House for Sale by Owner

Located in the Town of Florida, Massachusetts
Appr. 1200 sqft, 2br, 1ba, 2.2 acres
Fixer upper priced at $60,000
A outdoorsman's paradise

It's a fixer:

side view of cottage This is a handiman special. I bought the house in foreclosure three years ago. I have been working on it in my spare time, with the intent of retiring here. Since being laid off from my job, I have no money to complete the restoration. Therefore the house is for sale, as-is.
I have been using it as a weekend retreat and a place to unwind. Limited heat exists. The drinking water flows well. The bathroom works. There's hot water and a nice new 3ft by 3ft shower. The toilet is new. The septic system hasn't failed me yet. The kitchen needs effort.
The house is solid. It needs work, but you could live here while you finish it, or it could be used as a vacation getaway. There's lots of potential here and I've priced it so there's plenty of equity left for you.
The town recently assessed this house and property at $125,000. The property tax is $892.50 per year. This might be the lowest tax rate in the state of Massachusetts. Services are few and rare, but nobody bothers you up here. Neighbors are country helpful.
Note: I've recently accepted a job offer, therefore I'm not motivated to sell. If you have cash and want the property, contact me, as I may still consider letting go of it.

Major improvements needed:

The house needs a new heating system. The original heating system was a propane fired forced hot water radiating system. When I bought the house, it appeared to be severely vandalized. The heating system has not been replaced with a permanent heating system, yet. Some electric heat exists in the house. A permanent electric hydronic heater is installed in the bathroom.

The septic system does not have a Title V certificate. I had an engineer come out to take a look at the system on March 11, 2008. His report has not arrived yet. He told me the 1,000 gallon tank is OK, but the leach field needs to be rebuilt. The early ballpark estimate is that it might cost up towards $10,000 to bring it up to code. The system is functional, though. State law requires it be brought up to code within six months of purchase. If you finance through a bank, this law will be enforced.

The kitchen needs work. There is no stove in place. The stainless steel sink and 4 ft. counter top are available, but have been removed. It needs a cabinet there. The kitchen floor is stone tile. Several have come loose. I believe I have all the tiles but have not replaced them. I was waiting until I finished the cabinet, sink and stove. The ceiling has a small, damaged area where the roof leaked before being replaced.

The fieldstone chimney needs to be repointed. Heavy duty fire retardent greehouse plastic wrapped around the chimney prevents leakage when there's heavy rain, but it needs attention. The chimney cap is open and works, and the plastic is not touching it, so I've been using the fireplace from time to time.

About the house:

This Florida Mountain Home is well situated in bucolic Berkshire County, in the woods, just a few hundred feet off the Mohawk Trail. Three sides provide complete privacy and views of the woods and mountains. The back side faces one isolated neighbor, barely visible through the trees in summer. This is the back side of the neighbor's house, who respects privacy and is raising a nice family.

Originally built (approx 1946?) as a rustic mountain cabin, an expanded floorplan and modern updates have made this a year round home. Being located in a very rural area, there is not a well documented history of the construction or modernization of this home.

The original cabin was built on a fieldstone foundation with crawlspace. Some settling has occured, but this mountain home is not going anywhere soon. The livingroom is open post and beam construction with all wood paneling and a beautiful fieldstone fireplace. It is open to the ceiling, which is beautiful, but provides no insulation above this room for the cold winters. Modernized windows all around this room let in lots of light with trees protecting the privacy. The bedroom faces south, with privacy and seasonal views of the distant Monroe mountain ridgeline.

The expansion (approx 1995 according to neighbors) includes a modernized bathroom and septic system, dining room, electric kitchen, and upstairs bedroom and storage area. The foundation of this expansion is concrete and provides crawlspace.

Drinking water is provided by an artesian well on the property, certified potable in 2007. It tastes great. A carbon filter is inline. The well includes a new submersible pump, pressure tank, and controls. It has never gone dry on me. The neighbor's well has never gone dry on them. Water abounds on this mountain.

New GE electric water heater (40 gal) was installed 2 years ago.

The roof is brand new. That's the first thing I did when I bought the house in 2004, was to have the entire roof replaced, including decking and copper flashing.

The deck leans a bit, but feels safe. My plans included a complete replacement. I was thinking of a covered deck that wrapped around the front of the house.

The Right of Way is the old Mohawk Trail. Research leads me to believe the road was straightened around 1920, creating this section of North County Road. There is another section east of here, which may also be part of the original road. This RoW is maintained by the neighbors. One neighbor owns an excavation business, the other has a tractor with attachments. I contributed $500, two years ago, when the neighbor with the excavating business brought up many truckloads of road gravel. He provided a culvert that the other neighbor buried under the entrance of my driveway. I do a little bit of maintenance on the culvert, keeping it free of debris and open to drainage.

The woodlot is about one acre in size. It appears untouched for quite some time. There is lots of firewood there. Possibly some lumber.
Typical trees include oak, maple, beech, birch, aspen, hawthorn, hemlock, spruce, pine. No poison ivy.
Critters include birds, frogs, salamanders, deer, bear, (I haven't seen deer or bears, but neighbors tell me they are there) and a couple ferral rabbits that haven't bred.

To make an appointment to see this home, please contact the owner.

  • Appr. 1200 square feet
  • 2 bedrooms (2nd bedroom upstairs)
  • 1 bathroom with shower
  • full electric kitchen
  • electric hot water
  • large fieldstone fireplace
  • new (2004) 200 amp electric service
  • private well (tested 2007) and septic system
  • situated on 2.2 private acres, with one close neighbor
  • easy access to trails, old logging roads, forests, and parks
  • surrounded by private and public forest lands
  • lakes, ponds and streams nearby
  • plenty of parking for cars, trucks, boats, etc.
  • more parking for Jeeps, Jeeps, and more Jeeps! Plenty of Jeep parking!
  • space for rv or trailers

Located close to
North Adams,
and New York,
in the town of Florida, MA.

image map showing location of cottage.

Nearby attractions include Williams College, MCLA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, The Clark Art Institute, MassMOCA - Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, WTF - Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, Harriman Reservoir, Harriman and West Airport, Mount Greylock, Natural Bridges State Park, Savoy Mountain State Forest, Western Gateway Heritage State Park, and Jacob's Pillow. There's lots to do, including sitting on the deck watching the trees grow.

Images of the approach and exterior
view from street in summer
View up the Right of Way, in summer, from North County Rd.
You can't see the house from the street.
view from street in winter
Same view, in winter. Access to Right of Way is deeded.
Even in winter, it's all privacy.
view up driveway in summer
View up the driveway in summer.
Still can't see the house.
view up driveway to house in winter
View up the driveway in winter.
You can make out the house through the trees.
view up driveway around yard
View north, up the driveway in summer, around front yard.
Only miles of trees separate you and Vermont.
view up driveway to house in winter
View north, up the driveway in winter, around front yard.
Back property line is at the trees.
Frontal view of house from driveway
Frontal view of the house from the driveway.
Note the stone steps.
Same front view, in winter
Frontal view of the house in the winter.
This is a heavy snow fall. Pic taken Feb 2008.
stone stairs in front of house
A closer view of the upper set of front stone steps.
stone stairs in front of house
A view of the middle set of stone steps.
Side view of house in summer
Side view of house, from driveway, in summer. Looking south.
The septic tank is on this hilly front yard.
side view in winter
Side view of house, from driveway, in winter. Looking south.
Great small hill for kids to sled on. Safe and sound.
view east in summer
Looking east from the side yard, in summer.
view east  in winter
Looking east from the side yard, in winter.
view north in summer
Looking north from the side yard, in summer.
Note, Larry the Cable Guy's mom got her pickup out of there.
view north in winter
Looking north from the side yard. The snowblower is included.
The stone outcrop marks the northern property boundary.
view from well to house
View from the well to the house.
view from house to well
View from the house to the well.
view fieldstone foundation
This is the front corner near the front door, under the bedroom.
The fieldstone foundation is the original size of the house.
view concrete foundation
Cinderblock stem wall on concrete base. Solid, no settling.
The cinderblock foundation is the addition. It's crawl space.
view new roof installation
New roof included all new decking.
ice and water barrier all around
Ice and water shield installed all the way around.
Dan Clark and Company install shingles
Roofing by Dan Clark and company.
view new roof and copper flashing
Front of roof with new shingles and copper flashing.


The septic system has been located and uncovered
location of septic tank
The septic tank has been located near the front of the house.
view of tank with lid open
The lid to the tank has been dug up and is exposed.
Currently, it is covered by wood and a tarp.
The tank is concrete. The inlet is visible in this photo.
The tank appears to have two chambers.
I haven't located the outlet yet, or the leech field.


The well has been cleaned up and is potable
view original well head
The well had been neglected for many years.
The original well house had deteriorated beyond usefulness.
Surface water had, apparently, contaminated the well.
I had it fully tested by Berkshire Environmental Labs.
They helped me reclaim the well for drinking purposes.
view up driveway to house in winter
I cleared debris from around the well, down to the concrete pad.
Grading now slopes and drains away from the well.
The well was decontaminated with chlorine bleach, twice.
Berkshire Environmental Labs tested the water,
declaring it potable and safe to drink. It tastes great!
The well head is unconventional, in that the water pipe comes out of the ground at the surface, then goes back underground.
Typically, the water pipe would be 4ft underground. Bedrock prevents this.
The line is buried, but it is not safe from freezing. To prevent freezing of the line, I keep the water trickling during the winter.
The pressure in the tank drops enough once an hour to turn the pump on for several seconds preventing the lines from freezing.
The cost of running the pump is very small and effective. The septic system has not complained at all about the minor flow all winter.


Inside the house
Bedroom, looking east. Wood paneling and floors.
Note the insane level of privacy.
Bedroom, looking south. Dressers can stay or go.
Nobody can see in these windows. Be comfortable.
view up driveway in summer
The diningroom measures approximately 11 ft x 13 ft.
The plywood underlayment is visible.
New flooring is needed.
Note the electric heaters keeping the house warm.
view up driveway to house in winter
The diningroom can be used as a second bedroom.
Top cabinets have been primed for paint. The fridge works.
Bottom cabinets need priming and painting.
Missing stove, sink, and cabinet. Countertop is against the wall.
Stove wiring and sink plumbing are in place. Exhaust fan works.
fieldstone fireplace
Fieldstone fireplace is the signature piece.
fire in fireplace
The fireplace is functional.
The screen door on the right is broken.
It takes a while to heat up the stones.
A woodstove insert was in my plans for this spot.
livingroom ceiling
Livingroom ceiling is open and rustic.
From the kitchen, looking down the hallway to the livingroom.
The bathroom is small, but functional.
The toilet is a new, low flush type.
shower walls
Shower walls are fiberglass reinforced plastic.
shower pan
The base is Swanstone acrylic, white.
view up driveway in summer
Upstairs, could be another bedroom.
view up driveway to house in winter
Upstairs room has excellent cross ventilation.


Views, inside looking out.
Another view of the upstairs room. Well insulated.
View from the upstairs window, looking north.
Windows still need a little trim work around them.
kitchen view
View east from the kitchen window.
bedroom view
View east from the bedroom window.
view up driveway in summer
View north from the diningroom window.
view up driveway to house in winter
View north from the kitchen window.
livingroom view
View west from the livingroom window.
The neighbor's house isn't visible in the photo. It is there.
diningroom view
View west from the diningroom window.
You can just see the neighbor's house in person. Privacy!
view from front door
Front door view, looking east on a hazy summer day.
view from front door
Front door view, looking east in the fall. The ridge is in Monroe.
view from livingroom
Looking out livingroom window, southerly, down driveway.
You can barely make out the driveway, in the trees below.
view from livingroom
Southeasterly view out the same livingroom window.
This was taken in late summer, possibly September.
view of house
Looking up at the house from the driveway.
This was a warmer January day.
view of house
Pretty much the same view.
This was in June or July.


Around the property.
An original New England stone wall under the powerlines.
Big stones, under the powerlines, along the southern boundary.
stone outcrop
Stone outcrop in the 1 acre woodlot included with property.
neighboring brook
Brook a couple hundred feet east of property. Trout maybe?
view of woodlot
View into the woodlot from the driveway.
The woodlot is about one acre in size.
It appears to have not been cut in decades.
view of woodlot
Typical trees include
hardwoods: oak, maple, birch, beech
evergreen: spruce, hemlock, and pine.
view of driveway culvert
The culvert at the base of the driveway.
water leaving culvert
Drainage out of the culvert.
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All Content 2007 ©, Alan R. Silverman | Web Design by Alan | File last modified Friday, 24-Jul-2009 20:08:27 PDT