Off to tour houses

22 Perkins Rd

22 Perkins Rd

I’ll be back, so play nice while I’m out. One house I do want to see is 22 Perkins Road. It’s a gorgeous old house that was purchased for $5 million in 2003, had a lot of money put into it, and then returned to the market in 2011 asking $7.350. Dumb price.

Two brokers, three years and a few price cuts later, it’s down to $4.550. I liked it at its last price of $5.295 million, but not enough to recommend it to clients. We’ll see what it looks like now; sometimes, a few million shaved off a price makes a so-so house look beautiful. Beer goggles for the wallet, or something.

UPDATE: I see a lot of readers have already chime in on this property, all with points I agree with. The exterior’s rough: new cedar roof over the main structure, new copper, etc., but the roof over the (3 car-big) garage is failing. A lot of the railings, columns and so forth look as though they’re rotting. Windows are sort of hodgepodge, many are fairly new, some possibly date back to 1949, when this house was built. The “new” windows are Marvin, a good brand, but have those damn exterior storm panes on the outside, which means you can’t pull them off to wash them unless you climb a ladder. Further, the seals on those storm panes appear to have gone bad, allowing moisture to get in, so many of the windows are fogged. Marvins are two-piece sets, so the “seal” I’m referring to is really just weather striping around the frame, which can be easily replaced. The question I have is why haven’t they been replaced? At this price, and especially at its original price, buyers feel entitled to clear windows. Same goes for the terrace: it needs to be pulled up, stone dust re leveled and supplemented and laid back down. Not a very expensive job, but I’d have suggested to the owner that he do it before trying to sell. Little defects add up to an impression, fair or not, of general neglect.

Inside the ceilings, as noted, are low: 8′, I’d guess. That doesn’t bother me, because I grew up in a house with low ceilings (also built in this immediate post-war era, coincidentally); others may feel cramped. The downstairs layout is fabulous, though. Great entertaining space, with very well proportioned rooms that flow together. I could se hosting 100 people here effortlessly (in terms of space – the caterer would have to deal with the other stuff). Kitchen is serviceable but you’d almost certainly want to do it again – as one reader points out, at this price range, what’s a kitchen?

Upstairs is a little quirky: great master bedroom suite (although whoever painted the ceiling missed a few spots) modern bath (all the bathrooms are in excellent shape and could be left exactly as they are) huge closet space, a private study and views over that beautiful back yard. It’s a bit of  a hike to the other two bedrooms on this floor, and there are two more bedrooms on the third. So it’s broken up a little, but perfectly useful.

All in all, I really like this house, and I love its 3 acres and its location on Perkins, which is lightly trafficked and a short hop to town. At, say, $3.5 million, it would be a steal. At its current price, I’m less enthusiastic. It’s a winner, but needs work. Totally redone, I could see it selling for $6 million, so there’s room to put some real money into this and bring it back.


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21 responses to “Off to tour houses

  1. LMNOP

    Update us when you get back on the condition of the kitchen. When there’s no photo in the listing, that’s usually a red flag it needs to be redone. Otherwise, nice home.

  2. Anonymous

    if ur sucking in a house for 5 sticks the kitchen really a make or break issue

    • Anonymous

      For many people yes, because at 5 sticks they do not want the hassle of 3 months planning and 5 months construction for a new kitchen,even if it only costs another $150k.

      • My guess is that there’s 3-6 months work here anyway, so you’d be out of the house while the kitchen was being done.
        That said, many buyers don’t want the hassle of dealing with this sort of thing, which is why a house that is truly (not realtorease) in “move in condition” commands a premium.

        • EOSredux

          Be out of the house while the kitchen is being done?? We’ve gutted two kitchens and lived in the house at the same time, the first time when the kids were fairly young – the dishes were done in a downstairs bathtub and we ate a lot of what was then called Boston Chicken. The house we are in now, three of the kids were gone but we hosted a party for the entire boarding school graduating class of our youngest when we only had a sink and a stove. Moving out while major work is done is a major expense and one I doubt most people choose to do. But then again, we’re fairly (very) frugal so perhaps we are in the minority in this regard?

  3. Midcountry

    22 Perkins is an estate with beautiful land. It also has a lovely stone wall around it and the pool house and pool lend to the estate character of this property.

    Perkins itself is beautiful but has two downsides – Dingletown Road access and well water.

    I wish them the best price.

  4. Midcountry

    The other thing is that this house has oil heat, which is much more expensive than gas and can run out through any type of accident or miscalculation. Not sure if the gas company offers service here, but it would be better to have natural gas heating. All of that said, 22 Perkins is like a fairy tale beause it is so beautiful

    • EOSredux

      FYI: All good oil companies have automatic deliveries based on what they know to be your usage and the norm is to keep the tank at no less than half-full.

      Also, I’ve never owned a house with town water and never had any issue with a well. Best part of a well, no need to pay for the privilege of drinking a glass of H2O.

      Neither of your concerns would stop me from buying this home but perhaps it’s because I’ve only lived in old homes so I expect certain things, like oil heat and a well.

      • InfoDiva

        I had oil heat for 30 years. We did run out of oil once–lots of house guests and a thermostat cranked up because of both infant and elderly relatives. The heat stopped in the middle of a snowstorm, and I will never forget the sight of the service tech trudging through snowdrifts at 10 PM to put 10 gallons of oil in our tank to see us through the night.

        I can’t conjure an image of a public utility worker from CNG doing anything similar unless we actually smelled gas. Even then, they’d probably send the fire department.

        • EOSredux

          So true. We’ve used Marshall Oil in Pound Ridge for all our years here. I can’t begin to say enough good things about them.

  5. Flash

    The price is about right now but the 8′ ceilings (especially entry) may demand more discount. The grounds and entry look very estate-like, but the architecture of the facade does not support a $5mil curb appeal.
    It is a beautiful low key farm house.
    I think it’s one of those “not a drive by”s

    • Midcountry

      Look again. The living room has 9 foot ceilings and the family room has vaulted ceilings. Not clear about the entrance hall or dining room.

  6. Anonymous

    I agree with the previous posters that the grounds and the pool are very nice – but the house aside from its low ceilings which you can’t really fix also needs major cosmetic updates – that blue bathroom is unlikely to appeal to many buyers and as there is no picture of the kitchen, it likely needs a new one… So $4.5mm for a project is still a lot…

  7. Anonymous

    What about the kitchen? Why no pictures?