MIDDLETOWN — A township home ravaged by fire more than a year ago is boarded up, unlivable — and up for sale at $650,000, asking price.

“Incredible Building opportunity in the Oak Hill section of Middletown,” according to the listing.

It's been posted since December by Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors and Vincent Tozzo with Century 21 Thompson and Co.

(Vincent Tozzo, Century 21 Thompson & Co/Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors)
(Vincent Tozzo, Century 21 Thompson & Co/Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors)
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The two-story home at 58 Fish Hawk Drive in the Bamm Hollow neighborhood caught fire on Nov. 19, 2020, as previously reported by the Middletown Township Fire Department and Lincroft Fire Company.

About 55 firefighters from five of Middletown’s fire companies responded to the fire at the 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom house, on just over a half-acre of property.

November 2020 house fire (Middletown Township Fire Department via Facebook)
November 2020 house fire (Middletown Township Fire Department via Facebook)
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Before the fire, the property’s 2020 tax assessment was $489,500, according to public records.

A year after the blaze, in November, the property was sold for $250,000 according to Zillow.

Fire-ravaged property for sale in Middletown (Vincent Tozzo, Century 21 Thompson & Co(Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors)
Fire-ravaged property for sale in Middletown (Vincent Tozzo, Century 21 Thompson & Co(Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors)
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It was listed “as-is” a month later and has been on the market for nearly 80 days.

“Located in a quiet prestige neighborhood. Design and build the home you have always dreamed of ! Structure on land is not livable home has extensive fire damage in need of a complete renovation or tear down and rebuild. Lot size is 140x175. The sky is the limit with the opportunities to customize every detail while building the home you always imagined.”

“If it were literally on fire the price reduction would prob only be like $10K, ”an editor with NJ Monitor quipped on Twitter.

By comparison, at least three livable 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom homes in Middletown were listed between $700,000 and $950,000 as of Tuesday.

Two of them were zoned for the same elementary, middle and high schools as the fire-damaged property, according to the listings.

construction demolition rubble
Getty Stock / ThinkStock
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Running the numbers: Demo and rebuild In NJ

The rough average cost to tear down and rebuild a house is $125,000 to $450,000, according to homeguide.com.

A chart at the website says a home between 2,500 - 3,000 square feet would cost between $10,000 to $30,000 for disposal, clean-up and basic site grading.

An online calculator helps users make more detailed estimates.

"Fire sales" in Berkeley Heights, Englewood

In another popular community, Union County’s Berkeley Heights, a severely fire-damaged single-family home has been listed at $450,000.

Berkeley Heights fire damaged house (GONZALO ALVEZ, SIGNATURE REALTY NJ/Compass.com)
Berkeley Heights fire damaged house (GONZALO ALVEZ, SIGNATURE REALTY NJ/Compass.com)
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The property at 41 Putnam Ave. is billed as another “Great Opportunity to build your dream house,” in a listing at Compass by agent Gonzalo Alvez of Signature Realty NJ.

Berkeley Heights fire damaged house (GONZALO ALVEZ, SIGNATURE REALTY NJ/Compass.com)
Berkeley Heights fire damaged house (GONZALO ALVEZ, SIGNATURE REALTY NJ/Compass.com)
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The entire 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom home would need to be either demolished or gutted and renovated.

“Fire damaged property can be knocked down for a complete new build or you can do a total renovation and add-a-level on the existing foundation,” according to the Berkley Heights listing.

Fire damaged house in Englewood (EXP Realty, LLC via ColdWellBankerHomes)
Fire damaged house in Englewood (EXP Realty, LLC via ColdWellBankerHomes)
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A third, severely fire-damaged property in Bergen County’s Englewood was listed in June 2021 with a disclaimer saying "enter at your own risk."

By December, that fire-ravaged house listed by EXP Realty had sold for $250,000.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

2021 NJ property taxes: See how your town compares

Find your municipality in this alphabetical list to see how its average property tax bill for 2021 compares to others. You can also see how much the average bill changed from 2020. For an interactive map version, click here. And for the full analysis by New Jersey 101.5, read this story.

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