According to current figures, the median home price in Fort Worth is about $220,000 — but good luck finding anything desirable at that price inside the loop.
What is a young first time buyer to do? Live in one of the far-flung exurbs? Wait for a crash in the housing market? That’s how I stepped on the first rung of the real estate ladder, at the tail end of the savings and loan debacle back in … well, never mind.
For a buyer seeking something with the character that only comes with age, the brave and energetic urban pioneer might consider South Hemphill Heights with its stock of 1920s and earlier vintage houses and bungalows. We first spotted the possibilities of Hemphill Heights over three years ago as a below-the-radar area, ripe for investment.
I ran across 3142 College Avenue last week but passed on writing it up. But like one of those heartbreaking television adverts with trembling, neglected puppies, the listing haunted me. Like one of those poor creatures, the College Avenue house suffers also from neglect, and with patience and care has the potential to produce happiness.
Clearly, the property isn’t staged to appeal. For starters, it would benefit greatly from a vigorous clean. But look deeper.
There are fully 1,862 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two baths. And the hardwood floors throughout the nearly 100-year-old residence are completely salvageable. Three days or so with a sander rented from Home Depot would bring them back. Yes, I’ve worked that shift before myself. That’s a wood-burning fireplace nearly obscured at the end of the living room.
The drop acoustical ceiling gives one pause. It’s almost certainly conceals ductwork from a later HVAC system. An investment in reducting under the house would allow the restoration of the original ceiling.
The kitchen is another project. But the house is priced at a bargain $96 per square foot. Creative financing for a home renovation budget of say $25,000 and careful planning would go a long way to addressing the most pressing needs. And that brings to mind the investment potential here. A buyer with the patience to wait five years or so could renovate the property and enjoy rental income and either resell at a tidy profit or occupy it as a primary residence.
The master bedroom on the second floor has a terrace. Check out the bath. The basket weave floor looks to be in good nick and the corner tub would with vintage in-floor plumbing would cost a pretty penny at Old Home Supply.
There is a laundry room at back. There is also one covered garage space. The property enjoys a prime Hemphill Heights location across from Capps Park.
Jacob Villagran of Williams Northern Crain has priced 3142 College Avenue at $179,000.