However it got there, the Esther W. Armfield House does look a bit out of place at 1715 Wright Avenue. This is a modest corner of Sunset Hills, down where the neighborhood starts turning into College Park. On a block of mostly bungalows, Mrs. Armfield’s stately Colonial Revival with its towering columns stands a bit apart, like a rich, elderly recluse who turns up unexpectedly at a neighborhood cookout.
Why it is where it is turns out to be a somewhat uncertain story involving First Presbyterian Church, maybe, and one of Greensboro’s more prominent architects of the early 20th century, who neither designed the house nor lived in it.
Update: The listing was withdrawn October 25, 2019.
It’s often hard to know exactly what you’re seeing just from the for-sale listings of houses that need renovation. From the foundation to the roof, there’s no telling what trouble awaits until you get a thorough inspection. With that in mind, take a look at 3311 Oak Ridge Road in Summerfield.
Yikes. Nothing subtle about Issue No. 1. Aside from the nightmarish vegetation, though, this stately old place doesn’t look so bad.
It would be hard to find a prettier old farmhouse than 4909 Oldway Road. Set on four acres just off U.S. 29 North near Browns Summit, it’s on the market for $390,000. It has been for sale for more than two years, a remarkable length of time considering the fine condition of the house and property. Buyers may be put off by the proximity to the highway — it’s right at the N.C. 150 exit — but someone is going to get over that and get a pretty good price on a very nice place.
Update: 818 Fifth Avenue sold for its asking price, $119,900, on May 25, 2018.
Not every classic home is expensive. Older homes that could be considered starter homes come on the market often. The tough part is getting them before Greensboro’s voracious landlords can grab them. Starter homes have been in especially high demand so far this year.
The historic Dr. Joseph McLean House in Sedalia has become one of the most affordable National Register homes you’re likely to find. The well preserved house has been on the market since February, most recently with 18-plus acres for $359,000. Now, the house and just 1.5+/- acres are available for $150,000. The rest of the acreage is still available with the house or separately. (The owner also is selling another 52-acre parcel nearby.)
If you’ve ever wanted to restore a historic home to its glory, Greensboro and Guilford County are full of opportunities for you. A new page has been added to the website to list homes whose defining characteristic might be described as “needs work … needs TLC … renovation project … rehab project … diamond in the rough … gutted” or the more legalistic “offered with no representations or warranties as to property condition.”
For those with the skills, patience and more money than you think you’ll need, here are five of Greensboro and Guilford’s best renovation opportunities.
4909 Guilford College Road is the last of its contemporaries, if there were any. When it was built in 1908, it may have been alone out there, closer to Jamestown than Greensboro, surrounded by woods and maybe some farmland. Today, the area is a mix of ’60s and ’70s subdivisions, a church built just a few years ago and patches of undeveloped land, some of them quite large. Grandover is nearby, as is Business 85.