“Easy Housekeeping”: How Early-20th-Century Brokers Made Modest Homes Seem Desirable

A 1914 Realty Associates advertisement for easy housekeeping homes in the New York American Real Estate Review

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Was your house advertised to you as an “easy housekeeping home”? Probably not, as such a characteristic is now dated in more ways than one, but there was a time in the early 20th century when the phrase was a relatively common broker term used to market certain properties.

Historic Brooklyn Real Estate Listing

Another Realty Associates advertisement for the homes, which “your wife will like.”

An “easy houskeeping home” is one that “is so designed that the owner can have all the comforts of an entire house without needing a servant,” reads a 1911 advertisement in the New-York Tribune for one such property on Prospect Park East. (A two-story with parquet floors and hardwood trim, the property was selling for $7,950 to $8,500.)

In truth, the “easy housekeeping-home” label seems to have been a marketing tactic for making smaller homes seem more desirable.

Recently, Brownstoner readers living in a home on Union Street between Rogers and Nostrand in Crown Heights South did a little research on their property and, with the help of Brownstone Detectives, discovered their home had one been marketed as an “easy housekeeping home.”

Historic Brooklyn Real Estate Listing

“It’s worth noting that the modern income tax was passed in 1913,” the reader and easy-houskeeping dweller noted in an email to Brownstoner, drawing a potential connection between the tax passing and families downsizing to more manageable homes that didn’t require outside help.

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