Lifestyle & Human Interest

This Victorian Mansion Cost Only $10 - But There Was a Catch


If ever there was a lesson to Tom Hanks’ 1986 classic movie “Money Pit,” it was that a gorgeous mansion on the market for a reasonable price usually comes with a huge catch.

It seems buyers in Montclair, New Jersey, took that lesson to heart.

When an approximately 4,000-square-foot Victorian mansion hit the market in 2017 for only $10, no one jumped at the deal.

With no one willing to purchase the property, demolition of the mansion began in mid-May 2018, according to

In its place now stands a cluster of eight single-family homes called “The Collection.”

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So why were buyers not sold on the mansion’s price?

The $10 price tag itself raises more questions, as the property reportedly came with perks.

According to MoneyPop, the location and a slew of multimillion-dollar homes surrounding the neighborhood should have made the mansion worth about $1.35 million. In addition, the private tennis court and gazebo that came with the estate seem like amenities that would have made the home worth more.

No matter how large the property or how many luxuries it came with, however, it seems buyers had a hard time overlooking the major catch that came with it.

And the catch was that anyone who bought the home would have to tear the mansion out of its foundation and move it to an entirely new area.

Say what?

Yeah, potential buyers would have to tear the mansion out of the ground and move it.

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As reported, Boddie-Noell Enterprises received approval in 2017 from the Montclair Township Planning Board to subdivide the property and develop houses in its place.

Meanwhile, the Montclair Township Historic Preservation Commission attempted to protect the home from demolition by declaring it a historical landmark.

The group noted that the house once belonged to Aubrey Lewis, one of the first African-Americans to work for the FBI and serve as a top executive at a Fortune 100 company.

While the commission said this made it a valuable piece of history, the board declined to award the house protection as a historic landmark.

Without a historical designation to protect it, the house had one potential saving grace left. When the board approved Boddie-Noell Enterprises to develop properties on the land, the real estate company agreed it would offer to sell the home to anyone who could move it.

If the home no longer was located where Boddie-Noell wanted to build houses, it could remain standing. To sweeten the deal, the real estate company even offered $10,000 to cover the buyer’s relocation costs, according to MontclairLocal.

While it sounded simple, nobody was willing to take on such a pricey endeavor. Plus, $10,000 was unlikely to be enough to cover the cost of moving an entire house.

As the New York Post reported, anyone who bought the house would have to spend up to $200,000 to relocate it. Not only that, but a buyer also would have to agree to purchase a plot of nearby land.

Knowing this information makes that $10 asking price look like less of a bargain and more like a financial death sentence.

While it is sad that a house with so much historical value is now lost forever, it is fortunate that enough people took the time to read the fine print and avoid falling into a “money pit.”

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Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.
Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.