Swamplot Price Adjuster: Your Cherryhurst Neighbors

The Swamplot Price Adjuster needs your nominations! Found a property you think is poorly priced? Send an email to Swamplot, and be sure to include a link to the listing or photos. Tell us about the property, and explain why you think it deserves a price adjustment. Then tell us what you think a better price would be. Unless requested otherwise, all submissions to the Swamplot Price Adjuster will be kept anonymous.

Location: 1617 Fairview St., Cherryhurst
Details: 3-4 bedrooms, 2 baths; 1,810 sq. ft. on a 5,000-sq.-ft. lot
Price: $475,000
History: On the market for almost a month and a half.

Note: We now have a response from the seller! See updates below.

The reader who nominated this expanded bungalow on Fairview likes the place, but . . .

What’s not evident from the photos are the basic problems with this house at this asking price:

[First, it’s ] across the street from Wilson Elementary. Not such a bad thing if you have kids who might attend Wilson, but otherwise a drag. School buses have a tendency to idle in front of the property. Noise and trash coming from, well, kids. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, year in and year out, a litany of soccer matches, volleyball tournaments, Frisbee “flag football”, etc. emit a constant din. You know, just what you want when you’d like to sleep in a bit.

Some opinions about the home’s other immediate neighbors, too:

The townhomes aren’t that big of deal other than the residents can peer into your backyard and house. But, the house to the east is a nightmare. . . . Overgrown yard, house falling in on itself. Great for Boo Radley’s house. I can imagine prospective buyers looking at the thing next door and immediately saying, “Nope.”

So . . . what might be a better price?


If the house next door was cleaned up or renovated, I could see . . . asking a little over $400K or the $475K just being optimistic. But, I think they should price it in the mid to high $300s. Not my money or my house, but I don’t see how this house is going to sell otherwise.

Well, readers: Got any better ideas for an asking price?

Update, 8 p.m.: The seller responds:

. . . I realize I have a dog in this hunt, since it’s ME that is selling this house, but the posting above is really grossly unfair and, at times, utterly inaccurate. To refute:

1. School buses do NOT idle in front of our house – never, ever, ever, EVER. My wife works from home and confirms this. Where the poster came up with this is beyond me.

2. The kids do NOT leave trash in the playground, or on the street. They come out for recess for maybe a half hour, and go back inside. There is very little “din.”

Frankly, both these assertions are utterly without merit, and strike me as VERY irresponsible to post. Not sure where the poster got his information, but these assertions just aren’t true. . . .

Plus: a brief discussion of the bamboo shield and “the rundown house next door.” See the seller’s complete comments below.

Want more? The former owner who sold the house to the current seller weighs in!

Second update, 9/23: The owner announces an open house this Sunday, from 3-5 pm.

86 Comment

  • The price seems acceptable considering the neighborhood. Townhomes of similar square footage get the same price and they don’t have a yard.

  • Is this a joke?? That house is very nice and across the street from the school’s soccer field. I’d love a free two-acre front yard!!

  • Plus, for that price you can get the stunner on Brun that you featured before (the Carole Isaak Barden reno, later a hair salon).

  • $275K would probably get the house sold quickly, but I’m not sure I’d want to buy a house from a realtor who looks like he just graduated from high school.

  • I’m gonna have to agree with KJB. I would not expect to pay any less in this neighborhood for a house in that condition. I agree that there are some serious drawbacks to this house – the screaming children, the fairview traffic, the looming tower next door, the fact that the derelict house on the other side will be torn down and replaced with another looming tower… But I still wouldn’t expect to see that house listed for less. And it would be sweet to be next to that soccer field – there is a pick-up game there pretty much every day of the week.

  • KJB434: Do you have any comps to back-up your assertion?

  • I used to play volley-ball in that school field on Sunday afternoons. After we were done, I use walk down with friend to his place to clean up to out for a drink after. We would take several different route and walk in front of town homes for sale. Most would start at the low $400’s. I only saw one above $500K.

    Since this house has square footage a little larger than the larger townhomes (4000sqft) and a yard, I don’t the price being that out of line.

  • The owner paid over $400K for this place only 3 years ago. The taxes are almost $10K. Its natural to want to recoup some of your investment, but nothing on this block is worth anything NEAR what they’re asking. I think that fresh-faced realtor is VERY optimistic.

  • Whoever nominated this house must live in Katy. It is very reasonably priced. If you want comps, try and find any house in or around this neighborhood in comparable condition that has sold for less than $450K. Would probably get done very quickly if it were $10-15K lower on the asking price, but I suspect that is where it will ulimately get sold at the end of the day.

  • I think the price is a little high; a more reasonable price is the conforming loan limit plus 10%; i.e., $463k. Which is what the owner is probably hoping to get.

    That said, I wouldn’t buy it as is, given the townhouses next door. But another $10k of landscaping can block their view. So $453k is my nice price.

  • price sounds about right to me. townhomes are unfortunately a problem in most of montrose now–i have some looking down at me. you get used to it.

  • I think they are probably $25k high but anyone thinking you’d get this house for $400k hasn’t been around the neighborhood or is smoking wacky weed. Love Montrose or hate it, bungalow houses in good repair command this price. A better block and they’d definitely get their price.

  • GREETINGS! I realize I have a dog in this hunt, since it’s ME that is selling this house, but the posting above is really grossly unfair and, at times, utterly inaccurate. To refute:

    1. School buses do NOT idle in front of our house – never, ever, ever, EVER. My wife works from home and confirms this. Where the poster came up with this is beyond me.

    2. The kids do NOT leave trash in the playground, or on the street. They come out for recess for maybe a half hour, and go back inside. There is very little “din.”

    Frankly, both these assertions are utterly without merit, and strike me as VERY irresponsible to post. Not sure where the poster got his information, but these assertions just aren’t true.

    Other stuff:

    3. There is bamboo growing VERY quickly in the backyard for the express purpose of shielding from the townhouses next door. There is also a trellis with vines growing on them. In a couple more growing seasons, I expect the view from the townhouses into 1617 Fairview to be completely blocked.

    4. The rundown house next door WAS a concern for us when we purchased the house three years ago. However, it is inhabited by the sweetest octogenerian one could hope for in a neighbor. There is no monkey business going on over there.

    Folks, please don’t believe much of what this post says.

    Additionally, how he can opine that it should be in the $300K range is unfathomable since we PAID $430K for it three years ago. I don’t think this person has much of a clue about the Montrose/Cherryhurst market – what’s worse, he appears to be making things up.


    It’s a glorious house, and we are absolutely willing to listen to all offers! Come take a look!

  • I think it’s worth every penny, and beautiful to boot. I’ve admired this home for at least 15 years. And all of Cherryhurst is a reminder of old Houston. Sometimes I just drive through to relish the beauty.

  • If it’s so great, why are you moving?

    (Just kidding–it really is a great looking house. I agree with the other posters who said that the price seemed about right. I just didn’t want to post a “me too” comment.)

  • This house is a gem (and I know it personally). I was the previous owner. I bought the house in 1991 and then completely gutted and rebuilt it in 1996 (including adding the upstairs addition). I sold it in 2006 not because I wanted to but because I had to when my job moved to the East Coast. This is a great house with sturdy bones and modern wiring and plumbing while still retaining all the details and charm of a craftman style bungalow (plus a new roof in 1996 for the addition and 2006 for the rest of the house). The only drawback is the recent addition of the towering townhomes next door but it sounds like the new owner is trying to address that with landscaping. I definitely think it is worth the price!

  • Quoted from a previous post: “I’m not sure I’d want to buy a house from a realtor who looks like he just graduated from high school.”

    Are you kidding me!!! You are so shallow minded to say that you wouldn’t buy a house from the realtor because of his looks. I have used this realtor twice in the past and he is very good. He has been selling real estate inner loop for over 11 years and is one of the best in my opinion. He is around his mid to late 30s.

    So don’t judge a book by its cover.

    I haven’t seen the house personally but if you look around the area, you’ll find that lots sell for $275K+. The house is worth what a buyer is willing to purchase it for. There are buyers that will pay the price and buyers that will not a few buyers don’t determine if a house is overpriced for everyone!. Cherryhurst is one of the most desirable areas in Houston. This house will have no problem selling.

  • Where are all the comments from the developers claiming that the adjacent town homes don’t have a negative impact on the desirability and resale value of this property?

  • Wow, this is one of the houses that is marked as “interesting” in my ZipRealty list. Actually, when it popped up in the MLS, I took a look at the photos and thought, “wow, the interior looks good, and the backyard looks really serene and private. And only $475K!”
    I’ve lived in and around Montrose for the past 25 years, and have been intensely following what’s left of the bungalow and Victorian market in 77006 for the last year, waiting for the right house to come onto the market at the right price. Whoever says this should be $275K or $300K obviously lives far outside the loop in some masterplanned suburb somewhere. $275K is about what you pay for the dirt on a 77006 lot. To get one with a house, much less a house in good condition, costs a lot more.
    I’m in the market, but not in a hurry, so I don’t want to waste a Realtor’s time with scheduling a showing, but I have been going to open houses for the rare house that meets my conditions. I would make time to see this one, but I haven’t seen any notices for any open houses for it. (I know, open houses are considered a waste of time for the Realtors, more a means of collecting clients than for selling a house.)

  • It looks like a charming house to me. I don’t get the comments regarding the school – Wilson is an “up and comer” (or maybe it’s already there – it’s been a couple of years since I was looking) school for HISD. I’m not a realtor, but I would think that being zoned to and within walking distance to a desirable school would be a very good thing – and a nice insurance policy for your property values.

    People are very funny about Montrose home values – those who don’t live there don’t seem to believe that property commands the prices that they do, yet time and time again, the houses sell for a tidy sum (check out the townhouses on Audubon Place – one is option pending and the other pending continue to show – and both are more than $630K).

    Good luck selling your house, Justin!

  • Having been to many dinner parties and other gatherings at this house (when the previous owner owned it), I have to say that I think that it is a lovely home and worth the asking price. The layout is great and there is a fantastic kitchen, which I always envied. The backyard is serene and despite being on Fairview, it is a quiet and comfortable home. I only wish I had been in the market for a home when it was last up for sale because I would have gladly purchased it.

  • The price seems pretty spot on to me. Cherryhurst is an absolute gem, even with the Fairview address!

  • I’ll chime in too. I lived two houses down, on the other side of the “derelict” house, for six years – until just four months ago. We moved out of Cherryhurst because after looking for two years, there was never a house for sale with more than 1200 sq.ft., for less than $400K. Anything bigger and in condition as good as this one were always close to or more than $500K. Indeed, people suggesting that this house is overpriced don’t have a clue. Cherryhurst is likely the most expensive neighborhood in Montrose. It is certainly the most stable. It’s one of the few Houston neighborhoods with back alleys, so the streetscapes are not polluted with garage doors and driveways. It’s beautiful. Also, as the owner stated, school buses never idled on Fairview, noise from the soccer and volleyball teams were never an issue, in fact, we loved the fact that the school’s playground was used constantly by the neighborhood. It’s called “life”, something that the suburbanites usually object to it seems. BTW, the school is HISD’s first Montessori school. It is very highly regarded, and the area is zoned to Lanier Middle School, also one of Houston’s best. The location of this house is awesome. We regularly walked to nearly two dozen nearby restaurants, including Hugo’s, Mark’s, Niko Niko’s, Little Bigs, and many more, and to bars like the new Anvil, Catbirds, or to Half-Price Books, and all the shops on the Curve. (I know, I know, the suburbanites don’t “get” the walking thing either) Cherryhurst Park is one of the hidden gems of Montrose and is only two blocks away. I could go on. We really miss the neighborhood and are not nearly as thrilled with our new environs off Washington, but you get what you pay for. If we could afford this house, we’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  • Thank you to all who chimed in regarding this rather fraudulent, utterly mystifying post! We believe it’s a fair price that is justified by the market; not underpriced nor overpriced.

    Let me please restate that we will absolutely and gladly listen to all offers! We are only moving because the birth of our second child made it necessary to do so – and we put it on the market with a very heavy heart!

  • Justin,

    I do think that you are more or less in the range on your home. The point of this forum is to spur this kind of discussion. While you may have good reason to disagree, that doesn’t make the posting fraudulent. I didn’t post or suggest it but I did live a couple of doors down and can say that there are problems with noise, garbage and some undesireable neighbors on Fairview.

    That said, Cherryhurst is a great area and home sale prices are much higher than those not in or looking in the area think. I am kicking myself that I missed out on a house at Mandell and Cherryhurst because I thought $495k was too much for it. The house sold in a week or two max.

    One other thing I want to point out is that just because you paid one amount for a house three years ago does not mean it is worth more today. It may be but just ask the folks in FL how that worked out for them.

    You have a really nice house and good luck getting it sold!

  • Justin Smith: o.k…. do YOU have any comps? The price you paid 3 years ago is IRRELEVANT. For all I know you’re suffering from ‘post-traumatic-seller-syndrome’.

    “I don’t think this person has much of a clue about the Montrose/Cherryhurst market…”

    TRANSLATION: “The laws of economics don’t apply to MY neighborhood.”

  • john – Yes, I do have a folder of comps, as thick as my thumb, that we had prepared before we put it on the market…if I could figure out a way to download it to this website, I’d do it right this second!

  • To googlemaster – there’s an open house this Sunday, from 3-5pm, if you still want to come take a look…:)

  • Justin Smith:

    How many of those comps are from the last 90 days?

  • John,

    I know I can egg some people on and start a long argument, but this is pretty much futile.

    I know two couples that just purchased houses on the east side of Montrose north of Westheimer within the last month. One was a townhome for $450K and other sales next to them were in process. These are 3000+ sqft homes. The other couple bought a renovated home similar to this (actually smaller and not as nice and up to date) for $400K. Add the expansion, wonderful yard and modern upgrades to Justin’s place and $475K looks very reasonable.

  • john,

    “The laws of economics” do apply to this neighborhood. Its just that you don’t understand this local market.

  • Why is it that a lot of people have a very hard time accepting real estate behavior that deviates from convential wisdom (ie. markets are in free-fall everywhere)?

  • I think they just plain believe whatever the national news is telling them. Parts of the Houston housing market isn’t as dire as others. I’m not saying it’s going gangbusters, but there are pockets that can still fetch the price they received a couple of years ago.

  • john: ALL of them.

  • Justin Smith: Please give me a specific comp from the last 90 days – address, date of sale, and sale price. I have an open mind and I’m willing to be persuaded.

    CV & kjb434: I don’t watch the national news, I don’t even own a functioning television.

  • LOL — I’m not sure the neighbors would like their sales prices made public!

  • CV: In many states the sales prices ARE public. If this house is truely worth $475K nobody should have anything to hide.

  • So now I’m really confused – do we have a lower case john and an upper case John weighing in on this piece of property?

    If so, lower case john, I’m surprised at the tenacity of your argument – if Justin says he has comps within the last 90 days, why so skeptical? Unless you are in the market to buy this house, why does Justin need to convince you personally of veracity of the sales price?

    Justin – the house price looks fair to me, but of course, the market will let us all know for sure! Please be sure to post on swamplot when you are option pending so we can all get some closure to this interesting conversation!

  • LT: You’re surprised at MY tenacity? Justin Smith is the one claiming his house is worth $475K. That’s $262/sq-ft! What would this house rent for? $2500/month? Do you understand why I’m skeptical?

    Justin Smith:I’m not trying to be mean. You have a really nice house in a cool location. All I’m asking you to do is provide some EVIDENCE of the value.

    BTW – I DON’T agree with the above criticism of your agent looking too young. What does age have to do with it? Either he will get results or he won’t.
    Be aware that we’re living in the internet age: Within 1 hour of your house being put up on MLS, buyer’s brokers were aware of it and were emailing their clients. If you didn’t have a couple offers bouncing around after 15 days on the market, the price is probably too high. Mass quantities of Zinfindel and prawns at your open house WON’T change that fact!

  • I’ma little confused why the birth of a second child would be the sole reason to move out out of a 4 bed 2 bath house, particularly being zoned for good schools. House looks great, obviously a lot of thought went into the remodel. I think the price is about right.

  • one more addition to the post. that. will. not. END. :)i’m quite shocked how much traffic this site gets!

    not sure why i am letting john egg me on so, but – john: happy to find those comps…watch this space! :)

    sidegate – it’s b/c my wife and i each have home offices that we need/want to maintain as such…

  • that would certainly explain it. my interest lies in the fact that I am in a similar situation. we live in winlow place with two children (one of whom attends wilson AAMOF) in a renovated 3/2 bungalow but are loathe to move out of the subdivision (everything bigger in the area is generally newbuild @ 750K+), so are contemplating a garage apartment, because we need an office/guest room. And the post probably gets a lot of traffic because it’s an area with a lot of interest. Anyway, nice remod and good luck with the sale, sorry you have to move.

  • can’t edit posts so…I would add that it’s not the best time to be selling, that’s the only reason I’d contemplate coming down a little off your asking price.

  • This is the other John, not john. Not sure what “john’s” problem is here. He seems to be an ass, AND to not know what he’s talking about. Justin, you really shouldn’t let him egg you on. You don’t owe him any proof of anything unless he’s coming to you with an offer, and that should be done through his realtor, not through a blog. BTW, john seemed to think that $2500 in rent for your place would be unlikely, which just indicates again that he is clueless. Your house would likely rent for more. This current rental listing in Cherryhurst, http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=1995828&backButton=Y&Address=1701%20Missouri%20St, is not unusual. I’ve paid similar rent in the area before buying. Good Luck with your house, it’s wonderful.

  • John: What kind of a blog is this? I ask for some hard facts and you call me an ‘ass’. Why are you name calling?
    You’re wrong: I DO think that Justin’s house could rent for $2500/month. My point is that’s still a price-to-rent ratio of 190. Do you see a problem here? No real estate INVESTOR in his right mind would buy a house with a ratio above 100. Maybe a SPECULATOR will buy the house and look for a ‘greater fool’. You might be in luck Justin!

  • john,

    I don’t even know much about price-rent ratios, but a simple google search quickly revealed it is calculated by Home price / rent X 12, which in this case would give 15.8. From what I’ve seen online, this does not seem out of the ordinary for the Houston area

  • I should have said assuming a $475K sales price and $2500/month rent rate

  • OkieEric: You’re using the ratio of price to annual rent, but that’s still valid. The historical price-to-annual-rent ratio in Houston is from 8 to 10. So if, in 2009, we’re seeing houses with ratios from 12 to 16, that tells me there’s a problem.
    Let me put it this way: What kind of a fool would buy a house for $475K when you can rent it for $2500? That doesn’t make any sense!

  • Clearly john is not moving to Montrose any time soon!

    We sold our tiny Montrose bungalow 6 years ago for $200/sq. ft., that was with the only bathroom rotting from the floor up (why we sold). I loved our beautiful little house, just couldn’t afford or manage to renovate while working and caring for 2 young children.

    Cherryhurst has always been the priciest Montrose neighborhood, because of the features described above. I personally wouldn’t choose to live on Fairview, esp. w/young kids, but I think the higher prices in Cherryhurst are totally justified by the park, the beautiful houses, etc.

    I like the Price Adjuster because it is fun to guess what sellers are thinking. It’s cool that Justin has shared his thoughts here. I am having trouble understanding why john needs facts and documentation….oh, well. Some people take games very very seriously!

  • Agree with Karen!

    The pictures and the owner have made a great case for the price.

    If I had the income level to jump at a house like that, I would have already made the offer!

  • We sold our Montrose bungalow earlier this year for about $200/sq ft ($240/sq ft if you don’t include the garage apartment in the square footage). Other comps on our street were similiar.

  • To lower case john: I’m the listing agent for 1617 Fairview. It seems like you might have some interest from your previous posts. I provided the seller with a market analysis during the listing presentation. Why would he lie about not having comps? ALL comps would be used by an appraiser. The software provided by Har.com suggested the list price with comps used in 77006 from 1600 to 2300sqft. I was contemplating on posting the link to view the CMA on this site – but decided against for the other owners privacy. I don’t think you would want your sold price advertised on this post. The actual square footage for Fairview is 2010sqft – per appraisal. That brings the price per square foot at $236sqft. A 2/2 bath home recently sold in Cherryhurst for $298.71sqft. Have your realtor look up mls#85697378. If you don’t have a realtor, email me at mark@hollandmoore.com. Another recent comp is 1124 Bomar. What area do you live in? I just represented a seller and sold a house in the Heights for $290sqft on a 5200sqft lot and the living room barely functioned.

    We’re lucky that the Houston inner-loop market is strong. I don’t think it should be compared to the FL or CA housing market – or even Katy and Pearland.

    To the Random Poster: “I’m not sure I’d want to buy a house from a realtor who looks like he just graduated from high school” I’ll take that as a compliment since I’m 35 not 18. It’s amazing what a good photographer (Evin Thayer Studios) can do these days. However, my clients tell me I look younger than my age. I have a long list of references ranging from top executives, engineers, lawyers, doctors, business owners, first time home buyers, etc. They never complained about my looks – but rather complimented my work ethics. So don’t judge!!!

    At the owners request, I’ll be holding an open house from 3-5 this Sunday. Not to serve zinfandel or collect clients – but to sell the property. Hope to see you all on Sunday!!! Cheers, Mark Holland

  • I’m more than a little amazed at how defensive some people can seem to get when their expectations, beliefs, or sense of what something is worth is challenged.

    As is clear by this thread, some people think the house is worth at or around $475K, while others do not. Personally, I think that dollar-per-square foot calculations have a value slightly above worthless but well below useful. Nor do I think that “comps” are particularly meaningful. Obviously, others do not think the same.

    Regardless, if the seller can get what they want for the property, so be it. It probably won’t affect me, at least in the short term, in the slightest.

    However, as someone who could afford the listed house, I have no interest in purchasing it, as I believe that it is overpriced by at least $100K. Heck, I think that most real estate (whether here in Houston or elsewhere) is vastly overpriced, and that the market has a long way to fall before housing prices become more reasonable in relation to household earnings.

    But, no matter. Sometimes being in the majority simply means that there are more idiots on one side.

  • What is market value????

    Market value is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay and what a seller is willing to sell for. Supply and Demand rules are still in effect, even in a down economy – that never changes. I have seen houses sit on the market for months and months. Then I have seen houses sell in a matter of days at full list price and above, yes in today’s housing market (Houston). You not only have to look at what sold but what’s currently on the market for sale and IS there a demand for it. What you have to figure out is how to I create a higher demand for a home. There are several factors that go into figuring that out, which I won’t get into that here. There will always be people that don’t want to pay the price and people that will. It’s like renovating a home, I’ve heard people say….”Oh that’s nuts, I would never spend that amount of money on a light fixture good luck trying to get that price.” Then others would say, “I love it and don’t care about the price”. It all boils down to what it’s worth to that person.

    I’ve sold real estate for 14 years. I’ve dealt with listing primarily and have received offers properties 20% – 30% below list price. The buyers and the AGENTS would tell me that the property is not worth more than what they are offering and the property would never appraise for more than that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from buyers and agents, then turn around and receive a higher offer within 5% of list price and YES it appraised in today’s market! Yes the agent is working for the buyer trying to get the best deal, that’s a part of the negotiations. But I’ve had agents argue with me about price before without having a client. Not to give you the impression that everything is rosy and there are no issues out there with appraisals these days. I have had homes not appraise even when there were comps to justify it. I’ll save that for another day. I do have to say it is a little more challenging in today’s market, than it was 1 year ago, but it seems to be getting somewhat better. So you never know until you put a home on the market and test the waters.

    I know the realtor Mark Holland, we’ve done a deal together in the past. He is an excellent and knowledgeable agent in the area. I don’t usually promote other agents, especially when I am one myself but he is noteworthy.

    I don’t usually chime in to stuff like this but I couldn’t resist. Anyways that’s enough said here and wish you the best Mark and to Justin (the seller). If I run into a buyer that is looking for that style, I’ll bring him by.

  • A lot of people would think twice with the townhome next door, I know I did. Cherryhurst is a nice area but has evidently let whatever deed restrictions it had slide. This will hurt prices there in the long run as older homes are replaced with townhomes. Apart from the aesthetic, which is subjective, great neighborhoods aren’t build round townhomes. It probably already has hurt this seller.

  • This is one of the better threads in a really fine website. john keep up the good work on behalf of…well I am not sure on whose behalf. But keep going! You look like you are rooting in the mud but all that hard work will reveal a diamond I am sure! Justin I think your house is great congrats on owning a valuable asset.

  • Even guys like me like to have fun every once in a while, so here goes….

    After careful reconsideration I believe this house to be worth $475K. Why? Because this listing is SPECIAL and SUZANNE RESEARCHED THIS:


  • ok, last post to lowercase ‘john’ – sir, if you really want those comps you’ve been so lustily craving (or if anyone else does), contact our listing agent Mark Holland…he posted his contact info above. he’d be happy to send them to you privately. i think it’s a little awkward and/or weird to post them on a public forum, but mark would be happy to send you them.

    all those that say the house is worth precisely what it sells for are absolutely correct! the market decides, in the end. i don’t object to getting less than I paid, if that is what happens – though I doubt that will be the case. i DO object, however, to patent falsehoods being posted about the property’s supposed “disadvantages”. that’s all.

    Now shameless promotion department: OPEN HOUSE THIS SUNDAY 3-5PM. Come see what all the fuss is about!!! :) :) :)

  • Wonderful lookihg home! Great thread! Very educational and thanks to all who participated. Justin Smith: Good luck on selling your home and I liked the fact you used this as an opportunity for shameless promotion. Please update the Swamplot readers on the final outcome.

  • I think this is the funniest thread in ages here, but maybe that’s because I sold a house (in another city) for double the $/square foot of this one, and it had a crackhouse next door.

    Saying “but it would rent for…” is dumb. People want to live in Montrose. Some of them can afford this house. Judging but what things sell for there, enough of them want to live in Montrose enough to pay this much. I expect Justin will get something close to what he’s asking. It’s a nice house.

    (And I think the hubbub over townhouses next door is pretty weird. this is Montrose, a central city urban neighborhood. The idea of this being a big issue just seems pretty odd to me. I expect that if you could go thirty years into the future, you’d find townhouses had become the dominant form of housing there, because the economics will dictate it. Though I hope a good number of old houses are saved.)

  • “I expect that if you could go thirty years into the future, you’d find townhouses had become the dominant form of housing there, because the economics will dictate it.”

    In the unrestricted neighbrhoods, yes. In the restricted ones, no. In unrestricted SDs, developers bottom line dictates things and the end result is townhomes. Large parts of the Heights don’t have to suffer the wretched things and they are even nearer downtown, so the urban neighborhood argument doesn’t hold water.

  • W-O-W!

    I am sorry I am just now reading this thread and am sorrier I missed the open house. (I have a potential buyer for this home and have been wanting to preview it, but had my own listing open today.)

    As a Realtor and a Cherryhurst neighbor, I can attest that there are sales supporting the asking price, not in Cherryhurst within the last 90 days though. I can also attest that it is worth the premium to live in a neighborhood where you can really walk places that you want to go. This is a rarity in Houston and just one of the many things that make Cherryhurst a special place to live.

    While asking prices are not sales comps, it is worth noting that the only other home for sale in the neighborhood now is an FSBO bungalow facing Cherryhurst Park. They are asking $488K, last I checked.

    In the end, the buyers will determine the market value, not its Realtor or their owners!

    Best of luck to you, Justin and Mark! I will try to get my buyer in there soon.

  • Re townhouses: yes, restricted neighborhoods will look different. I would expect, at some future point, some real pressure on those restrictions as owners start to realize what those restrictions are costing them when they want to sell.

    I don’t think townhouses are wretched, though I choose not to live in one (mainly because I hate sharing walls and I want enough yard for my big active dog). They’re economically smart in denser neighborhoods. I also would hate to see then overtake a whole neighborhood (like Rice Military) because I think the results is lower-quality neighborhood).

    But a mix of apartment-style housing, townhouses, and single family homes provides options that let people stay in a neighborhood as their economic situation changes (e.g. they get older and have more money) and leads to a more vibrant neighborhood, which is what draws people to Montrose in the first place.

    Getting that mix right, of course, is hard, and it’s one of those cases where what the market would demand in the short-term (cram more and more people in) in the long term undercuts the value of the neighborhood, as a single type of resident becomes the norm. A bit like single uses wreck neighborhoods; if you have a mix of housing, retail, office, and nightlife uses (restaurants and bars) you have a lot going on; let one take over and you have a suburb at one extreme, and the Washington Avenue corridor at the other.

  • Re: Anonymous Lurker: I’ve had plenty of agents ignore me at Open Houses. This past spring I had one imply that I couldn’t afford the house. He was wrong, much to his detriment.

  • I just hope that, when the house finally sells, we will get an update.
    It has been my theory – and my hope – that as the original houses become more scarce they will become more desired; supply and demand. (Saw an article to that effect last week in Chi Trib.) And solid comps are hard to come by because older homes that have had extensive renovation are hard to compare – each ends up unique.
    Some people think wood that looks like it has been painted 100 times is charming and that beat up pine floors have character. Others think appliance color and lack of crown molding are deal breakers. So be it. As my late stepfather used to say “That is why Howard Johnson’s has 28 flavors.”

  • This house has really cute curb appeal. I love the giant trees in the front, and a townhouse next door wouldn’t be such a horrible thing as long as there aren’t windows where people can stare into my backyard.

    Sorry I missed it. I only had time for one open house, and I looked at a charming 100-year-old Queen Anne in Westmoreland that’s listed only a little higher than the Fairview house. The realtor was a friendly woman who was a font of information about the neighborhood, the historical designation, etc. There was evidence of two or three children, a crib and some pink girly rooms, but no bad smells that I remember. The house has a very large backyard for Montrose and backs up to the exclusive Courtlandt street, but it was very sunny and unshaded. There’s no covered parking, and it is probably difficult to build any, given the rules for historical houses. There was a strange outbuilding where a garage would normally be, like a storage shed up front and a guest room in back with bed, sink, and toilet, but no bath or shower.

    Certainly I’m not expecting perfection in this age range, but every house I’ve looked at so far has had something weird going on with it, usually some ill-thought-out 1970s addition that ruins the feel of the house. Sounds like the Fairview house might have a bit of that too, but I’d have to see it for myself.

    I know my house is out there somewhere. I just have to find it.

  • Googlemaster,

    I feel your pain. When we were looking in the early 00’s, we looked for 8 months. The houses we saw either had something really funky done to them in the 80’s (like….lots of mauve. And mirrors. And hot tubs. Or mirrored mauve hot tubs). We finally bought a duplex with a garage apartment and then rented out the extra space until we could afford to convert it to a single family.

    My (unsolicited) advice to you if you’re willing to do some remodel yourself, look at some of those monstrosities and see if you can see the gem underneath. Oftentimes, all of that bad design means lower prices – so if you can see potential beauty where others cannot, you could find yourself a good fixer-upper with loads of potential.

  • Dear GooMast

    Don’t worry about historical rules – there are none!
    If the Historical Comissioners don’t approve your plan, you simply wait 90 days and do as you like. That is how we came to have monsterous townhomes in historic districts. That also means you have no idea what might get built next door to you.

    Houston – Its a Crapshoot.

  • Well, to all that are/were interested, we have accepted a pretty good offer on the house. We’re still in the option period so don’t want to make it public yet, but will once we close!

  • TO ANYONE WHO CARES – THE HOUSE HAS SOLD FOR $415K. NOT quite what we were hoping, but clearly the original poster, who claimed this should be priced in the mid 300Ks, is rather mistaken.

  • Good for you Justin. This is a beautiful house in a great location and worth every bit of $415k.

    I just had my townhouse appraised and was pleasantly surprised. From my personal experience real estate prices in good locations around the inner Houston area just haven’t dropped much no matter what all the doom and gloomers say.

  • TO ANYONE WHO CARES – THE HOUSE HAS SOLD FOR $415K. NOT quite what we were hoping, but clearly the original poster, who claimed this should be priced in the mid 300Ks, is rather mistaken.

    The poster said mid to upper 300s. Your sale price is closer to the upper 300s than the $475,000 you were asking. Given the bad market, despite HAR juggling the figures again today to show home prices in Houston are RISING again, not a bad price.

    Be sure to send a copy of the closing statement to the neighbors so they have it in hand when they protest their valuations next year. They will remember you fondly.

  • The poster suggested pricing the home in the mid to upper $300’s, which would have obviously been a mistake.

    Nice attempt at spin though.

  • Matt, you sure know how to twist things around. The original poster said the house should be “priced” in mid to upper 300’s, which would have obviously been a mistake given the 415K sales price. Why does it matter that one end of the OP’s range of asking prices wound up closer to the sale price? It actually went for cheaper than what I figured it would, but I think we can agree that few thought it would actually get $475K

  • Wow, diggity…I hadn’t read your response, promise. Maybe subconsciously?

  • not rubbing salt in the wound but after closing costs (ie title, commissions, etc), you’re $50k+ in the red. while a lot of people are in comparable situations, probably not wise to “brag” about your sales price.

    just sayin..

  • sorry, that should have been +/- and not accounting for tax deductions and such.

    having said that, my point still stands. all things considered, wouldn’t be bragging about losing money but that’s just me…

  • Wow, diggity…I hadn’t read your response, promise. Maybe subconsciously?

    I think it’s just two people that get sick of Matt changing his argument whenever it’s convenient.

    I’m sure he’ll eventually find a way to convince himself he’s right.

  • having said that, my point still stands. all things considered, wouldn’t be bragging about losing money but that’s just me…
    I really don’t think he’s bragging. If you read the comments several people asked him to come back and report the sales price (which was well above the “estimates”).

    I know I would be annoyed if a bunch of know-it-all bloggers disparaged my house with little to no market knowledge.

    I guess it is just a blog in the end, so accountability just doesn’t apply.

    Just don’t quit your day jobs fellas. I would hate to have you all as my listing agent.

  • houston-development, check your calculator’s batteries. after taxes and everything, we made a (very) modest amount of cash on the sale. just sayin…

    and if you actually read the above responses, many people requested an update once the house was sold. that’s what i was providing.

    to matt – if I HAD priced it in the mid to upper 300Ks, as the original post thought I should, THEN we’d be majorly in the hole and would have gotten terrible, terrible advice.

  • I didn’t catch the distinction of “should have listed at” versus “should have sold for.” I would have listed at $450,000 which is what I would have bought it for. But with market conditions, a sale price in the upper 300s might not have been too bad. Your house has been maintained, upgraded, looks nice, one of the best areas in the Montrose area.

    Again, more to a house than the price per square foot. But I would never have listed it in the upper 300s. In a good market, probably $550,000. This is not a good market. But people can believe whatever they want to believe.

  • Just curious — did any of the commenters here, aside from the owner and the listing agent, of course, ever see the house in person, or is this entire discussion based on a few pictures on a website?

  • houston-development, check your calculator’s batteries. after taxes and everything, we made a (very) modest amount of cash on the sale. just sayin…
    perhaps my calculator is on the fritz. mind sharing how you made a very modest amount of money on the sale? and dont forget to show your math!
    @diggity – youre right, the seller did get unnecessary grief but some of it he brought onto himself.

  • To Justin: Congrats on your closing. You’ve been a good sport to mix it up here.
    To Matt: You said:
    “But with market conditions, a sale price in the upper 300s might not have been too bad.”
    Matt, what are you trying to say here? Not too bad for who? Sounds pretty bad for the seller.
    Maybe you mean it would be easier on a give-up listing agent who is telling their clients the sky is falling, and they should roll over and expect less.
    I guess that is one way an agent could improve his sales volume.
    Lucky for Justin his agent was not a give-up-sky-is- falling-guy.
    (Full disclosure: I have never met Justin’s agent, I am just observing)

  • Now that it’s sold, may I suggest to all who care to listen that you AVOID dealing with MEL REYNA at THE REYNA GROUP like the plague?

    They are a bunch of liars and crooks, as far as I am concerned, and made the sales process far, FAR more difficult and stressful than it had to be. I am in the process of composing a letter of complaint to Mr Reyna and to Swamplot in the hope it might be published online.

  • This house just popped back on the market at $549K.