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How to Find Mid-Century Modern Homes for Sale

Mid-century modern, Ocala block, Frank Lloyd Wright, Clerestory windows, Usonian houses, Sarasota School of Architecture

For some people, the ultimate dream is to live in a mid-century modern home. I'm totally in that group! There’s something incredible about the clean lines, open-plan living, and integrated design that makes mid-century homes an obvious fit for those who love modern architecture. Finding an MCM home in your area, and in your budget, can be tricky, however. These tips might be just what you need to snag your dream mid-century home. It has worked for us in the past! We were lucky enough to find and purchase an amazing 1958 home in Florida (the photo above), and later, a 1961 home in Michigan by architect Norman Carver.

Where to Look Online

The first decision you’ll need to make when you begin your online MCM home search is what website to use. Your options here can seem endless, as there are so many options to choose from. Some of the big names include Home Finder, Red Fin, and Trulia. Zillow is a great, user-friendly option that is very easy to navigate and offers a very wide selection of homes. Realtor, however, seems to update more often, giving you the newest properties on the market before other sites do.

Try Google Maps Aerial View Feature

If you know a specific neighborhood or city you want to live in, you can try using the Google Maps Aerial View function. This is best for those with a little time on their hands and a thorough knowledge of what MCM homes look like because it can reveal some unusual rooflines, flat roofs, and typical mid-century shapes. Flat roofs are usually easy to spot as they are the dirtiest! Once you have found an aerial view of an interesting home, switch to street-view for the address. Then, type it into the address bar to see if the home is what you’re looking for and if it happens to be for sale.

Narrow Down Search Range by Year

On popular home search engines like Zillow, there are options to narrow the search parameters by things like size or price. One of the overlooked search parameters you can rely on is the year built. If you’re in love with mid-century style, you can immediately weed out those houses built in the 1930s or those that were erected in the 1980s. Just type in a date range like 1951-1969 and see your custom results pop up. Of course, this eliminates mid-century modern-style homes built outside of this time range.

Use Unusual Search Terms

When you use search terms to find mid-century homes, your terms are only as good as the listing agent. That’s why searching for “Frank Lloyd Wright” will reveal all kinds of houses that Mr.Wright would never have glanced at, let alone built! There are some search terms, however, that can pinpoint the kinds of homes you’re looking for. Some of the ones I’ve used in the past include: Architect names - this could be a favorite architect whose style you like or a local architect who may have built homes in the area. You can also just type in the word architect -- often, the results will show homes owned or lived in by architects, which is usually a good sign.

Mid-century modern: MCM, mid-century, or just modern are good terms to start with.

Cookie Cutter: Seriously! So many listings say that a home is NOT cookie cutter, making it a great search term for those on the market for unique houses.

Conversation pit, sunken living room, etc. These are definitely mid-century features, so searching for houses with them can point you in the right direction.

Jungle Lots: Here be Treasure

Don't be turned off by a photo of an overgrown yard that blocks the entire house. If anything, a 'jungle lot' is the promise of untold MCM riches just waiting to be uncovered. Remember, mid-century homes were often built with a private front facade and a wall of glass at the rear.

Don’t Limit Your Search Parameters Too Much

Many prospective homeowners want a lot from their dream homes. It needs to be stylish and mid-century, but it also needs to have a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms. A pool wouldn’t hurt, either! And it needs to fit neatly within your budget. If your price is set in stone, and so is your love for MCM style, don’t be afraid to compromise a little on other factors. Size, for instance, can be altered. It is possible to add on another bedroom, or another bathroom, with ease. Thanks to the possibility of digital renderings and even home walk-through animation, you can see your additions before they get built, ensuring that any extensions to your home fit perfectly with the structure’s architectural integrity.

Tryscraft's Weekly MCM Real Estate Roundup

This is a new addition to this list, but it's an important one! Since this post was written in 2016, we've started a weekly real estate blog post with our top mid-century modern homes for sale across the United States. If you're looking for a unique home, check out this list each week to see if something suits your style and budget. Look for the tag, "MCM Homes for Sale," or click HERE to see them all at once.

We hope you can use these tips to find the perfect mid-century home that suits your needs and your style. Once you find that perfect space, check out our mid-century furniture offerings to complete the home.

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