Thursday, June 18, 2009

Right House, Wrong Location

As a curator of exhibitions for the New-York Historical Society, Kathleen Hulser is passionate about the past. She craved an antique home, but with her salary, she knew she would have to compromise.

That compromise is a freight train that blasts by just a few feet from her four-bedroom 1839 summer house on the Housatonic River in Cornwall Bridge, Conn. It appears at 7:30 a.m. almost every day. “The house shakes,” Ms. Hulser said. “It rattles the pots and pans.” She bought the house last August for $255,000, reduced from $375,000, said her broker, Priscilla Miller of Bain Real Estate, after it had been on the market for 10 months. “Without the train next door,” Ms. Miller said, the house would have cost double. “It made it much more affordable by putting up with that,” she said.

To make the outlay even smaller, Ms. Hulser shared the cost with her brother, Michael. The train wasn’t the only factor depressing the price of the house. Next door is a former Superfund site where an old factory dumped chemicals. Ms. Hulser does not mind the toxic past because the site has been cleaned and certified by the government as fully decontaminated.
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