For Sale/Rent

Fixer-Upper Friday: A Two-Family in Dorchester

"Bring your creativity and hard hat," requests the listing.


Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

38 Edwin Street, Dorchester
Price: $550,000
Size: 3,071 square feet
Bedrooms: 6
Baths: 2

At first glance, this fixer-upper in Dorchester looks to be the butt of a housing crisis joke. You can’t even get a decaying apartment building in Boston for under $500,000? Ha!

But hear us out, because this place has potential. Sure, the front yard features a plastic Santa lawn ornament and the interior is not unlike a horror movie set, but the home is a project in dire need of help. And isn’t that the point of a fixer-upper anyway?

“Bring your creativity and hard hat,” reads the listing. “This home truly needs everything.” And that’s well put. From crumbling walls to rusted out fixtures, the place will require a lot of elbow grease to make it livable. But it has a decent list of features that make it attractive.

For one, the design of the building is rare. It boasts a Philadelphia-style duplex layout, which is uncommon in Dorchester, land of the triple-deckers. Bill Janovitz, a local real estate agent and former Boston magazine writer, explains:

What the Philly Style offers is the feeling of separation of living and sleeping areas that a duplex brings. Usually the term refers to two units in a house that share half a floor. Picture two Z-shaped units, one atop the other, where the bottom unit has the whole first floor and half of the second. The top unit shares the other half of the second floor and occupies all of the third floor. The layout works great for people who want to feel like they are in a house and not a flat. The name likely derives from the rowhouses that constitute a large portion of the housing in Philly and Baltimore. It is more of a side-by-side situation than the stacked triple deckers or two-family houses in the Boston area.

So its layout, coupled with period woodwork and a few stained glass windows, makes for good bones. Then there’s the location of it: the home is equidistant between the Shawmut and Ashmont T stations. It’s a 10-minute walk to either stop or an even shorter drive—and thankfully the property offers one off-street parking spot.

A large yard and a full basement are part of the deal, too, not to mention the two-family’s potential for rental income. Or you could convert the building into your single-family dream home. The sky’s the limit on this one.

For information, contact ResCo Homes, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, rescohomes.com.

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo via Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

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