On the Block

For sale: condo alternatives

All under $300,000, these single-families in East Boston, Salem, and Waltham offer small spaces with big possibilities.





LOT SIZE > 0.06 acres

BEDROOMS > 2 BATHS > 1 full

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LAST SOLD FOR > $162,000 in 2009

Cathie Curran, Highland Real Estate, 617-835-2850,

PROS An exposed brick chimney in the middle of the living room lends this 1920 home a hip vibe you wouldn’t expect from the outside. That room and an amazingly big kitchen make up the first floor. While the cabinets are plain and the sink old, the kitchen does have stainless appliances and access to the deck. The small yard was professionally landscaped, with some needed screening from abutting commercial space. Electric and heating systems are newer. CONS One bedroom’s closet is outside, in the hall. The house next door is very close.





LOT SIZE > 0.04 acres

BEDROOMS > 2 BATHS > 1 full

LAST SOLD FOR > $260,000 in 2003

Sylvia Belkin, William Raveis Real Estate, 617-791-6650,

PROS The dark, serious exterior of this house, built in 1867, gives way to a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere inside. The kitchen, with a high, pitched ceiling and skylight, is painted a soft peach. The living room, painted a brick color, has unusual original wainscot. The wide-plank wood floors are nice, the original six-over-six windows with lovely glass panes (and good storms) even better. A patio with room for a few chairs has shade and flowers but no high-maintenance lawn. CONS The bath, off the kitchen, isn’t in the best location. 




LOT SIZE > 0.12 acres

BEDROOMS > 2 BATHS > 1 full

LAST SOLD FOR > $290,000 in 2009

Kitty Ethridge, Dowd Properties, 617-524-1301,

PROS With big-ticket items like the roof, heating system, windows, and exterior paint recently taken care of, this little house from 1900 should, like a condo, be free of major maintenance worries. A former sun porch was remodeled to create a larger living room. The kitchen, with oak cabinets and a great refrigerator, is open to the small dining room through a cutout in the wall. There are good hardwood floors and woodwork, high ceilings, and a decent yard. Attic storage is accessible via a scuttle. CONS Because of the grading of the driveway, a car cannot be parked in the garage.

— Vanessa Parks
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