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EVER ON THE TRAIL OF MY NEXT PROJECT, I went out the other day with my sister and  Steven Frankel of Saunders Real Estate to tour properties around the 500K mark in Pine Neck, near Sag Harbor, Long Island. If you’d like to do the same, or for more info on any of the houses in this post, contact Steve directly: 917/903-2005, sfrankel@saunders.com. He’s fun.

We had visions of a 1940s cottage with a front porch that could be ‘charmed up’ and transformed into a pleasant weekend home or used as a rental property.

Steve took us on a circuit of five houses that, by design or geography, went from bad to much better. The first was depressingly motel-like; I’ll spare you a photo of that one.

By the time we concluded our tour, house #5, below — a c. 1950 4BR, 2 bath with detached garage (artist studio!) and full basement — seemed like a substantial lot of house, a short stroll from a beautiful bay beach, top. 21 Elm Street has just been reduced to 499K, and it’s my considered pick of the bunch for value. 

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Unlike most such houses, which have a warren of small rooms, this one has a living room with long sight lines, below, and skylights. The dropped ceiling could be removed to reveal a peaked ceiling, though buckets of whitewash over the dark paneling and maybe white floors would go a long way toward making the place feel more expansive.

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In between, we saw 32 Birch, another 4-bedroom, below, built in 1950, that seemed overpriced at 575K. Virtually all these houses have attached sun rooms that are often the most appealing part. Here’s a link to the listing.

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I thought the kitchen, below, was bigger and better than most.

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Going back in time and down in price a bit, we next saw 12 Dogwood, a 1945 3-bedroom. For more photos, click here.

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This last, 26 Dogwood, was built in 1938 as a summer cottage and is unheated to this day. It appealed to me for its simplicity and lower price: they’re asking 415K.

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Any of these ugly ducklings can be clad with cedar shingles, dated ‘picture windows’ replaced, French doors substituted for aluminum doors, and on and on. Ya gotta have vision. And money, of course.

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