping Small Landlords

Bay Management Group specializes in managing single-family homes owned by small landlords. | iStock photo by xeni4ka

Judging from the number of listings out there that are described as “investment opportunities” and the number of formal and informal real estate investment discussion groups, the ranks of small landlords must be growing in the Philadelphia area.

Another reason we suspect this is the case: one of the fastest-growing property management companies on the East Coast has just set up shop here, and all it does is work with the small fry.

That company is Baltimore-based Bay Management Group (BMG), which announced its expansion into Philadelphia Sept. 21. Its office in Society Hill is headed by Dana Anderson, president of its Philadelphia operation.

BMG started out six years ago as a third-party property manager specializing in managing single-family residential properties for small landlords. “If a family wanted to rent out a property but didn’t want the hassle of finding a tenant and collecting the rent, we handled that for them,” said BMG President Patrick Freeze. Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: Two-Pack in Northern Liberties for $400K

1017 N. Lawrence St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19123 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

If this were an e-mail come-on, the subject line would probably read “FREE HOUSE!!!!!” or something like that.

Of course, this package deal in Northern Liberties is no such thing: the seller wants $400,000 for what you see here.

But because what you see here is not one, but two trinities back to back, buying this property as your home is about as close to getting your home for free as is possible in the world of real estate.

That’s because even after deducting the costs of maintenance, what you’ll get from your tenant in the second home should cover your monthly payment for the mortgage, taxes and insurance.

Or you could buy this twofer and just become a landlord, for both homes are currently occupied. Read more »

Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Big Builders: Awards Honor Shapers of the Future

Odin Properties’ restoration of Woodland Village in Lindenwold, N.J., returned more than 80 units of housing working families can afford to the community and stimulated new retail activity in its vicinity. The project is one of nine finalists for the first Building Up Award. | Photo courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region

How is building a development like mentoring a young child?

Gary Jonas, principal of HOW Properties, explains it this way: “What I see is real estate developers who are working responsibly and working with neighborhoods to enhance the experience of [living in] those neighborhoods for everyone involved. They are focused on making the neighborhoods better for everyone in them.”

That’s the big-picture version of what Jonas does with the Little Brother he has mentored over the years, and it’s one reason why his company agreed to serve as presenting sponsor of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region’s first annual Building Big Awards program.

“Changing Landscapes, Changing Lives” is the theme of the awards program, which recognizes individuals and a company in the real estate industry who are actively engaged in improving the quality of life in neighborhoods across the city. Jonas is one of this year’s individual honorees; he will be receiving the Building Big Award. (The complete list of individual honorees can be found here.) Read more »

Main Line Monday: Split Personality in Bryn Mawr for $700K

1068 Broadmoor Rd., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

Let’s say you’re looking to live on the Main Line.

And let’s say that you love the traditional elegance of the center-hall Colonial.

Then let’s throw your spouse, who really wants a home with the informality of a contemporary design, into the picture.

All of a sudden, you no longer have hundreds of homes to choose from, and you have a potential argument on your hands.

Fortunately for you both, the architect who designed this rambling home in the Hermitage subdivision had your dilemma in mind. Read more »

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