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Should old homes be saved?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis December 5, 2013 10:21 AM

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If you have a thing for old homes, nothing is worse than seeing some beautiful old colonial or Victorian leveled to make way for yet another McMansion.

Enter Barbara Jones. The Needham contractor launched Little Pink Houses a couple years ago to provide an alternative to homeowners who want to sell but aren't keen to see all their memories bulldozed away to make way for some cold, grotesquely large and soulless box.

Jones aim is to hit the $600,000 to $800,000 end of the market in Needham where listings are comparatively scarce, while saving some of the town's graceful older homes from the wrecking ball.

You won't see one of those big new homes built on a tear-down lot selling that low.

In fact, the homes that are built after tear downs are significantly more expensive than what was there before - you are looking at a million, at least, given the expense of buying a house and tearing it down before you can start building.

Jones sold her first renovated home last year for just under $700,000 on Linden Street and is now working on her second project.

Here's what Jones has to say:

My goal on my houses is to keep the original footprint but to update the entire inside to provide a "brand new" old house for the buyer. Staying within the existing footprint enables the end price to be well below the $1million+ price tag that is becoming the norm here in Needham.

I want to preserve the older homes and keep the charming feel of our 300 year old town while providing homes in the price range that is becoming increasingly rare: $600k - $800.

As a side note, the home I live in was built in 1754. I was very involved in the 2 year restoration of the existing structure and addition. So, when all was complete, my knowledge of the process and passion for the completed end result was what sparked my efforts to preserve other properties in Needham.

The number of people who have expressed their gratitude to me around the preserving of my home has been overwhelming. I credit the woman we purchased my home from. She had multiple offers from builders who wanted to buy the 4 acres my home sits on and turn it into a development. We are thankful that she "waited" for us to come along.

We also have Needham's oldest barn on our property.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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