DIY in Sag Harbor

There are starter homes for 1st time home buyers and there are starter spec projects for 1st time developers. This one is the perfect project for the wanna be DIY junkie in search of an easy fixer upper.

Here’s our 2 cents on this potential starter Spec Project in Sag Harbor listed by Crosby Renwick of Brown Harris Stevens.

At first glance the listing is well priced, in great shape and has great bones. Lots of positive things going on to get enough activity.

The house appears to be in a quiet neighborhood of Sag Harbor but the down side is that it’s dated and screams 1990’s.

This project might not have enough meat on the bones for a builder looking for a quick flip, but for an end user who’s looking for a bargain or obsessed with HGTV, this could be the perfect starter Spec. 

First you have to remove the time stamp. 

We estimate a home improvement cost of roughly $250k to 300k but at $2.795m, there’s lots of room for equity improvement. 

Our research tells us that a few well done make-overs with a finished sub level, smart curb appeal and cool outdoor entertainment areas are fetching $3.6m in the village historic district of Sag Harbor, or any location where you can walk to everything in town.

What creates the time stamp or dates the house to a specific time period?

  • Paint colors
  • Tile options / bathroom fixtures.
  • Floor colors.
  • Trim details / wall and ceiling texture.
  • Hardware.
  • Lighting fixtures.
  • Plumbing fixtures.
  • Cabinets, Cabinet Colors, Counter tops.
  • Appliance options.
  • Transom windows.
  • Lastly room size and/or furnishings that are not proportionate to the room.

These are all easy fixes but they can add up quickly.

For the starter “Speculator” most of these upgrades can be done over time, while occupying the property. If not, they can be done before moving in.

There are a few value add improvements that won’t break the bank either, like improving the curb appeal by modernizing the entry landscape, replacing the front door and hardware, changing the door color, adding a garden gate, etc.

There are more easy fixes like improving the facade with flower boxes, batten shutters – if possible, and improving upon the outdoor entertaining areas. 

Here’s some simple suggestions for starters. 

The #1 quick fix item is painting.

The current 15 most trending colors are of the gray pallet. White-white works, but suggest they break it up and add some drama here and there. 


The floors appear to be in great shape, but refinishing the honey oak and consider a medium gray wash with a mate finish would take years off the current look, and blend better with white-white that was popular with 80’s dance music. 

A complete painting makeover would run roughly $35k.

The kitchen & baths could also use a few updates in lighting, trim and colors changes. 

The backyard is very nice but could use some entertainment areas with updated furnishings, and a back yard fireplace/ in-ground fire pit with plenty of seating.

Not quite ready for a prime time developer or builder, but maybe perfect for the entry level speculator and end user.

The rental return on this would be very healthy. 


Categories Spec Picks

Created by Noel Roberts & Dan Gualtieri. The editors deliver a unique blend of hard news, incisive commentary, detailed market reports, and exclusive interviews. When promising opportunities hit the market, we’re there to tell the inside story. Contact us if you'd like to submit a story or discuss a project.

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