On my DC House Cat blog, I regularly introduce historic kit houses that are for sale in the Washington DC area. Many of them were once ordered from the (probably best-known) Sears catalog, others came from companies such as Aladdin and Lewis Manufacturing (a particular favorite of the in-town suburbs in the 1920s).
It’s virtually impossible to put a sticker price on the value of house history (although we frequently get that question). What we have found is that in neighborhoods which are highly aware, and often proud, of their history and significance it makes more of a difference. In other neighborhoods, where there’s more turnover, sometimes more privacy and less use of community facilities or organizations, owners seem less interested.
A lack of interest (or perhaps knowledge) leads to thoughtless renovations and modernization that strips the poor house of everything architectural history buffs and catalog house aficionados love it for. But when owners find a way to compromise between their need for comfort and updates and the one hand and the respect for the original materials and sensibilities of the home design on the other, it often pays out. My latest featured Kit House Of The Week, a 1925 Sears “Maywood” in Chevy Chase, is a good example (check out the agent’s virtual tour). And guess what? It sold in just 5 days!