We will admit to some bias in Lawyerly Lairs, our column about the fabulous homes of lawyers all across this great land. As you may have noticed, Lairs coverage focuses disproportionately on the East Coast and the West Coast. Most recently we’ve written about a $10 million beach house in Malibu, a $3 million condo in Manhattan, a $10 million mansion in Brooklyn Heights, and a variety of properties in Washington, D.C.
So we’re going to try something different today. We’re heading to the heartland, where there are some major real estate bargains to be had.
Have you ever fantasized about selling your $500,000 (or $1 million or $2 million) home in an expensive coastal city, buying a $250,000 place in a less expensive part of the country, and pocketing the difference (so you can live off it for a while)? Keep reading….
We recently received this email from Professor Joshua Fershee of the University of North Dakota School of Law (which we’re reprinting, non-anonymously, with his permission):
After seeing NYU’s $3 million faculty condo purchase, I thought I’d pass along the other end of the financial spectrum. My wife [Kendra Huard Fershee] and I are both on the faculty at the University of North Dakota School of Law, and we’re leaving to join the West Virginia University College of Law in the fall.
After leaving Biglaw for teaching, we have, for the most part, truly enjoyed North Dakota (really, we have). One thing we got to do was buy and renovate an old house for a ridiculously low sum of money. This is a good thing when you choose, as we did, to pursue a new (and awesome) career that results in a new salary that’s less than half of your old one.
In case you’re curious, Josh Fershee worked at Davis Polk in New York and Hogan & Hartson in D.C., while Kendra Fershee worked for Milbank Tweed in New York and D.C. They both graduated from Tulane Law School in 2003.
Now let’s hear about the old house that they restored:
At 5,000+ total square feet for $235K, this home is quite a contrast to the NYU condo, though it is walking distance to downtown and the farmer’s market. This 1910 house was first floor office space and an upstairs apartment when we bought it. We did most of the renovating ourselves, and we knew eating out was not going to be like our prior stops in New York, D.C., or New Orleans, so we went with an upgraded range. In addition to the Wolf range, this house also has an elevator and a urinal (not in the same location). These make for an odd and unique combination, I suppose, but these are the three features people tell us are the most compelling.
An elevator? That’s très “one percent.” As for the urinal, I often find myself with a “most compelling” need for one. (I’m especially fond of the waterless urinals in Harvard Law’s Falik Men’s Room.)
Lest you think this is an effort to sell our home, well, we’ll take any help we can get. However, I doubt there are too many of your readers needing a home in eastern North Dakota, even one as awesome as this.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with trying to use Above the Law to get the word out about your house. Remember Brian Frye and Penny Lane, aka the hipsters in the Catskills? They sold their lovely home, previously featured in these pages, to a lawyer who learned about it on ATL. (If you’d like to submit your residence to ATL for possible featuring, just email us, subject line “Lawyerly Lairs.”)
Let’s take a look at the Fershees’ soon-to-be-former home, shall we?