An 1890’s former hotel with over 10,000 square feet and 40+ rooms. Named “The Mountain House” for … [+] its spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Catskill Mountains.
John Marinaccio of Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties. Courtesy of Cheap Old Houses
“Some of these houses have been abandoned, some are short sales and need renovations, and some are in perfectly good shape and the regional prices are just very low,” says Elizabeth Finkelstein, founder of the popular property listing Instagram account Cheap Old Houses.
Located at 5050 State Highway 8, New Berlin, NY — this home is for sale by owner. Once featured in … [+] the book ‘America’s Painted Ladies,’ the house currently has severe water and structural damage originating from a leaking roof. It was built in 1860 by a cabinet maker/ undertaker David H. White for Captain Charles Harris. There is also a hidden room off the dining room said to have been a stop for the Underground Railroad.
Courtesy of Cheap Old Houses
An historical preservationist by profession, Finkelstein started Cheap Old Houses in 2016 as an extension Circa Old Houses, a property website she founded to showcase regional historic homes. Part real estate listing, part history lesson, and part full-on escapism, Cheap Old Houses now has 1.2 million followers “who are mostly dreamers like me,” according to Finkelstein, but also include real estate professionals and homebuyers who are inspired by the lower barrier to entry presented in her feed.
Finkelstein often uses her feed to celebrate historic homes that have been purchased, or “saved.” In … [+] this instance, a home in Gowanda, NY, was purchased by Nick and Damien of @thekimblehouse.
Courtesy of Cheap Old Houses
“At its core this entire feed is mission driven,” Finkelstein says. “I want to save historic homes. A disproportionate number of historic houses only speak to one type of person. I want to save the houses that tell the story of everyday people. I can’t save these houses by myself, but I can inspire others to save them.”
Listed by Erik Berg Johansen of Richardson Properties, the caption notes that this house, located … [+] in San Luis Obispo, CA is “free if you can move it.” Built in 1939, the house is a classic example of Adobe Revival architecture.
Richardson Properties courtesy of Cheap Old Houses
When asked whether followers really do purchase the homes featured on her feed, Finkelstein responds with an emphatic, “Yes! Scores of people have bought these homes.” She notes that some of the buyers have a background in home renovations, but many are simply “DIYers taking a leap of faith.” Finkelstein goes on to say that a number of her followers are millennials who “love real estate” but find the cost of homeownership prohibitive; they see opportunity for financial independence in these listings, even if it means moving. “I’ve definitely had people move to buy one of these houses,” she says. “Someone recently uprooted from Oakland to buy a church in rural Maine, and one couple moved from New Orleans to buy an old house in Ohio.” As all of Finkelstein’s featured houses are verified property listings, interested buyers are able to proceed through standard home buying channels once they link out from her account.
Located in St. Clair, France, this property is listed by Leggett as a “mansion with barn and shed … [+] and garden in a village near Loudun.”
leggett-immo.com, courtesy of Cheap Old Houses
Regarding the “cheap” part of a “cheap old house,” Finkelstein says that $100,000-$110,000 is typically her cap for a property. And when it comes to “old,” Finkelstein notes that she considers any property built before the 1960s, but adds, “sometimes I’ll find a mid-century home that is just so good and it’s a really great time capsule.” In terms of the condition of a house, Finkelstein curates her account from an historical preservation perspective. “I don’t really care about the condition of a house, but it needs to be original. I live outside of New York City, and most of the old houses here are fixed up over and over again. The houses I feature tend to have the most history because they haven’t been touched.”
Listed by Christa Hohman of Re/Max Alliance, located in Collinsville, IL. The listing notes this … [+] property is for “serious rehabbers ONLY!”
Re/Max Alliance courtesy of Cheap Old Houses
When it comes to advice for people who are inspired to explore buying a cheap old house, Finkelstein says with a laugh,“Realize that everyone is going to tell you not to do it. It is a lot of work, but it’s also going to be the most satisfying thing that you ever do…and it’s amazing what you can learn from watching YouTube tutorials.”
Follow Cheap Old Houses on Instagram and check out the Cheap Old Houses newsletter for monthly news and updates.