COVID-19 may be putting a damper on the real estate market, but in the case of Ted Ralphs and Ke Yang, it had the opposite effect.
The story starts in 2012 when Ralphs, a professor at Lehigh University, decided to move his primary residence from the Lehigh Valley to Manayunk. “I just wanted to be closer to the city,” he says.
But in 2018 he married Yang, a fellow at Lehigh, and they soon found the commute to campus wearing, so they decided to move to the northern Philadelphia suburbs.
“We love Manayunk,” he says. “It’s sort of the perfect blend of an urban style and nature. And I’m a cyclist. But the commute was a bit much.”
The couple had always liked Airbnbs so they decided to convert the three-bedroom, 2½-bath house into one. “We wanted to have the experience of hosting,” he says. It was, however, a case of be careful what you wish for: “Even with a management company, it was never quite as hands off as we wanted it to be.”
Then the virus hit, taking with it Airbnb customers, so the couple — now living in Doylestown — put the century-old house on the market.
The house has an open floor plan, with Brazilian cherry flooring for the living room and the adjacent dining room, with exposed stone walls and lots of natural light.
The kitchen has been updated with a skylight, tile floor and backsplash, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, an exposed brick wall, and sliding doors to the patio.
The master suite has a ceiling fan, built-in shelving, and a bathroom with ceramic-tiled whirlpool tub and stall shower.
The house has two other generous-sized bedrooms and smart home technology linking lights, the thermostat, the front door, and a security camera.
There is a large, dry basement for storage and — unusual for Manayunk — a private driveway in the back yard with a paved parking space.
The house is within walking distance of the SEPTA regional rail station and a 20-minute ride to Center City. It is also three blocks from Manayunk’s Main Street.
The house is listed by Charles Davies of Redfin Corp. for $359,900.