Old South feeling

If you enjoy the feel of new construction, but like the convenience of living in an older neighborhood, you will fall in love with 2161 Pleasure Street in Gentilly. Another model is just next door.

As you drive up, you're immediately struck with the Old South feeling of this house. It greets you with wrap-around porches topped with white picket railings and sturdy white posts.

" I can see myself putting a couple of sparkly white rocking chairs out here and watching the grass grow,'' laughed Andrea Chambers, the listing agent with Gardner Realtors.

This home in Gentilly is one of four houses on 18 lots that Chambers is selling for $150,000. She's using the house on Pleasure as a model home to show visitors what's in store for them when they buy one. "We have two floor plans," explained Chambers, "and there are some upgrades available as we build more and more."

Upgrades asides: This house is an excellent buy. The outside colors of the two side-by-side houses are mouth-watering lime sherbet and peach sherbet. From the welcoming porch, you enter a spacious light-filled living area with wood laminate floors. Just off this space is the kitchen which sports a double stainless steel sink, J-shaped faucet and eat-on bar. The bar serves as an effective divider for cooks preparing meals, yet is open enough for them to participate in the conversation.

Surprises in a house at this price: Expensive-looking granite is used throughout the kitchen. And the kitchen cabinets are lush-looking cherry wood. Ceramic tile floors are in the kitchen for easy cleaning and dish washers are included in most models.

The houses all have three nice-sized bedrooms and two baths. Another expensive touch: Granite countertops are used in both bathrooms.

The master suite has the convenience of double sinks that allow two people to get ready for work or a party at the same time and there is a 12 x 18-foot walk-in closet as well as a linen closet. Two other bedrooms are included and best of all - there are plenty of closets and storage throughout.

Some important features that are not easily seen: These houses are raised on pilings - just in case we experience another hurricane and their air conditioning compressors are also on three feet-plus platforms. Solar panels are on the roof and a new six-foot fence divides the houses from the neighbors.

"There's also spray foam insulation under the house and in the attic," Chambers pointed out, "as well as double pane windows."

Driveways are paved and landscaping and trees have already been planted. Outside colors as well as wall colors may be chosen by the buyers.

The homes are under construction by Harold Foley of VOB Homes of NOLA, who is working with the New Orleans Recovery Authority. The contractor is NOLA LLC.

"These are affordable houses," said Chambers. "We can work with 120% AMI (average median income for Orleans Parish). "The highest salary one person can make is about $53,000, but a family of four can make about $73,000." The houses are being offered with soft second mortgages, there may be some help with closing costs and Chambers is well equipped to help buyers find financing.

"We've always been able to close quickly," she added. "As soon as we get the paperwork done, sometimes we've been able to close in as little as 21 calendar days."

Chambers noted that because the houses are green constructed, flood insurance runs only about $318 a year and home owner's insurance is less than $2,000 a year.

"This is a good deal for buyers," said Chambers. "New construction is selling at about $125 a square foot now, but these are selling for $100 a square foot."

And for new construction in an older neighborhood, this house can not be beat. Get your rockers ready, because with the no-maintenance of new construction, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy all the amenities of a close-in neighborhood.

Statistics

Address: 2161 Pleasure Street

Lot size: 40 X 160 (approx.)

Living area: 1,500 - 1,580 square feet (with porches: 1,800 square feet)

Bedrooms: Three

Baths: Two

Price: $150,000

Marketing agent: Andrea J. Chambers, Gardner Realtors

Contact phone: 242-9500 or 352-6063 (cell)