DC’s Valuable Veronas

Kit House of the Week 6/24/2016

Chevy Chase, DC
Front elevation (portico likely not original)

Manufacturer: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Model Number or Name: The Verona

Year Built: 1923 /1920

Neighborhoods: Chevy Chase, DC; Falls Church, VA

Authenticated: Yes. 1923 Sears mortgage for the Western Ave house

“Another million-dollar Sears house?!” Kit house enthusiasts from other parts of the country are usually stunned when we present them with listings of mail-order homes in Chevy Chase or some of DC’s other tony suburbs. But it’s not the fact that the home was once ordered from a catalog that determines the price. In many cases, neither sellers nor buyers are even aware of it.  Rather, the factors are the same as for any other house: the neighborhood, the size and style of the home, the updates, the condition, the location and size of the lot, as reflected in the “comps.”

This week, we have a couple of lovely examples for you. Both are Sears “Veronas” with much original detail, although from different catalog years between which the model had evolved a little. The first one is a 1923 Verona at 6019 Western Avenue in Chevy Chase/DC, currently listed for $1,195,000. The gallery below (click images for larger version) emphasizes tell-tale identifiers, but a nifty 3-D tour of the entire house, including the addition, can be seen here.

Our second Verona can be found in a Virginia suburb of DC, Falls Church, at 2468 Buckelew Drive. It predates the Chevy Chase house by a few years, and some of the differences in interior detail (like the simpler style of the stair rail) as well as the differently configured bay windows attest to that. The house itself is sitting on a huge 2.3 acre lot (not easily found in close-in the more close-in areas) and is listed for $1,399,000. It features a somewhat unusual but pretty neat family room addition. You can find a virtual tour here.

So far, we haven’t dug into the history of either house, but will be back with an update when we do!

And again, it’s the “comps,” the most recent comparable resales in an area or neighborhood that guide the pricing–for kit houses just like for any other house.  Although one thing is true: the more expensive the neighborhood, the higher the chance that potential buyers appreciate the historic value of the house, and the less likely that it has been destroy-renovated.


Are you Interested in Kit House History? We can help!

Cati and Marcie are Realtors by day and house history enthusiasts by night. We specialize in NW DC and close-in Montgomery County, MD, but cover the entire Washington metropolitan area. House History–the hidden stories behind the walls of the homes we sell or walk by every day–has long been a passion of ours (In fact, for Cati, a former journalist, it was what ultimately brought her to the world of DC real estate).

We have written about many house-stories in our individual blogs over the years, and we sometimes have surprised (and delighted!) clients with our research findings. When the time allows, we love digging in archives, city records and historic collections. What we find, is sometimes funny, sad or scary, but it’s always a part of the DC area’s story as well. And when it comes to history of any kind, there could not be a better place for that than the metropolitan area of the Nation’s Capital!

If you have followed us for even a short while, you probably know that one of our special interests are the mail-order homes of the early 20th century. In many Washington, DC, neighborhoods and in the city’s older suburbs, we can find an abundance of those historic kit houses. (More often than not, the owners have no idea that some 90 or 100 years ago, their house arrived neatly packaged on a railroad car, in thousands of numbered pieces.)

You can learn more about catalog homes here, “like” our Facebook page for updates or email or tweet us with questions or suggestions for houses to write about.

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*Catalog images provided courtesy of Internet Archive.