Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Buy & Hold 8-Family Closed Last Week Over Asking Price: 245 Martense Street

Maybe you were too chicken to venture out to Church Avenue on the 2/5 trains when this gem was asking $859K in 2012, but we weren't.  We'd been hoofing it out to Church Ave since 2003.  Picked up for $869K just before the clock struck 2013, 245 Martense Street hit the open market this year for $2.4M, and closed last week way over asking price at $2.72M.  This 8-Family cash cow features original details, new upgrades, lots of free market apartments and stabilized apartments in line with or exceeding market rents.  No wonder it was perfect for buyers looking for solid return, capital preservation, and/or 1031 action.  No wonder this place made it to the top of Loopnet's most popular listings in Brooklyn on the open market...

Pre-market, the biggest commercial brokers told us to take offers we had in the $2.3-$2.4M range, saying they'd charge us 6 figures in commission and not net us anymore money.  But the building, affectionately known as "The Old Man", wouldn't stop there.

Sleep on Brooklyn at your own peril, but they still won't believe it until it happens a dozen more times.  Nobody thought $2,000+ 2BR's were coming to Lefferts, but we knew any deal around the corner from the 2/5 with legit BR's all over the place was poised to tick up, rent regulated or not.  We tried to tolja' back in June it was going down over ask; now it has.  And the hunt begins for the next project.

"But where is the next hot neighborhood in Brooklyn??" they always ask us.

Oh, silly!  It's not that simple.  It never has been.  You can overpay in any neighborhood, good or bad.  You can also underpay in any neighborhood, good or bad.  The trajectory of each building is case-by-case and not told by its zip code alone.  But they don't hear us though.

As even the Park Slope-mobile parks over in Crown Heights...

And Park Slope cats get houses boudgier than Fort Greene's people, on a block where investors are bidding $2M+ for a tear down frame house...

And $3M sales (not asking prices) are popping up in Bed-Stuy, where $900K scared people just 3-4 years ago.  And the word "gentrification" is even starting to sound too subtle...

Wu-Tang's "Cash Rule Everything Around Me" feels as poignant as ever.  Or just a good punchline...

We'll keep trying to breakdown the nuanced trends that conk trained eyes over the head, while Brooklyn keeps singing, "If you don't know me by now..."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Another First Hits the Open Market: 431 Prospect Place

On since May, this neat little 2-Family in Prospect Heights ripe for an end-user hit the open market last month and has an open house this week.  431 Prospect Place was a member of the coveted #notonstreeteasy club until just a few weeks ago.  Given what else is going on in the market, this totally turnkey upper duplex and garden rental 3-story on an extra deep lot is worth a look at the asking price of $2.35M.  While the "My First Sony" nay-sayers will be quick to point out the 17' width, that didn't stop our last look at 17' wide from fetching $3.2M in south Slope in a bidding war that even TV personalities couldn't keep up with.

But what the "My First Sony" buyers don't always factor in is that interior staircases and 2 entrances on these "narrow" 2-Fam's mean a net width in the rooms the same as a 20'-wider.  Either way, that didn't stop Clinton Hill's less-than-15'-wider 368 Grand Avenue for closing over $2.3M last year.

And 16' width didn't stop even Bed-Stuy's 22 Arlington Place from fetching over $2.2M last year either.  Granted, these are both 4-stories, but we're just saying.  431 Prospect Place is asking almost $1,000/ft, but on a whole-dollar level, we certainly can't blame them.  Nice original detail throughout:

A recent renovation may not be everyone's taste, but certainly gets the job done and lets buyers hit the ground running...

The 127' lot and modest deck off the parlor don't hurt either...

The gripes are built-in, but the pluses are there.  Especially since people paid almost this much for total shells in a need of a gut around the corner even 2 years ago.  If you want more than a duplex condo and you wanna be west of Franklin and you don't need Corcoran to blind you with staging and retouching and tuck you in at night with 6% commission, this is a good end user play at the right price.  With an open house tomorrow, it's even easier to see for yourself.   Platinum Members toured one even juicier than this in Clinton Hill for $2.2M and a 4-Family in Clinton Hill for $2.35M both off market this month.  #notonstreeteasy can't stop, won't stop!

Pro's:  cute curb appeal, totally turnkey & mortgageable, nice Prospect Heights side end-user play, condo alternative with rental income for many buyers, extra deep lot, original details, west of Franklin

Con's:  next to a large apartment building, not the most recent or hip renovation, 17' wide, won't stun you with staging, 1990's renovation at 2015 pricing, feels a tad high on price perhaps

Ideally:  if you won't go to Crown Heights proper for $1.8M and you don't want a condo in more prime Prospect Heights for $1.8M+, and you can afford over $2M, you should give this a shot

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stylish Reno in South Slope Flies Off the Shelf: 468 11th Street

Listed for $2.95M at the beginning of the summer, South Slope's 468 11th Street had a few well-attended open houses and multiple offers right away.  This stylish little 17' wide 3-story 2-Family had lots of orginals details and cute updates that made it totally digestible for the retail market...

Little touches like the working fireplace, the small extension with two exposures, the skylights, the bountiful penny tile, the zoned heat and A/C, and inventive use of spaces made it a special house.  Goes to show that style trumps hefty budget any day.

One of our faves was the buddha crown molding...

Ikea, penny tile, original details and a little style go along way for this clean and sleek look that gives that warm fuzzy feeling of lived in even better than staging.  We saw your boy MNBC's Chris Hayes at one of the open houses, and he later told us at the tiki bar that he was outbid on this house.

When a dude with his own national TV show is getting outbid on tiny 2-Fam's in South Slope, you know this market isn't for the weak of heart (or wallet).  Many thought the asking price of $2.95M was asking to be underbid in the $2.6M-$2.7M range, but a contract was out in a few weeks and just a month later it closed in July for $3.2M.  That's right.  What the big 4-stories on more coveted blocks used to close for not long ago, the modest but stylish renos that get it right are now commanding.  No wonder offers over ask came in for a similar (down to the extension) pre-styled 2-Family at 155 Nelson Street in Carroll Gardens.  We were in a wider 2-Family off-market in Clinton Hill styled almost this nice on the duplex asking "only" $2.2M on the same block where Platinum Members copped an off-market deal last year for even higher.  468 11th Street sold for just over $1.3M in 2011, but when you make a product that people gotta have they'll pay up for it.  As in, over $1,200/sqft for a townhouse.  We'd much rather have a 5-story like 242 Gates Avenue for $3M, but that one's long gone.  The developers of 468 11th Street knocked it out of the park without over doing it at all and ya gotta tip your hat.  And don't expect to find a steal lurking - even when for sale by owner - when the TV folks are getting boxed out of the paint in South Slope.

Pro's:  great unique renovation, no big broker's commission needed, style for days, nice backyard, extension, basically and owner's triplex with a studio on the garden, AC, working fireplace, width isn't a deal breaker with interior staircase when the hallway isn't eating things up

Con's:  flew way over asking price and many people's budget, kinda budgety reno feel at times, not brand spanking new, already starting to show a little wear 

Ideally:  ultimately, ya can't hate on this one, not one bit.  Proof's in the pudding

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bed-Stuy Stunner with Open House This Weekend: 806 Greene Avenue

When you're asking $2M+ in Stuyvesant Heights, you'd better have "one of those" houses where the renovation is butter.  And with an asking price of $2.375M, 806 Greene Avenue doesn't disappoint.  The modest brownstone exterior belies the stylish, decked out reno inside.  The listing says, "The owners combined their world renowned architectural and design skills to create a utopic home with a desire for simpler, fuss-free living."  Full of brand name fixtures, this house has high end retail finishes throughout at high end retail pricing.

$2M has been touched and surpassed a few times before in Bed-Stuy and Stuyvesant Heights, and for houses not quite as stunning as this.  Platinum Members hit the off-market asking price of $2M this summer on the 200-block of Jefferson for a house with more original detail, but not quite all the modern pizzaz -before the owners opted to rent instead.  The buyers now have a contract out in Stuyvesant Heights over $2.2M on another house before it even hit the open market.  All on the same block where yet another house closed for over $2.2M.  And don't forget 391 Macon Street, which closed for $2.2M in June to buyers from more prime Brooklyn.

As long as buyers with $500K+ downpayments are willing to go further and further into Brooklyn, these price points are achievable.  But they do get you top of the line product, instead of what shells and what generic reno's and 3-stories go for $2.5M and over in Fort Greene and Park Slope.  So while the price proximity between such perceived-as-different neighborhoods may surprise you - heck, it even surprises us - the market comes down to a decision for the home owners and home buyers.

806 Greene Avenue's yummy pics will have those tippy top buyers gushing...

Even the baths look magazine quality...

And you've gotta have that yard.  $2M+ Manhattan condos won't come with that.

When you could find bones this nice for $1.4M-$1.5M, but would have to spend $400K+ and many months to make it right, you can see why handfuls of people opt to "overpay" for finished product that couldn't've produced themselves even if time & money were no object.  For $2.3M+ you might've wanted at least one of the 6 fireplaces restored to functional, but doing that part yourself won't break the bank.  At least it has 6 of 'em.  As high end double-duplexes go, this 806 Greene Avenue is top notch, and probably won't be undersold.  But with an open house this weekend, it's easy to come see for yourself.

Pro's:  totally lux reno, stylish & unique interior, many original details intact, double-duplex set-up, finished cellar, barely more than worse on & off market deals in the high-end range of Bed-Stuy, great pics up and open house to come

Con's:  special pricing, pretty standard curb appeal, further northeast than most people wanna be, would like a working fireplace at this price

Ideally:  top of the line house for a top of the line price whose sale will still probably shock thousands, even though it makes perfect sense for a dozen or so buyers

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Waterfront Living in Manhattan Beach

When the hustle & bustle of Manhattan or brownstone Brooklyn living gets you down, come check out Manhattan Beach.  At the end of Ocean Avenue, there's this small community on a peninsula lodged between the bay & the beach, with a variety of single & 2-Family houses with yards, garages, and a totally different vibe than the parts of Brooklyn we're used to.

A summer resort dating back to the late 1800's...

Now Manhattan Beach is like its own little subdivision, and still has the beach...

We took a tour of this house in Manhattan Beach.  It's a free-standing 2-story 20' x 40' house on a huge 40' x 100' lot with a detached two car garage, four car driveway, and full basement.  It's like Manhattan Beach's answer to the 669 St. Marks garage & parking.  This 3BR/2 bath house is in great condition and shows well.  Original parquet floors were more than we were expecting.

Almost every room in this free-standing house has two exposures.  There is another room off the kitchen that can be used as a fourth bedroom or office.  Also there are two outdoor terraces, one off the kitchen on the first floor, and one off the master bedroom on the top floor...

There is still buildable square footage remaining, as well as zoning that provides for a professional office in the basement.  Once used as a dentist's office, it would be suitable for a medical, dental, accounting, or other home office set-up.  The basement has high ceilings, large windows, and is retrofitted with electric, gas, and plumbing for residential or professional use.  There are also two address on this one tax lot, so it can be easily converted to a 2-Family with separate address for more rental income.

And that waterfront view, tho!  By day or night...

We had to make sure that the seafood is on fleek at nearby Emmons Avenue along the bay...

While this is our first foray to this neighborhood, we see it as possible alternative to a Ditmas Park free-standing house with garage for those buyers looking for that front yard and back yard living in Brooklyn.  A nook by the beach we just learned about.   We're told showings are available for qualified buyers for this off-market pocket listing asking $2M.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Closings of Note: Crown Heights Still Going Strong

Platinum Members told us they liked Crown Heights' 3-story reno at 905 Lincoln Place some $200K under its asking price of $1.5M.  As promised by the broker, it closed for some $200K over asking price, $1.7M.  Buyers from Park Slope made it happen with a million down.  One reader asked, "[H]ow come streeteasy is still showing this as 'for sale"' since November?"  Well, that's because the time between an accepted offer and a fully executed contract is usually weeks, and can often be months.  The wheels turn slowly sometimes, but they keep on toynin'.

After the dust settles from a crowd of bidders at 905 Lincoln Place, an unrenovated version with better details but struggling kitchens & baths commanded $1.64M to buyers from Fort Greene with some $400K down.  937 Lincoln Place closed last month.  The shiny pics and $1.395M asking price garnered it lots of attention, and the work needed some people off.  But it makes 905 Lincoln look like a deal.

Also in Crown Heights for $1.7M, the five-story 1249 Pacific Street closed two weeks ago all cash.  Fear not the armory nearby, this joins other closings on this block at prices that are double what people were too scared to spend over here in 2012.

Just off Franklin Avenue, by Franklin Park, the renovated 3-story sub-18' wide 608 St. Johns Place closes for its asking price of $1.8M with about $500K down from a buyer from LA.

Before you let the $1.8M townhome sales in Crown Heights get to you, don't forget, condos* in Williamsburg still go for $1.8M.  On first, 119 North 11th Street, #3A wanted "as little as" $1.4M with us last year, but was mid-renovation merging its 2-unit use into 1.  The reno was so hectic that our boy Hannibal Buress walked in and walked right out in a flash...

But by the time it combined, cleaned up, and listed with Corcoran for $1.8M, this condo closed for its $1.8M.  This week we got the early lead on a duplex condo even nicer than this - with parking - coming up for $1.65M on Park Place in prime Prospect Heights.

If you don't believe $1.8M or lower townhomes in Crown Heights are more attractive than $1.8M condos in Williamsburg, ask the buyers of the Crown Heights gem 926 St. Marks Avenue.  Buyers from a Williamsburg condo closed on it last month for $1.7M.

So if the finished 3-stories and the estate sale 5-story homes go for $1.7M - $1.8M, what does that do to the price for shells?  865 Sterling Place, just off Nostrand, was a boarded up 3-story FSBO that closed for $1.3M in May.  Remember when live-able fixer-upper 4-stories were $725K on this block back in 2013?

So to get a house in the $700K's you have to go much further east these days.  It sure ain't pretty on the outside, but 1335 Prospect Place is a renovated 2-Family at condo prices.  It closed for $785K in May.

Even the 1BR's on the Crown Heights/Prospect Heights border command $700K+.  475 Sterling Place, 2E closed just over asking price for $715K last month.

In an older building, deeper into Crown Heights, the 1BR at 943 St. Marks Avenue, #1B closes for $470K.  $610/sqft is probably a steal for what's coming over here.

Even further out at 1263 St. Marks Avenue, this quick Massada frame house flip closed for $985K to a buyer from Bed-Stuy.  Renovation and lots of financing with less than $50K down make this an attractive purchase.

Back in prime Crown Heights, $1.85M is the closing price for the huge corner 6-Family just off Franklin Avenue at 1 St. Francis Place.  It came out last year asking $1.95M, grossing only $105K/year.  It joins 70 & 80 New York Avenue as some of the best ~$2M pick-ups in Crown Heights in the past year.  Local gobblers who passed on those finally getting the hang of it with this one.  903 St. Johns Place for $1.95M in May falls in this same range.

Also in that range, 632 Sterling Place, a 7-unit just off Franklin for $2.05M in March after asking $2.1M for a minute.  Other purchases on the block not marketed are undergoing their reno's already.

Not a bad turnaround for Crown Heights' mixed-use 1388 Bedford Avenue, which was a no-brainer when we chased it in 2013 for $700K, closed that year for $800K.  Last month it sells for $1.6M.  Kaboom!  Now we're chasing another one off-market for $1.2M.

Similarly, sold for $700K in 2013, the small mixed-use at 307 New York Avenue trades for $1.05M this May.

1056 President Street may look more Queens than Brooklyn, but it's a good Crown Heights deal for buyers from Boerum Hill at $1.13M in May with just over $250K down.

Last month, an astounding price for a garage in Crown Heights over at 1104-1106 Pacific Street closing at $5.6M.  Makes the ones on the 1000 Dean Block look like steals.

But the buy & hold winner of the year in Crown Heights may go to 1054 Park Place, a 16-Fam on one of our favorite blocks.  Supposed contract price was $2.2M when it came out two years ago, then the value went up and it took litigation to compel a sale.  Closed for $2.5M last month.  Keep in mind when you look at some 2015 comps, you may be looking at prices negotiated in 2013, and then disputed in court in 2014-2015.

Even out between Kingston and Albany, near the projects, the Crown Heights gems don't stop.  Corcoran moves the double duplex at 1087 Prospect Place for $1.31M last month to buyers from Clinton Hill with some $400K down.  $100K over asking price is nothing in this market.

Asking $1.4M, buyers from Prospect Heights had no problem paying $1.565M last month for the Crown Heights 3-story at 659 Prospect Place.

No wonder we were bullish on the off-market contract flip at 264 Brooklyn Avenue - as seen on asking $1.25M - which closed for $1.1M.