Al and Cal Homes and Community: What?? My Home Came From A Sears Catalog

What?? My Home Came From A Sears Catalog

What??   My Home Came From A Sears Catalog 

I think it happens to most of us.     You move into a neighborhood and it seems the neighbors know more about your home than you do!    

Well, it happened to me.   

Along with my new purchase, came new neighbors.    Some came by with baked goods, some just waved hello, and some with a story.     

The "old" man down the street... my new neighbor,  a large man, with an intimidating stature, a gruff voice and a huge smile, said to me with a twinkle in his eye,    "You know, that home you bought came straight out of the Sears catalog!"   

What?  I kind of was insulted.   My beautiful little house, a mail order home?    Really??
11 Pine St.

Apparently, as a child, he had seen it delivered!   While I am not 100% sure that my home came from Sears as the neighbor said. (There were other retailers that sold homes through their catalogs.    Montgomery Ward and Aladdin for example.)   I am sure that it was a mail order home as he saw it delivered.   In those days in the little town of Medfield, it must have been "an"  event and therefore quite memorable. 

Assembly Required!

Catalog house plans by Sears, Montgomery Wards, Aladdin, and other companies were widely distributed in the United States between 1908 and 1940.   Sears alone sold more than 70,000 Sears and Roebuck homes right through their catalogs!   They were shipped by rail in kits to be assembled by the purchaser, his friends or a professional. Not only did they advertise that "a man of average abilities could assemble a Sears kit home in about 90 days",    but, they were quality homes that one could customize.  

What Could You Buy through a Catalog?

Many, many styles including A Bungalow, and American Foursquare, a light Queen Anne or even a Farmhouse.     Imagine purchasing a home for as little as $700!

Do you have a Mail Order Home?

Search around for physical clues such as stamps on wood or hardware or plumbing.   Search for old records and do a little investigation on line.   There are many sites that are dedicated to the catalog home. 

Over the years, I forgave that Medfield neighbor, and found that the homes I truly fall in love with are these Catalog Homes.   Doesn't matter the style, for the most part, they seem to be built rock solid,  filled with warmth and character!    I just love them!   Apparently so do others!    There is a following!   But, they don't make them anymore so, the only way to get one is to buy a resale!   

What is your favorite style home?

Are you looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Medfield MA area or surrounding communities?     Please contact me!



Carol-Ann Palmieri

Al and Cal Realty Group

Remax Executive Realty




Comment balloon 18 commentsCarol-Ann Palmieri • September 18 2011 09:01AM


I never new Sears sold homes.  We do have facotry built homes are that people order but they are not from catalogs.

Posted by Chuck Carstensen, Minnesota Real Estate Expert (RE/MAX Results) almost 8 years ago

Hey Cal-you made me laugh girl! I can't believe you didn't know about those Sears homes-right from the catalog those kits came! They were like $900 or maybe $1900 I think not positive. Very cool-you have a collectors item!

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) almost 8 years ago
What a fun story! I never knew that and to think no commission was charged on those 70,000 homes!
Posted by Susan Emo, Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area (Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Hi Carol Ann....The expanded cape style home has always been my favorite....had one...built it...sold it...miss it....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 8 years ago

Hello Carol,

I have inspected a few of the "catalog homes". They are put together a little differently. But all in all they are and remain to be good homes.

Montgomery Ward was the largest seller of the homes. A "pre fab unit with assembly required" LOl

Have a great day, Clint Mckie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Have lots of listings that came on the train from the Sears Roebuck catalog. Barns, camps, bungalow homes. That catalog was everything. One stop shopping before big box super stores.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) almost 8 years ago

Great story Cal, nicely done.  Everything I have heard over the years about those homes has been positive.

Posted by Al Raymondi, Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales (Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida) almost 8 years ago

That is an incredible story Carol Ann!  How fun!  A home sold through a Sears Catalog and assembled by the purchaser :)!  Hope they aren't planning to bring that back anytime soon....we would have to switch to lot selling, lol :)!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) almost 8 years ago

What a neat story and a fun conversation piece when visitors come over for the first time.  I have heard of catalog homes but have never seen one, that I'm aware of.

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) almost 8 years ago

Carol Ann,

Actually the catalog home sounds really nice a great place to live. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I had not heard about these types of homes until I read your blog.

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) almost 8 years ago

Hi Chuck.   Check it out on line.   They are beautiful.   Well, most anyway!


Hi Marco.   LOL... I never thought of that!!!


Hi Susan.   They probably were thinking that too.   I wish I knew a Realtor from 1920.   I would ask what they thought about the catalog home!!   


Hi Barbara.   That was an exceptional home.   Don't see those that often!


Hi Clint.    Yes.   So I've been told by folks that have been in my attic.    Didn't know M. Ward was the biggest supplier.   Thanks for that tidbit.  


Thanks all for stopping by to read and comment.   Very much appreciated!

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 8 years ago

Hi Andrew.     I do remember the fighting with my siblings over the catalog at Christmas.    HaHa.   Wonder if anyone circled the 2 bedroom bungalow??


Hi Al.   I see lots of what look like catalog homes in Quincy!   


Hi Brenda.    I wonder how many Brokers hated to see those trucks rolling up!


Hi Anita.    I didn't much like it when that neighbor first informed me.    But now, I love it!    :)


Hi Bob.   Don't you find it interesting that those retailers thought of it!    Thanks for reading.


Thank you all for taking the time to stop by read and comment.  It sure is appreciated!   I hope you all have a great day.  





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 8 years ago

Well Carol Ann, i learn new things everyday...they don't seem to be prevalent here because i haven't ran into one but i think it was probably very well made...

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Carol Ann,

Yes you are correct on your above comment as aresponse to my comment. I do find it very interesting that the retailers were marketing homes back then. I wonder if there is still a market for something like this? A lot of foks can't afford to buy a home these days.

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) almost 8 years ago

There are some prefab homes today and many "green" kits too. I love the old catalog homes too - we just don't have many in our area. I wonder why?  I may have to investigate post Cal.

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) almost 8 years ago

Hi Ginny.    What a way to sell homes right?    Thanks for checking it out!


Hi Bob.    They might just call them prefabs today.   I was at a construction site yesterday where the frame came partially built and they were hoisting the pieces to the roof with a crane.    It was fascinating.    I'm getting old!    Thanks for commenting.


Hi Debb.    Green homes are the way to go!     Thanks for stopping by.



Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 8 years ago

Cal....very nice post....I learn something everyday.....Thanks!

Posted by Rob Thomas, Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954) almost 8 years ago

Hi Rob.  Always fun!   Thanks for checking it out.

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 8 years ago