Real Estate » Hot Properties

Double-Barreled

Circa-1915 shotgun in Cooper-Young.

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Another shotgun. Well, where else can a single person or even a young couple find a first home with a monthly note equal to the money you spend in rent? Once you've plunged into home ownership, that monthly note starts to build equity. Four or five years down the road, after you've paid down the note and the house has increased in value, both of those sums add up to equity, which allows you to trade up to a bigger house. It's a double- barreled approach to increase your net worth. But first you gotta buy a house.

Sadly, few developers in Memphis are building starter homes under $100,000. Signs advertise starter homes today beginning at $130,000. That's a mouthful for your first bite. New construction is currently all about how much house can be built on how little land. While it's increasing profits for the developer, it's not always increasing possibilities for new home owners. Hence, two shots in a row -- last and this week's "Hot Properties" column -- about shotguns, the preeminent starter home.

Cooper-Young has been an area where, for the past 15 years, young people could buy a well-maintained home that hadn't been renovated and for a good price. But even here the pickin's are getting slimmer. This shotgun sits only one block from the epicenter of this booming neighborhood, a block just east of Cooper and filled end to end with shotguns. Many are still rental properties, but occasionally one comes on the market.

This one was fully renovated four years ago. An original garage behind the house sat right on the rear alley. It has been opened up to double as a covered garden pavilion, but a new garage door flush with the rear fence line also provides secure, covered parking. A brick and flagstone path through the sunny landscaped backyard leads to the rear porch.

The kitchen and bath are located, as they would have been historically, in the back. You enter the kitchen via a partially latticed back porch just perfect for dining outdoors. The heart-of-pine floors and beadboarded walls were wonderfully preserved. New appliances and an efficient layout leave room for a cozy eating area. An antique pine door leads to a rear ell, which has become a spacious bath. A neutral tile floor sets a quiet tone, but when you enter the large shower, the retro color scheme of the tiling adds a delightful touch of whimsy.

The middle and front rooms can be used interchangeably. Currently the middle room holds the living area with separate closets to accommodate both clothes and media. The original beadboard on the 10-foot-high ceiling is the outstanding feature here. The front room has the luxury of a rebuilt, wood-burning fireplace with a salvaged and stripped antique pine mantel. It's currently a sumptuous bedroom, but the arrangement could easily be reversed. You would expect the fireplace to be the feature of this room, but it's upstaged by a pair of old French doors from New Orleans, which grace the front and give this shotgun double-barreled appeal.

913 Blythe Street

800 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1 bath; $79,500
FSBO: Jim Marshall, 725-0707

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