Custom Build a ‘Sears Catalogue’ Home

Those oak floors and cedar shingles — the smell of a Sears catalogue home can be intoxicating. Wait a minute? Did we say a Sears catalogue home?

That’s right. Sears Roebuck catalogue homes were a real thing between 1908 and 1940. The classic Cape Cods, Craftsman, and modern home designs, 447 in all, are a sought after commodity for heritage home buyers.

Nearly 75,000 Sears catalogue homes saw the light of day before the original big box store stopped producing them. Central heating made the factory-made homes, complete with timber framing, drywall, and shingles, contemporary. Low prices and direct-to-door shipping kept Sears catalogue homes affordable.

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A type of sears catalog home


Sears Catalogue Modern Homes for Modern Living

Fortunately, Sears catalogue ‘Modern Homes’ live on over 80 years later. Identifiable by their shipping labels, stamped lumber, columns, or public records, the homes stand out for their often elegant designs, modern conveniences, and quality finishes.

  • High end Honor Bilt homes with cypress siding, cedar shingles, and real wood interior trims.
  • Heat optional Standard Built homes for warmer climates.
  • And Simplex Sectionals, perfect for cottaging or modest starter homes.

The 1916 $938 Honor Bilt Woodland was popular into the 1930s, when inflation drove the price up to $2,598.

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Recreating a Sears Catalogue Home

You could buy a Sears catalogue home by bothering local heritage groups or libraries for their location. Real estate agents specializing in heritage properties may be able to point you in the right direction.

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Better yet, you could recreate your own by customizing period, online home plans. The Sears catalogue homes archive has .jpegs of the entire selection. The floor plans and exterior illustrations are just right for emailing to custom home contractors.   

Bonus: you get the feel and conveniences of a new home, without the ongoing expense of maintaining a decades-old property. Because your construction is new, you also skip heritage home designation that can thwart future renovation plans.  

Inspired yet? Check out This Old House host Bob Vila’s 11 best-liked Sears Catalogue home plans

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Another type of sears catalog house


Whatever Happened to the Sears Catalogue?

Made-for-family living Sears Catalogue home kits, and the Simpson Sears outlet stores and mail order wickets generations of Canadians grew up with, are long gone. Canada’s last Sears stores, once 140 strong, were liquidated in 2017 and shuttered Jan. 14, 2018. Only 24 Sears stores were left in 2021, all in the U.S. The 1932 Art Deco tower in New York City store wrapped up operations last November.

1897 Sears Roebuck Catalogue a Treasure

Owning an original 1897 Sears Roebuck catalogue nowadays is rare. Your catalogue may be worth less, while still being a collectible. The last Sears catalogue, the “Big Book”, was issued in 1993, but vanishing Canadiana can be valuable.  

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Valuing Sears Catalogue Collectibles

Are Sears and Roebuck catalogues worth anything right now? That depends on the year and type. The $1 1901-02 hard cover Sears Roebuck catalogue has sold for $250. It was worth a scant $25 in 2018, the same as 1990s editions.

Rockwell Covers Command Top Price

The Spring 1932 Sears Roebuck catalogue cover, “At Work on his Washington Essay”, is a different story. American folk artist Norman Rockwell inked the subdued image of an industrious teen writing by lamplight for the Washington Bicentennial. The cover alone commands $149.  

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Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Buy a heritage home with full assurance your agreement of purchase and sale has all the conditions you need to protect your deal from collapsing. Axess Law reviews draft or signed offers to purchase for essential clauses that could give you the right to walk away.

Having a real estate lawyer review your offer to purchase

We secure title to your new property by searching for construction liens or financial claims that can delay real estate transactions. Axess Law adds title insurance to protect you from mortgage fraudsters, and registers title in your name to finalize your new home purchase. Our licensed legal professionals calculate your land transfer taxes, and complete the paperwork for generous government rebates for first time buyers.

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Worried about strict new mortgage rules in Ontario that came into effect in 2021? Unlike a CMHC high ratio mortgage, private mortgage lenders may let first time home buyers borrow the down payment.

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Is your Sears catalogue home a second property, or selling and buying on the same day? Axess Law discharges existing mortgages, and prepares the legal documents your mortgage lender needs to finance construction advances for new home contractors.

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Affordable New Home Construction Legal Fees

Axess Law keeps our legal fees deliberately low. We give you only the legal services you actually need. You could pay traditional lawyer services by the hour, or choose Axess Law’s all-inclusive, flat fee rates. Refinancing a mortgage starts to build a second home, or renovating a property starts at only $799.99 plus HST. Buy a residential lot for $999.99 and up plus HST, or pay just $799.99 and up plus HST if you sell a land or home in Ontario.

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Affordable fees and services to get

Make Phone or Online Appointments Instantly

Make appointments quickly with Axess Law’s online booking form. Dial our 647-479-0118 lawyer line for in-person service (toll free to 1-877-402-4207). Axess Law has day or evening appointments, 7 days a week. You can drop by any Axess Law location in Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa to sign real estate closing documents, or we witness your signature online. Axess Law has onsite parking, and easy transit access.