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Auburn Ave Mini Mansion, Yours to Steal

Often, the real estate I have highlighted for Buffalo Rising has been cheekily titled to suggest the property is cheep or a super bargain.  Bargain is a relative term. I choose the houses highlighted because they are of particular note or architectural interest.  That means they are often some of the most expensive in the city. That said, even with an extended strong real estate market in the region, Buffalo remains among the most affordable places to buy a house in the nation.

This gorgeous house at 768 Auburn Avenue in the heart of the Elmwood Neighborhood is a “bargain” even for Buffalo at just under $500K. I checked a few affordability calculators.  They say a family making about $130K per year should be able to comfortably afford for this house with a standard 10% down-payment. This kind of house in this kind of neighborhood could not be touched for less than $2M in places like Chicago or Philadelphia or Denver or Seattle and could be even more.  Don’t even think about owing something like this in Boston or New York unless you have a few million above that.  In many other second tier cities you would still be looking at paying around $1M of your hard-earned time to live this lifestyle. That pay raise you get for moving to the big city might actually be a pay cut in disguise.  You get a very standard house in Chicago for this kind of money.  Buffalo’s affordability is a real treasure. Combined with the region’s high quality cultural and natural assets the people of Buffalo experience a quality of life out of the reach of most urban Americans.

I happen know this house quite well.  As a kid I lived behind it and we also owned the house just to the west.  That house (later converted to three apartments) started out as a twin of this one having identical floor plans but with completely different front facades.  I loved coming here to play and run around.  The place was so vast and beautiful.  The incredible newel post and the attic tower room is burned into my memory.

The realtor says the house was built-in 1900 (maybe just a touch earlier).  It has 4 bedrooms (but that is not counting the 3rd floor) 2.5 bathrooms, a large foyer, sitting rooms everywhere, tons one woodwork, pocket doors, a cedar closet, and multiple fireplaces packaged in over 3000 sf of space. Taxes are listed as $7,818.  Are there places where an equivalent $1-2m mansion is taxed less than this?

Here is the pitch:

Classic Elmwood Village Victorian, impeccably maintained and updated! 4 beds, 1.5 baths, plus additional full bath on third floor. New custom kitchen completed with white cabinetry, quartz counters and in kitchen laundry area, in 2018 (refrigerator and washer/dryer excluded.) Fantastic 3rd floor. Tear off roof 2016, high efficiency furnace 2016 with central air conditioning, whole house exterior painted 2017, updated 200-amp electrical service. All the important stuff has been done for you! Two car garage, and a spacious front porch to enjoy all the neighborhood has to offer! Showings begin Thursday 3/28, after 4:00.


Written by David Steele

David Steele

Architect ( a real one, not just the armchair type), author of "Buffalo, Architecture in the American Forgotten Land" ( ), lover of great spaces, hater of sprawl and waste,
advocate for a better way of doing things.

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