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The listings Inman writers couldn’t stop thinking about this year

Publish Date: December 29, 2023

Written by Ben Verde

- Originally published at Inman News - Ben Verde

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Listings may be the closest thing real estate ever gets to an art form — if done right. If the photos pop, the description is memorable, and the property itself is unique, a good listing can stick with you the same way a good painting does.

This year had no shortage of memorable listings and no shortage of attention on them — as our coverage of listing content creators shows.

To round out the year, six of the writers from Inman’s news team wrote about their favorite listing found while scouring listing portals this year.

What they turned up is notable for its variety. Some listings dripped with luxurious architectural features. Others were more humble, personal places to the writer. But they were all fun to look at and fantasize about. 

Check out the selections below: 

I first happened upon this listing for a French chateau while going down a rabbit hole of cheap homes in Europe. Turns out, a British family has been restoring the property and has already completed work on the two big main floor rooms. I’ve now spent the last two months trying to convince everyone I know to move with me. My pitch: The property includes 10 acres of land; it’s within walking distance of a charming village; there are numerous other buildings on the site; the astonishingly beautiful Mont-Saint-Michel abbey is just one hour away; Paris is a three-hour drive. And it all costs less than a 1,000-square-foot home in our city.

Alas, I have not been able to find any adventurous souls willing to go in on a castle with me. But each night as I fall asleep imagining a life of picking grapes and throwing extravagant galas at my country estate, I’m reminded that real estate is as much about dreams as it is about property. — Jim Dalrymple II

Something about this two-flat in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood grabbed me and didn’t let go. At the time, I was living in a single-family home I own in Salt Lake City. But I’ve long dreamed of house hacking, offsetting the cost of living in a nicer neighborhood with income from an on-site rental. I found this house on Claremont at a time when I was debating whether to move back to my hometown of Chicago and shortly after my wife and I fell in love with the North Side neighborhood.

As a fan of walkable urban neighborhoods, the double front porches caught my attention. Inside, it is remarkably ordinary. There’s work to be done. The rooms aren’t particularly big. The floors need to be refinished. But the attainable reality of this house came my way at the right point in time and even helped nudge me back home. I wasn’t in the position to buy it before it sold (for $750,000, by the way), so I’m still keeping a close eye on the MLS, waiting for the next perfect listing to come along. — Taylor Anderson

There’s something about early American history and literature that has always excited me. Possibly the spirit of independence? Or the willpower needed to thrive in an unfamiliar, often harsh land? (Certainly not the unjust territory-grab and disease-laden destruction brought on to Native Americans.) But when I think about stepping into the shoes of some of my favorite literary heroines — Hester Prynne or Jo Marsh — I imagine living in a house like this one in Newport, Rhode Island, that was built around 1786.

There are the wide-plank pine floors, the wood-burning fireplaces and beehive oven, not to mention the exposed chimney that runs through the quirky attic bedroom. Of course, Ms. Prynne and Ms. March no doubt had to get by on much more modest means. But the beauty of this 18th-century home is that it has all the charms of its era and several modern upgrades — so I could (theoretically, if I had $1.975M to spare) live out my colonial fantasies with all the technological and gender-based perks available today to a woman living in the 21st century. Plus, it’s just a hop-skip-and-jump from Newport Harbor. — Lillian Dickerson

Having grown up in a three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot home in the Midwest constructed in 1940 by bricklayers, carpenters, electricians and plumbers, I still have a thing for old brick houses with lots of nice woodwork.

As long as I’m dreaming and not actually paying the heating bills, a couple of extra rooms and a big ol’ porch would be cool. Casting a wide search net over the rustbelt for brick houses of at least 3,500 square feet, built no later than 1940, turns up hundreds of odd and intriguing homes in a range of locations and settings that are fun to imagine living in. As a soon-to-be empty nester, I don’t know what I’d do with six bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. I’m also guessing winters are pretty brutal in Niagara Falls. But this 113-year-old arts and crafts palace in the Park Place Historic District speaks to me. Look past the carpets and curtains and bedspreads, and picture yourself sitting out on one of the three porches on a warm summer day. Sure, it just sold a couple of years ago for $335,000 and the current owner wants at least 27 percent more. But for those of us in pricey markets, $425,000 sounds like a steal.  —Matt Carter

As a little girl, I relished trips to the East Coast to visit my father’s family. The glimmering skyscrapers, boisterous sidewalk vendors and bustling subway stops were a 180 from my life in Oklahoma, where everything surrounded church, college football and a wily spring tornado season. Thankfully, Oklahoma (and my love for the state) has grown since then, but I still love the chic energy of a NYC brownstone.

This $9.95 million Brooklyn brownstone has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms — more than enough space for a single Southern girl to settle into big city life. The home has plenty of natural light, pristine wood floors laid in a chevron pattern and a private rooftop terrace that would be perfect for late-night summer soirees. The bathroom is my favorite part of this house, with its radiant-heated marble flooring and deep soaking tub that takes me back to my childhood — when I’d dump half a box of Calgon into my bathwater to make the ultimate bubble bath (trust me, I know better now). The brownstone comes with private parking — a true win in the NYC market — but I’m quite sure I’d be lacing up my tennis shoes to take in the nearby sights and sounds of Fort Greene, Park Slope and Cobble Hill. — Marian McPherson 

As someone who entertains fantasies of off-grid living on a near-daily basis, this Maine listing caught my eye for obvious reasons. Consisting of a small private island with a rustic 1937-built stone cabin and lighthouse, the property’s ask is $425,000. It sits within the 600-acre Lake Anasagunticook, which abuts the small town of Canton, and is — obviously — only accessible by boat. But the listing does note that a larger dock could be built to accommodate a seaplane, so that’s fun.

I just rewatched The Lighthouse so the idea of being a hobbyist lighthouse keeper, of course, appealed to me, though unfortunately this lighthouse has no operational light and is just for display. Oh well. What the cottage does have however is a 480 square foot studio-style space, a kitchen with a small dining area, and a bedroom with room for one larger bed and one bunk bed. You’ll have to get creative when nature calls though because there’s no room on the island for a septic tank or sewer. The listing suggests a compost toilet or propane tank. But what the cottage lacks in cushy amenities, it makes up for with an unparalleled offering of tranquility, and the ability to call the local loon population your neighbors.  — Ben Verde

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