You Could Wait Forever for a Chance to Buy Some Historic Houses; Others Are For Sale Every Few Years

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The Harry Barton House in Hamilton Lakes is looking for its fourth owner in 95 years.

Buying a house is like finding someone to marry. You only need one, but the possibilities are limited to those available at the moment. And it often seems like all the good ones are taken. You could wait your entire adult life for some to become available. Others are out there again every few years. Here are current examples of each type (houses).

312 S. Chapman Street: Here’s Your Chance (Again!)

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Lovely house. Lovely street. One of Greensboro’s most lovely neighborhoods. And, yet, county records show 312 South Chapman Street has had an unusually busy history in recent years. It’s been sold six times in the past 15 years. In the past 33 years, the house has been sold 11 times. And now it’s for sale again.

County records list 1939 as the date the house was built, but city directories show no home at the address until 1942, when it was listed as vacant. It was first shown as occupied in 1943, by the property owner, Joseph H. Johnson. Johnson owned the house for 12 years, selling it to Walter and Mabel Mueller in 1955. The Muellers owned it until 1987.

Forty-four years, two owners. Thirty-three years, 11 owners. From a statistical perspective, it may be just random chance. And while it’s a little extreme, the pattern probably isn’t so unusual — people are more mobile now than they used to be, especially in executive-friendly (expensive) neighborhoods like Sunset Hills. Whatever the deal is, people just about line up to buy the place. When it was sold in 2014, the sellers accepted an offer in about two weeks. In 2018, it took less than two months.

Looking at the listing, 312 South Chapman seems like a house you could settle down in, if you can afford a $535,000 house. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms in 2,318 square feet. That comes out to $231 per square foot, a rather rich 18 percent above what it sold for just two years ago. It went up for sale again on August 1, so you’re on the clock if you’re looking for a nice place to drop your briefcase for a couple years before you transfer to corporate headquarters in New Jersey.

Or, who knows, this could be your one-and-only, forever home. And why not — it looks impeccable. Fancy new kitchen, two-car garage with a workshop, a generator, a fountain out back. And you can walk to the Bestway, a luxury you can’t put a price on.

Listing for 312 S. Chapman Street

605 Kemp Road West: Three Owners in Eight Years

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How could this striking house have been sold three times since 2012 and now be under contract to be sold again? 605 Kemp Road West is a beautiful Mid-Century Modern home on a half-acre in Hamilton Lakes. It’s ownership pattern is somewhat like 312 South Chapman’s. M.B. and Lucie McMillan built the house in 1953. After her husband died around 1997, Lucie kept the house until she died. It was sold for the first time in 2012, 59 years after it was built. And again in 2016 and 2018. The 2012 sale price was $164,000. This time, the asking price is $499,000; the owners accepted an offer in less than three weeks. Demand for Mid-Century Modern is high in Greensboro, at least compared to the relatively low number of them here. They seem to be good investments, but that’s not what they were created for.

Listing for 605 Kemp Road West (There are better photos on the owners’ website, but when they accepted an offer, the site was made private.)

510 Country Club Drive: 82 Years, One Family

Update: The listing was withdrawn September 21, 2020.

Britt and Jane Armfield were the original owners of 510 Country Club Drive, from 1938 until her death in 2002. It’s still in the Armfield-Preyer family, but after 82 years it’s for sale. It’s a Colonial Revival mansion with five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, 4,600 square feet, and a big 1.4-acre piece of Irving Park. The price is $1.7 million, $366 per square foot, but if you have to ask, move along.

Listing for 510 Country Club Drive

104 Kemp Road West: Harry Barton’s Own House

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Harry Barton didn’t design every notable building in Greensboro, but maybe more than anyone else. First Presbyterian Church, World War Memorial Stadium, the Guilford County Courthouse, Sedgefield Country Club and the nearby Pilot Life complex, UNCG Auditorium and at least 15 other campus buildings, the gorgeous Cone Export and Commission Building downtown — they’re a few of his greatest hits. And several houses, too. For his own home in 1925, Barton designed a spectacular Spanish Colonial Revival mansion on one of the Hamilton Lakes. His widow sold the house in 1938. The third owners bought it in 1976, and after 44 years they’re ready to sell. Four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, 4,000 square feet, 0.65 acre, waterfront. At $1.125 million, the price comes out to $279 per square foot. It’s a bargain (I’ve seen it inside, on Preservation Greensboro’s Tour of Historic Homes a few years ago).

Listing for 104 Kemp Road West
Blog post — The 1925 Harry Barton House in Hamilton Lakes, $1.65 million [original price]

1815 Dalton Road: 98 Years, Three Owners

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Put the words “stately” and “Irving Park” together, and this classic Georgian might be the house that comes to mind. Abraham W. Kaplan bought the lot at 1815 Dalton Road in 1916, and he and his wife, Jennie, built their house there in 1922. Sadly, Abraham died in 1923, but Jennie and, later, their only child, daughter Ina, kept the house until 1990. There have been two owners since. You could be the fourth: $924,000, four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, 3,454 square feet ($268/square foot), Irving Park.

Listing for 1815 Dalton Road