It’s easy enough to find a vacation rental that accepts dogs. I’ve passed the info along in previous posts. What is not easy to find is a house that allows a neurotic, helicopter dog mom like me to sit back and relax while letting her dogs run wild. It’s always either too close to the road, too close to the neighbors or too close to the woods where they can run off chasing wildlife.
Well, I think I’ve finally found the perfect doggy vacation rental! It’s in Woodstock and it stood up to my own doggy test. Three and a half acres of fenced in land to roam free. I walked the perimeter and every inch of it is secure. There is deer fencing that I’m pretty sure the deer can hop over but when my dog tried to chase something into the woods, she couldn’t get beyond the boundary.
So, it’s safe for dogs. What else?
It has a pool. Unfortunately, we experienced winter temperatures this summer weekend, so I can’t tell you much about the pool. It looked nice. I thought I might try to book the place again in August since I’m totally bummed about missing out on the pool, but I see that it’s booked out for the dog days of summer.
Still, the house is lovely. It’s a converted 1920 horse stable. Just up our alley. There’s a mix of old and new and it’s completely clean and airy. They have wifi and a DVD player, but no DVD’s.
In nice weather, the home would have been a decent walk into Woodstock. Not something I’d want to walk at night on the dark, country road, but the drive is short enough that you can have a drink with dinner out and not worry about falling asleep on the way home.
So, that’s my doggy retreat story for this year. It’s pricey because of the pool, but sleeps up to six, so it can be split, which is what we did. Just a shame it’s all booked up for July and August.
posted @ 6:07 am Comments (3)
I met Sal a few years ago as a fellow Brooklyn Flea vendor. We stayed in touch via the Interwebs and I kept meaning to visit his shop in Callicoon, NY. Sal is now in the process of moving Tin Can Trading Post to a multi-dealer store up the road. What finally got me up there to see the store was his massive moving sale.
Because I was focused on house materials, I only made out with three lights (four if you count the pair of sconces as two). But oh, how I wished I was there shopping for myself! Scary dolls and clown paintings, old wicker subway seats, a dessert cart from Grossingers. Grossingers!! It would make a fabulous kitchen island.
Sal closed up his shop for a bit to give us a tour of his home that’s on the market for $189k in nearby Cochecton. What a treat for an old home lover! The restoration reveals layers of history. Original wallpaper was cleaned with wonder bread. Did you know about that technique? I did not. The plaster in some areas was left unpainted. You know how much people pay to faux this look? Here, it’s the real deal.
Worth the trip up to Sullivan County. Check out the shop. Buy the house. Turn it into a B&B so I can stay there in the future.
posted @ 7:51 am Comments (1)
Taxi cab hotel room in London. It’s just temporary for the Olympics but how cool would it be to have an entire “hotel” on a lot with bathroom facilities? Kind of like camping. Hmm….
posted @ 7:27 am Comments (0)
Not being too familiar with Sullivan County, I contacted buyer’s agent Joe Addeo at The Rural Connection to show me around yesterday. What a luxury not having to set up appointments, navigate and drive from house to house!
We saw a bunch of homes that were in pretty decent shape. None of them would have worked for my flip purposes, but it’s definitely a buyer’s market over there. That part of Sullivan County near the Delaware River is beautiful but quiet. Don’t go expecting a scene, man.
Anyway, on to the houses! Find info on all of them here.
The farmhouse pictured above is a steal at $175k. Great piece of property on 5 acres with a pond near Jeffersonville. The house doesn’t need much work at all, which is why it didn’t suit my own purposes. One can just move in and enjoy. I saw some unfinished molding. That was about the extent of the work IMHO.
This lovely cape was in decent shape also. It’s very close to Jeffersonville and the Villa Roma Resort, which is like an Italian version of a Borscht Belt resort. A sausage belt resort, if you will. The house could use some updating or you can overlook the drop ceilings and dated kitchen and just enjoy your summer. Not bad for $139k.
This Cochecton house was pretty sweet for $89k and would have worked for me had the neighboring house not been so close (close by country standards). On the plus side, the neighbors have horses. Unfortunately, that’s a negative when you have dogs. Anyhoo, great bones, good location. Price is unbeatable!
Oh, this was a good one too! Another not-much-to-do house. The exterior looks worse than the interior. I remember that this one had a great kitchen with aluminum cabinets and an old drainboard/sink and the floors were in perfect shape. $139k in Cochecton.
The city girl in me appreciated this one simply because it was within walking distance to civilization. The village of Kauneonga Lake isn’t very big but has 4-5 good restaurants that overlook the lake. This is the perfect retreat for lake lovers, even though the public access is some ways from the house. There’s a hot tub in the back. Who doesn’t like a weekend place with a hot tub? $109,900.
Finally, this lovely Cochecton farm house belongs to my buddy Sal, an antiques dealer in Callicoon. The house is about to hit the market at under $200k. When it does, I’ll let you know all about it…as well as the cool vintage trailers he’s selling. But for now, consider this your head’s up.
posted @ 7:29 am Comments (1)
While driving around down 209 in Ulster County last week, I spotted all of these Nevele signs. I was all like “What? The Nevele is back?” Not so fast. There was a meeting on April 12th to talk about plans to convert the resort into a casino. Don’t know what happened at that meeting but the signs were not put there by residents of the area, rather developers and business owners who want to see this happen.
Although I don’t wish for The Catskills to look like Atlantic City, the old Borscht Belt has hit rock bottom and there’s nowhere to go but up. Yeah, gambling is bad habit, but casinos will bring jobs and tourists to the area. And let’s face it. As much as I loved my 1970′s Catskills growing up, it wasn’t the classiest place in the world anyway. I mean, really, have you ever seen a bunch of Jews at an all you can eat meal? My family would pass around the Mylanta after dinner. That is not a joke. So, what I’m saying is, the people these casinos would bring in can’t be any worse than my family.
Speaking of Catskill resorts, the fire at Grandview Palace looks pretty bad. It’s been nice to think these places still exist and they just need to be rediscovered but the finality of the fires and tear downs rips away at our childhood.
But there is hope! Right?
posted @ 6:59 am Comments (0)
Who knew it would be more difficult to find an investment property than to find a place for oneself? I’m lovin’ a whole lotta things that I see, but unfortunately, when I do the math on them, they don’t make financial sense.
The house above is on Wittenberg Road just outside of Woodstock in Bearsville. There is not one but two homes on the property. I thought that this was The One until I got home and reread the MLS sheet. It’s apparent that both structures need work but what’s not visible to the eye is that the bungalow isn’t on the well and septic. That would put me over my own budget, but it’s still a good investment. Stay in one house and rent out the other.
The exterior siding needs some work and the top floor shows some leaks but the main room looks in really decent shape.
How cute is this kitchen? The same wonderful vintage wallpaper is in the bungalow too.
The property is listed at $115k and sits on .68 of an acre.
This 1910 stone house is also on .68 of an acre. It’s located on Maverick Road and sits a wee back from the road. It’s adorable but you can’t get away with a $124,900 price tag in Woodstock without needing to do work. There is some settlement on the house to an extent where the slant made me dizzy when I walked in. This is stuff that can be resolved with a decent structural engineer.
The “slanty” room is in otherwise good shape. I would a)resolve the sag problem in the basement first, then b) carefully take up that wood floor to level the joists and put that same floor back.
The kitchen is located in the basement. Gotta love the log beams.
The problem with a small house with a basement bathroom is that it shares the space with the mechanics. Actually, they look to be in decent shape and surely they can be hidden.
This house was on Sawkill Road, which is a busyish road, but the house is set back far enough for it to seem private.
The home needs a total update but it’s not a scary amount of work like some of the other places I’ve seen. What do you expect for $110k on .5 of an acre?
The most impressive thing about the house? This sink. I’d buy the house just for that sink which is hidden in the basement.
Ok, I lied. Not all under $200k. This sweet red house on nearly 4 acres in a great area is a whooping $219,500. The difference is this is ready to move in. We’re not talking high end materials, but it’s clean and ready to go. If you don’t want to worry about renovations, here is an affordable house in Woodstock.
posted @ 7:51 am Comments (1)
I’m doing a marathon home search of Ulster County today. A 2.5 hour drive up, look at nine houses and drive back. All by my little self. It took me most of the day yesterday to sort out the listings, map out and schedule my day and make appointments. Last time I looked for a house in the country, the realtor did that for me AND took me out to lunch. Now I have a license and I can save a few bucks on the purchase by doing it myself. But ya gotta hand it to agents outside of the city. They work twice as hard and earn less than half as much.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I came across this house in High Falls and was briefly interested until I realized that it’s a trailer with extensions. At least that’s what I think it is. My husband thinks it’s a modular home. In any case, that is one funky high rise for $50k.
Not sure if it’s still available. I found it outside of the MLS.
posted @ 5:43 am Comments (0)
People convert churches and barns into homes, but a silo? Why not? I was adoring this listing when I saw it last month but Shandaken is out of my 2 hour radius so I didn’t even go look at it. It may already be off the market as the only thing I can pull up is an old listing. Oh, but let’s swoon over the pictures anyway, shall we?
The silo house is only 750 square feet of claustrophobia but sits on nearly eight acres. It was built in 1975 and taxes are only $1379! It’s located about three miles from Belleayre Ski Center. Sweet. Oh yeah, it’s $158k. Not bad.
posted @ 7:53 am Comments (1)
Deb has been looking for a house for awhile now. Anything that has a decent renovation goes into a bidding war and as a first time home buyer, she’s reluctant to take on a huge renovation. She tries to wrap her head around fixer uppers and homes that are not her style, but lacks confidence in her “vision”. So, I nudge her along.
I sent Deb before and after shots of the second home we renovated, a weekend place we had up near Stone Ridge from about 2000-2004. I’m posting the conversation along with the photos because it’s Passover/Easter weekend, so you want I should actually write a real post?
Happy Holidays, y’all!
Ok, so D=Deb and M=me
D: Very cool. So did you buy all the furnishings? How long did all of that take? Was that a flip or that was your house?
M: No, we never did an actual flip before! That was our Kingston house. We put too much money into it thinking that we would keep it forever (which we’ve done on all 4 houses). We owned it for about 4 years and renovated slowly the entire time. When we decided to sell, we finished the reno. I don’t know how long that was in actual reno time because we stopped and started so many times. It was our weekend project for many years. We went up there to get away from our Park Slope renovation.
D: Considering that you like wild colors and all it seems rather tame for you, no? But in line with what it is. I likey.
M: I think I did that because everything was so dark when we bought it that I just wanted LIGHT.
D: The dining area, you covered the beams, is that what I’m seeing?
M: Not really. Those “beams” were faux, made out of foam. We ripped them down. The house was modular and came in 2 sections. That beam running down the middle is the joint. It was never bolted together until we did it. Or maybe it had a couple of bolts, but not to Luke’s liking.
D: Gawgeous. Did you and Luke do everything, like you lay the floors yourself etc?
M: Did not do everything. Hmm, I remember laying out the floor but I don’t remember nailing it down. We had a contractor working beside us. Not sure if he installed or we did. I know that he sanded and polyed.
D: Please tell me that wood floor was under the carpet? har har
M: Oh please, girl. That house was carpeted throughout. It had plywood under all the carpets. The day I was up there alone ripping up carpeting, my dogs were running around outside (we had 7 acres) and one of them came back with a deer leg and dropped it right in front of me. They didn’t kill the deer. People were hunting illegally on the property. I chased one of them down one day.
D: Did you add wainscoting or was that there?
M: The wainscoting in the bathroom was just Home Depot stuff we put up. The living room walls were originally brown wall paneling. We wanted to do that “bat and board” look, so we had a contractor install actual boards piece by piece. Then the previous owner asked why we didn’t just put up plywood and use 1×2′s to create the same look. We were like “Oh yeah. We could have done that.”
D: So, can you do this to the 6th avenue house I like?
M: No I’ll be busy working on my own.
D: This is why I do wish you could sit with me look at a house I like and advise me on how I can make it look a certain way. Darn you!
M: So find a house you’re going to put a serious offer on and I’ll go with you to second showing. But it’s really not as exciting as creating my own mess.
D: Sweet, thanks for sending
posted @ 7:37 am Comments (0)
I drove for countless hours yesterday just to look at three properties. I’d like to share two of them with you because I’m passing on them. The third one is a possibility so that I’m keeping to myself for now.
The Staatsburg 1940 cottage (above) is listed at $74,500. It’s well worth it. The listing says it needs work but honestly, I don’t see it needing anything more than some updating and a paint job. If you’re unfamiliar with Staatsburg, that’s the area north of Hyde Park and south of Rhinebeck. Not bad, huh?
So why am I passing on it? Well, the 2 bedroom, 1 bath bungalow is only 691 square feet. Although I did want a small, easy project to work on, I don’t believe that I can make a killing on this house as an investment because of the size and location. It’s more local than weekender, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
If I lived in the area and didn’t have to drive 2 hours to work on the house and if I had cash that I wasn’t going to miss while I’m waiting to sell, it would be worth doing.
Anyway, as you can see, it’s a cute little house. For $74,500, how can you go wrong? Especially with that awesome wallpaper!
This bank owned Red Hook house is listed at $84,500. It’s on a not-so-busy road across the street from a lake. There are some trailers and multiple-pick-up-trucks-in-the-driveway households nearby. Yeah, so I’m a city snob. So be it.
That didn’t bother me so much. One problem is the flip job. The guy lost his house due to some bad decisions (I got some background from a neighbor up the road.) so I don’t want to add insult to injury by knocking his renovation, but some flip jobs just scream Home Depot and this is one of them. The house was built in 1912. Personally, I’d rather restore a beat up 1912 home.
Don’t know if you can see from the photo but this is new parquet tile over what looks like a decent oak floor.
Since I’m a recycling maven, I reaalllly hate to renovate an already renovated property. I’m sure this stuff can be donated, but it bothers me to rip out new work. So that’s why this is a pass.
Well, there is one more thing. After seeing this, I left without going down to the basement. I don’t know what it’s from but I didn’t want to encounter it in the house so I ran out. I did look in the basement and saw mold and a water line on the wall.
Don’t know how/if the water problem can be remedied, but hey, the house is $84,500 and the upstairs is clean and livable.
posted @ 7:57 am Comments (0)
Orange County covers a fairly large area. There is definitely an assortment of homes that can be had not only for under $200k, but even under $100k. Think Newburgh and Middletown for those extremely affordable houses.
Before you run up there to find your inexpensive dream home, a few things…
Taxes are pretty high in Orange County. Like as high as New Jersey high. The fact is, taxes are always higher in the burbs than in the city, but from what I’ve seen, Orange is worse than Dutchess and Ulster.
The good news is that Metro North does run on the west side of the Hudson. There are limited stops to Port Jervis, but it will still take you nearly 2 hours to get from Penn Station to Middletown. An every day commute can set you back about $300 per month.
Although there are plenty of second homes in Orange, it seems to be more of a commuter community. Lots of cops and firefighters living up there so it’s a pretty safe place to be.
The homes that I looked at this week were in Cornwall on Hudson. Really pretty area near Storm King. The town is cute but not much was going on the day I went up. I should let you know that there were also affordable listings in Highland Falls which is right near West Point.
The house above is listed at $150k. It needs work and plenty of it, but location, location, location! It’s more of a suburban area than private country location, but it’s within walking distance to town and has killer views of the river on the block. Should I go ahead and assume that the 1922 structure was a barn or horse stalls at one point? It looks like it.
There are wide plank floors throughout but the wavy gravy walls and ceilings need to go. (The house isn’t leaning, I was too lazy to fix my lens distortion.)
This one is interesting. Listed at $199,734. It sits on over 2 acres of private land. Really close to 9W but you wouldn’t know it. The thing with this house is that it’s an unfinished renovation. Everything has been roughed in, but at over 2000 square feet, materials will be too costly for my budget. How about you? Could be worth it. Taxes are $13k. Told ya.
posted @ 8:41 am Comments (0)
Check out this too-good-to-be-true place in Warwick. Of course the $75k asking price has people bidding against each other. It’s not a short sale and when I looked at it, there was nothing apparent to the eye that was a deal breaker. It just needs some work to finish up the renovation that someone started. Nice location and decent property.
When I called the list agent to find out what the deal is, I found out that it may not be such a deal after all. Or maybe it is, but delving into the problems would be uncharted territory for me.
The home currently has no running water. The seller tells the agent that it’s a broken pipe but let’s assume the worst and figure on drilling a whole new well. Just in case. Furthermore, the septic system is a mess. Worst case scenario, let’s say it needs a new one. The owner also thought he would save on the price of oil, so he installed a coal heating system. Coal? Who does that?
Ok, so those are the big issues. I was almost tempted to check out prices on those items but as of last week there were seven offers on the table, above ask, so I just didn’t bother.
Nice house though. Someone who knows a thing or two about something other than city sewer and water is gonna steal this baby for a song.
posted @ 7:49 am Comments (0)
I’m about three weeks into the home search now. Guess what I’ve discovered? It’s not really a buyer’s market. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, prices are lower than pre-burst and the rates are low. It’s still a good time to buy, but be prepared for some competition.
The Hyde Park house above is the one that got away. Well, that’s the Hudson River view from the house. Little did I know that it was all but gone when I looked at it. It had been on the market for a looonnng time, starting out at $325k and going down to $199k. It was taken off the market for awhile. My bet was that it wasn’t mortgageable with some extra apartments in the basement and attic and some perhaps illegal extensions.
Well, fast forward to me seeing it listed as “continue to show” and calling the list agent to find out how serious the offer is. Turns out it was the original deal that fell through and contracts are already drawn up. Ack, it was too good to be true for me anyway, that I find an awesome house after such a short time.
The house is right on the water and around the corner from the Vanderbilt Mansion. I pulled up two comps that weren’t exact comps because they were larger properties in better shape, but the prices were in the $600k’s and over $1m. Well, at least the people who got the place aren’t greedy investors like me. They intend on living there. I’m putting in a back up offer just in case the deal goes south again. Hey, ya never know. Gotta be in it to win it.
Then there was the ranch that smelled like dog shit within walking distance to the Village of Rhinebeck but still a very private country setting. This is something I still may consider. Obviously, it will need to be renovated. The problem is that it’s a short sale and that could drag on forever. In fact, I’m trying not to look at the short sales because I want to be working on something this summer, but there are a lot out there.
Looked at a bunch of other places in Rhinebeck. Mostly ranches in need of updating. One place for $140k in Red Hook/Milan that was a bit too far from civilization. The others were all too close to busy roads.
This Cold Spring short sale seemed perfect. A great farmhouse on 3 acres. What could be wrong? Right next to the recycling center which is on the premises of the old dump. That means on Saturdays and Sundays, half the town lines up to get rid of their bottles and cans.
The bargains are out there, my friends. You just can’t be so fussy like I am.
posted @ 7:42 am Comments (0)
Pleasant Valley is located about 8 miles from Millbrook and 7 miles from Poughkeepsie along Route 44 in Dutchess County. The quiet suburural town was formed in 1821. Like any quaint town, it’s got it’s department store, it’s purple restaurant and it’s ladies consignment shop. There are also some lovely parks for reflection and hiking.
But let’s talk real estate. Link to all listings here.
This three bedroom ranch is less than 1000 square feet and needs work. The asking price is $45k.
$105k will buy you a renovated cape right on Main Street.
Updated 1920 two bedroom cottage on 1/2 acre overlooking Wappingers Creek. $164,500.
There’s a house that goes with this barn. A 2500 square foot antique house that sits on 12.75 acres. It’s quite charming too! Price? $419k.
posted @ 8:19 am Comments (0)
Traveling through Sullivan County last week, we came upon the town of Mountaindale: Population 0. Nah, I don’t know what the population is, but Mountaindale looked like a ghost town. Oddly enough, it also looked as if the shop fronts have been restored. It feels like a movie set or like it’s waiting for something to happen.
Perhaps Mountaindale is a hopping place during the summer months, but on a winter’s weekday it looked abandoned. Someone is trying to bring this little town back. There is evidence of an art community, yoga and anti-frackers. None of them were around the day we swung by.
There are quite a few bungalow colonies near the town, some abandoned and many in use. It’s definitely something to check into once summer is on the horizon.
posted @ 9:33 am Comments (0)