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Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Sears Homes…

Especially in ads that appear on Craigs’ List.

Recently, someone in our Facebook Group (”Sears Homes”) pointed out that there was a Sears House listed for rent on Craigs’ List. In that this is not my first rodeo, I was dubious at best. I looked up the ad. I must admit, at first glance (without wearing eyeglasses), it did kinda sorta look a bit like a Sears Norwood. Kinda. Sorta. Problem was, it was too wide for the insufferably narrow Norwood, which is a mere 16′ wide.

I went to the assessor’s website and found the property card, which showed that the home for rent was 20′ wide, not 16′.

That’s enough to be a deal killer. In addition, these little front-gabled cottages were so common in early 20th Century America that you really have to be extra careful!

In 2004, I traveled to a city in middle Virginia to do a thorough survey of kit homes. I was introduced to a homeowner who’d paid a premium price for her bungalow because it had been promoted as a “Sears Kit Home.” I was put in the unfortunate position of  having to explain to her that it was not a kit home of any kind. She became very upset, and asked me if I was certain. Having spent 45 minutes examining the house from rooftop to basement, I told her I was quite sure. She said the Realtor and the lender’s appraiser had added some value because of the home’s “historical significance.”

I didn’t know what to tell her. It was a rough visit all the way around.

I wish Realtors would do a little tiny bit of research before blithely deciding that something is a Sears House. They claim to be “real estate professionals” and speaking as a former Realtor, they can and should do better than that.

To see the non-Sears-House ad, click here.

To read more about the Sears Mills in Norwood, Ohio and Cairo, Illinois, click here.

Want to learn a few tips about identifying Sears Homes? Click here.

Craigs

To add insult to injury, this house is advertised as "1908 Sears Home." The tax records show it was built in 1910. The Morely was first offered in 1918. The fact that this house is on the "Porter History Walk" makes it even more disturbing. Yikes. Has "research" become a dirty word?

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1690

The Norwood, from the 1919 Sears Modern Home catalog.

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1918

The Morley (1918 catalog) was very similar to the Norwood, but was 10 feet longer.

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1918

Side-by-side comparisons of the two floor plans highlight their differences.

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assessor

The city assessor's website shows the house in Porter is 20 feet wide. Sorry, but it's not a Sears House. I'm sure someone will leave a comment and say, "Maybe it's another model," and let me reassure you, this is not a Sears kit home.

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Heres a real life Morley in Norwood, Ohio.

Here's a real life Morley in Norwood, Ohio. Oh wait, it's not a Morley. Cindy Catanzaro looked up the assessor records and found it's a match for the Norwood, NOT the Morley. Oopsie.

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And a close-up of the address!

And a close-up of the address! Turns out, it's on Carthage Avenue.

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house

Close-up of the Sears Norwood. Notice that it has two windows flanking the front door.

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House

Here's a Norwood in Norwood, Ohio! How appropriate! You can see where the missing eave brackets once rested. Perhaps best of all, it looks like the house still has some of its orginal downspouts.

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literature

This is not a Sears House.

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Thanks to Mark Hardin for creating this meme. :)

Thanks to Rachel Shoemaker for creating this meme. :)

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To see the non-Sears-House ad, click here.

Want to learn a few tips about identifying Sears Homes? Click here.

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  1. Cindy Catanzaro
    April 19th, 2015 at 17:27 | #1

    Rose, any idea what street The Morley is on? I would love to get a picture for my files.

    I already have The Norwood in Norwood. Donna Bakke took me past it a couple of years ago, but she never mentioned The Morley.

    The Norwood is on Hunter Avenue, which has a trainload of other Sears Houses.

  2. April 19th, 2015 at 19:18 | #2

    Sadly, I don’t know. It was on a street in the heart of the city, surrounded by an abundance of other early 20th Century houses. I do remember that it was kind of a blighted area. Also, this was 2003, so that was a few years ago!

  3. Dale Wolicki
    April 19th, 2015 at 19:20 | #3

    Oh yes I remember that day. You were not feeling well, but we drove around Norwood Ohio and not a few blocks from the Sears Norwood plant you spotted this house and became very excited.

    I think it was the first Norwood you had ever seen.

    Now lets be fair to the people in the Sears Home Facebook group; these early vernacular two-story front gable homes are everywhere, at least in the Midwest, and after years of alterations its tough to identify them as pre-cut, plan book, or carpenter built homes.

  4. ShariD
    April 29th, 2015 at 15:56 | #4

    So what was the end of the visit with the lady who had been rooked into paying too much for her house because people who didn’t know better, or care enough to find out the truth about it?

    Shouldn’t they be held to a higher standard because of their alleged elevation in position in the industry?

    I’d think that should fall in along the same lines as misrepresentation, or at the very least, failure to disclose its true origins by claiming, with financial advantage to themselves, that it’s more than what it really is?

    I mean, if they are going to increase the sale value of a property based on their assertions that it is what they say it is, then finding out that they committed fraud by misrepresentation, either on purpose or by “mistake” shouldn’t they be held liable?

    I know I would be on the phone to my lawyer immediately.

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