Category Archives: Less than $100000

Five Figure Fridays! Now Here’s An Idea…

It’s always fun to stumble across a listing that you’ve seen in real life.  Even more delightful is finding one that you’ve ogled repeatedly in the real world, and discovering that it costs less than a hundred grand.  So imagine my delight at running across the listing for this property, which I eyeball every time I drive up Route 23A in Palenville.

The main building

Less than ten minutes from Exit 20 on the Thruway, this compound sits right at the base of the steep pass that leads up past Kaaterskill Falls to Tannersville and Hunter.  There’s a main log cabin house/lodge, a recreational building, and six (!) cabins with en suite bathrooms on 1.5 acres.

A smattering of cabin/bungalows

The condition is handled with a terse “It needs work.”  Fair enough.  With that out of the way, it’s a terrifically retro-charming place.  It looks like somewhere my grandparents would have stayed on their 1949 drive across the country (in their Oldsmobile sedan with three kids and two dachshunds).

A camping hut!

Brick red siding and all-pine-all-the-time interiors?  A gigantic river stone fireplace?  Sign me up.

A riot of knotty pine

Best of all, with all those buildings it feels eminently shareable.  So I started back-of-the-napkin brainstorming: six like-minded folks or families kick in enough to buy the place and fix the big issues in the lodge/rec building.  Everybody gets their own cabin, to fix up as they please.  Weeks in the main lodge are split up timeshare-style – everybody would get eight weeks a year.

Load up the rec building with foosball, pool, skee-ball, etc. and turn the kids loose.  Did I mention there’s a stone fire pit in front of each cabin, and a koi pond?  The pitch writes itself!

Of course, on sober reflection, an acre and a half is close quarters for six families, especially when the tiny camping cabins probably don’t have, um, kitchens.  And it’s right next to a busy trunk road – like, RIGHT next to.  And who knows what shape the main systems are in.


Still, it’s a fascinating property.  Anybody been dreaming of running a rental cottage business?

After the jump: property stats, plus a bunch more photos.  Enjoy!

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The $59,000 New Paltz Saltbox

Yes, that’s right: $59,000 for this handsome New Paltz saltbox. Would you like to hear the catch(es)? “It may not be a tear-down.” Yep, that’s in the description. A dream house begun and abandoned, with 3.9 acres on a pretty wooded road close to town. Seems like a good deal if the place is salvageable and you want to almost build your own house. Stats on the jump.

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Five Figure Fridays! “Green” Cabin Breaks the Magic Barrier

For all the years I’ve been trawling Catskills Craigslist looking at properties, this place has been on there, hoping for someone to appreciate its unique charms.  Over the years I’ve watched the price fall from well above $200k down through the upper and then lower $100s.  And today I saw that it has broken through into the purview of this column: $99,000 (as the seller points out in the ad, this is “not a misprint”).


It has been variously (self-)described as a “green” cabin and a “hippie” cabin, and the ad consistently refers to it as a “handmade one-of-a-kind work of art.”  And therein lies the rub, because Art is subjective.  There’s real design inspiration all through it (rough sawn plank shelves pegged to bark-clad logs, pull-out apple baskets in place of kitchen drawers), but sometimes the execution falls just short.  You look at the bathroom vanity, with a shower head supply pipe instead of a traditional faucet, and you think man, if I’d built that myself I’d be awfully damn proud of it.  But paying for it is something else entirely.  It’s like living in someone else’s hobby.  At the same time, it’s not so bananas that your critical eye is overwhelmed by sheer wacky charm.  So I can understand why it’s been a tricky sell.


That said, it is a truly striking property, with “massive log posts and beams” and lots of lovely flagstones.  Sure, the distribution of doors and windows on the wide front facade is a bit haphazard, but it’s got radiant flooring, a wood stove, solar (!), low-VOC everything, and 1.6 acres with a lake view.  And personally, I’m kind of in love with the charming Hobbit-chic design.  At $229k, the above quibbles seemed like reason to stay away.  At $99k, this is starting to look like a screaming deal.

Log Spiral Stair

More pictures and info after the jump.

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Upstate Jane: FIXER UPPER ALERT! A Bed and Breakfast or Hotel waiting to be re-born for 89K

By complete chance, I happened to drive by this historical looking mansion the other day on my way from Woodstock to Kingston. Just outside Saugerties in Lake Katrine, on Leggs Mill Road I passed an 1800 Edwardian masterpiece with a “for sale” sign. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it was on the market previously! I looked it up, and realized why. It is only 89K and it needs a total re-haul- but for someone with a desire to move up here full-time to run a bed and breakfast, boutique hotel, artist in residency housing, or just restore an old mansion to its glory days- this is a great piece of property to do it. With 17 rooms,  1.80 acres, right near the water, and between Kingston and Saugerties it is convenient but quiet and definitely seems worth a further investigation! Click here for the full listing.

Beds:7 Bed Baths:2 Bath House Size:3,213 Sq Ft Lot Size:1.80 Acres

Urban Row Home in Newburgh $50,000

Location, location, location. This little gem of a house has all stops to make it your quaint little dream home. But the location isn’t the best in Newburgh, which might be why it is so cheap. At first glance you would think that the interior might be a shell. But surprisingly the inside has some nice updates, exposed brick, and wood floors.

The façade reminds me of this row home in London. It was probably a dingy area a few decades ago, and look at it now. I hope one day Lander Street can get a new image with preservation minded people interested in turning it’s reputation around. Wouldn’t it be amazing? Only 56 miles North of NYC, I think one day these homes will see a turn around. See below for more pictures and property information.

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Five Figure Fridays! Spotlight on Saugerties

Saugerties has a lot to offer – easy Thruway access, an Esopus/Hudson riverfront downtown area with sheltered marinas, and a lovely woodsy sprawl of well kept residential outlying areas that manage a nicely hybridized suburban/rural feel.  And fifteen or twenty minutes away is the lovely and ski-y Tannersville/Hunter/Windham area, just up the steep and twisty 23A past Kaaterskill Falls or the closed-every-winter, butt-clenchingly hairpin Platte Clove Road (pro tip: do NOT drive down this road in a 1984 camper van with lackadaisical brakes).

That said, in a lot of cases staying under 100 grand in Saugerties requires some imagination and some courage.  So with dauntless, fixer-upper spirit, here are five five-figure Saugerties properties.  Details and more pictures of each property are after the jump.  From highest to lowest:

Dock Street 3BR - $89k

A true “handyman special,” this waterfront (!) village home has, according to the broker, been in the same family since 1890.  Which is amazing and also somehow a little mournful.  Fifty feet of frontage on the Esopus, just below the dam, which means constant white noise for extra deep sleeping.  Attention kayakers: your backyard water access here is a couple hundred yards from the Hudson River.   There are no interior pictures (whuh-oh) so assume you’re buying the location and the water. $89k.

Church Rd. 3BR - $89k

This is a mobile but looks well-kept and turnkey.  Pretty front lawn on 2.4 acres.  Half the property is across the street and consists mostly of bluestone quarry, which is either depressing or exciting depending on how you feel about stone, I guess.  Imagine the patio you could build, with ulra-local materials!  $89k.

Kate Yaeger Rd. 2BR - $65k

Adorable and affordable, this little blue cottage has the distinction of being the first property in a long time that made my wife say “yes, I want it.”  Of course, she also looked at the picture of the on-property stream and said “oh look, it even has its own puddle!”  $65k.

Manorville Rd. 1BR - $65k

Another fixer for the staunch of spirit, but my sakes could this be striking when it’s done.  A 1965 contemporary with interesting bi-level design (the Zillow link has even more, and more interesting, pictures than the listing agent does) but, since this changed hands for $150k just eight years ago, you have to assume there’s something badly wrong here.  Still, it has tremendous potential.  $65k.

Band Camp Cir. 2BR - $37k

Lastly, the bargain of the bunch – an estate sale that hasn’t been occupied in over a decade (what is it with Saugerties and mournful backstories?).  There’s certainly lots to do, but at this price you can probably afford the reno.  Best of all, it’s on Band Camp Circle, so you can spend your out-of-town weekends endlessly repeating “This one time?  At Band Camp?”  (NSFW).   $37k.


This isn’t in Saugerties, though it’s just up 23A, but it’s a Craigslist ad and not listed on Realtor or Zillow which means it may disappear any time.  It’s an inoffensive, 20ish year old doublewide on an acre of land and it would sorely benefit from some tree plantings to mask its slab-sided doublewideness.  The killer here, though, is the proximity to the gorgeous Kaaterskill Falls.  To wit:

Haines Falls 3BR - $79k

Amazing.  Just reduced from $130k to $79k and described as “must sell.”  Go, waterfall-loving bargain hunters, GO!

After the jump: links and stats for each, plus a big gallery with a bunch more photos.  Happy bargain hunting.

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Willow, NY Housing Swap

The folks who own this cabin in Willow, NY say they’ll swap it for a place in…anywhere. So we assume that includes New York City. Once again, I must marvel at the photography — it can make a house look so much better than it really is, but no one around here seems to have figured that out yet. As with the others, this listing has few interior pictures, and the ones that are included show an alarming amount of clutter. Although, actually, I applaud the owner for being honest, if photography can be honest, about the pad.

I think people tend to include so many exterior photos because they assume folks from the city are in search of mountain views and nice foliage and rambling lawns. And while that’s true of many of us searching for upstate properties, I think we’re probably even pickier about the interior in a country pad, where, in theory, you’ll spend even more time inside (no neighborhood bar, coffee shop, etc to escape to).

Still, if you want a free getaway in one of the loveliest areas of the Catskills (just outside Woodstock), might be worth dropping these folks a line. More photos on the jump. Read the rest of this entry

A Guide to House Swapping Sites

Need I bother mentioning Well, I just did. Personally, I would list my pad with them if I were going to do this in earnest (and I’m definitely thinking about it). But there are professional house swapping websites, which charge a fee and force swappers and swapees to include some personal information, which may make you feel better about letting a stranger into your home, or venturing up to a stranger’s pad. So here are a few: is $9.95/month if you sign up for a year, and $15.95/month if you want to only commit to three months. They say if you don’t find a home swapping partner in that first year that you’ll get the second year free (of course, if it didn’t work for you, why would you want to do it for another year?). You have to show that you honestly tried, by uploading photos of your pad and sending at least five inquiries. They have over 40,000 listings, and they have a special listings sections for seniors, which I appreciate since my job-job is editing an online magazine for hip older folks. The first listing I saw under “recent listings” was a two-bed in Park Slope, so clearly some New Yorkers are using this service, but after that was Hong Kong, Tuscany and London.

So how about upstate New York real estate for house swapping? I did a search for four-beds in the Catskills and Hudson Valley, thinking it would be nice to take some friends along with us if we swap. Came up with one listing, in an “upscale family neighborhood” in New Paltz.

This place has the opposite problem of all the others: not enough exterior photos! It certainly sounds suburban, and I can’t tell from the photos just how much of a country retreat it is. Also, they prefer to go to France or Quebec, so may not be dreaming of a two-bedroom in East Harlem!

More houses and more info on home swap websites on the jump. Read the rest of this entry

The Coolest Upstate New York Housing Swap Ever

True, these folks are looking to swap their extraordinary dome home near New Paltz, NY for Hawaii, France or India (I take it they wouldn’t be interested in my Park Slope fourth-floor walkup), but if you have something particularly great to offer in the city, perhaps they’ll swap with you. It has three beds, two baths and amazing curved furniture to accommodate it. And, get this: it rotates to face (or turn away from) the sun. Turns out the place has been written up a bunch of times, most notably on a site called New York House, which I think our readers would appreciate — lots of great green info there. And here’s a video on the place, too. I envy those who get to spend some time here. Three beds, two baths, almost 2,500 square feet and spectacular outdoor space, replete with outdoor hottub.

Permanent Trade: Washington Country Farm for New York City Apartment

Yesterday I was searching for New York City/upstate New York housing swaps and I came across this one: a farmhouse near my old hometown of Saratoga Springs which some family hopes to trade for a pad in the city — permanently.

I can vouch for the beauty of Saratoga, its walkability, its tremendous cultural offerings in the summer. Hope my friends from home won’t mind my saying that it can also be claustrophobic, freezing and a culinary disappointment, especially when coming from the city. This place is actually north of town, in Washington County — not  a three-hour drive as they claim, unless you’re doing 90 with no traffic the entire way. So, a few misleading things in the post, including say it’s Saratoga. But they have another website with loads of photos here, the make up for the Craigslist minimum.

The value of the house, they say, is $500,000, so your junior one-bedroom in a decent part of [New York City ]town will you get this up there: “A 200 Year old Brick Colonial surrounded by 97 acres of pasture and woods. Total Privacy. Fenced for horses or livestock, new 30×80 Morton pole building, spring fed pasture. Beautiful views of Vermont mountains. Pond for ice skating and fishing, and trails for hiking, 4-wheeling, X-country skiing, or riding. Deer and Turkeys right outside your window.

“4 large bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, wide plank pine floors, Rumsford Fireplace, rustic walk out basement with Beehive cooking stove/fireplace. 3 car garage, plus separate 2 car garage/workshop next to a caretaker trailer. Updated furnace and plumbing.”

My personal feeling: looks like the kind of place that’s a full-time job to keep up. Doesn’t seem to have had a cosmetic upgrade in 50 years, but some folks might find that charming — to me it looks like the most updated rooms are the bathrooms. Anyone curious?

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