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Decoded: What Exactly Is A "Starter Home?"

Here now, The Brokerbabble Glossary, where we take a word or a turn of phrase that seems to show up in an unreasonable number of listings and decipher its true meaning. If you have any ideas for us, send them to the tipline. Today's phrase: Starter Home.

There are currently 41 listings in StreetEasy that employ the phrase "starter home" in their brokerbabble. But what exactly does that mean? Well, according to the wonderful resource that is Wikipedia, it's "a house that is usually the first which a person or family can afford to purchase, often using a combination of savings and mortgage financing. In the real estate industry the term commonly denotes small one- or two-bedroom houses, often older homes but sometimes low-cost new developments."

While you're going to be hard pressed to find a low-cost new development on the South Fork, there are definitely some fixer-uppers that fit the description. Even then, many of those that require a little TLC stretch the definition of "affordable" to the breaking point. The one above is asking $625K.

We told you they might require a little work, did we not? It's pretty much guaranteed that any starter home is going to have a few questionable choices that will need to be addressed. If you've got the patience and are handy with a wallpaper scraper, this Montauk cottage can be yours for $569K.

Some might require more than just a little work before you can happily call it your home. In fact, many houses just aren't worth the effort. Per the brokerbabble: "The best part is that the house can be expanded, a pool put in, or it can be lived in while another, much larger home is constructed." Reading between the lines: "This is a teardown." At least they know what they're working with. The ask on this 1000 sq. ft. three-bedroom in Springs? $555K. Pricey, yes, but it does come with an acre of land. So there's that.

Every now and again, you can find one that might actually be worth the investment. At $390K this little biddy is the least expensive listing in the village of Sag Harbor. The 1100 sq. ft. home is set on .28 acres and is less than half a mile from the beach.

Then there are listings such as this East Hampton four-bedroom that use the phrase when it most certainly does not apply. Recently renovated? Check. Located in the village? Check. Asking more than $1M? Check. A starter home? Hell no.

· The Brokerbabble Glossary Archives [Curbed Hamptons]